My sister gave me a great cookbook a few years ago – The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones. Its small size reflects the smaller-serving meals that fill the pages.
I’ve been playing with variations of the basic vegetable soup recipe. I used to try and make soup by just throwing stuff together…and that’s what it often ended up tasting like. This recipe has the basics, and I can build from that and end up with a great, simple soup.
I made one last week, sauteeing the vegetables I could find in the fridge in a little butter. I often buy a small container of cut up veggies because I can get a variety of about six different veggies in a few servings, and these make great additions to the soup.
So I sautéed green onion, celery, carrot, broccoli and cauliflower. Tossed in a few roasted peppers I had baked a few days before. Everything simmers in some chicken stock, and I toss in a few frozen spinach pucks, a little cream and lemon/lime juice or white wine to finish it off.
It might be the best spring-like day we’ve had this year. After tiring the dog out on a long walk this morning, I opened the doors and windows and started to cook. I have had a good turnover rate lately for the eating through the food I cook on the weekends and pack away in single serving meals for lunch and dinner.
After the line was full of laundry – the first wind-dried sheets of the year! – I started prepping and filling the kitchen counters with ingredients.
steamed broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, grated cheddar, some frozen tomato sauce and frozen diced tomatoes…and more turned into
smoked maple pork chili
broccoli, ham and cheddar quiche, and broccoli, mushroom and gorgonzola quiche
It’s one way to help the work week get off to a great start…the promise of tasty meals just a freezer drawer away.
Have a great week whatever is on the menu!
Winter isn’t over yet, but we’ve had hints of the warmer, lighter weather to come.
That’s got me thinking about how the food I make also changes with the season. In winter, I love having homemade soup that I’ve made on the weekend, frozen in little containers for workday lunches.
But I’m ready for a change. And I think brown rice might be the answer. I love the taste and often shy away because it takes 45 minutes to cook. But on a weekend, I can always find the time to make it while the rest of the meal is marinating or baking.
I made brown rice tonight to go with some trout and kale salad. And the leftover will become a great hardy salad that combines the woodsy chew of the rice, grated carrots, green onions, probably some feta and a little dressing. I might add some of the leftover trout in for extra protein, or cooked chicken, hardboiled egg or leftover baked sausage bit.
Stack it all in a wide mouthed jar for lunch that tastes and looks great.
Here’s a greek salad with brown rice,
And some great salad in a jar recipes.
What do you make to mark the coming spring season?
In the winter, I often make soup on Sunday to fill the freezer with lunch-sized portions.
Just before the holidays, I tried a new take on squash soup. My go to is curry with apple and always wine. But I mixed it up with Butternut Bisque from Simply in Season, one of the best seasonal cookbooks I know.
I used all yogurt for the yogurt/evaporated milk part. And I added just a splash of white wine which apparently wafts through the lunchroom at work as I slowly simmer up the soup at work.
After a tasting sample – to be sure it’s worthy – I freeze it in lunchtime soup-size containers. And cheese is almost always added as a garnish…preferably feta.
I love when it gets cool enough for sweaters, socks, scarves…and soup. Here are a few that we’re whipping together these days.
Martha Stewart’s lentil soup is a new favourite of mine. And I would never have crossed the street for lentils, until this recipe. Must be the bacon (nastier than ever if you believe the WHO, but still delicious). I often just use a can of cooked lentils to save time, with no compromise on the flavour.
Squash, curry and apples in any combination make a great harvest soup. I often bake acorn squash first, then saute onions, chunks of apple and curry. Then add in chicken stock and the baked squash – simmer for a while then blend altogether with a mixer. And adjust seasoning.
This Epicurious mushroom barley soup is one of my sister’s favourites. It’s easy, hearty and the little hint of sherry makes a big difference.
And we both regularly roast whatever veggies are in the frig, in a little olive oil and any season you like. And after the first feed in roasted form, we simmer the leftovers in stock til everything is softened up and melded together. Then puree and tweak the seasoning. I often add a little cream and my staple seasoning (see last line). The flavour is never the same, but always delicious.
Whatever soup I’m making, some combination of white wine, lemon juice and feta topping finds its way into every pot and serving.