Still trying to establish a new normal routine now that the kids are home full-time, I am obviously blogging (temporarily) less frequently. My point-and-shoot camera has gone on more than one sleepover since I last used it, "But Mom, it's the only camera I know how to share photos from on Facebook!" So I have missed a few beautiful photos of delicious meals we have eaten.
I would like to make note of one soup I made which was a big hit with the meat-eater: Tomato and Vegetable Soup with Sweet Pearl Barley, from Little House of Veggies (http://littlehouseofveggies.blogspot.com). Morgan, the chef, has a lovely photo, along with the recipe for her creation. Check it out.
As I tend to do, I followed the recipe according to what I had on hand. I knew I didn't need to make an enormous pot of soup, since I didn't think I would have any other takers. So the smaller can of tomatoes I had seemed fine as long as I used enough liquid to plump the barley. Also I didn't have asparagus or zucchini, and I was out of garbanzos, so used cannelini beans instead.
The kids were having pasta with red sauce and a salad, and my husband was having a slab of barbeque chicken (eww!) I have tried serving him soups for dinner before, and he has some funky idea that soup is for lunch, and meat is for dinner, so I didn't bother sharing with him what I was doing for myself. Imagine my surprise when he noticed, and said, "I wouldn't mind having a cup of that soup,"
From the first spoonful, my husband deemed the veggie soup delicious, and added, "It tastes European -- like something from my childhood in Germany,"
This is a high endorsement, as my husband takes great pride in his rich heritage: long story, but he was born in Nicaragua to a Nicaraguan father and East German mother, ("not a combination either of them would recommend," he jokes). He has warm memories from both countries and cultures, and this soup was reminiscent of his time in the Eastern block.
The flavor of the soup is at once fresh, bright, mild and comforting. The texture of the barley is lovely. As the soup sits in the refrigerator, it changes to more of a side-dish of grains in sauce, studded with veggie gems. The barley continues to absorb the liquid, so that each grain is infused with the delicious flavor. It's like this one recipe makes two different dishes. If you want it to remain a soup, you could add more water or broth on the second day, of course, but I decided to just go with the dish's natural evolution. This recipe's a keeper!
I regret sending this post out without an illustration, but didn't want to miss endorsing Morgan's soup. Once my daughter wakes up I'll get the camera -- mom's turn!