Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Sweet Time

Those of you who missed today are probably going to regret it when I tell you that we had a whole table full of yummy sweets! There were vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, chocolate pine bark, butter cookies with icing, butter cookies with organic chocolate, and lovely mince pies! Plus The Fleece Lady's dip and chips, oh, and soup. Yep. There was soup too.

It was an original soup, and while The Southerner thought I missed his comment about where the recipe came from, I did not!

The Fleece Lady: Oh, it's original? I was wondering what book she got it out of.
The Southerner: She got it out of the Book of Desperation.
Haha!

He said this because as of nine o'clock last night, I really didn't know what I was going to make for today. So, here's what I did. I had made a big pot of baked beans for us - not traditional ones, but white and pinto with onions, sweet curry, coconut milk and ginger. They were lovely...so lovely, that I decided to use them as a base for my totally original soup. What I did, was make a pot of vegetable stock, thin the beans down with it, puree it, and then cooked another pound of pintos, added them with sauteed celery and carrot, some curry, and another can of coconut milk. Voila. Bean Soup with Sweet Curry & Coconut. Yum! Who needs a cook book, I ask you?

It was a quiet Sunday Soup today. The Sous Chef dropped off the Pastry Chef and took her soup to go because she's poorly. Then Roxy Steve came by (their dad) and had some soup and a visit. Also The Neighbour came along with The Fix-it Guy & The Fleece Lady. They brought the mince pies, so instead of putting a dent in our hoard of baked goods, we actually increased our stash! I'm sure that The Southerner and I can work on that though and nothing will go to waste...just waists.

Anyway, it was a nice, warm, candlelit, final Sunday Soup of 2009, and from us to you, Happy Holidays and see ya in 2010!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Soup to Live On

The Fix-it guys said of today's soup, "You could live on this stuff." It's possible. It had a lot of good stuff in it. Actually, a person (not The Southerner as he thinks soup is an appetizer) could probably live on most good vegetable soups with some grains and legumes thrown in.

Today's soup was Miso with Cabbage and Root Vegetables. I didn't actually have any of the soup. I don't like Miso. But I heard it was really good, and judging by how much of it is gone, I'd say people liked it. I know Miso's supposed to be really good for you, but I just don't like the flavour. Why make it, you ask? Well, the truth is, I've made a lot of soups and I had all the stuff and other people like Miso, so why not?

This weekend's been a bit crazy so I didn't actually have time to make soup in advance, which was another good reason to make this one. Apparently cabbage is best if you eat it soon after you cook it, and this soup only needed to cook for twenty minutes (the work was in all the dicing, chopping, and sauteeing), so I made it around 2pm today. I generally make the soup on Friday night or Saturday. The only other times I've made it on Sunday was when I burned the soup, and when I made a horribly disgusting soup that even The Southerner wouldn't eat!

All in all, it was another lovely SS. We did the candlelight thing again, and The Writer brought another fantastic deep dish apple pie (don't tell him how good it was though because we're trying to convince him that he needs to keep practicing).

There is one thing I want to add to today's post. I know that a lot of you who read this are cooks yourselves and handle a lot of the food you eat. And even those of you who don't cook, all definitely eat. So when you sit down to have your next meal, have a good look at it and remember the farmer who grew it.

Today's Sunday Soup
is dedicated to our dear friend,
Farmer Ralph.
You will be missed.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hearty Soup & Candlelight

A few weeks ago, the power went out right as SS began and we had a lovely candlelight evening. It was such a success that tonight we turned the lights low before people arrived and lit candles again. Everyone seemed to enjoy it!

The Sous Chef is busy with exams this week, so alas she had to eat cafeteria food this weekend and we missed her. However, it was an excellent opportunity for Pastry Chef (aka Younger Sister) to come over and pinch hit in the kitchen. We made a mighty fabulous hearty vegetable chowder from this recipe (subbing homemade veggie stock for the chicken stock) using local, organic veggies and sage right from my windowsill. It was yummy! The bread was the usual, but no one complained!

The Neighbour was out sick with a cold, but we didn't let The Fix-it Guy go over and drag her to SS anyway. She was missed though. All in all, a sort of nice, chatty, candlelit night. Snow in the forecast, so I better go blow those candles out now and save 'em in case we really need them.

Have a great week! Eat well.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

So much music!

This is going to be short and sweet.
Fantastic weekend.
Lots of music.
The Southerner, The Irish One, The Musician, The Fix-it Guy, The Fiddler, Kazoo Girl, and Clarinet Guy played two benefit concerts for The Commons, raising over $1200! Because of this, our house was hoppin' this weekend. We had musicians and guests going in and out for the last two days, more food than we could possibly put away (although we made a gallant effort), and endless, wonderful music.

The Neighbour hosted for the first hour while the second concert wrapped up (the first one sold out before the posters were even up!) and the soup was white bean, spinach, & tomato (you can find the recipe in the archives, I made it last December...the 23rd, or so) and it was yummy.

So tired...must rest...but not until I share one last bit of FANTASTIC NEWS!

My publisher just offered me a contract on a new book!!!! Read all about it here!

Eat well...more next week! Thanks to everyone who helped support The Commons this weekend!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not tonight, I have a headache...

I tried to get out of blogging by asking The Sous Chef to blog for me because I've had a headache since yesterday. She laughed. Apparently she has no sympathy for me because I told her that if she really did get food poisoning this past week from eating at the golden arches, well, that's what she gets for eating there. She didn't like that much, so here I am blogging. She did help with the dishes though...she loaded all the dirty spoons into the dishwasher!

I also tried to get The Southerner to blog, but he's too busy practicing all the cool stuff he's going to play next weekend at his third annual benefit gig, Concert For The Commons (which, by the way, is sold out, but it is probable a Sunday show will be added so if you live on the island and you want a second show to happen, add your name to the waiting list at Artworks). A house full of music is lovely though, so I'm not complaining.

We had a very nice, rather quiet evening. The power stayed on the whole time, and the soup was a hit. Someone asked what it was called and I said, "What I had in the fridge soup." It's true. Last night at nine o'clock, I still didn't know what I was going to make, so I looked in the fridge. I made a very nice soup out of leeks, a parsnip (grown by The Farmers), carrots, and potatoes (grown by The Southerner) and some seasonings. I basically simmered it all in water, removed half the vegetables, pureed the rest, put the veggies back in, and seasoned it all with salt and pepper and a secret spice (okay, Penzey's ranch dressing mix).

And that's about it here! Have a great week and eat well. Oh, and if there is a second show, never fear, Sunday Soup will go on as scheduled...The Neighbour will hold the fort down until we get back around 5pm.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

All right...who turned out the lights?

The soup was bubbling in the pot, the biscuits were hot out of the oven, and luckily The Southerner had a roarin' good fire going in the woodstove because The Crowd was still coming through the doors when the power went out. Our first Blackout Sunday Soup! How exciting.

We soon discovered that while we're well stocked with candles, we're lacking in holders. But we made do with some old dishes and before we knew it, The Fix-it Guy was dishing up Borscht for everyone and even serving it to them around the table (it's usually serve-yourself)!

Just about the time that we were going to send out a search party for The Neighbour, she came hobbling in...turns out she had her knee surgery a bit early, but didn't tell any of us because she didn't want to bother us! Can you believe it? Tomorrow we are banding together to stock her house with kindling, food, and good books and The Southerner made sure she got home okay tonight. He was going to drive her, but they decided it would take three times as long to go down our long driveway, around the block, and into her driveway rather than just walk through our backyards. Plus she would've had to climb into the truck.

It was a lovely candlelit Sunday Soup and the power just came on a few minutes ago, well after everyone had left and we'd heated our vegetable curry on the woodstove (and I made rice which was actually better than on the regular stove!) and eaten it. I'd even cleaned up by candlelight while The Southerner practiced guitar for his upcoming gig. You really should go to it on December 5th, if you're on the island. It's going to be a cavalcade of stars - The Fix-it Guy, The Fiddler, The Irish One, The Musician, and others are going to join The Southerner all in a benefit for the Commons!

Oh, and yes...I do realize I let everyone down by not posting last week. The Sous Chef pointed this out several times, which caused me to suggest that perhaps The Sous Chef should take over the blog, since that seems like a perfect job for a sous chef. But as she pointed out, she doesn't know how to use capital letters in emails so she probably wouldn't in a blog post which would drive me INSANE. Oh, wait... what I meant to say is that she pointed out that while she often helps cook she is rarely actually present for SS.

Anyway, while I did not post last week, I will tell you that we had Chocolate Chili and bread and a very special guest. The Poetess came all the way from Tennessee to visit for a week, and also to attend the poetry festival. Oh, and to teach a wonderful Yoga For Writers workshop. So I'm sorry I didn't blog, but I was just worn out from all the fun we had running around, showing her the island!

Today's soup was borscht. I made it for three reasons. The first two are because The Fix-it Guy and The Musician have been requesting it for months. The third reason is because The Farmers gave me the beets, the greens, the dill, and the recipe, so what could I say, "Ummm...thanks, but I hate beets?" No. My mother raised me to have more manners than that. So on Friday night, The Sous Chef and I made the soup and guess what? It was really good. And everyone loved it. Even The Southerner ate some and he has a "No meat, no beet" food policy. I still am not a big fan of beets, but I could definitely make this again next year and be happy about it.

So...until next week...Eat Well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

vacation?

