Thursday, September 27, 2007

Veggie Soup a la Fridge

Due to Popular Demand (thanks, Amber!) here is the super simple recipe for quick and easy vegetable soup that not only warms the cockles, but cleans out the fridge too. I learned from my boss' wife to just open a can of Campbell's and then tinker with it. So...

A can of Vegetarian Vegetable (or Minestrone or Vegetable get the idea) and pour into your soup pot with the requisite can of water.

Open your fridge and look over the leftover containers. Mine happened to contain a can of refried beans, slightly dried out, but still usable. Sometimes there is leftover rice, or a smidge of yesterday's meat, or some spaghetti remnants. Dump in a judicious amount, you don't want to overwhelm the Campbell's, just dress it up. I had about 2 Tbs of refritos added to my can of soup the other day. Dried out beans don't sound too appetizing, right? but put them in and your soup suddenly has some texture and body.

I love fresh veggies in my soup! I grab the bag of frozen peas and another of sweet corn and dump a quarter cup or so into the soup pot. Hey! The soup is looking more colorful already.

My sweetie had some of those little bitty carrots leftover from a trip that were just drying out in the veggie drawer so I just chopped some up, added some water, nuked them in the microwave for about 8 minutes and dumped the result in the soup pot.

Somehow my spice rack came into view at this point and I chose to add a sprinkle of cumin and another of garlic powder, but I frequently choose some oregano or basil, it just depends on my mood.

Grammy had just dug her potatoes--little bitty guys--so I cooked them in my trusty microwave and chopped them up, skins and all, and added them to my bubbling pot. She and I both planted zucchini this year and while she is willing to add them to her cookie dough I believe you have to draw the line somewhere. Zucchini, after all is a vegetable. I love to grate my zucchini and microwave it with a little water, so I added a couple spoonfuls to my soup pot.

If I'm in the right mood, I'll start dinner early and let things simmer on the stove for ages. This was not one of those I just ladled it into our biggest bowls, sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top and set them on the table. I put some whole wheat bread in the toaster for me and my sweetie grabbed the saltines for himself.

Twenty minutes, folks, start to finish. Savory, hearty, delicious, healthy and easy. We've been known to call it Kitchen Sink Minestrone because the best minestrone I've ever had (in a little restaurant along the Russian River in northern California) was constructed along those lines. This is one to play with and the ever-changing contents of the fridge make it fun. Remember, it's not brain surgery and Martha Stewart isn't gonna grade the end result. Enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2007


Made some.


No complaints because the weather is cooler and rainy or because it's really officially Autumn and summer is already a distant memory or that the garden has slowed to a crawl with fewer flowers and veggies that ripen in geologic time.

Why? Cause I actually get to cook something different! Farewell to the summer menu of dinners whose primary requirement is that they don't heat up the kitchen. Hello to pots of apples transforming into sauce, to soups simmering on the burner, to chili from scratch and stew and...and...comfort foods.

Love change, hate boredom.

By the way, the veggie soup had leftover refried beans, grated zucchini, white corn, peas, fresh potatoes skin and all, and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. It's still sticking to my bones and warming my marrow.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


This is my car. It sparkles. It shines. It is clean inside and out. Even the tires shine.

I did not wash, wipe or vacuum one square inch to get it that way. I'm the one with carpal tunnel, remember. I am not allowed to clean because that would mean using my fingers, hands and wrists. That would be very very bad and my OT would not be happy.

Those two lovely men were a gift. They came to me. They brought a trailer filled with lovely cleaning juices and magical potions. (For the car, people; what would I do with car shampoo, wax and Armor-all? No, wait, don't answer.) They had their work cut out for them and worked for well over an hour removing dirt, dust, garden soil, rock chips, dried soccer grass, pollen, and a year of puppy.

It's called Detailing (courtesy of last year's morning class) and I love it.