This is a recipe for a delicious and easy to make soup. Broccoli and stilton soup is perfect for a cold wintery day. Here in Minnesota, we are having lots of cold wintery and snow filled days. So, winter was my inspiration for this soup. It takes a short time to make and will really warm you up. The cheesiness makes me smile. Enjoy.
Heat olive oil in a stock pot. Add onions, celery, garlic and broccoli stalks. Cook until onions become transparent. Pour in stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for ten minutes. Add broccoli florets and simmer for ten minutes more. Add butter and sour cream. Cook until well blended. Use a hand mixer to mix everything together. Add in the stilton and blend will. Cook until cheese is melted and blended. Add salt and pepper. Enjoy.
For the past several months, I have been making my own stock with whatever meat I am cooking. I have made chicken stock, turkey stock, beef stock, ham stock, you name it. Throughout the week, I keep a bowl of vegetable pieces in the refrigerator: celery bottoms and leaves, the insides of red peppers, the bottoms and tops of carrots, end pieces of onion and garlic, etc… Then, when I have some bones ready from whatever meat we have eaten, I make a stock. I make a habit of buying whole chicken or beef with the bone still in because I know I will make stock. Quite often, meat with the bone is will be less expensive as well. Once the stock is finished, I pour it into small bowls to freeze. Then, when I am cooking, I pull the stock out and add it to soup, sauces, rice, or whatever. It is so much better than store bought stock. Stock adds tons of flavors to almost any meal. You can also skip the meat and follow this recipe with only the vegetables for a delicious vegetarian stock. CLICK HERE FOR SLIDE SHOW.
Bones from chicken, beef, ham, turkey, etc… (with some meat left on)
Chunks of root vegetables:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Water (enough to cover vegetables and bones). You can also use wine and stock to add more flavor here.
Herbs: you can use whatever you have on hand
Heat the oil in a stock pot until hot but not smoking. Add the bones and vegetables and brown well for about ten minutes. Deglaze with wine or stock or water. Then, pour in enough water to cover everything. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat. Simmer for two hours on low heat. Sieve the vegetables and bones out. Let stock cool down. Pour into small dishes and place in freezer to use later.
Okay, I have had enough of chicken. I can’t believe how many chicken recipes I have been cooking. That’s what happens when you don’t have much money. You eat a lot of chicken. It’s cheap. Plus, when you buy the whole chicken, it turns into quite a lot of food and then some stock. I’m loving having stock all of the time in the freezer. It makes everything taste better.
Next weeks article is going to be about a Sunday roast. Beef sounds good. I have already made it and it is delicious. I just got a recipe from my friend, Jules for Yorkshire pudding. She is from Wales. I was talking to her on the phone about making a roast and she said, “do you have any pastry to go with it?” I completely forgot about Yorkshire pudding. Why do they call it Yorkshire Pudding? I will have to look that up. It’s not pudding in the U.S. sense or in the U.K. sense of the word. So, I am confused.
No, I still haven’t taken a walk. How long has it been since I decided? Weeks, I think. We did have an incredible snow storm and now it is below zero degrees. So, I can’t imagine walking in those conditions. Right? It makes sense to start on the first. That is when resolutions should be started. Well, that is my story and I am sticking to it. Anyway, I am almost finished with my list of 2010 goals. So far: publish book, lose 20 pounds, successfully teach my cooking class, and stop being so broke. That’s a good start. I have more to add though.
Well, I am off now to make Yorkshire puddings and to learn how the name came into being.
When Claud and I were first married and Daphne was a few months old, we saw a movie called, “My Life” with Michael Keaton. In it, Michael Keaton’s character has three months to live. He makes a movie to give to his unborn child who he desperately wants to leave an impression on although he won’t physically be there for the child. He sees a woman who tells him that the most important thing about raising children is to “marinate them in love”. Claud and I took this lesson to heart. We both left the movie theater with that sentence permeating through our minds. We talked about it often. We truly believe that if you can just always marinate your children in love, it won’t matter where you live, how much money you earn, how you teach them lessons or anything else. As long as at the root of everything you do, you intentionally soak them in love, you will be parenting correctly.
Not long ago, Daphne spent some time with another couple and when she came home we asked her how it went. She said they were very nice and she had a great time. She paused to think for a moment and then continued, “They aren’t in love like you two.” Claud and I looked at each other and smiled. We knew what each other was thinking. We are succeeding in marinating our children in love. She is beginning to notice it. I got a little choked up, as I tend to do, and gave her a big hug and told her how much I love her.
