New Mexican Posole

Pork PosolePork Posole from scratch
This is a beautiful recipe. We have made it several times over the past couple years and each time it surprises me how good it really is. The warmth of the spices and the rounded flavors from the fatty pork, combined with the brightness of the cilantro hit the spot every time. It’s home in a bowl. This weekend looks to be dark and rainy for a lot of us across the Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma region and I can think of no better recipe to make for staying inside and taking comfort in being home than this one. ¬†Serve it with tortillas or cornbread for extra comfort!

These past few weeks have been hard. One or more of us has been sick since the very beginning of March. We’ve had the flu, some weird pink eye thing, a cough that lasted three weeks, the stomach flu and double ear infections – twice. I’ve felt at times over these weeks that it doesn’t really matter what I cook – everyone is just going to either not be in the mood to eat, barf it up, or wish they just had a cracker, anyway. It’s so hard to keep going and to keep doing what you love when life starts throwing crap your way. It’s so easy to give up and get fast food every day. (And I did.) But then, you feel worse. And so you go through the cycle again and it just doesn’t get better until you step back and plan ahead and make a few meals a week that FEEL good and nurture your body AND your spirit. (That can include cookies.) You don’t have to do it every day – but a couple times a week, it’s worth the effort. And it pays off in really good leftovers. ūüôā

I hope you are all well this week. And if you’re not, seriously, text me and let me know and I’ll bring you some soup.New Mexican Posole

Posole

New Mexican Posole

  • 1 ¬Ĺ pounds hominy
  • 3 ounces dried red New Mexico chiles (about 10 large chiles)
  • 4¬†pounds pork shoulder, not too lean, cut in 2-inch chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved and stuck with 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted until fragrant and coarsely ground
  • 2 cups finely diced white onion, soaked in ice water, for garnish
  • Lime wedges and cilantro for garnish

Drain hominy and put in large soup pot. Cover with water and bring to boil. Let simmer briskly for 30 minutes.

Toast dried chiles lightly in cast-iron skillet or stovetop grill, just until fragrant. Wearing gloves, slit chiles lengthwise with paring knife. Remove and discard stems and seeds. Put chiles in saucepan and cover with 4 cups water. Simmer 30 minutes and let cool. In blender, purée chiles to a smooth paste using some cooking water as necessary. Purée should be of milkshake consistency.

Season pork generously with salt and pepper. After posole has cooked 30 minutes, add pork shoulder, onion stuck with cloves, bay leaf, garlic and cumin. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches, then return to a brisk simmer. While adding water occasionally and tasting broth for salt, simmer for about 2 1/2 hours more, until meat is tender. Skim fat from surface of broth.

Stir in 1 cup chile purée and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning. (At this point, posole can be cooled completely and reheated later. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.)

To serve, ladle posole, meat and broth into wide bowls. Pass bowls of diced onion, lime wedges, cilantro and oregano, and let guests garnish to taste.

*recipe adapted from the New York Times Cooking

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup - spin on the traditional Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup
I placed Olive’s bowl at the table first so it would have time to cool down while I got mine and Matt’s ready. I started hearing Olive saying, “Mmm!” and “This is so good and juicy, Mama” and at first I assumed she was putting on another one-act play because Olive hasn’t been too enthusiastic about meals, lately. ¬†Certainly not enthusiastic enough to compliment the food. ¬†Usually, it seems as if she just merely tolerates food until she can get down and play again. ¬†And as I thought back while she was inhaling this soup, I remembered the last time she was this enthusiastic about food, it had very similar ingredients in a potato curry Matt made. ¬†She is apparently our Asian flavor lover. ¬†And I love that. ¬†I love that she won’t bat an eye at cilantro, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and lemongrass. ¬†She will certainly protest if I try to get her to eat…lettuce, or something else benign like that. ¬†But big, bold flavors are her bag (as long as it’s not SPICY!) And the occasional chorus of “mmm” and “this is good, Mama,” is so few and far between that I make mental note of the dishes that inspire that response in her. ¬†I never thought I’d care so much about someone’s opinion of food until I had a child. ¬†But sharing food and sharing a JOY of food is precious and even more so when that person is family.

