A collection of my favourite daily moments in the last 1-2 weeks.
Chunky and nutritious. Great way to use up leftover wild rice, or make some just for this soup.
Yes, I'm talking about chickens again. Tips and tricks I've gleaned from neighbours and the 'net when caring for our feathered friends.
A smooth Red Lentil Soup with instructions for the crock pot or stove top method.
The ultimate "comfort food" soup. Slightly sweet with a smooth texture and plenty of flavour.
Try this fruity sweet-and-savoury twist on a holiday classic.
I haven't shared any soups with you for a while, have I? I've been experimenting with a few new ones, lately--some worth sharing, some not. Today, I've decided to post one of the "sharing" ones.
Believe it or not, I had never made Mulligatawny Soup before a few weeks ago, although my memory of Chef Richard's version (at the Black Knight Inn in Red Deer) was mouth-watering.
Although I started with the recipe from the Company's Coming cookbook Soups & Sandwiches, I have altered it significantly to adjust for personal tastes, as well as to disguise onions from picky eaters amongst my children. I took out the flour and decided to blend it to thicken the soup, instead. I am not sure if the "true-blue" version is supposed to be thicker than this or not--but this tastes delicious, anyway.
Makes about 8 cups.
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. raw, organic butter
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. curry paste (I used 1 tbsp. each mild and hot to make medium)
3 medium apples, washed and diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. fresh-ground pepper
6 cups homemade chicken stock
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups cooked Basic Brown Rice
1/2 cup heavy cream (preferably raw & organic)
In a large saucepan, melt butter and olive oil together, then add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are soft and clear, then add curry paste, apples, carrots, sea salt, and pepper. Stir-fry for another minute or two, until apples soften, then add chicken stock. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until carrots are soft. Remove from heat and blend right in pot with a hand-held blender (or allow to cool slightly and run through a blender in batches, then return to pot).
Add cooked chicken, cooked rice, and cream. Heat through on low and serve immediately.
Goes well with sprouted-grain toast and butter or salad.
As a kid, I had the Hoyt Axton song "Fearless the Wonder Dog" memorized, thinking it was one of the funniest things ever. Thanks to the line from the song that made up this post's title, every time I think about this soup the song becomes lodged in my brain, somewhere right behind my left ear, for about 2.5 days. I was unable to find the lyrics on the internet anywhere, so here, to the best of my memory, they are.
Fearless the Wonder Dog
Fearless the Wonder Dog is a very friend of mine.
He can't dance, he can't sing, but he will eat most anything.
Peanuts and popcorn and cracker jacks
and candy apples, too
Cinnamon toast and celery
and good ol' Mulligan stew,
Oh! Fearless the wonder dog is a very friend of mine!
Fearless the Wonder Dog is an elephant or bat
He can be a honey bee, or Honey, he can be a cat!
Lion or black bear or kangaroo,
Unicorn or deer
If you want to see him change
Just step over here.
Oh! Fearless the Wonder Dog is a very friend of mine!
*bows* Thank you, thank you!
A vegetables-only beet soup that draws its inspiration from traditional borscht.
I do not enjoy curry powders. I find the combination of spices that some non-partisan or inexperienced factory owner chose to be quite acrid and unpleasant. So, when I make something "curry," I combine spices to my own taste.
You may feel free to adjust percentages to your own taste as well. Also, raw cow's milk may be substituted for coconut milk if it is not available, but you must then be very careful to not let the soup boil while the carrots are cooking. This recipe is not spicy at all--very mild. For a spicier version, double or triple the chile powder, or add a 1/4 tsp. dried chile flakes to the onion mixture. (Warning: substituting cow's milk for coconut milk will make the spiciness much more noticable, so take that into account.)
Curried Carrot Soup
Makes about 6 cups.
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
½ tsp ginger powder (or 2” piece, pressed)
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp anise seed
Sauté in large saucepan until onions are soft and clear. Then add:
4 c. carrots, finely chopped (a coarser chop will just result in a longer cook time.)
2 c. coconut milk
2 c. homemade chicken stock
Heat over medium-low until carrots are soft—about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Run through the blender in batches & return to saucepan, or blend in pot with a hand-held blender. Add:
½ c. whipping cream
1 tsp. unrefined sea salt
¼ tsp fresh-ground black pepper
Heat through. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs, if desired.
