Tuesday Dinner: Avgolemono

Avgolemono (Greek Chicken & Rice Soup with Lemon & Dill) • Mixed Greens with Olives, Onions, and Lemon-Mint Dressing) • Levain Rolls • Chocolate-Almond Meringues

We’re all still here. Good job, us. More and more folks are wearing a mask to the grocery store, to the farmer’s market, at the gas station, and generally people are getting better at understanding what “six feet away” means. Not everyone has gotten into the habit of wearing a mask every time they go outside, but I know that will improve also—peer pressure working for the good. 

Of course, it’s going to get more and more difficult as the weather warms up. Masks are sweaty, and unpleasant to wear. It’s easy to hibernate inside when it’s chilly or rainy outside, but when it’s sunny and gorgeous, our instincts call out for barbeques and beach trips, afternoon hanging out at the park or playing in the creek…anything with friends. When this is over, and we’re allowed to see people again, I am going to have so many people over, all the time. Who the heck cares if my house isn’t perfect? People are what matter, and Zoom and Facetime do not take the place of actual kids zooming around the yard while the grownups talk and look at each other’s actual faces. 

In the meantime, we can all have dinner together, in spirit. You guys are my virtual (gigantic) dinner party that I cook for once a week. Tonight, we’re having a Greek soup for supper. Avgolemono is a chicken and rice soup, made with lots of lemon and dill, and thickened with eggs and egg yolks. To me, it seems like a perfect springtime soup, but in Greece it’s more traditional to eat around Christmas, when it’s made with leftover turkey and turkey stock. Despite all those sprightly flavors—lemon and dill are both bright and exciting to the palate—the combination of chicken and rice is so soothing, perfect for souls that need calming, like we all do these days.

There’s more lemon in the salad dressing today, with a lot of mint from my parents’ backyard. Mint smells so good, especially when it’s freshly picked. There’s a good mix of greens, Romaine lettuce along with baby chard and spinach and arugula, with Kalamata olives and red onions for gutsy notes.

Dessert started with the egg whites left from making soup. I haven’t made meringues for awhile, because it’s so difficult to keep them crisp in damp weather. But the weather has changed, so meringues are back for those of you who love them. These are chunky with toasted almonds and chocolate; the nutty and bittersweet flavors add dimension to the sweetness of meringue. Stay healthy and sane, everyone!

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