Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hearty Vegetable Soup

Sorry for the blog hiatus. I really put a lot of weight in Punxsutawney Phil and his ability to predict weather patterns. He said we would have an early spring, and every morning, when I check the weather, and it's below freezing (in the South! in March!), a little part of me gets angrier and angrier. I keep thinking 'tomorrow is the today' and am constantly let down. I really hope this gets brought up in Punxsutawney Phil's 2013 performance review. I can't be the only disgruntled customer.

Needless to say, I am ready for warmer weather! There hasn't been a whole lot happening around here, which is why I haven't been posting much. I plan to be out in the garden, taking Koda on more walks, playing some tennis, and laying by a pool as this weather gets warmer. But until then, we are mostly eating and catching up on our DVR.

I did go through my pictures today and found that I actually do have a good bit to catch up on. Most of these are recipes, which I apologize for - but what else is there to do in the winter but eat? So expect a few more posts from me - and hopefully no more longer-than-a-week breaks. 

Starting with the first one, a hearty vegetable soup to get you through these last few weeks of winter (I refuse to pretend that it is Spring ... 27 degrees is not Spring).

8 cups beef broth 
1 diced bell pepper
1 diced jalapeno
2 cloves garlic minced
2 T olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 sprig of rosemary
1 potato – chopped
1 sweet potato – peeled chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup green beans (cut into 1inch pieces)
1 cup loosely chopped broccoli
1 portabello mushroom – diced
1 cup spinach
2 T half and half

First, let me explain some of the ingredients. I used 8 cups of water and 8 beef bouillon cubes to make the broth, so feel free to do the same. The sugar is used to neutralize the spiciness of the jalapeno - so don't worry about this being spicy. I don't think spicy goes well with the flavors of sweet potatoes, garlic, and rosemary - so I definitely recommend the sugar. Lastly, the half and half gives it just a hint of creamy (which works well with the potatoes) without much added fat. 

As someone who doesn't love cooked spinach (and therefore finds other ways of eating it) the spinach in this just completely melts in your mouth. I love it!

1. In a large stock pot combine the bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic and olive oil.
2. Sautee over medium heat for 5 minutes.
3. Pour in the beef broth. Add the sugar and the rosemary. Bring to a boil.
4. Add the potato, sweet potato, and carrots. Boil 10 minutes.
5. Add the green beans, broccoli, and mushrooms. Boil for 2 minutes.
6. Add the spinach and the half and half. Boil for 1 minute. 
7. Remove from heat. Carefully remove the rosemary stem. Serve and enjoy. 

A hearty, calendar-is-pretending-its-spring-but-really-its-winter soup that takes less than 20 minutes to make. 

I cut up some stale bread, baked for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprayed the cubes with olive oil, baked another 2 minutes, and served on top of the soup.

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