Tuesday, October 4, 2011

homemade vegetable soup + my new food crush: wholeG bread

My husband and older son returned from their "Y Guide" camping trip, full of excitement. Really, what could be better than heading off for a special weekend with dad, filled with canoeing, hiking, arts & crafts, romping around the campfire with other kids well past normal bedtimes-- and more junk food than a 3rd grader could ever imagine eating in 24 hours? I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to end up making for Sunday dinner, but a quick trip to our local market resulted in a cart full of fresh veggies. Subconscious? Probably not. The end result was a super simple vegetable soup that was absolutely delicious...and offset some of the junky wonderfulness of the weekend camping trip with dad.

Homemade Vegetable Soup

I've listed amts of the various vegetables here but you can modify them however you'd like, depending upon your family's tastes + how much soup you'd like to make. My pot made 6 pints to share with friends or freeze + dinner for 4 two nights in a row...

5 Rapunzel brand vegetable bouillon cubes + 10 cups of water
1 pint cherry tomatoes (left whole)
1/2 large onion, minced
1 T garlic (i used Dorot brand frozen)
2 T basil (i used Dorot brand frozen)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped
3 medium-sized red bliss potatoes, skin on, chopped
1 smallish butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 small zucchinis, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 can artichoke hearts (in water), chopped
1 can butter beans (rinsed)
1 can white beans (rinsed)
1 head of broccoli, chopped

There's a lot of chopping involved, which takes time. But this is a great recipe to make if your kids are in the kitchen wanting to catch-up on their day.

I started by filling a large soup pot with water, the bouillon cubes, the whole cherry tomatoes, minced onion and the frozen cubes of garlic and basil. I find keeping those frozen herbs on hand convenient because I always have them on hand and can just pop them into any recipe. While waiting for that to boil, I chopped the sweet potatoes, red bliss potatoes and butternut squash into 1/2 inch pieces, because those were going to take the longest to cook. As soon as they were chopped, they went into the pot. This took some time and elbow grease, so by the time they were all in the pot the veggie broth was boiling. I lowered the heat a little bit and then added the zucchini and bell pepper, once they were chopped into 1/2 inch pieces. A quick check of the pantry resulted in artichoke hearts, butter beans and white beans, so a can of each of those went in. (I rough chopped the whole artichoke hearts before tossing them into the pot.) Then last to go in was the broccoli, since I wanted the broccoli blanched not soggy. Really, the broccoli went in right before I served the soup. From start to finish, the soup took about 45 minutes because of all of the chopping. Relatively speaking that's a long time for me to spend cooking a meal. But, it's one of those meals that just gets better with time. So, spend a little extra time making one big pot and you'll get to enjoy this soup over the next few days, or freeze it for a night when you're running around to after school activities but still want to come home to a warm, comforting, heathful meal.

That first night (and again last night) I served the soup with a variety of stinky cheeses and chunks of a local bread that I stumbled upon that immediately became my latest food crush: G Whole German Bread. Local folks can find this New Haven-baked bread at Walter Stewart's Market. It is amazing. We tried the "Fitness Bread" in the green bag (which is loaded with corn grits, oat flakes, flaxseeds, soybean bran, sunflower seeds, and more...) and the "Muesli Bread" in the yellow bag (which is made with raisins, golden raisins, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, oats, sesame seeds and more). I am not sure how widespread their distribution is, but found this article on them if you want to learn more about this new bread company. I might just have to make more soup to go with this bread.

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