Beka To Basics

Real Food Cooking

Archive for the tag “Soup”

Lazy Potato Leek Corn Soup

I need to confess, I ordered pizza this weekend instead of making it. (Oh, the horror, the horror)

I want to see if anyone else does what I do when I order pizza.  Instant regret.  It comes, I eat it.  Then, I start to think about how much I paid for dough, sauce, cheese and toppings.  I have everything I need to make a pizza in my cupboards and fridge and it would have been a lot cheaper.  But making it would have involved work, so it’s a trade off.  Still, every time, I go through the same thing.

And what do you think I did AFTER I ate the pizza?  Yeah, you’re right.  I cooked.  Kind of ironic, huh?  Or maybe not.
Anyways, this soup didn’t take long at all and it fed right into my laziness since I put corn on the cob right into the soup to cook. instead of cooking it and then de-kernelling it (have we determined the correct word for that yet?).

Lazy Potato Leek Corn Soup

  • 2 leeks, chopped and washed well
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 4 small potatoes
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked and broken into pieces
  • 3 pints of stock – veggie stock makes this a wonderful vegetarian soup!
  • salt and pepper

Melt the butter and cook the leeks and onion for a few minutes.  While this is cooking, I cut the potatoes and shucked the corn.  By the time I was finished, the leeks and onions were soft so I added the flour to make yet another roux.  I’ve been in love with this method the past few weeks, can you tell?  I added the stock and let it come to a simmer, then added the potatoes and corn and let it all cook for about 20 minutes.

The worst part of this soup?  Just how good it smells, and I’m not hungry anymore!

The best part?  The PURPLE POTATOES!!! Did you know they came in all purple? And all red? And there are so many other types of potatoes besides the few that I knew about.  They aren’t typically in the grocery store, although I have seen the purple ones recently.  I was so silly excited when I picked up these purples from my farmer that he gave me a mini potato lesson.  I’m totally on a search for all types of potatoes now.

This is why my soup has a purplish hue! 🙂

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Stretching Food and my Three Year Blanket

So, I found this sage pork sausage that I love.  The problem?  It’s expensive.  The other problem?  It’s so delicious.

Hmmm, how to solve the problems?

Like my tennis coach used to say, “Let’s stretch it out.” (I knew his advice would come in handy at some point in my life)

With 1 lb of sage pork sausage, I made 10 meals.  Squash and Pork Hash and Sage Pork Soup

Hash

I cooked the pork in my stock pot, removed it, added chopped squash, zucchini, onions, green peppers, garlic and tomatoes and sauteed them all.  I added about half of the pork back in and had dinner for two for two nights, plus lunch for one more.

After I stowed the leftover Hash in it’s refrigerator container, I added some olive oil to my pot, sauteed more onions and garlic.  Then I added stock, potatoes and green beans and simmered until they were all done.  I added the other half of the pork in and called it a night.  Five meals from the soup, plus five from the hash all from 1 lb of meat isn’t too shabby. 🙂

While we’re talking about stretching things out, I’ll admit why I’ve been slacking a little bit on my cooking.  I started crocheting myself a blanket.  Well, I started it three years ago and have been lugging the pieces and unfinished portion around with me.  I fondly call it my Three Year Blanket.  It was time to finish it.  I had stretched its creation as FAR as is would go.  No more stretching on that one!

The Three Year Blanket

Normally, it doesn’t take me three years to finish one.  Normally, there is a goal, like someone’s birthday, a baby being born (I know, same thing), or Christmas.  When I have a reason to finish, I do, but when it’s just for me, well… You know, it turns into a three year project.

Beef Stew

Well, the time has finally come. I know it’s here because it was below 50 degrees when I woke up this morning.  There was frost on the cars outside.  So, it’s time.  Time to bring in the herbs overnight.  Time to pull out the jeans and sweatshirts and make sure they are clean and ready to go.  Time to get heavy socks and long johns (yes, long johns).

Don’t get me wrong – I love the fall and I love the winter.  I love getting bundled up.  I love getting unbundled and cozy in a warm house.  I love waking up to frost and going to bed under a heavy blanket.  I love the still and the quiet than comes with the cold.  I love that it forces a pause to life before spring wakes.

