Tag Archives: soup

Souper Sunday

 

As I write this, my DH (dear husband) is creating something he calls “Clear Out The Refrigerator” Soup. We’re at the start of a two-day cold snap, which calls for gloves, turtlenecks and something warm, comforting and low-calorie to eat.

Pretty much anything edible can be turned into soup.  In this case, we’ve been stockpiling withered vegetables, accidentally frozen herbs, and most of a large box of chicken broth. It either needs to become soup or compost.

Making soup couldn’t be simpler, even for you non-cooks out there.

  1. Chop up an onion, a couple of garlic cloves, some celery and some carrots. This will be your mirepoix (“meer-pwah”).  Sauté them with a little olive oil in a large pot.
  2. Roughly chop the rest of your ingredients and throw them in. Today’s haul includes carrots, turnips, some kale, some collard greens, mysteriously frozen basil, some dill, red potatoes and a can of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) without the liquid. Quantities don’t matter.
  3. Cover with liquid: approximately half chicken or vegetable stock, and half water.
  4. Simmer on low heat for a couple of hours until vegetables start to soften. Add water if it’s getting too thick (more like a stew than a soup).
  5. Season to taste with salt and fresh pepper. Add ground herbs such as oregano and rosemary for more flavor.

Here, DH and I diverge.  He likes the individual tastes of the separate veggies in broth. I prefer using an immersion blender to purée them to a texture resembling pea soup.

Either way, simmer until the flavors blend, re-checking and adjusting your seasoning as needed. Add a hunk of crusty bread, some cheese and a glass of wine. Voilà: dinner!

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Mouthing Off

Yesterday I went to the dentist to have a crown made. “Crown” sounds so elegant, like you should dress up and be all Downton Abbey-ish, rather than the disturbing reality of someone jamming their elbow into your mouth while you’re drooling and wearing a paper bib.

I started wondering what kind of person chooses a profession where no one wants to see them. Sure they make good money but you could be a podiatrist. Feet have to be more appealing than rotting teeth and bad breath. Are all dentists masochists? Personally, I’d rather have a colonoscopy than visit the dentist. At least you are asleep through the ordeal and they give you nice warm blankets and juice. At the dentist you get lidocaine and vile-tasting mouthwash, and stumble off with lipstick all over your face because you can’t feel where your lips end.

Leaving with a swollen jaw and an admonition not to eat anything hard or sticky (Nuts! Caramels!) I decided on cauliflower for dinner. It’s nice and bland and won’t stick to the temporary crown. If you’ve never puréed cauliflower, it makes an excellent substitute for mashed potatoes, which I didn’t have in the house. It won’t fool anyone but it’s quite tasty and low cal too. All you do is steam the head and mush it up in a food processor with some milk, salt and pepper, plus grated parmesan to offset all that healthiness. Go easy on the milk, adding slowly until you get the right consistency.

Still, modern dentistry is a big improvement over the “good” old days, when they didn’t have anesthetic. If you’re not squeamish, check out http://hubpages.com/health/A-Short-Painful-History-of-Dentistry, which is fascinating. Did you know that an ancient Roman toothache remedy was gargling with urine? Aren’t you glad I told you?

I’ll have the temporary for 2-3 weeks so I’m thinking about other soft foods to eat.
Since it’s chilly I’m focusing on soup. In this easy recipe for veggie soup, start with whatever’s in the fridge and add your favorites. Bon appétit!

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Veg Out Soup

INGREDIENTS
• 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
• 1 lg. onion, chopped
• 1 leek, chopped
• 2 carrots, chopped
• 2 celery stalks, chopped
• 1 medium zucchini, chopped
• 1 medium yellow squash, chopped
• 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
• Trimmed green beans, cut bite size
• 1 lg. can fire roasted (or other) diced tomatoes
• 8 cups low fat chicken broth (enough to cover all veggies)
• Rind of Parmesan cheese
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Any other veggies you like, such as turnips, parsnips, chard, etc.
Optional: add a can of beans at the end of cooking

DIRECTIONS:
• Cover bottom of large, heavy soup pot with olive oil
• Turn heat to medium
• Add chopped onion to pot, stirring occasionally so it browns lightly
• Add other veggies to pot, stirring with each addition. Start with thicker, heavier vegetables, then add lighter ones
• When all fresh vegetables have been added, add can of tomatoes, Parmesan rind and enough liquid to cover veggies well
• Raise heat until soup starts to bubble, then lower to a simmer
• Simmer for several hours, until liquid has reduced and soup has thickened
• Remove rind and season with salt and pepper to taste
• Serve with crusty bread and more grated Parmesan

Makes about 8 servings