What Life Dishes Out A Gluten Free and (almost) Vegetarian Cooking Blog

February 8, 2011

Love Soup

Filed under: Recipes,Soups,Vegan,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 2:15 pm

Yes, those are little carrot hearts!  Isn’t that sweet?  This is my husband’s veggie soup recipe which has always been a family favorite.  One Valentine’s Day, being the romantic that he is (cough, cough) he made it special for the occasion, turning the carrots into little love messengers!   Since that day, the recipe has been known as Love Soup! 

Love Soup Step By Step:

First, assemble your ingredients:

Note:  Those two suspicious looking jars in the back are NOT salsa.  Those are home grown tomatoes from last summer which have been blended, cooked and frozen in quart containers.  In leiu of frozen or fresh blended tomatoes, you can use canned tomatoes, but I’m warning you:  The flavor will not be near as good and I will not be held responsible for the results!

In addition to the items shown, you will also need:

1-2 Tbsp Oil – Olive or Canola

1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning Blend

Salt & Pepper

1-2 Jalepeno Peppers OR 1/2 Green Pepper

Red Pepper Flakes

First, put oil into a LARGE stock pot (this makes a ton of soup – about 8-9 quarts).  Now chop 1 large, or two medium, onions and add to the pot:

Next, chop 4 stalks celery.  Dont leave out the leaves!  (Oooh, I made a funny!)

Throw the celery into the pot with the oil and onions.

Chop 10-12 carrots. 

If you are looking for a romantic evening, you can cut them into hearts.  Heres how:

Cut a “V” into one side of the carrot.  Using a vegetable peeler, scale down the sides into the shape of a heart, and into a slight point opposite your cut-in “V”.  Like this:

Now, slice the length of the carrot. 

Aren’t they precious?  

Almost too cute to put in the pot, but do it anyway.

Turn on the heat and cook until onions and celery are slightly tender. 

While they are cooking, you can chop your potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes.

Add them to the pot. 

If you are going to take a photo at this point, don’t get too close.

If you do, this is what will happen:

Then, you will have to clean your lens.

Add vegetable broth to the pot.

Drain and rinse 3 – 15 oz cans of beans.  You can use whatever variety you like. 

These are Light Red Kidney, Great White Northern, and Black Beans. 

They look very happy together, don’t they?

Add the beans to the pot.  Then, chop 1/2 head cabbage.

Throw it in!

Now, add the tomatoes and stir.  Place some of the soup mixture into your blender container. 

You’ll want it to be about 2/3 full.  Like this:

Take it for a spin!

Then, pour it in!

It looks gross, I know.  But you must trust me.

Add 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning:

We use a lot of this stuff, so I bought it in bulk. 

Here is the label:

I order most of my herbs and spices from Monterey Bay Spice Company and from Mountain Rose Herbs. 

Monterey Bay:  www.herbco.com

Mountain Rose: www.mountainroseherbs.com

Mountain Rose caters more to the organic product line, but both have great deals on bulk products.  You will pay WAY less for a 1/2 pound at either distributor than you do in the grocery store for a tiny little 2 oz bottle.  Just don’t order more than you can use in a six month period, because you don’t want your herbs to lose their health and taste benefits!

Now, for the other seasonings:

2 tsp Black pepper & 2 tsp Salt

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

How’s everybody doing in there?  Okay?  Good.

Now, for my favorite….Garlic!  You need 10 cloves.

Mince them up and add them to the pot. 

Incidentally, an easy way to peel the garlic is to place the cloves (or the whole head in this case) into the microwave on high for about 15 seconds.  When you cut the end of each clove, the skin should just slide right off.

Look!  It’s a CHILLY Pepper!  (hehehehehe)

These guys just came out of the freezer, and actually they are Jalapenos from our garden last year.  We just wash, dry and freeze them whole in ziploc freezer bags.

Remove the end and seed the peppers:

These guys are ready for a dip in the “hot tub”, I think.

Almost done. 

But I know what you’re thinking.

What about the corn?  Did she forget about the corn?

No.  I would never be so cruel.

The corn is special.  We wait to add it until after the soup is blended. 

You are going to have to take my word for it, because I didn’t take a photo, but ours went in now.

I swear.

Then we lightly sprinkled in some crushed red pepper flakes for a little zip.

