French Fridays with Dorie – Spur of the Moment Vegetable Soup

First of all, I feel very healthy right now. Healthy to the point of needing to ruin it with some sort of treat real, real soon. Why? Because I ate like 5 vegetables at dinner tonight and I’m usually lucky if I eat 5 vegetables in a week! Yeah, yeah I know it’s terrible. I am just not a huge veggies person. Cauliflower? No. Celery? No. Sprouts? No. Broccoli? Ugh no. This video perfectly sums up my feelings on broccoli:

I could go on about the vegetables I’m not comfortable with but you’d just get bored. Suffice it to say, I was not that excited about this week’s recipe. Also soup is always a challenge in our house because Tristan is not really a fan. It’s not that he doesn’t think it tastes good, he just doesn’t consider it a meal or some such nonsense. Consequently I don’t make it very often. But I am willing to go the extra mile for Dorie (usually) so I decided to do this one up right. I went to the farmer’s market here in town to supplement the things I already had and I picked up some GIANT carrots. I had a few left in a bag from the grocery store and look how they are totally dwarfed by this huge farmer’s market carrot!

I also got a really cool purple potato which looks much fancier than a regular ol’ Russet but doesn’t really taste any different.

Alas there was no celery or ginger at the farmer’s market so I still had to go to the grocery store after work anyway. Oh well. I elected to use all of Dorie’s optional ingredients and I just thought I’d mention that peeling ginger using a teaspoon is so much easier than trying to do it with a peeler. Maybe everyone knows this trick and I’m just being weird but I used to use my veggie peeler and had a hell of a time with it but then I read a little snippet in Everyday Food that taught me something new a few years ago. Here’s how it’s done (for anyone who’s curious):

Sorry about the Jay Robb’s Protein Powder in the background. It’s leftover from when my sister-in-law lived with us and I hoped that taking it out of the pantry would encourage us to use it up (it hasn’t). Any old who, I got all my ingredients ready to go all mis en place-style and seriously this soup practically made itself. So easy.

The veggies are actually in a clear glass bowl, but doesn’t it look like they are just magically hovering over the cookbook/stove? Fun stuff. Here are the veggies right before they got slowly softened for 20 minutes over low heat:

Beautiful, no? We are not supposed to post the recipes in our FFWD group but Dorie herself says that this is more of an idea than a recipe so I think it’s okay this time. Plus, I added a few things so I’m just going with it.

Spur-of-the-Moment-Veggie-Soup

1 T unsalted butter

1 T olive oil

1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced into pretty rounds

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 1″ piece of ginger, thinly sliced

1 rosemary sprig

1 marjoram sprig

6 -7 cups chicken broth (I had about 4 cups of broth in the fridge and then I used 3 cups of water & 3 bouillon cubes)

1 large-ish purple potato

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1-2 cups kale, torn into bite-sized pieces

salt & pepper

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and add the butter & oil. When the butter has melted, add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, ginger, rosemary, & marjoram. Stir so that everything is nice and coated in the butter and oil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook this way for about 20 minutes, until the veggies have all softened. Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil, then throw in the potato. Lower the heat until the soup is just simmering and partially cover the pot. Cook for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender, then throw in the kale & scallions and season with salt and pepper to taste.

I was really pleasantly surprised by how much flavor this little soup had. I think the ginger really had a lot to do with it so I am definitely glad I decided to use it. All in all, we had a very delicious and healthy little dinner. Of course I made something to go with it since I knew this meatless soup would not fly as a stand-alone for dinner. I made this delicious Rigatoni with Vodka & Spicy Tomato-Cream Sauce courtesy of my friend Jeanne. Maybe if we all ask really nicely, she will do a post about it 🙂

 

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Really delicious things I made recently – Maybe you should too!

I cook/bake a lot. Probably at least 5 times a week, if not more. I mean obviously sometimes I resort to a frozen pizza (Freschetta is the best in my opinion) or some Chinese take-out but for the most part I do try to cook real food the majority of the time. My tastes run to the starchier side of the equation in that I don’t think I’ve met a pasta I didn’t like, but I do strive for a little bit of variety. I’m usually pretty pleased with what I come up with and I thought maybe some other peeps might like to try some of the recipes I’ve really enjoyed. I’m going to group them together though since I pretty much followed them completely and didn’t do much tinkering.

So the pizza in the lead picture is a recipe from Food & Wine magazine. I LOVE Food & Wine magazine. I like to refer to it as food porn. Some of the recipes are overly complicated and require hard-to-find ingredients but I have made some truly stellar things from it. I’ve made this Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Pear, and Bleu Cheese several times and I love it! It is very hard for me to comprehend that I used to hate both onions and bleu cheese.

Pretzel rolls are something I had never even had until I saw this blog post and then boom! POW! I had to make them. It was my day off and I had some really yummy soup leftover from the night before (more on that in a bit) and they made the most delicious lunch for me, Tristan, and Dave. Best lunch I’ve had in awhile!

I found this soup on Pinterest and it might be my most favorite thing I’ve made in quite awhile. I know Olive Garden is pretty universally disliked by foodies because of its really annoying commercials and mass-produced fare but I’m not gonna lie, I like Olive Garden. I don’t eat there often, maybe like 2 times a year, but I get the Zuppa Toscana soup every time. It’s spicy and filling and seems kind of healthy because there’s kale in it. I love it. This is a copy-cat recipe and it was really easy, tasted amazing, and when paired with those pretzel rolls made up the best lunch I’ve had in ages. Definitely make this before it gets too hot to really enjoy soup.

The other day I made two kinds of bread and I love them both! I found them on two blogs I visit pretty regularly and I would definitely recommend them. The one on the far left is a Raisin Spice bread from Budget Bytes and the two smaller loaves are Whole Wheat Orange Spice Bread from EmmyCooks. I left the walnuts out since I’ve made my feelings on nuts clear but you can put them in if you like. The Raisin Spice bread makes really delicious toast!

Last but not least, the Cherry Coke Cupcakes. They were pretty bomb. As in super good, totally delicious, really amazing. I found this recipe months ago and I finally found the little Coke bottle gummies to go on top last week! They are the creation of Kristan over at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and I must say, she is a genius! Make these as soon as you find the gummies! That concludes my recipe round-up. When I get another good crop of them, I’ll make sure to let you all know.

P.S. This blog post reveals my dirty little secret: I take pictures of almost everything I cook. That’s weird right?