I know I never posted this week. I'll double up with great stuff next week.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nice & Relaxed

Tonight's SS was nice and relaxed. We had the group of regulars and there wasn't any ukulele practice so it was quiet (we loved the uke practice, don't get me wrong, y'all come back!). I've been reading the Betsy-Tacy books lately, and as you know, Sunday Soup got started because of them (if you don't know the story, look to the left hand side of this blog). In the book, all Betsy's friends are affectionately called The Crowd. I think that's what I'm going to start calling the regulars.

Today, we had The Crowd in for mushroom, lentil, tomato soup. It was a yummy soup...in fact, I'm eating a bowl now and The Southerner ate about four bowls so I didn't even have to cook him dinner after everyone left. AND he did the dishes. He's a keeper.

That's about it for today. Oh, except this news! Late last week, I received the galleys or ARCs (advance reading copies) of my book! These look like a paperback version of my book, but they're uncorrected - meaning, I've made some changes since they went to print. Still, they're way cool! They are for reviewers and booksellers, but my publisher gave me a few, which leads me to this story: You're probably wondering if the Sous Chef helped make this soup. She did not. She came over to make it, but...this is what she did instead!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Best

If you were at Sunday Soup tonight, you might have thought it was awards night. Through much discussion, it was determined that we apparently had the best of everything tonight.

The pumpkin-peach soup was declared The Best Soup Ever by The Neighbour.
The Writer's apple pie was crowned The Best Apple Pie So Far (it was only given the "so far" award because we hope he'll keep trying to surpass it so we can test it for him).
The seed & fennel bread was declared The Best Bread in Recent Memory by many.
The Fleece Lady's artichoke dip was deemed the very yummiest, bestest ever, please-bring-again every week by me, The Chef. Oh, yum! I don't even need dinner now.

I think we also should give an award for The Best Crowd for a non-party Sunday Soup. There were simply zillions of us! Way more than I can count. And just as the first wave was putting on coats to leave, a bunch more people arrived with ukuleles and wine and the party got going all over again.

There is one more prize to give out though. It is for Best Hair.
The Southerner models The Fleece Lady's Halloween wig.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Free cookies!

The island's poetry society is having their big festival in a few weeks and there's going to be a great raffle. While I leave most of the volunteering to The Southerner (he does enough for about three or four people, so I'm covered), I have signed up to sell the raffle tickets. My plan was to hit up all the SS attendees by bribing them with food. It sort of worked...today there were free cookies if you bought a ticket, and so everyone did, and then I gave them extra cookies too.

If you live here on the island, and you buy your raffle tickets from me, I'm not above giving you an extra incentive too. Here's what you can get in ADDITION to the ticket and the possibility of winning many fabulous prizes, like free firewood, nights in a B&B, and ferry travel: cookies, bread, butterscotch apple bread pudding, four quarts of soup & a loaf of bread, or dinner for two fixed by me right in my very own kitchen!

Anyway, aside from the hard sell on the raffle tickets, we had a nice time. The soup was Tortilla Soup, which is pretty much a tomato based soup with black beans served over tortilla chips with cheese. The Sous Chef came over on Friday night to help me make it since I had plans yesterday. A very popular soup! In fact, so popular, it might be gone.

The Southerner got the fire roaring again, so it was toasty warm and everyone filled up with cookies and tea and the conversation was long, languid, and low-key. As I write this, a pot of vegetables are roasting in the oven for supper, the fire is crackling, the cats are melted into the furniture, and the rain is drumming on the roof. A very satisfying end to a lovely Sunday Soup.

Until next week...eat well, and don't forget to bring your money for raffle tickets!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Best of Both Worlds

Yesterday, when the Sous Chef, The Southerner, and I tasted the eight bean soup, The Southerner said, "It's so good! Maybe no one will come and we'll get to eat it all!" He didn't really mean it, but what did happen was we had a bunch of people stop by for the social bit and not the soup (they were too full from other events or in a hurry) and so we ended up with quite a lot of leftovers AND we got to see all our friends. The best of both worlds...especially if you're The Southerner!

The Fix-it Guy did drop in briefly with a bunch of musicians who were here playing a gig with him and they all had soup and bread and crackers. They had a ferry to catch, so they had to eat fast. They loved the bread, but the crackers were a big hit too. Yes. Crackers that The Sous Chef and I made yesterday. We had so much fun mixing and matching flours, spices, cheese, and herbs that we made about six batches, I think. There was cornmeal and aleppo pepper, fresh garlic with whole wheat flour and Parmesan cheese, and many more combos. Yum!

Wild Iris brought us flowers, but couldn't stay. The Irish One brought us lovely apples from her tree, and just visited...others dropped by for a bowl of soup or a chat. It was, all in all, a very nice Sunday Soup. And even though the last visitor left almost an hour ago, there's still fifteen minutes, so who knows...maybe someone else will show up and it will turn out I'm writing prematurely (which is better than last week when I forgot!).

I wanted to share something really cool with you though. As you may or may not know, Sunday Soup was originally inspired by the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace. The publisher of the book series has just re-released the high school books and to help spread the word and celebrate, Betsy-Tacy lovers around the world are blogging about the books and how they affected their lives. I get to be part of the fun. Tomorrow (Monday, October 19th), there will be a special blog post on my writer website all about Sunday Soup and Betsy. I hope you'll drop by to read it.

And in the meantime, have a great week and eat lots of soup. See y'all next Sunday!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I was just too full to write!

It has been brought to my attention that I am a total slacker. Although, it was put much nicer than that! The truth is that I forgot to post because I was too full of Thanksgiving dinner. Canadian Thanksgiving was last weekend and so Sunday Soup was a quiet affair. In fact, only The Neighbour and The Real Estate Agent came. We had a lovely time though and the soup was good. My standard quick-no-fail soup - Potato Leek. The potatoes were from The Southerner's garden. Yummmm...If you've never had fresh from the farm/garden potatoes, I suggest you start growing your own. They are totally different than potatoes you buy in the store. For one thing, they're really hard. For another, when you cut into them, they are crisp and juicy like an apple. Amazing. And the taste is extraordinary. Anyway...

After the guests left, The Southerner and I had a fantastic meal that I'd mostly prepared ahead of time. You can read all about it here, if you want.

So to those of you who were here, and all of you that we missed, or who live far away, I just want to say that we count you among our many blessings that we are thankful for.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Luckiest Girl in the World! Me!

Today I took a moment to look around our living room and kitchen during Sunday Soup and I was truly stunned by our blessings. Two years ago, The Southerner and I moved here and didn't know anyone. Today our house overflowed with friendship, food, love, and laughter. And as if that wasn't great enough, I now have a three piece jazz band playing in my living room. Everyone else has gone home, but the trio's just getting started - oh, wait...apparently we're losing the horn player right after this song. Oh, well, a handful of songs is still pretty great. Not everyone has a jazz guitar, trombone, and upright bass concert all to themselves! And apparently, neither do I for much longer. But I do have a die-hard bass player (The Fix-it Guy) and the guitar/singer (The Southerner) for more music!

The potluck was a great success and I learned something very important. If you make two soups, and you only make a small batch of one of them, that is the one that everyone will love! Not that they turned up their noses at my original recipe squash, ginger, and apple cider soup, but truly the Chocolate Chili was the sure winner. It went so fast I had to hide the empty crockpot so that the latecomers wouldn't know they'd missed it. Yes, that's right. Chocolate Chili. The recipe came from How to Cook Practically Everything Vegetarian. Of course, I made a few adjustments. I added a chipotle pepper and some adobo sauce to give it a kick. And I didn't have any plain dark chocolate so I added orange dark chocolate. It was made with black beans, onions, tomatoes, water and seasonings. Yum.

The Crowd was so big that I can't name everyone, so I won't name anyone. There were several people who had never come before either, so it was nice to finally get them here. I hope they'll all come back. This was truly a wonderful day and The Southerner and I are so happy to be part of this community. Thank you for having us. And come back next week!

P.S. The Sous Chef had to go to a horse show this weekend, so she didn't come for a cooking lesson, but she did send me this picture of our cannolis from last week. She took it on her phone, so it's sideways. You'll just have to turn your head (or your computer). The dough is wrapped around wooden dowels that we had cut at the building supply store and then sanded ourselves (thank you internet for the tip!). By the way, The Southerner LOVED them! But like he said, "Cannolis...what's not to love?"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lots of sugar & hot oil

Instead of making soup on Saturday, The Sous Chef and I made cannoli. This experience has taught me quite a few things. First off, when The Sous Chef says something like, "You can't make cannoli in this part of the world. They can only make it in Europe!" I should probably check the recipe before saying, "Of course you can." While it's true that you can make cannoli at home, and we did, it's a heck of a lot of work. Next time she picks something crazy like that to make, I'm going to say, "You're right. You can't make that unless you're Italian (or Belgian, which is where she had it)."

Another thing I learned is do not allow The Sous Chef to schedule a horseback ride on the same afternoon you're making something complicated or you will find yourself standing over a pan of hot oil ALL ALONE frying up cannoli after cannoli and then making the soup while you're half asleep. Still, it was fun and I learned to deep-fry (which is not necessarily a good thing for my health, as I followed the cannoli frying with homemade onion rings!).

The soup was very yummy. At least I think it was, but I have a lot left so I'm not sure if everyone else agreed. I think that The Writer's tempting apple pie kept them from having seconds of soup. It's a minestrone and almost everything in it came from our garden! The Southerner did good this year! The few veggies that weren't from our garden came from The Farmers, so it was all organic goodness. Here's what was in it: water, tomatoes, onions, leeks, potatoes, green beans, zucchini (of course), broad beans, carrots, rosemary, salt & pepper, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and alphabet pasta. Delish! Just throw it all in a pot (cheese at the end and the pasta separately), and it's sooo good!

