Potato Pete (British Home Front 1939-1945) … Super Soups (December 12, 2012) …item 2.. Slow Cookers: Not Just for Cholent (September 26, 2012) …
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The majority of the soups I make are meatless, with a variety of vegetables to provide flavor and nutrients. The best vegetarian soups include full-flavored vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes and zucchini.
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…..item 1)…. Super Soups … Jewish Action … http://www.ou.org/jewish_action

The Magazine of the Orthodox Union …
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img code photo … Super Soups

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by Norene Gilletz | December 12, 2012 in Recipes

http://www.ou.org/jewish_action/12/2012/super-soups/

Soup, glorious soup! It fills your tummy, nourishes your soul and brings you back for more. When the weather turns cold, there’s nothing more comforting than a steamy bowl of hot homemade soup. Soup warms you up on a cold winter day, spreading the feeling of contentment and satisfaction. Soups are extremely versatile, letting you improvise and be creative using simple ingredients. Soups are economical, can be prepared ahead-of-time and will feed a crowd with minimal effort. They are a wonderful way to incorporate more vegetables into your menu, especially when feeding fussy eaters.

I grew up on chicken soup and it is still one of my favorites, especially when it comes to Shabbat and the Jewish holidays. Noodles, rice, matzah balls and kreplach are traditional accompaniments, but egg drops, crispy croutons or slivered green onions also make delicious additions, and a few drops of soy sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil will add an Asian flavor.

The majority of the soups I make are meatless, with a variety of vegetables to provide flavor and nutrients. The best vegetarian soups include full-flavored vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes and zucchini.

Save leftover cooked noodles, rice and other grains such as quinoa or couscous and add them to clear or chunky soups.
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— LIGHTEN UP!

If you start off your meal with a big bowl of soup, you won’t feel as hungry and will be less likely to overindulge (and bulge)! It takes twenty minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full, and sipping a bowl of hot soup at the start of your meal will help you slow down your eating.

The best way to give a creamy consistency to soup without using heavy (and fattening) creamers is to add pureed cooked starchy vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes, or cauliflower for a low-carb version. Cooked beans and lentils will add protein, soluble fiber, vitamins and minerals. Approximately 1 cup of pureed vegetables or legumes will thicken 3 to 4 cups of broth.
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— IS IT DONE YET?

Vegetables should be cooked until tender, but not mushy. Beans, legumes and barley should be cooked until they release their starch, yet should still retain their shape. Root vegetables such as beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes and turnips require longer cooking time in order to fully release their flavors. Add milder vegetables such as zucchini and bell peppers midway through cooking so they don’t become mushy or tasteless. Delicate leafy vegetables such as spinach or Swiss chard can be added closer to the end of cooking in order to retain their bright color.
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— FLAVOR ENHANCEMENTS

Add dried herbs at the beginning of cooking to release their flavor, whereas fresh herbs should be added in the last few minutes. My favorite herbs include thyme, basil, oregano and tarragon.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end of cooking to enhance the flavor of lentil or bean soups. It’s best to adjust the salt and pepper at the end of cooking, especially if the soup is too thick and requires additional liquid.

I prefer to add less water at the beginning of cooking. If the soup is too thick, you can adjust the texture by adding a little more liquid if needed. A good guideline is to cover the vegetables with water, plus an extra inch.

If your soup is too watery, let it simmer uncovered to reduce some of the liquid. If it is still too thin, puree part of the cooked vegetables in a food processor, then stir them back into the soup. The pureed vegetables will give the soup a thicker consistency.
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— ISRAELI BEAN SOUP

Yields 12 servings

This nourishing, fiber-packed soup is great for vegetarians. Beans are an excellent substitute for meat, providing plant protein that is low in fat.

… 2 cups small white beans (e.g., navy beans)
… 6 cups cold water (for soaking the beans)
… 2 tablespoons olive oil
… 3 medium onions, chopped
… 3 stalks celery, chopped
… 3 or 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
… 3 medium carrots, chopped
… 6 1/2 cups water (approximately)
… 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut in small chunks
… 1 or 2 bay leaves
… 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or to taste)
… 1 to 2 teaspoons cumin (or to taste)
… 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
… 2 tablespoons tomato paste
… Salt and pepper to taste
… 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh coriander, finely minced (or 2 teaspoons dried)
… Lemon wedges for garnish

Soak beans in 6 cups cold water overnight. Drain and rinse well. Discard soaking water.

