Soup makes the World a better place ~

Wouldn't you agree?  Well, I do.  I love soup, it's so comforting and delicious.  And look at this picture, it's so pretty too.  After all, they say we eat with our eyes first....    This is my most favorite vegetable soup, lots of fresh and hearty vegetables.  It's a perfect lunch or dinner with a nice crusty piece of bread.  The cool and damp days or nights that have you craving some warmth and comfort.   This could be your favorite dish too.

This soup is easy to make, you just have to patiently chop all of your vegetables to a really to a small dice and then your pretty much done.  Simple, no?  And who doesn't love the smell of homemade soup simmering on the stove in the fall?

Here are the ingredients:

Nothing exotic here, you'll find all of the ingredients at your grocery store.

3 large carrots, sliced

3 large celery ribs, sliced

1 large onion, sliced or diced (I don't fuss much)

1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced and chopped

1/2 of a yellow turnip, diced

1 head of Escarole, washed, sliced and diced

8 cups of good chicken stock

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic cloves, minced

1 cup of cooked, small pasta (I use arancini)

2 bay leaves
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
grated cheese, for serving

In a large stockpot on top of stove, turn heat to medium.  Add olive oil and heat for a minute.  Add chopped onion and cook for a minute or two by itself.  Add carrot, celery and turnip.  Sprinkle with a teaspoon of Kosher salt.  Let sweat for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Add cabbage and garlic, cook for another minute.  Add your stock and bring to a simmer.  Add the bay, red pepper flakes, another teaspoon of salt and last but not least, black pepper.
Place cover askew, turn on low and let simmer for about 15 minutes.

And now add the "piece de resistance".  A gorgeous head of chopped and diced escarole, which I believe makes soup come alive.  Just look.

Don't be afraid to add the whole thing, it cooks down.  Escarole has a bite to it, which balances out the sweetness of the onion and carrot.  I love it!

I do have a pet peeve about one thing.  I never add my pasta to a soup before I am serving it.  If you add the pasta beforehand, it will eat up all of your delicious broth and you don't want that to happen.  So, cook the pasta separately.  And serve this soup with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  You'll be happy, I promise. 

Enjoy ~



I'm not ready to say goodbye... to Summer that is ~





In a different light...

I made a second batch of this Curried Vegetable soup for friends who are having their kitchen remodeled.
The sun was shining and streaming through my window.  So I put the dish on my windowsill and captured this shot.   I don't have any enhanced photo programs or even any special lighting.  I can see why people use those type of programs, because you must be able to create a picture like this all the time.  But, I have to say that there is something very special about capturing perfect lighting from Mother Nature.  Don't you agree?

Here's my first pot of soup, made on a grim, dark afternoon.  Sure doesn't look as pretty as the dish I made today, even though it's the same exact recipe.

Not so perfect lighting....


Oh, the soup is very delicious.  Scroll down if you would like the recipe and so, so easy.


Salted Toffee-Chocolate Squares - Martha Stewart

I needed a quick dessert to take to an impromtu family party and this fit my time-squeezed schedule well.

It's one of those easy desserts that starts with graham cracker squares on the bottom, much like those much loved Magic Bars from the 80's.  This starts with layering graham crackers on a baking sheet, topping with toffee bits, chopped almonds and melted butter.  A quick trip in the oven for 10 minutes or so, then add chopped chocolate and a little salt and voila, done! 

And the best part?  Everyone loved them and oohed and aahed over them.    Thanks Martha~

14 graham crackers
  • 1 bag (8 ounces) toffee bits
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted natural almonds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place graham crackers in a single layer on sheet, edges touching. Sprinkle toffee bits and almonds over graham crackers.
    2. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is syrupy, 2 minutes. Immediately pour over graham crackers. Bake until sugar topping is bubbling, 12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate and salt over graham crackers. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2-inch squares. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack. (Store in an airtight container, up to 1 week.

  • Pla

  • Shrimp C

  • ...

  • Saturday

    Curried Vegetable Soup ~ very healthy..

