Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘Soup’

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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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!!

Where’s the veg?

I try very hard to love vegetables!  I really do.  They are so good for me and filled with nutrients and ALL that good stuff!

But the truth of the matter is, sometimes I think they just taste like dirt!

So I am always looking for ways to hide them.

One of my favorite things to do is hide them in soup.

Sometimes at the end of the week I find myself with a lot of left over bits and bobs of stuff that were part of very satisfying meals .  The Chef likes to diligently pack away the three mouthfuls of whatever might be left from dinner and tell me “it will be good for your lunch” knowing very well that I don’t take that sort of thing for my lunch because I won’t use a microwave and that’s the only means of warming things at the office.

So by the end of the week, there can be some strange combos left in the fridge.

Time to get out the dutch oven and make us some soup!

I always have a combo of fresh veg and some “left over” something or other hanging around.  It is good to use a bit of both so you get a wide range of nutrients!

Today I have some left over veg strips from the “Salad Wraps” and some left over roasted veg from Sunday dinner.

Left over roasted veggies

I also diced up and onion, a carrot and a stick of celery and started them off first in the pot with a bit of olive oil.

Once they were nice and sweated I added all of the left over veg items.

Cook that up really well, then add the liquid of your choice.  Anything from water or stock or even a bottle of crushed tomatoes.  Seriously, whatever you have!

Add your choice of favorite herbs and or spices and then bring it up to the boil, then turn it down to a simmer, for at least half hour till everything is cooked nicely.

At this point it is usually very lumpy.   I let it cool a bit so I don’t get burned and then use the hand blender on it.  But you could put it in a real blender, but I always find that a bit of an ordeal.

 

Once it is nice and smooth, you are ready to go.  You could eat it like this or add some left over beans or chili or cooked potatoes.

Seriously….whatever is around that needs used up and is useless on its own.

And there you have a wonderfully hearty soup or even stew like item if you use less liquid!

Enjoy!

“Left Overs” soup

Tuesday night soup

Tuesday night.   Dinner blahs, don’t really feel like cooking……but you gotta eat…..right?

Well let’s see what I can come up with.

I am picturing some potato salad.   I got some nice sized new potatoes on the weekend that have been calling my name.   I cut them into 8th and popped them in a pot of salted water to boil.

But then what?  Just potato salad?  What am I supposed to do with that?

Hmmmm…….

Well, I have already committed to the boiling potatoes.  So in a large bowl I made up a dressing.  I had some left over chopped red and green onion from the nachos, so I tossed that in the bowl with 1 clove of minced garlic.   Then a spoonful or two of Dijon mustard, a shot of soy sauce, about two tbsp of red wine vinegar and about 4 tbsp of olive oil and some fresh ground pepper.   Stirred it up with the whisk.

When the potatoes were done, instead of draining them, I fished them out with a slotted spoon and put them directly into the bowl and tossed them with the dressing.   Doing this while they are hot, helps the dressing stick and soak in.   Then I put the bowl aside till I decided what I was going to do.

Now I had this perfectly good potato water and I had left a few of the potato bits behind.   Hate to waste it, why not make a nice Tuesday night soup with it??

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know I am a big fan of “cleaning out the fridge” from time to time and seeing what I can come up with!  So here is what went into the soup:

  • a handful of red lentils
  • two handfuls of shaved cooked turkey
  • 1/2 of a big carrot in a small dice
  • 2 tbsp of left over chopped red and green onion
  • 2 cloves fresh minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Bragg ( or soy sauce )
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • a shot or two of olive oil

Added all those together and brought it to a boil, cooking long enough for the red lentils to disintegrate and thicken the soup.

Then I added about 2 cups chopped kale and cooked for a few more minutes till the kale was good and wilted.

Just before serving, I hit it with a few shots of my favorite chipolte Tabasco sauce!!

Kale and turkey soup

So that was all good…..but I still had this potato salad.

And to be honest, the Chef gets panicky if he only gets soup for his dinner, so why not toss together a nice salad to go with it?

I lined a plate with some nice bib ( or also known as Boston) lettuce that I had.   Then in one corner a good helping of that potato salad.   In the other corner more of that shaved cooked turkey.  Then I added  some carrot curls and cucumber slices.