I used the leftover whey (from the homemade ricotta that I made for the cannoli) in the bread and I think it gave it a tiny sweetness. You don't taste it a lot in the bread, but when I made toast, it was noticeably crispier. Very nice.

We had two special guests and one Missing Person yesterday. My Aunt and Uncle came up from Washington State and spent the day with me touring the island, and then staying for Sunday Soup. It was great fun! I say, "with me" because the MP was The Southerner. He had to do a bit of travelling this weekend, but I saved him some cannoli, so while he missed our fun company, he'll still get the food.

By the way, next week is a special Sunday Soup. It is our We're so Happy We Live On This Island Second Annual Potluck. So if you live here, do drop by and help us celebrate our second anniversary living in Canada and here on the Island. And while I usually say, "Oh, don't bring anything" this is your chance. It will be during our regular SS time, so make sure you book us into your leisurely island schedule!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Monday

Hi All. Too tired to post tonight, but will update on Monday. I even put it on my schedule so I won't forget. See you then.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We have a winner - 3 winners actually!

Today was Fall Fair here on the island, so instead of making the soup yesterday together, The Sous Chef & I baked our entries for the fair competition (I made the soup earlier). The Sous Chef entered with these white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies, although, after much discussion, we made secret changes to the recipe, so yours probably won't be quite as good as hers. I have to say, they were DELICIOUS (notice how I'm using the past tense). And she won the First Place Blue Ribbon in the cookie category. Congratulations to one of my star pupils!

I made chocolate zucchini muffins and doctored them up with melted orange chocolate and sugar and passed them off as cupcakes since there wasn't a muffin category. I won first place too. Yeah, we're that good here!

The Pastry Chef (formerly Little Sister), baked her cookies on her own and took the Second Place Red Ribbon. There was some dispute between SC and PC regarding my help. Was it unfair that I helped Sous Chef and that she sabotaged my offer to help Pastry Chef by not passing on the message? That's an argument I'm not getting into. I told Pastry Chef that I was at her disposal next year though. And a big congratulations to her too on her red ribbon. She's come a long way baby since making those notorious tomato soup cookies.

Anyway, there I was, feeling all proud of The Pastry Chef for making these cookies all on her own. Yay, her! At least, I felt proud and happy UNTIL she threw the spatula down with this challenge! She looked at me, her eyes bright, her smile confident, "Next year, if they have a muffin category, I will beat you with my most awesome blueberry muffins."

Can you believe that? Well, I have news for the Pastry Chef! I make the killerest oatmeal buttermilk blackberry muffins that you could ever hope to sink your teeth into. I say to you, Pastry Chef, if you think your muffins are so good, why wait until next year? Are you afraid of my muffins? Or are you hoping I'm gonna forget? Ha! We are having the Second Annual Sunday Soup potluck on October 4th, and I say put your muffins where your mouth is, Little Miss Pastry Chef! The Island Bake-off is on! And you too, Sous Chef...let's bake!

Okay...relax...breathe...

Anyway, the soup today was a red lentil dal soup that I made from this recipe. I added some very thinly sliced sauteed onions, cilantro, and lots of lemon slices and lemon juice. The Fix-it Guy declared it my best soup ever. I really, really liked it myself. I've been trying to duplicate a soup like my favourite restaurant, The India Oven, in Portland, Oregon makes (sadly, last time I went there they were out of business) and this is pretty darn close. Warning:

P.S. Clicking on the Fall Fair link in the first sentence will take you to pics that The Southerner took today. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I wasn't being anti-social..I was talking shop!


I suppose I could be accused of being anti-social today since most everyone spent SS on the porch and I sat at the kitchen table inside with The Sisters. Although, I do need a new nickname for Younger Sister because Older Sister has had a change to Sous Chef. I think Younger Sister will hereafter be called Pastry Chef, since that's her specialty (or at least, her main interest!).

The three of us were scouring cookbooks and searching the internet for recipes. The Pastry Chef wants to learn to make apple strudel. We found a recipe to try here, but if you have one you love, please send it on! Although The Sous Chef is primarily learning to cook soup, we are also expanding her lessons to include one other thing per week. Yesterday she made zucchini bread. I tried to give her all the credit, but she did protest and say that I added the vanilla. I guess it's important to give credit where credit is due. Still, I think there are two reasons this batch turned out particularly well. The first is of course, that she made it. The second is that I ran out of white sugar, so we did 1 cup of white and 1/2 cup of brown. It made the bread lighter than ever. I will make it that way from now on.

For this week, we made Cauliflower Soup from this recipe by Rachel Ray (FYI, I think the roux is unnecessary and won't bother next time). The Sous Chef is at a slight disadvantage in that she has a chronic pain issue in her right arm and she's right handed. She is not supposed to "chop too much" according to her physical therapist, which is a bit of a problem since soup basically consists of chopping a lot of things and throwing them into a pot. What we did yesterday was I chopped most of everything, and then left 2 stalks of celery, one head of cauliflower (out of six), and an onion and then I gave her the lesson on how to chop, core and dice and she practiced on those things. That way she got the idea, but didn't overwork her arm.

We had a bit of a scare though. I was taking a phone call from The Fleece Lady who was calling to make sure I was going to save her some soup since she was going to miss SS, and The Sous Chef was whisking the eggs, oil, and sugar for the zucchini bread. Much to my surprise, she thought she was mixing something to go into the cauliflower soup! Luckily, she realized this was probably not true before I even hung up. Whew! Julia Child said one should never admit one's mistake, just serve the food with a smile, but Cauliflower and Scrambled Egg Soup would probably be a hard sell, even to the hungry SS crowd!

I did feel it was necessary to tell The Sous Chef that if she had added the eggy-oily-sugary mixture, I would've been forced to demote her to dishwasher. I'm glad I didn't have to, but now that I think about it, the idea of having a dishwasher is very appealing! Hmmm...I wonder how The Southerner feels about a nickname change?

Anyway, SS was lots of fun in the kitchen today, and I assume it was fun outside too since no one got thrown off the deck and everyone did come in to say "See you next week." They looked well-fed and happy, even if we did eat all the zucchini bread ourselves. They'll never know!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Monumental SS - in so many ways

Today was a monumental SS. Where to start, where to start...

First off, it's raining. This is the first real rain we've had since last spring and it was the first SS we sat inside since forever. It was nice though. Cozy. And we had a great crowd that spilled over into the living room (which actually happens if there's more than four people here since we have a tiny kitchen).

Second, The Writer showed up and he quite seriously could be renamed, "The Baker" because he made the most fabulous apple pie I've ever had. And not only that, but I snagged a piece for later too. Hey, he needed to take his plate home. I was helping him out. The Southerner got an extra piece too and I just want to say right here that the bigger pieces is MINE. You had your shot and you were polite. Haha. Doesn't always pay to be a polite southerner, does it?

Third, I now have an assistant! As I've mentioned here before, there are The Sisters who come somewhat regularly and I am teaching them how to cook. As of yesterday, The Older Sister has officially been renamed The Sous Chef. Yes, it's true. She and I now have a standing date for 2pm on Saturdays to make the soup. This means that I can no longer decide at 8pm on Saturday what the soup will be. I am being forced to be prepared. That's a good thing though!

Yesterday The Sous Chef came over and we made a magnificent (I can say that because I can direct all praise at The Sous Chef) yellow zucchini soup with fresh rosemary. It is outstanding. And I got the recipe here. The Sous Chef did two all-important jobs. First of all, she provided the inspiration for the soup by presenting me with two of the largest yellow zucchinis I have ever seen. Think the size of Santa's thigh after Christmas. Seriously. Huge. The second thing she did was she peeled the potatoes. As you may remember (or not), while I can eat potatoes, I am highly allergic to the peelings and The Southerner always has to deal with the potatoes. Now The Sous Chef will be taking over that all important job. And her horse gets the peelings, so everyone wins.

I want to add that thanks to The Sous Chef's zucchini generosity, I also made zucchini cookies, zucchini bread, zucchini fritters, and froze 18 cups of shredded zucchini in the last 48 hours.

Welcome Sous Chef! I look forward to making you do all the grunt labour, I mean...working with you.

We had a great crowd, including Wild Iris who wore the birthday sash, The Neighbour, The Fix-it Guy, The Fleece Lady, a newcomer, and The Writer's Lovely Wife (I know last time I said I'd come up with a better nickname for her, but I haven't done it yet). Also, there was someone else who has a nickname that I can't remember...You do know what that means, don't you? No, it does not mean I'm getting old and my memory is going. It means we are super blessed to have so many friends.

Lastly, and this is exciting news...we have a new addition to our family! No, I haven't been keeping anything from y'all for the last nine months. We have a new kitty. Her name is Marley (as in, Bob) and she joined us two weeks ago (she needed a home and we needed a long haired black cat to complement our short haired white one - yes, we're nuts!), but today she really, truly became part of our little group. She did this in two ways. We let her outside for the first time ever and she came back! She likes us. She really, really likes us. And the fact that I know she was gone for exactly 70 minutes does not mean I was worried or anything. Okay...I was a little worried since she shot right off into the woods and was gone instantly. But the point is, she came back. And then she came to Sunday Soup and met everyone, which makes her officially part of the community. So all in all, a very monumental SS.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Today is our 5th wedding anniversary, so The Southerner and I pulled out all the stops. There was butter soup (also known as tomato-orange, but really...if you list the ingredients by volume, you should also call it what it is), cornbread muffins, and fresh peach cobbler with real whipped cream. Can you feel your arteries hardening as you read this?

