Cooking with friends

Recently I was visiting my friend Victoria in the Peterborough area and we always get into cooking when I go to spend a couple of days there (We also talk about financial ideas, the economy, the psychology of people – great brain work out). Anyway, we decided to do a combo dinner where I would bring the soup and she would make the salad. I made my homemade vegetable soup with beans sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese- recipe below.

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…and Victoria made a wonderful spinach, pear and caramelized walnut salad.  Perfect dinner. The salad was from the cookbook called “The Pollan Family Table” by none other that Tracey Pollan (remember her – married to Michael J. Fox and starred in Family Ties? – click on link above for recipe).

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Vegetable soup recipe:

Talk about hearty! I used the vegetables that were in the fridge and usually I add some pasta to this soup but thought I would add white beans to give it more protein and fibre.

Ingredients

1 tbsp of olive oil

2 sliced medium sized carrots

2 sliced stalks of celery

2 small onions chopped

1 tetra pak of vegetable broth

1 large can of low sodium diced tomatoes

1 can of navy white beans

1.5 tbsp brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

1 handful of chopped kale (I buy a fabulous product called “Chopped Greens” which is a bag of frozen chopped and cooked kale.  I add it to everything and it is wonderful! – use as much as you want)

 

Directions

In a saucepan add the olive oil and the diced onions. Stir till translucent. Add the chopped carrots and celery and sauté for about 3 minutes. Then add the diced tomatoes. Stir well and then add the vegetable stock. Add some salt and pepper to taste.

Stir this and let it simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes. Then add the kale (since it is already cooked it doesn’t need as long). Cook for another 15-20 minutes and then add the canned beans. Sprinkle in the brown sugar (takes some of the acidity out of the tomatoes and adds a slightly sweet note to the soup). Let this simmer all together for another 10-15 minutes and you have a wonderful hearty soup.

I served it with some shaved parmesan on top and it was perfectly filling and warming. Just what you need on these cold cold days.

 

Breakfast the next day was one of my favourites.

I have developed a craving for poached eggs. I always loved them but used to make egg whites for breakfast every morning. Now I make a poached egg on a slice of toast with a bit of cheese as my go to brekkie every day.  The whole egg has all kinds of things that are good for you and if cholesterol is not an issue then I say go for it.  Keeps me feeling satiated until lunch. This time we shared an english muffin (whole wheat) and I used some baldersons 4yr old white cheddar cheese with a couple of slices of avocado. YUM!!!

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Lunch with an Old Friend

Every year at Christmas I get together with an old good friend Beth and her family for the day.  I always look forward to it as it is a really nice full day of catching up and discussions on anything and everything.

This year for lunch Beth made a delicious soup. I gather it was supposed to be a squash soup but she added a package of chopped sweet potatoes instead of a second package of squash. I think it made the soup that much better by adding a sweet note to it. It was served with a dollop of yogurt on top with chopped green onions (might have been chives). Really nice and thick.

On the side were these delicious tiny pita pizzas. Beth used the tiny pitas split in half and on each side she put some brie cheese (I think it was brie) and caramelized onions and sun dried tomatoes.  Baked till the cheese melted and the pita got a bit crispy and served them warm.  Perfect light lunch (or appetizer) to go with the soup which was really filling.

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After lunch we went for a long walk along the boardwalk of Lake Ontario and did some more catching up. Beth lives in Asia so I am always curious as to what life is like there.

As always it was a great day!

 

PS – I should also say we had a fabulous dinner of sweet and sour pork over rice – A Lucy Waverman recipe, but my pictures didn’t do it justice. I do suggest you look up the recipe under “Sweet and Sour Pork” by Lucy Waverman in the Globe and Mail newspaper.  Well worth it.

Roasted Vegetable Soup – guest post

Roasted vegetable soup – Guest post by Victoria Ryce

Suddenly finding myself with many root vegetables, I decided to roast a few pans of squash, sweet potato, parsnips, and carrots. I had some with my dinner, some in a salad, and some in a sandwich. I’d run out of ideas of what to do with them, so I thought I would make soup.
All I did was chop up an onion and fry it in some olive oil, then add the roasted vegetables. Thinking it was looking a little monochrome, I opened the fridge and found some mushrooms that were at their best by date and a rib of celery.  I chopped these up and added them to the onions. Then added 2 cups of broth.
When I roasted the parsnips I added a dash of olive oil and some salt-and-pepper. When I roasted the carrots I added a bit of garlic. And when I roasted the sweet potato I sprinkled a few leaves of rosemary over them. So I didn’t add any spices to this soup.
I gave some away to two friends and they asked me to please forward the recipe. Yikes!  It’s leftover vegetable soup, I said. So here is my attempt at telling you how the recipe worked. Please feel free to roast any vegetables and add any other spices to make your own version.  I dropped some Twistos asiago crackers on top of my soup. Cindy turned me onto them and now I am hooked.
Also, you could purée the vegetable soup if you want a creamy, blended flavour soup.  Your choice.  It’s winter so time for hearty soups and curling up with a good book or movie.  Roast a bunch of vegetables and you will be fed for days.
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Chicken Noodle Soup as Easy Comfort food

