Patsy Bell Hobson is a garden writer and a travel writer. For her, it's a great day when she can combine the two things she enjoys most: gardening and traveling. Visit her personal blog at http://patsybell.blogspot.com/ and read her travel writings at http://www.examiner.com/x-1948-Ozarks-Travel-Examiner.
I'm fanning through the seed catalogs, looking for seed that will eventually become my favorite dishes. Such as gazpacho, ratatouille or tabouli.
I seldom use a recipe without tweaking it a little. This is The Cook's Garden's recipe for Vegetable Soup. I am sharing the recipe with you because I like the idea of harvesting all these beautiful vegetables from my garden. It is on their website along with many other tried and true recipes for your garden bounty.
Add a can of chick peas or any vegetable you like and skip the ones you don't.
Photo by Harris Graber
The idea, which you can see as you read the ingredients in the following link, is to grow your own soup vegetables and harvest, store or preserve your very own veggies. Your hard work will be rewarded by your delicious home garden medly.
Ingredients: Click here for the list of ingredients: Ingredients For Vegetable Soup. The herbs in this recipe (garlic, bay and basil) are merely suggestions for an herb gardener. Add many more herbs if desired. (Click here for the full recipe: Vegetable Soup.)
Directions: To prepare this soup, saute cut meat, minced garlic, onions and chopped celery in olive oil and add cup of stock as ingredients cook. Transfer ingredients to a large soup pot and add remaining ingredients. Cook under low heat for many hours. (You can fork test the vegetables for tenderness.) Soup can be thickened easily by using cornstarch or pre-sifted flour. When serving, remove bay leaves. Leftovers are a bonus. A quart of this soup in your freezer is a perfect too-tired-to-cook meal that is much more tempting than fast-food.
Vegetable soup is a medly of your garden.
Make some version of this as your signature soup.
Photo courtesy The Cook's Garden
My Tweaks: Right before that last hour of cooking, take out enough soup to fill a container and freeze for later. Potatoes and carrots should not be completely cooked through; they will finish cooking when you reheat the soup. Season this portion of the vegetable soup with herbs when you reheat. Herbs are also best added during the last hour of cooking. Add a salt-free, all-purpose combination of bouquet garni. Bouquet garni, it is a traditional French herb combination of savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano dill, marjoram sage and tarragon. If you are unfamiliar with this herb combination, only add a teaspoon to your soup. With this big batch of vegetables, I would probably start with a tablespoon of bouquet garni, or a similar combination of these individual herbs. Also, you can skip the beef or chicken if you like. The Cook's Garden has several great recipes on their website that will showcase your vegetable harvest at its very best.
At first, I was drawn to The Cook's Garden catalog by their broccoli romanesco. This vegetable is an heirloom that has been around a long time but is new to me. I try something new in my garden every year, and this year I chose broccoli romanesco.
I found broccoli romanesco seeds at The Cook's Garden, Territorial Seed Company, Seed Savers and several other seed sources. Although broccoli and cauliflower have always been a challenge, I'm going to give it a try this spring.
HOW TO ENTER
Three randomly selected readers who comment will receive a packet of broccoli romanesco seed.
• Post a comment below: What's your favorite heirloom vegetable to grow from seed? Courtesy The Cook's Garden.
End date: April 4, 2010 (12:00 AM, Central Time) UPDATE: Time's up!
And the winners are...
Brenda Davis in Viroqua, Wisconsin
Lauren Benard in Phoenix, Arizona
Sara O'Shea in Crystal City, Missouri
Expect your seed packets to arrive in the mail directly from The Cook's Garden. Thanks for reading my blog.