Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Soup's on...





This is DAY FIVE
of the GREAT HOLIDAY ZAMFEST!
what's in it for you?



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DAY Four's winner is Tara Wojton! I'll be contacting you to see which ebook you'd like!

So come back EVERY DAY and comment on all twelve blogs to be entered for the GRAND PRIZE! A $50 Amazon gift card. (If you're coming just now, you're not to late to comment on the previous blogs; you will be eligible for the grand prize, but you won't be entered in those daily contests.)



RECIPE for a Rainy Day

I live in Southern California, and it doesn't rain often here. There have been several lovely rainy days lately though, and I took advantage of that to make a vast pot of soup for the kids, because they walk home from school (unless their books will get wet) and I have never been one to bring a healthy kid out of the rain. 

In fact, when my children were young, I used to dress all four of them in mismatched sweats and rubber rain boots so they could go out and get soaked in the backyard until they were covered head to toe with mud and blue with cold. 

Then they'd come in and take turns in the shower. I'd stand there, waiting with towels I'd warmed up in the dryer and we'd make hot cocoa because I'm a firm believer one should run in the rain unless one is likely to be struck by lightning. 

There is nothing quite so wonderful as a warmed towel and a cup of cocoa, even if you're only as cold as a you can get on a rainy SoCal day.

My eleven bean soup recipe is more of a procedure than an actual recipe. It varies from pot to pot. I take four cups of eleven bean soup mix (from the bulk section of Sprouts) and use the quick soak method to prepare them. First, I check through for anything un-beanlike. Stones and withered beans must go. Then I rinse and place the beans in a pot, covered by a couple inches of water. I bring that to a boil for a few minutes, then turn off the fire and cover. I let them sit for an hour, and that's what softens the bean mixture so you can cook with it.  Some people soak overnight but I never think that far ahead.

Once that hour is over, I drain and rinse the beans, and I clean the pot. Then I put the beans back in with a chopped up onion (large), two bay leaves, some dried Italian herbs to taste, and two 32 oz. containers of chicken stock. At this point, you could use any kind of stock, beef, vegetable, low sodium. I just use run of the mill organic chicken stock, again, from Sprouts. I like the kind that comes in the carton because it's flavorful and easy. (But there's no reason you can't use homemade, or even water.) I like the flavor chicken stock brings to the soup. Later I'm going to add other things, and chicken stock doesn't overwhelm. I don't season at this point. There's plenty of sodium in the stock, and in the later ingredients that I don't season with salt until the very end and then, it usually isn't necessary. 

I bring the beans to a boil and simmer them for a couple of hours. Mostly I'm doing this as I'm doing other things, so I just let it go. I have a burner on my stove with a precise simmer setting, but I suppose at this point you could put the whole deal in a crock pot. If you keep the fire too high, the beans will burn and stick to the bottom of the pot. Stirring and keeping a low fire will help you avoid this.

I just simmer it until all the beans are tender, and at that point, I add some other things, depending on what I have around the house. I always add a couple cans of diced tomatoes -- I like the kind that are flavored with basil because I generally use Italian seasoning and add Italian sausage. If I were going to change things up, I could use Mexican spices and a diced tomato product like Ro-Tel that has peppers in it, and go in a whole different direction, maybe add cooked chicken or turkey. Sometimes I use vegetable stock and go vegetarian.

Vegetables are good to add at this point because they won't get mushy, diced carrots or parsnips, mushrooms, spinach, kale, cooked potatoes, squash. What you're adding here has to be cooked already or it has to cook quickly. You're basically finishing the soup and giving it "personality." And no one likes mushy personality. I usually crumble and brown hot Italian sausage (and drain the fat) then I add it in at the last minute. I serve this with fresh baguettes and always have lovely leftovers for lunches, later. 
Tasty and alliterative. 

The only thing better than a nice hot bowl of soup while rain is pouring down outside is a great book to read. I read A Christmas Carol every year, if I can. I love that book. I love reading it aloud. I love to listen to audiotapes of that book and discovered only this year, that Tim Curry made one! 




Win-Win...

What's your favorite rainy day thing (snowy days accepted, for those of you who get them!)






51 comments:

  1. LOL, poor woman. At least she gets to enjoy her soup ^.^

    Erica
    eripike at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. And Two Minutes In Heaven! LOL. Funny commercial.

      ZAM

      Delete
  2. Rainy or snowy day food wise is Chicken and Dumplings. With the biscuit/fluffy type of dumpling not the flat dough kind. Then a warm fire, curled up on the sofa with the dogs at my feet and a good book to read.

    abraalpacas at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I love Chicken and Dumplings. YUM!~

      ZAM

      Delete
  3. The soup advert, all women are laughing and men dont get it!!
    Your soup sounds yum. Our favourite is lentil and bacon (boiled gammon) with leeks, carrots and potatoes.
    We have lots of practice with rainy days - what I'd love to do is curl up in front of the fire, with some great books, glass of wine and chocolates. What I usually end up doing is standing by the side of either a football (soccer), rugby or hockey (field) pitch watching the kids play!