If foam develops on the top of the pot during cooking, just skim it off. 

You’ll need to cook this soup over low/medium heat for 1 to 2 hours, stirring every so often.  

Then, remove the peppers and let it cool.  DON”T EAT IT!   

Okay…one little taste, just to check for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper if needed.  But don’t get carried away.  You really have to wait until the following day for the flavors to fully develop.

Heat and serve topped with parmesan cheese, with a nice crusty bread or crackers on the side.  This soup is so healthy and satisfying and completely guilt free, so no matter if you have more than a couple bowls!

Enjoy! And by the way, since you have SO much soup to share, invite the neighbors over to enjoy it along with you!

November 13, 2010

Creamy Coleslaw: A Thanksgiving Staple

 

I’ve never been one to load up my plate with all the various side-dishes at Thanksgiving.  If I’m going to stuff myself silly (which is certainly a given on Turkey Day) then it’s going to be with only my favorites; Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Corn, Green Beans, and Cranberry Sauce.  But there is one more player who always makes it onto my plate and without whom I feel Thanksgiving Dinner would not be complete.  I may ignore the Veggie Casserole.  I may shun the Candied Yams.  I will likely say “No, thanks!” to the Salads.  But I always, always, always have room for a bit of Coleslaw on my plate. 

(Oh, drool!  Now I can’t wait for Thanksgiving!  Less than 2 weeks to go!!!)

Last year was the first year that I actually used my Mother’s China for Thanksgiving dinner.  My husband’s Grandmother had given me her Silverware a few weeks before and I knew she would enjoy my using it for the Holiday.  My own Mother’s Silverware had been poorly stored, and years of neglect had left it tarnished beyond repair.  But Grandma had kept hers pristine in a felt-lined silver case and it barely even needed polishing.  I’ve since learned that the best way to keep Silver nice is to use it often and although we won’t be dining with it daily (as Grandma did in her early married years), from now on it will be on the table for any occasion that warrants it!  Not surprisingly, the food actually tasted better served on real China instead of Chinet!  :-)

To make this Coleslaw, you’ll need:

1 small-medium head Cabbage

2 whole Carrots

2 Tbsp Onion, finely minced (optional)

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1/2 cup Mayonnaise

2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar (or White Distilled Vinegar)

2 Tbsp Sugar

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Salt

What to do:

Wash cabbage, cut in half root to tip, and cut each half in half again.

Cut the core, on a diagonal, from each quarter.

Cut each quarter in half again, then slice very thinly down the length of each piece.

This is my husband chopping.  Just look at him go!

Repeat with remaining eighths until all the cabbage is shredded.

Place cabbage in a large bowl, and set aside.

Wash, peel, and shred carrots.  I use a microplane grater for this job.

Now, here’s a recent trick we use:  We like a decent amount of carrot in our Slaw, but if you use too much, often the slaw gets an orange-y tint to it.  Here’s how to solve that problem:

(I really have to credit by husband with this brainy rinsing idea.)

After you rinse all the orange-ness down the drain, place strainer over a bowl and let the moisture drip out of the carrots.  Give them a squeeze or two with your hand to remove any remaining water, then place in the bowl with the cabbage.

Toss cabbage and carrots together, then set bowl aside.

In a smaller bowl, or large glass measuring cup, place 1/2 cup Sour Cream and 1/2 cup Mayonnaise (NOT Salad Dressing).

Add 2 Tbsp Vinegar (I used Rice Vinegar),

2 Tbsp Sugar,

1 tsp Pepper

and 1 tsp Salt.

Whisk together until mixture is smooth.

At this point, you can taste and add more salt, pepper, sugar or vinegar as needed. 

The goal is to not have the dressing taste too sweet or too tart. 

If it tastes too vinegar-y, add sugar and vice-versa. 

Pour the dressing onto the cabbage mixture, and be sure to get every last drop!

If you are so inclined, add the minced onion now to the cabbage/dressing mixture.   Some folks don’t go for onion, and it’s okay to leave it out if that’s how you roll.

Mix everything together, until all the cabbage is well coated. 

Cover bowl, and refrigerate at least several hours.  You’ll want to give this another taste just before serving and then season with salt and pepper as needed.

Since Thanksgiving is still a couple weeks away, this batch won’t be making it onto our Holiday table.  But I do have big plans for this Slaw….so stay tuned! :-)

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