It rained all day and was cold and miserable out yesterday (Tuesday April 29th).  I know it is spring and rain is what mother nature brings during this time of year but it really was quite a dreary day.  It was however the kind of day where you just want to hunker down with something comforting.  Soup answered the bill.  It was all I could think about as I sat in rush hour traffic on the way home from a meeting. I planned it all in my head so when I got home I just put all the ingredients into a pot and let it come to a boil.  As I write this I am sipping hot tasty chicken noodle soup (Cindy Style).  Here is what I did.  Yesterday I bought a roast chicken as I was just not in the mood to cook. I cut up the chicken and made stock with the carcass which was sitting in my fridge.  I put some stock in the pot, cut up some of the chicken (which tends to dry out a bit anyway the next day) and then came the “Cindy” ingredients…I put a bunch of frozen chopped kale and a package of thick udon noodles into the broth, a bit of lemon pepper and let it come to a boil.  Into a bowl and suddenly I had comfort food sitting right in front of me.  Delicious!

 

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Broccoli, Sweet Potato and Cheddar Soup

I thought I had blogged broccoli soup before but I don’t see a post on my timeline about this particular version so I am blogging it now.  This is super easy to make and tastes great.  Can be a meal, a side or even served as an appetizer in a small shooter style glass. I have been seeing this from time to time served at dinner parties where you don’t want to fill up on soup.  A small amount of soup is served in a shooter or other style of small glass, it is literally just a mouthful or two – that way the guest gets a taste. It is something different and they don’t get full on soup before the meal).

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Here is the recipe for this easy and versatile soup.

Ingredients:

2 small onions diced

1 large or two small sweet potatoes cut into small pieces

6-8 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (if made with vegetable broth it can be vegetarian and or gluten free)

1 head of broccoli cut into small pieces

1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese

Dash of oregano

Salt and pepper to taste ( I don’t add salt but you can if you like)

 

Directions:

Sauté onions in a pot with some olive oil. When softened add the small pieces of broccoli and sweet potato and the oregano. Stir and cover for a minute or two then add the broth.  Stir everything, cover and let cook with a slight boil but not a strong boil for about 15 minutes until the potato and broccoli are soft.

Using a blender put small batches in the blender and add some cheddar to each batch.  Mix until puréed but still slightly thickened.  Pour into a large bowl and keep the process going until all the soup has been blended.  Serve with a nice crusty bread and there you have lunch, dinner, appetizer or side dish!

Enjoy!

 

Cinnamon Nutmeg Pumpkin Soup – Nice Fall Soup

I posted this last year around this time and thought it was timely to post again so here it is.
This is a recipe from a website I follow called “dLife” – it is designed for diabetics but it has some great low carb recipes which is why I follow it. I have just copied and pasted it in here so you get the whole picture from a nutritional point of view.
Their recipes are quite easy to follow which is also why I like it. They also have an area where you adjust the number of servings you want to make and it automatically adjusts the amount of your ingredients to work for hat quantity.  Much easier than figuring it out on your own.
Here is the link to their website if you are interested.
Cinnamon Nutmeg Pumpkin Soup
Source: dLife A warm, creamy pumpkin soup spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar.

Rating:     
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: EASY
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Nutrition Facts

Makes 4 servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 183.6
Total Carbs 12.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Sugars 4.4 g
Total Fat 13.7 g
Saturated Fat 8.5 g
Unsaturated Fat 5.2 g
Potassium 355.1 mg
Protein 4.1 g
Sodium 50.1 mg
Dietary Exchanges
3 Fat
See the Detailed Nutritional Analysis
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 Servings 

 Ingredients

4 cup fresh cubed pumpkin , peeled and seeded
2 cup half & half
1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (up to 1/2 tsp)
1 tbsp fresh chives , snipped as garnish
 Directions

1 Fill medium saucepan with 1″ of water.
2 Add pumpkin and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain well.
3 In food processor, process pumpkin and half and half until smooth.
4 Return to saucepan and add brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
5 Heat mixture to boiling, and then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, uncovered.
6 Serve in bowls garnished with chives.