There are so many ways to marinate your children in love. It could be anything as long as love is at the heart of the activity. For our family, cooking has always been a passionate activity. It is an easy way to involve our children in something we love; and thus, marinate them in it. Early in our marriage, when Daphne was about three years old, we were very broke. We lived in a tiny apartment and had one pot and one pan. I was so impressed by the delicious food we could cook with only one pot and one pan. I really wanted to write a cook book for people who couldn’t afford to buy a lot of cooking implements. Without all of the supplies, we still made amazing food. I never did write that cook book. It’s never too late.
One dish we made often was a Thai chicken dish with coconut milk and curry. Each time we cooked it, we would change the ingredients depending on what we had. One time, we would add sweet red peppers and garlic and other times we added lemon grass and lime leaves. When we cooked, we would plop Daphne up on the counter and let her help adding ingredients to the dish. Every time she added something, we would say, “Put lots of love into it.” She would pretend to sprinkle magical love into the simmering pot. Once she asked what we were making and since this dish constantly changed, we didn’t have a name for it. She recognized the smell of the chicken cooking in curry and said it was “Love Stew”. She was right. Although the ingredients constantly changed, the one thing that remained constant was the sprinkling of the magic love into it.
Now, we pretty much make it the same every time. Only now, I have to make two pots of it: one with chicken and one with tofu or shrimp for Daphne. As a matter of fact, usually she makes hers right next to me as I make ours. It has become a regular favorite dish in our extended family as well.
Last week, my sister Jessica called and said she was making Love Stew. My mom makes it too. Everyone calls it Love Stew.
This is the recipe we now use. You can substitute tofu and shrimp for the chicken and you can make it as spicy as you dare. Enjoy! Please see a video below of Claud and me making Love Stew for our family. I promise next week’s recipe has nothing to do with chicken: I’m chickened out. I’m thinking a tasty Sunday roast.
Cook time: 30 minutes
1 whole chicken deboned and chopped (see my deboning chicken video on my YouTube Simplyfoodify channel). You can buy boneless chicken if you prefer. I buy whole chicken so I can make chicken stock.
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 sweet red peppers, sliced lengthwise
3 Tbsp. wok oil
2 Tbsp. mustard seed
1 Tbsp. Turmeric
2 Tbsp. curry
½ tsp. thyme
½ tsp salt
½ bottle of beer
1 can baby corn
2 cans coconut milk
1 C. mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (more if you prefer it spicier)
Pour the wok oil into a stock pot. Once hot, but not burning, add the onions and peppers. Cook until the onions are clear and soft. Add the chopped chicken. Add the mustard seed, turmeric, curry, thyme and salt. Mix together and let the chicken brown with all of the seasonings. The herbs will stick to the bottom of the dish. In five minutes, move the chicken to one side and pour in the beer. Scrape the seasonings into the beer from the bottom of the pot. Simmer for ten minutes. Make sure chicken is cooked through. Then, add the baby corn, coconut milk, mushrooms and Srirachi Sauce. Simmer for five minutes more. Pour over Basmati rice and serve.
Okay, I am still giving my resolutions a lot of thought. I think I will cut down on the cheese and wine. Why not? I am so confused. By the first of the year, I will have a carefully drawn out plan.
Yesterday, while I wrote my post, my children were asking me to make cookies with them. I told them they could get started, “just follow the directions on the package.” I went down stairs to see how it was going. I tasted the chocolate chip cookie dough, which I love to eat raw. It was crunchy and didn’t taste right. I took another bite and another. Something was wrong. I asked Daphne, “how much sugar is in here?” She responded matter of factly, “three cups.” I am not an expert baker, but that sounded like a lot. I pulled out the chocolate chip package and read the recipe. It read 3/4 C. sugar, “Daph, it says 3/4 C. not 3 Cups.” I was a little irritated because I thought a ten and eleven year old should be able to follow directions. Oh well. We threw that dough out. It was gross.
This morning, the kids wanted to open one gift. I made the mistake of telling them they might be able to open one gift on Christmas Eve. The key word was “might” but “might” to them means absolutely yes. So, all morning, from the wee hours, they kept creeping into our room waking us up.
