Soup, Glorious Soup!

I love soup.  I know I’ve mentioned this before–like every January, but January seems to be a good time for soup.  At least in the Northern Hemisphere.  Of course, I’m one of those weird-can-eat-soup-any-day-of-the-year people so I don’t necessarily need cold weather to indulge, just a spoon.  This is very handy when one is experiencing an unseasonably warm “winter” in NYC and one loves soup so much.

The other day I had some amazing wonton soup from Ginger’s in Midtown (for anyone in, around or visiting NYC).  It was so delicious.  The broth was seasoned perfectly and adorned not only with wontons so fresh they were practically falling apart, but also spinach which added an extra layer of goodness.  The irony of it all, is that I rarely get wonton soup–I almost always get egg drop but on a whim I went with the wonton and here I am at 7:30am wondering what time Ginger’s opens and if I can work it into today’s schedule.  Now, if that doesn’t speak volumes as to how good this soup is, nothing but tasting it will!

It did remind me that it’s been awhile since I’ve posted about soup.  In looking back at some older posts, I realized that I owe you an up date on my Kaliflower Soup, which I am determined to get juuuuuust right and I think I may have finally solved the “too much” kale debacle (hint: baby kale!).  There is another soup from a health store on the Upper East Side that I’d also like to try my hand at: it’s a veggie soup with yellow lentils, so it has a creamy rather than brothy base that accompanies most veggie soups.  The result is an extra-hearty veggie soup that could easily be a meal all on its own!  I also promised April an actual Roasted Asparagus soup recipe other than Jaime’s vague instructions…

I guess I need to get cooking!

But before I go, I thought I’d leave you with some links to earlier soup posts, in case you’re in the mood to do a bit of cooking on your own and needed some inspiration (and before you argue, stew is a soup and who cares what you call it, it has Guinness so just try not to shovel it in too fast and burn your mouth!):

Bon appetito!

shiner soup

Giving Thanks

Since mid-August, I feel like my crazy life has been one big trip.

That is not a complaint in any way, shape, or form–just a statement of fact, as for the most part all the trips were amazingly wonderful.  But there is something to be said for being at home with the pupcicle and doing something for the first time in a long time, which was breathe.

There was no thinking about work or planning the next trip or cleaning or planning of ET posts.  I gave myself permission to have a day all about doing what I wanted to do, which was a whole lot of cooking, yelling at stupid ^&*&$%*@&(%) football games, a Harry Potter movie marathon, and snuggling with the Princess Pupcicle, who was happy to oblige.

It was completely opposite to my amazing Thanksgiving last year in Florida.  Nor was it the Thanksgiving I thought I would be having (aka in Texas with the Fam), but it was truly what I needed–so for that I am exceptionally grateful.

I got to geek out with my roasted pumpkin soup by roasting the seeds and adding them to the top.

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And took the time to make mini pumpkin pies with fresh whipped cream (thanks April–Lucille makes it soooooo easy!).  I loved how they turned out–perhaps not Food Magazine worthy, but you can tell they were made with love….AND A LOT OF TIME ROLLING DOUGH!  Poor Addy, she thought she was getting cookies (perhaps a task for this weekend!).

This +

THIS +

that =

THAT =

YUMMY!

YUMMY!

Happy Thanksgiving–even if it wasn’t what you thought it would or should be, I hope that in the end you had a great day!  Gobble-gobble!

A Pumpkiny Thirsty Thursday (aka #5)

In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. And while I’m normally posting pictures of tasty adult beverages, this week’s picture is kid-friendly…and oh so delicious!  So without further ado, I present to you a Virgin Thirsty Thursday!

Pumpkin Juice on tap: the light and refreshing spiced pumpkin drink for any witch, wizard, or muggle! Available at fine establishments in Diagon Alley.

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Pumpkin: Not Just for Drinking…

I was introduced to pumpkin soup when I lived in Australia.  It was intriguing and, honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect because, well, pumpkins were for carving and lattes.  It arrived with a dollop of sour cream and chives and I was hooked from the moment I tasted my first bite.

Until that point in time, every soup I had eaten was either veggie soup or something cheese based (like broccoli and cheese).  So to eat something creamy, but not cheesy was crazy!  And at that crucial moment in time, I realized WE WERE USING PUMPKINS ALL WRONG!!!!

At the time, it never entered my brain that I would want to make it.  Oh no no no…it was probably too hard.  I mean, it was pureed.  And who knows what kind of weird spices were involved.  Nope, I was just happy to eat my pumpkin soup out.  Until, of course, Jaime came along and introduced me to roasting (of course, we have to roast them!).

A note about pumpkins and this soup.  I use baking (aka smaller) pumpkins, but I also make this a lot with acorn or butternut squash.  They’re all in the same family–just mix and match with what you find at the store!

