Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Farmer's Market Asparagus Soup

It's my favorite time of the year!  Farmer's Market Season!  Time to leave the office and enjoy some time in the sun while shopping for fresh veggies, fruits, sweets, plants and much more at Daley Plaza.  The 2012 Chicago Farmer's Market at Daley Plaza (50 W Washington, in front of the courthouse) runs from May 24 to October 18 every Thursday from 7:00am until 3:00pm.

On my first visit of the year last Thursday, I bought some herbs to fast track my city garden.  Planting from seeds is great, but the reality is I miss having fresh herbs available at home, so the plants will tide me over while my other plants slowly grow.  I'm adding parsley, basil, tarragon, chives, parsley, oregano and more to the herb starting line up - including the newcomer chocolate mint!  It smelled so good (like chocolate) I could not pass it up.  And yes, I was that girl with the flat of herbs on the bus later that evening...  To some, I may have looked silly or crazy, but the reality is I've toted far weirder things on the bus (empty child's wheelchair tops the list).  And these herbs are crucial to the tastiness of my food!

I was also tempted by fresh (and super cheap) asparagus so I bought two bunches at the farmer's market.  Once I got home, I made Cream of Asparagus Soup, using this recipe from Skinny Taste.  Keep it gluten free by reading the labels of chicken stock for hidden culprits and keep it dairy free by subbing Earth Balance for the butter and coconut milk for the sour cream.  Normally I use homemade stock, but Pacific Natural Foods was very generous in providing me some samples of their gluten free and dairy free goodies.  I tried their gfcf organic free range chicken broth - one spoonful put my homemade version to shame!  The rumors are right: quality ingredients really do make a difference in foods!  With organic chicken broth and local asparagus, I was pretty much guaranteed a high quality, tasty soup.  It did not disappoint!  The soup is extremely simple to prepare and even hits the spot on the hot summer-like days we have been having.  It was a relatively hands off recipe until the end when I spent about a minute blending everything together with my immersion blender.  I've never made soup with asparagus before but I'm glad I branched out and discovered something new for my recipe box.  This soup really is worth trying!

For more information on Chicago's Farmers Markets, check out this really helpful link from  This season, I will be spotlighting a different vendor from the Daley Plaza Farmer's Market!  Check back weekly for this fun feature.

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