100 Mile Cassoulet Meal in the Country

I spent the other weekend at my friend Victoria’s place in the country.  It was a wonderful weekend full of art shows and country town drives.  We hit the farmers market on Saturday morning to get ingredients for dinner that night, still not totally sure what we were going to make but wanting to be inspired by the local produce.  We decided on a version of a cassoulet.  I had brought up smoked turkey and smoked chicken sausages from my local butcher shop that were already cooked but just needed a bit of grilling to brown them.  It was so delicious!!!!!

We got two meals for us and then another three meals to freeze out of the recipe which when we worked it out came to about $2.50 – $3.00 per serving at the most.  Full of great vegetables and flavours.  (As an aside – I added leftover cooked quinoa with vegetables to a serving I brought home and it was great).

Victoria also made a Caprese style salad on skewers for us – it was so good and so unusual. The secret is to soak the cubes of mozzarella cheese in balsamic vinegar for several minutes or longer before putting on the skewer. The cheese along with fresh basil from the garden and small grape tomatoes from the garden made for a wonder “salad”

Caprese salad sticks

Cassoulet 1

Casoulette 2

Ingredients:

1 onion

1 leek

2 medium carrots sliced

2 celery stalks sliced

2 garlic cloves – minced or chopped

1 can white kidney beans

2 bay leaves

1 large red pepper

1 small can diced tomatoes (we used Victorias homemade roasted tomatoes which gave an even smokier flavour)

Pepper to taste

2 large cooked smoked sausages (turkey or chicken) sliced (1/4″ thick max.)

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

8-10 large mushroom (large pieces)

Pinch of cumin

1-2 tsp of chilli garlic hot sauce – quantity depends on how spicy you like your food)

Parmesan cheese to top it with

Directions:

Sauté onions and leeks. Add all ingredients and simmer for 1 hour. When you plate it – add some grated or shredded parmesan cheese to the top and serve with a baguette to absorb any liquid

Serves 6

Lemony Lentil Soup

Recently I visited my friend Victoria and in between all our wonderful conversations she cooked some of the most amazing food.  For lunch when I got there we had this lemony lentil soup – the recipe for which comes from the Whitewater Cooks cookbook written by Shelley Adams. (I recommend this book as it was chock a block full of great recipes and beautiful imagery.)

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lemony lentil soup 1

Here is the recipe – I made it as soon as I got home and froze half for later.

Ingredients

2 cups red lentils

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion

2 tsp salt (I didn’t add salt as the feta cheese is salty)

6 cloves minced garlic

3 carrots diced

1 tsp pepper

.25 tsp red chilli flakes

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (I used half this as dried rosemary – didn’t have fresh on hand)

2 bay leaves

8 cups vegetable or chicken stock

Juice of 2 lemons

2 tsp lemon zest

1 cup feta cheese (or enough to put on top of soup to your liking when served)

2 tbsp fresh dill chopped

Directions

Rinse lentils and drain. Heat olive oil in large pot and add onion to sauté. Add carrots, garlic, salt, pepper, chilli, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves.

Stir well and sauté till carrots are tender. Add stock and lentils and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes till lentils are soft.

Remove bay leaves and add lemon juice and zest.

Serve with feta and dill.

Minestrone Soup

This is another recipe I got after twisting my aunts arm (Kidding – but she didn’t always give up recipes easily until she thought you really wanted them). I had this for lunch one day at her house and thought it was a perfect lunch or light dinner on a cold day (since it hasn’t yet completely warmed up here in Ontario I am posting this now). (Image courtesy of photobucket)

minestrone_soup

 

Ingredients (slightly altered for my tastes)

2  onions sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped celery and leaves

1 carrot, sliced

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 handfuls of kale chopped (her recipe called for escarole but I use kale instead (healthier)

1 cup shredded cabbage

6  cups broth – I use chicken or vegetable stock

1 1/2 cups cooked beans-or use canned white beans

1 can (10 ounces) tomatoes

1/2 cup canned chick peas

1/2 tsp. dried basil

Pinch of salt (optional – I have cut most salt from my cooking)

1/2  cup macaroni

Pinch of cayenne

 

Directions

Brown onion in large pot.  Add remaining raw vegetables; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add broth, beans tomatoes, chick peas, herbs, add 2 tsps. salt.  Bring to boil; cover and simmer 30 minutes.  Add macaroni, and cook ten minutes or until tender.  Add salt and cayenne to taste.  I like to serve the soup with grated parmesan on top (but then I like to put parmesan on pretty much anything!)

60 best Chicken Noodle soups – my aunts made the list!

Check out this blog post listing the 60 best chicken noodle soup recipes. My aunts asian chicken soup made the list!       http://thefoodexplorer.com/soup/60-of-the-best-chicken-noodle-soup-recipes-on-the-internet/

You can find the recipe at: Asian Chicken Soup

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(Picture is from a blog called (ivillage.com)