-N- and I love to cook. If we had cable again, the only thing we would watch regularly is Top Chef. This morning I made french toast - just for myself. Cooking is another art form that allows exploration, discovery and we're always looking for new things to try. A staple this cold season has been homemade soup. It's so easy to incorporate flavors, color and tons of nutritional value.  I felt stirred to post this entry with its great colors and textures, it's almost like building a composition for a painting. Here's my stab at culinary art. 

I don't believe that the base of soup should be new. Meaning, I'll bake an entire chicken for dinner one night and the next day I'll strip it of most of the meat and put the whole chicken in the pot for the base. Last night, we had two thick rib eye steaks and sweet potato and russet potato. Since I would've had a heart attack had I eaten the whole thing I saved it along with the leftover potatoes and stashed them in the fridge. Soup for us is comforting deliciousness and getting the combination of starch, protein and spice isn't always quite right. But today's soup made me smile as I scooped my second serving. I'm definitely adding this to my repertoire. Try my recipe for Sweet Potato and Beef Soup.

Prep time: 20 min.

Cook time: At least 45 min.

Ingredients:

1/4 red onion, chopped fine

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 sweet potato and 1 russet potato cooked or uncooked, cubed small (any combination works but I highly recommend the contrast of the sweet)

4-6 ounces of cooked steak, cubed

1 cup Trader Joe's Harvest Blend - a mixture of red quinoa, lentils, cous cous, orzo

1/2 cup frozen peas (or any small colorful vege, corn would be great too)

beef or chicken bouillon cubes (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Put a large pot over medium heat and warm a small pat of butter or olive oil in it. As it starts to sizzle, drop in onions, garlic, frozen peas and cubed beef. Stir for a couple minutes until onions begin to sweat and become translucent. Add 2-3 quarts of water depending on your pot size. At this point, you can add a bouillon cube or two for taste. (I find that if you cook soup long enough for the flavors to marry, you don't need these. They work great, though, if you're in a pinch and can't cook the soup that long). If you're using uncooked potatoes, drop them in now. Bring the soup to a rolling boil and mix in the Harvest Blend, lower to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes. If you're using cooked potatoes, drop them in after the soup has simmered for at least 30 minutes as to not break the starch down further. Add salt and pepper to taste. I would suggest grinding fresh pepper and sprinkling parmesan shavings if you have it. Serve immediately with crusty bread. Bon apetit! Let me know what you think!

-Y-

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