Tag Archives: soup

Squash, Apples, Wine, Cows

15 Oct

Those are all things that I like a great deal.  Needless to say, I am a very happy girl about now.

This past weekend, Paul and I visited my parents in upstate New York.  We had a very relaxing and fun time with them, and even got a day of sunshine to enjoy things outdoors!

We ventured out on Saturday to find some apples.  Not many orchards are doing pick your own apples this year, due to the low yields.  That was okay though, because my arms aren’t completely healed and I’d be stuck with the low hangers anyway.  So we stopped at a local orchard and purchased about 20 lbs. of apples.  You see, Paul and I make fantastic homemade unsweetened applesauce.  Time to get canning!

My mother wanted to stop at a local bakery, but that ended up being closed for a family wedding.  However, we found two wonderful things as we turned away from the abandoned bakery: so many cows, and a sign pointing us towards a winery.

The winery is called Johnston’s Winery.  We followed painted signs pointing us to a private residence in the middle of nowhere (we were already in the middle of nowhere, this took us a bit more in).  None of us had much hope, but a very nice gentleman showed us into his brewing room and showroom.  He had a number of fruit and grape wines, and I have to say they were some of the best New York wines I’ve had.  Now, I’ve never really been a fan of New York wines to begin with.  Some of them aspire to be too much like Boone’s Farm.  Anyway, we were really surprised, especially with his Chardonnay.  It was delicious and fruity and nothing like Chardonnay wines usually are (I’ve come to decide they usually taste like fermented bath water).  This guy knows his stuff.  He even let us check out his brewing set up!  It was a thing of dreams, really.  We left with a mixed case, which I can’t wait to dig into.  If you’re ever in the Galway/Charlton area of New York, you should check it out.

We stopped on the way back to say hello to the cows.  I sure do love cows.  Now sadly, we were separated by an electric fence that the cows would not get within ten feet of (can’t blame them), so we were just able to trade some moos back and forth.  I have a whole slew of pictures of cows looking at me funny.  But this one was my favorite.  Her attention could not be taken from the grass.  Chew chew chew.


Before we left for my parents’ house, I had some squash to cook.  Every fall, I get so excited when all the variety of squashes come out and it’s just mountain of gourds and they all look beautiful and delicious.  One squash I’ve never tried is the weird dinosaur looking one.  Hubbard squash.

Since Hubbards are HUGE, we jumped on the chance to buy just a piece of one.  The whole ones can be a bit intimidating


Squash usually does well in soup, so I did some digging around to find some ideas.  I settled on a pinto bean and mixed squash soup.  So thick and beany and squashy!

Pinto Bean and Mixed Squash Soup

adapted from Cooking Light; makes 6 large servings

  • 3 cups dried pinto beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 4 cups winter squash, chopped 1/2″ (I used Hubbard and Butternut)
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 1 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground sage
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (low or no sodium optional)
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. dry roasted pumpkin seeds

1) Prepare beans: place beans in a pot and cover with water so that beans are below 2″ of water.  Let sit for 8 hours.  After beans have soaked, drain them, then place in a pot with 4 cups of water.  Bring beans and water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, cover the pot and let simmer for another 30 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet, and cook the onion, carrots, squash and chipotle until the onions are softened and starting to brown.

3) Add the onion mixture to the beans, then add the thyme, sage, crushed tomatoes, and vodka.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and cook at a reduced heat for at least ten minutes, but as long as you’d like, making sure that the squash is tender.  Stir occasionally.

4) Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with the pumpkin seeds


So, in this soup, the Hubbard squash tasted much like the butternut.  The texture was a bit different, maybe a bit more grainy.  I liked it, but because of its bumpy skin, it’s a bitch to peel and chop.  I might just stick with the butternut in the future.  But still, adventure!

Note on the vodka: my boyfriend is a chemist.  He taught me all about esters and how tomatoes react with alcohol to release these wonderful things called esters that make things taste more flavorful and complex.  You can do it with any alcohol, vodka is just a relatively otherwise flavorless booze that you can use with any flavors.  I’d try this again with red wine!

The Freshest Bread and Vegetable Soup

2 Dec

Wooo, bread and vegetable soup.  Sounds boring, right?  Yeah, it sounds boring.  But when everything is fresh and home made, holy geez there was a party going on in my belly.