We’ve done a few spins on classic dishes in the past¬†and have loved the results. We’ve done biscuits and curry “gravy” and a green chili corn chowder and loved the fusion of classic American dishes and flavors from other cultures. ¬†I made up a spin on the classic Campbell’s Chicken and Rice you may have grown up eating, but instead, included all the flavors we love from Asian cultures. ¬†It was super comforting and would be fantastic for a cold, rainy day like we’re having today. ¬†I didn’t have coconut milk, but I think it would be a fantastic addition in place of the heavy cream. ¬†This soup is built with lots and lots of taste-testing along the way. ¬†Every soup should be, I think. ¬†So I’m giving approximate ingredient amounts, but I encourage you to taste and add things you love for yourself. ¬†We added Sriracha (of course) and lots and lots of cilantro as a garnish and some tasty frozen Vietnamese egg rolls for a side and enjoyed the heck out of this dish. ¬†I hope you do, too! ¬†Happy Monday.

Chinese Chicken and Rice

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup

2 cups shredded chicken from two chicken breasts or 4 chicken legs/thighs (bone in)
2 kaffir lime leaves
A two inch piece of peeled ginger
2 stalks lemongrass, split
1/2 white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk)
salt to taste
1 cup jasmine rice
1 carrot, diced small

In a large stock pot, add¬†the (raw) chicken (bone-in) and cover with water till it’s submerged by abut 2 inches. Add the kaffir lime leaves (can be found at most chinese markets in the freezer or fridge section – this isn’t¬†essential but it gives the soup that¬†thing that I can’t describe but it’s wonderful), ginger, lemongrass, onion and garlic and bring the water to a boil. ¬†Let the chicken boil until the internal temp registers at least 165 when inserted into the thickest part of the meat. ¬†Remove the chicken, let it cool, and pull off all the meat. ¬†Return the bones to the pot and let it continue to boil while you cook the rice.

In a small saucepan, add 1 3/4 cups water, a tablespoon of olive oil, the diced carrot and a pinch of salt and the cup of rice.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, stir and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes until tender.

Remove the chicken bones, the lemongrass and onion and discard. ¬†Return the shredded meat to the pot. ¬†Add the vinegar, sugar, fish sauce¬†and salt to the broth until it tastes…right. ūüôā This is the point where you need to trust your palate. You may like it with more vinegar or more sugar, more fish sauce, whatever. ¬†I tasted and adjusted and then added the heavy cream.

Spoon rice into bowls and ladle the chicken soup on top.  Garnish with LOTS of cilantro and serve!

White Bean Stew with Smoked Sausage and Kale – Using Up Leftovers!

Scrappy Stew - White Beans, Kale and Roast Chicken
So it seems winter is going to beat us down at least one more time before spring officially arrives. ¬†Maybe more, but I’m hoping for just one last hurrah. ¬†I used to love winter and all its coziness and hot tea and warm socks. ¬†But now that I’m a mother of two little people, I find winter to be quite suffocating. ¬†I just NEED there to be the option to go outside. ¬†When I had Ellie back in November, I quickly taught Ollie how to open the backyard door by herself. ¬†That was probably the best move I made all year. ¬†She could come and go while I fed the baby and everyone was happy. ¬†But when it snows, there’s this expectation from Ollie that we MUST GO OUTSIDE NOW AND YOU MUST GO WITH ME. ¬†And it just isn’t that easy. ¬†And frankly, as most of you know, it takes 15 minutes to get a child bundled up to go outside and then 5 minutes for them to get so cold they want to come back in. ¬†I fail to see how it’s worth the effort.

