Saturday, February 7, 2015

What's in a bunch?

Hello, everyone.

I was talking to a friend yesterday and trying really hard to give her a giant bag of garden stuff. She said, "I'll take a bunch, I guess," or words to that effect. And I answered, "how big is a bunch?"

It's not just a joke question, though.

All the time I see recipes that call for a "bunch" of this or that green. Or "an onion" or "juice of 1 lemon."

Friends, relatives, and ogres, if you should take to writing down a recipe someday, please, please, please give the remote reader some idea of just how big "a bunch" or "an onion" or "a lemon" is!

Is "a bunch" of radish greens something that will fit in my hand with no meaningful overlap onto the rest of the world? (Maybe a cup when cut up.) Or is "a bunch" something that, while I can get the stems, barely, into my hand, the leaves are a blob about 8 or 10 inches across and flopping all over the place? (Maybe three cups?)

When I make Brother Victor's radish greens soup, using mustard greens, just how green is it supposed to be?

My garden, in mid-January of this year. Reddish green blob on left is the mustard greens bed.
In my garden picture, you can see that there is a great lot of mustard greens. They've grown taller since--the leaf stalk of a full sized one today is about 15 to 20 inches long--and when I used a "bunch" of the larger size to make a batch of soup, the soup turned out a lovely leprechaun shade of green. It is good that way, but I wonder, does Brother Victor have the same idea in his head as I have gotten in mine? Or is the soup the way he makes it more of a pale, delicate looking pastel green?

Speaking of which, he calls for "four potatoes" in his soup recipe. Big, huge Idaho russets? Cute, little, round white ones? And when I substitute 1 head of cauliflower for three of the potatoes, have I effectively doubled the amount of soup I'm making? Or is it still basically the same?

Anyway, I use 1 big bunch of mustard leaves, 1 small potato, and 1 standard sized head of cauliflower for his "1 bunch of radish greens, or mustard, 4 potatoes."  And after pureeing the soup, I put a little (tablespoon sized) dab of yogurt in the middle of the bowl of soup.

Brother Victor's soup recipe is here, by the way. He has piled up a lot of soup recipes there. The ones I've made are good. Bland, a little, but good--hey, it's French country cooking. Bland is what they do.