Russian Borscht

IMG_1199RBWhile the east coast was getting slammed with snow and cold weather over the last few weeks, we have been enjoying spring in Park City… Until Sunday! All of the sudden the cold weather and snow came roaring back and winter is here once again. Most people think of classic borscht as the bright red beet borscht however this recipe is a quite different. IMG_1195This borscht is still packed with lots of delicious vegetables but has a rich buttery flavor instead of the more vinegary base of beet borscht. Extra bonus… this recipe wont stain your clothing and pots like beet borscht! Don’t be fooled by this seemly light vegetable soup, it is very very filling! The base of the soup is potato and carrots which makes it a little more substantial then you’d think! Enjoy! IMG_2083Ingredients:

  • 5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1′ pieces
  • 5 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 small green cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 5 celery stalks, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/3 bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 2 14.5oz cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper (plus more to taste)
  • Sour cream for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add potatoes and carrots to a large stock pot and add enough water to cover the vegetables completely. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and carrots are very tender.
  2. Using a hand held potato masher, mash the carrots and potato into small pieces creating thicker potato based water.
  3. Meanwhile in another large pot melt the butter. Saute the onion, cabbage, celery, garlic, and parsley until the cabbage has wilted and the vegetables are tender.
  4. Add the cabbage mixture to the pot with the potatoes and carrots, then add the chicken stock and petite diced tomatoes.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 30minutes.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and crusty bread!
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Creamy Black Bean Soup

IMG_0423Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and FUN holiday! I know I did! Even though it was super cold over Christmas (I’m talking Northern New England kind of cold) it was beautiful and the skiing was great! Now that the holiday rush is over… everyone is SICK! Turns out that flu shot you got this year was the wrong strain of flu and now you’re screwed (and sick as a dog). So between the cold weather and all my friends being sick, I thought it would be nice to make some feel better soup!!

This black bean soup recipe is one of my favorites. It’s so easy and its ready in no time. A few other bonuses… its vegan (shhhh don’t tell anyone because they won’t be able to tell, its so delicious!!!) it’s dairy free (if you’re crazy enough to leave off the dollop of sour cream) its gluten free and its filling! Seriously, this soup is a meal on its own! So if you’re feeling a little under the weather, throw on a pot of this soup, you’ll be enjoying it in no time!! Cheers to 2015!

Creamy Black Bean Soup (Serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 4oz can diced green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 4 16oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups (or more) canned low salt vegetable or chicken broth (if you don’t want it to be vegan/vegetarian)
  • Sour cream, sliced green onions and diced avocado for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and saute until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Mix in tomatoes with their juices, chilies, and thyme.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes more. Add beans and 2 cups of broth.
  4. Puree soup in batches or using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer.
  5. Thin with additional broth if necessary until soup reaches desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Garnish with sour cream, green onions and avocado.

Sausage and Kale Soup

IMG_0398We have had some unusually warm weather the last few weeks- sunny and 60 degrees. It makes for wonderful hiking and golfing weather but not so great for the mountains trying to make snow. Then, last Saturday morning I woke up to this….IMG_0303I’m like… are you freakin’ kidding me? I don’t have clue where my winter boots and warm jackets are! I was just walking around in shorts and a T-shirt yesterday- now I have to deal with this? Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty excited for ski season and winter to get here but can’t there be some kind of gradual transition? All or nothing seems a little harsh. Anywho! With the cold weather and snow I decided it was time to pull out the soup recipes.

I love me some warm soup on a cold day- for lunch or for dinner its a great way to warm up without having to spend too much time cooking. Throw it all in the pot, et voila- dinner is done! Kale is one of my favorite greens to make salads with in the summer months, its so crisp and full of vitamins. Adding some fresh kale gives the soup a delicious flavor and brings some color into the mix. A little spicy Italian sausage and tender potatoes all topped off with creamy Parmesan cheese- yup, we’ve got a winner!! Oh and did I mention its gluten free? Even better! Serve it up with some crispy bread (not gluten free.. but delicious) and enjoy!