Pumpkin Soup

  • 2 pounds pumpkin/squash, seeded, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 head of garlic, top sliced off of head
  • Olive oil (I don’t have an amount–eyeball it!)
  • 6 cups of veggie stock
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • course sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • stuff for garnishing

Preheat oven to 500F.  In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, carrots, and onions.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mix well to ensure all pieces are coated with olive oil.  Place on a baking sheet and spread evenly.  Place head of garlic also on baking sheet (I like to put it in the center!), drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes.  In a large stockpot, bring veggie stock to a boil.  Carefully add roasted veggies, except garlic.  Remove garlic cloves from skin by squeezing gently at the bottom (careful it’s hot!).  Add to the stock pot.  Once everything has been added, puree soup.  I use an emulsion blender (best soup puree-ing device ever!), but you can carefully use a blender (small batches–no more than 1/2 blender full, leave the cap off, but cover with a towel and blend slowly…otherwise, you risk exploding hot soup over you and your kitchen!) or food processor.  Once soup is pureed, add cream and nutmeg.  Taste and adjust spices.  Serve with a garnish you can be traditional and go with sour cream and chives, but I usually don’t have either on hand and use greek yogurt and cilantro, which in my humble opinion is tastier!  You can also go uber-simple and used freshly ground pepper as a garnish, but the sour cream or yogurt give it some nice tang and adds an extra layer of yummy.  Or you could be uber-fancy and serve it in  a pumpkin!

Those of you who know me, know that I don't have the patience for this!  I found it on the Food Channel Culinary Center website http://www.foodchannel.com/articles/article/culinary-center-to-open-at-midwest-theme-park/

Those of you who know me, know that I don’t have the patience for this! I found it on the Food Channel Culinary Center website http://www.foodchannel.com

However you like it, you’re gonna love it!

Crockin’ Chili!

So the following conversation happened when I opened my crockpots (SHAMELESS PLUG: naming contest still going on–I’ve had some great suggestions, but it’s not too late to put your 2 cents in!).  Ahem, where was I?  Oh yeah: conversation (loosely transcribed):

ME:  thank you! I can’t wait to use it

CHRISTI: what are you going to make?

Not sure yet.  Chili, maybe, yeah…chili

You don’t need a crockpot to make chili

No, but it still would be amazing

Now, I should interject here that Christi’s mother has THE best chili recipe, but Christi was right. I didn’t neeeeeeeeed my new crockpot to make chili.  Alright, back to Pinterest.  My mission: a crock pot chili recipe that looking tasty & interesting. I found this recipe from kitchentreaty.com

Okay, so…THE first I noticed: no meat–a slight pause for a raised-on-a-Texas-cattle-ranch girl like me, but under the motto of I’ll try anything once and the fact that it just sounds amazing, I figured what the heck!  Plus when you read about kitchentreaty.com it is a great site dedicated to cooking for vegetarians and omnivores who cohabitate/marry/hangout/party/etc (I mean, she explains it more eloquently than that–I’m just cutting to the chase so we can get to the chili!).

Almost everyone I know who enjoys cooking or baking and finds a new recipe, follows the recipe the first time and then if they feel adventurous the next time adds their own spin on it.  Not me, because…well…I just have an inability to leave well enough alone.  Plus I personally feel that all great chili recipes need some beer thrown in (even the aforementioned best chili recipe).  As I was looking down the list of ingredients–I ain’t gonna lie–I did a few double-takes on some of the spices, but I promised myself that I would only allow myself to swap out 1 cup of beer for 1 cup of veggie stock.  I’d like to interject here that I personally feel that any one who considers her/himself a chili aficionado might balk at some of the ingredients.  Albeit from the beer, I did not stray from the recipe.  That in and of itself is shocking.  Next time, though, I’m adding more jalapenos (as she suggested).  I only added one because it was making me cry while cutting and I figured that was probably hot enough.  Alas, no.  You can taste the jalapeno, but none of the heat.

Served with cornbread & Shiner Cheer (the beer I used), my tummy was very, very happy.  VERDICT: if you are vegetarian, looking for a change of chili pace, or looking for a less expensive chili–this is definitely one to add to your recipe book!  Btw, if you follow her recipe–linked above–it’s vegan and gluten-free, you know if you’re into those kinds of kinky things ;- ) Thanks kitchentreaty!

Mmm Mmm Good!

Mmm Mmm Good!

Crock Pot Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili

  • 1/2 cup of chopped yellow onion
  • 1-2 jalapenos
  • 2 15-oz cans of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (make sure you get puree and not pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 15-oz cans of fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup of veggie broth
  • 1 cup of beer (whatever you may have on-hand, but I’d stay away from dark beers, like Guinness, as I think the flavor would be too overpowering)
  • 1 Tbsp of chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (yeah, cinnamon–keep reading down!)
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder (that’s right.  chocolate and a whoooooole tablespoon!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin

Add all the ingredients to a 3-quart or larger crock pot and stir.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours (mine took right at 5 hours) or on low for 8-10 hours (are you kidding, who can wait that long?!?!?!?!) until lentils are done and chili is thick and hearty.  Serve with assorted toppings (I used cilantro).

It was delicious and good for you–perfect for a chili-weather kinda day!!