Friday, January 18, 2013


It is almost the end of January.  I am going to be optimistic and think that I am going to be planting my broccoli and cabbage plants soon.  We have a green house/cold frame. Last year we planted early and would have been able to reap the rewards except we had a ground hog decide we planted the smorgasbord just for him.  In one night (he or they) destroyed 36 heads of broccoli ready to harvest.  Twenty-eight heads of cabbage were also made inedible.  

This was a very hard to take disaster   Needless to say I stopped planting anything until the critters had been relocated.  Through the summer we relocated 10.  I'm hoping  that was all of them.  Right now we are re-fencing,  Our resident deer have done a number on the fences.  We have seen a group of 9 deer since hunting  season was over.  They are not bothered by us, they look up from grazing, staring at us chewing, their mouth's full.  No one told them it's not manners to come to the party uninvited.

Cold is not a deterrent to thinking about the garden.   An off-shoot of gardening is a love of cooking.  I am always looking for creative way to serve the produce from the garden.  We are soup lovers, it is a convenient medium to use lots of kinds of vegetables.  

One of the things I am doing this year is to make my cooking more heart friendly.  I have created a recipe that satisfies my cravings for creamy decadent soups.  The following is last night's soup. 


First you have to get over the notion cream soups have to be made with cream.  It is the consistency our brains are craving not the calories.  This consistency can be achieved through using potatoes.  

The next dieters aid is flavor.  We have an arsenal of flavor enhancers at our disposal.  There are herbs, fresh and dried (fresh gives a larger flavor boost). There is salt for those who do not have a salt restriction (any salt though adds to water retention in the body).  You have broths you can make or buy.

You eat with your eyes so you want color in your concoctions.  According to the soup I am making I add vegetables of that color.  Carrots are a great color enhancer (they won't add a lot of flavor to things like a squash soup or a garlic soup..but they will enhance the color and as a root vegetable they add another spectrum of vitamins and minerals).  A favorite in my freezer for color enhancing is frozen peas.  They add delightful color to cucumber soup.  I have never made a soup, other than Borscht, with beets but I can imagine the neat color it might add to maybe a potato soup to serve at Valentines Day or Christmas.  I am sure you can think of several natural color additives.  (Don't forget to add onion peelings to clear broths for a golden color)


BROTH OR WATER 4 CUPS (I recommend chicken broth, beef or vegetable will muddy the delightful brightness of the broccoli).

BROCCOLI: 1 LB, Break apart the sections and blanch for 2 1/2 minutes in boiling water.  Flash cool the broccoli in ice water and drain thoroughly (while you are blanching why don't you blanch 2 lbs instead and have the second lb stored in two sandwich bags in the refrigerator to serve as a side for another couple of meals)  Do not over blanch, remember the broccoli will be added back to the hot broth.  You don't want the off flavors the Cole family develops when over-cooked.

When drained, cut the stalks off the florets, placing them in another bowl.  Save the florets for later.  

ONION: 1 MEDIUM, Peel and dice into 1/4 inch dice. Saute' in  2 teaspoons butter (or non flavored oil).  cook until translucent (You don't want any color to develop)

After the onions are sauteed cover with 1 cup of "broth" or water.  Bring to a simmer. 

POTATOES:  4 MEDIUM,  peel and dice in 1/4 inch dice.  Add to the simmering onions.  Cook covered until soft. 

FLOUR: 3 TABLESPOONS,  place in a large cup and use a fork, whisk in slowly, 1 cup of cold broth (if the broth is hot it will lump the flour).  When thoroughly incorporated use your fork to whisk it into the simmering potato mixture.  Have your last two cups of broth handy, on the side, to start stirring into the mixture.  You can turn up the fire a little, you must stir constantly (I use a silicone spoonula at this point).  When you have the broth stirred in cook until  the raw flour taste is gone and the mixture is thickened.

At this point if you have an immersion blender, turn off the heat and retrieve the blender from where you stored it.  The broccoli stalks need to be stirred into your potato mixture. If you don't have an immersion blender a regular blender works and I imagine a food processor would too ( don't have one so can't tell you if it will).  Take the resulting mixture and return it to the pan (BTW if you want a greener looking soup ad a cup of frozen peas to the mix before you blend.)

Reheat your soup..If it is too thick for you, add some more broth. Correct your can add salt and pepper at this point.  An herb I love to use in broccoli soup is fresh lemon thyme.  When your soup is simmering again add back your broccoli florets, stir carefully so you don't wreck them.

This great diet soup(remember portion control) has another plus.  It is very quick to cook.  This is a soup which is designed to serve four.  You will have 1/4 lb of broccoli, 1 potato, 1/4 of an onion, 1/4 teaspoon butter, and 3/4 tablespoon of flour for each serving.  This is like having two sides on your plate.  Serving it with a large salad (no creamy dressing) will be a full meal with the addition of a protein (which could be a boiled egg).  


Additions and ways to change this soup.  
Asparagus, 1 lb, peel the stalks and blanch 3 minutes and cold water shock.  Then cut stalks into 1 inch pieces (save 3 inches of the tops for adding at the end). 

Carrots, 1 lb (peel, slice in discs blanch 5 minutes) use 2/3 in soup and 1/3 to add at finish) Garlic sauteed with the onions add a whole new dimension. Using beef broth instead, changes it again.

May your garden be filled 
with the results of your energies expended.  

May your daily diet be delightful.

 For more blogs by me, visit at:

A blog mostly about quilting, but cooking, poetry, prose and a little gardening,
New blog, tutorial on how to make 5 panel Boxer Shorts.
New Blog about dolls.
Not a garden blog.  There are articles which have nothing to do with creating or gardening. 
There are blogs on the new born baby kittens we found and mothered.  
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Credit has been given to contributions not my own.
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