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More About Melissa


I admit it.

Although I may appear normal on the surface, I’m no stranger to odd behavior (or so I’m told). Every time I sit down to write a blog post, I struggle with controlling my internal evil twin. The one who wants to launch into a long-winded political diatribe or write a geeky poem about genetic expression or transcription pathways. Maybe link to a current climb of Mount Everest, write a book review, or evangelize about the healing power of yoga.

Anything but food.

Writing recipes is not easy for me. I don’t follow recipes, how can I write one? When I cook I just throw stuff together, taste, adjust, add more stuff, taste and on it goes until I have something I like. Or something my guy Fairbanks will eat.

This soup was absolutely delicious. Explaining in a coherent manner how I came up with it won’t be easy, but I’m going to give it a try. It was that good.

kitchen sink soup – you could also call this clean out the fridge soup
what you need (whatever you have)

4 shitake mushrooms, washed well and chopped
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery (and leaves), chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 cup shredded cabbage
6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
8 cups broth (I used a combination of chicken and vegetable broth)
1 cup cooked rice (I used a mix of brown and wild rice)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
herbs: bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, oregano
* chopped means in small 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes (something like that)

what you do
1. In a large soup pot over low/medium heat, sauté mushrooms in a small amount of olive oil until fragrant. Remove mushrooms and place in a blender. Set aside until later.
2. In the same pot (add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of olive oil if you need to), sauté onions, garlic, celery, carrots and zucchini for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently to combine flavors.
3. While veggies are sautéing, add 2 to 4 cups of broth to the mushrooms in the blender. Purée well.
4. Pour mushroom/broth purée over veggies and add the rest of the broth to the pot. Add sweet potato, cabbage, tomatoes and rice. Stir, turn heat to low and simmer for at least 2 hours. Season and taste as you go.

This is better the second day and even better the third. You may have to add a little water to it over the next day or so. Adjust according to whatever you have in your fridge. It’s kitchen sink soup, it really doesn’t matter.

One of my all-time favorite British chefs gave me some tips on seasoning soups. Miles of milescollins.com suggests bay as a base ingredient in cooking. From there, he says hardy herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage and savory go well in mixed vegetable soups. I don’t always follow directions well, but when it comes to seasoning, I pay attention to what Miles has to say. He’s a master. Thanks, Miles!

Go forth, clean out your fridge and make kitchen sink soup! As another wonderful mentor of mine once said, everything you need, you already have.
Melissa

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19 Responses to “kitchen sink soup”

  1. Suzanne Neuman says:

    My mother calls this Saturday Soup. It’s made with whatever’s leftover from the work week. We loved it as kids.

  2. Hmmm … I have most of those ingredients. I love, love, love the mushroom puree factor! Interesting on Miles’ suggestions of bay. I don’t use it often, but will try with soup next time–your recipe or mine. I was actually getting ready to make emergency “everything” soup (that’s what I call mine) earlier because Son called and said he was sick. Then he decided he better go to the doctor instead. (Good thing–strep.)

    Last, believe it or not, I lived in two houses where I had a sink with cabinets ensemble just like the one in the photo. :-)

    Shirley

  3. Awesomeness. You totally need to unleash the evil twin. Actually, our evil twins should go have a drink.
    Anyhow-I struggle with the same thing. That’s why I do “not really recipes” because I seem incapable of measuring and recording.
    Oh, and the soup? Sounds fab. When winter hits here in Florida next in November or December I’ll be referring back to this.

  4. Happy Thursday!

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who hates recipes. I like to fly by the seat of my pants when cooking. Seems to work better. I will try this. Can’t wait for my Grant Farm goodies to start. Than I’ll really be a kitchen sink cook and proud to be.

  5. Melissa says:

    Suzanne,

    I love the name “Saturday Soup.” I guess we all have our own catch-all term for kitchen sink soup!

