You guys. It is still so hot. But, I have it on good authority that fall has come to other parts of the country, and that it may soon make an appearance here! If Starbucks has pumpkins spice lattes, it must be true — right?
Anyway, if you’re ready for soup weather (and boy am I ever), hop on over to LiveMom and check out my latest post with a delicious recipe for crock pot potato soup.
It’s easy to throw together, delicious and comforting — perfect for fall. Enjoy!
I don’t know if this stew is truly Tunisian. It has probably been through enough adaptation at this point that the only thing vaguely Tunisian about it is the spicing, and maybe the chickpeas. But it sure is good.
As I mentioned a while back, I found myself with an abundance of cabbage recently, and this was a great way to use a lot of it. I have to apologize that there’s no photo with this post — apparently my camera ate it. Darn technology. But it was just too good not to share.
If you make it with chicken (as the original recipe calls for), I won’t judge — I bet it’d be good. Or even stir in the chicken at the very end for omni members of the family!
The days of soup-and-grilled cheese lunches are fading fast, with temps breaking into the 90s here in Austin (already — ugh!), but we may just have a few rainy days left in April. Last week, we had a few gray, chilly-ish days, and grilled cheese and tomato soup was just what the doctor ordered. However, we didn’t have any canned tomato soup on hand, so I decided to improvise. And you know what? I’m probably never going to bother to buy canned tomato soup again. This was creamy, delicious and almost as easy as the canned kind.
Sure, you could just open a can, but this is so much better and it only takes a few minutes more. This soup also freezes well, so next time we have a rainy day, all I’ll have to do is thaw it out. Golden.
A cold front moved in overnight, and, with it being late February and all, I’ll take advantage of soup weather while we still have it! Hop on over to Cooking Planit for my guest post today about some of my favorite soups, including one of my old standbys, a hearty and spicy black bean soup.
But let’s try on a new soup for size today, shall we? We had some rainy weather last week, and Mexican White Bean Soup was just the ticket.
It was hearty, creamy, just a little spicy and absolutely perfect served with the last quarter of Cloverleaf French Bread from the freezer. Man oh man has that bread paid dividends — time to make another batch!
I hadn’t planned ahead far enough to soak the beans overnight, so I did a quick soak instead (cover with water, bring to a boil, and then remove from the heat and cover and let stand for an hour or two). I also happened to have a couple of bags of frozen hatch green chiles ready to use, so I used a couple of them in the soup rather than the canned green chiles called for by the recipe.
1 can chopped green chiles (or 2-3 fresh roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped green chiles)
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
1½ tsp salt
2 cups vegetable stock
sour cream, for garnish
Cover the beans with water and add the lemon juice. Soak overnight, or do a quick soak (bring to a rapid boil, then remove from heat, cover and let sit for at least an hour or two).
Drain and rinse the beans and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for 5 to 10 minutes, and then turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook until tender, about an hour. Drain the beans in a colander and set aside.
In the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and sauté the onions and carrots until the onions are translucent and the carrots and tender.
Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, then stir in the chopped chiles, cumin, smoked paprika and salt. Sauté for a few more minutes, until the flavors are well blended.
Add the drained beans and the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Cool slightly, and then use an immersion blender to blend about half of the soup (or transfer half of the soup to a blender, blend until smooth, and then return to the pot). Taste for seasoning, and serve warm topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of smoked paprika, if desired.
Some days are just roller coasters. Yesterday was like that. Most of the day was fabulous — the sun was shining, Nora was in a fantastic mood after being super-cranky for days (oh, how I hate teething), and I got lots done around the house. In fact, she was in such a good, self-entertaining mood that I was able to cook a fairly ambitious meal, including this gorgeous cloverleaf French bread cooked in a cast-iron skillet.
The bread requires a total of five rises. Five! I still can’t believe we made it through all of that without a major meltdown or something. Small miracles. I followed this recipe from Fresh Eggs Daily, and I highly recommend it. It was extraordinarily tasty in addition to being a showstopper in presentation, and the loaf is so large that I was able to save plenty in the freezer for a rainy day, in addition to keeping some around for our breakfast toast.
The star of the show, though, was the creamy sunchoke soup. I’m as surprised as you are, believe me — especially since the soup is definitely easy enough to throw together on a regular weeknight, compliant toddler or no. If I hadn’t been preoccupied with other tasks, I could have easily made the soup during nap time and finished it off right before dinner, which is my usual weeknight M.O.
But, as it was, the soup came together just beautifully, and I was pleased as punch, since I have never cooked with sunchokes before.
They are weird little things. I was a bit stumped when they showed up in our CSA box, and when the hubby said they had given us a massive amount of fresh ginger, I thought he was right… until I checked the list. Sunchokes (sometimes called Jerusalem artichokes) come from a species of sunflower, and are a sort of root vegetable with a delicate, earthy, almost sweet taste.
The soup was simple and creamy and delicious, and the goat cheese and pistachios are such an inspired addition. The flavors are awesome, and it really works as a hearty meal, especially with the bread.
The hubby raved about both the soup and the bread, saying he felt like he was in a posh restaurant. High praise!
Unfortunately, that is where our roller coaster took a turn, since Nora decided to go into maximum limits-pushing mode and refuse to eat her meal (even though she had tasted it and loved it earlier) while pretending to need to use the potty as an excuse to watch her favorite YouTube videos. I mean, I love Belly Breathe as much as the next guy, but I may never get it out of my head now.
Thankfully her limits-testing subsided before bedtime, but she didn’t get to enjoy the lovely dinner her dad and I did — although our dinner was rather interrupted, for obvious reasons. Too bad — she missed out!
