Good things to eat

Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

A Warm Lunch at the Office

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while knows that I am NO fan of microwaves and have not (knowingly, although I realize it must happen to me some places!) eaten microwaved food in at least 10 plus years!

But when the weather starts to turn this can pose a problem for a girl who is looking for a little warmth at lunch time at the office and there is no way to heat anything up except the you know what!

So imagine my delight when I saw THIS idea!!

Please forgive me, I do like to give credit where credit is due but I do subscribe to a lot of food blogs and can’t always remember where I see what I see and regrettably I couldn’t find this again when I went back to look for the instructions.  So thank you idea giver.

So let’s call them Homemade Noodle Pots.

We’ve all had them.  Some are better than others.  But even the “organic” “healthy” versions are still pretty much weird dried stuff in a cup.

You know what I’m talking about.  Those instant lunch things that come in a cardboard, or worse, cup.  You peel back the lid, pour boiling water over it, cover it up again, let sit for a bit and voila.  A cup full of some kind of warm, usually desperately salty, noodle type stuff.

And they aren’t even that cheap, especially the higher end ones!

So why not just make your own DIY noodle pots?

You can put just about anything you’d like but best of all, you know exactly what’s in them!

And what’s great, on a Sunday afternoon, you can make up all of your ingredients, pack up your jars and have one for every day of the following week!  Imagine?  A whole week of not having to worry about what to bring for lunch??  Fantastic!

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Here is what you will need:

Heat safe jars, like Mason Jars 500 ml size x days of your week

Flavour base: I tried different combos for each day to change it up a little.

1 to 3 teaspoons of organic or quality soup stock base, miso paste or curry paste

More Flavour:

1 to 3 teaspoons of:  coconut milk, sesame oil, hot sauce or Sriracha, tamari or Bragg sauce etc

 

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Fillers:

Chicken, tofu, frozen vegetables, shredded cabbage, cooked lentils or beans, thinly sliced mushroom, kimchi, hardy greens, boiled egg, or whatever else you might find in the fridge!

Noodles:

Cooked Soba noodles, spaghetti, rice noodles, ramen.   I haven’t tried this yet, but maybe dried couscous?

Toppings:

Green onion, Cilantro, shredded carrot, a slice of lemon?

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Start with the flavour bases on the bottom of the jar, spread them around so they will dissolve evenly.

Then add in your filler items.

Then the noodles and pack it down nicely.

Then finally what ever fresh toppers you might be using. ( if you want these really fresh, perhaps store separately and top the noodles just before eating)

Put the lids on tight and refrigerate!

Each morning, grab one to go!

 

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When it’s time to eat, simply add some boiling water and replace the lid.

Let sit for a few minutes to let everything warm up.  Then maybe give the jar a little shake or a twirl before you open it or give them a good stir with your chopsticks to let the flavours mingle.

 

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You can enjoy it right out of the jar or dump it into an awaiting bowl and eat right away while it is warm.

 

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And there you have a nice warm, weird stuff free, bowl of niceness to get you through your afternoon!

 

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A little taste of comfort

It’s that time of year again.

When all we want is to snuggle up with something warm and comforting to put in our bellies!

This remains one of my Fall / Winter favorites.

Give it a try and see what I mean.

Click here for instructions

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Spicy Meatball Soup

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I can’t help it. This time of year I just like eating warm comforting things. And now that the holiday season is behind us, there seems to be even less time than usual.  You come in after a busy day and you just want something fast and satisfying. But before you call the pizza guy…..maybe give something like this a try first. On this particular week night I had the idea that I was just going to whip up a batch of my tried and true “Favorite Soup“. Which is usually made with chicken or tofu as the base, but I didn’t have either of those on hand. But what I DID have was some some left over ground meat from making Kofte two nights before. And if you have been following this blog for any time now, you know I am a great believer of making “clean up the fridge” food!

Start by getting your broth going.

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2-3 cloves chopped garlic
  • aprox 1 inch knob of ginger chopped
  • 1 carrot finely chopped ( optional)
  • 1 celery stock finely chopped ( optional)

In your dutch oven or large pot, get these things going with a bit of olive oil.  Cook them till they are wilty and sweaty looking.

Then add some spices in no particular order and PLEASE feel free to add, omit and change amounts…it is YOUR easy soup!

But rule of thumb about 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of each

  • cumin
  • ground coriander
  • chili flakes
  • curry powder or turmeric
  • garam masala

And then

  • 1 -2 tbsp natural peanut butter ( or other nut butters)

Work these all into the cooking vegetables.

Then add a generous splash of

  • rice wine vinegar
  • soy sauce/tamari/Bragg

Stir those in, let them get acquainted then add

  • aprox 4 cups water or stock of your choice

Bring it all to  boil then turn it down to low, put the lid on it and let it simmer.

Meanwhile

You want to get your meatballs done.   And again, use what YOU have available but try keeping in the flavour range of what you have used in your broth.

