Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop Soup a la Lina

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This is one of my most favorite soups that is super easy to make! I don’t add starch–I like the thickened version but we try to cut on carbs.

2 quarts chicken broth

1 tsp grated ginger (you can use powdered ginger, but it’s just not the same)

3-4 grated garlic cloves

1-2 tbs soy sauce

1/2 cup of frozen corn or canned corn

A handful (package) of enoki mushrooms (can be found in an Asian store) or white mushrooms

Zucchini noodles (optional)

2-3 beaten eggs or 5-6 quail eggs per person

Bring the broth to boil, add the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, corn and enoki mushrooms. While the soup is boiling, whisk in the beaten eggs, or if you are using quail eggs, individually drop in all the eggs (poaching them). When ready to serve, place the desired amount of zucchini noodles in a plate and ladle the hot soup over. Enjoy! If you want to thicken it with starch, make a rue and add to soup prior to eggs.

Sage, Ham and Spanish Lentils Soup

Sage Ham and Spanish Lentils Soup

lentils

This is similar to the split pea just a different legumes!

We also get our Spanish lentils from Palouse Brand of Amazon!  Again, we get nothing from Amazon or Palouse Brand from advertising their product.  We simply love the quality and how local they are!  They come in 5 pounds or more, initially, I was overwhelmed with the idea of having 5 pounds of lentils but rest assured, it really is not that much.

Palouse Lentils

2 cups of lentils

4 quarts of broth

2 medium potatoes (finely diced)

1 small onion (finely diced)

2 carrots (finely diced)

Ham (diced) about a cup

Sage powder or a few fresh sprigs

Salt/Pepper to taste

In your soup pan, saute onions, carrots and ham, add broth, lentils, potatoes and sage.  Cook until lentils are tender (but not falling apart)…voila dinner is done! Garnish with Parmesan cheese and devour.  Easy, hearty and delicious!

One more from Palouse: Garbanzo Bean and Meatball Soup

Garbanzo Bean and Meatball Soup

 

Palouse Garbanzos
 
This soup was often the byproduct of my mom making cabbage rolls. She would have more meat and not enough cabbage, so she would roll the meat into bite size meatballs and make this soup. Two meals in one process. It makes me wonder if she prepared “extra” meat on purpose.

Ground beef, about a pound or so

1 handful of rice

1 small onion, ground

2 cans cooked or canned garbanzo beans

1 bunch of cilantro

2-3 medium potatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the onion, meat, rice and salt/pepper together, make meatballs, set aside. Boil water and potatoes, this will become your broth, so season it with salt and bay leaf (whatever spice you add to make broth would be welcome here). Once boiling, drop the meatballs in one at a time. Let them cook, and come up to the top. Add the cooked/canned garbanzos and cilantro. Let the soup simmer for an hour to marry the flavors. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Split Pea Soup: An oldie but still a goody


Split Pea Soup

peas
Palouse Brand split peas

Growing up, we ate this soup often.  I like it with ham, bacon, vegan or vegetarian (with cream). In my opinion, this soup should be thick and chunky.  I like to mix yellow and green peas together. It makes the color richer and the dish more appetizing.

We are big supporters of our local split pea producers, Palouse Brand. They sell on Amazon and ship free with Prime. We get no financial compensation for advertising for them, I just genuinely love their product and I love the fact that they are Washington locals!

Here is the recipe I use.  Add what you like and omit what you don’t.  Proportion depends on the desired thickness and amount of soup you wish to make.  This soup can be frozen.  I usually make enough for at least two meals and a few lunches.  When the soup is super hot, I pour it into pint canning jars and tighten the lid, the heat from the soup will seal the jar allowing for it to live in your refrigerator a bit longer (a couple of weeks).  But remember, that does not mean it is canned, so don’t leave these at or above fridge temperature

Finely diced 2 carrots and 1 small onion

Smoked ham bone (shank) with some meat, trim the meat and put aside

Yellow and green dry split peas.  I usually use 2 cups of peas for 4 quarts of broth.