    Suze
    Littlesuze at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suze, your soup sounds great! Ah, our kids play soccer in the fall and one day they played a double header in 115 degrees F. That was appalling. No rainy days for soccer here, they just cancel because it chews up the fields.

      You're a top shelf mom, going out there rain or shine!

      ZAM

      Delete
  4. I like to curl up with a good book and listen to the rain pour down on our tin roof. I live in the tropics and it can really rain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, That sounds so nice. I LOVE that sound of rain on the roof!

      ZAM

      Delete
  5. I don't much like to cook-- except soup! Throwing batches of stuff into a pot and watching it all meld together into something tasty is fun -- maybe a bit like writing a book! We live by the ocean and on rainy days i like to watch the play of light and shadow over the water. : )

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Soup is simply good for the soul, isn't it? Something about it is part cooking and part magic. Especially when my little fast food chow hounds come into the house and say, "Wow, That smells delicious."

      ZAM

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  6. When I was little I loved playing in the snow, now not so much a fan of snow because I have to shovel it. Rainy days are good for reading (because rain moves on its own).

    ReplyDelete
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    1. As long as you don't live in a flood plane and people don't drive like maniacs (like they do in SoCal...where it's as if they've never even SEEN rain every single time) Rain is just all made of win.

      ZAM

      Delete
  7. There is nothing better on a cold or rainy day than a bowl of homemade stew and cornbread. During the holidays, I love drinking hot apple cider, too.

    I really enjoy sitting by the fire in my favorite chair with my cat and my Kindle. :)

    lkbherring64(at)gmail(dot)com

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    Replies
    1. Oh, YUM Stew and cornbread. Or a bowl of Texas Red. That sounds lovely. I enjoy mulled apple cider too, it's kind of a halloween thing.

      ZAM

      Delete
  8. Great recipe, soup is a process never a formula. Our favorite is split pea with ham and homemade bread. The best on a rainy/snowy day. Or gumbo... only way I ever eat okra.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I love split pea soup. There's a place out here called Anderson's that's known for it's split pea soup and my parents used to take us there whenever we went up and down the coast. Very touristy but I never miss a chance to eat there. It's kind of a traveller's place.

      ZAM

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  9. It depends if it is summer or winter. In summer you have to walk in the rain at least once preferably with company. If it is winter to be in PJ's toasty inside reading a book or having a marathon movie day.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Unfortunately out here there's no rain to be had in the summer. Or if there is, it's very little. YES! Marathon movie day. What a great idea. I say we all watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy and then go see the Hobbit! That sounds like a perfect plan!

      ZAM

      Delete
  10. On rainy days I like to drink something hot and watch a movie or read a book. :)
    goingtoreadnow(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi Julie, Me too. A nice cup of Tension Tamer tea and someone mentioned the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. I'm there!

      ZAM

      Delete
  11. Your post makes me want to make a pot of soup, either lentil or split pea right now. On a rainy day, my favorite thing would be to enjoy a bowl of hot homemade soup with some bread, while watching a Food Channel program.

    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The food channel is so fun, especially this time of year, when everyone is making holiday foods. That's a good plan. But you know what else I like? I like to watch poker. I don't know why, I don't even gamble. :D

      ZAM

      Delete
  12. Really don't have a rainy day food. Where I live it rains for half the year so a rainy day isn't much different from a regular day!

    But if I had to pick something I'd say a simple cup of tea is good enough for me.

    Issa
    cojazzchick AT yahoo DOT come

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Issa, Oh, yeah. There's ever a bad time for a nice cup of tea.

      ZAM

      Delete
  13. Doesn't matter if it's rain or snow (which we get a lot of), the best thing to do on those dys is curl up with hot chocolate, a great book and a warm cuddly blanket. Housework can wait, ignore the phone, and just bliss out for the whole day!!!

    tsarinaerika(at)yahoo.ca

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    1. Hi Erika,

      I am with you. I like a mixture of hot chocolate and coffee. My daughter's home from school right now, so we do that sometimes. Just Bliss out while the boys are still in school

      ZAM

      Delete
  14. A nice bowl of Mac and cheese! Yummy! Cuddled up with a good book and good food is perfect!
    Juliana
    OceanAkers @ aol.com

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    Replies
    1. All three of my boys would heartily agree about Mac & Cheese. My son who is almost eighteen now takes homemade Mac & Cheese for most potlucks.

