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I have a new obsession. Pinterest. First of all, let me explain to you what this is if you don’t already know. It is a website that acts as a message board for all the coolest things people find on the world wide web. I could just keep scrolling and scrolling down the endless page of pins. Well, sometimes I do… SO many interesting things. Anything from hair do’s to nail colours and recipes to quotes. I have saved many a link. Especially for crocheting. When I am going to find time to do all this crafting, who knows? But, man, I am loving this resource.
There also have been many a recipe saved. Althought, pinteresters are keen on slow cooker recipes involving pop and also baked goods involving pop. A little cringe worthy, but also….. interesting. You see what I mean? Lots of cool stuff. So, brought to you by Pinterest is this lasagna soup. I think it’s a cool twist on a favourite. I love me some lasagna. My mother is actually known far and wide for her lasagna. She says the secret is cooking it in the stone, but whatever it is, it is the one thing that is always requested from family and friends alike. So, I am like a lasagna connoiseur, if you will.
This recipe is basically lasagna soup. Ok, duh, that is what it is. Lasagna with a thinned out sauce in a bowl. I thought it was easier/quicker than making the real thing. And it was also kind of cool to have a switch up. With the foggy, chilly, cold weather here, soup really does hit the spot better than anything else. On the whole I give this soup a 9 because I can get all the goods from a real lasagna in it, have the cosiness of soup to warm my chilled bones and it is interesting (or should I say Pinteresting?). Happy slurping!
Lasagna Soup – adapted from this link A Farm Girl Dabbles (check out her picture -delish!)
You could definitely add some veggies into this soup. I like to put zucchini and broccoli in my lasagna, so why not in the soup?
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
300g extra lean ground beef
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 28oz can or 2 smaller cans diced tomatoes (she used fire-roasted, so if you can find it…)
4 cups chicken broth + 2 cups water
2 cups dry mini lasagna noodles (or rotini etc)
For the cheese dollop:
cottage cheese or ricotta
Start by heating up some oil with the red pepper flakes, oregano and garlic. I’ve been doing this lately and it seems like the seasonings really come alive inthe warm oil. Have your onion and beef ready to dump in before it burns though. Once yo ucan smell the oregano and garlic, dump in the onions and saute for about a minute and then dump in the beef and break it up. Continue cooking until the beef is browned. Now, stir in the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute. Next, in goes the tomatoes, broth and water. Bring this all up to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
When you are 10 minutes away from serving, throw in the dry pasta and cook until al dente. While the noodles are softening in the soup, prepare the cheesy dollop. Mix together some cottage cheese or ricotta and some grated mozarella and paremesan and dollop it into the bottom each bowl. Pour the hot soup over the dollop and throw on some fresh basil if you like. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.
Things around our parts these days have been blustering. In case one, I mean windy. If any of you are reading this post from the European coast, then you know what I am talking about. It is darn windy. Crazy windy. I’m scared it’s going to blow down our building windy. Mr. F says I should be used to it since I am from Saskatchewan. Yes, I will not deny that it gets windy there, but this has gone on for days. 3 days and nights to be exact. It’s an ocean wind and that, my friends, I am not used to. We have seen some pretty funny stuff though. Umbrella’s popping the wrong way, people being blown off their bikes, grandpa’s holding on to railings so that they won’t get blown away and waves actually crashing on the sides of the canals. It is out of control.
Other things blustering lately is the feelings of getting closer to the birth of the baby. I am excited all over! Just over 2 weeks until the due date. We can basically count days now, people. Days until we are holding the new baby Danks. All these Braxton Hicks contractions are getting my hopes up and getting me ready for the big day.
Finally in case #3, our housing situation. The wind has been blowing us in all directions around our great city of Delft. Looking at new apartments, old apartments, row houses, semi-furnished, unfurnished, furnished, ished, ished, yeesh… One weird thing that I can share with you is that unfurnished here does not mean no furniture like the Canadian standard. Unfurnished here means, no lighting, no drapes, no paint and no flooring. Yup, people strip up their flooring when they leave and bring it to their next house. Because they have to! So strange – to us anyways.
With all this blustering happening, doesn’t the kitchen just need to help us bring it all down to a calm level? I say yes! And this level I am talking about is a warm bowl of fragrant soup, well stoup, in this case. I first heard this mashed-word on the Rachel Ray Show. It has quickly entered by vocabulary because this is the type of “soup” thatI love. More stuff, less broth. Yes, I like broth just as much as the other guy, but when I am eating soup as a main course, I need some substance. That is why I love stewy soups. Get it – stoup.
This stoup could also be called a chili, but call it as you must, it is delicious and satisfying and calming. I was going to write this post all about how I am intrigued by lentils and how a large portion of the world eats them as a staple and I never ate them until I was an adult, but now I guess I just did. And kale is super good. Kale, lentils, ground meat, fresh thyme and rosemary. This is a good one. It makes the house smell like Provence (or the spice mix anyways) and fills your belly with warmth and takes you to the exotic with the lentils aspect. Make it on one of your blustering days to warm you up and calm you down.