The one thing I DO love about cold weather is the food. I love making a huge pot of beans and eating it over the following days in various ways. ¬†Over cornbread, with smoked sausage, in a quesadilla, with a fried egg, whatever, it’s all good. ¬†And this most recent batch of stew we made was my favorite. ¬†Because Matt made it. ¬†Seriously, though, we both make our beans in the same way and much in the spirit of the Family Meal Blog, I always love when a recipe is made by someone else in this family. ¬†This stew also does my most favorite thing in the entire kitchen-world: it uses up leftovers! ¬†We threw in a half used can of diced tomatoes, a handful of kale, onion, and some¬†leftover turkey and sausage from a local bbq joint¬†and it was frankly, amazing. ¬†The beauty of a good bean stew is that you can add anything and if the beans are good, you’re good to go. ¬†For this, I recommend using dried beans instead of canned, although canned would cut the prep/cook time by a good 8 hours. ¬†They just don’t have the depth of flavor that starting with dried beans does. ¬†And because we’re a part of Rancho Gordo’s Bean of the Month Club, (yes) I recommend you get their beans if you can find them!

White Bean and Kale Stew

 

White Bean Stew with Smoked Sausage and Kale

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 2-3 hours, plus overnight soak
  • Print

*start this recipe the day before you want to eat it! Modified for a slow cooker below the recipe!

1 lb dried white beans, such as canellini
2 bay leaves
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced (these three ingredients together are called mire poix)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 can fire roasted tomatoes (we used half a can because that’s what we had leftover in our fridge)
1 smoked sausage link, chopped
4 oz. smoked turkey breast
1 small bunch of kale, rinsed and chopped

The night before you want to eat this stew, rinse the beans and then submerge them in a large stockpot by about 2 inches of water along with the bay leaf.

In the morning, bring the beans to a boil in the same water you soaked them in and add the onion, carrot and celery and garlic cloves. ¬†Season with salt and pepper. ¬†Reduce to an active simmer and cook until beans are tender. ¬†This time can really vary. ¬†I’d say on average, I have the beans simmering for about 2 hours before they are a texture I like. ¬†Some like al dente beans. ¬†I’m not one of those people. ¬†I also don’t like them to be total mush, like canned, but it’s your preference, really. ¬†Just start tasting them after an hour and keep going if you’re not satisfied.

After about an hour of simmering, add in the tomatoes and meats (and honestly, the meats were leftovers in our fridge. You could add bacon, ground beef, no meat at all Рthis soup will be amazing no matter what).  Toss the kale in about 30 minutes before serving and adjust the seasoning of the stew with extra salt and pepper.  Remove the bay leaves and serve with crusty buttered bread.

Slow Cooker Note: this could all be done in a slow cooker if you wanted to get it on before you go to work.  Just soak the beans in a large slow cooker overnight with the bay leaves with at least 2-3 inches of water covering the beans.  In the morning before you leave for work, add in the mire poix and garlic and turn it to low.  When you get home, add in the rest of the ingredients and turn it on high for about 30 minutes to let it boil.  Adjust the seasoning and serve.

Creamy Roasted Carrot Soup

roasted carrot soup with cayenne and ginger
Fall means soup. ¬†Soup means it’s cold enough outside to not want to die at the thought of eating soup for dinner. ¬†And it being cold enough outside seems to make everything around here better. ¬†I sleep better, we can play outside longer without my redhead overheating and everything just feels fresh. ¬†And I’m a bit of a broken record when it comes to hailing soups as a surefire way to get your kids to eat their vegetables, but I’m going to say it, again. ¬†Cooking just about any vegetable and pureeing it into a soup is the easiest way to get a baby, toddler, picky adult to eat a vegetable otherwise sneered at due to its texture or appearance. ¬†Olive used to eat asparagus. ¬†But then, she turned two and decided she was no longer interested. ¬†But the other day I made a batch of asparagus soup and she drank it down. ¬†Same flavor, different delivery vehicle. ¬†And when you add a piece of crusty, buttery bread on the side, the soup suddenly seems like a complete meal.

My go-to soup in the fall is usually butternut squash. ¬†But I nearly always have a half-used bag of carrots in the fridge, waiting to become something more exciting than diced up for chicken pot pie. ¬†The other day I made this soup and I loved it. ¬†We ate on it for several days – always a good side dish or starter, and good for dunking toasted bread. ¬†I don’t need to say it, again, but this batch of soup would fill up about 12 baby food jars. ¬†Can you lend 30 minutes to making a vegetable soup? ¬†How about $3 for a 2lb bag of carrots? ¬†How much is a jar of baby food, again? ¬†You get the point.

