Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Nothing Like a Hot Bowl of Soup!

This time of year, when the evenings are cold, come supper time, there is nothing my husband and I like better than to start our meal with a hot thick bowl of soup.

Hot soup warms the body and soul. Takes away any chills and sets the stage for the rest of the meal. No food can comfort you like homemade soup. You can use up leftovers or combine fresh ingredients to make a variety of fabulous soups.

According to food historians, soup is considered one of the first fast foods. The history of soup is as old as the history of cooking. The act of combining various ingredients in a large pot to create a nutritious, filling, easily digested, food was seen as something that both the rich and poor homemaker could prepare to nurture their family.

Among the earliest soups recorded was a recipe that combined peas, lentils and beans for a quick and easy meal. 

In Parsha Toldot [Bereshit] [Genesis 25:33] we read that on the day of the funeral of Avraham Avinu, his grandson Yaacov was cooking red lentil stew [soup], [the traditional mourner's meal]for his father Yitzchak who was mourning Avraham. Esau, [Yaacov’s twin brother] had been hunting all day came back was so hungry that he agreed to sell his birthright to Yaacov (his rights as the firstborn] for a bowl of red lentil stew and bread.

Soups traditionally are classified into two main groups: clear soups and thick soups. Whatever type of soup you are eating, savor the flavor and enjoy its taste.

My husband and I have our favorite soups and I would to share some soup recipes with you.

*Note: all vegetables and legumes must be checked for infestation and washed before using.

All soups are pareve [neutral]. The vegetable soup and the spicy red lentil soup can be made fleshik [meat] by browning either turkey, chicken or beef pieces and then adding the vegetables and following the rest of the recipe.  

If you prefer a dairy soup, you can add grated cheese before serving to the vegetable soup, spicy red lentil soup and the mushroom and barley soup.

Hearty Thick Vegetable Soup 
A complete meal in a bowl. 
2 or 3 large carrots
2 onions
2 celery stalks
1 medium size kohlrabi
2 white potatoes
1 large sweet potato
1 large zucchini
¼ cup green pea
¼ cup yellow pea
¼ cup red lentils
¼ cup kasha
1 package baking powder [about 3 teaspoons] optional
salt and pepper

-Dice all the vegetable and combine with legumes in a large pot filled with cold water and bring to a boil.
-skim off foam.
-add baking powder [to cut cooking time] optional 
-salt and pepper to taste.
-Cook on medium low heat until veggies are soft and legumes are melted. appr. 1 ½ / 2 hours.
*note: When finished add up to 1 ½ cups boiled water to replace liquid boiled away. Stir well. 

If you would like to make this soup a complete meal, serve with dumplings. 

Dumplings make just before serving
1 ½ cups flour
1 package baking powder
3 tablespoons oil
1 cup of soup liquid
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon turmeric 
-Combine flour baking powder and oil and mix well. 
-add seasonings
Bring soup to boil
-using 2 spoons, dip spoons into hot soup and then spoon off mixture
-repeat to dip spoons each time before mixture.
-cover and cook 10 / 12 minutes. ENJOY!

Green Lentil Soup
Easy soup to make. 
2/3 cup green lentils [that were soaked for 1 hour]
2 large onions cut in circles
garlic powder
1 teaspoon turmeric 
2 tablespoon soya sauce.

-Bring lentils to a boil and then simmer until cooked. approx. ½ / ¾ hour.
-While lentils are cooking
-fry onion until slightly brown
-add salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
-turmeric and soya sauce. Stir well.
-When lentils are soft add seasoned fried onions and enough boiled water to fill soup pot.
-Make a couple of hours before serving time to have to best taste.
-Reboil before serving. ENJOY! 

Spicy Red Lentil Soup
Simple soup to make and so yummy!.
1 medium onion
3 carrots
2 / 3 white potatoes
1 cup red lentils [soaked for 1 hour]
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon hot paprika [if you like really hot add 1 teaspoon]
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper

-Combine all the ingredients including the seasoning in a large pot.  
-Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer for 45 minutes or until all the vegetables and lentils are soft.
-add more boiled water if necessary. ENJOY!

Mushroom and Barley Soup [our favorite]
¾ cup barley
2 cans mushrooms or equivalent fresh 
2 or 3 onions diced
1 teaspoon turmeric 
2 tablespoons soya sauce [optional]

-Add barley to a pot filled with boiling water. Continue boiling for 3 minutes and then simmer until soft. [about 30 minutes]
 -Fry mushrooms and onions
-season with turmeric, salt and pepper to taste.
-When barley is soft add to fried onions and mushroom mixture and mix well.
-Fill pot with water and bring to a boil.
-season with soya sauce.[optional]
-simmer for 20 minutes with or without the soya sauce. ENJOY!

*This soup is also better when it is allowed to ‘sit’ for a couple of hours. Goes great with garlic bread or pita and hummus.

Enjoy the recipes and share them with your friends.
Until next time

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What Should I do on a cold Wintery Day??

I wrote this blog yesterday but just as I was about to post, our internet went and only came back during the night.

Brrrrrrrr, it’s cold today in Israel. Although we live in the south and not expecting any snow :( we do have high winds and rain on and off. Heavy rain is forecasted for later in the day and tomorrow and Friday

The Tel Aviv and areas have high wind. Jerusalem and the surrounding areas and the North of Israel, well they also have high winds and heavy snow.  Electrical outages are reported everywhere.

Have a look at the article from Arutz 7 from early afternoon.
It is snowing in Israel  

Oh wow! I just heard a rumble of thunder over my house. Now another one and another one! Here comes the storm...we have hail the size of golf balls and the wind is blowing like crazy. Five minutes later, the hail is changing to heavy rain and it is very, very cold. I don't know how we are going to get the dog out to do her business.  Just mentioning to  go out and she runs away and hops into bed.  Smart pooch!

What was I going to do on such a cold day, I thought to myself? I could go back to bed and hide under the blankets or I could clean up the house. I could surf the news and Facebook. I could do laundry and hang the clothes inside. I could prepare work for my students for next week or I could turn on the oven and warm up the room where the computer is and bake.

And bake I did.  I made coconut cake, chocolate chip cake, raisin and cranberry squares and baked 2 batches of cookies. Talking on the phone, I forgot [didn’t hear the timer go off] the first batch in the oven and they sort of got slightly burnt. Saved the best ones and baked the second batch…

Have a look at my day’s accomplishments…

 Chocolate chip cake

Coconut Cake

Raisin-Cranberry Squares 
Sprinkle Cookies 

Once the baking was finished, and while the flour was still out. I decided to make mushroom and barley soup and pizza for supper.    

Barley and Mushroom Soup 

Tomato and Peppers Pizza

If you would like any recipes, just contact me with an e-mail address. 

Oh, by the way, I did manage to get the laundry done. Think I’ll go peel the veggies, for tomorrow’s Shabbat cooking… 

That’s all for now. Feel free to comment and share.
Stay safe and warm…

Postscript: It's 6:30a.m. and as I post this blog the wind is howling and it is raining very hard, smashing against the windows. Wishing you a good day. Stay warm and stay safe.