We don’t always associate soup with summer, but in the same way fresh, sweet-scented peach pie demands to be baked in the dog days of August, we have to stir up zucchini soup at the exact moment the counter begins piling up once again with unending stacks of zucchini (tomatoes, cabbage…). Or when a very inexpensive, but large bag of zucchini somehow gets into our cart at Costco. And we get home only to wonder just what to do with all of that squash.Continue reading
Despite the fact that I’m a vegetable-crazy person, I often forget to put up a post for Meatless Mondays. I nearly always eat vegetables with eggs or, more often with egg whites, (the dogs get the yolks) for breakfast…
Above: Sauté spinach a minute or two in a teaspoon or two olive oil in a small, nonstick skillet with a little red onion or shallot, crack egg whites only (2-3) evenly on top, season with salt and pepper, and cover, cooking until whites are opaque. Garnish with salsa.
…but rarely write a recipe or post as the meals seem so simple–like the egg white and spinach omelet above.
Here are a few I have written and posted:
Mid-winter, the perverse cook in me always has a hankering for a grilled burger and potato salad. Mid-summer, I crave chili. Given the weather in Colorado, I often am able to fulfill my deepest wishes right down to the sun or cold wind to go along with the meal. It isn’t a real oddity to see 65 degrees in January or 45 in July. It happens. Somehow out-of-season dishes occasionally rear their pesky heads.
The other day wasn’t so terribly warm, but it wasn’t cold either. In fact, I was making tomato soup and just wanted something real to go with it. A couple leeks languished in the fridge next to some waning baby zucchini; a big paper box of mushrooms nearly cried foul from the crisper.
What was a girl to do?
A quick bang of the cupboards–a favorite occupation– showed up a few packages of Minnesota wild rice* and, while wild rice has a truly indefinite shelf life (no joke), it sounded fine, just fine. While I wasn’t quite sure how the meal would come together, I trusted in the spirit of the rice* and began to cook. I was sure that by the time it was done — it takes nearly an hour–I would have figured out dinner. I was right. Try this luscious bowlful, which just happens to be both vegetarian and gluten-free, and is also simply altered for a vegan version. (See bold green notes for vegan version.) Continue reading
It’s spring in name only in Saint Paul. Whereas many food writers and bloggers are already complaining about too many fresh pea or asparagus recipes, people here are still sniffling and shuffling around town in their by now worn-out snow boots. (Uh, there are not even pea tendrils in St. Paul because snow covers the vegetable gardens; see below.) In fact, if you move here, you’ll save a lot of money on shoes; you only need them May – September. Not only that, you can write about fresh peas, rhubarb, and asparagus when folks further south are eating their first tiny tomatoes and are getting tired of grilling already.
This picture is out my front door this morning.
While people keep emailing or texting me, “Aren’t you tired of snow?” I’m not. I’m happy to make one more bubbling cauldron and a big pan of biscuits. I might be sick of my sweaters, though.
If it’s not too warm where you are, maybe you’re still in the mood for a big pot of soup with bread. (It’s also a perfect way to use that leftover Thanksgiving turkey if it’s that time a year. ) Try this:
turkey-wild rice + vegetable soup
makes about 10 quarts of soup
Using up leftover turkey from a holiday meal? Skip that 1 1/2 hours cooking the turkey thighs and just add your 2-3 cups shredded or chopped cooked turkey after the rice (#3).
- 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 2 onions, chopped
- 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, divided
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 quarts chicken or turkey stock
- 1 cup white wine
- 6 cups water, divided
- 2 turkey thighs, skin removed (or 2-3 cups shredded or chopped cooked turkey)
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- 1 cup wild rice, rinsed several times and drained*
- 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices (can sub 2 medium potato, peeled, and diced)
- 1/2 cup each fresh or frozen green peas and corn
- 1/3 cup dry sherry for garnish at the table
- 1 cup roasted, chopped walnuts or almonds for garnish (optional)
- Heat butter and olive oil with red pepper over medium heat in a 12-quart stockpot for one minute. Add onions, 1 of the cut-up carrots, the celery, fennel, parsley, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt with 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook five minutes or until vegetables are beginning to soften. Add garlic and cook another minute or two, stirring.
- Pour in stock, wine, and 2 cups of the water. Stir well and add turkey thighs, poultry seasoning, another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and another 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until turkey is tender.
- Remove turkey to cutting board and let cool several minutes. While the turkey is cooling, add rice and 3-4 drops of Tabasco (or more to taste) to the broth. Bring back to a low boil. After turkey is cooled, shred using two forks, and return to pot. Let cook about 20 minutes and add parsnips along with the rest of the carrots. Continue to cook another 20 minutes, skimming off fat as needed.** Stir in peas and corn.
- Continue to cook until turkey, rice, and all vegetables are tender –another 5-10 minutes. Continue to skim off fat. Add more water or broth if necessary. This should not be a thick stew, but rather a rich, brothy soup. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve over or with biscuits. Pour sherry into a small pitcher and pass at the table with the walnuts, if using, to garnish soup. (Just a teaspoon or so of sherry per bowl is plenty, but it’s a matter of personal taste.)
**Turkey thighs give off a lot of fat. You might have 1/4 cup of fat skimmed off (or more) by the end of the cooking.
makes 12 2-inch biscuits
- 2 cups all–purpose, unbleached flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon each salt and cream of tartar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, cream of tartar and baking powder. Add butter and cut in well using a pastry blender, two forks, your fingers, or even a food processor until some of the mixture is the size of peas and some are larger, some smaller.
Stir in the milk all at once and keep stirring until a ball of dough is formed. Place dough on a floured board and knead 10-12 times. Pat out (or roll) into a rough circle until dough is about 1/2-inch thick. Cut out using a 2-inch floured biscuit or round, fluted cookie cutter. * Place biscuits on a baking sheet or in a glass pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot, warm, at room temperature, or cold. (I like to bake biscuits in a Pyrex pie plate or casserole pan because they stay warm at the table.)
*You can use the mouth of a small, floured glass to cut biscuits if you have no cutter. Another option is to cut them with a knife into squares or rectangles. They’ll bake.
( Biscuit recipe courtesy FANNIE FARMER BAKING BOOK by Marion Cunningham.)
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|My south window today.|
If you like turkey thighs, you might want to try this if the weather is warmer where you are:
By the way, I still have a few soups left to test for my soup cookbook. Interested? Leave contact information in a comment or email me email@example.com. No pay, but hopefully a good meal and fun!
Sing a new song,