I realize there will be summer like weather still, and I will fully enjoy being outside in the warm while I still can.  However, I am looking forward to cool weather, bonfires, coats and cozy nights while it snows outside and I’m inside eating a hearty stew.

Beef Stew

  • 1/2 lb leftover cooked chuck roast
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a large potato or a few small ones
  • a cup or so of green beans
  • 1 quart of stock
  • butter or olive oil
  • all green herbs you have that you think will taste good together  plus salt and pepper (seriously, this is how I decided what to season the stew with) If you want specifics, I used 2 Bay Leaves, thyme, sage, basil, tarragon, parsley and rosemary

Saute the onion and carrot in olive oil or butter until they are soft. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes.  Follow with the green beans.  When they are bright green, add the chicken stock and bring it all to a simmer.  Add any herbs you like and the potatoes and let it simmer for 30 mins to an hr, depending on when you want to eat.  When you’re ready, add the chuck roast in and shred it as it warms.

While I wait for fall and winter to truly start, I’ll take my own pause and remember there are plenty of warm days left to enjoy…

And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
~Robert Frost

 

On the fly soup

You know it’s been too long since I talked about soup. 😉

I made an awesome soup with random leftovers the other day, which means the four meals I got from it were basically free.  It’s really simple to do.  Just freeze all your extras.  Yes, even if you only have enough to fit one of those little itty bitty containers.  I know someone who is irritated by those little tiny containers that only have a couple bites in them (you know who you are 🙂 ).  While I understand the frustration of having these tiny things hanging out in your freezer, they really come in handy sometimes.  Like On the Fly Soup.

I had two little containers with beans (a mix of black, pinto and lentils), some CSA jalapenos and garlic, frozen sauteed onions and green peppers and chicken stock.  I just let everything thaw in the fridge while I was at work. I came home and chopped, then sauteed the jalapenos and garlic in a little butter, added the other veggies, the beans and the stock.  I seasoned it with some thyme, salt and pepper and let it simmer for about ten minutes.  Soup’s ON!!

 

Add a fresh baked bun and some brie and you have a very happy Beka!

Even the cat wants some!

 

Potato Leek Soup Twice!

Potato Leek Soup

If you want to make a real vegetarian soup, you need to have vegetable stock.  I’m not afraid to make a vegetable soup with chicken stock, but sometimes it’s good to change it up a bit. Plus having extra vegetables in one’s diet, even if liquid form, is never ever a bad thing.  It’s especially useful when you get these wonderful looking leeks from the farmer market and you don’t want to let the tough green parts go to waste.

It’s also really easy and exactly like making chicken stock minus the chicken bones.  So, take all the vegetable butts (remember those?) out of your freezer, add the leek tops and any other veggie pieces you have lying about, put ’em in your crock pot, add water, turn on low and wait until the veggies don’t really look like veggies anymore. (4-8 hours).  By the way, the crock pot is my favorite way of cooking things. I use it at least twice a week and I’m considering getting another one… anyone have an extra they want to get rid of? 😉

Potato Leek Soup (not creamy)

  • Stock
  • 3-4 small Potatoes, chopped
  • 2 Leeks, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • thyme, marjoram, bay leaf (or anything you like)
  • salt and pepper
  • butter/olive oil

I like to saute the leeks in a little butter and season them with salt, pepper and herbs* (not the bay yet).  Once they’ve gotten soft and smell even better than they did raw, add the chopped garlic and saute another minute or so.  Add a little bit of stock and de-glaze the bottom of the pan, then add the potatoes and enough stock to cover them and the bay leaf.  Bring it to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft.  I like to squish them a little bit after they’ve cooked, just so there’s a nice mix of potato chunks and mashed potatoes.  This is how I made this week’s soup, but here’s another version that’s also good!

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

  • Same ingredients as above
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk

Some differences – This way has to use butter and the measurements are important.  Also, you’ll want the potatoes to be precooked. I usually bake them and then chop them up to add to the soup.