Finally, I said, “fine, if you make us some scrambled eggs and toast, we will come out and watch you open one gift each.” Yes, it was bribery; but, they were happy to oblige. I said, “I like wheat toast and daddy likes white.” They both shouted, “okay!” as they ran to the kitchen. They returned about ten minutes later with one plate carrying scrambled eggs and two pieces of wheat toast. Daph said, “do you want a fork and everything?” I said, “where’s dads?” She said, “oh” and looked confused. I told her I would take that fork. Dad went hungry. Not because I didn’t share. He just didn’t really want any.
I am really getting concerned that my kids can’t follow directions. What’s going on here? Is this normal? Who cares? It was lovely that they even tried to make us breakfast in bed. They are amazingly wonderful children.
Anyway, it’s Christmas Eve and we are snowed in. I love being snowed in. I love not being able to go anywhere.
Where's the driveway?
I am so happy we are going to make a roast tonight with potatoes and vegetables. I love roasts because they remind me of life in England and Claud’s family. It’s just the four of us here this Christmas. All of Claud’s family is at Hopgrass in England and all of mine are in Los Angeles. It seems a little lonely just to have the four of us but it’s also very lucky to have a quiet peaceful Christmas with the people I love so much. Happy Christmas Eve to everyone…if anyone is reading. My next post will be my food column article about Love Stew.
Okay, it’s been several days now and still…no walk. I have completely stopped with the yoga as well. Way to get an idea and then totally not do it…at all. I have cooked several dishes which are ready to write about. My article this week is going to be Love Stew. This is a Thai style chicken dish cooked with curry and coconut milk. So, I have been eating Love Stew all week, for almost every meal. I really don’t mind because it is so delicious. Each day it gets a little spicier. Daphne won’t eat it because she is a vegetarian and Jack won’t eat it because he thinks it’s gross. It’s not a cheese burger and that is enough to make it gross for Jack.
Yesterday, I finally went Christmas shopping. Yes, on December 22nd. I had to get out there and finish…well, begin and finish…before the snow hits today. We are supposedly in for at least twelve inches. I am very happy about the timing of this storm because we have no place to be. We will just stay in, cook, eat, watch movies, and play games. Sounds great.
Okay, about these resolutions. I have been giving this a lot of thought. I would like to get in better shape and stop gaining any more pounds. Ideally, I should shed about twenty pounds. Its a cliche…lose weight as a resolution. I guess I am not alone out there. I already know I won’t be cutting out cheese, butter, wine, or anything else delicious. Instead, I will walk and practice yoga. I just have to actually do it. I will. Now that it is so close to the new year, I will begin in the new year. Unless, I get some crazy energy burst and decide to just get out in the snow and walk. No, this is not procrastination. Waiting until the new year is just very logical at this point. Not really, I am being very lazy and want to give myself a few more days, maybe even a week, of sheer laziness. This way, if I do any exercise betweeen now and then, it will be so impressive. Who knows, it could happen. Maybe I should stop drinking quite so much wine too. Everything in moderation, right? We’ll see.
Well, I have to make a Love Stew movie, article and snap shots. So, I should get to it. Happy Holidays.
Here is my article for the New Ulm Journal food column:
Mothers are amazing, influential, compassionate and nurturing. At least, this has been my experience with my mother. I think most moms don’t even realize which words they speak are making an impact or what action they take that the child is likely to remember. My mom was only seventeen when I was born. So, often, I joke with her and say we will be in a nursing home together when we get old. In spite of our closeness in age, she has always been and will always be my mentor. I look to her for advice and support all of the time. We talk on the phone at least once a day.
This year Claud and I have dealt with a bit of a financial crisis. My mom and her husband, Doug, have been our beacon of hope, helping us all of the time. Have you seen that Hallmark commercial where the grown up daughter walks around on Christmas evening trying to give her mom the card that will somehow reveal her gratitude? Finally, she gets a moment to hand her mother the card and the card reads, “We couldn’t have survived the year without you.” Well, that is me this year. I’m that daughter. They made that commercial based on my life. Not really. However, it could have been written about me and my mom.