Yay, soup!

roasted carrot soup
Roasted Carrot Soup
serves 6-8

1 sweet onion, diced
3 TBS olive oil
2 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
ground ginger and paprika for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat until it shimmers.  Toss in the onion and saute until tender but not browned, about 5-6 minutes.  Add in the carrots and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring to coat in the oil.  Add the stock and let the pot come to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.  Puree directly in the pot with an immersion blender, or take in batches to a standard blender and puree until smooth.  If you used a standard blender, return the soup to the pot and add the heavy cream.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and then ladle into bowls and sprinkle with ground ginger, paprika and a splash of cream or sour cream.

Green Chile and Corn Chowder

green chile and corn chowder
Matt’s been talking for a few weeks, now, about the corn chowder I made around this time last year. ¬†I made a curried corn chowder when we lived in our apartment a few years ago and it was definitely something to write home about, although no one wrote about it and we just enjoyed it, as people tended to do before Facebook. ¬†Last year, the chowder was more traditional, but nonetheless delicious, and for some reason, so summery, despite its warmth and chowdery-ness. ¬†Sweet summer corn, smoked bacon, and this year: the addition of roasted green chiles.

The joys of making a soup or stew, for me, are in the slow development of flavors, and figuring out the best way to go about that process.  This time, I knew I wanted to really preserve that sweet corn flavor while at the same time, bring in a little heat and umami that a roasted green chile can provide.  So,  at the beginning of cooking, I let the chilies and half the corn roast together and I let the trimmed corn cobs boil in the broth the entire time, to draw out the sweet milkiness that is left after you trim the corn off the cobs.  I pureed half the ingredients to blend up the chile skins, which I left on for flavor, and then added more chilies and fresh corn at the end, along with super smoky bacon to round everything out.  The results were pretty balanced;  just enough heat from the chilies, sweetness from the corn, and perfect with a crusty piece of bread to soak up all those flavors.

Summer is winding down and even if you miss out on making this soup while everything is still fresh, the method of cooking will give you wonderful flavors well into the winter soup months.  Enjoy!

green chile corn chowder
Roasted Green Chile and Corn Chowder
serves 6-8

4 strips of thick cut bacon, cut into 1/4″ strips
1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 ribs celery, diced (about a cup)
4 roasted green chilies (two whole, two peeled, seeded and diced)
4 ears of corn, kernels removed and cobs reserved
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
5 ounces small, fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/2″ slices
1 1/2 cups half and half

Cook bacon in a large stock pot over medium-high heat until fat renders and bacon crisps.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel to drain.

Add onions, celery, two whole green chilies (stems removed) and half the corn kernels to the pan and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent.  Add chicken stock and corn cobs and bring to a boil.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the cobs from the broth and discard.  Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender until very smooth.   If you used a blender, return the pureed soup back to the pot and add the remaining corn, potatoes and chilies and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.  Add half and half and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Stir in the bacon and bring the soup back up to a simmer. You can also just use the bacon as a garnish if you want it to remain crispy. Serve with crusty, buttery bread and enjoy!

 

 

Rustic Vichyssoise (potato and leek soup)

Vichyssoise 2
Too hot outside for another soup recipe?  What if I told you it was a cold soup?  Would that change your mind or keep you further away?  We are okay with gazpacho so why not potato and leek?  Maybe if it had a fancy French name?  Vichyssoise (pronounced vishy-swah) is a silky potato soup, cooled down with cream and it might just become your new favorite soup.

A French chef at the Ritz in the 1950s, Louis Diat,¬†was¬†credited with this soup’s [cold] invention. ¬†He said as a boy, he and his brother would cool off the potato and leek soup his grandmother would make, by pouring milk or cream into the hot soup. ¬†He loved the experience so much, he wanted to create a soup for his patrons at the Ritz similar to the soup he had as a boy.

