New beginnings.

It doesn’t feel like so long ago when I was last having new beginnings.  It seems that graduating from college and facing the big-people world works that way.  You get a job, any job, and then realize you don’t want any old job.  You work for a while, gain some confidence and start looking for the next challenge.  You may then, even, find your perfect place, a nice Mom and Pop of a school, perfect hours, summers off, and wonderful people all around.  Ok, that’s unlikely, though it was what I had.  But, like the rest of the world, things fall apart. Companies get sold, disgruntlements ensue, and you start wanting to begin again.

So that’s where I stand now.  A part-time job and a fledgling personal chef business.  It’s exciting.  And scary.  And lovely… unimaginably lovely.  Kind of like this soup, really.  The whole time I was preparing it, from breaking down the garlic cloves to passing it through the food mill, I was scared for what was to come, but pretty thrilled for it.  Four heads of garlic?  Garlic soup?  It sounds like something out of True Blood, but there’s no vampires to fend off here.

You don’t need to be warding off blood-suckers to love this soup anyway, because it’s hardly pungent, almost indiscernibly garlic—that is until someone tells you it’s garlic soup and you become altogether terrified that someone who hasn’t eaten the soup will kiss you tonight.  Not that they would notice.  Or care.  (Because who doesn’t need a kiss, anyway?)

You won’t notice the thyme much either, though it’s not the same without it.   Fresh thyme is best, and it’s the same for garlic.  Don’t make this soup with brown-bottomed, half-dead garlic bulbs—make sure they are fresh, resilient, and either white or purple.  Check the roots because (not that I want to get into the whole nature/nurture discussion) brown spots at the root is bad news.  Luckily, finding good garlic is the hardest part.

Just break up 4 heads of garlic, brushing off the white, papery skins but not bothering to peel the cloves.  Throw them in a pot with 12 or so sprigs of fresh, fragrant thyme.  Splash in a quart of roasted vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water, and simmer away until the garlic yields to the gentle pressing of the back of a spoon.  Run everything through a food mill with a fine grater (or take out the thyme twigs and blend) and then add the juice of one lime.  Serve piping hot with a slice of good, crusty bread, or all by itself for a warming first course.  It tastes exciting and different from any other broth soups, and is invigorating enough to sustain you through a long kissing session afterwards.

Garlic and Thyme Soup

adapted from James Peterson’s Splendid Soups

serves 4 in small bowls

  • 4 heads good garlic
  • about 12 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 quart roasted vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
  • 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Break down garlic heads into cloves, brushing away the white, papery skins but not bothering to peel.  Wrap the thyme into a bunch.  Add both to a 3 qt pot and cover with 1 quart of the vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water (I use roasted vegetable stock and it is lovely here.)  Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the garlic cloves are soft and yield to a fork, about 40 minutes, depending on your garlic.

Run the soup through a food mill fitted with a fine grater, or take out the thyme sprigs and blend in a blender (if you blend, you’ll need to pass your soup through a sieve afterwards.  Add the juice of one lime to the soup and taste for seasoning, adding a little salt or pepper if you like.  Serve in warmed bowls.

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21 thoughts on “New beginnings.

  1. Robin, I know that no matter what, you will do amazing things. I predict greatness my dear 🙂 And the little rumbles of fear and anxiety just act as the buildup for new adventures. I am so excited for you!

  2. I had no idea of where this post was going to go and noe I want to dive into this soup! Congrats on the chef biz, best of luck and I know you’ll have fun!

  3. I feel like Vampire Bill would like this, regardless of the garlic (or, he’s pretend to because he’s just so nice 🙂 ). Good luck with all your new endeavors — personal chef business! I look forward to reading all about it. I know you’ll do well in whatever you do.

  4. Robin,
    Follow your heart and your dreams before life “happens” again. I know all too well how quickly things can change before you have a chance to live the life that you want.
    All the best!

  5. Like Claudia and Amanda and everyone else, I think you are the most amazingly wonderful human being and I know you will have much success in whatever you do. I’m happy you feel excited about it.

    And I have that book!

  6. rachel says:

    garlic and kissing – two of my favorite things.
    This soup sounds deliciously simple. I might even make it tonight.
    Your new ventures sound exciting, I look foward to hearing about them.

  7. Mazel tov! Congratulations! It sounds like you’re happy and secure in your decision and that’s the most important thing 🙂 P.S. I love the new look of the site! I’m afraid to know how long it’s looked like this, because that will just underscore how long it’s been since I’ve stopped by. Regardless, good things all around. And thanks for turning me onto J.O.’s website. I made one of his salads for my parents and it was a huge hit!

    • Eep! I am *so* happy so far, even with a little added stress. 😀 Thanks everyone for stickin’ with me!!

      Ann: Thanks about the site, it hasn’t been up that long. 😉 And life gets just that much completer once you find Jamie Oliver’s site.

  8. Just came across your blog today…so lovely. Wanted to say hello because I am also a personal chef (for one family at the moment) and am working on expanding into a full fledged business. Good luck to you!

  9. I must say, that after reading the first couple of paragraphs in this entry, I thought I had stumbled back to my site! I am currently trying to figure out which path I plan on choosing, whether it be cooking, design, photography or all of them!

    Even though this is the first time I have read your blog, I wish you the best of luck. So far everything I have seen looks delicious!

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