Writing this blog has already revolutionized my skills in culinary improvisation. I used to be the kind of cook who followed every recipe to the letter. Ok, I still am, a little bit. But I’ve loosened up a lot recently. For example, I used to measure out 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons when a recipe called for 1 1/2 tablespoons. Now I cavalierly estimate the 1/2 tablespoon. Daring, no?

Tonight I am proud to report on a recipe I totally made up. Read on for the scintillating details.

Ever since I read this article about using different forms of garlic, I’d been itching to make some garlic soup. I was planning to follow the recipe that came with the article, or this recipe on Orangette. but I was thwarted for a couple weeks: I couldn’t find any green garlic at the Capitol Hill farmers’ market. There was lots of fresh garlic, but it wasn’t young enough to meet the “green” criteria. Then, last weekend, I spotted some garlic spears (flower stalks from elephant garlic) at Pike Place Market, and I knew my time had come, green garlic or no.

When I got home to make the soup, I had a lot of ingredients, but no recipe. I realized I would have to–gasp–make something up. Readers, I rose to the challenge. I present to you: Garlic, Spinach and Chickpea Soup. So now you’ll know what to do if you have garlic, garlic spears, spinach, chickpeas, and no plan.

What to do?

What to do?

Garlic, Spinach and Chickpea Soup

1 small head fresh garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
3 small white onions (each about 2″ in diameter), roughly chopped (about 1 1/3 cups when chopped)
2 T olive oil, 2 T butter
2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 bunch of garlic spears (about 2 cups when cut into 2-inch slices)
4 cups chicken stock, warmed
1 15oz. can chickpeas
5 oz. spinach leaves
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Yogurt for garnish

1. Heat the oil and butter in a soup pot over medium heat. When the butter has melted, toss in the garlic, onions, coriander, and nutmeg. Cook for a few minutes, then toss in the garlic spears. Cook until the onion is translucent and the garlic spears are soft.
2. Add the chicken stock, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Melting my chicken stock iceburg.

Melting my chicken stock iceberg.

3. Add the chickpeas, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
4. Add the spinach, and turn off the heat.
5. Once the spinach has melted, puree the soup in batches. Watch out… that shit is hot. I almost died.
6. Pour the soup back into the soup pot and reheat it. Add the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve with a dollop of yogurt stirred in.