Yes, they're the empty glass yogurt jars I squirreled home in my suitcase after my trip to Paris. They fared relatively well on the journey, though one of them did smell like yogurty feet when I finally unpacked it. My advice? Use soap if you ever wash trash for a transatlantic journey.
(Now I feel bad that I used the phrase 'yogurty feet' in a post that's, at heart, a celebration of Mark and Bruce's simple but sophisticated spiced plum soup. Note to self: send note of apology to M&B.)
So, yes, the soup. If you make this soup for your next dinner party, your guests will move in and never leave. They will mop your floors, polish your fixtures, and install crown-molding in your living room. They will walk your dog. They will wax your car. They will do anything to continue sipping this soup, which starts out perfectly lovely but somehow develops even more flavor with each passing day. Do I exaggerate? I do not.
The recipe comes from Cooking-Know How (Wiley, 2009) by Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein, which I've blogged about before here. It's a cold, creamy summer soup, one that's open to infinite variations. Mark posted this blackberry version last month on his blog Real Food Has Curves.
If cold soups aren't your thing, no worries. Call it a wine-infused smoothie and sip away.
Recipe for Spiced Plum Soup
Adapted from Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough's Cooking Know-How (Wiley, 2009). Used with permission of the authors.
Makes up to 12 small first course servings
4 cups (1 quart) cold water
2 pounds plums, halved and pitted
One 4-inch cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain unsweetened yogurt
1/2 cup red wine
Salt to taste
In a large saucepan, bring the water, fruit, cinnamon stick, cloves, and nutmeg to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer slowly until the fruit is meltingly tender, about 10 to 25 minutes. (-csr: mine took 10.)
Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and whole cloves. Transfer any plum halves (csr: mine has turned to mush, but it made no difference) to a bowl, turn the heat to medium high, and boil the remaining liquid in the pan, uncovered, until its volume has reduced by half, stirring occasionally.
Puree the plums, the reduced cooking liquid, the sugar, yogurt, and wine in a large blender or food processor fitted with the chopping blade, working in batches if necessary. (csr: I did it in batches with a stick blender.)
Transfer the soup to a large, nonreactive (csr: glass); seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. Season with salt to taste just before serving.