Archive for the ‘soups’ Category

pumpkin soup

pumpkin soup

Pumpkins are fun to carve. But they are even more fun to eat because of their super nutrient-rich value. They contain vital antioxidants like beta carotene; Vitamins A, C, B and E; and minerals niacin, copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

Many varieties of pumpkins are available at your local farmers’ markets.  You can find hundreds of recipes on line, so stock up on your favorites and start using them in your cooking and baking. They store well in a cool dark place, so there is no need to worry that they will go bad.

For this soup I used the traditional orange pumpkin, but you can easily substitute it for any variety you like.


ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2-1/2 whole black peppercorns

Heat oil in pan and stir fry onions and garlic until soft

Add stock, salt, pumpkin, thyme, and peppercorns

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered

Puree the soup in small batches using a food processor or blender

Return to pan, and bring to a boil again

Reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 30 minutes, uncovered

Stir in heavy cream

Pour into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley


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chicken broth soup with tiny meatballs and fresh spinach

chicken broth soup with tiny meatballs and fresh spinach

This traditional dish, sometimes called Italian wedding soup, successfully marries the flavors of meats and greens. My son Marco was feeling a little under the weather so decided to spend a little time making this not only healthy and delicious soup but also quite beautiful. The mini meatballs take a while to prepare but are definitely worth it. Great job Marco!

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ingredients

1/2 pound ground veal

1 egg, beaten

1 small finely minced onion

1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup orzo or pastina

a handful of fresh spinach, washed, trimmed, and torn into bite-size pieces

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In a large bowl, mix the ground veal, egg, onion, bread crumbs, cheese, salt, and pepper to taste

Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls

In a large pot, bring the broth to a simmer

Add the pastina and let it cook according to directions, stirring frequently

Add the meatballs and simmer them in the broth for 10 minutes.

Then stir in the spinach and simmer it until it’s wilted, about 1 minute. Serves 4

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pasta reale in brodo

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You can have this delicious soup in minutes if you have some extra broth in the fridge. It is very similar  to stracciatella soup. I found a written recipe on Simply Italian with Michela Chiappa. Perfect soup for these cold days. Warm, comforting and delicious!

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ingredients

1 egg
pinch of salt and pepper
handful of grated parmesan
handful of breadcrumbs
500 ml chicken stock

to serve

an extra grating of parmesan

¼ tsp of dried chilli flakes (optional)

method

Before you start this recipe you should have your chicken broth bubbling on the stove.

Crack your egg into a bowl and whisk with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then add the parmesan, breadcrumbs and work this mix to form a dough.

Once a dough is formed, hold a cheese grater with large holes over your chicken broth (turn off the heat if the steam is too hot). Push the dough through the cheese grater and allow the tails of pasta to drop directly into the boiling broth, then simmer for about 2-4 minutes.

Serve in a bowl with lots of fresh parmesan on top and a sprinkling of chili flakes, if desired.

Be careful – if your cheese grater is sharp, use the back of a spatula to push the dough through the grater.

It is worth using home-made chicken broth, but alternatively use good quality stock cubes.

If you don’t have parmesan, throw 3 small handfuls of stelline into the water instead for an equally delicious dish.
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cook’s tips

Be careful – if your cheese grater is sharp, use the back of a spatula to push the dough through the grater.

It is worth using home-made chicken broth, but alternatively use good quality stock cubes.

If you don’t have parmesan, throw 3 small handfuls of stelline into the water instead for an equally delicious dish.
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herbivor soup

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The markets are now full of last harvest produce. Take this opportunity to buy a little extra and freeze for use on those cold winter days, when fresh garden tomatoes, peppers and herbs can make a great starter for just about anything.

I called this dish “herbivor soup” because 90% of the veggies are from Herbivor Farm. I visited the farm a few times this summer and even got my hands dirty planting and picking. Not only did I enjoy the experience, but when the time came to cook all these beautiful vegetables, I realized that I was preparing and cooking stress free. I didn’t worry about where these vegetables were grown or if they really are organic, or if they snuck in some pesticide at the last minute.  Lisa and Justin prepared some beautiful and plentiful baskets for their CSA clients (picture above shows items for one basket). Unfortunately for me, the farm is in Ottawa, so I am not able to sign up for a basket.  However, I will definitely visit more often next year.

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Stir-fry some chopped onions and green onions until translucent.

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Add some cut up zucchini, peppers, carrots and cherry tomatoes.

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These are the last string beans from my garden.

The big ones I cooked separately for a side dish and the small ones I added to the soup.

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Let everything cook for about ten minutes, before adding beet tops, swiss chard and Chinese cabbage.