It was lovely and sunny, but not too warm. The Brits have gone back to the UK for a spell and so last night they came over for bit of farewell supper. Even though they know us well, and are our good friends, we felt it necessary to clean the house, which actually turned out great because today all we had to do was lounge around! They will be missed though, and we look forward to their imminent return.

I'm really having troulbe (sic) writing this post because quite honestly, I'm drifting off to sleep. The laptop is warm in my lap, the big blue chair is so comfy, and we just had a wonderful dinner of leftover homemade pizza, leftover alfreddo, and leftover salad (now you know why it was so wonderful...all I had to do was heat it up), so I'm full and happy. And dozy...zzzz.

Oh, wait. What was I saying? Sunday Soup...that's right. We had a nice big group, and The Irish One brought some guests so there were new people here too. The Fix-it Guy and The Fleece Lady did not make it because they had to go drink margaritas at someone else's house, er...had another social obligation. But I saved them soup because that's just the kind of hostess I am. I understand that free alcohol takes precedence over soup...even tomato-orange soup.

Five years ago, I made our wedding cake so I usually make a smaller version of it on our anniversary - a delicious carrot cake from the New York Times Cookbook, but this year I didn't have any carrots, so I thought I'd just make a zucchini cake (who would really care? I mean, cake is cake). But then I didn't have any white flour! Seriously (thus cornbread muffins), so rather than go all the way to the store - 2 miles round trip - I made a cobbler with whole wheat flour. Delish. Anyway, did I ever tell you the story about when I decided to make our wedding cake? I think you should check it out here.

By the way, if you live on our island, don't forget The Southerner is doing a gig this Friday at The Roxy! It's going to be great fun. How do I know? Because he's been playing at the kitchen table while I peel and slice peaches for freezing (30lbs so far, 10lbs to go!). Hope to see you there. Have a great week!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Old Reliable

When I say "Old Reliable" I'm talking about the soup, not The Southerner. Although he is reliable, he's not that old. I ditched my idea of a month of zucchini soups. Not because I didn't have any, I do...in fact, The Southerner is sauteeing some up right this minute for our supper. Anyway, I just decided that this weekend was pretty busy and so I went for simple & easy. I made potato-leek soup. I got the leeks from The Farmers and the potatoes at the Village and that's pretty much it. Oh, a little half & half too. The soup basically takes about as long to make as it takes you to cut up the leeks and potatoes, plus maybe a half hour of cooking time and five minutes to puree it and add the cream. And yet...it's one of the SS favourites. And mine too. Yumm...I learned to make it from Julia Child when she guest starred on Live With Emeril. The basics are: 3 cups potatoes, 3 cups leeks, cooked in 6 cups of water with 1.5 tsp of salt. Puree when soft. Add warm cream to taste. Voila. Fini!

Speaking of Julia, have y'all seen the movie Julie and Julia? I haven't, but I read the book and it was fantastic. Oh, no! The Southerner has just given me a two minute warning for supper. I better type fast. Lots of people, good conversations, soup, bread, watermelon, dip and chips, great day. Hope yours was too. Food is being plated! Gotta run. More next week.

The Southerner just said, "Okay...soup's on." Haha!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Zucchini by any other name is a Courgette

A while back, The Fix-it Guy asked me what soup I was making next. I had just made Curried Zucchini and I told him that since we had the squash coming out of our ears, I had decided to make a month (at least) of soups featuring the gorgeous green vegetable. He sort of grimaced like he thought that was a bad idea, but I would not be stopped (much like the zucchini plant in our garden).

Last week our pesto based vegetable soup featured an abundance of diced zucchini. I have carried on with my plan this week, and today we had a lovely Shredded Courgettes with Orzo Soup. Even though you hear that the French are rivals of the British, for some reason the British like to use some of their words...like courgettes for zucchini, and the Canadians have joined them. While everyone I know around here says zucchini, my Canadian cookbook called this soup Courgettes and Pasta (pronounced paaaasta - like "at" or "cat" - I have no idea why, but also a British pronounciation - or travesty if you're The Southerner!).

I was hoping that by calling it Courgettes and Pasta Soup, I could trick The Fix-it Guy into eating it, but guess what? He hasn't shown up in in a month of Sundays. Three weeks ago, we were on hiatus, then last week he was supposedly too tired. And this week, I've heard he's "off island," but I think maybe he's just afraid of my outstanding cooking abilities, because if he tasted Courgettes & Pasta Soup, then he would have to admit that it IS possible to make a month's worth of yummy zucchini soups (or three weeks, at least).

The Farmers gave me the onions, and I had everything else on hand, so all I had to buy was some gorgeous flat leaf parsley at the market yesterday. With the aid of my thirty year old food processor (it was my mother-in-law's), I made short work of that five pound zucchini that nearly got away from us (FYI, in spite of the fact that everyone tells you to "eat the small ones," there's nothing wrong with huge zukes, just cut them up and remove the seeds and they're fine for company for soup. ).

We had a very nice, somewhat small gathering today - Me, The Southerner, The Neighbour, The Musician, and The Boaters. One of The Boaters has been here before, but today the whole Boating Family came, which was really nice. The Southerner had picked a load of blackberries, so I made a blackberry chipotle sauce (which I KNOW The Fix-it Guy would've loved) and served it over cream cheese with crackers, just for fun and variety. Total Yum. I'm just sayin'.

Nice day, great company, and delish food. Wish y'all were here. Maybe next week, when we'll be having...how do you say zucchini in German?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

One Drop Per Acre

We were promised rain this weekend, and the gardens really need it, but so far we've gotten what Farmer Ralph calls "one drop per acre". A few big, fat, scattered drops. On the plus side, we got to have Sunday Soup out on the porch, which is always nice.

Today I made a variation on a soup I made last year called Green Goddess. It's essentially a vegetable soup with anything green or white in a pesto broth. Well, maybe not anything green...I mean, I didn't put in the mouldy cheese from the back of the fridge (that's more blue-ish anyway).

It did have (in no set amount):
green beans
purple beans (green on the inside)
edamame
chard
leeks
onion
potatoes
white beans
soy beans
water
salt & pepper
and a bunch of fresh basil pesto

I think it turned out pretty well, which is good because there's quite a bit left. Oh, and zucchini! How could I forget the zucchini? I told The Fix-it Guy (the other day) that I was going to make a variation on zucchini soup every week for the next month. Maybe that's why he didn't come today. The Fleece Lady said he was just tired, but perhaps he feared the zucchini takeover.

The neighbour didn't come either. We're sending out a rescue squad any minute just to make sure she's all right. The Brits did come, which was nice as we haven't seen them in ages. Well, we saw they yesterday, but I mean at SS. Also, The Writer, The Real Estate Agent (who brought pie!!!), and The Musician came and we all had lots to eat and a nice chat.

The bread was a batter bread that I made up using two recipes because the one that was the flavour I liked was made with...get this...Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix. You have got to be kidding me! Hot Roll Mix? I did some checking on the internet to find out what exactly is in HRM and while I didn't find out specifics, I did discover that to use it you have to add oil, milk, eggs, water (depending on what kind of rolls you're making). Ummm...that's not a mix! That's flour! And maybe a tad bit of salt and baking powder. Puhleeze! Anyway, I found a different batter bread recipe for cheese bread, and added the sauteed Walla Walla Sweet onions and diced apple to it from the first recipe, and changed the cheese from cheddar to Swiss. All I can say is yum. All The Southerner could say after tasting it was, "Hide half of it for us for later." Done.

I missed y'all last week! It was so odd not having a Sunday Soup that all week I was confused about what day it was. I am glad we're back on schedule again. See you next week.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The 1 Mile Diet

Hi All.
Crazy time here as I finish the last of my edits, due tomorrow and then my book is done! How exciting. I also have a pub date. Restoring Harmony will be available May 13th, 2010! It's even up on Amazon already if you search under my name.

I know you came here for SS though, not to hear about my book...however, it's just a CRAZY-BUSY so I'll just quickly say that we had 17 people (plus us) today which I think sets a record for a non-event SS (like our anniversary or The Neighbour's birthday).

Exactly one year ago today, I made curried zucchini soup because it was coming out of our ears, and guess what? It's that time again! So instead of blogging, because I'm trying to grab some dinner and then race off to the beach for the sunset after editing all day, I will just send you here to last year's post. It's pretty much the same except the first paragraph. This post is labeled 1 Mile Diet because The Southerner grew the zucchini and the onions over at The Commons.

Enjoy!
P.S. Sunday Soup will be on hiatus next week as we have a family event we're going to and so our kitchen will be dark! Oh, no! I know...but SS will be back on 9 August.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Say Cheese!

Yesterday I ran into the Fleece Lady at the market (selling her lovely fleece goods!) and she mentioned that she had bought some fabulous tomatoes and intended to bring salsa today. I had been thwarted in my attempts to buy cauliflower (no more until the fall - boohoo!) from the farm gate, so I spent a bit of time trying to think of some kind of soup that would be complemented by a salsa appetizer and I decided on cheese.

I had a lot of half & half left over already, so a creamy soup was in order anyway. This turned out to be one of those soups where I just cannot allow myself to add up the cost of it or I we'll be eating oatmeal all week to stay in our food budget. Some soups are like that...especially anything with dairy, but they are usually sooooo worth it, and this time was no exception. I made a lovely cheddar soup with carrots, potato & onion diced up very small, and a hint of sherry. Another problem with expensive soup is that the recipe never makes very much and so even though I tripled the recipe, I only just filled the crockpot. Usually I have a couple of quarts left over to refill with, but not this time. We did not run out, but the last five people to show up did have smallish portions.