Then topped it with some  “craisins” , pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of a simple oil and balsamic dressing.

Tuesday night salad

Voila.   Tuesday night dinner!    AND I had some left over for my lunch the next day!

Oldy but goodie

For those of you who have been following my blog for awhile, I know that you will have seen this one before.

But given it is winter in half the world right now, I didn’t think anyone would mind this recipe again.  Try it tonight, it is so easy and so comforting.

Enjoy. 

Sorry I haven’t figured out the “reblog” feature yet so:

Click here to see “My Favorite Soup” recipe.

 

Thai noodle soup

Spicy Yam soup

This one is a belly warmer!  

Start with roasted yams and onions.  ( click here for tips on that )

Once those have roasted up nicely, transfer to a soup pot and add:

  • 1 heaping tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes or more if you like
  • 2 heaping tbsp of peanut butter
  • enough stock or water to cover everything and then just a little extra

Bring this to a boil and them turn down to simmer for about 7 minutes stirring everything together and making sure the peanut butter has dissolved into the soup.

Turn it off the heat and let it cool just a bit till it is safe to use the immersion blender on it.  Blend until smooth and then turn on the heat for a few minutes till it heats up enough to eat.

I served it with a dollop of sour cream that I had made into a garlic dip for an extra little zing!

Spicy Yam Soup

 

Stuffed Cabbage

I always try to do the more “labour intensive” dishes on a Sunday afternoon.  And now with the days being cooler and shorter I’ve been turning to the heartier things that I like to make.

This is one of my favorites.  I’ll admit it is “step heavy” but if you have the time, it is well worth it.

The recipe comes from Laura Caulder’s “French Food at Home” show and subsequent cookbook that I got for Christmas a couple of years ago.

As is usually the case, I tweaked it here and there for my own needs, but will direct you to Laura’s actual recipe so you have a fighting chance!

(Click HERE ) for Laura’s recipe.

 So start with boiling a big pot of water to blanch your cabbage in.  While that is coming to a boil, set out a good size cutting board or work surface and cover it with a clean dish towel and then cover that with about the same size as the towel of cheese cloth.   And then have about a foot long of butcher to cooking cord ready.   This will help when you are in the thick of it.      

Lay out cheese cloth

Cut the core out of the cabbage and gently pull the leaves off one by one and place them a few at a time in the boiling water and poke them under water with a spoon or something.  They really only need to be in for a few minutes till they are pliable.    Then take them out and put them in a bowl of really cold or iced water to stop the cooking.   Repeat till most of the cabbage is done except for the very middle, yellow looking part of the cabbage.  That will be chopped up and added to the filling as per the recipe.

Blanched cabbage

Then lay your cabbage leave out on another clean dish towel to dry off a bit while you make the filling.   Make the filling as per the recipe.  I have made it before without the bread if you are looking for a gluten-free option and it worked just fine.  

Cabbage filling

Once your filling is ready, you can start assembly.

Cabbage, filling, cabbage filling etc till you have used up your materials.

Start with largest leaves on bottom

Try and taper in as you stack the leaves

Then wrap er up real tight in the cheese cloth, that helps it keep a nice shape when you serve it.

Wrap it up good and tight

Laura says to put it in a wire basket or stand or whatever inside the pot, I didn’t.  Only because I didn’t like the idea of stuff leaching into the water.  So I just put it directly into the pot with liquid about half way up the side.  I used half chicken stock and half plain water.

Fill liquid to half way up

THEN, about half way through cooking, I added a little something extra.  I added some chopped cremini mushrooms and some quartered new potatoes.   As you will see this adds a complete meal feel to it.        

Take the cabbage package out when done and let it set awhile in a bowl.  Juice will run out of it so you don’t want it on the counter or just a plate.

Then as the recipe says, cook the liquid down a bit to concentrate the flavours and in my case make sure the mushrooms and potatoes are cooked.  I also added a couple of shots of Worcestershire sauce for good measure.

Once the cabbage has rested a while, put it on a cutting board, being sure to pour any escaped juice back into the soup pot!   Then cut off the cheese cloth and you should have a nice looking cabbage.