We had this for supper tonight, and it is always a hit in my house. Also, I usually double this recipe and freeze the leftovers.
You will want to make sure your carrots are peeled and chopped before starting the recipe, otherwise your onions will be charred little crisps in the bottom of your pan--and the idea is to contribute as few carcinogens as possible, not create them!
Tip for moms: If your little guy/gal has a hard time eating soup, blend it up and let them drink it through a straw. I was shocked the amount of soup my kids could consume this way!
Today, I had Naomi and her youngest daughter, Mikayla, over for lunch. (Hi, Naomi!) Lots of fun. It was short, but it was nice to have someone to visit with, even for an hour. Now that Jason is working at DMI, it means that I am vehicle-less during the day again, and it is easy to feel house-bound. It hasn't been too bad, since it has been summer and we can still get outside to play and go for walks, etc., but come winter it could get interesting. Hopefully we will be able to either afford a second vehicle by then, or find someone for Jason to carpool with a few days a week.
I have also been busy getting class outlines together for the scrapbooking classes I will be teaching at Scrap Away this fall. Scrap Away is the weekend event the Baptist Church puts on, which I was able to attend this spring. They have decided to move it to the fall, and Amanda and I are teaching classes at it. I am really looking forward to it, although I was a bit stressed trying to get all my information in, since I thought I had more time than I actually did. However, it's done, it's in, and I can breathe easier now. The Scrap Away link is where Amanda and I will be posting our class information and projects, so if it's not working yet when you try it, try again a little later to see what we'll be up to.
Anyhoo, as a final bonus (before I go get to work on the Scrap Away site), I'd like to post the soup recipe I made at lunch today. This is a super-yummy soup that everyone I've served it to likes--even my vegetarian grandparents! (Although I'm not sure if it dampened their enjoyment or not when I told them it was made with chicken stock. Homemade stock is really key for great-tasting soups. I'll post a recipe for that another time.)
Cream of Potato Soup
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 med. onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin seeds
8 med. potatoes, peeled and diced into small chunks
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
8 cups homemade chicken stock
1 tbsp. Celtic sea salt
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
In a large pot, sauté onions in butter and olive oil over medium-low heat until soft. Add garlic and cumin seeds and sauté for another minute or two, then add potatoes, carrots, stock, and sea salt. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and blend in pot using hand-held blender, or run through a blender in batches and return to pot. Add cream and pepper, and serve immediately.
This is what I made for supper last night. (Okay, okay. I know that I said Sunday is traditionally Rice Pudding night in our house, but yesterday was the Sunday School picnic, and we didn't get home in time for me to make that for supper.
It was super-delish, and thanks to the chicken in it, Jude even consumed about half a bowl, despite it's otherwise-greenish pallor that is usually the "Don't Eat This!" flag to the oldest child in our house.
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 heads broccoli, stems and florets finely chopped, separately
4 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 med. red potatoes, peeled and diced in 1/2-inch chunks (amount depends on how thick you like your soup)
8 c. homemade chicken stock
3 tsp. sea salt
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 c. whole milk
1 c. diced cooked chicken
1 c. shredded cheddar (organic is best)
1 c. whipping cream (opt.) or serve with sour cream or Creme Fraiche.
Melt butter and olive oil together in a large pot. Add chopped onion, chopped broccoli stems and minced garlic--saute until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add chicken stock, broccoli florets, potatoes, and sea salt. Cook on med-low heat until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Blend in pot with hand-held blender, or put through blender in batches and return to pot.
Add cayenne pepper, pepper, milk, chicken, cheddar, and whipping cream. Heat gently over low, do not let it boil. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream or Creme Fraiche, if you wish.
(I will add Crème Fraiche recipe at a later date--this is so much yummier than sour cream from the store!)
Makes about 16 cups. Freezes wonderfully.
Well, our house is our own again. My mother and her husband were staying here since Sunday night, visiting from ye olde U. S. of A. In that time, Mike re-shingled the entire back side of our roof, which covers about 1000 square feet. Mom helped him, and I spent most of my time cooking for the crew.