I’ve still been working my way through The Vegetarian Epicure, Book 2 but the bread chapter is so large!  I can only eat and give away so much bread.  Really, bread is becoming a treat for me, not something that I’m going to eat regularly.  But, I had bought a bag of rye flour and wanted to put it to use.  Rye bread is my favorite bread.

I’m still working on my bread baking skills.  I can do anything with white flours, but when I turn to whole grains I end up with something a bit more dense than I would expect.  Does anyone have any tips?  Or is this just the way it is?

The rye bread was actually a mixture of unbleached bread flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour and oatmeal.  The overwhelming flavor ended up being wheat.  Disappointing, but not bad.

To offset the carby carbs, I decided to start the soup chapter as well.  Soup is, afterall, one of my favorite things.  And with the snowy Rochester weather, it’s a perfect time to start cooking some up.

The vegetable soup recipe in The Vegetarian Epicure, Book 2 is really just a loose outline  of a soup.  Here’s what I did with it.

Fresh Vegetable Soup

makes six very large servings

1/2 medium eggplant, peeled

1 red bell pepper, seeded

1 medium potato

2 medium zucchini

a handful of mushrooms

3 scallions

1 medium onion

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 large dill pickle

1 1/2 cups baby spinach

2 medium tomatoes

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 vegetable bouillon cubes

salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper to taste

1) Chop the eggplant – onion into large chunks.

2) Slice the garlic and pickle into thin slices, and chop the tomatoes into 6 – 8 wedges each.

3) Add all of the vegetables to a large stock pot.  To this, add about 12 cups of water, the oil, vinegar, bouillon cubes, and spices.

4) Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for at least 30 minutes.  The longer this soup goes, the better it is!

Really, it’s silly to write up a recipe for this.  Throw whatever vegetables you have in a pot and season them to taste!  I meant to put some corn in there too.  I would try seasoning this differently, using some vegetable stock/broth instead of water or using some Braggs.

Regardless, this makes a very brothy and chunky soup.  Incredibly filling, especially with some bread torn into pieces and thrown on top!

Hey, that exciting news I mentioned before is still coming!  Woo woo woo!

Souperbowl Sunday

8 Feb

I don’t really care for football.  I don’t really care for pizza, and I especially don’t care for wings.  So, I made yesterday into a Souperbowl Sunday!

This is one of the most simple recipes ever, as minestrone is a forgiving soup.  Add whatever, season with whatever, and then eat a big bowl and smile.

Here are the specifics for this particular bowl of soup:

Two large carrots, chopped

One stalk of celery, sliced thickly

Two or Three cloves of garlic, minced

A half cup of frozen green beans

A half cup of frozen onions

Three and a half cups of water

Two vegetable bouillon cubes

Twenty-eight ounce can of crushed tomatoes

Three-quarters of a teaspoon dried basil

One tablespoon dried parsley

A pinch of rosemary

Add all of that to a soup pot, and bring it to a boil.  Cover, and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes.  Then add:

Three small zucchini, cubed

Fifteen ounce can of kidney beans, drained

A half cup whole wheat elbow macaroni

Bring it back to a boil, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the macaroni is cooked.

I got six big servings out of this pot of soup.  A little cheese or nutritional yeast would go well with this as well.

Pizza and wings?  What pizza and wings?

Spicy Red Lentil Soup

16 Mar

To me, lunch is probably the most important meal of the day.  Before I started working from home, I would throw whatever leftovers were around in a container, or wrap something in a tortilla and call it lunch.  But now I’m working from home and I can’t keep from wondering what’s in the fridge every hour or so.

So, I’ve been trying to make filling and interesting lunches for myself.  I have been following the 1600 calorie meal plan out of Becoming Vegan, and the lunch meal is lentil soup.  I’ve been playing around with lentils and have wanted to post the baked lentils that I’ve made big pans of for the last two weeks, but they’re so damn unattractive.  Needing a change, I decided to go for some lentil soup.

I had some fresh ginger in my fridge leftover from the birthday dinner I made for Bret (uggh, I’ve been so bad about photographing and blogging my foods), so I found a recipe that used it.  I made this Spicy Lentil Soup from Jenessa on Recipezaar.

Spicy Red Lentil Soup


1 tsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. chopped garlic

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup water

1 cup red lentils

1 1/2 Tbsp. paprika

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp. herbes de provence

28oz. can whole tomatoes


Saute the garlic and ginger in the olive oil until they are fragrant but not burnt.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, including the juice from the canned tomatoes.  Break up the tomatoes with a spoon, stir well, cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer until the lentils are tender.

