Monthly Archives: October 2013

Creamy Soup for One

I’m sure you are familiar with all the recipes for dessert for one. There are thousands of them floating around Facebook and Pinterest. You know the gems. They show you how to make just enough fresh hot cake or brownie or blondie or whatever dessert for you and you alone.

I’ve been thinking about that concept lately and wondering how I could apply it to soup. So over the past few days, I’ve been experimenting with the proportion of broth and veggies needed to make just enough soup for little old me.

Now as it goes, this soup will take a little advance work. It can be made cold and heated in a microwave at work. But because you blend it to make it smooth, whatever veggies you use should be cooked. Without further ado, I present…

Creamy Soup for One
1 cup broth
1/2-3/4 cup cooked broccoli, cauliflower or Romanesco – I roasted mine
garlic, salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp shredded parmesan or romano cheese

1. Put everything in the blender and blend away until it’s nice and smooth.
2. Heat and serve.

Seriously, that’s it. If you need to applaud me for decoding a soup recipe so you can make it just for you, feel free.

Before I go, a couple words.
Romanesco is a delightful fall vegetable that was featured in the very first recipe I ever posted. It looks like a cross between cauliflower and broccoli. Are you into math? Then this is the veggie for you! Apparently, there’s something called a Fibonacci number and the number of spirals on the head of the Romanesco is a naturally occurring one of these. So if you can find this in the store, before you cook it up, share some of its math wonder with your family. Mouths will drop.

And the other word. If you want to make this creamy soup for more than one person, use a quart of broth and 2-3 cups of cooked veggies and a half a cup of cheese. I leave the amount of garlic, salt and pepper to your taste.

I didn’t add any milk or cream to this. And if you’re vegan, you can obviously leave out the cheese and you will still have a delightful, creamy soup. I think this can work with potatoes too. Let me know what veggies you try with this.


Maple Brown Sugar Muffins

I love to bake but I’ve been stuck in a rut. Every time someone suggests I bake something I go to an old standard, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. Everyone likes it. It’s fast to make and relatively healthy since I use a small amount of oil and whole wheat flour.

My friend Jen of the blog The Whole Bag of Chips loves to bake more than almost anyone I know and is constantly trying new recipes for her favorite food, the muffin. Her persistence in baking great muffins and telling me about them inspired me to try one of the recipes that she posted. Her muffins were Honey Muffins which she posted about yesterday with two other recipes that will make a great weekend brunch. I hope you check them out.

I modified the recipe Jen posted and made…

Maple Brown Sugar Muffins
2 cups of flour – I used whole wheat
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Combine the dry ingredients.
3. Add the wet ingredients, excluding the melted butter and mix well.
4. Stir in the melted butter.
5. Scoop into a 12 cup muffin tin either lined with muffin papers or sprayed with cooking spray.
6. Bake for 20 minutes.

I liked these muffins because they weren’t too sweet and they were nice and light, even though they were whole wheat. They were very quick. I could see adding dried cranberries and chopped pecans to these to make a wonderful fall treat.


Shrimp Diablo Alfredo Pasta

As you may know, when people in my house are away, we take that opportunity to lessen the agony of their absence by eating things they either can’t or won’t eat.

This week, the wee one is away at what we around these parts call Outdoor Ed. It’s a school week with his classmates learning about the environment and generally bonding right on the Chesapeake Bay. Lucky boy! And lucky us because the wee one can’t eat shrimp. So, when the cat’s away, the mice eat shrimp, or more specifically, the mice create a new recipe called…

Shrimp Diablo Alfredo Pasta
1/2 stick butter
3 or more cloves crushed garlic
1/4 flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup grated parmesan
cayenne pepper to taste
1 lb cooked shrimp
1 lb pasta

1. Start the water for the pasta.
2. Melt the butter and add the garlic and saute for a few minutes on medium.
3. Add the flour and let it sit for a minute. Stir gently until a nice butter floury garlicky paste forms. Your water should be boiling now so add the pasta to it!
4. Add the milk and stir to combine well. Keep stirring until the milk sauce thickens.
5. Add the parmesan. Stir stir stir!
6. Add the cayenne. Stir again! Should have a nice spicy alfredo sauce now.
7. When the pasta is done, drain it and combine with the sauce and shrimp and heat through.

