This is an odd yet yummy recipe. Depending on the size of the squash you use (and its moisture content I’m betting) it’s either think, creamy soup or fondue. The first time I made it, it was a little too thick and cheesy to be soup. So I broke out the bread cubes and called it fondue. Since there is only so much fondue one person can eat by themselves I took it to work so that my guinea pigs coworkers could tell me what they thought. Everyone gave it the thumbs up and agreed that it should be a fondue instead of a soup.
The weather has taken a quick turn to winter again it seems and I had a squash hanging out on the counter asking when I was going to use it (food doesn’t talk to you? Hmm, you should have that looked into).
To be quite honest, I like this squashy fondue better than traditional fondue. Plus, you have the added benefit of the nutritional veggie base. You can keep it vegetarian by using vegetable broth and you can keep it low fat by using nonfat broth and Neufchatel cheese.
The hot sauce and paprika don’t make the dish hot or even spicy but they definitely add depth to the flavor, that something you can’t quite put your tongue on. It will still be good if you leave it out, they weren’t in the first version. Continue reading →
This is just the soup for a weary soggy day or if you feel like you’re coming down with something or if you’re nursing someone who’s come down with something. I’d say that you want to make it when you come down with something, but I can tell you for sure that when I have a cold I’m not cooking something this complicated. If it involves much more than opening and heating, it’s too way to difficult when I’m sick. Plus, it makes me think of my dad. The first thing that he asked when we complained we were sick is if we had taken our vitamin C, the second is to ask how much garlic we’d been eating. I’m pretty sure he believed that vitamin C and garlic could cure just about anything.
Pho is my very favorite kind of soup. The broth is amazing, it doesn’t seem to matter what restaurant I go to. This isn’t quite it, but it’s darn close. I think cooking the seasonings into a paste before adding the liquid is the important part. The ingredients become incorporated in the broth rather than sitting in it. Of course starting with a good stock is important as well, but that’s another post. I think this soup would freeze well if you left out the noodles. Continue reading →
Sometimes being lazy pays off. Not the kind of lazy where you find yourself at the end of your weekend having not showered for days and the whole time spent watching movies or playing video games kind of lazy. Although, that kind of lazy is certainly okay and needed on occasion. I’m talking about the kind of lazy that says, “That sounds like a great recipe but too much work so I’ll make some shortcuts.” The second kind of lazy is what I choose today.
I was looking for a St. Patrick’s Day kind of recipe. Parsnips were a common food until the potato was introduced and remained popular until the 1900s. I also had a shload of parsnips in my fridge. I had bought several pounds from a farmer. Luckily parsnips last pretty much forever in the fridge and become sweeter with time. I found a recipe that sounded yummy but I was far too lazy to spend all that time sautéing the veg until it was tender. Since I was roasting I might as well add lots of garlic to the soup. And then I found out that the only onion I had was a red onion. I wasn’t sure what red onion would do to the color of the soup and didn’t want to find out but I remembered that I had a leek in the fridge. What could go better with parsnip and garlic than leek!
The result was a rich and creamy, yet low calorie soup. If you use a low or nonfat stock the only fat is the oil you roast in and you really don’t need that much. The soup is filling as well with a good dose of fiber.
The soup went together relatively fast. Once the veg is cut up you can throw it in the oven, set the timer and go do something else. Once the roasting is done you basically just have to blend. Pureed soup always seems so fancy to me but it was pretty darn easy.
The flavors blended well, adding their notes to the chorus without overwhelming the parsnip flavor. I’m a bit of a garlic head so I will probably add more next time. If you are not a garlic head, this had just the right amount. I used homemade low fat stock that was full of flavor, if you use store bought stock you will want to consider adding a pinch of this or that to the stock as it heats. Continue reading →
Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend, my mom referred to this as bird seed. I really can’t disagree; it looks exactly like the stuff out in my bird feeder. Well, minus the suet. So that’s what we call this in my family. “What are we having tonight? Birdseed!” However, just because we have a nick name for it and it looks like birdseed does not mean that it’s bad, quite the opposite in fact. Mom was a meat and potatoes kinda lady; if she was willing to eat it you know it had to be pretty good!
The Harvest Grains Blend consists of Israeli style couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa. Israeli style couscous is much larger than regular couscous and reminds me more of barley than pasta or couscous.
This blend is hearty enough to serve with beef, pork, or sausage but delicate enough for fish or seafood. The blend of pastas and grains plumps up nicely yet retains their shape resulting in a cohesive blend that rolls onto the tongue. Unlike some dried grains these rehydrate nicely and are small enough that even a potato lover can like them. The ingredient selection also cooks evenly, something you don’t fine in most packaged blends.
The package calls for adding butter, I use olive oil. It also calls for water or chicken broth, I recommend the broth. It adds a depth of flavor that is just missing when you use water. You can always keep it vegan by using a vegetable broth. It would also be a nice addition to soup. One package makes about eight large servings.
Give the Harvest Grains Blend a try; it might just pass your potato lover’s taste test.
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One of my favorite things to do is visit ethnic grocery stores. Doesn’t matter what flavor, I like them all. I like to walk up and down the aisles looking at all the different foods and wondering what they are used for. They’re also a great place to stock up on basics. Spices are often sold well below grocery store prices and in large quantities.
My family has a hard time accepting broth based soup. The general thinking is that if you’re having a broth based soup it’s a side dish and can’t possibly be the star of the meal. It demands a sandwich at the very least. More than likely you should just drink water, leave the soup, and actually eat something. Soup is something with cream and preferably cheese. If I serve a broth soup, I’m immediately asked where the rest of the meal is. I think this soup would be an exception. Well, it would be much easier for them to accept than many others anyway.
The broth has an intense bold earthy mushroom flavor that satisfies while the barley provides a stomach satisfying fullness. The mushrooms and barley also provide something to sink your teeth into. Don’t slice your mushrooms to thin, leave them thick enough to take a bite out of. This is a perfect soup to curl up with on a cold blustery day. Continue reading →