Mom’s Favorite German Vegetable Soup

The weather is turning chilly and it’s time to break out the soup recipes! Keep your bellies warm and mouths watering with this delicious traditional German vegetable soup–a particular favorite of my mom’s.

German Vegetable Soup

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1.5 liter water
  • 1 veggie bouillon cube
  • (Alternatively, if you have stock in a brick or homemade broth, use that–but you will need to check your salt levels)
  • 1 tsp dill seed
  • 1 tsp caraway seed
  • Cream to taste
Slight changes: I only had small carrots and onions, so I used more.
Slight changes: I only had small carrots and onions, so I used more.

Grab a big soup pot (I like my trusty le Creuset). Heat some oil in your pot and sauté the onion and celery (I tend to use olive oil because that’s what Chico likes).

Onion & celery go in!
Onion & celery go in!

Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes and carrots into bite-size pieces. Once chopped, add them to the pot and sauté about a minute or two.

Anyone else hate chopping carrots?
Anyone else hate chopping carrots?

Add the water & bouillon (or stock or broth, whatever you’ve got), dill seed and caraway seed. Bring to a boil and cook until the veggies are done (probably about 15 minutes–but check with a fork).

Mmmmm... The spices smell wonderful.
Mmmmm… The spices smell wonderful.

Add cream to taste. I like to add enough to make it a bit milky-looking.

Mmmm... creamy goodness!
Mmmm… creamy goodness!

Fun tip: If you want an even creamier consistency, but still like to have chunks in your soup, transfer half the soup to a large bowl. Using an immersion blender, whizz it until it’s nice and smooth, then transfer back to the main soup pot.

Blending half the soup makes its texture even creamier.
Blending half the soup makes its texture even creamier.

Voilà! You’ve got a nice creamy soup with some chunky texture.

Bon appétit!

(I’m not sure what makes this soup German. Anyone have a clue?)

Read More

Pumpkin Loaf

Thanksgiving Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

Thanksgiving Spiced Pumpkin Muffins
In miniature form.

American Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and in my mind it is not Thanksgiving unless there’s a basket of these delicious spiced pumpkin muffins on the table. (Note: I specify “American” Thanksgiving because I now reside in Canada where things are all whack and Thanksgiving is the first Monday in October. Don’t ask, I have no idea what they’re smoking up here.)

I’m posting this recipe tonight because I happen to have a loaf of this stuff in the oven right now and the smell is so tantalizingly delicious, I just had to share.

You can make these in muffin or loaf form.

Pumpkin Bread (or Muffins)

  • 3 cups of flour (I like to do half whole wheat, half white)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups pumpkin (1 can)
  • 1 1/4 cup corn oil (I often use sunflower or colza oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar in a bowl. Beat together eggs, pumpkin, oil and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients & mix until just blended. Add the chopped walnuts.

For bread: Divide the batter in half and spoon into two greased bread tins. Bake for 1 hour.

For muffins: Divide the batter into greased muffin tins (makes about 2 dozen regular-sized muffins) and bake for 30 minutes.

A Tactical Error

Tonight, I made the mistake of putting all the batter into one large bread tin and it’s taking longer to bake. That means I keep having to pull it out, test it, put it back in and guesstimate how much more time it needs. So be sure to separate it into two loaf tins. Your life will be easier.

Pumpkin Loaf
Tonight’s mega-loaf

I love having one (or five) of these and a clementine as a digestif after Thanksgiving dinner (if there’s a corner left).

What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?

UPDATE

My mom reminded me that this recipe comes from my beloved aunt! My mom still uses the original recipe card in my aunt’s distinctive handwriting. Check out my aunt’s blog, dedicated to all things food in Rhode Island over at Rhode Island Is My Oyster.

Read More

Artichoke Dip: The World’s Very Best

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the world’s very best artichoke dip, courtesy of my mother.

  • 1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise OR sour cream
  • 1 can chopped green chiles

Mix together and heat at 175°C (or 350°F) until bubbly and slightly brown on top (about half an hour).  I like to serve it with pita bread for dipping.

Artichoke Dip
Trust me. It’s scrumptious.

Yup, it is as simple as that!  Can’t believe it?  Oh but you should.  Trust me.  It’s just that good.

A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to a soirée (yes, I go to soirées) and I made up a batch of this dip.  It did not last long.  If you really want to go all out you can make your own mayo, but frankly that would defeat the whole purpose of this dip.

The purpose of this artichoke dip is to impress people with your cooking skills by serving them something SO delicious it has to have taken you hours to cook.  But of course, the reality is that it took you all of 5 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to bake.

My mother also shared this recipe for a beef casserole which seems like you’ve worked your butt off on this amazing dish but really is about as easy as they come.

I’m going to stop there, though, before I give away all my amazingly delicious easy recipes!  Gotta keep some for when people come over so they can still be impressed.

Read More