She has made me think a lot about being a mother and how it never ends. I’m about to turn thirty nine and she is still helping and worrying about me. Being a mother is a lifelong commitment. I laughed this week when I read an article in Newsweek Magazine where Eleanor Roosevelt cried the day Franklin D. Roosevelt’s mom gave them a house as a wedding gift. The kicker was that the house was actually a duplex; and guess who lived next door? Franklin’s mother had at least three adjoining doors. She might enter into the living room, the dining room or a bedroom whenever she pleased. I totally get this. I often joke with my own kids telling them that we will be building on to this house so they never have to move out. I tell them there will be plenty of room for their new spouse and my grandchildren right here under this very roof. They roll their eyes. My mom doesn’t want to live with us but she is always here in our hearts.
This Christmas, I don’t have much to give. I should try to find that Hallmark card. I might be able to afford that. I want to make certain that the people I love know how grateful I am to have them in my life. My friend Jim Wendroth lost his mother to cancer this year and wrote to me reminding me to not let time go by without spending it with the people I love. I have been so blessed to have had three visits from my parents this year. They have to fly all of the way from California, so this is no small feat. I am tremendously grateful.
Whenever my mom arrives, we spent most of our time in the kitchen: cooking, eating, laughing, and drinking wine. We always have so much fun together. Sometimes we will laugh until tears roll down our cheeks and her husband and mine will just look at us like we are crazy. We are the only ones who get the joke. My mom is an incredible cook. I would never have grown to appreciate food the way I do if it wasn’t for all of the remarkable meals she cooked for me over the years. Okay, I could have done without borsht or fish soup as a child, but most of the other food was fantastic. My mom makes some incredible Italian dishes. That’s why I have to refer to her as Mama Mia when she cooks Italian food. One of her amazing Italian inspired dishes is Chicken Puttanesca. CLICK HERE FOR SLIDE SHOW
Her recipe combines chicken, tons of garlic, chili flakes, kalamata olives, capers, wine and more. She uses red wine which makes sense because she and I love red wine. The traditional recipe for Puttanesca usually calls for a dry white wine. I have only had it with red and it tastes delicious. It is better to use red so you can finish the rest of the bottle after you cook with most of it. That’s what I did yesterday when I made Chicken Puttanesca and Mama Mia was it good. Thank you, mom, and Merry Christmas. Happy holidays to everyone. I hope you are filled with love and fantastic food this holiday season.
Serves: 6 with leftovers (it’s even better the next day)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
One whole chicken, deboned
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 medium sweet red peppers, chopped
10-12 cloves of garlic, sliced in half
2 C. dry red wine (or white)
3 C. chicken broth
3 C. stewed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. salt
½ Tbsp. pepper
½ Tbsp. chili flakes
1 C. kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
½ C. capers, liquid drained
1 lb. angel hair pasta
In a large stock pot, heat olive oil. Once hot, add the chicken. Brown chicken on both sides (about five minutes each side). Remove chicken from pot. Add the onions, peppers and garlic. Brown these until the onions are translucent and everything is getting a little brown (about ten minutes). Add the red wine and scrape all of the brown remnants from the bottom of the pan. Mix this all together. Add the broth and stewed tomatoes. Add the chicken. Allow this to simmer for about thirty five minutes. Add salt and pepper and chili flakes to taste. Cook the angel hair pasta according to directions on package. While the pasta cooks, add the olives and capers. Drain the pasta and add it to the chicken and sauce. Enjoy.
Okay, so I didn’t take that walk…or even do yoga yesterday. But, I am not going to live in the past. So what if it is 11: 30 a.m. and I am still in my pajamas and my article is due for the food column today and I haven’t started it yet. I’m fine. This is how I do it. I spent the morning sleeping in, Facebooking, checking emails, eating more leftover Puttanesca, and talking on the phone. I really should go brush my teeth. Today is a new day and, yeah, I getting a late start. But, now I am going to get going. I will have my video uploaded, photos ready, article written and emailed to the paper, yoga accomplished, and maybe a walk… all before 3:45 p.m. when the kids get home from school. Did I mention that I am BEGINNING my Christmas shopping tonight? Yes, I said beginning. Oh, and my house is still a mess. My next post will be my food column article. I hope it’s good. Oh, I started making the video and you will have to watch it because the shot of me in it is hilarious. I look like I haven’t brushed my hair in days. I didn’t realize Daphne got me in the shot. I was trying to be off camera. And, seriously, I need to get some contacts and put those glasses to rest. That’s part of my bring broke right now…sacrifices. No contacts right now. But, I do have a brush. There’s no excuse for that hair. But, look, now it’s lunch time and a girls got to eat. Yes, it will be chicken puttanesca. If you are what you eat…I am my food column.
