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Peter LaFrance

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jenlain and Zucchini Soup a la Jules

Yesterday was a beautiful, cool but not crisp, early autumn day. I indulged myself and set off walking from my abode in Brooklyn, across the Manhattan Bridge into Chinatown, strolled up Elizabeth Street to First Street, and sauntered across to First Avenue savoring the walk uptown (literally, there were at least a dozen restaurants and food shops that I noted deserved investigation) until I reached St. Marks Place. There I turned left and, halfway down the block, on the uptown side of the street, at number 65, stepped down onto the patio in front of Jules.

Jules and I have a history that deserves telling but that’s for another blog… this time I will limit myself to relating my experience involving a heated bowl of zucchini soup and half a liter of Jenlain Ambree Biere de Garde.

I will forgive the owner/chef/friend for icing the half liter stein with a rinse of ice cubes and cold water. I will forgive almost anything for a half liter of Jenlain Ambree Biere de Garde and an hour to enjoy it.

As there were no other customers at that hour and the staff was enjoying house lunch I had all afternoon to enjoy the brew once it warmed up a little. Until then it was educational to sip it slowly and experience the development of flavors as the biere reached cellar temperature. The nutty notes were kept from being cloying by the effects of the effective but non aggressive influence of the hops. These hops were the touch-point for the flavors of the soup.

The soup was a vegetarian, vegetable-stock based, rather thick, potage. Chips of zucchini, well past el dente but not puree, added a hearty texture to a fresh tasting stew, topped with slivers of Parmesan cheese and sliced fresh basil leaves. The latter two ingredients joined in a flavorful dance with the sweet of the malt but even more energetically with the hops of the Jenlain.

The real key was the kinship in flavors that happened between the fresh Basel and the hops of the beer.

When I get the recipe I’ll post it… until then…

Peter LaFrance

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