Luckily, there was lots of bread, the aforementioned salsa & chips, blueberries brought to us by The Writer, and grapes and more blueberries brought by more guests and cake. Yes, cake! The Older Sister had a birthday yesterday, so today she wore the traditional Sunday Soup Birthday Princess sash and I made a cake for her. She had told me that she wanted a vanilla cake with thick frosting. I wasn't sure if she meant a white cake or a vanilla cake, but I took her at her word and found this recipe online. I added the innards of one vanilla bean to the batter to really up its vanilla quotient, made a vanilla butter cream frosting, and put raspberries and frosting between the layers. It was quite decadent.



The missing raspberry is not because I ran out, but because a certain Birthday Princess thought that she needed a raspberry, and it was her cake after all! You'll remember that I'm teaching The Sisters to cook and it is apparent that we have a ways to go because the Older Sister was surprised to hear that I made the frosting. I make the butter! I make the bread, the soup, crackers, everything you eat here! I can only assume she didn't know one could make frosting. Well...we are going to be having some more cooking lessons ASAP! My work here has clearly hardly begun. But it's fun work and it looks like yummy lessons are in order.

We had a large gathering and it has become apparent that we really need to enlarge our deck, so I think we'll order the supplies and then maybe everyone can come a few hours early one week and we can just knock it out. I'll make cake.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Soup Haiku


Cooking in the season
Golden beet soup with greens
Editing on a deadline - no words left

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Fruitful Sunday

Today I decided to try something new...well, earlier this week, I decided, but today everyone got to experience the fruit of my labours. That would be cherry-pitting labours!

As I mentioned before, one of my goals for this second year is to cook with the season, and this week, the first of the British Columbia cherries came into the store. I spent a good portion of the Cubs game (I listen on the internet radio) on Friday, pitting cherries for our freezer (7lbs!) and while I was doing it, I started thinking about soup recipes I've seen for Cold Hungarian Cherry Soup. Even though the Fix-it Guy seems to think I made up cherry soup, I actually have several recipes in different cookbooks! And there are tonnes of recipes on the web too.

I ended up combining two recipes and here is what I did (loosely). One reason I mixed recipes together is because many of them call for flour and as you know, there are at least two SS attendees who can't have gluten. Another change I made is I used black cherries and reduced the sugar since all recipes pretty much called for tart cherries. This makes A LOT. Like 8 quarts! So you might want to make less, although The Southerner and I do have excellent plans for the leftovers.

The Chef's Cold Hungarian Cherry Soup
3lbs pitted black cherries (halve the cherries, remove the pit, don't cut them up any further)
18 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
cinnamon to taste (2 tsp?)
2 cups of sour cream thinned with 1/2 cup of 1/2 & 1/2
1/3 cup cornstarch

Bring the water, cherries, cinnamon and sugar to a boil over high heat, reduce to simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. In a small bowl mix cornstarch with some water and stir well with a fork to get rid of lumps. Add it to the cherries, stirring continuously. You need to make sure it reaches a boil because it won't thicken unless it does. Once it's thickened (slightly, it will still be fairly thin, but you should notice a change), remove from heat. Add lemon juice. Let cool and then put in refrigerator overnight.

Before serving add sour cream that you've thinned with 1/2&1/2 and mix well. Serve in chilled bowls. For bread, I made these drop biscuits. They were very easy and quite yummy too and complimented the soup nicely.

While I think the guests were a little surprised, and some of them even a bit dubious when they heard about the soup, everyone seemed to like it a lot. We also had a bunch of surprises! The Fleece Lady brought...well, I don't know exactly what they're called, but they're these round balls about the size of a truffle made of fruit and nuts and other excellent ingredients. Also, there is a couple who are newish, but becoming regulars at SS and I don't have nicknames for them yet, but The Ones Without Names are originally from Romania and since they heard the soup was Hungarian, they brought some lovely Romanian bread. It was all twisted together and fantastic! Roxy Steve brought delish bakery bread.

The Younger Sister brought pound cake with fresh strawberries and bananas and she used my mixer to whip the cream herself. Very impressive, even though I heard a rumour that she did NOT use a separate bowl for the dry and wet ingredients like I taught her...I'm sure this cannot be true! Her cake was lovely and we still have some!

Our big plans for the leftover soup is we are going to freeze it and serve it over the cake like ice cream. I bet you wish you were us!

Have a great week and eat with the season! Oh, also, on my writing website, I have some gardening and cookbook info you might like to see.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chaos and Mayhem!

There were so many people at Sunday Soup today, I can't even count that high! Okay, yes, I'm exaggerating a bit, but there really were a lot. To give you an idea, I couldn't even fit all the dishes into the dishwasher and that has never happened before! It was great fun. I made Tortilla soup which allowed me to be extra lazy because you serve it over tortilla chips, so I didn't have to make any bread!

The Fix-it Guy had friends here to play a jazz gig this afternoon and The Southerner and I rode our bikes down to the Village to hear it. People were looking at us the whole time like, "Ummm...shouldn't you be home making the soup???" We had it under control. Sort of. We did leave at 3pm to run home and mop the floor and make the guacamole and a few other things we'd managed to put off until the last minute.

All I can say is thank goodness for The Artist and her wonderful rhubarb coffee cake because there was a pretty good run on the soup and the cake distracted everyone nicely (and there are a few leftovers!). The Artist is new to Sunday Soup and we were thrilled to have her. She brought a friend that I have met, but unfortunately don't know well enough to nickname. Hopefully he'll come back though!

Just as everyone was making a mass exodus, The Musician and The Irish One showed up for tea and soup and we had a nice chat. Even though The Southerner and I make it a practice to get up and walk guests, if not to their car, at least to the door, we couldn't even haul our sorry butts out of our chairs when they left! The Irish One had to lean over to hug us. My excuse is The Southerner is wearing me out with bike rides and his excuse was he didn't get a nap. We're pathetic, I know.

The really sad part is that The Southerner (remember, his nickname is No Dog, short for No Need For A Dog) ate the leftovers from last night for lunch today and that's what I had planned to pass off as dinner tonight. Now I don't know WHAT we're going to eat. Maybe if I stall it will get dark and we can go to bed without supper. Oh, wait, it never really gets dark here, does it? I guess one of us will have to give in and come up with something.

Next time someone asks me, "What can I bring to SS?" instead of saying "Nothing" I'm going to say, "A vegetarian casserole that we can eat after everyone leaves." Haha! Just kidding. DO NOT BRING ANY VEGETARIAN CASSEROLES. That is just an old joke from last year when everyone found out that The Southerner needs supper afterward.

Anyway, have a wonderful week and eat well.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mmmm...mmm...spinach!

Today I made one of my favourite soups. Three times. Yep, three times. It was made-to-order Egg Drop Soup day. I did this last year too, and it was a big hit then. When I went to the farm gate yesterday, they had tonnes of spinach, so I bought 8 huge bunches and I washed, chopped, and steamed (3 minutes) 6 of the bunches and put it in the freezer. Spinach is a great thing to have on hand for soups, stews, or pasta sauces and we eat a lot of it.

They had already sold all the green onions, but The Farmer is my pal, so he and I went out to the field and he picked me enough green onions for my soup. Have I mentioned I love living in a small community where I know so many people? Well, I do. The Southerner and I are very blessed (although it did take me about 2 hours to do my errands yesterday that probably would've taken 45 minutes if I hadn't stopped to talk to all my friends along the way - but really, that's the good part, right?).

Yesterday was egg day too. Every other Saturday I pick up 2 dozen eggs from the alpaca farm. Those alpacas are amazing. You didn't know they laid eggs, did you? Haha! They obviously have chickens there too, and I'm just being silly, but there's nothing silly about the freshness and beauty of farm eggs. I never even liked eggs before we moved here and now...well, now I'm typing this while The Southerner makes me an egg sammich for supper! Anyway, the egg drop soup gets poured steaming hot over bowls of fresh spinach and green onions. Yummm...and so easy to make. We had a nice group who conveniently came in waves too, which worked out perfectly for making soup to order.

And now, well, now, as I said, I'm being waited on by The Southerner, I'm sitting on the couch with Miss Sophie, and I'm updating SS after having just ridden over to see The Musician who gave me a whole bunch of rhubarb from his yard...my life is pretty darn good. And I hope yours is too. Until next week...eat lots of good food! Oh, there's the dinner bell! See y'all next week!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Higher Consciousness of Soup

Today I made an announcement. I have reached two conclusions that will undoubtedly have some affect on future Sunday Soups.

The first is that I have decided it's no fun if I worry about running out of soup. So now I'm not going to worry. I will make a big batch of soup. I will have it available to the crowd. And when it's gone, it's gone! Last week was stressful, when it should've been fun. I prefer fun.

The other thing is that I am now cooking in the season. I actually always try to cook with whatever vegetables are in season. You won't find asparagus in a fall soup or butternut squash in the spring here at SS. However, because last year my goal was a different soup every week, I also tried to make sure that I didn't have two cream soups in a row, or two tomato soups too close together. Now that I have finished that one year and I'm free to make anything any time, I will be cooking with whatever veggies people bring me, or The Southerner grows, or I find fresh at The Farm Gate. That means that even though we had cream of spinach soup two or three weeks ago, we had cream of kale soup today. It's all good.

The Fix-it Guy declared that I have "reached a new level of soup consciousness" and I think he's right. Cook in the season, and don't worry for no reason! After all, if we run out of soup, there's always bread (and vice versa).

