Thursday, September 22, 2022

Mom's Cabbage Soup

Now that Fall has arrived, it's officially soup season! My mom is known for her cabbage soup, a simple, hearty meal we traditionally serve with a side of bread and cheese. Not only is it fairly quick to whip up, it is one of the cheapest meals out there - perfect for today's economic climate.

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Happy Fall everyone! My mom hearkened the new season this year by making a huge batch of her famous cabbage rolls to share with family and friends. We always have the inner part of the (very large) cabbage left over from the process, and being the frugal person she is, it never goes to waste! Mom's been making this soup for as long as I can remember, and while incredibly simple, it is also the perfect addition to a lunch spread when coupled with good cheese (she likes aged Cheddar) and whatever hearty, artisan-style bread I happen to have made lately. As it is rather bare-bones, it is also the perfect jumping off point for additions (like chopped carrots, chunks of ham or chicken, cooked beans or potatoes) if you want something more well rounded and "full meal" like. 

This is also the soup I think of when I think of recovery or recuperation, not only from the persistent Fall colds that seem to run through the neighbourhood but from the exhaustion that comes with the changing pace and routine. Kids (even big kids, like my sister) are back to school, the garden is wrapping up, birthdays and Thanksgiving are on the horizon and there seems to be a never-ending ping pong game of back and forth to appointments, the store, and people's houses. Coming home for a few moments to savour a home cooked meal re-centres the soul and gives it just that little bit of fortification to keep going, like a little hug in the chaos. Whatever this soup does for you, I wish you nothing but the best for this season!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Mongolian-Inspired Stew over Black Sticky Rice

Homely but delicious, this Mongolian-Inspired Stew over Black Sticky Rice is a healthy, filling meal packed with vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Cleaning out all the frozen veg from the freezer never tasted so good!

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The end of Summer brings with it quite the collection of harvested goodies, and in my mind there really is no better way to transition into Fall than with a hearty, yet fresh-forward meal. We are huge fans of Asian-inspired flavours here, with jars of hoisin, bottles of tamari and toasted sesame oil lurking in the pantry and fridge at all times, so I wanted to blend the two into something that would keep mom powered through into the fall filled with parties, child-minding and endless chauffeuring.

I leaned into cleaning out the fridge for this stew, taking out all the vegetables we still had lurking, and wound up with so many of them I had to break out the big Dutch oven to house it all. In the end I had a delightful smelling bowl of stew - which admittedly isn't the prettiest thing in the world, but the taste more than made up for it. Sweet, spicy and savoury notes blended in the sauce that blanketed the vegetables and ground meat substitute and soaked into the black sticky rice ever so slightly. 

If you're going to make this as a make-ahead lunch, I'd keep the rice and stew in separate containers and mix them after heating. That way, nothing gets soggy and the heating is more even!