MY November 2012 : Page 58
+HDOWK\ &RRNLQJ  SIMPLY NUTRITIOUS AND DELICIOUS by Dawn Bause November in Michigan brings cooler weather, shorter days, and less time outdoors. It’s a perfect time to spend more time in the kitchen and while you’re at it, how about inviting a friend or loved one to join you. Ever since I co-authored the cookbook “Romance Begins in the Kitchen, Romantic Italian Recipes and Their Complementary Wines” and started teaching cooking classes, I’ve been harping about how much more fun cooking is if you share the experience. Of course I get paid to have people in the kitchen with me, but even when I am preparing a meal for family or friends, they‘re always welcome to put on an apron and join in the fun. This time of year I love making homemade soups. They warm the heart and soothe the soul. And, soup is a great way to consume lots of healthy ingredients like veggies, beans and greens. Not all soups take hours to make. I can whip up a fresh tomato soup or veggie soup in half an hour. Once you master the basics, you can experiment endlessly with your favorite vegetables, beans, and meats.. Cooking homemade soup is easy and makes wonderfully satisfying meals in no time A few tips I want to share with you when making soups. Start with a delicious liquid. The vast majority of the time, the liquid in soup is a stock or broth. The difference between the two is a stock uses meat and meat bones, while broths do not. A stock can take up to three hours to cook, whereas a veggie or ﬁsh broth can be ready in 20-30 minutes. In a pinch, I do buy ready-made stocks and prefer those packaged in boxes rather than cans, to avoid the tinny taste that comes from a can. When I use these ready-made stocks or broths, I usually dilute them with water (about four parts broth to one part water). After you have decided upon your stock or broth, the next step is cooking your aromatics or what the French call a “mirepoix” which is a rough dice of onions, celery and carrots. These three ingredients are essentially the building blocks of hundreds of soup and stock recipes. The size you cut the veggies should be uniform and depends on how long you will be cooking them. The smaller the size, the faster they will cook. I always cook them in a sauté pan with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil over low to medium heat just long enough to soften them and blend the ﬂavors. Anywhere from ﬁve to 10 minutes depending on how small or large the pieces are. The goal is to soften them and get them to give off some of their liquid, which will deepen the ﬂavor of the soup. Note: If the recipe calls for herbs or spices, I like to add some to the mirepoix the last minute of cooking as the heat releases the beautiful ﬂavors and aroma. Next I transfer my stock and mirepoix to a large, heavy pot. Depending on what type of soup I am making determines whether I will cook it on the stove top or in the oven. The most important thing when cooking soup or any dish is controlling the heat. I never want the soup to come to a full boil, at least not for very long. The objective is to simmer not boil. Taste along the way, because you never want to overcook the ingredients. Unless you’re making a cream soup or bisque you don’t want your veggies too soft or the meat dried out from overcooking. Salt your soup the way chefs do, in layers. Add some salt to the mirepoix and other vegetables as you cook them. If you’re cooking the meat separately, make sure it is well seasoned before it goes into the pot. And most importantly, taste it before serving and add salt until you taste a hike-up in ﬂavor, then stop. Hit it with color and freshness just before serving. Oftentimes, I will make a little extra mirepoix and keep it on the side to add to the soup the last couple minutes of cooking. I also love adding a handful of arugula, spinach or fresh herbs to the pot just before dishing the soup up in bowls. And once in the bowl, I garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and fresh cracked pepper and something fresh at the end. Fresh herbs, freshly grated cheese, a dollop of cream or yogurt, fresh citrus juice, something un-cooked and un-simmered will highlight the deep, delicious, melded ﬂavors in the rest of the soup. Happy Thanksgiving and Buon Appetito! Dawn Bause is a cooking instructor, cookbook author and owner of Cooking with Dawn Tours, LLC from Commerce Township, www. cookingwithdawn.com. Contact Dawn about private cooking parties, team building events, and foodie trips to Italy Email: AskDawnNow@aol.com 58 | MY Magazine www.mymetroyou.com
Healthy Cooking 101
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