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Vegetable Soup Recipe

 

Vegetable Soup - stopha.com

I posted this picture on Facebook last night, and my friends wanted the recipe.  Since I didn’t work from a recipe, I’ll try to give you the ingredients and general idea of how I did it.  It is the best soup I’ve ever made! I used a bunch of vegetables we got from our farm share yesterday (which, by the way are so beautiful I could cry).  (mudcreekfarm.com)

 

Ingredients

3 carrots (large dice)
3 stalks celery (large dice)
1 large onion (diced)

1 large leek (thin sliced, like you’d cut a green onion)
2 cloves garlic
3-4 medium potatoes
2 TBs herbs de Provence (it’s an herb mix you can get in most grocery stores)
1/2 TBs dried rosemary (use fresh if you have it!)
8 cups water
2-3 TBs high quality chicken base (or to your taste, I think that’s how much I used)
1/4 cup half n half (or to your taste)
1/3 cup white wine (I always have a cheap bottle of Chardonnay in the cupboard to cook with)

kosher salt and pepper to taste

pasta of your choice (I used mezzi rigatoni b/c it was already cooked in the fridge)
parmesan cheese (for garnish)

OK, here’s what I did:

First, I have a small garlic chopper that I LOVE – I put the garlic and the dried herbs in the chopper together and chopped it all up until everything was minced well.  In a large pot, I heated 2TBS Olive oil and 1TBs of butter (for extra flavor).  Added the carrots, onion, celery, leeks to to the pot.  Saute the veggies until the onions are softened (~5 min).  Then add the garlic/herb mixture.  Yeah, it smells awesome.

Cook the mixture for a couple more minutes to release the flavor of the garlic, and then add the wine. Cook the wine down for about 3 minutes, and then add the water and chicken base.  If I had had vegetable broth made or in the cupboard, I’d have used that, but I had chicken base, so that is what I used.  I use the Better than Buillon bases, and I really like it (available at most grocery stores).  Don’t get the cheap, crappy, full of MSG stuff, ok?  These bases are very flavorful, and are cheaper than buying the liquids overall.

Bring the soup to a boil, and then add the potatoes (be CAREFUL not to burn yourself, drop them in gently).  Cook the soup for ~20-30 minutes, and check the taste and the doneness of the potatoes.  If the potatoes are nice and soft, you’re good to go.

The finishing touches that made it so much better:

I used an immersion blender to blend the soup to thicken it (that’s why the potatoes need to be nice and soft).  Just a little bit, so I didn’t pulverize all the potatoes and the soup still had some ‘chunk’ to it.  I ended up adding a bit of water/cornstarch mix before I realized I could thicken it this way, so you could do either.  Once the thickness is to your liking, turn off the heat, and slowly add the half n half.  This gives it that extra silky richness. Stir that in, and taste it again.  Add salt/pepper to taste.

Serve the soup with the cooked pasta and good parmesan (don’t shake it out of the can, that hurts my heart) and a nice crusty loaf of bread if you happen to have that on hand.  I didn’t have the bread, but it didn’t matter, the soup was THAT good.  If you have any questions, leave a comment below!

 

10 Years is a Long Time

It has been ten years since we lost Mom. September 12. It seems like the past ten years have been a lifetime since that day. I’ve moved, changed jobs, got married, had children and have a whole new life. I could never have imagined how much life would change.

I cannot forget those days though, and want to remember that although we miss her, Mom is in a better place. It is so true what they say – that your life is never the same after you lose a parent.

I want to express a little of what she was, not only to me, but to everyone she came in contact with. Mom was this amaz- ingly quiet driving force of nature. If you needed something or needed something to get done, all you had to do was ask (or sometimes just suggest it in passing). I have never met anyone quite like her. She loved so hard, but never let it show. It came out in her actions. She was our mom, our friends’ moms, town’s mom – she had a coat or mittens or a hat for any needy kid (or adult) in a 20 mile radius. You all know this already – but it’s nice to say it out loud once in a while to people who truly understand it.

She gave so much of herself, and never asked for anything in return.

What I love about my family is that collectively, we all have her traits. Jane has her generosity, Mark has her ingenuity, Paula has most of her everything, Joel has her resourcefulness, Julie has her patience, and I got her hair….how was she able to manage all of us and actually pass it on? I will always wonder and admire for doing what she did for all of us.

Mom, I miss you, and I hope you are still around, watching out for all of us and shining down the love that we all know is still there in our own hearts.

**I wrote this six years ago, and I just updated it a bit – it captures what I want to say today as much as it did then.

CSA 2012 – Week 1

My family and I signed up for a half-share in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm this summer.  Today was our first pickup of fresh vegetables (all organically grown).  I’m totally blown away by the beauty of this food.

I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time at the farm today because it was after work, and I had to get home to the family, but my initial impression is that this place is going to be awesome for us this year.

First, Farmer Erin totally has it together with her technology.  Her website is really good (http://www.mudcreekfarm.com/).  She sends out email updates, does most of her transactions online, the welcome newsletter was well-done, and she’s doing social media.

Impressed. (Computer geeks appreciate all those things very much)

And she’s super nice, friendly and completely welcoming.

OK, so above all, the food looks and tastes wonderful.  I seriously wanted to cry when I saw it all at the farm.  Erin and her team have a great setup, you walk in, they clearly show you what you get each week, and you go through the ‘line’ – and pick up your food.  Super easy.  You can go out back to the pick-your-own section of the farm to pick the ‘extras’.  We’ll bring the kids next time for that!

THIS WEEK’S SHARE INCLUDES:
Lettuce
Spinach
Bok Choi
Radishes
Garlic Scapes
Swiss Chard
Kale & Collards
Mixed Greens

We grilled some chicken and I made a bok choi stir fry that was delicious.  I used the recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-bok-choy-in-garlic-sauce/ – I used fish sauce instead of oyster sauce because that’s what I had on hand.  I added some of the garlic scapes for extra flavor.

We’ll make some salads for tomorrow and I’ll figure out the spinach and cooking greens tomorrow and this weekend.

 

Crappy Wine No More

Homemade sangriaOk, so you opened that bottle of wine, only to realize you hate it.  This is what happened to me the other night.  I love wine, but if it doesn’t taste good, why bother?  I was cutting up a whole bunch of fruit this afternoon for fruit salad, and thought “hmm, why don’t I try to make that bottle of crappy wine into sangria?”.  Here’s what I did:

3/4 bottle of wine – mine was red, but you can use whatever you’d like
juice of one lime
1/4 C. sugar
various fruits, chopped.  What ended up in in mine were mango, pineapple, strawberries, cantaloupe

Pour the wine into a pitcher, preferably one with a lid.  Add the sugar and lime juice and stir til sugar is dissolved.  Add in approximately two cups of the fruit.

Put the lid on and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Serve over ice.

Mine turned out delicious.

Note:  I got this idea from a recipe from Lynn Rosetto-Casper of the splendid table http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/ – who, by the way, rocks.

A perfect way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, in my opinion!  If you try it, let me know how yours is!