Although the Golden Rule is not a new idea, I’m still awed by it. Years ago while dining in Washington DC, there was an unexpected interlude between courses that was just as wonderful as the food. The experience reminded me that the more trusting I am, the more others will trust me and vice versa.
A friend and I were having dinner at Restaurant Nora, the first certified organic restaurant in America. We decided to go all out and get the 4-course tasting menu. It was a big splurge, but it was my birthday. The manager assured us that if we placed our order quickly, we’d be able to finish in time to make it to the Kennedy Center where we had tickets for the symphony.
Suddenly, however, it was 20 minutes to eight and we hadn’t yet had dessert. The manager, Jack, appeared at our side. He told us we should leave if we wanted to make the concert. I asked if we could settle our bill first, but he said we needed to hurry. He told us to enjoy the show and come back afterward for dessert and drinks. We could pay then. He trusted us to walk away from a sizeable bill.
True to our word, we hurried back to Nora as soon as the performance ended. We had a delicious dessert, and were even treated to sauternes wine on the house. We paid our bill and left knowing we’d had a magical evening.
How do you want others to perceive you? What traits do you want to project to the world? If you want to feel more love, be more loving. If you want more respect, be more respectful. And if you want people to trust you more, be more trusting.
Broccoli and Apple Soup
Before dining at Restaurant Nora I’d never considered putting apples in my broccoli soup. However, their apple and broccoli soup was totally divine! The apple adds a hint of sweetness. I created the following recipe to share a bit of Nora with you.
Broccoli soup is generally made with cream (at Restaurant Nora too); however, I wanted to make mine without dairy. In place of cream I’ve added blanched raw almonds, which act to round out the flavors in the way that cream would.
Serves 6 as appetizer
Serves 4 as entrée
2 tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced (1 ½ cups)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, chopped (1 cup)
4 stalks of celery, chopped (1 cup)
1 tbs. chopped fresh tarragon (plus more for garnish)
1 bunch of broccoli (3 crowns with stems/1 ½ pounds), cut into chunks
1 lg. Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped (2 cups)
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups water
½ cup slivered blanched raw almonds
1 tsp. pink peppercorns
crème fraîche for garnish (optional)
Gently warm the olive oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and a pinch of salt* and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, stirring frequently. While the onions and garlic cook, wash and chop the carrots, celery, and tarragon. Add them to the soup pot along with another pinch of salt, and stir. Meanwhile, break the broccoli florets into bite-size chunks and peel and chop the broccoli stem and the apple. Add the broccoli and apple to the pot along with the wine, water, blanched almonds, and another pinch of salt. Cover and allow to simmer until the vegetables are soft, about an hour. Remove from the heat and purée in small batches in a high-powered blender. Aim for silky smooth. Add more salt as needed. Although the soup can be eaten immediately, the flavor improves after the ingredients have had a chance to marry. Either let the soup sit for 30 minutes before eating or make ahead and enjoy the following day. Garnish with a sprig of fresh tarragon and a sprinkle of pink peppercorns. A dollop of crème fraîche can also be added for extra richness and a delicious tang.
*Add a small pinch of salt as each batch of ingredients is added. This helps to layer the flavors. Add more as needed once the soup has been puréed.