I haven’t quite gotten behind the cold version, yet. ¬†I think the silky potato soup is amazing hot and it has so much depth. ¬†For a dish that has so few ingredients, it tastes like it has a dozen. The potato/leek combination is rather magical in and of itself. ¬†Matt loves the cold version (chill the soup first, then add cream, or you’ll just end up with lukewarm soup if you add cream to hot soup) I love it hot, Olive loves it somewhere in between and once again, this is a great way to provide vegetables for a great little eater who is otherwise distracted by the experience of being two ūüôā

I, of course, defaulted to my favorite French cookbook for the recipe – Winnie never steers me wrong!

Vichyssoise 1
Rustic Vichyssoise* (rustic because I forgot to peel the potatoes first)

2 TBS unsalted butter
2 medium-size leeks (or one Texas size – white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed and chopped, about 1 cup)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I had beef broth on hand and it turned out great)
1.5 lbs yellow or white potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped(or unpeeled if you forget and want to call it rustic :))
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 TBS heavy cream
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives for garnish

Melt the butter in a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the leeks and cook, stirring, until tender but not brown, 4 to 5 minutes.  Pour in the broth slowly and then add the potatoes and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and cook at an active simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Blend in the pot with an immersion blender until no chunks of potato remain (or, working in batches, puree in a blender).  Stir in the cream and season with extra salt and pepper, if needed.  Garnish with fresh chives and add extra cream to your liking.  For making traditional Vichyssoise, chill the soup for a few hours and then add about 1/4 cup cold cream or half and half to each serving.  Re-season as needed.

*slightly adapted from the Bonne Femme Cookbook

Chilled Strawberry Soup

Chilled Strawberry Soup
I ran across this interesting recipe last week and wanted desperately to try it.  A chilled strawberry soup!  What could be more summery or fun?

The original recipe called for Riesling and a garnish of black pepper and olive oil and next time I do it, I really want to try that version. ¬†Since I would be serving it to Olive and wouldn’t be cooking the alcohol out, I decided to alter the 1/2 cup of Riesling for lime juice and I think the results were so refreshing. ¬†Some might call this a smoothie, and it basically is, but it’s thinner and if you go the adult version route, it would certainly be more elevated than a smoothie. ¬†Olive loved this different snack and I loved it for breakfast this morning! ¬†I garnished the soup with a bit of chocolate mint from my plant out back. ¬†Did you know there was such a thing as chocolate mint?! ¬†I didn’t but was intrigued and I think there is a subtle smooth difference between it and basic sweet mint (which has the quintessential “gum” flavor). ¬†I thought mint and hints of chocolate would be great on a strawberry soup and it was – next time I may even add some dark chocolate shavings as a garnish!

Enjoy! ¬†It’s a hot one out there, today!

Chilled Strawberry Soup
makes about 3 cups

3 cups strawberries, hulled
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice from two large limes (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup raw honey
Garnish: mint, chocolate, cracked pepper

Put all ingredients except the garnish in a blender or food processor and blend for about a minute, scraping down the sides. ¬†If you want to go the extra mile, strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Chill for at least an hour and garnish as you wish! ¬†(I didn’t chill ours at all and it was great).

Chicken Avocado Taquitos with Red Pepper Soup

chicken taquitos with green chili
These recipes jumped off the screen last Monday when I was looking for something quick, nutritious and slightly comforting to make for my family. ¬†Both recipes come from the great world of Pinterest and they paired together like old friends. ¬†The first was baked chicken taquitos and I improvised from the original recipe a bit and added avocado (because it improves nearly everything) and green chili powder instead of cayenne. ¬†Both additions worked well and I’ll definitely make this recipe again!

The second recipe comes from a dear friend and fellow food blogger, Becky McGrew of Apronclad.com! ¬†She made this roasted red pepper soup a while back and I have kept it in the back of my head as yet another wonderful soup to introduce new flavors to our little two-year old, Olive. ¬†The soup made a wonderful dip for the taquitos and was obviously wonderful on its own as a starter/side dish for the meal. ¬†It has some Italian herbs in it, which are awesome, but I think next time to match up a little better with the Mexican theme, I think I’d omit the basil and thyme and add in Mexican oregano and cilantro to finish. ¬†Whatever you do, just make this soup. ¬†It’s outstanding! ¬†I didn’t mess with the recipe at all, so just go on over to Becky’s blog and get the recipe there, plus very nice step-by-step instructions!

chicken taquitos

Baked Chicken Avocado Taquitos*

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ¬Ĺ inch thickness
¬Ĺ teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon green chili powder
¬Ĺ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
8 6-inch flour tortillas
1 cup shredded mexican blend or cheddar cheese
1 large, ripe avocado
Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil and spray heavily with cooking spray.

