Posts Tagged soup
Oh lordy. How naive I was last month when I thought I was back on track with blogging! How quickly I forgot that these wee people need an abundance of attention from their mas and pas. However, here I am, after many attempts, writing again. I spent yesterday evening prepping meals for part of the week – it was a glorious feeling. I haven’t even thought about meal prep since Norah’s birth; as I’ve said before, it’s been a helluva lot of frozen pizzas and take out in this neck of the woods the past 5+ months. But Norah has been sleeping much better at night and has even graced us with some better napping throughout the day; so the heck with “sleep-when-the-baby-sleeps” my new motto in this household is “cook and eat when the baby is occupied with slumber!”
Since we’ve been eating so much junk, I’ve been attempting to eat “healthier” the past few months. We used to eat fairly balanced week-to-week prior to my pregnancy: lots of veggies and whole grains would compensate for fat-&-carb-&-alcohol laden indulgences. But the scales have been tipped on the indulgence side for quite a while; and I can’t seem to get back. I’ll admit (to probably a few skeptical readers) that I just recently joined Weight Watchers in order to “teach” myself some portion control again. Don’t worry though … this website isn’t going to undergo yet another change (after being gluten-free for over a year). The recipes here will continue to just be tasty dishes I want to share; whether they’re “healthy” or “indulgent.” Plus my plan is to only be part of the program for 3 months – I figure that should be enough time to get on track, plus summer will be here. And this girl wouldn’t consider tracking “points” when frosty beer season is upon us! (Finally I can drink real beer in the summer after going two without!)
I was motivated to join Weight Watchers mainly after seeing my sister-in-law have great success on the program after only a few weeks (check out her beauty-ful blog A Touch of Lush). She’s now been on Weight Watchers for almost 3 months, and she’s still enjoying it. I know she liked making things from the blog prior to starting WW, so I made up this recipe with her mind. It’s a tasty vegetable soup with a hint of umami flavour from roasting the squash. Plus, I would assume the soup would only be worth 1 or 2 points (from the beans and cheese), seeing that vegetables are worth 0 points. I could probably figure out the actual points and share; but like I said, this isn’t a blog about healthy eating. And don’t worry my regular readers: I’m just sending you a hint of where my current eating habits are right now. Next time I promise something dripping in butter.
Vegetable & Bean Soup with Roasted Squash
1 acorn squash
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
14 oz canned diced tomatoes
19 oz beans of your choice (I used mixed beans)
4-5 cups kale, chopped
parmesan, freshly grated
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Peel the squash and discard seeds. Cut into 1/2″ cubes. Toss the squash with 1 tsp each salt and pepper and 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Place onto a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onion, carrots, celery and garlic for 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Add the stock, water and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the beans and kale; simmer soup for 30 minutes.
Add the squash to the soup and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle.
Serve soup hot or warm with parmesan grated on top.
Makes 6-8 servings.
I know it’s cliché to talk about the weather, but it’s flipping cold here. It has been hovering around -40°C …. before windchill. Everyday it seems like the cold has slithered it’s way into my bones, and I can’t seem to get rid of the chill. And it’s only the middle of January. Brother …. We’ve still got about 2 months left of this. So when I was planning the meals for the week over the weekend, I wanted hearty, comforting, steaming-hot dishes that would hopefully warm us up each day. Chili, Stews and Soups were the obvious choice. I figured I would see what I had posted in the past on these subjects. And this gazpacho was it. And I wasn’t about to make a cold soup.
I’m slightly embarrassed that the “Soups & Stews” section of the Recipe Index is so pitiful. We make soups, stews, and chili all the time; how could I have not blogged about it? I suppose they are rarely pretty things to look at following all that slow simmering. We’re typically left with a bowl of brown on the table; not visually appealing. Or maybe I didn’t post any recipes because chili and stew are my quick, go-to meals, so I didn’t want to take the time to measure out my ingredients in order to share with you – how selfish of me. After realizing that I couldn’t rely on myself for some wintery bowls of body warming goodness, I opened up my Pinterest account and perused my food boards. A particularly creamy and thick looking soup caught my eye. Then I read that it contained bacon and I was sold. However, the original recipe contains gluten in the form of flour; and I also wanted to make this in the slow cooker, as we had Puppy Obedience Class the evening we planned on eating it. So zero time for whipping up food after work; unless of course we wanted to shovel in our dinners at rapid speed. Not appealing. A little adapting, and this recipe is now good for non-gluten eaters and for those looking for a fairly no-fuss meal they can throw in the slow cooker. Stay warm everyone!