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Add a jar of tomato puree and all your liquids. Here I added the water from the beans and 8 cups of chicken broth

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Add cooked beans at the very end.

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Add a handful of fresh herbs like parsley, basil, celery leaves, kale, dill and whatever else you have left in your garden.

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Let the pot come to a full boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Other spices can be added also.

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IMG_3193These are the first zucchinis I picked this week from my garden. The straight one is 33 inches long. With zucchinis this big, we have to be very innovative on how to prepare them. Maila, my mom’s caregiver, used the zucchini today in two recipes. She cut the neck of the zucchini in 1/4 inch slices and roasted them in the oven with mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top.  The second recipe  is a Filipino tinola soup. The zucchini slices were very good, like mini pizzas. The soup was amazing. Except for the ginger, she used everything fresh from the garden.

roasted zucchiniingredients

1/4″ slices  of zucchini

salt and pepper to taste

slices of mozzarella cheese

olive oil for pizza pan

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oil pan 

place zucchini slices side by side

salt and pepper to taste

cheese slices on tops 

place in 350* oven until cheese is slightly brown

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chicken tinolatinola soup

ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion chopped

2 or 3 garlic bulbs

4 pieces of chicken

1 cup cubed zucchini pieces

celery leaves (5 or 6)

pepper plant leaves (5 or 6)

1″ ginger root sliced

1 cup cooked basmati rice

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heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat

add onions and sauté until tender

add ginger and garlic and chicken pieces  

continue cooking for a few minutes

add leaves and 3 cups of water

cover and simmer until chicken is half done

add zucchini and continue cooking until done

add salt and pepper to taste

pour over rice before serving 

* if you don’t have pepper plant leaves, you can substitute with spinach, kale or swiss chard

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cabbage soup

Whenever I make cabbage soup I always end up adding other vegetables. The end result is very good but it doesn’t have a very strong cabbage flavor. Because I love cabbage so much, this time I decided to keep it simple and only use cabbage with a few spices.

For other cabbage soup recipes please visit The Giant Cabbage.  I came across this interesting blog on cabbage recipes, a collection of more than 200 cabbage recipes by Cherie Stihler.

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ingredients

8 cups stock (heated)

olive oil

chopped onion

chopped garlic

salt / pepper to taste

chopped parsley and basil

chopped red pepper

1 head of cabbage shredded

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In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat

Stir in onion and garlic, cook until onion is nicely browned

Add cabbage and cook until half done, turning frequently

Add red pepper and cook another minute

Add parsley, basil and salt and pepper, turn until blended

Add stock and cook until done

Taste and add more seasoning if needed
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squattone

Squattone is a very simple dish of pasta with wine.  Originating from Torella, Fossalto, Duronia, Frosolone and other mountainous towns in the region of Molise. According to squattone enthusiasts, this simple dish can cure all, from warming up to curing colds, headaches, aches and pains of all kinds.

Squattone is usually served before the main meal. Always served in a bowl, wine is added to a little of the pasta cooking for the main meal including a scoop  of the water. Most people in Duronia still serve this dish and quite a few who emigrated all over the globe are still proud to serve this traditional dish. There is also a Facebook page on squattone.

This year is our associations’ 35th year anniversary. At our yearly get-together we will be starting our meal with “squattone”. I will definitely be posting pictures.

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ingredients

favorite bowl

any kind of pasta you are serving as the main dish including the water

add your favorite wine

enjoy!

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I cook with beans quite a lot all year, more so during the winter. I feel that vegetable soups are not complete if I don’t add a few beans. With all the different varieties out there, you can find the perfect bean to enhance any recipe. A few days ago I cooked some black beans for a change. I always cook these amazing beans that I buy from this lady at the Jean Talon market in June. Actually my mom always bought these beans. She always said that of all the beans she tried through the years these were the ones she likes best. So every June she would buy enough dried beans to last her all year. Now I do exactly the same. However, today, I’ll use these black beans to try a recipe by Crescent Dragonwood, “elsie’s cuban black bean soup”.  I made 2 changes to the original recipe. I used a few small red and yellow peppers instead of the green peppers and I used sticky rice instead of long grain. Another thing I added was chopped parsley.

I was delighted to read in the the Montreal Gazette about Crescent Dragonwood’s new cookbook “Bean by Bean“. It contains 175 recipes for meat and vegetarian meals, as well as the basics about different beans and their origins, and selecting, preparing, cooking and storing them.

