. Seriously Soupy: October 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kale and White Bean Soup

 Kale and White Bean Soup - Seriously Soupy

Here we are at week three of my soupy experience and I even have some fellow soupy followers (thanks friends)! This week, I created my own version of a kale and white bean soup, which is a flavorful and simple soupy to create. There are a few ways you can go about making a kale and white soup -- you may want to add kielbasa or carrots or make it a vegan soup with no chicken broth. I hope you enjoy this version.

Kale and White Bean Soup
2 cans of cannelloni white kidney beans
1/2 of a bunch of kale, cut up into small segments
1 cup of water
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 of a red onion, cut up
1 clove of garlic chopped up
Salt and pepper
Fresh thyme 

Pour broth and water in a large soup pot. Bring to a slight boil and add the onions, rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, and the bouillon cube. Let cook for 20 minutes until the mixture has a steady boil. Add the white beans and the kale and let cook for about 30 minutes. Approximate cooking time: 1 hour.

Seriously Soupy Serena
P.S. This soup was pretty easy and not too intricate to create. Vary it up depending on your tastes for your own flavorful and hearty kale and white bean variety.

Monday, October 26, 2009

You're goin' need a good pot

I just realized that I haven't talked about a good pot and without a great pot you aren't going to have good soup. Probably obvious to most, but let's break down the whole pot conception for those of us who have had the best of intentions in creating a soup, only to end up with a burnt broth, yuck.

When I get "seriously soupy," I use a 20-qt stainless steel pot from Macy's, (not a plug just a matter of fact) that came in a 10-piece cooking set (small pots, large pots, pans--you get the gist). So, quite simply I use this pot because I have it in my house. For those of you who have a similar pot or one that you love very dearly, this pot really isn't for you (but please read it anyway for the S & G's). For those of us who are new to the soupy revolution, you are going to need a great pot to create the soups of your dreams.

There is a lot involved in purchasing a pot. Should I buy an expensive one? Is the one with the celebrity name attached to it any better than the lesser known brand? Why stainless steel? And on and on...And if you please know the answers to these questions, do share. I searched for pots that were nice on the wallet, as well as those that could stand up to any soupy creation you embarked upon.

Let's review some pots to see how they measure up:

1. Martha Stewart Collection Cooking Elements Stock Pot, 20-qt- A hefty pot that retails for $ 99.00. A pricey pot indeed, but is oven safe up to 500 degrees, dishwasher safe, and has a aluminum encapsulated base, so your soups will cook quickly and evenly. Also, only available at Macy's, which is currently on sale for $59.99. (http://www1.macys.com/catalog/product/index.ognc?ID=318192&CategoryID=7642)

2. Simply Calphalon Stainless by Calphalon, 8-qt - A smaller sized pot, yet equally able to handle your soupy creations. This pot comes as a set and includes a stock pot, stainless pasta insert, stainless steamer insert and a glass lid, not too shabby for a retail price of $80 bucks or $63 if you purchase it on (http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=198029). This pot is also dishwasher safe and has a 10-year warranty--that will surely make quiet a lot of soups.

3. Stockpots by Oneida, 16-qt- A nice sized-pot that comes in a variety of sizes and colors. This particular model is stainless steel with a glass lid and has encapsulated aluminum base so your soups will be cooked evenly. Along with a 10-year warranty and dishwasher safe functions, this pot is a medium-price point that is a gorgeous addition to any kitchen.

4. Prime Pacific Trading Stainless Steel 12 and 16-qt Stockpot Set with Glass Lids - First off what an amazing price point ($28.99) and for 2 pots no less! Sold directly on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Prime-Pacific-Trading-Stainless-Stockpot/dp/B000YA7R84/ref=pd_sbs_k_2) this stainless steel stock pot set is great for any soupy beginner. With features such as reinforced bottoms, riveted handles, and a glass lid, you can easily test out more than one soup a week.