I basically used all the same spices in both things.  So a shot in the pot and a shot in the meatball bowl!

So you will need

  • ground meat ( whatever you like)
  • 1-2 cloves finely (super fine) chopped garlic
  • 1 -2 chopped green onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup binder like bread crumbs, panko etc
  • handful of fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • assortment of spices from above

Squeeze that all up together and then roll into nice, slightly smaller than golf ball, size balls.

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Then you want to pan fry them first and add to the soup after, other wise, there is a good chance they will get soggy and break up…..which is fine too…..but I like to keep them in tack.

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So while those are cooking, you can now add some other stuff to your soup.  And here is where the “clean out the fridge” element comes into it.   More or less chop up and add whatever say greens you might want.  I used spinach and some savoy cabbage,  but kale would do nicely or chard.

And then I added some nice sliced up cremini mushrooms.  But you want to add these fairly close to the end so they retain a little bit of texture.

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Then for convenience sake, I like to use the old college favorite ramen noodles!  But I always toss out the package of weird who knows what that come with them and just use the noodles.  But feel free to use something else, or nothing at all.

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I really don’t like trying to fight with getting the noodles back out of the soup pot once I’ve put them in so instead I add one packet per person to the soup bowl first.

Top with the boiling hot soup and then cover with an upside down plate or something like that and let sit for about 10 minutes until the noodles absorb the liquid.

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Then make sure the noodles are done by giving a bit of a stir with a chop stick to loosen them up.   Then add the cooked meat balls to the top and any sort of  additional topping you might want, like chopped green onion or cilantro and some chopped peanut or a sprinkle of sesame seeds…..whatever you like to jazz it up.

And then just before eating, squeeze a shot of fresh lemon juice on top to help brighten the flavours AND give you a little shot of vitamin C!!

Enjoy!

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Roasted Squash Soup

The Chef and I have taken up yoga.

Well, to be honest, I’ve done yoga for years, but the Chef, not so much.

I give him an A for effort!  And I think he is somewhat comforted ( and so was I frankly cause this is the first time this has ever happened!) by the fact that there are actually a few other dudes in the class too!

My only complaint is with the when to eat situation.

You don’t really want to eat before going, what with the twisting and squeezing and upside downness of it all because you will end up with indigestion, or worse.

But because class is in the evening, you don’t want to be eating too late and then having trouble sleeping or what have you.

So I needed to come up with a solution.

How about a nice hearty soup after class.  Substantial enough to sustain but not too heavy to interfere?

And now that the weather is finally starting to feel a little like Fall ( people were still in shorts and T-shirts last weekend at Thanksgiving!!) it is time to return to the comfort food!

Roasted Squash Soup

So here’s what you will need to do.

Start by turning on the oven to 400 degrees.

I had a butter nut squash, but I imagine any nice winter squash will do.

Cut it in half and remove seeds and debris and then lay both sides cut side down in a greased baking dish.

Pop them in the heated oven for about half hour ( depending on size) and give it a head start baking.

Meanwhile chop up:

  • 1 yam ( skin on)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 5 -6 cremini mushrooms

After about half an hour poke the squash with a knife to check doneness.   If they are almost done, carefully cut them into smaller pieces ( like 3 to 4 pieces per half) and then add the chopped vegetables to the dish with the squash.  Add a little olive oil to coat and a bit of poultry seasoning, toss well.

Bake in the oven until everything is nice and roasted.

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While that is going on in the oven.   Get out your heavy pot and add:

  • 1 finely diced carrot
  • 1 rib finely diced celery
  • anything else that seems to go…I used some chopped kale

Wilt those up in a little olive oil.

Then add the roasted vegetables ( make sure to take the skin off the squash at some point before putting in the soup!).

Then add water, or the stock of your choice.

I then added:

  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice

But that’s the kinda crazy chick I am!  A little salt and pepper will do fine too.

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Let that simmer for a bit till you are sure all the various vegs are nice and cooked and then turn it off.

Make sure to let it  cool a bit before blending with the hand blender so if you should get splattered, it won’t hurt as much.

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Then when you get back from yoga class, just reheat ( shouldn’t need much cause it probably hasn’t fully cooled yet!).

And then I added a CRAZY topping!!  Instead of croutons, I added a little of the left over turkey stuffing from Thanksgiving!  I KNOW!!  Crazy stuff, but it worked!  And then a little chopped toasted hazelnut ( cause it happened to be on the counter!)

But a dollop of plain yoghurt or sour cream would do well too.

Warm, satisfying, FULL of vegetables and doesn’t make you feel bad before bed!!

Namaste indeed!

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A turn in the weather

It’s disappointing  that I feel the need to write a blog like this in July, but it really has been a weird weather summer  all around.   Scorching heat and drought some places while others are cold, raining and flooding!

I remember that when I lived back east in Montreal or Toronto I would cherish a summer day like this.  We would usually have suffered weeks of blistering heat, so a cold rainy day would be very welcome.   We never get “blistering” heat here in Victoria but summer is usually a good solid “nice”.

