Sunday, January 16, 2011

Soup for the winter blues

Hello again. I hope you haven't forgotten about this humble blog. I've been taking some time off to fight off the winter blues. That blasted winter gets me every year. I find myself loading up on vitamins (B complex, C, D, and 5HTP if you were wondering) and pining for sunshine. Behind the scenes, I've been working on a recipe using POM Wonderful's delicious pomegranate juice and a savory cocoa bread for ReadyMade Magazine. I hope POM and ReadyMade will like what I have in store. For today, I've got a roasted veggie stew that will warm the cockles of your soul.

First I have to show you my new knife. My pal, Natalie, brought it back from her stay in Japan. It cuts so extremely well. I was amazed at how I barely had to use muscle to slice through a potato. If you're interested in knowing how this knife and other sharp iron objects are handmade, check out the two blog posts that Natalie wrote on the subject. Part 1 and part 2. It's really interesting and makes you appreciate the hard work that is put into such a "simple" object.

On to the soup. Can I tell you how utterly in love I am with fennel bulb? I may never use celery again. For this soup, I chopped up one fennel bulb, 3-4 medium sized red potatoes, half of an onion, and about a cup of carrots. What's great about soup-making is that you can use whatever veggies you have on hand.

I chopped them to about the same thickness and drizzled & tossed them with a hearty pinch of sea salt and olive oil. Roast them in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes, toss/turn then put them back in for another 15 minutes. Let them cook until they are a bit brown. Just a touch of brown.

While those are roasting, get your herbs together. I've got a couple of bunches of thyme, some rosemary, 3-4 cloves of garlic, and a bay leaf. Use your favorite herbs. I've bundled mine in some cheese cloth so they'll be easy to retrieve from the soup before eating.

Heat up 4 cups of broth and a couple of 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes. Toss in the bundle of herbs. Keep a low simmer and add the veggies after they've browned. You can add leftover chicken or beef at this stage. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 10 minutes or until all ingredients are the same temperature.

Crackers are optional. Chins up. Springs on it's way.

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