Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vegetable Beef & Rice Soup

Another soup recipe so soon? Yes, because I thought the Charmer might eat this one and I wouldn't be stuck eating it all myself. He did ask for more meat last time.

**NOTE** The default servings on this recipe is 20; I changed it to 10. I still had to upgrade halfway through to a bigger pot. I don't like cooking the meat and softening the vegetables in the big silver pots because one has a warped bottom (uneven heat distribution, anyone? but I'm loath to part with it for sentimental reasons) and the other is hard to see down into (in my opinion) for meat and veggie cooking operations. If you make the recipe to feed 20 people, you're going to need a GIANT cauldron, er pot.

When the recipe is adjusted to 10 servings, it calls for 6 cups of beef stock and 3 cups of water. My boxes of 25% reduced-sodium beef stock were 900mL each. I ended up using both boxes (to reduce leftovers and add flavour) which equaled 8 cups of liquid so my version only had 1 cup of water in it. I also left out the red pepper - blech! My carrots were indeed large. Normally, I hate cooked carrots (usually as a side dish), but I'll eat them in this soup. We didn't have enough brown rice so I used jasmine rice instead. Not sure if it made any difference, but maybe a subtle flavour or texture one if any? I also didn't bother with the garnish when serving because I was hungry and didn't care about presentation to myself.

I may have cooked the beef a minute or two too long - by the time I finished washing the dishes and attended to the pot, there was no liquid fat to drain off. In my opinion, that was a good thing so that I didn't have gross liquid in the sink. Ha! I also grinded the pepper mill relentlessly at a few different points in the recipe to add flavour since I didn't add any salt. I figure using the extra beef stock was enough added salt unto itself.

My version of this recipe is hot, filling and tasty! I think you should try it too. I might get slightly smaller carrots next time - there are a lot of them although they're good for me. I just hope the Charmer doesn't mind them...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bean & Tortellini Zuppa

Recipe #70:,7173,s6-242-306-315-0-0-0-0-2053,00.html
Oops... I actually made this recipe near the end of April, but only now got around to posting it. I think I had writer's block after my last exam when my words no longer counted for marks.

If expediency is what you are looking for (in case you're as impatient as I am), then this recipe might be for you! If you don't own or like to use a microwave, then you'll have to adjust it for stove.

All in all, this recipe is easy to make. Easy, that is, if you can find the bloody zucchini in tomato sauce ingredient. I never did find it after two stores so I gave up and used a 398mL can of organic red kidney beans. They weren't kidding when the label says "very high in fibre". Speaking of which, my can of chickpeas was actually 19oz, not the 15oz called for. I figured since I love them, more was better, but The Boy tends to disagree. He suffers when I eat beans.

Since the box of reduced sodium chicken broth was cheaper than buying cans of same, I ended up using the whole box. Truthfully, I could have used even more by the 5th day of soup eating. That pasta really soaks it up. I rarely add salt to recipes unless I'm baking, and I never measure the ground black pepper. I just grind away until it looks like enough. The tortellini was nice - Olivieri brand Herb Tortellini with Three Cheeses. Fancy pants! I thought the Meatatarian might eat the soup if there was a lot of cheese in the tortellini, but not really being a soup eater, he stole a tortellini and called it a day. Oh well, I tried.

A word of advice: make sure your container in the microwave is at least as big as the 3-quarts suggested. I think mine was just shy of that mark and I had some spillage. Aside from that , nuke and enjoy! My version was very flavourful and filling.

P.S. - Blogger changed some options. My photo inserted randomly! Bear with me while I figure it out over the next few posts.