Showing posts with label vegetables. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetables. Show all posts

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Jean's Best Vegetable Soup

A rich beef broth is flavored with crushed tomatoes and a selection of vegetables. Jean’s Best Vegetable Soup will sustain you through good times and bad. It’s nutritious and filling in the best possible way. 

At the first sign of a cold front in the fall, my mom would say, “Ooooh, vegetable soup weather!” and the big soup pot would be extracted from its home right at the back of the cupboard. Some beefy bones would be put in, well covered with water, to simmer for several hours. Vegetables were chopped and diced, ready for adding in later. The steamy kitchen was a warm place to gather, waiting for that first bowl of savory, strengthening soup. I would have to put it up near the top of the list of my mom’s favorite things to eat, along with potatoes (which are in the soup too) and smothered pork chops.

While I looked forward to the vegetable soup too, I had reservations. If you’ve read my recipe post for browned butter braised baby turnips, you’ll understand. In a nutshell, it was hard to get too enthusiastic about soup that also had bitter turnips, which I detested, masquerading as innocent potatoes.

Since our Sunday Supper family is sharing Mom’s Favorite Recipes today, and I’m over my turnip phobia, I thought it was time to make the soup and make it right, turnips and all.

A while back, my mom sent me her recipe. Here is the ingredient list, in her own words. I’ve added the weights and measures as a guide. That said, know that you can vary the vegetables and amounts to your taste so don’t get too hung up on what each ingredient weighs.

Mom starts by saying, throw in some beef bones if you can find some and let them boil away before you add your ribs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on any beef bones so my method starts with browning the short ribs for more flavor.


  • Olive oil – my addition, for browning the short ribs
  • beef short ribs - 2 lbs 5 1/2 oz or 1.065kg
  • a little tomato sauce for color (not too much)
    (this is a vegetable soup, not an Italian soup, ha!) - 2 tablespoons
  • small can of crushed tomatoes - 14oz or 400g 
  • small onion – 3 oz or 85g
  • small bell pepper  - 4 oz or 115g
  • small stem of celery - 1 3/4 oz or 50g
  • potatoes – 5 medium or about 1+lbs or 500g
  • turnips (just enough to frighten the poor soul who doesn't like turnips) – 3 medium - I totally forgot to weigh these.
  • carrots  - 2 large - 9 1/2 oz or 270g
  • mixed frozen veggies - 1 3/4 cups or 225g
  • small amount of cabbage – 5 1/3 oz or 150g
  • SOMETIMES I will put in zucchini  -  6 small - 9 1/2 oz or 270g
  • SOMETIMES I will put in cauliflower if I have some on hand.        
  • SOMETIMES I will put in yellow squash - I didn't have either

Note: Fresh or frozen veggies are better than canned.

Brown short ribs on all sides in a little olive oil over a high heat in your largest soup pot.

Remove the browned meat from the pot and set aside.

Finely chop your onion, bell pepper and celery.  Sauté them in the oil left behind from the fatty short ribs, till softened. Scrape up all the sticky goodness from the meat into the vegetables.

Add meat back in, along with the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add water to cover more than twice the depth of the beef.

Bring to the boil then put a tight fitting lid on the pot and simmer for three or four hours.

Peel and chop the carrots and potatoes. Peel turnips but leave them whole so you can find them again. It’s all very well to eat them, but I still don’t like to be surprised. If you love turnips, you can cut them, of course.

Add in the potatoes, carrots and turnips, along with the frozen vegetables.

Oddly, the turnips are the only things that float initially. They probably aren't witches though. Probably.

Bring to a slow boil, cover and simmer again for an hour or so.

If a lot of fat from the short ribs has risen to the top, you might want to skim some off with a spoon.

About half an hour before you are serving, thinly slice cabbage and cut zucchini into chunks. Add them to the soup.

