If per chance, you plan on spending time with a group of 6-year-old girls (and, like me, do not have the experience of being a parent) know this:
1) Despite seeming level-headed and charming, they are complete maniacs. I don’t even feel bad about saying that. They’re mental. Especially when grouped together for an afternoon birthday party, with sustained access to sugar and chocolate. In their presence, you will bear witness to a level of shrieking that will be equal parts astounding and frightening. You will stand around with the only other adult in the room, wide-eyed and helpless, while drawing air circles with your index finger around your temple, silently mouthing the words “THIS IS FUCKING CRAZY”. Right from the start, your body will switch on to full alert, your heart will start racing and you will develop a slow, but sharp headache right between the eyes. You will seriously contemplate your ability to make it through the next three hours, possibly even the next three minutes.
…also, little girls:
2) Wear a TON of pink. They love it. They covet it. They want everything in it. They might’ve gone through a phase where they liked blue or yellow, and as they grow up, they’ll likely come to appreciate the whole spectrum of colours. But right now, their brain only acknowledges one colour: PINK. It’s a force to be reckoned with. Observe the evidence:
Coincidently, these two observations found their way into the recipe below. Beets help lower your blood-pressure (to recover from little-girl-freak-outs) AND they have the magical property of turning bright magenta when blended with liquids. Ultimately, this soup will make everyone happy – the adults get to restablize, and the miniature raving lunatics get their pink soup. Win-win.
Warm beet and fennel soup (serves 4) – adapted from Bon Appétit
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped fennel bulb
- 1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 large beets, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable stock)
- 1 cup soup cream
- additional sour cream for decorating (optional)
- fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)
Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion, chopped fennel, and fennel seeds. Sauté until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
Add cubed beets and stir to coat. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until beets are tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
Purée soup in batches in a blender (or with a hand blender). Return to the same saucepan season soup with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the sour cream* to the soup in the saucepan and rewarm gently. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with additional sour cream and garnish with fennel fronds, if desired.
*If your sour cream is straight out of the fridge: place 1 cup sour cream in a bowl, then add one small ladleful of soup, stirring to combine. Repeat twice more until the sour cream is tempered – this will help avoid the curdling that can happen when cold dairy hits hot soup.