I topped this with some chopped chives. Because I was making this primarily for the teenager who doesn’t like anything but Doritos to be spicy, I didn’t add a ton of cayenne. I probably added 1/4 tsp. I would have added more. And I might have thrown some chopped shallots in with the garlic to make this a really kicky, zesty dish!

I somehow got ridiculously large shrimp. They were easily 4 inches long each. They were “Colossal”. If I had been paying closer attention I would have gotten slightly smaller shrimp.

All in all, it was a very tasty dish and a nice diversion from the regular Alfredo based pasta I make AKA Crazy Sexy Pasta.


Curried Lentils

I have made a couple soups with lentils. They are now a staple in my diet. I find lentils to be a a filling, flavorful and healthy enhancement to my diet.

Over the weekend, I had one of those almost instant pouches of Indian food. They never disappoint. This one was curried lentils with spinach. I devoured it, and when I was done, I realized that it was high time I learned how to make my own Curried Lentils.

Today was a little grueling so some therapeutic cooking was definitely in order when I got home.

Curried Lentils
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 chopped carrot
2 stalks of celery, chopped
olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup uncooked lentils
2 cups water
Curry powder

1. Cook the veggies in a little olive oil until the carrots start to get a little tender.
2. Add everything else and bring to a boil. Season as you like.
3. Cover and simmer until the lentils are soft. It may take up to an hour, depending on what kind of lentils you choose.

I used the huskless Urad Dal which are tiny and, without the husk, white. They took a while. But think of it as more time for the flavors to all simmer together. As for the spices, I would say that my curry was medium spicy. I put in about a teaspoon of curry, a half teaspoon of cumin and a quarter teaspoon of cayenne. What I liked about my recipe was that it didn’t call for anything out of the ordinary. I don’t have coriander or any other whacky spices. I have spices I know I will use regularly. This worked very well for me.

I served (myself) the lentils with rice and a nice dollop of fat free plain yogurt. I was delighted with my own culinary skill. And I will be just as delighted with all the leftovers, which I will eat, all by myself and share with no one. Mwa ha ha!


Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Are you getting a little tired of the pumpkin recipes? I do love pumpkin, but there are other things to eat in the fall. For example, if you recall, I received a package of goodies from my homeland, AKA Minnesota. In it were two pounds of wild rice. Wild Rice is a very fall-like food. It’s harvested in the fall, after all. I think a lovely Wild Rice soup makes a great break from all the pumpkin. And yes, I do know I posted a Pumpkin Soup recipe recently. But thanks for the reminder.

Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about one tiny thing. You know how some people say they don’t photograph very well? If this soup were a person, that’s what it would say. Try as I might, the wild rice kept sinking to the bottom of the bowl where it was basically invisible. Ugh.

Please trust me. This was a very good soup. The picture isn’t great, but I swear the soup is!

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
1 leek chopped
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
olive oil
4 chicken thighs, chopped and cooked
1 quart chicken broth
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup or more milk or cream
1 1/2 cups wild rice, cooked

1. Saute the leeks, carrots, celery and garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a stock pot until they soften a little.
2. Add the chicken and cook until it’s done.
3. Add the butter and stir until melted.
4. Sprinkle the veggies and chicken with flour and stir until it gets pasty.
5. Add the chicken broth and stir. The broth will be a little cloudy.
6. Add the wild rice and milk and heat through.

We had this with some nice crusty bread. It was delightful. The butter gave it a great creamy flavor without being heavy at all.

I love leeks and often use them instead of onions. If you don’t, you can use onions. You can also leave out the chicken and use veggie broth and have a nice vegan wild rice soup instead.