Kale and Lentil Stoup – adapted from the Rachel Ray Show
200g sausage or ground pork (you could go ground turkey or chicken here too)
a couple handfuls of mushrooms, sliced (cremini are good)
1 bunch kale
o.25 cup tomato paste
a palmfull of destemed chopped leaves of fresh thyme and rosemary (you can substitute this with Herbs de Provence)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 box of chicken stock (4 cups or 500ml) + 2 cups of water
1 cup of green lentils (I only had red and it was just fine!)
Start by browning the meat and the diced onion. quickly rinse and slice up the mushrooms. Toss these in for some browning along with the garlic and herbs when the meat is nearing the end and the onions are not translucent yet. When the onions go translucent, stir in the tomato paste until everything is covered. Let is cook for about a minute. Finally, pour in the broth, water, kale and lentils. Stir until well combined and let simmer for 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and then fill up some big bowls.
Y’all, my Mom is here visiting (hence the massive breaks between posts!). Awesome for me and Mr. Foodlova, but lucky for you because you will also reap the benefits here. Yup, she’s been cooking for us all week. I just smile writing that. Home cookin’. It feels so warm and comforting like a big hug over here in rainy and foreign Delft, Netherlands. Not to mention, I get to sit around and watch her cook. She has been taking care of me for a whole ten days and letting me just put my feet up since I have been so tired. Why am tired, you might ask? Well, I am expecting – that’s why! Yay!
Since I told you all about all the great cheese and wine (no more!) and pannekoeken and appeltaart, and Belgian beer (no more either 😦 ) here, now I can tell you that I have been missing some of the old Canadian favourites – or craving them? Sometimes a girl just needs to eat a little puffed wheat cake or Rice Krispie cake for that matter. And can I get a hell-ya for an occasional KD? Hell-ya! Yes, I know these are not to the calibre of what I normally put on this blog, but there are just some good-old crap treats that just feel like back home.
Anyways, that was a little bit of a side bar, back to Mom’s cooking…. It is that time of year when all the garden veggies are being harvested (I checked with Mom on it this time). Seriously, it is one of my favorite times of the year. Fresh garden vegetables – peas, beans, corn, beets, potatoes, onions, carrots, dill. You can’t go wrong. It all tastes so sweet, so fresh, so not like cardboard (winter anyone?). It’s the time of year for corn shucking, pea shelling and eating carrots right out of the ground, soil and all. Or you could rinse them off with the garden hose if you’d like.
When I was young, every year, mom would chop carrots, shell peas and break up green beans, blanch the whole batch and pack them up in the freezer for winter eating. All that work, but the taste in the dead of Saskatchewan winter was all worth it. She would also make pre-made kits of borscht. My favorite all time soup. I bet you guys could guess that I love beets, so hopefully you do too.
Borscht is basically the Eastern european essential winter dish. There are several ways to make it. Some cabbage based, some potato based, but all it really is is a pot full of veggies. I guess my fam bastardized it a bit with ham, but it’s for the flavour, people, and that is what food is all about.
This is an easy recipe, on the heels of another easy recipe. All you do is chop up beets, beet leaves (or kale), green beans, carrots, add corn, peas, cubed ham and you could even throw in some turnip or potato. Cover it with water, add some s+p and boil it. You won’t believe the flavour. The finishing touch is a dollop of sour cream and some chopped dill. This is a nice rustic soup, with a full fresh flavour (alliteration – woop woop), deep burgundy colour and creamy broth (due to the sour cream). Thanks Mom! you can leave a thank you note in the comments for my Mom, I’ll make sure she gets it 🙂
*don’t add rhubarb pictured on the side – that was just from the same harvest…
Borscht Soup – My Version based on Mom’s version based on Granny’s version, etc
3 large beets peeled and cubed (include washed and chopped leaves if you have ’em)
Fresh kale or swiss chard, chopped (only if you don’t have the beet leaves)
3 largish carrots, chopped
a handful of fresh green beans, broken into bite size pieces
1 cup corn
1 cup peas
1 cup ham, diced (get the real ham, not the pressed – it makes a world of difference!)
salt and pepper (salt is majorly important here since we are not using a broth, taste the soup before serving to check the salt, add if needed, makes you feel like a real chef anyways!)
optional: onions, potatoes, turnip, anything that grows in your garden…
250 ml sour cream
1 bunch fresh dill
OK, throw all the veggies (not the dill) into a big soup pot. Cover the veggies with water. I usually put enough water so that the veggies are floating. If you like more broth, put more water.
Get that on the stove boiling and add in the cubed ham. Boil until the beet cubes can be pierced easily with a fork and everything is a rich burgundy colour. You can really boil the crap out of this soup unless you added potatoes or turnip because they tend to go soft and mealy.
Taste soup broth now – did you add enough salt and pepper? The flavours should be bold and not bland – enhanced by the salt. You put a lot of water and no broth, so you’ll need quite a bit of salt. Taste it again….
Serve in deep soup bowls with a dollop of sour creme and a sprinkle of chopped fresh dill on top. Stir the sour creme in and slurp it up. It keeps amazingly in the fridge and tastes even better the next day.