Many years ago my grandmother gifted me with a 70 year old cook book by a woman I had never heard of... Ida Bailey Allen, and told me to guard it with my life. "Cooking, Menus,Service, 2500 recipes" has become my kitchen bible . It took some maturity to appreciate the gift. At the time she gave it to me I hugged her and thanked her and thought to myself "what am I gonna do with this musty old thing? Wild as I was back in those days... I had the surprising wisdom to store all Granny's gifts in a single trunk (which I drug all over the world with me). This is a wonderful book with all kinds of recipes and kitchen and entertaining advice . Ida understood that at any given time (pre-safeway) you might have to feed folk using what you have available on hand. All of her recipes are flexible and based on the knowledge that sometimes hitching up the wagon and taking a quick ride into town just wasn't an option.
Here's a nice one based on Ida's basic cream soup recipes.
Cream Of Asparagus Soup
You will need
1 bunch asparagus chopped
1 large carrot diced small
1/2 medium onion diced
1 stick celery diced
Salt & pepper to taste
4 cups water (to which you may add chicken or vegetable stock or neither ... your choice)
1 cup milk or cream ( I like heavy cream)
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
Put water ,vegetables and seasonings in pot. Bring to a low boil for about twenty minutes , when vegetables are done turn down heat to a simmer, add milk or cream (stirring frequently for about 3-5 minutes )
Then in a separate bowl, melt your butter and stir the flour into the butter until it is creamy. Add the buttered flour to your soup, stir constantly until soup achieves desired thickness. Sometimes the flour and butter have a mind of their own and will get really thick really fast. If it gets too thick for you , just add a little more milk. Once you have achieved the desired thickness......your soup is done!
Serve with a seasonal salad and warm fresh bread.
Ida recommends that for asparagus soup. you put the tougher ends of the asparagus in first. Adding the tender tips after about ten minutes. This keeps your tips from dissolving completely. I like it when the tips cook down... I think it makes the soup more asparagus-y. But once again it is your choice.
Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes. Wow factor: Very High
Added benefit? This is a great meal if you have vegetarian guests over for dinner.