Friday, December 19, 2008

Creative Soup cooking with Soup "Recipe"

This is a soup recipe Nadine could maybe use, as the basic recipe has only a few ingredients.

I spent the entire morning shoveling and am going to have to go out and resume momentarily. Hope to get some pictures, too!

I came in tired and hungry and I hadn't been able to go to the store because of the weather, so I didn't have what I wanted for lunch. I like to challenge myself to make something both healthy and tasty from what I have on hand. And since I was cold from shoveling, I made a simple soup. I had made another different one earlier in the week I'd intended to write about but never had time. So today I thought I'd rest before resuming shoveling by writing this down. The soup came out great.

Basic 4-ingredient soup (with additions later)

  1. water
  2. vegetable (s)
  3. protein (s)
  4. salt (and spices, opt)
OK, those are your basic ingredients for soup.

Now, how to do it:

  1. measure about a cup of water per person, more if you're very hungry. (No that water won't make you satisfied by itself, but will provide space for the other ingredients.) Use a pan that is somewhat larger than the amount you want, but not a lot larger. (More energy efficient, quicker, more environmental, more economical). Bring to a boil.
  2. While the water is heating, choose one or more vegetables. If more than one, choose some you like that go well together. Cut them into bite-size pieces (any size you like--smaller ones cook faster.) Today I used spinach and zucchini. I often use broccoli. For each person, as 1/2-3/4 c vegetables (You can use more or less depending on whether you like your soup chunky or brothy), finely cut--or however you want them. Put them in the boiling water.
  3. Choose a protein. Tofu works. Beans. Fish, shrimp, chicken, or any combination you like together. I had chicken today. Cut into bite-size pieces (or any size you like). Add 2-4 oz about the amount that the palm of your hand would make if cut up. add to soup pot. Cook briefly, about 5 minutes.
  4. salt to taste. Pepper, garlic powder opt. (Sprinkle salt over the pan).
Presto, a simple soup. Tasty and nutritious.

OK, for the additions.
  1. you can add a little wine or balsamic vinegar--I added vinegar to mine today, just a little--careful, not too much. 1 1/2 t vinegar or 2 T wine. Or you can add both. I like both, but BB does not.
  2. fresh onion and garlic--saute in butter or olive oil. add 1 rounded tablespoon flour. Add a little of the broth in, mix it in, then add the onion and garlic to the soup--presto--a thicker, spicier soup. Use one small to medium clover of garlic and or a few slices of onion. I did not use these today.
  3. Milk or cream--mmmm--cream soup. Use less water to start with and add the equivalent amount of milk or cream--near the end. If you put the cream or milk in a jar with a rounded T flour and shake, and then pour it into the soup, it will thicken the soup--or you can saute flour in butter or olive oil as above--don't do both. One or the other. I can have dairy, so I didn't do this, but I often do it for BB.
  4. starch: add any kind of pasta in small quantities, or rice--cook it first unless it's quick cooking, or use left-overs, or potato, or oatmeal--yes oatmeal--it's good in soup--or barley, or cous cous. I love little pastinas. I have many varieties, but used none today. Also beans, peas, garbanzos etc. (making pea soup or lentil soup is a little different).* But you can add some to your soup--best if they are already leftovers or if you precook them--otherwise they take too long to cook for this recipe
  5. aromatic herbs and spices--experiment. Start out with just a little. I like to add jerk spices or hot spices or basil, etc. Today I added none of those. I made a simple but yummy soup.
  6. gumbo: use chicken or fish, or tofu, add shrimp, and sausage. Be sure also to add Okra if you can get it. Just a few for authenticity, slices crosswise fairly thin.
  7. Leftovers--soup is a good way to use up small portions of leftovers! You can make a yummy kitchen sink soup with various things from the fridge--everything but the kitchen sink. A good stirfry or even a good salad can make a good soup later.
  8. au jus, broth--save your meat and veggie dripping and broth to add to your soup--mmmm!
  9. eggs: egg drop and egg flower soups are yummy, just drop an egg into the hot soup and cook till it's done for egg drop, or stir for egg flower.
  10. tomatoes, V8 juice, tomato juice. For a really quick tomato-based soup, if you're in a hurry, use V8 juice, or tomato juice. Other wise, dip tomatoes in boiling water and pull off the skins. This is easier than it sounds--use a slotted spoon for dipping them.
  11. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Start simple, and when you're confident, experiment. It's tasty, nutritious, and warming on cold days!
*To make pea soup or lentil soup, follow the simple directions on the dry peas/lentils package--they don't have to be soaked--but cook them longer than it says too for better flavor. If you want help with that, let me know. It takes about 45-hour to make good pea or lentil soup, with onions and garlic and carrots. You can do something else while it's cooking, just stir occasionally--and the leftovers are even better than when it's fresh.

And be "Creative Every Day " in everything you do!

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