Heat oil on medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add onions and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes, until golden.

Add garlic and carrots and sauté 5 minutes longer. Add a little water if needed to prevent sticking or burning.

Add water, beans, potatoes, bay leaves, thyme and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partly covered for 1 hour.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cook for a 1/2 hour longer, until beans are tender. Stir in coriander. If soup is too thick, thin it with a little water.

Remove bay leaves and discard them before serving. Garnish each serving with a lemon wedge—squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice and enjoy!

Note: Freezes well.
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— Time-Saving Tips:

Soak and drain beans as directed. Place soaked beans in a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for up to two months. When you want to make soup, just add the frozen beans to the pot—no need to defrost them first. (Note: This trick works with any kind of beans!)

If you’re really rushed, substitute 2 cans (19-ounces each) of white beans, drained and rinsed, instead of soaking dried beans overnight.
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img code photo … Vegetable Lentil Soup

http://www.ou.org/jewish_action/files/veg-lentil-soup-635×332.jpg

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lentil Soup
Photos: Estee Gestetner

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— BROCCOLI AND SWEET POTATO SOUP

Yields 10 servings

This scrumptious soup is a winner! Carrots, broccoli and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of beta carotene. It can be made either dairy or pareve.

… 2 tablespoons canola oil
… 2 large onions, chopped
… 2 stalks celery, chopped
… 3 or 4 medium carrots, chopped
… 1 bunch fresh broccoli (about 4 cups, cut) or 3 cups frozen broccoli
… 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut
… 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut
… 7 cups vegetable broth or water
… 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
… 2 tablespoons fresh basil or dill, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried)
… 1 cup additional water (or use milk, soy or rice milk)
… 1 teaspoon margarine or butter
… Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil on medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add onions and celery and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until softened. If necessary, add a little water to prevent burning.

Add carrots. Cook 3 to 4 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

Add broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes and broth.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Add parsley and basil.

Cool slightly. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree part or all of the soup until it reaches the desired texture. Stir in water or milk and margarine. Season to taste.

Note: Freezes well.
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— SLOW COOKER VEGETABLE LENTIL SOUP

Yields 10 to 12 servings (about 18 cups)

Quick prep, slow cook! Chop the vegetables in the food processor, then put everything into the slow cooker and let the soup cook all day while you are at work. This scrumptious soup is packed with fiber and flavor—and it’s virtually fat-free.

… 2 medium onions, cut in chunks
… 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut in chunks
… 3 stalks of celery, cut in chunks
… 3 large carrots, cut in chunks
… 1 red pepper, seeded and cut in chunks
… 1/4 cup minced fresh dill (or 1 tablespoon dried dill)
… 3/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
… 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
… 12 cups vegetable broth
… Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process vegetables in batches, using quick on/off pulses, until finely chopped.

Transfer finely chopped vegetables to a slow cooker, along with dill, barley, red lentils, broth, salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, until vegetables are tender.

Note: Freezes well. This soup will thicken when refrigerated overnight, so thin it with a little water when reheating.
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— Everything But The Kitchen Sink Soup

I vary this soup depending on what I have on hand. Use chopped mushrooms, zucchini or tomatoes. Instead of sweet potato, substitute with regular potato, turnip or squash. Instead of lentils, use green or yellow split peas. Canned drained kidney beans are also a good addition. It is important to fill the pot halfway with vegetables. Add barley and legumes, and then add enough vegetable broth or water to fill the pot to within 1 inch from the top. Sometimes I add a cup of leftover tomato sauce. Always different, always delicious!
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img code photo … Broccoli and Sweet Potato Soup

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Let it Boil: The soup will cook faster if you add boiling water instead of tap water. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours.

Where’s the Beef? For a meatier flavor, add a few soup bones. Cooking time will be the same.
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— CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE BOWL

Yields 6 servings (about 12 cups)

Chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food. A steaming bowl of chicken soup, often called “Jewish penicillin,” is thought to cure the common cold. Serve this golden broth with matzah balls, noodles, rice or quinoa. This is a meal in a bowl!

• The Skinny on Skin: Chicken skin adds flavor to soup. I prefer to remove the skin after cooking and skim the chilled soup thoroughly.

• Lift and Separate: A stockpot with a pasta insert is fantastic for cooking chicken soup. No need to strain out the chicken, bones and vegetables after cooking.