Slowcooker Chicken, Bacon & Wild Rice Soup
Adapted from pinch of yum
1 lb chicken breast
1 bunch green onions (about 6)
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water – divided
1/2 cup wild rice
1 tsp herbes de provence
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup heavy cream
6 slices bacon
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Slice the green onions. Place both in the crock of your slow cooker. Pour in the chicken stock and 1 cup of water, along with the wild rice, herbes de provence, salt and pepper. Stir everything to combine. Cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.
An hour before you are ready to eat, stir in the heavy cream and the remaining 1 cup of water. Before you do this, the “soup” is going to look fairly thick, and not very appealing. Trust me. It will be delicious and even look appetizing. Place the lid on the slow cooker and continue to cook on low for another hour.
Meanwhile cook the bacon until crisp (using a pan or your oven). Crumble the bacon, then stir it into the soup after the cream has cooked for 1 hour. Serve warm.
Makes approximately 8 cups of soup.
Kyle is away for an extended period of time again. This time it’s for training for a new job! He’s very excited about this great new opportunity, but unfortunately he begins employment with a 2.5 week trip away from home. I tend to get a bit grumpy as the time goes on while Kyle is gone, but in the beginning of these long trip I take advantage of cooking up some stuff he is not big on and catching up on reading and TV shows. So it’s basically been a Criminal Minds marathon here at our apartment the last few days. I’ve finally busted into this current season…3 episodes down.
Okay, back to eating. One dish I typically make whenever Kyle is away is Babah – a Cambodian Rice Soup. It’s not that Kyle doesn’t like it, but I recall him saying he’d prefer other dishes (like this or this) over this one. The recipe I have for it is from Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid’s Hot Sour Salty Sweet. They discuss Babah’s similarities to Cantonese juk or Thai khao tom soups, and how the whole dish can come together in little over 1/2 hour. While this is intended to be a soup, I prefer mine to be on the thicker side, resembling a stew or porridge. This way, the stiffer texture holds onto the condiments I sprinkle on top; plus I can serve up some sauteed greens right along side the stew without them getting bogged down by broth.
The taste of the soup is good on it’s own, but I’m pretty sure the reason I enjoy this so much is that it can be used as a vessel to eat prik nam pla. I douse this stew in it – so much so that my mouth is ablaze from the intense heat of the chilis…but it’s so good. As with most South East Asian dishes (and as the name of the book suggests), this dish starts out salty and sweet (from the addition of the pork cooked with fish sauce and sugar) and then you add hot and sour condiments to balance the dish. I prefer to only add green onions, a sprinkle of lime juice, and some prik nam pla; however Naomi & Jeffrey make a few other suggestions in their book. I also enjoy the addition of a teeny bit of mushroom soy sauce – totally non-traditional (and unneccessary, since the dish is salty enough), but it tastes really good with the spicy rice and tender greens.
Babah (Cambodian Rice Stew)
Adapated from Hot Sour Salty Sweet, by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid
1/4 lb ground pork
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
6 cups water
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and smashed flat
1 Tbsp dried shrimp
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and smashed flat
3/4 cup long grain rice (I use scented rice – use jasmine or basmati if you have it)
1 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
prik nam pla
4 green onions, sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1-2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed in very hot water (optional)
12 leaves Thai basil, roughly torn (optional)
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped (optional)
In a small bowl, mix together the pork, fish sauce and sugar. Set aside.
Bring the water, lemongrass, dried shrimp, and ginger to a boil in a large heavy pot. Boil vigorously for 5-10 minutes, then stir in the rice with a wooden spoon. Bring the water back to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-high and boil gently for an additional 15-25 minutes – until the rice is tender and the soup is at your desired degree of thickness. Remove the pot from the heat and discard the lemongrass and ginger.