Today we had a smallish group, and it was very pleasant. The Fix-it Guy, The Fleece Lady, and The Southerner all donated lots and lots of kale and boy was it a green soup! It turned out lovely. It's a recipe that I got off the internet last year and I can't remember where so I won't post it, but if you're dying for a great kale soup, leave me a comment and I'll email it to you.

The Neighbour, The Younger Sister, Roxy Steve, and The Musician all put in appearances too. As did Tigre, but he hissed at Miss Sophie, so we sent him on his way. Oh, yes, and the raccoon dropped in near the end. Lucky for him, The Neighbour had already gone home. He likes to terrorize her house and I'm pretty sure that even though she's got a gimp in her giddyup, she would've hobbled for the hose and squirted him full-on (water is about the only way to keep raccoons away). We just said, "keep going you!" and he did. And then we talked about how beautifuly he was, because he truly is. As long as he's not destroying your house and eating all the cat food.

I made garlic knots for bread. They are very simple. Just pizza dough rolled into strands, tied into knots and baked. Then topped with garlic butter, Parmesan, and black pepper.

The Southerner finally got around to taking a picture of the Ugly Mugs, so I will leave you with that! Have a great week.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Going, going...quick add more milk!

Hi All. Nice to be back. After two guest chefs (The Older Sister & The Southerner), I am cooking again. I'm still covered up in edits, but now I have a cover too! Yes, it's true, that my book Restoring Harmony which is coming out NEXT SUMMER now has a cover and you can see it here.

I did manage to drag myself out of my office yesterday to go to the market in search of spinach. My plan was to make egg drop soup, which I made last summer and was fabulous. However, while there were whole tables of spinach last week, there wasn't spinach to be had this week. I ran into Roxy Steve and he requested that I make corn chowder instead.

I have a recipe for a light summery corn chowder and so I made that (leaving out the bacon) and ummm...well, I thought I had a lot, but apparently corn chowder hit the spot of SS goers today because by 5:15 I was not only adding the reserves to the crockpot, but adding milk to sort of ummm...stretch it out! In the end, we did have a bowl or two left over, but only because of the added milk!

We did have a first today. This was the very first Sunday Soup that I did not make the bread (except when The Southerner made his fantastic cornbread or the Older Sister made it a couple of weeks ago). What I mean is, it came from a bakery. Roxy Steve donated it. Definitely yummy, and surprisingly time saving!

The Fleece Lady brought a fantastic Cesar salad. Yummm...and she left me all the fixings so I can make some more. We had so many people here today and my brain is so fried from over 75 hours of editing (in the last 9 days!) that I'm not even going to try and recap. But did I mention my book has a cover? And that they moved up the publication date to next summer (not next fall, like I thought)? Oh, okay...since you asked me so nicely, I'll put the cover here for you.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Last of May

The Cook was covered up with edits on her book today so I, The Southerner, made the soup. OK, she coached me a bit but it was more or less my thing. I called it Parsley Pesto Soup since one of the main ingredients was a batch of the Fleece Lady's parsley pesto. Also in the mix were potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, fresh onions, dried onions from The Farmers, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, salt and pepper. It cooked up without a hitch, scented the kitchen nicely and had rich mustardy colour that made it easy on the peeps. It was hearty too and seemed to be well received by the crew which included The Fixit Guy, The Fleece Lady, The Neighbour, The Brits and some newcomers we met at The Roxy on Friday night. We'll call them The Bikers since they arrived by bicycle and we hope they come back. Oh, and of course The Cook herself emerged from her office to hang out on the porch with us and have a cup. She was bleary-eyed but cheery. Though no one complained about my creation, I'm sure all will welcome her back to the helm of Sunday Soup next week. Thanks to everyone who dropped by and we'll see y'all next Sunday.

Peace,

The Southerner

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Souper Star Sister!

So last night I got to rest on my laurels, or the kitchen chair, really, while The Older Sister made the soup, the bread, and the butter. Okay, I helped, but she did a lot of it and not only was the soup fantastic, but The Fleece Lady proclaimed it "One of the top 5 Soups". Seriously! And she's eaten a lot of them, so that is a high honour.

Unfortunately, Older Sister did not hear this high praise because something came up and she wasn't able to make it to SS. We were also missing The Southerner because he really needed a nap. This is because The Fix-it Guy and The Southerner have been working really hard fixing stuff and he was too worn out to socialize. He slept on The Neighbour's futon couch and her cat, Tigre, kept him company. He's feeling much better after a couple of hours of sleep and soup, bread, and the wonderful salad that The Writer brought. No not me, the other writer.

You know, I don't know if he already has a nickname or not...my brain is not really functioning. But he's a writer, and so that is his nickname. Anyway, The Writer and his lovely wife...hmmm...I know she doesn't have a nickname....hopefully today she won't mind being The Lovely Wife and in the future, when I'm not so tired (from resting on my laurels), I'll come up with something better...anyway they brought a fantastic bean salad and boy was it yummy. Lucky for us, there was some left over and it's all ours! Yay us!

And The Fleece Lady brought her raw vegetable dip, so we scored big today. It was lovely and sunny out and we were on the porch. Oh, and you probably want to know what this fantastic soup was, don't you? It was Leek-Potato-Spinach. It was supposed to be Kale-Potato, but The Fix-it Guy kept The Southerner busy so late last night that he couldn't go to the garden and get us the kale, so we improvised with lovely veggies that we had from The farmers market.

If your'e interested in this simple soup, it works with pretty much any veggie that you have and you can make a variety of combinations based on what sounds good to you. It is 1 cup of water for every 1 cup of veggies and some salt. Generally, at least 3 cups are potatoes to give it some body. Once everything's mushy, you just puree it add a little cream and adjust the seasonings. Voila. Soup! Ours was 8 cups of potatoes, 2 cups of leeks, 4 cups of spinach (packed) and 14 cups of water, plus a cup of cream.

That's about it around here. Hope you had a great week and you have another fantastic one coming up. Eat well!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Life...

Y'all will have to forgive me, this will be a short post, and probably lack my usual enthusiasm. It's been a long weekend, and not just because here in in Canada it is May Long Weekend (tomorrow is Victoria Day, as in Queen Victoria).

On Friday, our beloved Grinder passed on over to the other side and so while SS was joyful today, and we had lots of laughter and good food and wonderful friends, The Southerner, Miss Sophie, and I do have heavy hearts. Along with many other SS regulars who knew and loved Grinder too. You can read more about him here and here, if you're so inclined.

Briefly, the soup was Tomato Orange (as pictured to the left) and The Southerner made cornbread. We had some of the regulars, some who come occasionally, a friend here from Toronto who also brought a friend from the States and lots of sunshine. It was also probably the loveliest, warmest day of the year so far and we moved SS out onto the porch.

Anyway, more next week. In memory of our sweetie pie, I leave you with this picture.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom & Grandma, and all the other mothers of kids, cats, or others (?)!

Today's soup was a white bean puree with sundried tomatoes and kale (from The Southerner's garden plot). You can read more about the soup here because I did make a variation on it (spinach instead of kale) last December, if you want the recipe. Oh, and I also used some scalded heavy cream instead of soy milk today. New SS motto: Hardening your arteries one Sunday at a time!

It has been a great weekend. We spent a bunch of time doing weekendy type things, like picking kale and going to GIRO (the recycle centre/thrift store). If you want ANYTHING all you have to do is say aloud, "I really need some bamboo ski poles to use as walking sticks" and then if you are patient, they will show up at GIRO. This is what The Southerner has been saying aloud for some time now, and while we were standing around chatting (another big activity at GIRO), someone walked up with bamboo ski poles to drop off for donation. The Southerner was on them like a duck on a june bug because just because he asked for them, doesn't mean someone else might not be standing by to beat him out. I was thrilled (heavy sarcasm) to see that the GIRO gods had not only answered his prayer once, but twice. And now, I too am the proud owner of a pair of bamboo ski poles. Two pairs for $6! Such a deal. The Southerner had ulterior motive plans too. He is going to sharpen the metal ends so that we can pick up garbage on our walks. Oh, joy! Will the fun never end?

Two weeks ago, my request to the GIRO gods was a stack of dessert plates that matched and wern't too ugly. I am happy to say I got a set of 14 for $2. This week...I needed teacups because tea at SS has become almost as important as the soup. The first person to arrive gets to pick the tea for the big pot, and this has really encouraged some people to arrive early (yes, I'm talking about The Brits and The Neighbour. Tea is very important to Brits, but The Neighbour just likes to be the first one here!). Of course, I was rewarded again and got a great deal on some bone china cups and saucers - 8 for $4 plus six dessert plates thrown in).

While standing around the bike parts (Attention GIRO gods: we do not need any more bike parts!) we ran into a couple that we met at The Commons last year when they were visiting. They have a tiny trailer on a piece of land that they hope to retire on someday (probably not in the trailer!) and the woman informed me that the china I'd just bought was really great.

"You can drop it and it will just bounce," she said.

I decided just to take her word for it. She came to Sunday Soup today too and so I must "name" them. I think I will call them The Part-timers. Anyway, Mr. Part-timer had to go back to Vancouver, but Mrs. Part-timer brought lovely strawberries and made some new friends very quickly that way. It was nice to have her and we hope they both come back soon!

Just as we were closing up shop, The Musician came bounding up the stairs, "Am I too late?" He still had 22 minutes before seven o'clock, so we let him in. We would've let him in any time, of course! We had a nice long visit and many strawberries were eaten along with bread, The Fleece Lady's fantastic vegetable dip, and of course, soup.

All in all, a very nice weekend. I hope you had a great one too!