I have a newfound romance with my crock pot, now that I’ve learned how to cook dried beans to perfection in it. I mean, it has always been a handy tool for busy days, but this expands my horizons quite a bit.
Someone recently requested more slow cooker recipes on my Facebook page, and I’ll be working on a round-up, so stay tuned for that… but in the meantime, head over to LiveMom to check out my latest post and get a yummy recipe for slow cooker black bean ragout.
I promise it’s delicious and easy to make, and it is even Nora-approved! Click the clicky!
It has been raining for about two days straight now. It’s cold and windy, and if this isn’t soup weather, I don’t know what is. Thank goodness Dinner with Rachel recently featured a lovely Ina Garten-inspired tomato orzo soup that’s perfect for pairing with a grilled cheese and a cold evening.
While Rachel prefers Kraft singles (*shudder*), I had to fancy my grilled cheese up, of course. I added some creamy smoked emmental to my standard sharp cheddar, sandwiched the combo between two slices of sourdough, buttered it into oblivion, and grilled it to perfection.
Comfort food, perfected.
According to the hubby, it was the best tomato soup ever. I tend to agree with him.
Author: Adapted from this recipe from Dinner with Rachel
Recipe type: soup
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 cups vegetable stock
2 14.5-oz cans crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
Large pinch of saffron threads
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup orzo
⅓ cup heavy cream
Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and translucent, then turn the heat down and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to caramelize, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté for another minute, then add the vegetable stock, crushed tomatoes and saffron. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the orzo for two minutes less than the package instructs.
Drain the orzo and add it to the soup. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add the cream and stir to combine thoroughly. Remove the soup from the heat, cover and set aside. The soup is now ready to serve with your favorite grilled cheese!
I have been a mess as far as meal planning goes this week. When nap time rolled around the other day, I hadn’t a clue what I was going to cook for dinner. That’s an issue because, for clingy toddler reasons, I generally prepare as much of the meal during nap time as I can, and then finish it off right before we’re ready to eat.
I did a little quick thinking. Something I’ve had posted on my board to try for a while is some variation of kale and white bean soup. We have kale growing like weeds in the garden, and I always try to keep dried white beans on hand, so the staples were there. I found this recipe on Epicurious, which calls for a quick soak of the beans (which only takes an hour) rather than an overnight soak.* Perfect!
Dinner is served.
*Of course, you can always just do a quick soak instead, but I never seem to think of it.
I put the beans in to soak, but before I knew it, nap time (such as it was that particular day, which never seems to be great these days) was over. So, I ended up making the soup in fits and starts as toddler mood swings (which tend to be dramatic in the absence of a good nap, I fear) would allow. Good thing it’s a fairly non-demanding recipe.
For the effort expended, this is definitely a keeper. The toasts are a must, since they really elevate this to hearty meal status.
Author: Adapted from this recipe published in Gourmet, February 2002
Recipe type: Soup
½ lb dried cannellini or other white beans
1 onions, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
1 (3- by 2-inch) piece parmesan rind**
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
1 small bunch kale (preferably lacinato), stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely torn
4 thick slices rustic Italian bread
4 oz shredded mozzarella
Cover the beans with water by 2 inches in a large pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for an hour. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse.
Wipe out the pot and heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the drained beans, vegetable stock, 2 cups of water, cheese rind, salt, pepper, bay leaf and rosemary and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are just tender, about 50 minutes. If the liquid level drops too low, add additional water.
Stir the carrots into the soup and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the kale and the remaining quart water and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, make the toasts. Preheat the broiler and Set the slices of bread on a baking sheet about 4 inches from the heat. Toast until golden, about 1 minute, and remove. Turn the slices over and sprinkle with the cheese. Broil until the cheese is a little browned and hubby, about 1 minute more, and serve with the soup.
** I always keep a couple of these in the fridge when I’ve grated them down to the rind. They’re great to throw into a tomato sauce, or they come in handy in a recipe every now and then.
Sometimes, best-laid plans go out the window and you just need a quick dinner. Fortunately, I always keep some key staples on hand, and our garden and CSA share provide the rest, so quick doesn’t have to mean takeout, or from a box.
The hubby has been working late a lot this week, and Nora has decided that naps are for sissies,* so that cuts down on my meal prep time significantly. I managed to make the meals I had planned on Monday and Tuesday, but tonight I had to improvise. We have tons of chard in the garden,** and red lentil are a quick-cooking staple that I try to keep on hand, so I Googled and came up with a great recipe for a curried lentil stew.
* Please oh please let this be a short phase. ** It’s the gift that keeps on giving. I am never not planting chard again — it’s so easy to grow!
It was ready in just about 20 minutes (thank goodness the hubby got home early enough to play with Nora outside for a bit so I didn’t have to chop and measure with a toddler strapped to my leg), and it was tasty. Just what we needed.
Soup weather is officially here! Now I can post about the lentil soup we enjoyed the other night without being a weirdo. Lentil soup is one of my favorite cold weather foods, and since I am fighting off yet another cold, it’s also a great (and healthy) soother.
This is a bit of a different take on standard lentil soup, but I loved the spicing, and it was great to use kale from our garden. This recipe is, once again (surprise!) vegan. Don’t discount it because of that, though — it is tasty. I steadfastly resisted the urge to add paramsan cheese, and I don’t regret it.
Nora’s take: “This is really tasty!” Now that warms a mama’s heart.
I’m a recovering lawyer-turned-freelance writer and editor, aspiring domestic goddess, and mom to a spunky, demanding and truly awesome 2-year-old girl. I love all things food and drink, and I’ve rediscovered a love for cooking now that I’m not spending most of my days locked in the office, but I often have to improvise, since having the ankle-biter around makes it more challenging!