Soup’s on in Selah

Vichyssoise

My time in high school French class comes in handy every once in a while. I think I can pronounce the name of the soup I made last night. But then, if someone atually heard me saying it I’m also sure they would be at least mentally shaking their head and saying “no, no, it’s not pronounced that way!”

Yakima Farmer’s market last Sunday yielded some nice looking leeks. I say nice looking because that’s what they were. The problem was that nice as they looked, I have to confess that I’ve seldom cooked with them, so I wasn’t quite sure what they would be used in. After reading some cookbooks for inspiration, I decided, with Dave seconding the vote, to try making a very basic potato leek soup. From the Joy of Cooking I discovered that if I added some milk or cream to it, that made it into Vichyssoise. Oo la la!

I did have to look up just how to handle the leeks. Thanks to the internet, I found a fellow blogger who had posted good, clear photos illustrating how to both slice and clean them. The soup was very easy.

Here’s a link to the recipe I used.

Clean and slice up the leeks, peel and cube a few Yukon Gold potatoes, add water and salt and simmer for half an hour or so. At that step I was supposed to puree it, but my beloved immersion blender stopped working a little while ago and hasn’t been replaced yet. And I know better than to try using the blender with hot soups. I know this from some “real life experiences” that didn’t turn out very well both from the messes made and from a safety standpoint. So I kind of mushed the soup up with a fork a bit, and then added some cream (yes, very rich and tasty). I also fried up the few remaining slices of bacon in the refrigerator with some thyme from the garden for sprinking on top. And then added some snips of parsley for color. I did omit the cognac….

I served it with a baguette. Verdict? Oh, very, very good. So simple yet so satisfying. I’ll make this again.

turkey tettrazini in a bowl….

Saturday morning…. with no real plans for the weekend. So that means a leisurely start to the day, with the normal weekend chores like mopping the kitchen floor and vacuuming rugs and cleaning toilets and tubs interspersed with goofing off. One of my weekend routines is cleaning out the refrigerator, finding those forgotten items and trying to use fresh items before they go bad. I realized I had some chicken breasts needing to be cooked, brocolli needing to be used and remembered a recipe I’d clipped out of Cooking Light a few months ago. It was their remake of a reader’s fat filled chicken and brocolli soup. I thought it sounded worth trying, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. So, despite the heat, I felt like giving it a whirl. I had most of the ingredients, and was more than ready to substitute Tillamook reduced fat cheddar for the light Veleeta. No way am I buying Velveeta in any form! I also used spagetti instead of vermicelli and added some grated parmesan cheese. I didn’t have half and half so just added more chicken broth (a lot more, as it was a really thick soup). And I cut the recipe in half. For two of us, 10 servings is just too many! It really tasted good…surprisingly like the recipe my mother gave me year’s ago for using up the Thanksgiving turkey – a tettrazini. Hmmm. Really the same flavors, just eat with a spoon rather than a fork.


Chicken and Brocolli Soup

Yield
10 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Ingredients
Cooking spray
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup presliced mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons butter
1.1 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup)
4 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
4 ounces uncooked vermicelli, broken into 2-inch pieces
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded light processed cheese (such as Velveeta Light)
4 cups (1-inch) cubed cooked chicken breast
3 cups small broccoli florets (8 ounces)
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
Preparation
1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, mushrooms, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; add butter to mushroom mixture, stirring until butter melts. Sprinkle mushroom mixture with flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gradually add milk and broth, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Add pasta to pan; cook 10 minutes. Add cheese to pan, and stir until cheese melts. Add chicken and remaining ingredients to pan; cook 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender and soup is thoroughly heated.

Nutritional Information
Calories:
317
Fat:
12.3g (sat 6.8g,mono 2.9g,poly 0.9g)
Protein:
27.5g
Carbohydrate:
23.8g
Fiber:
1.9g
Cholesterol:
74mg
Iron:
1.6mg
Sodium:
723mg
Calcium:
179mg

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

The temperature has dropped to below 20, there is fresh snow on the ground, and the morning just called out for soup.   I had been re-organizing the kitchen cupboards (another good cold morning activity) and discovered some red lentils I’d picked up a few months ago.  I am not sure what I planned on doing with them when I bought them, but they looked interesting.  So I looked for recipes for soups using red lentils.  And I think I hit the jackpot with the one I found archived in the New York Times for Red Lentil Soup with Lemon. I had all the ingredients and it cooked up quickly. Best of all, it tasted really good right away.

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup

Strange thing, though, is that the red lentils turned golden yellow colored once cooked….. Hmm.   Here is what I found on the internet on a Cook’s Thesaurus website: The most common type of red lentil is the Red Chief. It’s a lovely salmon pink in its dried form, but it turns golden when cooked.  These lentils cook faster than others.  They’re best in purées or soups.   Substitutes:    masoor dal OR yellow lentils OR green lentils (These hold their shapes better when cooked.) OR brown lentils