P.S. For those of you wondering how the cooking lessons with The Sisters are going, we are taking a short break while they get over their fevers/flu (?). And don't worry, they have not been over here since last Sunday, so you don't have to worry about their germs. Hopefully they will be well enough to make next week's soup. I sent lots of soup to their house this week, so I'm sure they will recover quickly! Get well soon, girls.

Monday, May 4, 2009

One Year Anniversary!


So I went to see the male half of The Brits today to get a shiatsu massage and let me tell you that if you've never had one, and you live here on the island, just stop what you're doing and call to make your appointment. Very cool. You can read more about it here. In addition to the treatment, he reminded me that I'd totally forgotten to update this blog!

I didn't actually forget last night. We went to a play and I was too tired and hungry to update when we got home. And then today, it just sort of got away from me. So here I am, ready to update.

First, if you're missing something in the above picture (the glasses, not The Southerner, who I'm keeping) then you left them here. Doesn't he look soooo cool? Whoever you are, you must have a small head because they fit The Anthony Pinhead. Not that The Southerner IS a pinhead, he just has one like all the Anthonys (one reason we were happy he took my last name when we got married - the more pinheads the better!).

Okay, back to the business at hand. I did my first author interview here (if you tried this link earlier, it was wrong, but is fixed now). Oh, wait, that's not what you came here for, is it? You want to know about the first Sunday Soup anniversary! Well, I was a little confused about whether we should celebrate the 52nd soup or the first anniversary and I seem to have told a few people different things!

Anyway, we had a great time, with a vegetable soup that included the first greens from the community gardens (kale and bok choy). I made Parmesan & black pepper crackers and Italian herb crackers and served them with cream cheese and homemade raspberry chipotle sauce (yumm!). We had about nine guests, including The Sisters who have not starved while their parents are away (because the whole island is feeding them). In fact, they brought some lovely scones that they baked themselves! Also, The Walker and her husband, Mr. Smiles finally came to SS! To be fair, they tried once during the winter, but it was dark and snowing and they never did find the house (although they helped dig someone's car out of the snow because that's just the kind of nice people they are!). We were glad to see everyone, and they all left before 6:30 so we were able to stick a note on the door that said, "Went to the play!" and go see some fun theatre at the Theatre Centre.

Stay tuned because I'm teaching The Sisters to cook (we made red beans and rice the other day and also pizza dough and homemade pizza) and they are going to make the soup! If not next weekend, then the following one. You won't want to miss that! I'm looking forward to just sitting in the chair and saying, "Now...chop that!" and "Stir the soup!"

Good eating, everyone!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sundae Soup & a list of the First 52!


Today was the 52nd Sunday Soup and to celebrate, we had Virginia Peanut Sundae Soup. The soup recipe came from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Practically Everything Vegetarian. The "sundae" part was my own idea.

I reduced the amount of cream that the recipe called for and then I whipped up a quart of whipping cream. I personally dished up today's soup (it's usually a more casual serve-yourself event). First the soup, then I topped it with a dollop of whipped cream, then toasted coconut, chopped peanuts, a few green onions, and a dash of hot sauce.

The Southerner took the photos. Aren't they fun?


I was kind of surprised how creamy and lovely the whipped cream made the soup. I kind of thought it would just melt and be just like if you'd added regular cream to the soup, but while it did melt, it didn't lose its light texture and it made the soup really frothy and decadent.

We had more people than I can count...okay, I can count that high, but I'm not going to! Too tired! It was great. Lots of regulars, some we see occasionally, some newbies. Really a fun day. And we collected 18 cans of soup/food for the local food bank (plus The Librarian's who forgot to bring hers, but remembered to bring me chocolates. Priorities people! She's got them!).

I really wasn't sure how many people would be coming so The Southerner and I made 6 times the recipe. Yes. Six. That would be 24 servings. We have a lot of soup leftover, but it was really tasty, so that's okay. Also, we have friends whose parents are away and the poor starving waifs don't know how to cook. They may want some!

The bread was my standard no-knead, and so many people want to learn to make it that I'm planning a class. I'm not sure if I'll teach it here or at The Commons or ??? but I do think I'll do it soon. Maybe in May.

For your viewing pleasure, here is a list of all 52 Soups that I made over the last year. Many are original recipes (although I haven't marked them), and only about 2 were recipes I followed to the letter. Most I adapted or changed somehow. You should be able to find info about each of them in the blog by looking for its date, if you're interested.

I think, perhaps later in the week, after I've met my deadline for my book, I will write something about what this year has meant to us, but right now, I have to go eat the milk chocolates out of the box before The Southerner gets to them. Er...I mean, dinner. I have to go eat dinner.

Thanks for sharing Sunday Soup with us!
Anthony Sunday Soup List - May 4th, 2008 to April 26th, 2009
1. May 4th, 2008 – Chilli
2. May 11th, 2008 – Vegetable
3. May 18th, 2008 – Thai Coconut with Tofu
4. May 25th, 2008 – Potato Leek
5. June 1st, 2008 – Spaghetti Squash and Sweet Potato Puree
6. June 8th, 2008 – Lentil Vegetable
7. June 15th, 2008 – Corn Chowder
8. June 22nd, 2008 – Tomato Orange
9. June 29th, 2008 – Roasted Garlic, Potato, & Red Pepper
10. July 6th, 2008 – Carrot & Coriander
11. July 13th, 2008 – Green Goddess Vegetable
12. July 20th, 2008 – Egg Drop
13. July 27th, 2008 – Curried Zucchini
14. August 3rd, 2008 – Onion
15. August 10th, 2008 – White Bean & Garlic
16. August 17th, 2008 – Cheesy Potato Chowder
17. August 24th, 2008 – Black Bean with Roasted Vegetable Stock
18. August 31st, 2008 – Lebanese Lentil
19. September 7th, 2008 – Cream of Kale
20. September 14th, 2008 – Barley Vegetable (The Southerner made this)
21. September 21st, 2008 – Cream Cheese Broccoli
22. September 28th, 2008 – Red Beans & Rice
23. October 5th, 2008 – Yellow Broth
24. October 12th, 2008 – Spinach & Bok Choy
25. October 19th, 2008 – Harvest Vegetable (lots of root veggies & squash)
26. October 26th, 2008 – Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Puree
27. November 2nd, 2008 – Roasted Potato & Mushroom
28. November 9th, 2008 – Sweet Corn with Cream Cheese
29. November 16th, 2008 – Split Pea with Tofurky Sausage
30. November 23rd, 2008 – Seven Bean
31. November 30th – Squash & Rice with Apple (scrapped and replaced with emergency stand-by Potato Leek)
32. December 7th, 2008 – Minestrone
33. December 14th, 2008 – Red Lentil
34. December 21st, 2008 – White Bean, Sundried Tomato, and Spinach
35. December 28th, 2008 – Cream of Vegetable Puree
36. January 4th, 2009 – Broccoli and Toasted Almond
37. January 11th, 2009 – Baked Potato with Cheese
38. January 18th, 2009 – Cream of Spinach (at Mum & Dad’s)
39. January 25th, 2009 – Sweet Potato
40. February 1st, 2009 – Lentil Barley
41. February 8th, 2009 – Tortilla Soup
42. February 15th, 2009 – Burnt Quinoa, replaced with Cream of Cauliflower
43. February 22nd, 2009 – Red Pepper Orange with Ricotta Dumplings
44. March 1st, 2009 – Parsnip Potato
45. March 8th, 2009 – Yellow Split Pea
46. March 15th, 2009 – Carrot Turnip
47. March 22nd, 2009 – Mushroom Barley
48. March 29th, 2009 – Roasted Veggie Puree
49. April 5th, 2009 – Sundried Tomato Lentil
50. April 12th, 2009 – Black & White Bean
51. April 19th, 2009 – Pinto Bean
52. April 26th, 2009 – Virginia Peanut Sundae Soup

If you want to learn how to make this wonderful flourless chocolate cake that I made for The Fleece Lady for her birthday, drop by my website (and scroll down a bit).

Happy Sunday to you all. And thank you so much for being part of our lives. We are truly blessed. Eat well!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Missing: One Southern Gentleman

Today's Sunday Soup was super crowded, but everyone noticed right away that The Southerner was missing. They're a sharp crowd, our friends. He was feeling a bit under the weather, so at 4pm, we did a house swap and The Neighbour came over here and he went to her house and slept on her couch with her kitty (don't tell our cats). He was missed, but is feeling a bit better now, although I expect he'll be taking it easy for at least a few days.

The soup was a pinto bean Mexican type thing that I totally made up on Friday night. There were two main factors involved in choosing this week's soup. One: I could make it without having to go to the store. Two: All I had to do was open my cupboard. Okay, I know those are the same things, but two reasons sounds better than one. This is a very simple soup. I don't have any measurements, but if you want to make it, I'm sure you can figure it out.

Cooked pinto beans (don't use canned, you'll need too many cans and they taste gross) and their liquid.
Water
Canned tomatoes
Corn
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (actually, I just used the sauce)
Taco seasoning
Salt & Pepper

Cook the beans. Take 2/3 of them and put them in a big pot with some water and blend with an immersion blender. Add the canned tomatoes, some frozen corn, and the rest of the cooked beans and the cooking liquid and as much water as you want to make your soup the consistency you're hoping for. Add the seasonings and adobo sauce. Simmer. Best let it sit overnight for the flavours to meld.

The bread was even easier than the soup because we didn't have any! I just opened some corn tortilla chips. Oh, and I served cheese and chives with the soup.

If you're wondering why I took such an easy route this week, it's because I am on a very tight deadline for my book, I am running out of ideas for soup (thank goodness next week makes 52 and then I am free to make repeats since one year of new soups was my goal), and yesterday was my birthday and I didn't feel like spending it in the kitchen.