4 quarts of broth

A bunch of cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream or crumbled feta cheese

In a stock pot, cook onions and ham shank, add broth, salt/pepper, carrots and peas. Cook until peas are very tender. Take out the shank and put in the meat (from the shank).  We like our split pea chunky but my sister always blends her split soup–at this point, it is entirely your personal preference. Garnish with sour cream or feta.

 

My version of Cioppino

Fish Stew-Cioppino

cioppino in jars
Cioppino packed for lunch

I love fish stew. I add lots of leeks and fennel to the tomato rich broth. I also hate cleaning mussels and clams. So I make what I call a poor man’s cioppino.

1 or 2 leeks, chopped finely

1 fennel, chopped finely

4 cloves (or more) of garlic, minced

1 quart jar of tomatoes, pureed

1 or 2 quarts (pot size dependent) of chicken or fish broth

1 can of canned clams (with the juice)

Filet of salmon

Filet of white fish (optional if you are content with just salmon)

Shrimp (as much as you wish, all the seafood is added based on how thick you want your soup to be)

2 cups of white wine (one for the soup, one for the cook)

Bay leaf

Butter

Salt/pepper to taste (you can make it spicy by adding red pepper flakes)

Saute the fennel and leek with butter for five minutes, then add garlic and give it another minute on the heat. In a soup pot, add the broth and tomato puree, salt/pepper and bay leaf, bring that to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Add the fennel, leek and garlic mixture to the soup. Give it a few minutes to meld together. Add the can with clams and the juice. Add the white wine. Have a sip of wine. Add the fish and let that cook for a few minutes and then add the shrimp and let that cook for a a few minutes (not to over cook the shrimp). Done and delicious! Serve with a crunchy piece of toast or with a Parmesan crisp.

Mushroom-Barley Stew

Mushroom-Barley Stew

mush2mush

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We mushroom hunt for Birch Boletes and preserve them by pickling, drying and freezing (post boiling). In my opinion, nothing beats a bowl of rich mushroom stew on a cold, crisp day. I am sure you can use other mushrooms in this recipe (any of the Boletus family for sure) but I have never done so.

Fair warning, this is not a paleo friendly soup–lots of delicious carbs

Dry birch boletes, handful plus or minus

Boiling water

Carrots (1-2, depending on size)

3 medium potatoes

1/2-1 cups of barley, depends on thick you want your stew to be.

Broth of your choice (2 quarts-depends on the amount of soup desired)

Cilantro (fresh or dry) optional

Salt and pepper to taste

I start the soup by taking a handful of mushrooms and pouring boiling water over them, pouring off the boiling water after a few minutes (this should rid your mushrooms of whatever got stuck to them–we don’t wash the mushrooms prior to drying, so if a piece of grass dried on the mushroom, this should get rid of it). Pour a second round of hot boiling water on the mushrooms and let them steep for an hour or so. This time, you will use the water as it will be chock full of mushroom flavor. Peel potatoes and cube. Peel the carrots and grate. Bring the broth to boil. Put in the potatoes, barley and carrots. Chop the mushrooms and put into broth, with the water. Add salt and pepper to taste along with the finely chopped cilantro. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for an hour or so. The barley has natural starch and will thicken the soup. If you like, you can add some sausage (cooked and chopped) to the soup to make it more hearty and add protein.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!  This is a cold weather soup–it warms you right up, perfect for our rainy Pacific Northwest fall days.

Thanks for reading!  Please share your recipes using mushrooms, especially for soup.

Leek, Fennel and Potato Soup

Leek, Potato and Fennel Goodness: (photos from Wikipedia)

LeekFennel_8025417

 

Leeks are a popular fall vegetable and I love them. Add some fennel and I am in heaven. I make a large batch, freeze it, can it, or most of the time, we just eat it for a week. This is one of my favorites! Here is a simple recipe.

Leeks (2-4) I use almost all of the leek, I don’t throw the green part away, just trim the edges. Make sure to wash the leek well, dirt finds its way all the way through the layers.

