Around 5:15 I was getting ready to leave work when I received a text from Jacob. "Dinner??" it said.
Not really wanting to spend money eating in a restaurant, I texted back, "Sure. My house, 6:30."
I was peeling potatoes and talking to my brother on the phone when Jacob arrived at 6:30 on the dot with a 6-pack of 2-Below New Belgium. Honestly, as far as dinner went, I wasn't totally sure what I was doing. I knew I wanted to involve the potatoes and also clean out my vegetable bin, but I had no idea what the end result would be.
I started with 4 Russet potatoes that were getting ready to start sprouting in my pantry. I peeled and diced them and plunked them in a pot with salted water. In went onions, orange bell peppers, half of a sweet potato, a few cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika. I sipped a beer with Jacob as the vegetables cooked to the point of softness, and then I went in with my favorite tool: a stick blender. I swirled the blender around the pot until my vegetables were transformed into a velvety puree. I stirred in a few tablespoons of half-and-half, a little fresh flat-leaf parsley and some pepper and before I knew it I had a delicious, vegetable-based soup. I served it with a garnish of more parsley, a sprinkle of paprika, and warm flatbread, that I rolled some red onions into.
After dinner we watched The Office and a few funny YouTube videos. Jacob, who does not have cable, is watching Burn Notice on my television as I write this. Having zero interest in the show, I could think of no better use of my time than to blog about a nice evening of impromptu, colorful cooking. Here's my recipe:
Veggie Bin Soup
4 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
3 cloves garlic, whole
1/2 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
2 orange bell peppers, cut int 1" pieces
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped--a bit set aside for garnish
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp paprika + more for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the potatoes, garlic, peppers, sweet potato and onion covered with 3 cups of liberally salted water for about 20 minutes. Blend with stick blender (or remove from pot and blend in a food processor or blender) until smooth. To finish, stir in the half-and-half and Parmesan and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle the top with a dash of paprika, a leaf or two of parsley, and more cracked pepper.