IMG_0399Sausage and Kale Soup (Click for printer friendly version)

(Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1 pound small new potatoes, sliced into thin circles
  • 1 bunch of kale, trimmed and chopped (ribs removed)
  • 1 8oz container Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 cups (64oz) chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more depending on your spice tolerance)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a large saucepot over medium heat and add the oil, onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes, then add the sausage to the pot. Brown the sausage and break it apart with a wooden spoon into small pieces until it is cooked through.
  2. Once the sausage is brown, add the potato slices, chopped kale, mushrooms, chicken stock, wine, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Once the potatoes are tender it’s ready.
  3. When ready to serve, stir in the cream and Parmesan cheese (if you do this step too early the cream will curdle) Then taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve in bowls garnished with extra Parmesan cheese and fresh bread. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from A Spicy Perspective

 

Butternut Squash Minestrone

photo-484Happy New Year! I hope all of you had a happy and healthy holiday season. If you did as much celebrating, eating and drink as I did over the last few weeks you’re ready to start the new year on the healthy side! It’s easy to reach for comfort food when the weather is cold but there is no reason that comfort food can’t also be healthy!
Like this butternut squash minestrone! This soup can easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the pancetta and substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth. The butternut squash gives this soup a hearty and filling base while adding a touch of sweetness. Fresh spinach adds some color and leaves you feeling like you’ve eaten your greens for the day! Perfect for dinner, lunch or apres skiing snack, everyone will love this soup! Cheers!
photo-471
Ingredients:
  • Good olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, 1/2-inch-diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) carrots (3 carrots)
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
  • 2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) peeled butternut squash
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 (26-ounce) can or box diced tomatoes, such as Pomi
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti
  • 8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup good dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Directions:
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  3. Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, I add more chicken stock.
  5. Just before serving, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste.
  6. Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot with fresh bread.
Original recipe from Barefoot Contessa

Roasted Tomato Soup with Tortellini

photo-391It seems as though winter is upon us in Park City. We’ve had two days of snow and cold weather (which we’ve had before this fall, but now it feels like its here to stay!) I spent part of my evening pulling out my winter boots and jackets and putting away my summer clothes. Then I enjoyed the rest of my night watching the Red Sox WIN the World Series!!! The World Series inevitably means the end of fall, day light savings is just around the corner and tomato season is on its way out. One of my favorite childhood winter lunches was tomato soup and grilled cheese. It was hearty, warm and satisfying on a cold day.

I decided to use up the last of my fall tomatoes and make up a batch of creamy tomato soup with a new twist- cheese tortellini goodness in the soup! Every bit has a burst of cheesy deliciousness against the rich tomato base. Its the perfect soul warming lunch or dinner that everyone will enjoy! Cheers!  photo-392Roasted Tomato Soup with Tortellini by Ski Boots in the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 8 -10 medium beefsteak tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, whole and skins on
  • 1 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 9oz package Buitoni three cheese tortellini
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, optional
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lay the tomatoes cut-side down. Add the garlic cloves (with skins on). Sprinkle with olive oil and season with salt. Roast until the tomatoes are soft and caramelized, about 30-45 minutes.
  2. In a large stock pot saute chopped onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until translucent, remove from heat. When the tomatoes are done roasting, remove them from the oven and transfer tomatoes, pulp and juices to a large stock pot with onion. Squeeze the garlic from its skin and add it to the pot.
  3. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock, bay leaf, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth (or transfer soup to a regular blender and puree before returning to the stock pot). Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary.
  5. Add uncooked tortellini to the pot and continue to simmer on low heat for another 5-7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Ladle into bowls and garnish with freshly chopped basil and shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve with fresh bread and enjoy!

Lentil and Sausage Soup for a (warm) winter’s night

IMG_6968

Although its starting to feel too much like spring here- I there’s nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of soup for dinner, even if it doesn’t look anything like winter out your door. This is more of a stew than soup, but it has a lot of fresh veggies and fresh spinach which gives it vibrant color and delicious flavor! I modified this recipe and used vegetarian sausage from Whole Foods instead of meat sausage and vegetable stock to make the stew vegetarian. photo-231The sausage was so tasty you’d never know it was vegetarian- I bought the Italian style with garlic and red pepper to give it a kick! Any sausage you use will taste great. I also added twice the amount of spinach as I am a huge fan of spinach and I wanted more green in my soup. The red wine vinegar really opens up all the flavors so don’t leave it out- its a must! Enjoy!!

Lentil & Sausage Soup (Click for printer friendly version)
Serves 4 hungry adults with lots of leftovers.
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup French green lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 or 4 sausages made with herbs and/or garlic
  • 1 large yellow or white onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup sturdy red wine
  • 3 stalks of celery, and their leaves if possible
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram or an equivalent amount of fresh
  • 4 or 5 carrots, depending on their size
  • 4 cups chicken or beef stock (or vegetable)
  • 3 tablespoons organic ketchup
  • 2 cups chopped spinach (I did 4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red wine vinegar, to taste

Directions:

  1. Fill at tea kettle and bring it to a boil while you prep the other ingredients.
  2. Heat the 4 cups of stock either on the stove or in the microwave if you don’t have time (or space) on the stove.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large pot/skillet with one bay leaf and cook sausage until browned on each side (even if the sausage is already fully cooked) remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Rinse the lentils in cold water two or three times, pick out any stones or other debris, and put the lentils on the stove in a saucepan with at least three cups of hot water from the kettle. Cook lentils over medium heat, stirring occasionally. (don’t worry if the lentils are not fully cooked when you add them to the soup.)
  5. Meanwhile, dice the onions so they are about ½” square; chop the garlic. Cut celery into small dices and carrots into slices or chunks depending on how thick they are, and set them aside. Add the remaining oil, as well as the onions and garlic, to the pan in which the sausages were browned; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the onions start to look a bit translucent, push them aside with a spoon and add the wine. Cook for a minute or two to deglaze the pot.
  6. Stir the lentils in with the cooking water. It doesn’t matter whether they are cooked. Just add them now, and add the stock to the pot with the onions and garlic. Add the celery and marjoram and stir well, continuing to cook.
  7. Add the carrots to the pot, with the reserved sausages, and the salt and pepper to taste, and stir well.
  8. Cook for at least another ten minutes, adding more water if necessary and stirring occasionally, to prevent the lentils from sticking.
  9. Add the ketchup and stir well (I didn’t measure the ketchup I just added enough till it looked good- but I am also weirdly obsessed with ketchup). Cook until the carrots are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add the spinach and the parsley. Heat soup until very hot!
  10. Pass the red wine vinegar separately, for people to add, to taste. Serve with a hearty whole grain bread and fresh butter.IMG_6965

Original recipe from Food52

Mushroom-Barley Soup for the end of the world

According to the weather man tomorrow night the Eastern Seaboard from New York to Maine is going to shut down, as they are predicted to get 2 feet of snow…. um yeah. I’ve heard gas stations are running low on fuel and schools have closed before a single flake of snow has fallen. Nothing is better then some hearty soup on a snow day (besides a little Baileys in your hot chocolate or just more Baileys in your Baileys, but who’s counting). At least I’ve got a glass of fresh Limoncello to calm me down. This is one of my mom’s favorite soup recipes and as I am home in CT (the war zone) we decided to make it together. Barley makes this soup healthy and filling.

Fresh and dried mushrooms make the broth super flavorful and rich. It’s the perfect meal on its own or pairs with a sandwich, salad or main course too! Double the recipe and freeze some for the next blizzard of the century. You’ll definitely enjoy this soup and we all know you’ll have the time to cook it because if work hasn’t already been canceled for you, I know you’ll be calling in “sick.” Happy snow day everyone!

Mushroom-Barley Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
  • 2 medium carrots (5 1/2-6 ounces), trimmed, peeled and thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion (4 ounces), peeled and very thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 6 ounces domestic mushrooms, washed and very thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • about 1 ounce dried mushrooms (1/2 cup), crushed into small pieces in a mini-chop or with a mortar and pestle
  • 2 cups white chicken stock or lower-salt canned chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (adjust if canned broth is used)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Place the barely in a sauce pan with 3 cups of the water. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce the eat to low and boil very gently for 50 to 60 minutes. The barely should be tender but not mushy. set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. add the carrots and onion and cook over high heat for 1 minute.
  3. Add the domestic mushrooms, dried mushrooms, stock or broth and the remaining 2 cups water.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and boil gently for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the pepper, salt and barley with its liquid.
  6. Bring back to a boil. Stir in parsley.

Original recipe from Jacques Pepin’s Simple and Healthy Cooking.

*Snow Day* Simple Squash Bisque

It’s finally dumping that light fluffy powder outside my window and there are only 8 days till the chair lifts start turning up on the mountain! I know all my friends back East are getting pummeled with snow too – So whats better than a bowl of hot soup to warm you up on a cold snowy weekend? I have so much Acorn Squash in the fridge right now with all the recipes I’ve been cooking I needed to use them up! You probably don’t even need to go to the store for this simple acorn squash bisque, which is why its the perfect snow day soup. I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart’s – Instead of half-and-half I used Greek Yogurt. Hope you enjoy and stay warm!

Its accumulating quickly outside!

Ingredients for Acorn Squash Bisque:

  • 2-3 acorn squashes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or about 1 teaspoon dried if you don’t have fresh)
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup Greek Yogurt

Preheat oven to 450

Halve squash lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast until almost tender when pierced with a knife (about 30 min). When cool enough, scrape out flesh of the squash with a spoon and discard the skins. Set remaining squash aside.

In large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until onion has become translucent about 3-5 minutes. Add squash, thyme, broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to medium and cook until squash is very tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and add Greek Yogurt.

Working in batches, puree mixture in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Return to pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with fresh thyme (if you have it on hand).