What a blessing that was. When we purchased this house, we knew that the shingling needed to be done sooner rather than later, and our insurance company would not even give us full coverage until the job was completed. Well, in addition to the free labour, Mike also blessed us with about 2/3 of the shingles required for the job, which he had had taking up space in his barn in Montana. This saved us mucho grando casho! Thank you, a million times thank you, you guys!
Something I forgot to mention in my "Lifemarks" post on Saturday is that Jason started a new job on Monday--again. This is his third job since moving up here in December, and even though it is just covering a maternity leave, the 30% increase in pay for the year he will be there was too tempting to turn down. And you never know, a lot can happen in a year--perhaps the job will become permanent. That's what we're praying for, anyway.
He's working at the DMI pulp mill about 25 minutes out of town, in their computer department. His job description has nothing to do with the side of the computer industry he was working in before, or even what he trained for in college, so it is going to be interesting to say the least. He will be running new software through its paces before it is released into the company, finding every flaw possible, and then training the staff how to use it. A total desk job. He's hoping he likes it, but I guess the advantage of it being temporary is: If he doesn't like it, in a year, he can go back to fixing hardware and computer networking!
The other perk of this job, besides the jumped income, is that he can work a schedule that allows him to get off early on Friday half the time, and get every other Friday off. Bonus! Long weekend with my honey every other week! 'Course, the days are a little bit longer, and he is getting up at an hour in the morning that should be reserved for robins and worms, but I guess you can't always have your rice pudding and eat it too.
Speaking of Rice Pudding, I've been promising this recipe to a friend of mine, among others, so here you go. My famous, modified-to-be-Maker's Diet-friendly-Rice Pudding:
Talena's Awesome Rice Pudding (I'm so modest, eh?)
1 c. uncooked or 4 c. cooked brown or white rice, preferably basmati (see below for how to prepare)
In 2-qt. casserole (stoneware is best), mix:
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. whole milk or coconut milk
Add cooked rice and 1/3 c. unsulphured raisins. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cook for one hour in 350 degree F. oven, or until a knife inserted in the top comes out clean. Stir and serve with cinnamon and cream.
Serves about 6-8 as a dessert or 3-4 as a meal. (Sunday nights are "Rice Pudding Night" in our family, a tradition that dates back to my grandparents.)
I usually use basmati rice, but you can use regular brown rice, too. Basmati just has such a wonderful nutty flavour and texture.
Melt 1/4 c. butter in medium saucepan. Rinse 1 c. of rice twice in cold water, then add to butter. Stir on medium-high heat until rice takes on a milky appearance. Then add 2 c. filtered water and 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Cook, uncovered, on med.-high until water reduces to just above the level of the rice. Cover and put on lowest heat for approximately 1 1/2 hours, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for about 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving.
For a more flavourful version, to be served as a side dish to a meal, saute 1/2 cup chopped onion in the butter before adding rice. Substitute homemade chicken stock for all or part of the water.
For Rice Pilaf, add spices (dried oregano, dried thyme, dried basil) and sliced mushrooms to onion when sauteing. Add vegetables (peas, carrots) along with the rice.
For Coconut Rice Pilaf, add dried cinnamon stick, a few cloves, nutmeg, minced garlic and crushed ginger to the onion when sauteing. Substitute whole coconut milk for about 1/2 - 2/3 of the chicken stock, and add 1/4 c. unsulphured raisins with the rice. You may want to add a little more liquid (stock) with this one, as the thicker liquid tends to disappear faster, allowing this one to burn rather easily.
Soaked version: To speed up the actual cooking process, rice can be soaked in advance to remove phytates. (Rice has a very low phytate count, and most of them are neutralized during a long slow cook, but soaking works, too.) Soak rice in a medium saucepan with 2 c. water and 2 tbsp. kefir, plain yogurt, buttermilk, whey, lemon juice, or vinegar for 7 hours or overnight in a warm place. Without removing lid, bring to a boil and skim. Add 2 tbsp. butter and 1/2 tsp. sea salt, cover tightly and simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing lid and fluffing with a fork.
After this rather eclectic post, I would like to leave you with this:
Quote of the Day:
"Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius." - Comte de Buffon (1707-1788)