Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Last year in my geology graduate program, we started this thing we call “Geowomen’s Soup Night.” Once a month or so, all the women geology grad students gather at one of our houses for good dinner, good wine (or beer!), and good conversation. Of course, the host is not required to make soup – they can make whatever main course they want. But no one has ventured outside the realm of soup yet.

I hosted the first Soup Night of this semester, so I thought I’d share my recipe, as I’ve learned some modifications you can make when you can’t find some of the ingredients, or you don’t have a slow cooker. I got it from a Good Housekeeping cookbook called Budget Dinners: 100 Recipes Your Family Will Love. It’s saved me on more than one occasion on my poor college student budget. This recipe served 6 of us, with a side salad, bread, and veggies and dip as an appetizer.

Winter Vegetable Chowder


2 medium leeks (about 8oz) – If you can’t find leeks (this happened to me with this last batch), you can substitute with a combination of shallots (I think I used about 4 large cloves) and green onions/scallions/chives (I think I used a whole bundle from the grocery store).

3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces – You can leave these out if you’re a vegetarian, or cook them on the side for your meat-eaters. I also tend to make way more bacon because bacon is delicious and it adds a certain something special to this chowder. Last time I made it, I had to keep the bacon out, and ended up making an entire small package of bacon. Maybe 10 slices? We went through most of it. My point is, you can use as much or as little bacon as you want.

2 large all-purpose potatoes (1 1/2 pounds)

1 large celery root (1 1/2 pounds) – This is the ingredient I most often have trouble finding. If I don’t have time to hunt for it, I’ll replace it with an equivalent amount of carrots.

1 medium butternut squash (2 1/4 pounds) – This is essential. My advice is to try to find one that will be easy to cut – so the less curves it has, the better.

28-30oz vegetable or chicken broth – I like the kind that comes in a box rather than a can, but either will do just fine

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1 cup half-n-half or light cream – I use whichever I can find first when I’m looking in the store.

1. Cut off roots and trim dark green tops from leeks; cut each leek lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 3/4 in slices. Fill a large bowl with water and put the leeks in. Swish them around with some vigor. Make sure you separate all the pieces. Leeks often have a lot of sand/dirt in them, and this is the best way to get it out. I will usually dump the water and repeat the process once or twice to be really thorough. Drain them in a collander. If you’re using shallots and green onions instead, just chop them up into 1/4-in pieces and set them aside.

2. Cook the leeks and bacon over med-high heat for about 10-15 minutes in a 12-in or more skillet, until browned. The original recipe says 7-10 minutes, but it always takes longer for me. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and celery root (peel the carrots if you want, but I normally don’t because I’m lazy) and cut them into 1/2-in chunks. Cut the squash in half, discard the seeds, and remove the peel. Then cut the squash into 1-in chunks. I usually cut mine a bit smaller than that.

3. Dump the potatoes, celery root (or carrots), and squash into a 4.5-6 quart slow cooker or large pot. Stir in broth, thyme, salt, pepper, leeks/bacon (or shallots/green onions), and 1 cup of water.

3a. If you are using a slow cooker – cover it with the lid and cook on the low setting (as manufacturer directs) 7-8 hours or until all vegetables are very tender. If you’re away from home for longer than that, it will just sit on the “keep warm” setting and it will be fine.

3b. If you are using a large pot on a stovetop, turn the heat on very low and let it simmer to a gentle bubble with the lid on. This method will take about 45 minutes to an hour to cook.

4. Once everything is cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer about 2 cups of cooked vegetables to a small bowl. Coarsely mash the vegetables with a fork, potato masher, or pastry blender. Stir these vegetables back into the slow cooker/pot, then stir in the half-n-half. Heat through, and you are ready to serve!

If you have any questions about the recipe, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments! I’ve have this soup several times, several different ways, and it is one of my favorites.

And on that note, I’m going to continue devouring my breakfast of bacon on over-medium eggs with pepper and parmesan on fresh baked asiago bread. You don’t even need a recipe for that one.


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Bread Salad Recipe

I was going to write a book review tonight, but… I’ve been working to hard to stay awake long enough, it seems. Super frustrating, as I love this book and I just want to read it all the time.

Arcadia’s Choice comes out in TWO DAYS on September 30th! It is the 3rd part of the Arcadia Day trilogy by Jesi Lea Ryan. I’ll likely have a full review of it by next week, but you should read the first two books – they are fantastic.

So, instead, I’ll share my version of a bread salad recipe I made last night for a BBQ that was a huge hit! Some people were asking for the recipe, so here it is.

It’s from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop, but I make a couple alterations because I do not have grill-using skills and broiling the bread works just as well. The recipes might all be vegetarian, but you could easily add meat or turn any of these into a side to a meaty main-course. Everything I’ve had from this book is delicious.


4 large slices of country bread, cut 1in thick (about 12 ounces). I personally don’t know what 12 oz looks like, and I don’t have the patience to measure that, so I just slice a whole smallish loaf, and leave the ends for snacks. It also works better when you have bread that’s a day or 2 old, but I always forget when I decide to make this, and just let the bread sit out of the plastic for the day before I put it all together. This sort of makes it “stale,” but not really. It’s still good though, so I don’t care.

4 tbls extra-virgin olive oil (I don’t measure this, just use what I need and eyeball it)


1 large garlic clove, peeled (I always go through several of these – you have to grind the garlic into the bread after it’s “grilled” and I have never seen one big enough to last through all the slices of bread, top and bottom).

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2in dice (I tried to weigh these, but all the scales at the grocery store were off, so I just slice tomatoes until I get tired of it, and I don’t really core them)

1 15oz can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained

1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved, cored, and halved again, then cut into 1/2 in chunks

2 tbls chopped fresh basil leaves (I just buy one of those small packages and cut all the leaves)

2 tbls chopped fresh parsley leaves (I grab a handful and chop them up)

2 tbls red wine vinegar

Fresh ground black pepper

8 cups tender lettuces torn into bite-sized pieces

1. The recipe calls for grilling the bread, but I broil it, so this is what I do. I brush it with the olive oil, but I don’t measure it out, just kind of pour it over a spoon and use the spoon to coat the bread (I don’t have a brush). Sprinkle with salt. Then I broil it for a few minutes on the top rack, and flip it over when the first side starts to get a bit crispy/golden brown. This takes longer than actually grilling the bread, but it give you time to put together everything else. Once both sides of the bread are kind of golden brown, you take the bread out and forcefully rub the garlic into both sides of the bread, leaving bits of garlic behind. Then let the bread cool.

2. Combine the tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, herbs, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

3. Cut the bread into 1-in cubes and add the bread to the bowl with the tomato mixture. Toss to coat. Set aside, tossing once or twice, until the bread softens a bit and soaks up some of the flavors of the salad, about 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings as desired.

4. The recipe says to line the plates with the lettuce, then spoon the salad on top. I just shred lettuce into the bowl until the bowl is full and mix it all together.

5. Serve!

Enjoy! It’s super delicious and filling.

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