I or two fennel bulbs, depending on the size and your love for the vegetable

2 medium size potatoes

Water or broth of your choice

Chop everything up (doesn’t have to be finely chopped). Pour enough liquid (water or broth) to cover the bottom of the pot (2 cups or so) and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down and let it simmer for a while until all vegetables are very tender. Cool and blend. It will be delicious at this point. Paul often thinks of this soup as baby food. To make it more hearty and adult like, I chop up the potato (versus blending it), add a bit of cream (or sour cream), add chopped hard boiled egg and garnish with a sharp cheese. Yum, my mouth is watering. You can freeze the soup (without adding the dairy) or you can chop up the veggies and process the in a caner at 11 pounds for an hour in pint jars or 75 minutes in quart jars. When you are craving the soup later, just pop the can open, blend, add whatever tickles your fancy and devour!

Enjoy!  What is your leek soup recipe?

Fall Soups!!

Tis’ the season to enjoy some hearty fall soups. Through the next week, I will be posting our family’s favorite soup recipes. These are all of my “own” recipes, so I apologize for the lack of precise measurements (I am not good at cooking that way). If there is something you don’t like, leave it out or substitute it. If on the contrary, there is something you love–double the amount, especially if it is bacon, you can never have too much bacon!! Almost all of the soups I share can be easily made vegetarian or vegan.

Butternut Squash Soup:

sqsoup

Squash are everywhere this season–stock up, they keep well and make delicious soups and compliment other dishes well!

pumpkin

Not all squashes are created equal–I personally only use butternut, red kuri and blue hubbard squashes for soup. I love delicata, acorn and kabocha squashes but in my opinion, those are better roasted.

1 or 2 Butternut squashes, depending on size and the amount of desired soup, seeded and gutted. Chickens go nuts for this stuff! Also, squash and pumpkin seeds can be washed and roasted or dried for planting next year.

butterntu

2-3 medium potatoes

1-2 medium carrots

Chicken broth (or veggie broth or water) This really depends on the amount of squash you have.  if you are blending, and you have used up all your broth, add water to make the blending experience easier.

Bacon (optional, add as much or as little as you wish)

Roast the squash, carrots and potatoes at 350 degrees until they get soft. In the meantime, in the pot you will be cooking your soup, cook the bacon. Get it to the consistency you enjoy (super crunchy for me), remove the bacon pieces (don’t worry, you will use for topping the dish, when serving) leaving the fat trimmings in the pot. Once the vegetables are soft to a poke with a knife, place them in the bacon pot and cover with chicken broth (I often use water). There should be enough broth (or water) to have the veggies float. Cook until the veggies are super soft. Cool and blend. Because I add potatoes, my soups are creamy enough for us, therefore I do not add cream. If for some reason you don’t like potatoes, remove them and add cream…or not, and enjoy it as is. Once blended, I place the soup back into the pot and stick into the fridge overnight. Before serving it, I skim off all the fat (from the bacon). Doing this, I remove A LOT of fat but I am keeping that bacon-y flavor. Heat the soup up and serve. Garnish with bacon bits and roasted pumpkin seeds.

Easy and delicious!  Please stay tuned, as I have many more recipes to follow!  Finally, we are getting around to using our “Recipe” tab 🙂

Pickles!!! Hurry, you still have a little time left!

pickles2

A few weeks ago, we produced 35 jars of pickles, 5 jars of pickle relish and three huge jars of fermenting pickles (these did not make it, they got moldy and went into our compost). I also made “salted” pickles or refrigerator pickles and they turned out delicious! We are enjoying them with salads or as is.

Needless to say, I am pickled out. We bought two huge boxes of cucumbers from Carpenito Brothers (our local farm stand) and got a 10lb batch from our CSA’s pickling share. We use the USDA suggested picking recipe and water bath.

Here is a nice site for lots of pickling/fermenting information.

http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/usda/GUIDE%206%20Home%20Can.pdf

Recipe we use:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Pickle-Anything-Basic-Pickle-Instructions/

The recipe for the “salted” pickles:

Wash the cucumbers well and do not cut them. In a large jar, put in as many cucumbers as tightly as you can. For this type of pickle, it is essential that the uptake of salt is even and slow thorough the whole cucumber.  If this happens too fast, the pickle might loose it’s crunch.  In a sauce pan, for every 1 liter (4 cups) of water, add 3 tablespoons of salt, add dill seeds, garlic, all spice berries, mustard seeds, and bring heat it enough to dissolve the salt.  Cool the brine to room temperature and pour over the pickles and stick the jar in the fridge.  I usually make a huge jar which requires about 3 cups of brine.  They should be ready to eat in 2-3 days.