You should also check out (www.reluctantgourmet.com/soup_pot.htm). This site really breaks down how to pick a great pot and discusses more size options and varieties of pots to choose from. Since I like to kept it simple and I am happy what works for me, knowing the different types of pots isn't really important to me, but that is not to say that you won't find the information relevant.

Seriously Soupy Serena

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup - Seriously Soupy

In the beginning of this venture there is going to be a lot of "cheating." But, for this project I don't think "cheating" is necessarily a bad thing and I also never said that all of the soups that I post would be 100% never-made. Quite the opposite in fact, as I want to "perfect" the soups I know so well and then move on to more challenging soups.

Anyway, that being said yesterday I created an amazing (if I do say so myself) butternut squash and carrot soup. The only reason I say "cheating" is because I have created this soup many times in the past. In fact, it was weekly staple of winter 2008. The beauty of this soup, as with most soups is its ability to be interchanged with a variety of ingredients. You can substitute carrots for potatoes, or add mixed veggies, rice, pasta, etc to give it more substance. I personally think its great as is, but to soup his own. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes or 2 bags of frozen butternut squash (I often use the frozen variety when the lazy days strike)
1 cup of water
1 cup of heavy cream, optional
1 cup of chicken broth
1 bag of carrots, shredded and cut up
1/2 of a red onion, cut up
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped up
1 tablespoon of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
Pinch of salt and pepper

Pour broth and water in a large soup pot. Bring to a slight boil and add onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Add butternut squash cubes and carrots. Add heavy cream during the last 10-15 minutes and then cinnamon and nutmeg. Since I don't measure (stubborn or stupid) I can't tell you how much to add. I added about a tablespoon or each, which added a rather nice taste. Your best would be to add a little less and keep trying until the soup meets your standards. After an hour of cooking, the soup is ready and should be mixed together with a hand blender. This will create a thick consistency as all the onion, carrot, and butternut squash bits blend together, perfectly.

Approximate cooking time: 1-1 1/2 hour.

Seriously Soupy Serena
P.S. I had leftover rice and asparagus, so that is why that is included in the picture.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Soup Tester: Soba Vegetable Soup

There is nothing like a cold and rainy day that makes me want soup. I wish I was home to nestle under the covers with a big bowl, but since that wasn't the case today a big bowl at work would have to do.

I was going to go to Hale and Hearty Soup Co., but after a few days of having there 10 vegetable soup I wanted to get adventurous and try something new. However, my version of adventurous isn't very daring at all; it is perhaps a little boring as I chose a soba vegetable soup at a sushi place near by office. For $ 6 dollars a bowl I immediately questioned by decison, but realized that there was no turning back.

The ingredients:
6-8 Oz's of soup
Broth: onion-based with soba noodles (buckwheat-based)
Vegetables: green beans, mushrooms, scallions, and carrots

The verdict:
It did the trick-got me warm and tasted good. Reminded me of a French Onion Soup due to the broth and I wanted more of those flavors as opposed to tons of noodles. I also wanted more vegetables, being that I ordered a vegetable soup, but it was more of a noodle soup. This isn't bad, just not exactly my preference. I would have this soup again, but at 6 bucks a pop I think I'll be concocting something like this on my own.

Stay Warm!
Seriously Soupy Serena

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Vegetable and Chicken Medley Soup

For the past couple of days I have been really sick, which is no fun as we all know. One of the best remedies for a cold is soup! I wanted to create a hearty soup and one that would make me feel good as well as provide me with a substantial amount of nutrients, so I decided on a vegetable/chicken creation. This variety was incredible and made 6 large bowls of soup, making it less than 2.00 per bowl. Dig in and slurp it up!

P.S. A vegetable/chicken medley soup is also called garbage soup since it can be changed and varied, depending on your preferences and dietary restrictions. Take out the chicken, if you are a vegetarian and add tofu, or switch up the potatoes for pasta. whatever you want to change you can! One of the best things about soup is the choice is yours.