In a small bowl whisk together garlic salt, green chili powder, onion powder and cumin. Rub seasoning into both sides of chicken breasts. Spray a large pan or skillet with cooking spray and cook chicken over medium heat about 8-10 minutes or until cooked through. Chop chicken up into small cubes. Divide chicken evenly among all tortillas, spreading the chicken into a strip down the middle of each tortilla. Top chicken with about 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese and a few pieces of avocado. Tightly roll each tortilla into a taquito. Place end side down on prepared baking sheet. Spray taquitos heavily with cooking spray. Bake 10-15 minutes until tortilla edges begin to brown/blacken and cheese is melty. We dipped ours into the soup and also our favorite РMexican crema!  Seriously, so much more flavor than sour cream!

*adapted from Creme de la Crumb

Zucchini Basil Soup with Stove Top Fritters

Zucchini Basil Soup
I’m happy to have resurrected this soup! ¬†Matt and I made it a long time ago when we were still doing the 800 sq ft apartment thing and then again when a friend of ours invited her dad over and we needed to fix low sodium, low fat recipes since he had recently had heart surgery. ¬† Matt’s father also has heart troubles, so it’s always refreshing to find healthy recipes to share that taste as decadent as a full-fat option. ¬†This soup is so perfect for the coming zucchini-overload we all will have soon (as it’s the only vegetable that seems to have no trouble in our awful climate) and basil, the herb that’s also hard to kill. ¬†It’s got all the depth of flavor of a soup that has been slowly cooked with butter and cream only – it has neither! ¬†It isn’t even made with stock – just water! ¬†So the sodium is only what you add for taste. ¬†I bet in one batch, I added a little over a teaspoon of salt. ¬†And it serves six! ¬†Can you tell I’m excited about this soup?!
zucchini basil soup and stuffing fritters
One other merit of soups from a mother of a toddler’s perspective, is that they are a perfect way to get more variety of vegetables and flavors into our newly opinionated children. ¬†Olive has eaten zucchini, pesto, fresh basil from the garden, etc, before, but suddenly, she’s on a suspicious, won’t-try-anything-green bender. ¬†Drives me batty because I KNOW she would like most things if she’d just try them. ¬†Sound familiar? ¬†What does NOT work is forcing, tricking, cajoling, pleading, prodding or manipulating your kids to eat. ¬†They can smell your tricks a mile away and they’ve come prepared with an iron will. ¬†This is pretty natural and resistance is futile. ¬†But soups. ¬†Olive has willingly eaten this soup twice in the past 4 days. ¬†It’s green! ¬†It’s got darker green chunks in it! ¬†Why will she try it? ¬†My guess is texture. ¬†No chunks – pureed and easy to sip from a cup so she has full control. ¬†When Olive doesn’t want to try something, I ask her to just smell it. ¬†If she smells it, 99% of the time she’ll try a bite. ¬†And I’ve learned to be happy with One Happy Bite, as much as it flies against my¬†need to control the situation.

So. ¬†If you have a child who is resisting new textures/colors/flavors, try soups. ¬†I know it seems like a regression back to the baby food days, but if that’s what it takes to keep the flavors and colors changing on your child’s plate, I say it’s worth it. ¬†Children get used to variety if variety is the norm.

Without further babbling, here’s the recipe! ¬†Also, I paired the soup with a not-so-saintly fritter made from leftover Stove Top Stuffing. ¬†No kidding. ¬†They were FABULOUS as a little crispy soup-companion! ¬†I topped them with herbed goat cheese and they tasted downright fancy. ¬†Happy Meatless Monday!

