Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Two-fer Post: Spontaneous Soup; But First, Some Stitching! {Gail}

I’ll start with stitching progress lest you think we’ve become just a cooking blog! I am almost finished with the little crazy quilt block I started on my snow day at Sam’s. You might remember it here. I'm new to this CQ thing and a little hesitant as you might notice: no beads, ribbon embroidery, layered stitches… yet. I feel I am about 90% done with this block. I thought I was all the way done, but it seems to be missing something pink on the left. The ribbon across the top is held down by little *-shaped snowflakes to help keep late January perspective ;) This will become a card, possibly I will keep it for myself – there’s a surprise… I love that little birdie; it makes me smile!

Oops!  That ribbon on the right isn't supposed to be tucked under the mat.
Once the stitching is secured to the cardstock permanently, it will lay atop.
I can see all sorts of ways to assemble the bottom papercrafty section!

And next: I “souped” tonight, with no prior plan. As I was browsing The Cookbook during my menu planning process (yup, I have one) I realized three things. One, I didn’t know what to make for dinner (HAVING a plan doesn’t mean it always works :P); two, there were green beans that really needed using; and three, our 300 Sensational Soups book probably had a recipe that would solve both problems!

 Sure enough, I came across Garden Vegetable Soup, which uses green beans and corn as well as the expected carrots, onion, and tomato. What it didn’t use was celery which you will see anyway in my photos, as I was sure I saw it on the list originally. That means either it spontaneously disappeared from the ingredients (uh-huh) or reading all those soup recipes just had me a little distracted! Hmmm…  
In the plastic bag at the right:
frozen roasted corn from last summer's ears.
Please do not let me forget to do this every summer!
Didn't end up using the celery after all.

Red fingerling potatoes from
my Full Circle Produce box.
They have an interesting golden gleam.

Tonight I skipped the photos of onions frying in the bottom of my stockpot and the whole assembly process because it’s very simple and I’m sure you’ll see plenty of onions frying during the next 3 years of our project ;)  

For the soup, sauté said onions, add most of everything else, simmer, add the rest of everything, simmer, season, and you’re done!  

By the time I chopped and added, chopped and added, things were simmering along quite well, so I set the timer for the first simmering session and left the kitchen, where the beans and corn sat waiting.
Trim and cut the green beans to short lengths,
convenient for fitting on a soup spoon.

Once the timer went off, lucky for me my son was standing right there in the kitchen as teenage boys are likely to do near dinnertime. HE added the beans, corn and parsley, and turned the heat up. After I finished Pinning a few more things ;) I wandered back into the kitchen and it was soup! A bit more salt and we dished those tasty veggies up!

It smells so good and fresh!
The  roasted corn added a nice sweet summery flavor to each bite!

Have a bite!
Have another!
A word about the stock I use. Soup makers and chefs say it all the time – you have to have a good foundation of tasty full-flavored stock/broth. I really love these Kitchen Basics stocks! They are good enough to heat and sip from a mug by themselves. They’re packaged in aseptic containers so that you don’t get that metal flavor you sometimes do, and 4 cups in each package means you aren’t endlessly opening cans. Because their pour spout closes, if you only use a partial package you can just refrigerate it (I write the date it was opened, right on the pkg with Sharpie); use it up by cooking some rice in it if nothing else (freeze the rice if needed – that’s so handy!) Kitchen Basics stocks are either low or no salt added, so you can control the sodium content and saltiness yourself. We LOVE them! We keep 1-3 of each flavor on our pantry shelf at all times: beef, chicken, vegetable, and sometimes turkey or seafood, too. You can find Kitchen Basics a lot of places, including *shock* military commissaries.

This Garden Vegetable Soup gets five thumbs up, not just for flavor which was simple enough to let the veggies shine (that’s three of the thumbs-up, from the soup eaters), also an extra one from the cook for how easy it was to make – it doesn’t get much easier than veggies and broth, salt, pepper, and parsley! – and the last for being such a virtuous healthy January recipe.

Even if it is February today.

Garden Vegetable Soup from
300 Sensational Soups

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