Stuffed cabbage

 

Cut it in half first and then in our case, each half in half, to make four servings.

Quarter cabbage

 Place the quarter in a bowl and then add some broth around it with the potato and mushroom and you have a DELIGHTFULLY warming hearty supper!

Stuffed cabbage with steamed new potato

It is worth every bit of effort!        

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Potato corn chowder

Well there isn’t exactly a Fall “nip” in the air around these parts just yet but the days are getting noticeably shorter which makes me turn to comforting foods.

I often feel that Fall and Winter are my preferred cooking seasons because I love hearty soups and stews and what I like to call “Slop on rice” type dishes.  Then again when Spring comes round I’m happy to start cooking lightly but…….out of sight out of mind……so for now my thoughts turn to hearty!

Corn is abundant right now and there are so many things you can do with it but today I made a nice hearty potato corn chowder!

Get out your dutch oven and chop up the usual suspects:

  •  1-2 peeled carrots diced
  •  1-2 ribs of celery diced
  •  1 medium onion diced
  • 1 medium peeled regular potato diced

add a splash of olive oil to the hot pan and then add chopped vegetables and cook till they are a bit “sweaty” looking.  Then add some flavouring such as:

  • salt & pepper
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of ground turmeric
  • pinch of smokie paprika

Or what ever other flavours you are inclined to use.

Cook all of that until it gets a bit of colour on it then add a few cups of stock of your choice or just plain water if you like.

If you have the time, let this stuff simmer until everything is nice and tender.  The longer you leave it the move the flavour develops.  This might not be true, but it adds to the romantic image of fall cooking.

When you getting pretty close to the eating part of the day we can do the next couple of steps.

In a separate pan add a little more olive oil and then add the kernels of a few ears of fresh corn ( you could use canned or frozen but seems silly in corn season!) and another peeled and diced potato. And keep tossing these around until they get a nice little brown on them.  Make sure your potato dice is small enough so the potato will cook!

Then we will add the cream or if you prefer my vegan friends, you can use almond milk instead.  ( actually that’s what I used cause I had lots)   Then we will take the hand blender to it and puree until super smooth.

You could use a blender if you like,  but I find that way too much trouble!

Then when it is nice and smooth turn the heat back on.  I guess I forgot to tell you to turn the heat off!  But if you turn off the heat and let it sit a little, it hurts WAY less if you get splashed!

So turn the heat back on and bring it up to a bubble, meanwhile your corn and potatoes are still getting their the “brown on” next door!

Then when everybody is warm and happy and you are ready to eat.  Add the corn and potato to the creamy soup, stir a little and VOILA!  Potato Corn Chowder!

Potato Corn Chowder

Now if that all seems like too much bother and too many pans and you don’t have an afternoon to mess with this, it would be perfectly reasonable to just toss this all in the same pot, cook it up and then “half blend” it so there is still some lumpy goodness to it.  It’s up to you.

Raw Soup

One of my favorite things to eat in summer time whether I am trying to be “RAW” or not is a nice cold soup of some kind.

My favorite is one I found last summer, a raw corn and avocado soup.  Here’s what you will need:

  • 4 or 5 ears of fresh corn on the cob, corn taken off for about 4 cups of kernels 
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/4 small red onion or two green onions ( white and green parts) coarsely chopped
  • 1 good size handful of fresh cilantro leaves and stems okay too
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chipotle tabasco ( click here to see what I mean ) but DON’T use this if being “RAW”
  • 1 pinch sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of almond milk ( raw only if you are being “RAW”)

Toss all this stuff into the blender and whiz it up until it is a nice think creamy soup and then put in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour to chill it down.

Portion it up into bowls and garnish with a few kernels of saved corn, or some finely chopped  red pepper, or a few leaves of cilantro, or a combo of all of them.  I also find that it is helpful to chill the bowls before serving too.

Corn and avocado soup

Delish!!  And surprisingly filling.

Another nice “RAW” soup that I’ve tried is this Gazpacho( click here for recipe ).  This was really nice, however, if you are trying to follow the rules of “RAW” you can not toast the walnuts, they too must be raw and the vinegar is questionable, substitute with 2 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice instead.  Pumpkin seeds would work well as a topping too.

