January 11, 2009

Sunday Soup

Posted in Food tagged , , at 7:51 pm by bookwoman

Back in September, Geek Boy and I took a trip to Hershey, PA, to see Bob Newhart perform live.  It was an absolutely wonderful show, and we were some of the youngest people in the audience, and we’re not that young.

On the drive out, we stopped for lunch at Bube’s Brewery.  We had been there years ago before they were brewing.  Another time we stopped on our way home from another trip, only to find that they were closed that day.  So, after double checking the website to make sure they’d be open, we made a little side trip on our way to Hershey.  It was miserable and rainy that day, the last pieces of a tropical storm was passing  through town.  Bube’s had a baked tomato soup on the menu.  And it was wonderful.

So, I’ve been in the mood for a good tomoato soup lately and really wanted something like that.  Lucky for me, the New England Soup Facotry has a wonderful roasted tomato and rice soup.  The tomatoes roast in the oven for about an hour, with just  a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  I made brown rice to stir in, thinking it would be a little heartier, which is good, since soups are my lunch each day.  Unfortunately, I cooked the rice in a pot that was too small for the amount I cooked, so it stayed kinda sticky.  But a few minutes in the microwave and it was good to go.  The recipe also calls for cheddar cheese to melt over top, but Geek Boy went for some parmesan grated over, and I think that worked really well.  (Raya, I’ll get a container to you tomorrow.)

My new recipe for the week was pretty good.  I made eggplant roll-ups from one of Rachel Ray’s cookbooks.  They turned out pretty well.  Only, I substituted prosciutto for hot ham.  It made them a little more sweet, than peppery and spicy. 

This week, I think it’s going to be another Rachel Ray.  Yes, I admit it.  Rachel Ray is one of my guilty pleasures.  She’s totally overexposed and way too perky, but a lot of her recipes are good and are in regular rotation around here.  So, tomorrow, pretzel chicken with dijon sauce.

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January 4, 2009

Friday Feast and Sunday Soup

Posted in Food, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 4:51 pm by bookwoman

Geek Boy and I do not go out for New Years Eve.  I’ve never liked going out then, and rarely had a good time.  So, a while back, I decided that it would be much better if I settled in with a hoagie, some beer and a few movies.  When Geek Boy and I started dating, I told him that he was free to go out with his friends, but he opted to hang with me.  And now it’s a tradition.  Friends of ours hosted a big party this year and other friends had asked if we were going to the party because they really wanted to spend New Years Eve with us.  We explained our anti-social policy but invited them to come to a New Years dinner instead.

I forgot how much I loved having little dinner parties.  There were only five of us, but I had a blast putting the menu together.  This also gave me a good start for my food goals for 2009.  Like with my knitting, I’ve decided I want to go to my books more often.  So, here’s the prep.

A strange assortment of ingredients

A strange assortment of ingredients

I did one old standard, the Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake from Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess.  Nigella’s one of my favorites.  So, I went to Feast and found a fabulous vodka marinade that I used for a couple of tri-tip steaks (it’s in the Kitchen Feasts chapter).  If you are a meat eater and have Feast, or can get it at a library, try this marinade.  It’s phenomenal.

Geek Boy keeps me supplied with Cooking Light magazine, and the December issue had some great stuff in it, including, colonial corn pudding, brussels sprouts with chestnuts, and egg nog ice cream.  All keepers, although I would probably cut back on the amount of burbon in the ice cream.  It wasn’t bad, but I’d still cut back.  We like sweet potatoes, and I remembered an old CL recipe for white and sweets mixed.  I couldn’t remember which issue it was in, so I just went looking for something on line and came up with this, which is definitely a keeper.

It was a wonderful night.  Great food, better friends.  Just sitting around the table talking all night.  So, another new goal for 2009 is to do this more often.  Have friends over for a nice quiet dinner.  It’s cheaper than going out and you don’t have to feel guilty about taking a server’s table for too long.

In true weekend and back to work fashion, this morning was dedicated to making soup for the week.  A very yummy smelling mushroom barley soup from New England Soup Factory.  I made it this morning, but haven’t tried it yet.  It’ll probably be dinner. 

We’ve got the Eagles game recording on the DVR…we’ll wait a while before we start watching.  This way we can scan through the half-time crap.  So, in about half an hour we’ll get ourselves some dinner and settle in to watch the game.  I’m on block six of the blanket, and since it’s garter stitch, it’ll be a good game knittin’ project.

Go birds!

December 22, 2008

A Good Day for Soup

Posted in Food tagged , at 11:05 pm by bookwoman

So, the weather is turing to actual winter weather in our little part of PA these days.  Yesterday, I was curled up on the couch under a blanket for most of the day.  Part way through the afternoon, Geek Boy came to me and asked if I would make soup today.  If I made a shopping list, he would make a trip to the produce store. 

Soup has been a regular thing at Chez Bookwoman and Geek Boy for about  a year.  I try to make a batch every weekend.  It’s then packed up in single serving containers and we have lunch for the week.  Since the school year started, I’ve been particularly ambitious, often making two soups each week for variety.  This is partly of necessity.  The school where I work does not have a cafeteria, so I have to bring my lunch each day.  There is an option to order from a local pizza shop, but I’m trying to be healthful and frugal.  So, homemade lunch it is.  (With a few Trader Joe’s noodle soup packets stored in my desk for those days when I forget.)

The receptionist at school is also a soup maker and eater.  And she is one of the sweetest people you would ever want to meet.  One day I mentioned I was eating canned soup (but it was Amy’s, so it was good).  The next morning she gave me a container of her homemade soup because she didn’t want me eating canned.  And as a Christmas gift, she gave me The Complete Book of 400 Soups.

So, with Geek Boy’s offer to go out in search of produce, I spent the day perusing the options.  We finally decided on Corn and Sweet Potato Soup.  Geek Boy is my sous chef, taking care of doing all of the chopping and dicing…his knife skills are far superior to mine.   This particular soup has two things going for it.  First, it has corn.  There’s something about corn in soup that is just extra warming to me.  (I made a corn chowder a few weeks back that is one of my top ten favorites.)  Second, it’s one of those soups where you puree half and then stir the pureed portion back into the pot.  So, you get a slightly thick, slightly chunky soup.

soup-blender

I have found that I really prefer my blender over the food processor for this job…especially since Geek Boy found the beehive blender at a yard sale this summer.  It’s just so cool to use. 

So, we’ve got a nice warm soup to get us through the week.  Bring on the winter weather!