"This soup was the beginning of a totally revamped way of eating for me. This recipe was my first success at making something totally good for me that was a pleasure to eat. "
Soon everyone in the family was eating it, even my kids, even their friends. I hauled back larger loads of greens—mustard greens, cavalo nero kale, leeks. I made green soup every week, no two alike but every one following that original template. I used rice instead of potato, watercress and spinach instead of chard and kale. Once I had lovely fresh greens from beets I roasted, so I made a beet green soup, an instant favorite. The formula seemed bulletproof: a pile of leafy greens, some slowly cooked onion for sweetness, a little something starchy for body and that finish with cayenne and lemon.
One night friends were coming for dinner. By then I was back in my skinny jeans and green soup was my steady date; I decided it should come out to a party. I had some mushrooms, so I sautéed them with garlic and thyme until they were dark as mahogany, added them to the simmering greens and pureed it all to a velvety cream. That soup was earthy, mysterious, a bit smoky from a touch of Spanish paprika. The next day people were calling for the recipe. This should have tipped me off about what was to come.