I have decided to start giving a more behind the scenes look into my life as a food columnist. I have been writing the food column for the New Ulm Journal for four months now. It has been amazing and fun. I am overwhelmed by all of the kind and warm comments I get from people everywhere I go. I love cooking all of these amazing meals and writing about the experience in the articles.
Many people may not know that Claud hasn’t been working for a few months now. So, coming up with the food for the article each week has been a challenge. It’s been a good challenge though. I mean, we have to eat no matter what. But, it is nice to see that I can come up with tasty meals with so little money. Also, our oven is broken. So, often times, I have to cook on the grill outside (in subzero temperatures) or with the toaster oven. This is how we cooked our Thanks Giving dinner. I love the challenge of cooking with limited funds and crazy out door ovens. I appreciate the finished result so much more.
The other problem I am facing is that my jeans are getting really tight. I am cooking and eating so much that I am getting fat. So, I am starting my resolution plans early. I refuse to give up butter, red wine, cheese, bread or pasta. That would be like giving up love. So, I thought, instead, I will exercise more. I would like to do my DVD of ashtanga yoga every day (which is one hour) and a half an hour walk outside. Now, this walk outside is no easy task during the winter in Minnestoa. But, I think getting outdoors will do me good. As a writer, I am sitting in doors all day long. What’s a half hour? Right? Well, it’s been two days since I decided to do this and I haven’t made it outside yet. My mom just called and I told her I am trying to get a walk in every day. She said, “honey, it’s easy, just put one foot in front of the other.” Oh, if you put it that way. I should be able to do it.
To make matters worse, I made chicken puttanesca last night and used a bit of red wine for the sauce and proceeded to drink the remainder of the bottle…and then had a glass of brandy. So, needless to say, I am sluggish this morning and haven’t accomplished close to what I need to finish before I get the kids from school. Guess what will probably get put on the back burner? Definitely the walk and most likely the yoga.
Finally, I have been asked to teach a cooking class. I am a writer, not a teacher, I told myself. I only wanted to do it if Claud, my husband, would go teach with me. He backed out at the last minute. So, I thought…stop being such a big fat baby and do it on your own. I sent over the curriculum and I am in…all on my own.
I just got back from picking up my son from school. He was supposedly feeling ill but I know he didn’t want to be in the school play. So, there is less time for that walk that I probably wasn’t going to do today anyway. We’ll see.I did resist the temptation to order myself a Whopper with cheese while I ordered him some lunch for the drive home. However, I couldn’t resist one fry, then another, then another. I ate about five. How can I resist those greasy salty little delightful treats? I didn’t have the burger though and that is something. I really really wanted one and smelling his was torture.
I have to write my article on Chicken Puttenesca, make the video, and create the snapshots all before 3. At 3, I have to leave to pick up my daughter from Choir. Busy busy busy….Oh, by the way, my house is a mess. I’ll have to get to that today too. But first…lunch. A girl has to eat. Today, leftover puttanesca. Yes, I usually make these meals for my article and end up eating them for breakfast lunch and dinner until they are finished. I don’t mind.
Soup is perfect for cold days like these. A hot pot of soup cooking on your stove top for hours makes your home smell heavenly.
cooking the beans
Then, eating it in the comfort of your warm home makes winter much more fun. Here is a recipe for pinto bean soup.
You can make it as a vegetarian dish by using vegetable stock or you can use chicken stock.
Finally, you top it off with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream and the combination is delicious.
Pinto bean soup: CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE SLIDE SHOW
Prep time: overnight and 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 ½ hour
3 C. dry pinto beans
6 cups of water
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ C. vegetable or chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 C. stewed tomatoes
2 C. corn
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp thyme
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp. pepper
¼ C. shredded cheddar cheese per bowl
1 tsp. sour cream per bowl
Wash the dried beans thoroughly. Place in a bowl and cover with enough water so they can double in size. Cover and set aside overnight. The next day, wash the beans again. Pour the olive oil in a stock pot or a crock pot. Heat the oil on medium high heat. Add the chopped garlic. Cook the garlic until browned. Add the beans to the pot and add enough water to cover the beans. Add the bay leaf. Bring this to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for an hour. Add the broth, the stewed tomatoes, and the corn. Add the thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Pour into bowls. Add shredded cheese and sour cream. Enjoy.