    I found this little soup in my Better Homes & Gardens magazine this month.  I fell for how easy it is to make, just 20 minutes.  Easy, right up my alley.  And yes, it's done in a snap.  But, although I love soup and anything made with coconut milk, I found it just a little blah.  Nothing I can put my finger on, except that it needs something more.  So the next time I make it, I'll add some chopped garlic, fresh ginger and a little chopped jalepeno.  And I will make it again.  It has great potential. 

    Like I said, it's a great week night meal, love that it's healthy too.  Oh, the bread is a great addition, so be sure to make it to enjoy with this little soup, it's yummy.

    I did change one thing when I made this dish.  I added the coconut milk, chicken stock, curry powder and cauliflower first and let the cauliflower cook.  I then used my immersion blender and blended it to a small chunk, rather than leave the florets whole.  I liked it that way and I'll repeat it when I make this little soup again.

    Curried Vegetable Soup

    Makes: 4 servings
    Start to Finish: 20 minutes
    • 3
      cups cauliflower florets
    • 1
      14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
    • 1
      14 ounce can vegetable or chicken broth
    • 1
      tablespoon curry powder
    • 1/4
      cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 2
      cups frozen baby peas-vegetable blend (I used peas, carrots, corn and green bean blend)
    • 2
      pita bread rounds, cut into wedges (optional)
    • 1
      tablespoon olive oil (optional)
    • Fresh cilantro sprigs and crushed red pepper (optional)
    1. Heat broiler. In Dutch oven combine cauliflower, coconut milk, broth, curry powder, and the 1/4 cup cilantro. Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Stir in frozen vegetable blend. Cook, uncovered, until heated through. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
    2. Meanwhile, place pita wedges on baking sheet. Brush both sides with oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon curry powder. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat for 4 minutes, turning once, until golden. Serve soup with pita wedges. Sprinkle with cilantro and red pepper. Makes 4 servings.

    Nutrition Facts (Curried Vegetable Soup)
    • Servings Per Recipe 4,
    • Calories 138,


    In a Deep Purple Haze ~ Tomato, Basil Quiche that is...

    I went to the Farmer's Market yesterday and got these gorgeous "Purple Haze" tomatoes.  They were ripe and pretty and I knew I didn't want to just eat them.  I had just watched an episode of The French Chef in which Ms. Child made Quiche Lorraine.  I love the old shows, such a classic.  She says to take a large glass measuring cup/bowl and break three eggs into it.  With that you add enough cream to make 2&1/4 quarter cups.  Add a teaspoon of salt, a bit of ground pepper and the same smidge of fresh nutmeg.  Whisk it together.  That's her base for "all" of her quiche dishes, it's that simple, and it doesn't matter which size egg you are using.  Next add 1 ounce of grated parmesan cheese into the mixture and whisk again.  For my quiche I added a couple of tablespoons of fresh, julienned basil. Whisk and set aside.

    I wanted to make a tomato and basil quiche, so I sliced all six of the tomatoes I had and sprinkled just a tiny bit of salt on top.  Just remember, these tomatoes are about the size of plums, kind of small.  If I were using a regular size tomato, I would use about four.

    Now on to  your pie crust.  She did a demo on her own and store bought.  I love that she never boasts about her own being better.

    She always blind baked her pie shells and I have done this for years.  I believe it makes a much better quiche also.  Turn oven on to 450 and preheat it.  Place the pie crust on the middle rack with beans or rice tucked inside, and bake a bit, about 10 to 12 minutes.

    Remove crust and remove beans/rice.  Dock the crust, meaning take a fork and prick holes in the bottom and sides.  Place back in the oven for 10 more minutes.

    Take crust out of oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then brush (this is my addition), a tablespoon of dijon mustard on the bottom of the pie shell.   Add a tablespoon of julienned basil and some of the sliced tomatoes on the bottom.

    Pour in the custard/cheese mixture.  Add some more sliced tomatoes.

    Add a tablespoon of grated cheese and another of basil.  Turn oven down to 350 degrees F.

    Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Cover edges of pie crust with aluminum foil so they don't burn.  Check to see if the custard is set (not runny).
    The colors are just gorgeous, with those tomatoes I think.

    The texture is so creamy and light. I was a bit hesitant of the flavor without the addition of more cheese, but once again Julia Child came through for me. This quiche is very delicous.  And the crust is crispy and light.  Just perfect.  Thank you Julia....

    Enjoy ~