Some important things to keep in mind:

  • Choose nice firm straight cucumbers, if they are soft beforehand, your pickles will be mushy (and nobody likes mushy pickles!)  It’s also nice if they are all roughly the same size.
  • Wash them well!  I let them soak in my (clean) sink for a little bit and scrub the dirt off with my hands.
  • Do not refrigerate your cucumbers!
  • Garlic and lots of it.
  • When in doubt, add more dill.
  • Add a grape leaf or two to every jar, it make the pickles more crunchy and enhances the flavor.
  • Mustard seeds are your pickling friends.
  • Add peppers and onions (small, whole) to the pickles, you won’t be sorry.
  • You can make whole, slices or spears.
  • Add spice of your liking or jalapenos if you like spicy.
  • Sterilize your jars and lids.
  • For fermenting pickles, use spring or good quality filtered water only.  Tap water is treated with this junk – http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/mdbp/chloramines_index.cfm in most municipalities. This is probably not necessary if you are on a well.
  • Invest the two hours into this activity-you won’t be sorry!  Homemade pickles are delicious, make excellent Christmas gifts or host gifts and you are eating more sustainable (chemical) free food.

Here are some pictures of our pickling adventure!

4 5 6  pickles

 

Next year we plan to give fermenting pickles another try!

Thanks for reading!

An abundance of eggs–breakfast burrito anyone?

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‘Tis the season for prolific egg laying. The chicken ladies are enjoying the longer sunny days and in return we are enjoying an abundance of eggs. I sell two dozen eggs per week. The birds not only pay for themselves but also pay to feed our dogs and cat and once a in a while, a coffee or two for me.  We enjoy as many fresh eggs as we can, and appreciate that our current level of production is seasonal.

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The plethora of eggs will last until fall and then slowly tapper of.  By mid November, we will be happy to get two or three eggs a day.  It is still plenty for us to enjoy an omelet here and there. Though we find ourselves craving more, the children get dibs.

Paul loves breakfast burritos.  Easy to whip up and mostly mess free (he eats en route to work), it’s often what he has for breakfast.

A few days ago, while looking into the fridge, I found three dozen eggs starring at me and I had an idea–frozen breakfast burritos for the months when the girls are taking a break from laying! Eureka!! I decided to experiment.  The experiment was a success and brought much praise from Paul, who was the tester.

Initially, I wasn’t sure if  cooked eggs would freeze well, so I consulted the book of knowledge, Google! I  found a few ideas on how to freeze eggs.  The key was to cook the egg, an omelet/scrambled, let it cool completely on a towel, to absorb any liquid, and then assemble the burrito.  I also happened to have some bacon, cheese and salsa.  All froze and thawed eggcellent!

Here is what I did–cooked the eggs and bacon, then allowed it to get 100 percent cold on a towel.  I used a store bought tortilla, some day they will be home made, salsa and cheddar cheese to fill the burrito.  To freeze it, I wrapped it in foil since I can either reuse the foil  or recycle it, and put it in our freezer.

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A few days later, in the morning, I unwrapped the burrito from the foil, wrapped it in a napkin and zapped it in the microwave for about one minute and 20 seconds…and then, BAM, breakfast is served.   So, starting now and until the gals slow down, I will make a few extra burritos to go into the freezer.  I want to try  making them with beans, sausage and ham and really why stop there?  We often make pulled pork.  Why not freeze some lunch burritos?  We all have days when packing a healthy lunch is not an option, but hey, grabbing a burrito or two is simple enough!!  Oh the possibilities!

I know not everyone has chickens, but everyone can make and freeze burritos.  Next time your eggs of preference are on sale, buy an extra dozen or two and have a burrito making party!  You won’t be sorry on the morning you have overslept and don’t have time for a healthy breakfast.

Easy, fast, healthy, sustainable and most of all, pretty darn good if I may say so myself!!

Thanks for reading!