This soup is SO RED.

I didn’t change much, other than using a vegetable boullion cube and water instead of the broth.  It took about a half hour for the lentils to cook, then I took the cover off of the pot and let it thicken a little bit.  I usually eat soups with more vegetables, and I think adding some peppers, onions, celery or whatever is around would be great.

My stomach is full and doesn’t really care what else is in the fridge right now.

– Ellen

Spicy Spiced Parsnip Soup

22 Jan

Bret forgot I was making soup and got all cranky about what he should eat for dinner last night.

1/21/2009 – Spicy Parsnip Soup.  Never forget.

I’ve been in love with parsnips for a very long time.  My nannie used to cook them and I couldn’t get enough.  As part of a soup, parsnips can be pretty overwhelming.  But this soup is supposed to taste like parsnips.  And it does!

This recipe came from Jane Spice, and I took a few liberties to make it into a full meal in a bowl.  Bret wanted brown rice with dinner instead of bread.  I love rice, and I love my rice cooker so we were on.  I also felt like the soup was more of a spiced parsnip soup than a spicy one, so we added sriracha.  Mmm, sriracha.  Here’s the recipe as I made it:

Spicy Spiced Parsnip Soup


1 pound parsnips, peeled and sliced thinly

4 cups water

2 veggie bouillon cubes

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp.  ground coriander

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. chili powder

1 medium onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 Tbsp. canola oil

cooked rice and sriracha


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook until softened.  Add the garlic cloves and spices and cook until fragrant.  Then add the parsnips, water, and bouillon cubes.

Bring to a boil and let simmer for about fifteen minutes, until the parsnips are soft.  Blend in batches or with an immersion blender.

Put some rice in a serving bowl, if you like.  Top with soup and mix.  Add sriracha to taste!  I like less, Bret likes LOTS.

Yum yum yum.  We both ate one bowl and were sufficiently stuffed.

– Ellen

Two Soups!

8 Sep

I’m obsessed with soup.  I eat it almost every day.  Even during the summer.  Especially during this summer, because the office I work is so cold I could wear my winter coat if it still fit me.  I’m often sitting at my desk at around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, drinking a cup of tea and rubbing my hands together to get the blood flowing.

So anyway, bringing soup for lunch is good for getting my belly warmed up.  I like to make a pot over the weekend so I have it for lunch a good portion of the week.

I’m going to share the last two soups I made, but I promise to make something different and exciting next time.  Promise!

Soup #1: Lentil and Tomato Soup with Spinach


4 cups water with a veggie bouillon cube dissolved in it

1 cup lentils

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 stalk celery, sliced

1 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup salsa

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained


Bring the broth to a boil with the lentils.  I heard somewhere that letting lentils boil rapidly for a minute or so before turning them down to simmer gets rid of whatever makes lentils give me mad gas, but whatever.   Simmer this until the lentils are tender.  It should take about a half hour.

Meanwhile, cook the onion, pepper and celery in a pan with the olive oil until they’re soft.

Add the veggies, tomato sauce and salsa to the lentils and mix it all up.  Let this simmer for another 30 minutes or so and add seasonings if you need to.  Then mix in the spinach and let it cook until it’s all warm.  Eat!


Soup #2: Caribbean Black Bean and Eggplant Soup

(I bastardized an already bastardized recipe.  But it was tasty!)


1 Tbsp. canola oil

3/4 cup green pepper, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup celery, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

3/4 tsp. allspice

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/4 tsp. salt

28 oz. canned whole tomatoes in puree

2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

zest of one lime

1/2 large eggplant, peeled and cubed

1 cup black beans

as many dashes of hot sauce as you want


Cook the onion, celery, green pepper and garlic in the oil for a few minutes, until they’re softened.  Mix in the dry spices and cook a few minutes longer.  Add the tomatoes (breaking them up), water, maple syrup and lime zest.  Bring that to a boil and cook about 15 minutes covered.  Then add in the eggplant and cook covered for another 10 minutes, until the eggplant is softened.  Mix in the black beans and hot sauce and cook until it’s warmed through.  It would be good over rice, or you could eat it as is like I did.


– Ellen

Lentil and Apricot Soup

20 Aug


I love soup.  I love making big batches of soup and eating it all week for lunch.  And I’ve been doing that!