Zucchini Basil Soup with Stove Top Fritters
Zucchini Basil Soup with Stove Top Fritters*

serves 4-6

2 lbs zucchini, peeled, trimmed and cut crosswise into 2″ pieces
1 small onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups of water
1/3 cup packed basil leaves

Cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat in a 3-4 quart stock pot until the onion starts to soften.  Add chopped zucchini and about a teaspoon of kosher salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring.  Cover with the water and let it come to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, until the zucchini is soft and easily pierced with a fork.

Add the basil and puree in two batches in a blender (watch out blending hot liquids and make sure it has a vent or you’ve got your hand firmly on that lid!) or, blend directly in the pot with an immersion blender, which is what I do. ¬†Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with fritters, toast, or as a starter for your three-course fancy-schmancy dinner! ūüôā

*taken from Epicurious.com

Stuffing Fritters
Stove-Top Stuffing Fritters

2 cups leftover cornbread stuffing
1/4 cup water
1 large egg
olive oil for frying

In a medium bowl, combine the stuffing, water and egg and if the mixture won’t come together after a bit of stirring, add a little more water until you can form the stuffing into small patties. ¬†I used a medium sized cookie scoop and it worked well. ¬†Heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil (or any vegetable oil) over medium-high heat and fry the fritters about 3-5 minutes per side until golden brown. ¬†Drain on paper towels and keep the cooked fritters in a 250 degree oven until the rest are done and you’re ready to serve. ¬†This will keep them crispy and warm!

 

Rustic Tortellini Soup

Tortellini Soup
I love this recipe because it first evokes memories of eating at a very dear friend’s house, second, it is incredibly flavorful and hearty and third, it is SO very simple to throw together. ¬†It also makes enough for 8-10 people! ¬†AND it tastes better and better the longer it sits in your fridge! ¬†The glories of a good soup.

I had this soup for the first time at our friend, Rod and Jill’s house. ¬†Rod and Jill were our travel buddies on our awesome road trip to Seattle last summer and besides sharing a love of recreational vehicles, we share a love of food and cooking! ¬†Jill made this soup on a fall afternoon and invited us over last minute to share it. ¬†No one in their right mind turns down a free meal and we have even been known to cancel our plans if we receive a dinner invitation last-minute. ¬†Yes, I think it’s that important to take someone up on their offer to share a meal with you. ¬†Drop what you’re doing, don’t worry about the details and just say “when can we be there and what can we bring?” (although I’m of the belief that you should not bring a dish to a dinner invitation unless you ask first! ¬†If they say “nothing” then by golly, bring nothing! If you must bring something, bring wine!)

We may be exiting out of soup season with the coming of warmer weather, but since this could basically double as a pasta dish, I think a nice, crisp salad and some bread would turn it into an amazing summer-patio meal as well! ¬†The tomato/basil/celery flavors are certainly reminiscent of summer! ¬†Whenever you make it, I know you’ll love it and keep it in your recipe arsenal for future use!

Tortellini and Sausage Soup

Rustic Tortellini Soup*
serves 8-10

1 lb ground sausage (I used Wright’s hot and spicy)
1 onion, chopped fine
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
2-14 oz. cans fire roasted tomatoes
2-14 oz. cans white beans (cannelini or great northern – drain one can and puree the other can in its juices)
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups beef broth
2 lbs tortellini (any flavor РI found mine in the refrigerator section near the cheese)
a small bunch of fresh basil

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sausage and then set aside to drain on paper towels.  Pour out all but a tablespoon of oil and saute the onion and celery until they begin to soften. Add the two cans of tomatoes (with juices) and the drained and pureed beans.  Stir to combine everything and then add the broth and wine and bring to a boil, tasting for salt, pepper and adjust your tastes with more wine if you want.  Add in several of the basil leaves and let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes.

Cook the tortellini to the package instructions and put about a 1/2 cup in each bowl and then top with the tomato/sausage soup.  Garnish with some chopped basil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese if you like.

*I would like to note that Jill’s recipe is better than mine. ¬†I asked her via email if she knew it by heart and she said things like, “I think it was this much” and “I sometimes do this instead” and while I LOVED the way this version turned out, I have fonder memories of hers. ¬†So this soup can be altered and flavored to your tastes!