Smarter Cookie: a blog for cooking, baking and everything in between...

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I guess this is the right place to start...There was a long time that I hated blogs, I would say that maybe I just didn't understand their purpose or ability, until one day I stumbled upon food blogs. This opened up a huge world of recipes, conversations, pictures and experiments to me. I have been looking and endlessly searching every food blog I can find. At some point I realized that I wanted to create and share a blog too. I will post both successes and failures as many other blogs do and hopefully share and encourage others cook and bake and love it as much as I do.

Some things about me:

My name is Hallie, let's start with that, and I am a young twenty-something living in Boston, Massachusetts. I have a terrible kitchen in my apartment, which I share with 4 other twenty-something females, and therefore make do with what I have but also borrow other people's kitchens that are better equipped than mine. I have a love of baking that has been passed down from my grandma to my mom to me. Many of the recipes that I will post have been tested and proven by both my mother and me.

For the longest time thought I was a terrible cook, but with the encouragement of my boyfriend, who can make almost any meat or vegetable taste good, I have started experimenting with cooking more things. This blog is a journey in my food experiences, with hopefully many contributions from my boyfriend, oh yeah, his name is Ben.


Chunky Veggie Soup

I like to make new things for dinner, but I, like a baker need to stick to the amounts and ingredients in the recipe strictly. Ben, the better cook in this relationship changes and adjusts things on a whim, and it always tastes good. In the grocery store I'm the one saying, "don't blame me if it doesn't taste good with that in it." But experimenting with this recipe turned out extremely well.

This past Sunday we made this soup for the first time, we changed a few things from the original recipe, which can be found here. We never made the original recipe, so I'm not sure how close it tastes to our version, but personally I'd go with ours. Tonight we are making this soup for the second time, this time for my mom and slightly crippled dad (he fell and broke his ankle two nights ago, and can't move much right now.) We think that with these changes we have created the perfect vegetable soup. I thought the first time through it was the best soup I had ever had.

Chunky Veggie Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced
3 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 14-ounce cans chicken broth
4 medium plum tomatoes, diced
2 cups diced cooked potatoes*
2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 cups frozen spinach (5 ounces)
5 ounces frozen corn
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
3 teaspoons dried basil

In a medium pot heat oil and add onions, cook until onions have started to brown. Stir in the paprika and let cook out for 30 seconds. Add broth, tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms and pepper flakes; bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 12 minutes. Add frozen spinach, corn and vinegar cook and stir until heated through. Top each bowl or cup with basil and red pepper flakes to taste. This makes about 5 bowls worth, of yummy filling vegetable soup, and from start to finish takes about 30 minutes.

*You can find pre-cooked diced potatoes in most grocery stores, which makes the soup making go a lot faster. If you can't find them, or if you want dice and cook your own potatoes to use, just cut and boil until cooked (cooking time will depend on how big or small you dice the potatoes.) Make sure you drain and steam off the majority of the cooking liquid, if you don't, you may end up with watered down soup.

We're going to serve this with a hearty chunk of rustic bread (bought at the super market.) I'll let you know how it turned out and everyone's reactions, oh and pictures, I promise there will be pictures later or tomorrow.

OK, I know, I promised pictures, but I forgot my camera at home, and the soup making and Dad visiting was a little to hectic for picture taking. But the soup turned out great, except that I put in wayyy to many potatoes, not realizing we did not use a full bag the first time. Oh well. I'm pretty sure everyone loved it an had a great picnic in my parents bedroom. Ben and I will be making the soup again and at that point I promise pictures. I was just so excited to make my first blog post that I couldn't resist putting this recipe up. But I know whats a cookbook (or a food blog) without pictures, and I agree. So next time and forever after.