On Sunday I made up a big pot of lentil soup.  It was one of those things where I just dumped everything in my soup pot and let it cook.  It doesn’t look very impressive, but it’s really, really tasty.  I threw it in my blender to get it all smooth, but I suppose if you want it chunky you could chop up the apricots and any veggies you want in there.  I think I’d suggest using a lentil that doesn’t quite fall apart as much when it’s cooked if you’re not going to blend it, though.  Red lentils get really mushy.



3 oz. red lentils, about a cup

3 oz. dried apricots

potatoes!  probably a little over a pound.  leave the skin on, it’s good for you!

5 cups of water and a veggie bouillon cube, or vegetable broth

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. dried parsley, or a handful of chopped fresh parsley


Throw everything in a pot and give it a stir.  Cover it and bring it to a boil.  Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a half hour or so.  Then whiz it around in your blender, taste and add any other spices that you want.  I think I just threw in some black pepper.

So easy!  I like the mixture of cumin and the apricots a whole bunch.

– Ellen

Vegan Corn Chowder

13 Aug

It’s the middle of August, and it’s starting to feel like the end of September.  Mix that with daily rains/thunderstorms/generally miserable weather and you’ve got a perfect time for soup.  You’ve also got global warming, but that’s just a myth, right?  Riiiight.

Anyway, soup!

I had the best corn chowder ever in Quincy Market, but I don’t even want to know how much cream went into it.  But it was so great.  I haven’t made a creamy soup since giving up dairy products, so I’ve been a little suspicious of how it might come out.  But Bret and I were looking through his copy of Vegan with a Vengeance and saw a recipe for corn chowder.  So I had to make it.

Holy cow, what an awesome soup.  It calls for a mix of spices that I wasn’t sure would go well together, but they did.  It’s a spicy soup, if you don’t like spicy so much you might want to go with one jalapeno instead of two.  I might have been a little heavy on the cayenne, too.  But it’s just another reason to get this cookbook and hug it and sleep with it and make the recipes in it.


– Ellen

Chickpea and Big Shell Soup

13 Aug

So Jennifer told me about this recipe, and I decided I would make it. The batch it made was huuuge and I ate off it for a week, and I even gave a bunch to my roommates. The recipe is, like, stolen and scanned from somewhere else but I won’t tell anybody if you don’t. Shhh.


4 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, minced

2 carrots, minced

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

14-oz. can chickpeas

7-oz. can cannelini beans

2/3 cup pureed tomatoes

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 quarts vegetable stock

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

2 cups shells

salt and black pepper


Heat your oil and then cook your veggies for 5-7 minutes. Then, add your chickpeas and cannellini and cook for 5 minutes. Then stir in the water and tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes.

These directions seem way too specific but I guess that’s how you do it if you’re writing recipes for a magazine.

Okay, so then add your stock, rosemary, salt, and pepper, and bring the whole kettle to a boil. Lower the heat to simmering and cover the pot and let it cook for, like, an hour. I went and watched a couple episodes of Avatar while this was going on.

So after the hour’s up, add the pasta and bring it back to a boil. Lower heat again and simmer for however long it takes to make the shells soft. Then you’re done!


Smoky Split Pea Soup

30 Jul

So I’m back to a scheduled planned out meal thing and I’m making healthy food and kicking ass and being awesome. It’s swell. On Sunday or Monday, depending, I cook up a big cast-iron kettle of soup. This week? Split pea!

I’ve never made split pea soup before. Ever. So I used my brain to imagine up a recipe. It’s loosely based on a potato soup that my grandmother used to make, but with split pea instead of bacon and liquid smoke to add in the smoky flavor. It turned out pretty fantastic.


1 um bag of split peas – I can’t remember how big it was, but it was one of those small plastic bags of dried you can find at the grocery store

3 potatoes about medium-sized, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 vegetable boullion cube

1 tsp liquid smoke

enough water to cover everything and then a bit more

salt and pepper to taste


Okay, that’s not my best ingredient list ever, but I wasn’t tracking my measurements. Basically I chopped everything up, threw it in the kettle with water, added liquid smoke and salt and pepper, and then let it cook over medium heat until all the vegetables were soft. Once that happened, I dumped it into a blender to make it thick. If you want a more brothy soup only blend a cup or two. If you want a thick soup that will turn into something resembling mashed potatoes, blend the whole batch (that’s what I did), but not pureeing it completely. You’ll want the occasional chunk of carrot or celery or potato left in there.

But you probably don’t need too much guidance here. Soup is eee-zeeeee.