      ZAM

      Delete
  15. Yummy. I make similar soup (vegetarian version :) and always serve it with home-made croûtons. It's good, rich soup, perfect for warming up.

    0401romance(at)gmail(dot)com

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    Replies
    1. Hi Joanna, Homemade croutons are the best. I just taught my middle son, Max, the joy of making a Caesar Salad with homemade croutons. In the summer I like to make Gazpacho with homemade croutons, there's a soup for every season!

      ZAM

      Delete
  16. My rainy day thing...chinese takeout and Pride & Prejudice (You know, the A&E version with Colin Firth)...Gah...I need a rainy day soon :D

    morris(dot)crissy(at)gmail(dot)com

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    Replies
    1. Oh, yeah, baby. Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice. My daughter took a while to warm up to him, until he came out of the water at Pemberly with that wet lawn shirt and that was all she wrote...

      :D

      Sorry, Colin, I'll stop perving now.

      ZAM

      Delete
    2. LOL! I love it...I'm kind of addicted to that movie...I've watched other versions and they're okay, but nothing compares to Colin *sigh*

      Delete
  17. My favorite rainy day thing is a good book, hot rooibos tea, and Animal Planet playing muted in the background! I'm going to try your recipe in my slow cooker (I'd have a lot more fun than Ms. Microwave up there.) i love bean soup! Thanks for the recipe!

    brendurbanist at gmail dot com

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    Replies
    1. Hi, I'm hoping you like it. There's so many different ways to personalize it, I don't think you can go wrong.

      ZAM

      Delete
  18. I don't get many lazy, rainy days and it's been a few years since we've gotten snow, but cuddling up in front of the space heater with a cappucino and a good book sounds heavenly.

    aelnova@aol.com

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    Replies
    1. I have to admit that cuddling up at any time with something warm to drink and a good book is my favorite passtime, unless it's a billion degrees outside and then I like an iced tea and a book. I'm not hard to please!

      ZAM

      Delete
  19. Like many others, one of my favorite rainy day things is to curl up with a good book. And pretty much any food will do, since I love it all! LOL

    margec01

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    Replies
    1. Me too! Even better? A stack of books and a nice long day to enjoy them. Been a while, but a girl can dream!

      ZAM

      Delete
  20. Since it rains here a lot, I am going with my favorite snowy day routines. Hot apple cider on the stove for the shovelers when they come back in. And usually chili in the crock pot, or lately chicken tortilla soup (also in the crock pot!) YUMMY!!

    Then give me sweats, a hot cup of tea and a book and I am in heaven. :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh, wow, Susan I'm moving in with you! I had my first bowl of chicken tortilla soup the other day and it was lovely. Why'd I wait so long! That's a great soup and fairly simple to make. My other favorite is Posole, which is also good:

      http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2012/01/classic-posole

      ZAM

      Delete
  21. If I have ambition, I bake stuff. If not, I read/watch Muppet DVDs with a latte or cup of cocoa...

    vitajex(At)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, those MUPPETS. I used to bake a lot more than I do now. I've decided to start again, maybe tomorrow. Stay tuned, and I might blog about it!

      ZAM

      Delete
  22. On rainy days I love to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. (I need to check the weather forecast to see if I'm going to get to do that any time soon!)

    books2read69(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  23. I like being out in the rain, going shopping or whatever. I really like the rain.

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

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  24. My favorite soup starts life as a basic chicken soup with rice (orzo is good, but I can't eat that). Before serving, stir in a can of tomato sauce. Just before the bowls hit the table grate some parmagiana reggiano over the top. The real stuff. It melts slowly into the soup, creating a rich broth. Truly lovely. Not my recipe, but I'm happy to share.

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  25. Not really the right time of year for soup here but as soup is one of my favourite things to eat I'll happily eat it in summer :)

    I love soup that has pasta in it so I make minestrone quite a lot but when I want something quick I'll make either pumpkin soup or potato and leek soup.

    Most Australian houses have either terracotta roof tiles or concrete glazed tiles so we don't hear the rain on the roof. We have an aluminium (Australian spelling LOL) carport beside the house and we can tell how hard it is raining by how much noise is coming from the carport.

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  26. Rain or snow, I love to curl up in my comfy chair and read with a nice cup of hot chocolate.

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  27. Adding my name for the grand finale!

    ~Rush~
    taina1959@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  28. My mom used to put mine and my sis towels in the dryer as well! When we were little after our bath she'd wrap us up in a warm towel then carry us into the living room. In our old house we had a real fire place which we got to sit in front of until bedtime it was the most relaxing and the only reason I wanted it to get cold and snow all year!

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  29. My favourite thing to do on a rainy day is grab a good book and stick my head in it, lol.

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