Saute the leeks in 2 tbsp butter.  Once the leeks are soft, add the herbs* and 2 tbsp flour to make a roux.  Cook the roux, stirring almost constantly until the flour and butter have been incorporated together.  This usually takes about 3-5 minutes.  When your roux is ready, add 1/2 cup stock and whisk until the roux has been incorporated and then add another 1/2 cup of stock and the milk.  Bring to a simmer for a few minutes – you’ll know it’s ready when the soup has thickened a bit; It will thicken more as it cools.

*This is when I add dry herbs.  If you are using fresh ones (lucky) then add them at the end.

Garlic Scape and Sorrel Soup

I love Garlic Scapes. I love Sorrel. Naturally, I must combine the two. And obviously, I have to combine them in my favorite mode – soup.  I don’t care that it’s the hottest day we’ve had this year.  I want soup. It’s still soup if it’s served cool, right? Or does it have a different name?

Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scape and Sorrel Soup

  • 1 cup(ish) chopped Garlic Scapes
  • 1 cup(ish) chopped Sorrel
  • 1 chopped garlic clove (or more if you really love garlic)
  • 2 chopped medium potatoes
  • 1 quart chicken broth (make your own 🙂 it’ll taste better)
  • butter
  • salt, pepper, any other herb that strikes your fancy
  • Milk – enough to thin out the soup or to taste

Saute the garlic scapes for a few minutes, then add the garlic clove and saute a few more minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil and add the potatoes.  Cook them until tender.  Add the sorrel and let it wilt for a bit and then blend everything until smooth. Add milk. Taste and add seasoning as needed.

Extra delicious with a slice of fresh bread with butter.

Scape and Sorrel Soup

Pseudo Soup

We need to clear a few things up…

I love soup. I don’t think I can stress that enough. I will make any regular meal into a soup if I’m given the chance. If I had to choose between a million dollars and a bowl of delicious soup, the sole reason that I would pick the money is that it would buy me A LOT more than just one bowl of soup.

When everyone else is celebrating and rejoicing in the increasingly warm weather, I secretly lament the months and months I will have to go without soup. Maybe not so secretly. The first day of warm weather will see me scrambling about making one last batch of soup. And then another, and another, until finally someone will point out that it is just way to hot for soup. (Beka, it’s the 4th of July, don’t you think it’s a bit warm for that?)

So here we are in May and it’s been 90 outside and all I want is soup, but it IS seriously way to hot for soup. So, what’s a girl to do?

PSEUDO SOUP!

Swiss Chard, Beans, Bacon, Cheese, Irish Soda Bread – served NOT piping hot

Dinner

Tonight we had tacos and guacamole on tortillas for dinner.  The past few nights we had white chicken chili with cabbage slaw.  Simple quick dinners, right?  Not so much.  It sometimes takes me three days to make one meal (one meal that can be eaten for a few days of course!).

White Chicken Chili – chicken, beans, peppers (and you’re probably asking how that could take soo long, don’t worry, I’ll tell you.)

For chili you need beans.  Beans come in a can, but cans are expensive, and wasteful, and who knows what is put in them.  So dried beans it is.  To eat the chili on Tuesday, the process starts on Monday morning.  Rinse and pick through beans and put them in a pot with a lot of water.  Monday night, drain, add new water. Tuesday morning, drain, add more water.  Put them in the crock pot Tuesday afternoon with some chicken stock (good thing I made that on Saturday so I have stock and chicken to put in the chili already), an onion, jalapenos, pepper, cayenne, cumin, and fresh garlic. Cook on high for a few hours, then add the chicken and heat on low for another hour or so.

One meal for the week done… now to start the next.

Tacos must have tortillas, and being me, I must make them.

Tacos on Thursday night means starting the tortillas on Wednesday night.  I use my sourdough starter, a cup of whole wheat flour and 1/4 of lard (yes, lard).  It’s a recipe for crackers that I found on Kitchen Stewardship, but it works awesome for tortillas.Mix it all together and let it sit in a tupperware until I’m ready to cook the tortillas.

Thursday night, make guacamole and taco filling.  I added an equal amount of refried beans to the taco meat to double the amount of filling I had. I made the refried beans the last time we had tacos and used half in that batch and froze half for later.

Can you tell half of that is beans?  Secret veggies!!!

On to the tortillas. After rolling them out, I put them in a cast iron pan and fry for a min or less on each side.

After you’re done, it’ll look something like this

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