Tuesday, January 3, 2012

(No) Cream of Vegetable Soup

Wow... here I am at my 200th post!  Which is over 200 recipes, since I've occasionally posted more than one recipe at a time.  When Steph suggested to me just over two years ago that I should start a food blog, I would never have thought that I would have that many recipes. Never mind that I would end up blogging so many!  And I still have bucket loads of recipes to get up here over time.  Some that I've already made in past and others that are in my folders of recipes to try.  Here's to a great love of all things delicious!

You would die if you came over to my house and poked through my recipes.  I have two cookbook shelves in my kitchen with so many cookbooks on them that they continually fall off the ends, threatening to break the sugar bowl.

And this is after having gone through them a year or so ago, getting rid of some cookbooks and sending others down to the basement.

Then I have my my files of recipes that I've ripped out from various magazines over the years.

These used to just accumulate in piles all over the place.  But when I was off of work injured a few years ago, one of my first projects was to sort through and organize all of these recipes, which led to two giant boxes of files.  I hadn't realized just how many recipes I'd accumulated over the years until they were all in the same spot.

Needless to say, with the internet being such a useful source of good recipes, I haven't been going to these much any more.  In fact, I was thinking the other day that I should get rid of them, but I still can't quite bring myself to throw out so many hopefully good recipes.

The good recipe of the day comes from my friend Lyne, who invited me over for lunch and a visit just three days before Christmas.  And this was despite the fact that she was entertaining 40 family members at her place over the holidays.  She promised that she would just whip together something easy.  Which turned out to be this delicious cream of vegetable soup, some deviled eggs, two different kinds of mixed salads and cookies for dessert.  Wow!!  And I thought we'd be having pb&j sandwiches ;)

Everything was delicious, but I particularly loved this soup.  And she was kind enough to share her secret: béchamel sauce.  Why had I never thought of that???  It gives the soup a delicious creamy flavour, without any cream.  I've never used cream in soups, substituting instead with the healthier option of milk.  But adding this béchamel sauce gives it much more flavour and texture with the only difference being a slight bit of flour and butter.  I'm hooked.  We've been eating this with dinner every night for over a week.  And I'm going to whip up a new batch as soon as this one is gone.

She didn't give me a specific recipe, but said that she basically just throws whatever veggies she has in her fridge into her soup (other than cabbage, which she said doesn't work well) and then mixes in a béchamel.   

This is what I specifically put into mine, though I'm sure the veggies will change depending on what I have on hand.

2 zucchini
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 bunch of asparagus
1 bunch of broccoli stems (I coarsely peeled the stems and saved the florets for us to eat) 

Lyne mentioned that she saves the stalks of all of her broccoli in the fridge to make this recipe.  And this is a habit I am going to adopt, since I usually just throw them out.

I would have also put a couple stalks of celery into the soup as well, if the grocery store hadn't been out of it.

I cooked all of this in about 12 cups of chicken stock.  I started with just 6 cups, but kept adding until there seemed to be enough for the amount of veggies.  So you can adapt, depending on how many veggies you put in your soup.  I then brought it to a boil, lowered to a simmer and cooked until the veggies were all fork tender.

Once everything was cooked, I added in some béchamel sauce from this recipe here.  I didn't use the whole batch, as I felt it was a bit much for the quantity of soup, but maybe used 2/3 to 3/4 of what the recipe made.  But you can do it to taste, putting all of it in if you like your soups particularly creamy.  I didn't ask Lyne how she seasons her soup, so I just put in some ground pepper, parsley, basil and oregano and this tasted pretty good.  

And then I just blended it all with my new immersion blender.  Which, as a side note, I am loving to death, as it means I don't have to wait for soups to cool a bit to put them into the blender.  I got this on sale at Canadian Tire awhile back for $50 and it has gone to good use since.  If you are a soup lover and don't have one, I highly recommend it. 

Difficulty level: moderate to difficult (due to the béchamel sauce)

So here's to 200 more recipes blogged, 10 times over!  I hope you are enjoying the blog and getting good use out of it.  If there is anything you would like to see on here, please let me know in the comments section and I will do my best to hunt down some great recipes.