Every time I make Summer Vegetable Soup with Pistou, I think back to this moment seven years ago, when my daughter Eva and I joined the Chez Panisse 40th Anniversary Celebration, making our family favorite for hundreds, including Alice Waters herself.
This public celebrations took place at BAMPFA where the creative minds at Chez Panisse - affiliate OPENrestaurant transformed the space outside the museum into an edible celebration of produce, a day-long outdoor affair, complete with interactive cooking installations, inspired art, and demonstrations illustrating the future of sustainable consumption.
Our charge was led by the ever-talented, chef and visionary Nicole Lobue, now of Hudson, NY, who organized a washing, chopping, grating station for children, some trained ready to train anyone that wanted to make soup. This process is dear to my heart, as my children began making soup before they entered preschool, holding a knife and chopping veggies in to tiny cubes.
Some of the original dinners from 1980, including Les Blank at the end.
Recipe for Summer Vegetable Soup with Pistou:
Here is s start
1 onion or leek chopped
2 carrot diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1 lb of tomatoes peeled, chopped
1 lb of potatoes diced
1 lb of zuccini
Green beans or Romano beans
White cooked Canelini beans (I had these Rancho Gordo beans) or fresh cranberry Beans)
bouquet de garni
Saute onion or leek in olive oil. Add carrots and celery, cook for a few minutes. Add the rest of the veggies, reserve zucchini. Add herbs and water to cover. Bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer for 1.5 hours. (If using fresh pole beans, add now.)
Add zucchini at the end ans cooked beans.
Serve with generous amounts of finely grated parmesan cheese and maybe drizzle of olive oil and a dollop of pistou (pesto)