• Sodi-Yum! Kosher salt has 1/3 less sodium than iodized salt and tastes much better. If you are on a restricted sodium diet, omit or reduce the salt, or use a salt substitute.

• To Salt or Not to Salt? If you want to use chicken broth as an ingredient in other dishes that contain salty ingredients, you may prefer to omit the salt from the soup.

• Chic Makeover! Use leftover cooked chicken in stir-fries, casseroles, crepes, salads and wraps.

… 3 pounds chicken pieces, with skin and bones
… Cold water
… 1 tablespoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
… 2 medium onions
… 5 to 6 medium carrots
… 3 to 4 stalks celery
… 1 or 2 parsnips (optional)
… 2 cloves garlic
… 1 bunch fresh dill
… 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Trim excess fat from chicken. Place chicken in a large stockpot, preferably one with a pasta insert. Add enough cold water to cover chicken completely by at least 1 inch. Add salt and bring to a boil over high heat.

Use a slotted spoon to skim off foam that rises to the surface.

Add onions, carrots, celery and parsnip. Reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Add garlic and dill and simmer 15 to 20 minutes longer. Adjust salt to taste and season with freshly ground pepper.

Remove pot from heat and let cool for a 1/2 hour.

Carefully strain broth into a large bowl or container; reserve chicken and vegetables. Store broth, covered, in refrigerator overnight.

Meanwhile, remove skin and bones from chicken and discard. Cut chicken and vegetables into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl or container. Cover and refrigerate chicken and vegetables overnight.

When ready to serve, discard hardened layer of fat from surface of broth. For a meal in a bowl, add chicken and vegetables to the soup before reheating.

Note: Reheats and/or freezes well.
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Norene Gilletz of Toronto, Canada, is the author of nine cookbooks, including The NEW Food Processor Bible: 30th Anniversary Edition (Vancouver, Canada, 2011) and Norene’s Healthy Kitchen (Vancouver, Canada, 2009). She is a freelance food writer, culinary consultant, cookbook editor, lecturer and culinary spokesperson.

This article was featured in Jewish Action Winter 2012 .
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…..item 2)…. Slow Cookers: Not Just for Cholent … Jewish Action … http://www.ou.org/jewish_action

The Magazine of the Orthodox Union …
by Norene Gilletz | September 26, 2012 in Recipes

http://www.ou.org/jewish_action/09/2012/slow_cookers_not_just_fo…

Slow cookers come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Most models are dishwasher-safe and quite easy to clean. If your conventional oven is full, a slow cooker can provide a wonderful alternative for long-cooking dishes such as stews and pot roasts.

— Autumn Vegetable Soup

Yields 8 to 10 servings

This scrumptious soup from Valerie Kanter of Chicago is wonderful any time of year. Her family loves it, especially her children who devour two or three bowlfuls at one sitting. It’s perfect to serve for lunch or supper in the sukkah on Chol Hamoed.

… 2 tablespoons olive oil
… 1 large onion, chopped
… 2 to 3 stalks celery, chopped
… 6 medium carrots (1 pound), peeled and chopped
… 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
… 1 medium butternut or acorn squash, peeled and cut in chunks (about 5 cups)
… 1 cup sliced mushrooms
… 2 medium zucchinis, cut in chunks
… 10 cups water
… 4 to 6 bay leaves
… 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
… 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
… 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
… 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
… 1 clove garlic (about 1 teaspoon minced)

1. Heat oil in a large soup pot on medium heat. Sauté onion, celery, and carrots for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. (To cook it in the slow cooker, see method and cooking times, below.)

2. Add sweet potatoes, squash, mushrooms, and zucchinis; mix well.

3. Add water, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If the soup becomes too thick, add a little more water. Remove bay leaves and discard.

4. Using a potato masher, coarsely mash the vegetables while still in the pot, leaving the soup somewhat chunky. Stir in the dill, parsley, and garlic. Serve hot.
Keeps up to 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator; reheats and/or freezes well.

Slow-Cooker Method: At the end of step 1, combine all ingredients in the insert of a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours, or 4 hours on high.

Short Cuts: To make it easier to cut a squash, slash the tough outer skin in several places with a sharp knife. Microwave it, uncovered, on high for 4 to 5 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, and then cut it in half or in large pieces. Remove the seeds and stringy fibers—an ice-cream scoop works perfectly.