But why not make the best of it??   Actually I couldn’t be happier with this kind of activity!

First I popped a batch of  BREAD IN A POT into the oven that had been “festering” over night and will take it out in a few minutes.

And then why not have a nice bowl of soup to cheer you up!

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I had some left over spicy Italian sausage from my STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS the other day so I started with that.

Heat up your Dutch oven or sturdy pot and then add in the sausage ( loose sausage not in casing) and stir it around until it is well browned.   Then add:

  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • 1 stock of celery finely diced
  • 1/8 – 1/4 green CABBAGE shredded

Add those to the sausage and stir them up until well wilted.

Once they are all well acquainted I tossed in a handful or two ( 1/2 cup) of my favorite legumey soup mixture.    It comes from the bulk section of my grocery store and is a combo of  green and yellow split pea, barley, lentil and maybe a bit of rice for good measure.  I really enjoy this combo because some of the items cook down while others keep their shape.

So toss that in and then stir making sure the legumes are well covered with all the juices etc of the sausage and veg.   Let that go for a few minutes and then add enough stock or water to just cover everything.

Bring it up to a boil, then turn it down to a nice simmer.  It will need at least 45 minutes to cook but that’s why it’s a good “go about your business” kind of dish.   But do check on it and stir it from time to time.

Then about 10 minutes before you are actually ready to eat it, toss in a very large handful of chopped kale.   This step IS optional, but you know me……..KALE is our friend!!

Let that cook in and then you are ready to enjoy!!

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Raw Soup – Re-Run Wednesday

What with summer and the warm weather  ( well hopefully where you live anyway!) just around the corner here is one of my favorite soups for re-run Wednesday.

After yesterday’s heavy meat rich offering, this one is SO cool and light it will lift your spirit just eating it!

Raw corn and avocado soup

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A Soup Accident

Let this be a cautionary tale to all who venture into the culinary world.  Not only to those of you who feel that you know your way around, but especially to those who are timid in the kitchen.   For let it be known, that it doesn’t matter HOW good of a cook you think you are, mistakes CAN happen!

I had the day off and it was a bit miserable out so I didn’t really feel like venturing out to the store and thought that a nice soothing bowl of soup would be in order.

I always have the usual suspects on hand, carrots, onions, celery, the base of any good soup.   I also had some nice cremini mushrooms to use up and had a nice jar of split yellow peas.

So I set out to make a nice curried split pea mushroom soup.

Into the Dutch oven tossed diced:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks celery ( leafy ones if you have them)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

I stirred those and let them cook till they became a bit wilted.  Then I added:

  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup rinsed yellow split peas
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp curry powder

This was stirred well and cooked for a few minutes then I added about:

  • 3 -4 cups of water ( or enough to completely submerge everything else)

Stir again, bring to a boil then turn down to a lower temperature to simmer.

Simple soup.

But  I felt I would be a little more ambitious because I thought this is what we will have for dinner so I better make it a little more substantial.

So I called The Chef at work.  “Hey, do you have any meat in the freezer?”

Whenever we eat roasts or whatever, and there are left overs ( rarely but it happens) The Chef wraps them up and tosses them in the freezer for “your soup”.  

I am often just as guilty with brocoli butts or ends of asparagus, wrapped up and tossed in the freezer.

So our freezer is filled with a lot of weird little frozen bags of stuff waiting to become “soup stock”.

“Yes, there is a bag with a few beef short ribs in there, just enough to beef up some soup.”  The Chef replied

I hung up the phone and went to the freezer.  I grabbed the first bag I found of hard brown squares.  Perfect.  I unwrapped it and dropped the frozen together hunk into the already simmering soup.  Didn’t matter that they were frozen solid, they would thaw quickly and cook up in the soup. 

I went on about my business.

About a half hour later I went back to stir the soup and make sure the meat had loosened up so I could stir it properly through the soup.

Imagine my surprise, when there was NO meat to be found!!!    What the WHAT??

“Oh no” I thought as I got a sinking feeling in my stomach.   That wasn’t the short ribs was it?

From time to time The Chef will go all “Haute Cuisine” on me and will spend the day making the Fancy French Stuff!

For instance, he will spend a day, painstakingly making demi glace.  A process cooking meat down and down further to make an exquisite nectar used in fancy sauces.   Then he will put it into ice-cube trays and freeze it for later use.   Do you see where I’m going with this??

This is the kind of stuff that only a cube or two would be required to add eminence flavour to your dish.

So yeah….I dumped a WHOLE bag of frozen demi glace cubes into my soup.

Is that a problem you ask?   Well, firstly I just wasted a very precious product in plain old soup and I just made the soup SUPER rich!

Oh well.

I kept digging in the freezer and finally found the meat I was looking for.  Good thing, because now with the rich beef flavour of the soup, I might as well actually have meat in it!!

I have to admit, it was some fine tasting soup but………I’m gonna be in trouble when The Chef goes to use his demi glace!!

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