Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Favourite Homemade Soups

We've been doing more planning and home cooking of late, especially given that we are working with a personal trainer.  The cookbook above, has been a standard for me for many years and was the inspiration for our last two batches. Both made with loving care and our sous chef, Spencer (good to get the nine year old in the kitchen).

Unfortunately, the world lost Ken last year in April, but his many recipes live on.  Since I've been asked to share the recipes for both the "True Potato Soup with Parmesan" and "Mulligatawny" lately, I've decided to post them here.  The recipes are from the book above and I have a tendency to tweak the spices. If you are a fan of soups, should be a stable in your library.

Mulligatawny (Serves 8) p.138

2 Tbsp olive oil                                       1/2 cup rice
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts          1 tbsp curry powder
2 stalks celery, chopped                           1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 small red onion, chopped                       1/2 tsp dried basil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped                   1/2 tsp salt
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped          1/2 tsp white pepper
1 red bell pepper                                     1 bay leaf
1 tsp grated fresh ginger                          6 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
1 cup apple juice                                     1 cup half/half table cream

In a large soup pot, heat the oil.  Add the chicken breasts and cook until no longer pink.  Remove pot from heat.  Cube the chicken and set aside.  Return the pot to the heat; add celery, onion and garlic and sauté for three minutes. Add the apples, red pepper and ginger; sauté another 2 minutes.  Add the cooked chicken, rice, curry powder, cinnamon, basil, salt, white pepper and bay leaf, stock and apple juice.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in cream and simmer another 5 minutes or until heated through.  Remove the bay leaf before serving and enjoy!

(Note - this is especially good reheated the next day or the longer you allow the spices to blend).

True Potato Soup with Parmesan (Serves 4 - 6) P. 32

2 tbsp olive oil                                 1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped                     5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups vegetable stock                       1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme                           1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper                          1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley             1/2 cup sour cream (optional)*

In a large soup pot, heat the oil.  Add the onion and garlic; sauté for 2 minutes or until the onion is translucent.  Add the potatoes; sauté, stirring  to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom.  Add the stock, basil, thyme, salt and pepper; simmer 15 minutes.  Using a hand blender, puree the soup.  Stir in the Parmesan and parsley.  Place a tablespoon of sour cream (*we use plain yogurt) on each serving.  Serve immediately.

I've truly enjoyed experimenting with the recipes in this book and I hope you and your family enjoy it as well.


Source: Ken's Soup Crazy, Penguin Canada 2000 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Getting Out

Top of the Bruce Trail, Excursion with Treks in the Wild - Pretty River Provincial Park, Collingwood ON(From left to right, Greg, Katie, Val, Joan and I)

Joan and I had the great pleasure of exploring the Collingwood ON area via snowshoe this past long weekend to celebrate Family Day in Ontario. 

The trip was organized by Treks In the Wild, out of Brantford Ontario and we met Andy Tonkin and the other adventurers at 9:45am in Collingwood.  

The transition from green and barren ground to a winter wonderland was unbelievable.  About 10km from town not only did the landscape become increasingly rugged, the traffic increasing congested, it was as white as a newly opened bag of cotton batten.  

After meeting Greg, Katie, Val, and Andy, we headed off to Pretty River Provincial Park to start our hike.  For the first time in years, I was knee deep in powder and it was a real joy.  We went on and off trail and climbed to the top of the Bruce Trail (picture above).  Unfortunately with all the snow and a weather system coming in, we didn't get to enjoy the vistas, but we were able to enjoy each others company and the pleasure of being outdoors and active.

After a great meal at Collingwood's hidden jewel of a country store/restaurant Ravenna Country Market, just outside of Blue Mountain (the soup alone is worth the trip) we met up with 2 new friends Tara and Ajeeth and headed back out to Loree Forest.  The trail here is flatter and takes you to the lift at Georgian Peaks Ski Resort.  The view from the top of the hill, looking down over Georgian Bay is stunning.  

We enjoyed another 2 hours of snowshoeing before heading back home.  We paid for it the next day but the adventure and fun was worth it.  If you get the chance, being active and outdoors, no matter the weather is one of life's best experiences.

Find what you'd like to do and get out there!