Vegetable and Chicken Medley Soup 
Organic vegetable broth (I used organic cause I happened to go into a health-food store. A chicken broth is fine, but a beef broth may not add the same flavors…
2-3 cups of water
2-3 red potatoes
Half a bag of mixed frozen veggies or veggie of your choice
Half a bag of chopped organic carrots
Organic chicken breasts cut up into cubes
Salt and Pepper (Taste to determine how much)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 clove of garlic chopped up
Half of a red onion chopped up
Rosemary (Fresh is better, but I used dried) 

Pour broth and water in a large soup pot. Bring to a slight boil and add onions, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, and bouillon. Add chicken to the pot. After around 20 minutes add carrots, potatoes. Mixed veggies can be added during the last 10-15 minutes, since they cook so quickly. salt and pepper to taste and devour! Approximate cooking time: 2 hours.

Side note: For this soup, I added raw spinach to the bottom of my bowl and poured the soup on top. Since the soup was super hot it essentially cooked the spinach. I also added a bit of cheese to the top. Again, soup variations are so easy and can be catered toward your palate.

Seriously Soupy Serena
PS. No pic on this one, but I will post for the next…Enjoy the soup and let me know about how your vegetable medley turns out.

Let's Get Soupy

A blog about soup? Ok, sure why not? There is a blog about everything and anything the sun these days; why not one about the broth-rich wonder that I call soup. I recently realized that I have quite the love of soups. And how could you not? Soup is hearty and delicious and provides a substantial source of goodness—nutirents in a bowl! AND, there are so many varieties to choose from. It’s not just that you pick one soup and that’s it. There are million of types of soups you can choose and It can last for days. A perfect food. Ok, I could go on and on…but then it got be thinking about writing and my attempts at it. I tried a parenting blog, one about writing a book, and probably another one that I can’t remember, but bottom line is I was into them for a minute and then quickly got bored. I need to have some of challenging one that was out of the norm for what I would normally gravitate towards but something I was actually very interested in —which is how Seriouslysoupy.wordpress.com was created!

Through Seriously Soupy I will be creating new soups and writing about them. Pretty simple, but to me it sounds fun and exciting! I have 5 main soups that I basically always make every winter, so I hope this blog will challenge me to create new varieties, as well as learn about soups I would never think to create. This may include me testing out ideas I have or trying out recipes. The one thing this blog isn’t going to be is a culinary wonder. I am NOT a chef nor do I pretend to be one. As I have stated above, I simply love soups and want to write about them, plain and simple. I probably won’t be trying exotic ingredients (but maybe I will) or utilizing any fancy techniques. I don’t do measurements; I just don’t. Maybe I’m stubborn or really I think I know what should be in my soup, but the measurements are going to be loosely based, unless I follow a recipe. Sometimes I’ll buy organic and try to use the freshest ingredients, other times I won’t or I can’t because life is life. So, I’ll make due; whether that means substituting fresh for frozen or using canned items. The bottom line is I am still going to make the soup.

On Seriously Soupy I am going to create one new soup a week (whether an original idea or based on a recipe). Also, the soups on SS are most likely going to be healthy and one’s interpretation of healthy is of course subjective, but I want to base my soups on how I eat. That does not mean that my soups are going to restrict calories or taste bad or be boring . They are going to be wholesome and hearty, so they can be enjoyed as meals or as a tasty appetizer. Who knows, I may try some different variation of a soup than I normally would not be inclined to eat, but for right now I just don’t think all cream or various types of meat soups is something I am not interested…but time may indicate otherwise.

Anyway, back to the rules…I’ll create a soup for SS the night before and post information about how it was prepared or cooked, along with some pictures (if I remember). Through the blog I would also like to learn about other soup specialities in other parts of the country and the world. Meaning maybe to try variations of other soups; or service as a review of soups I try.Not sure how that will flesh out, but I hope you join for the ride as we get Seriously Soupy.

Seriously Soupy Serena