I am a reasonably accomplished if lazy cook. In particular, I hate peeling and chopping. Peeling I can usually manage to avoid, either through justification (most of the potato’s nutrients are in the skin; cucumbers don’t get covered in wax in Italy so they are not a problem to digest with the skins on) or because vegetables that I commonly use are available in the market pre-peeled (onions, pumpkin). Avoiding chopping is a bit more difficult. If it’s for a dinner party I can usually convince one of my friends to act as sous-chef, leaving me free to ‘create.’ If left to my own devices, I’ll probably just make vegetable soup, the preparation of which does not require chopping, thanks to the miracle that is the immersion blender.
Soup. There is nothing better on a cold wet day (although it’s been positively springlike around here lately) and a big pot of soup lasts for a week. When I get tired of it, the dogs are always happy to finish the job. And since my discovery of the immersion blender some years ago, it couldn’t be easier. The immersion (or stick) blender was invented in Switzerland 1950 and has been used in European professional kitchens since the 1960s. It started showing up in American homes in the 1980s although I confess to never having seen it in any of the American homes I tend to frequent (possibly because no one else in my family cooks much). An immersion blender looks like a stick, is 10-12′ long and is fitted with a rotating blade at the end. You stick the blender in a bowl full of cooked vegetables and let it go to town. Minutes later you have soup. It’s also good for making sauces. And ice cream. And oh so much more. It’s also by the way a snap to clean (another task that lazy cooks abhor).
Broth is one thing I don’t skimp on. The dogs and I eat a lot of chicken and there are always quite a few (chicken) bones around the place. I love chucking them in a pan with onions and (unpeeled) garlic and cooking them for hours on end. Make that hours and hours and hours on end. The house smells for days of chickeny garlicky deliciousness. Even The Vegetarian has been known to salivate. For who can resist umami?
Last night I chucked some pumpkin (peeled and diced by my vegetable vendor), onion (ditto) and fresh spinach into a pot full of broth and cooked the vegetables until they were soft. Then in went the immersion blender–whizz whizz. I ended up with a rich green soup with flecks of orange throughout. Yum. Probably pretty good for me too.