Last weekend we had to drive out to Palm Desert and back in the same day. We decided to break up the trip with a detour to Oak Glen to do some apple picking. Unfortunately when we got there, we found out that due to the drought and low crop yield, apple picking (especially the U-Pick) was over for the season. After being pretty disappointed, the girls got to taste some different varieties of apples, sample cider, watch the cider press, and at least get out of the car for a little while.
At $15/bag, it wasn't exactly farmer's market prices, but we did buy some apples to make Dad a belated birthday apple pie. In the past, we've gone to Los Rios Rancho and Riley's Farm, but this trip we stopped at Snow-Line which had some yummy smelling BBQ, hard and regular cider, wine tasting, antiques for sale, and apples galore.
We also went pumpkin picking (well, picking out, not picking from the vine) at Cal Poly Pomona's pumpkin patch. We didn't go to the pumpkin weekend which is usually super crowded but they still had lots of pumpkins left ($5/apiece for any size) and it was fun to watch the girls decide which pumpkin was "perfect" in their eyes.
Back at home, we celebrated the arrival of slightly cooler weather with making some soup. I know I've had many versions of broccoli soup and green soup in the past, but this was a riff on a popular family recipe - roasted broccoli. If you don't make this for your family, try it tonight - just do the roasting step of the broccoli and serve with parmesan cheese (or you can leave it off). I added more lemon juice than the recipe calls for and wished I hadn't, so try a little at a time. But, I liked the overall result and it's pretty clean eating. It reminded me more of the asparagus soup I make than other creamy broccoli soup recipes I've tried and I'm sure we'll be making it again!
Roasted Broccoli Soup (serves 4)
Two large heads broccoli
1 head of garlic
1/2 onion, diced
4 c. vegetable broth
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 T lemon juice
salt and pepper
Slice just the top of the head of garlic off (leaving the cloves still tucked inside). Drizzle the top with olive oil and wrap in a piece of foil to make a packet. Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Separate the broccoli into florets and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread into a single layer on a large rimmed cookie sheet and add to the oven after the first 20 minutes with the garlic. Cook another 20 minutes (the broccoli will take 20 and the garlic will take 40).
When the garlic and broccoli are done roasting, put the broccoli into a pot on the stove and add the onion, broth, and thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the broccoli is really soft. Add the cooled roasted garlic cloves to the soup. Blend in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper and the lemon juice. Serve with grated parmesan on top.