Saturday, October 27, 2012

Soup Weather

We got in off the road just before the temps dropped and gray skies moved in for a few days. It is the end of October with November knocking on the door, and Mother Nature is reminding us to get ready--bring in the harvest, chop wood, hunker down.

When the temps drop, I think of chopping, dicing, and stewing. Nothing more satisfying than a pot of soup. Something about a soup pot or a cassoulet that reminds me of pioneer women cooking in cast iron over a fire place or maybe a Native American mother feeding her family from a hide pouch where meat and vegetables cooked over an open fire for hours on the plains.

The first thing I did was make a simple chili. No fancy Cincinnati chili, no spicy Southwestern TexMex. Just meat and beans with a little chili powder and cumin. I never eat chili that I don’t think of my English Lit teacher in college. He was a properly stiff and quite stuffy man from the East. He refused to eat anywhere that used paper napkins or plastic table service. When he came to Southeastern Kansas from world travel, he was shocked to see the natives pour vinegar in their chili. He said, “Why, I never…!” He said no pone on earth dumped vinegar on their chili but Kansans. I never knew any different myself.

A friend sent me home with a Missouri soup mix put out by Missouri Agribusiness. I decided to save it for later and made a slow cooking minestrone in the crock pot instead for the next day. Very tasty stuff. DH said he could do with less “green things” floating in his soup but thought it worth repeating again. (The green things were zucchini. I need to chop them smaller so he doesn’t see!)

Yesterday it was potato soup. Not a fan of potato soup, I wanted to try to replicate the baked potato soup I had tasted in St. Charles. However, I got side-tracked when I saw the Panera Potato Soup recipe. Its secret ingredient was a block of cream cheese! I chose fat free cream cheese hoping I was making a healthier choice without sacrificing taste. Wow, what a soup! It was so very good and that recipe will be a keeper.

This afternoon I have made apple dumplings. I have substituted again…Smart Balance for butter, Splenda instead of sugar. I halved the recipe so we would not be tempted to over eat on them. DH has been watching that over for an hour. However, what he doesn’t know yet is that the casserole tonight is a New Mexico version of spinach casserole. Unfortunately, spinach is green…and he will squirm at the green chili in there too. But hey, it is colder weather and we need to warm things up a little around here!

 Do you pour vinegar on your chili?


Grandma Swift said...

Never heard of vinegar in chili. I put catsup in mine right as I eat it. When I was a kid in Indiana, they put spaghetti in the chili at school. I thought that was strange indeed. However, I think the vinegar tops it all. Wonder how and why that food tradtition began!

Susan said...

Hi Claudia....Enjoyed your post. As for vinegar on chili, nope. Never heard of it. That professor, however, sounded like a stuffed shirt. Not everyone from the east is like him. ha ha ha Your squash, etc. in the yard look soooo nice. Oh, I like some soups, too. One I'd love to learn to make is Cheeseburger Soup. Oh wow, there was a little restaurant I used to go to that served it and it was DELICIOUS. The potato soup sounds good. Take care. Susan

Rebecca said...

Yes, I do! (And I don't necessarily "blame" it on my Kansas birth....)

Apple dumplings, yum! I asked my KS grandmother for her recipe and she referred me to the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook! So that's basically what I use, substituting brown sugar for the white....

I really WOULD like that Panera Potato Soup recipe. Maybe I'll google it unless you want to send it to me :)

We're going to have a "Three Soup and a Cracker" theme for our next small group meeting......Maybe I'll make it.

Linda O'Connell said...

Yummy. It is too early to think of soup and chili, but I know what I'll be doing later today.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

I'm a "soupie" too! I love soups and chilis - now that winter is here we'll have soup on our dinner menu once a week. The leftovers are perfect for lunch. :)

Lynn said...

You've made me hungry for soups and casseroles!

Ames said...

We have had more soup this week than all year long. I love a good soup recipe an that Panera bread Potato soup has me intrigued. Care to share? I find it funny that you have to chop green things small. My father always said he was allergic to onions. Mom had to chop them so small he never knew they were in the didh and always has seconds even third helpings. LOL. i have a recipe I got from the Pioneer Woman blog for apple dumplings. So easy and delish. I'll share it if you share your Potato Soup recipe. :) ~Ames