— Super Roast Brisket

Yields 10 to 12 servings

Love it tender? You’ll love this tried-and-true family favorite! It’s excellent any time of year and is a sure-fire hit for the holidays.

… 5 to 6 pounds brisket, well-trimmed
… 2 or 3 cloves garlic
… 1 small onion, halved
… 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
… 1/4 cup red wine
… 1/4 cup oil
… 1/4 cup honey
… 1/4 cup cola
… 3 tablespoons ketchup
… 2 to 3 teaspoons salt (to taste)
… 1 teaspoon paprika
… 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place brisket in the sprayed insert of a slow cooker.

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process onion and garlic until minced. Add remaining ingredients and process a few seconds longer to blend. Pour over brisket, making sure to cover all surfaces. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Baste occasionally.

Place insert in the slow cooker and cook, covered, on low for 10 to 12 hours until tender.

When cool, refrigerate. Brisket will be easier to slice the next day. Remove hardened fat and discard. Reheat brisket slices in pan gravy.

Keeps 3 days in the refrigerator; freezes well.
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img code photo … Meat Stew

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Meat Stew
Photos: Estee Gestetner

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— Chicken Chili

Yields 10 to 12 servings

This chili comes together quickly and makes a big batch. To save time, prepare all the vegetables in the food processor.

… 2 tablespoons olive oil
… 2 medium onions, chopped
… 2 red bell peppers, chopped
… 2 cups sliced mushrooms
… 3 cloves garlic, minced
… 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
… 1 can (5 1/2 ounces) tomato paste
… 1 cup tomato sauce
… 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch chunks
… 1 can (19 ounces), black beans, drained and rinsed
… 1 can (19 ounces) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
… 1 tablespoon chili powder (or to taste)
… Salt and pepper to taste
… 1 teaspoon dried basil
… 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
… 1 teaspoon brown sugar

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 4 minutes, until softened. Add peppers, mushrooms, and garlic, and sauté 3 or 4 minutes longer.

Transfer sautéed vegetables to the sprayed insert of a slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.

Reheats and/or freezes well.

Variation: Replace chicken breasts with 4 cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey. Add to chili the last 30 minutes of cooking. If desired, you can also add 1 cup well-drained canned or frozen corn at this time.
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img code photo … Vegetable soup

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— Stew Italiano

Yields 6 servings

Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you. This scrumptious stew is quite simple to assemble—you can even do it the night before and refrigerate it, then put it up to cook in the morning. It’s lick-the-spoon good!

… 1/2 cup flour
… 1/2 teaspoon salt
….1/2 teaspoon paprika
…1/4 teaspoon pepper
… 2 1/2 pounds lean stewing beef or veal, cut in 1-inch chunks
… 2 tablespoons oil (plus more as needed)
… 2 medium onions, chopped
… 3 cloves garlic, minced
… 1/2 cup red wine
… Additional salt and pepper to taste
…1 teaspoon dried basil
… 1 teaspoon dried oregano
… 1 bay leaf
… 1 tablespoon brown or granulated sugar
… 4 carrots, scraped and cut in 1-inch chunks
… 2 cups mushrooms, cut up
… 4 potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
… 1 additional tablespoon oil
… 1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes (with liquid)

Combine flour, salt, paprika, and pepper in a plastic bag. Add a few pieces of meat at a time and shake to coat well on all sides.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add onions and garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to the sprayed insert of a slow cooker.

Add meat to Dutch oven a few pieces at a time and brown on all sides. Remove meat from pot as ready, adding more oil to pot if needed. Add browned meat to slow cooker insert.

Add wine to Dutch oven and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Add pan juices to slow cooker along with salt, pepper, basil, oregano, bay leaf and sugar. Stir in tomatoes.

In a large bowl, combine sliced carrots, mushrooms and potatoes. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Mix well and wrap tightly in foil. Place foil packet on top of meat. (Can be assembled up to this point and refrigerated overnight.)

Cover and cook on low for 10 hours. Remove bay leaf. Carefully unwrap vegetables and stir into stew just before serving.

Keeps for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator and freezes well. If freezing, omit potatoes and serve stew over broad noodles, rice or quinoa.

Norene Gilletz is a cookbook author and culinary consultant in Toronto. She is the author of nine cookbooks. For more information, visit her web site at http://www.gourmania.com.

This article was featured in Jewish Action Fall 2011.
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