After all of the cookies and cakes, who feels like cooking? That's why I love soup. It smells up the house. It clears my stuffy nose. And it's fun to eat!
Simplest soup recipe? Start two pots on the stove. In one, put water for boiling pasta. In the other, a box of broth, a smashed garlic clove, a whole green onion or a half of a yellow onion and a whole carrot and maybe a spring of parsley, a stem of celery. By now the pasta water is boiling. Let the soup simmer while you cook the pasta. Then drain the pasta, pull the vegetables out of the broth and cut them up, or add different vegetables. Serve the noodles with the hot broth on top. Call it feel-better soup.
Kids in the kitchen? Try making homemade pasta for the soup, or bread to go alongside. My kids' favorite is these homestyle potato rolls that I end up making with whole wheat pastry flour and baking as pull apart bread on a cookie sheet.
Pull out those dried split peas and cook them up in water with a pinch of cumin seed, (maybe a chipotle chile?) a handful of rice, some salt. An hour later, you're ready to add some chopped cilantro and green onion and call it lunch. A more detailed explanation on PETA's website. Learn more ideas for yummy soups and have some fun in class January 12 at the Palo Alto Adult School.
Need some inspiration for 2016 on new ways to prepare vegetables that you and your family will love? I'm teaching a lunchtime class on Mondays beginning January 11 in my home.
Wishing you joy in food for the holiday season.
PS I'm working on my kids' summer cooking camp schedule now. Right now the dates for the four one-week sessions are June 20, and July 11, 18, and 25.
Savor the moment.This is a busy time of year for me. So busy, in fact that when I looked at the blog I was a bit embarrassed (April?! Really?!!) Better late than never...and this one is a repeat from my newsletter. Join the list to read it first, or follow the Facebook page. I've been thinking about how I can slow down, especially as Thanksgiving leads into Hanukkah, Christmas, school holidays, New Years' and both of my kids' birthdays.
One trick I've been using is to work a little harder on small pleasures, like brewing my favorite spiced mint tea that I learned from a local Mediterranean restaurant.
Spiced Mint Tea (makes one cup)
8 oz water
1 black tea bag (*or make it herbal only and just leave the black tea out)
1 mint tea bag or one handful mint leaves
1 cinnamon stick
5 fresh sage leaves or 1 t dried sage
1 t sugar (optional)
Heat water to just boiling, then add all ingredients. Steep for 4 minutes, remove tea bags and herbs, add sugar if desired, and enjoy. I've made it in a glass pyrex in the microwave, or just in a mug with water heated from my tea kettle.
Another seasonal strategy is making time for things I love, like finding new vegetables to throw in soup (Bac Ha anyone?) or new cookbooks to try like Kristy Turner's But I Could Never Go Vegan. And planning for overindulgence by thinking of ways to add more vegetables, fruits, soups and teas to my daily intake.
Oh, and lest I forget, I am also offering exciting winter break kids cooking classes and a new course for adults called Meatless Monday Lunch. Plus a couple of evening courses this winter at the Palo Alto Adult School. Come cook with me in the next few months, and bring a friend!
With warmest regards for your holiday season,
PS Tried roasting brussels sprouts yet? You'll need about a pound of sprouts and a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 500. Then halve the sprouts and place them in a bowl with a tablespoon each of oil and water and a teaspoon of salt. Toss to combine and put them cut side down on the baking sheet. Cover with foil, then roast for 5 minutes, remove the cover, and roast for 5 minutes more. My kids can't get enough.
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