A Wholesome Sunday

With this Sunday, the semester in Tübingen is officially over and this (usually already) quiet and studious town starts its summer slumber. I love this off-season. For us scholars this mean that on Sundays we can turn to writing, staying home, going for walks, instead of turning to next week’s preparations & dropping into the office. And (any guesses?) this also means I can turn to preparing Sunday lunches.

And so while my wife Kim works her way into Shonda Rhimes‘ masterclass, I am that woman who is very delighted that it is only 10 a.m., puts on her bathing suit (just because I can), and starts roaming in the garden, hunting for some vegetables to cook lunch with. I adore having and taking time to cook. And I will take my sweet time preparing all those delicious meals, pouring my love for our little family and our produce into each step of the way. In my world, this (and reading in bed) constitutes a perfect Sunday.

And so while I collect my herbs – some fresh thyme, basil, oregano, chives, and lovage –, I find a gigantic yellow squash, growing away in the corner of our raised beds. Oh, good morning beautiful, yet (at this size) rather tasteless summer vegetable. I carry my bounty into our kitchen through our french doors, have so more coffee, and start debating what I will make out of this wholesome giant. And with my second sip of coffee I know that I want soup for lunch. Creamy & rich yellow squash soup with a gallop of crème fraîche and herb oil. Roasting all the squash with some garlic, red onion, some potatoes, sea salt, olive oil, thyme, and lovage before I will make it into soup will make the most out of this outgrown squash and create lovely caramelisation, too. It is decided.

Further following my cravings, this decision for soup naturally leads me to bread (I love bread). And I immediately think pan con tomato. This Spanish tapas staple is one of the most amazing, humble, flavourful, and refreshing ways to eat bread in summer. A toasted fresh slice of bred is rubbed all over with a fragrant and sweet garlic clove, then a perfectly ripe and juicy tomato is halved and rubbed against the bread, sprinkle with some crunchy sea salt, and finished with a drizzle of a good, slightly bitter, olive oil, and you have vacation in your hands. To counterbalance all this summer goodness, I add some devilled eggs to this lunch. Devilled eggs are incredibly old-school, but I have a very soft spot for them because they are a little special, a little decadent, and, at the same time, a rather straight forward egg dish. I decide on a small variety of devilled eggs for our party of two: one kind will be with belled peppers, bacon, fresh oregano & chipotles, the other kind will be with radishes, basil, and chives. With some cold white wine, this will make for a perfect spread for our first slowish Sunday lunch in ages. I am more than thrilled and start one of my all-time favourite things, namely cooking. Enjoy!

Yellow Squash Soup with Crème Fraîche & Herb Oil

(3-4 persons)

1 gigantic yellow squash (or two normal ones), cut in big cubes

1 hand-full small potatoes, cut in halves

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 red onion, roughly chopped

some thyme (to your liking) & lovage (2 stems)

juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

basil, chiles, & thyme, roughly chopped

some coarse sea salt

crème fraîche, for serving

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray and assemble the yellow squash, potatoes, garlic, red onion, thyme, & lovage on the tray, drizzle some olive oil over it, season your veg with salt and pepper, and roast for 20 minutes in the oven.

In the meantime, combine the olive oil with the roughly chopped basil, chiles, and thyme and a pinch of coarse salt in a mortar and gently grind & blend the herbs together with the olive oil.

Transfer your roasted veg into a pot, add 1 cup of vegetable broth, and simmer everything for 5 minutes. Blend your vegetables using a hand blender. Depending on your desired consistency, you may want to add some water or broth at this stage until your soup has reached the thickness you are going for. Season your soup with some lemon juice, salt & pepper, and the minced garlic. Serve each bowl of soup with a gallop of crème fraîche & some herb oil. Enjoy!

Two Kinds of Devilled Eggs

(2 persons)

4 eggs, cooked for 10 minutes & shelled

2 tablespoons crème fraîche

1 tablespoons Dijon mustard

palt & pepper

1 slice of bacon, fried until crispy, & finely cut

1/4 of a red bell pepper, cut in fine cubes

1 pinch of chipotle

1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, sliced

1 reddish, cut in fine cubes

1/2 teaspoon of basil leaves & chives, both finely sliced

Cook your eggs for 10 minutes, rinse them under cold water, shell, and cut them in halves. Carefully scoop out the cooked yolks into a bowl and mash them with a fork. Add crème fraîche & mustard to the yolks and wish until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Take another bowl and scoop half of your filling into it. Now add bacon, red bell pepper cubes, chipotle, and the fresh oregano into your first filling and stir until all ingredients are combined. In your second bowl,add the reddish cubes, basil, and chives and also stir until all ingredients are combined.

Using a piping bag, freezer bag, or spoon, fill your egg whites with the two fillings. Sprinkle with some more herbs, bacon bits, or radish cubes and serve.

Pan Con Tomate

(2 persons)

2 slices of fresh bread, toasted

1/2 fresh garlic clove

1/2 ripe tomato

olive oil & coarse sea salt to finish

Rub your slice of toasted bread with some fresh garlic on both sides. Then, take a halved tomato and, turning the fleshy side towards the bread, rub it against one side so you get some lovely tomato juice & flesh onto your bread. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt & drizzle with some good olive oil. Enjoy!

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