When the zucchini is cooked to your liking, Jean's best vegetable soup is done. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Enjoy! In our family, we'd also add a shake or two of some Louisiana hot sauce to each bowl at the table.

Has your mother passed down a special recipe to you or is there something special you always make for her? These are Mom's Favorite Recipes from my Sunday Supper family.

Many thanks to Christie of A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures and Wendy of Wholistic Woman for hosting!

Starters (Appetizers, Beverages, Breakfast)
Salads, Side Dishes, and Sauces
Main Dishes

And it wasn't half bad. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Brussels Sprouts with Harissa, Honey and Lime #BloggerCLUE

Aromatic, spicy harissa, honey and tart lime juice perk up the flavor of pan-roasted Brussels sprouts for a great side dish or serve over rice for a vegetarian main course.

This month my Blogger C.L.U.E. assignment is Authentic Suburban Gourmet and our clue was Autumn flavors. I had such fun poking around in Lisa’s blog with its beautiful photographs that I was drooling a little before I even got to the descriptions! I went about my search a little differently this time. Rather than searching for “fall” or “Autumn” I used Lisa’s drop down archives list and browsed through all of her October recipes from the last few years. I was sorely tempted by the Fig & Honey Infused Goat Cheese Bites, Pear and Honey Crostini with Spicy Candied Pistachios, Fig Tarts with Honey Pistachio Brittle and her Roasted Pork with Port Infused Fig Chutney but finally, I was seduced by these divinely spicy sweet Brussels sprouts!

Lisa’s original recipe called for sriracha but after three Dubai supermarkets turned up no Vietnamese hot sauce, I decided that a regional substitution would work. Harissa, a paste made of chili peppers, garlic and other spices is common in this part of the world and I figured it was not far off from sriracha which is made from chili peppers and garlic as well, but thinned with vinegar. Like Lisa, we are fans of the much maligned Brussels sprout but this recipe might just win over some naysayers too.

1.1 lb or 500g Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon harissa or to taste. Or make Lisa’s original recipe with sriracha!
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lime juice or to taste (I added just a bit more to make up for the vinegar in the sriracha.)
Olive oil for frying

Trim the stem end of the sprouts and cut each one in half. Keep any loose leaves.

In a large bowl, whisk together the harissa, honey and lime juice. Taste and add more harissa or honey if you like. Set aside.

Lisa said to add about a quarter cup of olive oil to a large skillet but since I was using a non-stick pan, I just gave it a good drizzle of oil.

Panfry the halved Brussels sprouts and the loose leaves until deep golden brown and season with a sprinkle of salt during the cooking process.

Transfer the sprouts to the bowl with the harissa, honey and lime sauce. Toss to coat. Taste and add a little more salt, if necessary.


Here's the list of our Blogger C.L.U.E. participants this month:


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Asparagus Salmon Fried Rice #BloggerCLUE

Crunchy asparagus just barely tossed in the hot pan with garlic and onions and chilies keep the fresh taste of spring, complemented by the tender poached salmon in this delightful, and delightfully easy, fried rice.

I’ve been making fried rice for a very, very long time. In fact, it’s such a common occurrence that I’ve never even considered posting a recipe on here. Fried rice has the advantage of being quick and easy, with the fabulous capacity to turn leftovers into something new and special. I never measure or quantify. It all just goes in. Roast chicken, grilled steak, boiled shrimp, pan-fried pork chops and myriad vegetables, sure. They’ve all become fried rice at my hands. But in all my years of making this dish, I have never once thought to use salmon. And that is why I love taking part in Blogger C.L.U.E. each month.

Blogger C.L.U.E. is a fun challenge where each participating blogger is given an assignment, another blog to poke around in and find recipes that fit our “clue” or theme of the month. I’ve been taking part for several months now and each time, I learn something new and my world opens just that much wider with possibilities.

