My mom passed away in 2003 and when she went, she took her recipe for vegetable soup. I LOVED her vegetable soup. I have never been a soup lover but this soup, she made, was so freakin’ good. I remember her knowing just how much I loved it, that one time she sent a container of it with my dad, to drop off in the early morning hours, as he made his way to work. I swear, I would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then breakfast again.
I got to thinking about that soup yesterday morning, probably because it was a bit chilly in the house and soup is always a great warmer-upper. I wondered if I had the ingredients to attempt to make it. I remember that she used a can or two of tomato juice and besides the obvious vegetables, hence the title Vegetable Soup, I wasn’t too sure what else I would need.
And let me just say, I’ve made a huge faux paux in the blogging world, in not snapping photos from beginning to end of my cooking adventure. BUT, I was so excited when I found that I had a can of tomato juice and vegetables, that I totally forgot about photos.
Oh well, I do have a recipe…so easy AND it tasted JUST. LIKE. MY. MOM’S. (you would have loved my mom’s soup, too!) And as an aside, I also remembered that my mom would serve crusty bread, for dipping, along with the soup. So, I made bread. Not as crusty, but oh so delicious (I did snap a few of those photos)
Here’s what I used…
1 large can of tomato juice
2 packets of beef bouillon (you could use two cubes)
Water (I used the empty tomato juice can, filled twice)
1 bag of frozen vegetables (corn, carrots, green beans, lima beans…)
Half a head of cabbage, chopped
1 garlic clove (I use the jarred crushed, cause that’s what I had)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp of Bell’s Seasoning (weird, probably, but I wanted to add thyme and didn’t have any, it actually was a good choice)
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Here’s how I did it…
Poured can of juice into large pot/dutch oven. Filled empty can, twice with water, adding the two packets of bouillon. Stir well, pour in the frozen vegetables. Add cabbage and the rest. Stir well, heat to boil. Put on lid, turn heat to low and let it simmer for hours, stirring occasionally.
So easy, right? I am thrilled to have reinvented this recipe. I realized, while eating this that my mom’s had crushed tomatoes in it.I didn’t have any of those but will add them next time. Just a can of them, should do.
On to the bread. If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know that I’m a newbie bread maker…or novice yeast connoisseur…oxymoron! I made bread and I also made home made cinnamon rolls with yeast. Goodbye canned, refrigerated cinnamon rolls. Okay, not really cause I’m lazy.
I wanted to make crusty Italian bread and I remembered reading somewhere that to make it, you needed to not overhandle the bread. I overhandled the bread. It was denser than Italian bread should be but it was still crusty and still tasty. Lesson learned.
I don’t have a stand mixer, so I just use a big metal spoon to mix the dough. I like making things with my hands (or normal utensils)..it’s therapeutic for me.
For the Bread…
3 cups flour (I used all purpose)
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup water
1 packet of yeast (I used the quick working kind)
1 tsp of salt
2 tsp of sugar
T of Olive Oil
Sesame seeds – I used my pretoasted ones cause that’s all I had (optional)
Make the bread…
Preheat oven to 350°
Dissolve yeast into 1/4 cup warm water, add in 1 tsp of sugar. Do not over mix the yeast! While that does its thing, put your flour, salt and other tsp of sugar into a mixing bowl. After about 5 mins, the yeast should be creamy and a bit frothy, like this…
Once the yeast is ready, stir it into your bowl with the flour, salt and sugar. Mix it well and start to add water, a little at a time until you’ve made a soft dough ball. It will be a bit sticky, if it gets too sticky, add a bit of flour. You’ll want to get your hand in there and roll and tuck. Don’t knead the dough. Just a gently rolling and tucking until it’s somewhat smooth and again, not too sticky, not too dry.
I rub a bit of olive oil on the dough and then cover the bowl with a warm, damp kitchen towel. Let stand for 45mins to an hour until it’s risen to double its size. It may not completely double but close enough.
Once it’s risen, you’ll want to punch it down, gently. Again, no kneading and only punch it down a time or two. Then roll and tuck like in the first round. Let it rise again. I don’t oil it the 2nd time. Just cover with a warm, damp kitchen towel and wait another 45mins to and hour.
Remove from bowl and put on a cookie sheet that is covered in aluminum foil. You’ll shape it into an elongated oval, with rounded ends. Brush it with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if you like. You could also use poppy seeds or chopped nuts or even a coarse kosher salt….whatever you like. Then you’ll want to score it diagonally, a few times.
Pop that baby in the oven for 30-40mins and you’ll be dipping it in your homemade soup in no time!!