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ingredients   (serves 6 to 8)

2 cups of black beans, picked over, rinsed and soaked overnight

2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) of well-flavoured vegetable stock or water

2 bay leaves

1 fresh jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and removed for mildness, or left in for heat, chopped

1/4 to 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil

3 large onions chopped

2 green peppers, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped

4 to 6 cloves garlic, finely minced

Salt

2 cups cooked long-grain white rice, for serving

1 red onion, finely chopped, for serving

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Drain and rinse the beans and place them in a large, heavy soup pot with the stock.
Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer and drop in the bay leaves and jalapeno.
Cover tightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 

Toward the end of this period, heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring, until they begin to become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the green peppers and continue sauteing for another 3 minutes, then stir in the garlic and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat.

When the beans are tender, stir in the onion mixture, add salt to taste, and simmer, slowly, uncovered, to let the flavours meld, at least 20 minutes and longer if you like. Discard the bay leaves and jalapeno.

Place some rice and a good sprinkling of red onion into the center of each bowl and ladle the soup over the top.

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zuppa alla santè

This soup is one of the typical dishes of Agnone, a small town in the Molise region of Italy. My mother-in-law, Adelina, makes this soup quite often for every special occasion. When she makes it everything is done to the letter, she leaves nothing out. The picture you see above is the version I made. The only thing missing is the fresh caciocavallo (cheese) cut in small pieces.  The recipe here is in italian as it appears in the Isernia Tourismo website.

ZUPPA ALLA SANTÈ
Ricetta tipica di Agnone
Dose per 10 persone

INGREDIENTI
Per il brodo
Gallina ruspante da un chilo e 500 grammi; acqua; prezzemolo; sale.
Per i crostini
10 fette di pane casereccio; 6 uova intere.
Per le polpettine di carne
300 grammi di carne macinata di vitello; un uovo: 2 cucchiai di parmigiano; sale.
Per le polpettine di caciocavallo
150 grammi di caciocavallo stagionato grattugiato; un uovo intero; un cucchiaio di farina; 1 cucchiaio di parmigiano reggiano. 250 grammi di caciocavallo stagionato (da inserire nella zuppa).

PROCEDIMENTO
Preparare il brodo facendo bollire la gallina lentamente per 3 o 4 ore, aggiungendo solo il prezzemolo e il sale. Bagnare le fette di pane nell’uovo sbattuto, abbrustolirle al forno o sulla brace e tagliarle a cubetti piccoli. Alla carne macinata unire un uovo, il sale e due cucchiai di formaggio; mischiare bene a formare tante palline piccole e uniformi, da cuocere a parte in un po’ di brodo che poi verrà eliminato: appena cotte scolarle. Lavorare il caciocavallo grattugiato con un uovo, un cucchiaio di formaggio parmigiano e uno di farina. Formare delle palline, friggerle in olio d’oliva e cucinarle in olio d’oliva e cucinarle in brodo bollente, come fatto per le polpettine di carne. Tagliare il caciocavallo molto stagionato a pezzettini e se si preferisce a scaglie sottili. Nelle ricette più antiche venivano utilizzate anche le interiora della gallina (fegato, cuore e budella) cotte a parte, fatte scolare, tagliuzzate e unite poi a tutti gli altri ingredienti. Dopo aver preparato tutto accuratamente, in una zuppiera sistemare a strati: il pane, le polpettine di carne e quella di formaggio, il caciocavallo a pezzetti ed eventualmente le interiora. Versare il brodo bollente e lasciare riposare per qualche minuto. Avere cura di servire tutti gli ingredienti attingendo con il mestolo, dal fondo della zuppiera, evitando di girare.

ingredients

5 servings

chicken broth

1 cup short noodles (you can cut spaghetti noodles into desired length)

For the croutons

5 slices of  bread

parsley / basil (chopped)

pepper and salt

3 whole eggs

For the small meatballs

200 gr of ground veal

1 egg

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

parsley / garlic (chopped)

salt / pepper

parmesan cheese or small pieces of caciocavallo

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For the croutons

Prepare a pizza pan with a sheet of parchment paper

Break the eggs in a bowl and mix all the ingrediets together except the bread

Dip the slices of bread in the raw egg mixture and slowly set them in the pizza pan

Place in a hot 350* oven and bake for 10 minutes

Turn slices over and bake another 10 minutes or until golen brown

When slices are cold, cut into small cubes

For the small meatballs

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients into the veal

Mix together well and form into small meatballs around 1 inch in diameter

Cook the meatballs in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, turning them slowly until they are browned

To assemble

A few minutes before serving

Add noodles and meatballs to broth and bring to a steady boil for 5 minutes, add the croutons and mix well. Remove from stove and serve.  Stop the cooking as soon as you add the croutons, otherwise they become too mushy

set the cheese or caciocavallo on the table

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