This month my assigned blog is Lemon & Anchovies and I was hunting through Jean’s beautiful pages for spring vegetable recipes. And you know what I found! What is more quintessentially springy than asparagus? I am showing all of my 52 years now (I’m among friends, right?) but I remember a time when the only asparagus I’d ever eaten came from a can. Even as I got older and learned of fresh asparagus, the season was so short that folks waited all year for the first spears to appear and they were something special. When my husband and I first met, he had three things he would not eat: beets, olives and asparagus. Turns out he had never had a fresh asparagus either! He is now a fan of both olives and asparagus – Never mind about the beets. One has to choose one’s battles. – and he loved this fried rice, even taking the leftovers for two days running for his lunch.

I made very few changes to Jean’s recipe only doubling most of the ingredients so we’d have leftovers and putting fresh chilies instead of sauce but I’d like to encourage you to head over to her blog to read the post where I found this recipe. Her stunning photographs and glorious description of a daytrip to the coast will put you right there with her and give you pleasant dreams of days on the beach. And while you are there, have a poke about yourself. Jean cooks beautiful food and loves to travel. Her lovely crab, asparagus and avocado omelet post will also treat you photos from a trip to Maui  and a bacon and leek quiche also means a gorgeous recap of her two weeks of summer on the south coast of France.   Amongst others. Seriously, do go see. If you are anything like me, you’ll get trip envy bad. And want to cook all the things.

1 1/4 lbs or 585g salmon fillets
250g asparagus
6 1/2 cups or about 900g cooked long grained Basmati rice, cooled (Day old from the refrigerator is best.)
3 eggs
2-3 shallots
4 cloves garlic
2­3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
3 red chili peppers
2-3 tablespoons light soy sauce 
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce, plus more for serving, if desired

For serving and garnish:
Lime wedges
Fresh chives

Poach your salmon in a medium-sized covered saucepan, in simmering water that comes just half way up the fillets, turning the fish halfway through. You want the fish just barely cooked through so, depending on the thickness of your fillets, about 10-15 minutes ought to do it. Take it off the heat but leave the salmon in the poaching liquid until you are ready to use it.

Cut the hard ends off of your asparagus and pop them into a glass with some cool water, just as you would cut flowers.

Beat your eggs and drizzle a little olive oil into a non-stick skillet. Pour the eggs in and cook over a low heat, turning once when almost cooked through.

When the omelet is cool enough to handle, roll it up and slice it thinly. Set aside.

Slice your shallots finely, mince your garlic and red chilies. Cut your asparagus into shorter lengths.

In a pan or wok that is big enough to hold all of your ingredients eventually, drizzle in the oils and add in the shallots and chilies. Cook for just a minute or two.

Add in the asparagus and cook, stirring frequently, for just a few more minutes. You want the asparagus to stay nice and crunchy.

Add in the garlic and cook for about a minute, making sure not to let the garlic color.

Add in the cold rice and stir well. Drizzle on the soy sauces and stir again, so that the soy is well mixed with all the rice.

It will take a few minutes to get all of that rice hot, so take the time now to use a fork to break the salmon into fairly large pieces. Remember that it will fall apart a bit more as you stir.

Add in the salmon and fold it into the hot rice.

Now add the egg ribbons and do the same, cooking just until the salmon and egg are both hot.

Garnish with chopped green onion and serve with lime and extra soy sauce, if desired.


Here’s a list of this month’s Hunt for Spring Vegetables Blogger C.L.U.E. participants. I’ll be updating the list with their chosen recipes as the day progresses.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cheesy Bacon Baked Onions

Onions stuffed with cheese and herbs and then roasted so that the fat from the bacon on top can melt divinely into them, are a treat, an unusual side dish that elevates the onion from bit player to a starring role.

Onions are used in so many recipes as a seasoning or base flavor that I think we forget that they can be a side dish. Is there anything more delightful alongside a steak as some grilled onions? And onion rings done right, that is, lightly battered and crispy, are a joy. But we hardly ever think of onions as something to stuff or roast or bake with cheese on top. And that’s just a shame.