I did spend today in the kitchen though and made a lovely chocolate-rhubarb-raspberry cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting and then offered it up as "leftover birthday cake". The Realtor brought two new-to-the-island people and a strawberry rhubarb pie (he knows what I like!) too, so there was a lot of dessert.

We had some guests we hadn't seen in a while, as well as a lot of the regular crowd. All in all, even without The Southerner, we had twelve people, plus me, and the cats so it was practically a party!

AND NOW FOR THIS VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!
Next week is the 52 week of Sunday Soup. At one time, before I knew I'd be on a deadline, I had intended to do all kinds of cool things to celebrate, like have door prizes, and make three or four soups, and ask everyone to bring their own soups to swap with each other, and, and...

Well, anyway, that is not going to happen because I don't have time to organize anything except my book this week. However, you still want to come next week if you can. And I'll give you a hint why. Okay, ready? Here's your hint:

Sundae Soup

Yep, that's your hint. Now aren't you curious? I thought so. While the whole point of SS is for y'all to be able to drop in without saying whether you're coming or not, if you know you're coming, and you want to let us know this week, it would be appreciated. I want to make sure that I have enough soup for the masses! If you're not sure, no biggie. Feel free to drop in. I will make sure I have lots.

Also, to celebrate one year of SS, we will be collecting canned soup for the food bank, so here's your chance to "bring something" if you want. Totally optional.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fifty Soups - Black & White Bean Soup

Today marked the fiftieth Sunday Soup. So the question becomes, do we "celebrate" one year the week we reach 52, or is the anniversary the first weekend in May since our first one was the first Sunday in May? I'm kind of voting for a celebration of sorts in May because I'm on a big deadline for my book. I have to turn in this round of edits by April 30th. We'll be lucky to get soup for Week 52 at all! Maybe The Southerner will make it.

Today, to help me out, The Southerner did make corn bread. The soup was Black & White Bean Soup. I made it up, so I think I'll include the recipe here so that I have a record of it. You might want to try it too. It's yummy. This makes close to 9 quarts, so make sure you have a lot of hungry people.

4 stalks of celery - diced small
4 carrots - diced small
1 onion - diced small
6 quarts of light coloured vegetable stock
3 cups dried white beans - around 6 cups cooked
2 cups dried black beans - around 4 cups cooked
Thyme
Rosemary
Butter
Olive oil
salt & pepper

To make a light vegetable stock, I just used carrot peelings, onions ends and peelings, and a bit of celery, water, salt. Bring to a boil, simmer 20 minutes or so. Strain.

In a large pan, saute for just a few minutes carrots, celery, and onion in some olive oil and a glob of butter. Season with rosemary and thyme, s&p. You want your vegetables to still be quite firm so they don't turn to mush in your soup. Set aside.

Add about half of the WHITE beans to the stock, puree with a hand blender. You can skip this step if you want, but it thickens it just a little bit, which is nice. Then add the rest of the WHITE beans and the veggies. Simmer until the veggies are cooked through.

Rinse the cooked black beans really well. The water should run clear. If you skip the rinse, your soup will turn blue-ish-purple-ish and your white beans will turn grey. Blech! Add them to the soup. Season with salt & pepper and yummm..you're done!

I made a lot of soup because of how we emptied the pot last week. We had eight people, including two new-to-the-island people. We made a pretty serious dent in it, but there's still some left. I think this might be one of my more favourite soups. I like how light it is, but the beans give it a bit of body.

The Fleece Lady brought my favourite raw vegetable dip AND she brought some just to put in my fridge for us for later! Yippee! Score! In fact, The Fleece Lady and The Fix-it Guy had us over for breakfast this morning, so we ate very well today. We did learn one important lesson though...if you're going to someone's house for breakfast on a Sunday, you should probably clean the house on Saturday. When we got home well after noon, we had to scurry. Thank goodness The Southerner could also go by the nickname, Cleans Fast Under Pressure. Of course, he's a guy...it's probably in his genes! I guess that means my alternate nickname is Lucky Girl.

Until next week...Eat Well!

P.S. I finally moved the old live journal blog over to this blog, so the entire year is here for your entertainment. I will be posting a list of the entire year in soup pretty soon too.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Early Bird Gets the Soup!

We have a first!!!! This is the first time that we have officially run out of soup. And we didn't run out at a quarter seven. Nope! We ran out at 5:55pm. Yes, really! And considering no one came until about 4:30pm, that's pretty amazing. I didn't even get to set aside a container for my grandma (sorry, Grandma!) before it was gone!

It's true that my pot was not filled to the brim, but I had about 7 quarts, which is still quite a bit. And it was a Sundried Tomato and Lentil Soup that was much more like a hearty stew so I kind of expected it to go further, although the recipe did say "serves 10" and we had more than that.

The Librarian gave me a cookbooklet from Vancouver's Commercial Drive last week and the recipe came from that book. It's a specialty at Pane Vero Bakery and Cafe. This was an excellent recipe and I followed it almost to the letter. I used regular parsley instead of flat leaf and that's about the only change I made. It was extremely delicious!

We had a full house today too, and everyone brought hearty appetites because the weather was nice and so they'd all been working outside in their gardens all day. I think there were 11 guests plus myself and The Southerner. The bread was a nice Irish Soda Herb bread, which I've made before, but this time I left out the currants . We voted last time and thought that while it tasted fine with currants, it was an odd combination with soup.

Those who missed my homemade mozzarella cheese last week, were wowed and amazed by the butter I made this week! If you know how to make butter, shhhhh....don't tell...Everyone thinks I'm a whiz in the kitchen now. Although someone did ask, "Where do you keep the cow?" Alas, no cow, only deer, and while they like me enough to eat out of my hands, I've never heard of anyone milking a deer and I'm not going to be the first one to try that.

I guess with the nice weather we will start getting more people to Sunday Soup. Also, we know more people than we did nearly a year ago when we started it (thanks to SS!). I might have to invest in another pot for back-up soup for the summer. Luckily, The Southerner's cracked ribs are healing nicely and he's been back in the garden, so in a few months, he'll be bringing home produce for me to turn into soup.

So today's lesson is: If you are coming for "the hang" as The Southerner says, "fall by the house any Sunday between 4pm-7pm", but if you're coming for the soup, "Get here early!"

Here's the butter!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Whey Good!

So last week I went to a cheese making workshop. I learned to make paneer and mozzarella. Really. No kidding! And guess what? It's super easy and costs about half as much as buying it, but the really cool part is you get to say, "I made the cheese" and everyone goes, "Ooooh" and "Ahhhh!"

Of course, I'm no good at pretending that it was terribly difficult. I had to tell everyone the truth - it took 30 minutes to make the mozzarella and it's really simple. I really had no choice but to admit the truth anyway since over the last 3 months, approximately 75 people here on the island have taken the course and undoubtedly one of them would know someone from Sunday Soup and blow my story if I said I am now a master cheese artisan.

Anyway, the byproduct of making mozzarella is you have about 4.5 quarts of whey (yes, as in Little Miss Muffet eating her curds and whey). There are a lot of things you can do with whey and it's full of vitamins and minerals and such, so you definitely want to do something with it, even though it looks a little scary. Apparently, and I did not try any of these things, you can mix it with orange juice and a sweetener for a lovely beverage, you can make lemonade with it, you can mix it into your pig slop or chicken feed and give it to your pigs/chickens respectively, you can give it to your dog (but not at night because it makes the dog have to pee a lot and you'll be up all night letting the dog in and out), you can use it to water your roses or other plants, and you can add it to bread dough instead of water. But guess what I did with it? Yep. I used it in my soup.

I read on the internet that you can use it in place of stock, so yesterday I roasted up a big pile of veggies - onion...hmmm...I was going to start with onion and then I just remembered that I totally forgot the onion! Anyway, okay...here's the real list: red potatoes, yellow pepper, broccoli, parsnip, carrots, mushrooms, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and beets tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper and a few herbs. When they were done, I simply dumped them into the whey, mashed it all with a potato masher, and then I pureed it with my immersion blender.

By the way, it's really hard to chop up mushrooms with an immersion blender, so even though I attacked them individually, forcing them to the bottom of the pan, a few escaped and there were chunks of mushrooms in my roughly pureed soup. It added character. I seasoned it with French Thyme, Celery Salt, Cayenne, and a bit more salt and pepper.

And guess what? The verdict, after everyone got over their fascination with the fact that I made the mozzarella and it only takes thirty minutes, was that they loved the soup and that is why I'm calling it Whey Good Roasted Veggie Soup.

The bread was no-knead bread and kind of rolled it out flat and then added chunks of mozzarella (they just disappeared, so I don't recommend wasting good cheese this way - use a harder cheese) and sundried tomatoes and then rolled it up into a loaf. It was tasty enough that every scrap disappeared though, despite the vanishing mozz.

Attendance was good today and there were many people we don't see very often and a new guest. The only regular was The Neighbour. It was lots of fun, although we do hope the half of The Brits that isn't feeling well, gets better soon!

Oh, and I want to say that I am now on a major deadline and I seriously couldn't have made today's SS happen without my fabulous sous chef, The Southerner. I hereby promote him to Full Chef, at least until April 30th when I hand off the next draft of my book to my editor. As Full Chef, his duties include, but are not limited to: Tea, Coffee & Breakfast (which he does as a Sous Chef anyway), Morning Break Snack, Lunch, Afternoon Snack w/Tea & Dinner. Okay, stop laughing. It was worth a shot!