Soup Made Simple

Replanting the Kale Babies

Posted on March 3, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Plants, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , |

Kale Babies 1I promised to explain what to do with the kale seedlings after they started to grow their second set of leaves (true leaves).  This takes a few weeks to get to after they come up initially.

You need a knife, some individual pots with soil in them, and water.  I also like to have everything on trays that are easy to clean the soil from, but some people use newspaper and then put it all in the compost afterward.

Kale Babies 2Gently use the knife to go under and around the plants and lift them out.  Then you might have to disentangle them a bit to get individuals.  You must not break the main stem.  If you do, discard that one and get a different one to plant in the individual pots.  Stick your finger or a dowel in to the soil to make a spot for the little plant.

Kale Babies 3Then drop the roots in deeply and gently firm up the soil around the plant with your fingers.  Water.  If after watering the soil has settled too much or has left holes, add some more loose soil on top.

Make a whole tray of them and put the tray in a bright window.  Once they get their own pots they really start to take off.  It’s fun to watch them strengthen and grow.  They will be tender little guys from growing so safely indoors, so you cannot put them directly outside.  The process of hardening off must happen first.  For at least a week before you plant them outdoors you will keep them in their pots in a shady spot outside during the day and then protected at night like in the garage or on the porch.  After a week or so they are ready for real outside conditions.  By May 31st, Wisconsin’s safe to plant outside date, you’ll have strong plants with a pot full of roots ready to go into the ground and start making you food!

Favorite things to do with kale?  1.  Wash, dry, slice super thin all the way through the tough center rib.  Slice super thin the other way to make tiny pieces.  Drizzle olive oil and seasoned rice vinegar and toss/press down into bowl.  Let marinate for 20 minutes minimum, then add other salad veggies and enjoy!

2.  Wash, chop coarsely and throw into whatever soup you are making.

3.  Wash and throw into blender with fruit smoothie ingredients – you won’t even know it’s in there!

4.  Enjoy the freedom from cancer, heart disease, and diabetes!  Truly!

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Oven Roasted Veggie Soup

Posted on December 8, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , , , , |

Food - Roasted Vegetable SoupThis is the easiest soup to make!  I was amazed at how delicious it was and truly a snap to put together.

This is for a day you are hanging out at home.  Roasting the vegetables in the oven is not hard, but it helps to have time to do it without pressure because you want them to be completely soft.

Food - Roasted Vegetables 1

Oven Roasted Veggie Soup

1.  Scrub and chop off ends of winter vegetables:  turnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, onion.  Put in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Toss with big spoon and then lay out on a pan.

2.  Do the same with squash and beets and put on a separate pan.  Peel the squash if you want to make it easier later, otherwise you can scoop out the flesh later.

Food - Roasted Vegetables 23.  Bake at 350º for about an hour or until soft.  You may need to stir them up once or twice.

4.  Put in a big soup pot with some chicken or vegetable stock (I used turkey stock I found in the freezer).  Heat through.   Blend with an immersion blender to make a smooth, creamy soup.

5.  Add 1 whole can of coconut milk and blend  together.

6.  Here are some spices I used but make it your own:  thyme, Penzey’s Berbere Seasoning, aleppo Pepper, fresh rosemary minced, roasted garlic (I threw some cleaned cloves into the oven with the veggies), S+P.

7.  For a garnish I put a fresh chopped honey crisp apple on top.  This was a perfect hearty dinner for a very cold winter’s night.

Thanks to Glenda for her inspiration on this recipe!

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Italian Sausage Bean Soup

Posted on November 5, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , , , , |

Food - Sausage Soup

Staying with my Monday-make-soup theme, I whipped up this beauty yesterday in about 30 minutes.  It will feed us for 3 days!  Whoo-hoo, I don’t even have to think about dinner until Thursday!!

Hunting in the freezer I found 3 leftover Italian sausages from summer which I fried up in a pan and cut into small chunks with my kitchen scissors while they were still a bit frozen which made the cutting easier.  I had some yard work to do so I gently simmered 2 small bags of black-eyed peas and 2 small bags of garbanzo beans which I found in the basement storage bin.

I cooked them separately because the beans are two different sizes and I didn’t want the little ones getting mushy while the big ones were still cooking.  Each took about an hour and a half to cook up.  This was fine as I was busy with other things.  I like to do this because I freeze about 3/4 of the cooked beans and then it’s really easy to take them out and use them without having to start with the dry beans.  I avoid canned beans because of the plastic can lining which leaches into the food inside.

So, again, I started with sautéing a big onion in butter/olive oil.  Then I plopped in some frozen turkey stock with a little water.  The turkey stock was too much for this batch of soup so I just waited until enough of it melted to pull it out.  I threw it in a container with some of the beans and into the freezer for a future soup.

Then I chopped up some carrots and cabbage.  Also, I found some gorgeous dried mushrooms I brought back from Italy last month to throw in.  Then when there was a lot of hot liquid in the pot I put in a dozen medium sized frozen tomatoes.  After about 2 minutes I slipped the skins off of them and they just melted into the broth.  I really love frozen tomatoes in soup broth.