For my second post for week two of Bacon Month, I’d like to share with you a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s very first cookbook, the one that made his name a household word, The Naked Chef*, published almost 14 years ago.  Bacon is essential to a lot of recipes but never more than in this one where it flavors the onion as it bakes, as well as adding crunch to the finished dish.

Cheesy Bacon Baked Onions

4 tennis ball-sized yellow onions (about 1.1 lbs or 500g in total)
1 1/2 oz or 40g Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Black pepper
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices smoked streaky bacon
1 tablespoon minced mixed fresh herbs. I used rosemary and parsley but thyme and marjoram or oregano would work as nicely.

Peel the onions, leaving the root side intact.

Boil the onions in a pot of water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

When the onions are cool enough to handle, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Cut the root end off of the onions so that they can sit upright securely. Hollow out a nice sized hole in the top of the each onion and chop up the bits you take out.

Grate your cheese with the small holes of your grater.

Mix the herbs, cheese and chopped onions together and add a few good grinds of black pepper.

Add in the olive oil and mix thoroughly.

Divide the onion/cheese mixture up into four equal parts and stuff it back in the onions.

Cover the top of each onion with a slice of bacon, folded in half.

Sprinkle each with a little cayenne pepper, if desired.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the bacon on top is crispy.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Vegetable Noodle Stir-fry - a healthy meal for before or after the indulgence

Younger daughter and I spent some time making up our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus.  Needless to say, there are lots of high calorie items on the list.  Woo hoo! And since Thursday’s dinner included a rich cheese fondue and chocolate cake for elder daughter’s birthday, a vegetable stir-fry with ramen noodles seemed just the ticket for last night.

Ramen noodles – 2 packets – to serve three to four for people with lots of vegetables
Lots of vegetables of your choice
Tonight we had:
1 carrot
About 200g or 7 oz of snow peas or mange-tous
250g or 9 oz of mixed mushrooms or your favorite
200g or 7 oz of firm salted tofu
300g or 10.5 oz broccoli
300g or 10.5 oz cauliflower
2 large red chilies
3 cloves of garlic
1 knob of fresh ginger
Sea salt
Olive oil
Cayenne pepper
Soy sauce

Start heating your large non-stick pan.  Cut your firm soy into cubes.

Drizzle olive oil into the pan and tip in the soy cubes.

Pan fry until the soy is browned on all side and sprinkle with a little sea salt.  When the soy is nicely caramelized, sprinkle it with cayenne (red) pepper.

 With the pan still hot, but turned off, add a goodly drizzle off soy sauce and stir like crazy.  It should bubble up immediately in the heat and coat the soy curd, adding a layer of salt and flavor.  When the pan is dry, remove the soy to a side plate.   This is a vegetarian dish so the browned soy and, soon, the mushrooms will add a satisfying “meaty” flavor to the vegetables.

Chop your vegetables into pieces, starting with the mushrooms.  Heat your pan very hot and tip in just the mushrooms.  Sprinkle with salt and allow the mushrooms to brown.  

Meanwhile, add boiling water to the dried noodles.  After about 7-10 minutes, drain the pasta and rinse with cold water.

Once the mushrooms are browned, add them to the soy plate.

Mince the ginger and the garlic.  Chop the red chilies into small pieces.  If you don’t like spicy food, take the seeds out of the chilies before chopping.

Heat your pan once more and add a generous helping of olive oil.  Tip in the garlic, ginger and red chilies.

Sauté the seasonings for about 7-10 minutes, or until the peppers look soft.  Do not let the garlic burn.  Drizzle in some more olive oil.  Add in the other vegetables and stir-fry until they are al dente.

Add in the rinsed noodles, then the mushrooms and soy cubes.  Drizzle with soy sauce to taste.  Toss and warm through.  Enjoy! 

Each person can drizzle on a little more soy sauce if desired.