Meanwhile, heat the peanut oil in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 30-60 seconds, until beginning to turn golden (be careful not to let it burn). Add the pork mixture and saute for another 2-4 minutes, until cooked through. Add the pork mixture to the rice stew, and stir to combine.
Divide the stew into 4 bowls and top with whatever condiments you prefer.
I swear this isn’t a travel blog. It’s a website to share recipes. I feel that each recipe has a story, and that’s why recent posts (plus this one now) have focused on tours to other destinations. I don’t think this site would be as entertaining to read (it is entertaining isn’t it?) if I simply posted a recipe and left you to it. Where’s the history? Where’s the inspiration?? Where’s the point? And lately I’ve been motivated to share recipes pertaining to recent trips.
So yet again, another post dedicated to a voyage away from my hometown. Last weekend I went to Edmonton (yes – exotic local, I know) to attend Wicked with my sister-in-law who lives in St. Albert. I have been looking forward to this since February, when I found out the Wicked Tour would be making a 19-day pit stop in Edmonton. I read the book a few years ago, and have been enchanted by Elphaba and her story ever since. There will be no spoilers here, suffice to say I am endeared to Elphaba’s veiled empathy and beauty. The show was very different from the book. However, it was enjoyable, and great to see another perspective on this amazing story of the Wicked Witch of the West.
When I got home, I was inspired to pay homage to Elphaba. It’s not easy being green – for a human, or a meal. First of all, green dishes tend to be unappealing to most children. Broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts…the list goes on with green things kids just won’t eat. Actually, come to think of it, I know a lot of adults who won’t eat these things. (Note: I loved nearly all veggies growing up. I was some sort of childhood anomaly – choosing broccoli and dip over a slice of pumpkin pie) On top of being unappetizing to people, some green food is sometimes just awful on the eyes. Take pea soup as an example. One of my favourites (again…anomaly) – it has tons of salty taste from leftover ham, but it looks like a bowl of baby poo. (Yup, I said it right here folks)
I had to make something that was wonderful and beautiful – just like Elphaba. The only problem was that it’s been a bit too hot in the ‘ol apartment to do any sort of cooking. So, what’s my go-to summer meal when it’s burning up inside my home? Gazpacho! This stuff is great – you can whip up a huge batch and store it in the fridge to be eaten throughout the week for lunch, dinner, snacks, whenever the desire to fuel up and cool down hits you. I learned about gazpacho when I was very young, while visiting an auntie who lives in Sherwood Park, AB. Every summer she would make batches of the cold veggie soup for everyone to enjoy on hot prairie days. Her recipe is still my favourite gazpacho come July and August. Gazpacho may not be everyone’s cup of soup, but it’s one I’ve grown up loving.
Now to make it green.
Alright. So this isn’t what typical gazpacho would be. It’s lacking the tomatoes – the usual base for a gazpacho. So I suppose one could just call this “Green Cold Blended Veggies” but does that really sound that appetizing? I looked for green tomatoes, but alas, those are lacking in our produce section. So this “gazpacho” has a cucumber base, making it extremely refreshing on a hot summer’s day. Add as much or as little of the jalepeno pepper as you like. I enjoy my cold soups “hot” with peppers.
2 cups English cucumber, peeled, seeded & roughly chopped (about 1 large)
2 celery heart ribs, roughly chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, roughly chopped (+ more for garnish)
1/2 cup green pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 cup green onion (scallion), roughly chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp chives, chopped (+ more for garnish)
1 – 2 Tbsp jalepeno, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp lime zest
2 Tbsp lime juice (about 1-2 limes)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until nearly smooth. Add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency. Taste the soup and add more salt, pepper, vinegar if desired. Chill until ready to serve.
To serve: ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped avocado and chives, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. You can actually garnish this with any vegetables you would like – we just happen to prefer avocados.
Note: if you want a silky smooth consistency, strain the soup with a fine mesh strainer (and maybe even a cheesecloth). I don’t mind mine having a bit of texture to it, so I leave it as is.