  6. Melissa says:

    Erin,

    I’m starting to feel like we have some common denominators! You sound like you have a very spunky side to your personality. When’s your birthday? Are you a gemini, by chance?

    Does Florida have a winter? It snowed here yesterday and there’s still good skiing not an hour from my house. So, soup’s still on around here!

  7. Melissa says:

    Kathy,

    Oh, so you don’t follow rules well either? Welcome! Sounds like we could come up with some good (although confusion) recipes together.

    :-)

  8. Melissa says:

    Shirley,

    The mushroom base is key. It makes for such an “earthy” broth. I also blend potatoes for a GF thickener, but I really like the taste and health factor of mushrooms.

    So, you actually had one of these sinks? Me too. Although I don’t (and never did) cook in dresses and high heels (this gal’s probably even wearing panty hose). In fact, I don’t own panty hose and rarely ever wear dresses!

    But I digress…

    xo

  9. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    Don’t you just love vintage images…. and all the old tv ads where women are showing off their hostess trolleys :) My own trolley resides in the workshop under a pile of gardening odds and ends. Not that there’s anything wrong with it you understand…. just that every time I see it I’m reminded of the Stepford wives :)

    Here’s to kitchen sink soup, another fine example of nutrition in a bowl!

    Cid

  10. Alta says:

    I can also imagine this is a nourishing meal – and you never have to look at some veggies that you didn’t get to during the week and wonder what to do with them! Yum.

  11. Miles says:

    Melissa,
    Thank you for the kind words but I reckon you’ve given me a good run for my money with this soup, it sounds wonderful.
    I know I bang on about bay leaves but they are part of the foundations of any basic stock, soup or sauce.

    Miles

  12. Melissa says:

    Cid,

    I absolutely LOVE your way with words. Hostess trolley! I wish I had thought of that. As far as the Stepford Wives go, now that you mention it, this woman in the vintage image does look a little too enthusiastic with her role as “housewife.” Could we call her a trolley hostess?

    :-)

    As always, love hearing from you and the UK gang.

  13. Melissa says:

    Alta,

    Making broth out of the “compost” parts of good veggies and soup out of the ones you never got to during the week is the whole idea. I love it when you can find a home for every spare carrot or beet green you find in your fridge.

  14. Melissa says:

    Miles,

    I’m following all your instructions (they’re taped inside my spice cabinet door) and ever since you said so, bay leaves have become a major part of my life.

    :-)

    Thank you chef!

  15. We have a few days of “winter” between November and February. This year we had quite a few coldish days and had to turn on the heater a few times.
    My birthday is January 9th-Capricorn. My sister is a Gemini ;)

  16. Anne says:

    Melissa,
    At hearing the word “Soup” I run for my bowl and have sat here ever since waiting for you to fill it ~~~:(
    Perhaps you are stockpiling it into our soup kitchen? Perhaps we are already short on staff?
    I guess there is nothing else for it but for me to copy this recipe :)
    Re calling for “Soup”, I am reminded of my first few months in the UK when I worked on the local hospital wards. At lunchtime I had to go round with a soup trolley (Cid, not a hostess one) calling “Anyone Sooouup”! I understood later that patients used to mimick me and my accent doing this :).
    Strangely enough, I am still doing it now!
    Anne

  17. Melissa says:

    Erin — so you’re a capricorn? Resourceful, humble, ambitious, thriving! Is that you? Sounds like it!

  18. Melissa says:

    Anne,

    Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m always thrilled to read of your adventures — whether in cooking, baking, gardening, traveling, or generally enjoying life. A UK hospital ward? Did you move to the UK from Germany?

    I still think we’re (you, Cid and I) onto something with a soup cookbook!

    Perhaps an “e” version?

    :-)

  19. Melannie says:

    Completely off topic, but I was searching for a picture of my kitchen sink and saw the one you posted.

    My sink is almost the same, but I have 2 drawers either side over a door.

    And Her name is “shirley”.

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