But both of these make wonderful summer soups, “RAW” or not so give them a try!

Comfort cabbage soup

Have you ever come home, you are tired and you have nothing but cabbage in the fridge?  Who hasn’t?!

Well, don’t fear, I have something for you that is quick, easy and surprisingly satisfying.

Here’s what you’ll need.

Your trusty dutch oven or favorite sturdy pot.

Turn it on to medium heat and add a good shot or two of olive oil about 2 tbsp.

Chop up a medium onion into nice diced bits and toss into the heated pot and stir them till they become translucent.

Then coarsely chop on the natural grain of the cabbage so that you get nice long strands like when you are making coleslaw.  I used half of a big green one.  Chop it and then rinse well.  Then into the pot it goes.

Add 1 tsp of salt and a few twists of fresh ground pepper.

Cook this till the cabbage gets nice and sweaty.

Now add a good shot of red wine vinegar, I guess about a Tbsp maybe a little more.

Then add:

  •  one clove of fresh garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar ( optional but makes a big difference)
  • 1 tsp smokie paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes or a few shots of hot sauce

Stir this stuff in till it is well mixed.  Then add a small can of tomato paste and stir well making sure everything is well coated.

Cook this about 5 minutes longer then add either the stock of your choice, or just plain ol water.

If you stop here it is a vegan dish.  If you add something a little more meaty like some bits of Italian sausage, then it goes to a different place.

But at least now you have a base to make it your own.

My Favorite Soup

This is truly my favorite soup.

I guess you could call it Thai inspired, but again it goes back to my shellfish allergy and not being able to eat in Asian style restaurants.

The original recipe comes from my friend Mandy who made this for her birthday party many moons ago.  In fact sometimes she even asks me how to make it now.

And it really is the best thing to eat if you are feeling a little on the low side because it is so full of fortifying nutritious things, you can’t help but feel stronger.

Now the amounts for the ingredients are estimates and as available.  That’s what’s great about it too, you can improvise with what you have, but I will give you the basic things that should be there.

Let’s start with a good heavy soup pot or dutch oven on medium heat and add:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil and let it heat up

then add

  • one medium size diced onion
  • 2 tbsp minced raw ginger
  • 3 cloves minced garlic

the add (optional):  but adds extra veg

  • 1 diced carrot
  • 1 celery stick

keep stirring these till they start to get slightly brown and then add:

  • 1 tsp chili flakes ( more if you like it spicier)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder

then add:

  • 2 heaping tbsp of natural crunchy style peanut butter ( more if you are PB crazy like me!)

mix well into the veg and then add:

  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp good soya sauce or Bragg sauce

mix well to loosen everything up

At this point we add:

  • 1 cup diced cooked chicken   or
  • 1 cup diced tofu 

or a combination of both if that’s your thing.  I suppose you could also add cooked shrimp if you wanted to.

Stir everything until it is all well coated.  Then add:

  • 4 – 5 cups of broth or water

I make my own chicken broth by just boiling up some chicken breasts on the bone and then I use the chicken in the soup. And the homemade chicken broth adds that extra fortification if you are feeling poorly.  But you can use your favorite store-bought broth.  Water will work but it doesn’t give you quite as rich of a soup.

Bring it all to a boil and then let simmer for 15 to 30 minutes.

then add just before serving:  ( this is optional but boosts the nutrient count)

  • 1 cup chopped kale leaves or baby spinach

Meanwhile

You will need large bowls to serve this soup in.  Then add to each bowl:

  • 1 package of ramen style noodles ( be SURE to discard the “flavor pack” included in the package)

With the noodles at the bottom of the bowl, ladle in the soup enough to cover the noodles

Then place a plate upside down over each bowl for 5 – 10 minutes giving the soup time to soften up the noodles.

Check to see if the noodles have softened up by giving the whole bowl a stir with a chop stick or spoon.  When they are ready to go, garnish with chopped green onions, chopped peanuts and a squirt of lemon juice.

I find the best way to eat this soup is with a spoon AND chopsticks!  Enjoy!!

Thai noodle soup

The beauty of this soup is that you can add or subtract ingredients based on what you have available and can easily be made as a vegan dish too.

Either way, it is always very comforting.

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