Lastly the spices and sausage went in.  I used Penzey’s Cajun spice again (trying to use that up) and some thyme, marjoram, and Aleppo pepper for zing.  I also peeled and crushed up about 8 cloves of my garden garlic to throw in.

Well, one bowl of this was plenty, it was so filling!  It felt like a grand reward for all the yardwork and window cleaning I did yesterday!  It would be easy to make this vegetarian/vegan by simply omitting the sausage – the beans were plenty of heft.  Also, veggie stock would be fine and the onion can sauté with coconut/olive oil.  Give soup-making a try – it is so much better than anything that could possibly come out of a can!

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Kitchen Sink Peanut Butter Soup

Posted on October 30, 2013. Filed under: Health, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Food - Soup with Peanut Butter

This has got to be the simplest soup I ever made!  Mostly I wanted some stuff out of my freezer to make a little room!  The stock, beans, zucchini,  tomatoes and celery root all came right out of the freezer and into the pot.  As usual, my recipes are vague – make it your own!  This is my new normal – make soup on Monday – enjoy 2 days off of cooking dinner!  It really hits the spot, too, with the weather turning cooler.

Simple Soup

A shlock of butter (maybe 1-2 Tablespoons – vegans can easily use coconut oil/olive oil)

1 big onion coarsely chopped

3-4 Cups grated zucchini

5 big tomatoes – whole with just the cores cut out

1 Cup or so celery root or parsnip

3-4 Cups cooked beans – any kind – I used small red and kidney

3 Cups turkey stock (could be any kind of stock you have on hand – vegans can easily use veggie stock)

About 3/4 Cup organic, natural peanut butter (could also be almond butter – it doesn’t really flavor the soup, just thickens it and adds heft to the broth)

Seasonings:  about 1 Tablespoon Penzey’s Cajun Seasoning (a nice blend from our local spice company worth looking into:  Penzeys.com

about 1 teaspoon Penzey’s Berbere Seasoning (careful – very hot – if you use a lot, just a nice little warmth and zing if you use a little)

If you don’t have the above seasonings just use plain old chili powder as a substitute.  Also, try hunting around in your spice cabinet and adding some others like Thyme, Oregano, Marjoram, Old Bay Seasoning – all would be great additions.

about 1 Tablespoon dried garlic pieces (could be fresh)

about 2 teaspoons sea salt

Water to fill pot

Chopped yellow bell pepper for garnish

Chopped fresh garlic for garnish

1.  Melt butter in soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until onion starts to smell good and create brown stuff on the bottom of the pan.  Scrape up brown stuff – that’s the flavor!

2.  Add other veggies and beans except tomatoes.  Use a variety of what you have.  Can be fresh or frozen.

3.  Add seasonings and then stock and water.  Get it all steaming hot and then add tomatoes for just a few minutes after which you can slip the skins right off of them to compost.

4.  Right before serving stir in the peanut butter.  Then top each bowl with peppers and garlic.  (Other toppers work great too – chopped herbs like parsley/basil, chopped avocado, grated carrot or beet, use your imagination!)  Yum!

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Mexican Ham and Squash Soup

Posted on October 1, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , , , , |

Food - Butternut Squash and Ham SoupAt the farmer’s market Saturday I wanted bacon from my farm family meat providers.  They are all out until November.  I protested because the tomatoes are perfect now and I want the most perfect BLTs now!  So, sadly I perused the freezer and spied smoked ham.  I asked about it for tacos.  Tammera said to boil the small ham and then take it from there.

Next day I did just that.  When it reached 160º I let it cool a bit before breaking it down.  I removed the fat and bones and shredded it.  Then I tossed it with Mexican oregano, cumin, chili/garlic powders.  This became the basis for tacos with fresh avocado, cheese, and garden-fresh tomatoes.  Oh my.

After getting the meat sorted out I had some fat, bones, and cooking liquid in the pot.  Hmmm…looks like pork stock to me.  I put it all back in the pot, added water and the same spices as above.  Then I brought it to a simmer for about 30 minutes.  After cooling a bit I strained out the solids and I was left with a lovely golden, smoky broth.  I put it in the fridge.

Next day I pulled out that broth and skimmed the white creamy fat from the top (only a little, pastured animals never have excessive amounts of fat, they have the healthy kind and much smaller amounts than factory-farmed animals.)  That fat went into my soup pot with 2 chopped onions to brown and carmelize.  After scraping the brown bits up I poured in some more of the broth, added cooked and mashed butternut squash, then the rest of the broth.  I heated it through with more of the spices listed above; topped with the leftover meat and some more fresh tomatoes it made a satisfying meal all by itself.

The flavor of these two meals was the best part, but another bonus was the price.  That small ham yielded 3 taco dinners and 4 soup suppers all for $11 (meat price alone.)  I call that a bargain in all departments:  support of a local family farm, support of locally produced food, support of artisanal, small-scale pork production, cooking at home with controlled ingredients, and healthy small amounts of high-quality meat.  Voilà!

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