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Posts Tagged ‘soup’

  1. Five Recipes to Win Friends and Influence People

    December 20, 2011 by faith

     

    Some foods have a deserved amount of prestige associated with them. They are hard to make; or take time and special rare ingredients. And then there are some foods that are all hype. Everyone oohs and ahs over them, but in reality they are super easy to make. So, if you want to seem like a kitchen diva with none of the drama, try these five not-so-hard things.

    1. Chicken Broth– Buying a whole chicken is a great deal. Per pound it’s usually much cheaper than buying breasts or some other part of the bird by itself. You can easily get three or more meals out of it- beginning with a roast dinner and ending with soups made from your very own broth! All you have to do is after dinner throw the picked over bird carcass (I’m not making this up. This is what the cookbook calls it.) in some water with onions, celery, carrots and spices. Two hours later you’ve got your very own broth to freeze in two cup portions to be used in your homemade soups.

    2. Soufflé– I can remember as a child watching a rerun of the Brady Bunch in which Alice tries to keep the kids from making too much noise and causing her soufflé to fall. This impressed upon me at a young age that soufflés are hard and should only be attempted under perfect non-sitcom conditions. This seems to have been a popular idea, according to the website TV Tropes.  So, when I made a blueberry soufflé the other day, I expected the worse. But it was super easy! No more difficult or precarious than making brownies or cake. So give it a try and impress your friends with a dessert with a fancy name!

    3. Pizza Dough– I’ve already pretty extensively covered this topic in two blog posts (Pizza and Good-bye and It’s All About the Dough) but it bares another mention that pizza dough is very, very easy, particularly if you have a Kitchen Aid to do the mixing for you. No matter how good your local pizza place is, your homemade dough will be better. You can even impress your guests by telling them that you throw it in the air and spin it around like the professionals do.

    4. Hummus– I have a really hard time bringing myself to buy hummus in the store. All it is is chickpeas, garlic, olive oil and tahinni and yet it’s quite pricey. If I used it just as a dainty dip rather than inhaling it, this might not be so much of a problem but I have control issues when it comes to chickpeas. Thankfully, hummus is really easy to make in a blender or food processor. I just use whatever recipe I have laying around and then adjust the amounts of ingredients to make the hummus exactly the consistency and taste I want. One good tip is to reserve the liquid from the canned chickpeas in case you need to thin the hummus a bit. This won’t water down the taste, but it will make it smoother.

    5. Brownies– This is a new thing one for me. I was feeding a group a people and one of them had a soy allergy. The boxed brownie mix I had listed soy as one of the ingredients. So, I pulled out my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and made one of their brownie recipes. It took just a little time to melt some bakers chocolate and measure a few things into a bowl, but was not difficult or too tedious. The brownies came out great and people were very impressed by fact that you can make them without Betty Crocker.

    I’ve spilled my secret easy as pie recipes with you. Now it’s your turn. What impressive culinary creations have you made that turned out super easy?


  2. Tonight is a Good Night for Soup!

    September 7, 2011 by faith

    My husband, Micah, and I returned this afternoon after being away a couple days, and I have to admit that one of the first things that I thought about on our return was what in the world we were going to have for dinner.  I knew we’d be running low on supplies when we got back and our options would be limited. Opening the fridge, I saw that our CSA box had arrived with an assortment of fruits and veggies but besides that, we had next to nothing in the house.  On top of this, it’s been raining for about three days straight and fall seems to be suddenly upon us with cooler temperatures.   So the inspired choice for when it’s wet, chilly and all you have is random vegetables: soup!

    I ended up making a slightly modified version of “Savory Grain and Bean Pot” from the awesome Mennonite cookbook More with Less.  The idea of More with Less is to make great food, but also walk more gently on the earth and share more with our fellow human beings through the choices we make in what we eat.  So, the recipes tend to deemphasize meat, cost less and have fewer calories and sugar.  More with Less first came out in 1976, but it seems even more relevant today as there are now even more of us on the planet to feed and as we see more and more clearly the affects our over-consumption has on our earth.

    I also love that this cookbook and I have a similar food philosophy.  In the introduction Mary Beth Lind, a dietitian, explains that “When we make food an integral part of our lives and our homes, it becomes part of our theology.”  She talks about growing food and cooking slowly and carefully, with thought about our impact on nature and the sacred space created when people share a meal together, as being a way for us to be “co-creators with God and stewards of God’s garden.”  No longer are we an American consumer; we are suddenly transformed into nurturers.

    What a refreshing way to look at food!  It no longer is eating just about shoving the right nutrients into our bodies, but also about our connection to God, the earth and each other.  In a dietary world which leans towards reduction of food into just its component parts of proteins, fats and sugars, we may instead see food in the grand picture of God’s providing hand.

    Our soup meal was very typical of the kind of meal that More with Less urges us, as Christians on a needy planet, to eat.  Not only did we use little meat and processed food, but we also ate bread that was a gift from a friend, chicken broth that was made at home and we sat there for a good while after we were done talking with each other.  We filled our need for food, but we also filled our deeper need for connectedness through conversations, this night about politics (we do live in DC after all) and our trip.

    I am in no way promising that this soup will magically transform your time with whomever you eat this with into some utopian dream.  Just that eating together- thanking our Creator and welcoming what he has provided for us- is a moment of grace in a world full of fast food and too little conversation.

    Bread and Soup

    Faith’s Slightly Modified Savory Grain and Bean Pot

    -Heat in large kettle 2 tbsps. olive oil.

    -Add and sauté: 1 chopped onion and several cups chopped veggies of various sorts (I ended up with wax beans and half a green pepper from last week’s CSA box, mushrooms left over from Friday night’s pizza, broccoli from this week’s CSA box, one carrot and one stick of celery of undetermined age from the bottom of the fridge.)

    -Add: one can of Navy beans; a couple chopped tomatoes; 2-3 peppercorns (I don’t know why, but I just did what the book told me to); pinch cayenne; ¼ tsp. each fresh basil, tarragon, fresh oregano, and celery seed; pinch each thyme, rosemary and sage; 2 tbsps. Braggs liquid aminos; ½ cup brown rice; 1/3 cup bulgar; 8 cups chicken broth.

    -Bring soup to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 1-2 hours until grains are tender.