Recipe number two from “The Vegetarian Family Cookbook” by Nava Atlas – Vegetable Alphabet Soup. I love eating vegetarian soups from my favourite specialty grocery store, Remark Fresh Markets, and I have always desired to cook homemade soups. This vegetable soup recipe interested me right away. I have never heard of “alphabet pasta” before and I think it is a super cute idea. Alphabet pasta appeals to my primary teacher sensibilities!
After baking with Erica on October 24, I felt so inspired that I invested several hours into making the Vegetable Alphabet Soup the very next day, October 25. Thankfully, since Thanksgiving weekend (Erica and Paul’s wedding!), I have been supply teaching almost every day, so although I cooked the soup on the 25th, I am just getting around to it now to create the blog post. Being the perfectionist that I am, I also wanted to give myself a second opportunity to cook the already delicious Vegetable Alphabet Soup. I went to Remark Fresh Markets on Wednesday and got the ingredients that I needed for my second experience cooking the veggie soup.
I have heard that cooking is an ART and a SCIENCE, and I am beginning to agree more and more with that statement. Viewing cooking as an “experiment” makes it more enjoyable and less intimidating for me, as all cooks make mistakes and get better with experience. I decided on my second time around to use dried dill leaves – yes, I do believe that “fresh is best,” but it was time-consuming and messy cutting the fresh dill. The first time, I cooked with baby carrots, but they are very difficult and slightly dangerous to chop into little slices. (Plus, when I was ten years old, before school one day in Grade Four, for some reason I decided to cut a big carrot with a very big knife, cut my left pointer finger, was bleeding for a scary long time, and have the scar as a reminder of the carrot-gone-wrong experience, so I like to be extra careful with chopping or cutting vegetables.) For my second attempt, I decided to use fresh locally grown (regular-sized?!) carrots. I purchased ones with their lovely leaves still on them and I was holding my carrots like a flower bouquet when going through the checkout! An edible bouquet I guess!
On October 24, it took me an entire hour to chop two medium-sized potatoes and approximately twenty baby carrots, then another 10 minutes to cut up my cocktail tomatoes. I worked while watching “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” -my two favourite game shows. So while I was trying to keep myself entertained, the experience left me with four words on my mind: “MUST BUY FOOD PROCESSOR!” I have periodically looked for food processors at department stores and on Amazon. I intend to save up to buy one as soon as possible!
Also worth noting is the fact that my soup took almost an hour to cook on October 25, whereas Nava indicates that it should take 15 to 20 minutes. Hmmm.. Today, it took me 40 minutes to chop the carrots, potatoes and tomatoes. Today, it took 40 minutes for the soup to finish cooking.
RECIPE: VEGETABLE ALPHABET SOUP created by Nava Atlas – The Vegetarian Family Cookbook – Page 30
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small dice (Note: I used 4 carrots of varying sizes!)
2 medium potatoes, any variety, peeled and cut into small dice (Note: I used Yukon Gold potatoes.)
1/2 cup alphabet noodles
1 vegetable boullion cube (Note: I use 4 cups of Campbell’s Vegetable Broth instead of the vegetable boullion cube and 4 cups of water. I’ve heard the boullion cubes are high in sodium. Plus, I love the Campbell’s Vegetable Broth…So good!)
1/4 teaspoon paprika (Note: Since I used the Vegetable Broth, I didn’t use paprika.)
1/4 teaspoon dried dill or 1 teaspoon fresh dill
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup diced ripe tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes (Note: I used fresh cocktail tomatoes.)
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the carrots and saute for 5 minutes over medium heat.
Add the potatoes, noodles, bouillon cube, paprika, dill and 4 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently until the carrots and potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the peas and tomatoes and simmer for another 5 minutes.
October 2010 I was in my favourite place ever, Stratford, Ontario, attending theatrical performances at my favourite theatre ever, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Mom and I saw a perfect performance of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita, starring Chilina Kennedy as Ava and Josh Young as Che. When exploring Stratford’s Main Street, we went in my favourite cooking store, Bradshaw’s/ Kitchen Details. I purchased a muchly needed new cutting board, made of sustainable wood. I also never had owned a cooking knife for chopping and cutting vegetables, so I purchased a super cool bright pink one! I did not use my cutting board until my first time making this veggie soup on October 24 and I just used my new knife today! The cutting board is made by “Epicurean.” The knife is made by “Kai,” and called the “Pure Komachi2,” and is a “Santoku” knife.
Enjoying my delicious Vegetable Alphabet Soup!