January 7, 2008

Trading Hot Stocks At The Soup Exchange

SEASON TO TASTE
(My monthly food column for Heartland Women)
January 2008

I will bet you did not know that January 23 is National Soup Swap Day. In fact, it is the second annual NSSD. Would I kid about food? I work day and night to bring you the most important food facts, and when I find a gem, like National Soup Swap Day, I cannot wait to share it. In fact, I have been sitting on this one for several months, waiting patiently for January and soup season.

What began with a few dedicated soup-loving friends on the west coast is sweeping the nation and now the world. Groups will be gathering on January 23, to exchange containers of homemade soup. What a treat! Everyone makes, labels and freezes six quarts of soup and then meet for an evening to swap soups. Each guest arrives with six quarts of delicious, homemade frozen soups – and each guest leaves with six different and nutritious soups.

The rules of the exchange are up to you, but here are some you may want to incorporate into your event:

1. Email, call, or send invitations to your friends announcing your National Soup Swap Day plans, including all the important guidelines they’ll need to know – containers must be one quart, avoid cream and potato soups that don’t freeze well, label all containers, provide printed recipes, and bring a cooler for safely transporting your frozen soup to and from the swap. Be prepared to tell about your soup and why you chose to make it. Consider necessary accommodations for vegetarians or those with food allergies when deciding whom to invite.

2. Invite any number of guests, but keep in mind that you’ll need space to display all the soups, all the coolers, and all the people. Beyond six participants, you will need to decide whether each guest brings a quart of soup to swap with everyone, or you will switch to the raffle system.

3. The raffle system suits groups larger than six people. Ask each guest to bring only six individually packed 1-quart containers full of frozen soup - not many people have enough freezer space for more anyway and most stockpots hold six quarts! Draw numbers to determine who chooses the first quart. When your number comes up, you choose one quart of soup from those remaining, until each person has had a turn. This is repeated six times, giving each guest her six quarts of soup to take home. Obviously, not everyone will get every soup to take home. Better luck next time!

4. You may choose to go with the theme and host a light soup meal before the swap begins, but it might be easier, and more fun, to have guests bring savory or sweet finger foods to enjoy with wine or coffee. Keep it simple!

5. Ask guests to bring cans of soup to your swap too. Collect the canned soup and donate it, on behalf of the entire group, to a local soup kitchen or other charitable agency working to feed the hungry.

6. And what goes better with soup than hot, homemade bread fresh from the oven? Barb at A Chelsea Morning suggests sending guest-swappers home with a bag of Cheddar Herb Bread Mix, as a memento of their participation in the Second Annual National Soup Swap.

Obviously, the swap is a great excuse for an easy party, with win-win potential for everyone who participates. Why not be a part of National Soup Swap Day on January 23 this year? Check out these websites for more great ideas and get ready to stock up for winter.

www.soupswap.com
www.graciousbowl.com

The recipes here are from an impromptu, but successful, Cyber Soup Swap I held just to give you some ideas for your January 23 event. Thanks to all my friends who emailed recipes. I will be happy to email a complete set to anyone who requests them AND I will also publish pictures and recipes you send from any National Soup Swap Day event held in the Heartland!

PAM’S HOPPIN' JOHN SOUP
1 lb. sage pork sausage
1-6 oz. package uncooked long grain and wild rice mix, with seasoning packet
2-15 oz. cans black-eyed peas, drained
2-14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
2-14 oz. cans chicken broth
2 c. water
Salt to taste

Crumble sausage into a skillet over medium heat and cook until brown. In a large pot, mix the cooked sausage, rice mix with seasoning packet, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, broth and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

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ROBIN’S SHRIMP, SQUASH, and COCONUT STEW

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 can (14 oz. each) low-sodium vegetable broth
1 can (5.5 oz. each) light coconut milk
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 in. piece of ginger, slivered
1 tsp. each: brown sugar, salt, pepper
1 1/2 lbs. small (50-60 count) shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, thinly sliced
1/2 c. whipping cream
Juice of 2 limes
1 c. Thai basil or cilantro leaves, torn

Combine squash, broth, coconut milk, tomato paste, ginger, sugar, salt and pepper in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; cook 25 mins. Lower heat to simmer; cook until sauce thickens and squash is tender, about 8 mins. Add shrimp, bell pepper, and cream. Raise heat to medium-high; heat to a boil. Cook 2 mins. Stir in lime juice; turn off stove. Stir in basil and serve. Makes 8 servings.

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MONA’S SIGNATURE WHITE CHILI

1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp. of garlic powder)
1 tbsp. oil
2-15 1/2 oz. cans Great Northern beans, undrained
1 can chicken broth
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 c. shredded, roasted or grilled chicken breast
3 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese
Garnishes: Salsa, Sour Cream, Tortilla Chips

Sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic in oil until tender
Add beans, broth, seasonings and chicken. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Serve topped with grated cheese and bowls of salsa, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips for garnish.
Makes 6 servings.

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GAIL’S TURKEY-RAISIN-RICE SOUP

(Cures colds, mends bones, treats snakebite!)
Leftover Roasted Turkey
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 c. rice
1/2 c. onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/3 c. raisins

Pick roasted turkey off bones and reserve meat. Roast turkey carcass, at 300 degrees, in a large roasting pan until deeply browned. To make stock: combine browned bones, onion, carrots, and celery in a large stockpot with enough water to cover plus 2 inches. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer pot and cook down until you have a rich stock. Strain and remove bones and vegetables. Add reserved turkey pieces, rice, freshly chopped onion, carrots and raisins. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender. Serve hot.

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DEBRA’S SHRIMP AND ARTICHOKE BISQUE

8 c. chicken stock
2-14 oz. cans artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2 c. chopped scallions, divided
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. flour
3/4 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 c. cream
2 c. half and half
1 tbsp. chopped parsley

Pour chicken stock into a large pan, bring to a boil and then lower temperature to simmer until stock is reduced by half. Add artichoke hearts, 1 c. scallions, thyme, salt and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12 mins. In a smaller pot, melt butter; add flour and cook a few minutes on low. Slowly add about 1 1/2 c. liquid from the first pot; stir to thicken mixture. Return all to the first pot. Add shrimp; simmer just a couple of mins. so the shrimp are pink, but not overcooked. Remove shrimp; set aside. Stir in cream and half and half. Simmer 8-10 mins. To serve: divide cooked shrimp among bowls, ladle soup over shrimp and sprinkle with remaining 1 c. scallions and parsley. Soup can also be served chilled.

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LINDA’S CHICKEN VEGETABLE SOUP

4 c. of chicken broth
1 can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can tomatoes and mild green chiles, undrained
1 small onion, chopped
3 small carrots, sliced
3 celery ribs, sliced
3 to 4 c. chopped, cooked chicken
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. water

Bring first 7 ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 mins. Stir in chicken and next 4 ingredients. Stir together flour and water until smooth. Stir flour mixture into soup mixture and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat, simmer and stir often about 6-8 minutes or until thickened.

DONNA’S CHICKEN & SHRIMP JAMBALAYA

1/4 c. butter
1 c. celery, sliced
1 c. green bell pepper, chopped
1 c. onion, chopped
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh garlic
2 1/2 c. chicken stock
2 c. cubed cooked chicken
1 c. uncooked long grain rice
1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb. cooked smoked sausage links, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 lb. raw frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined
Hot pepper sauce
Cooked rice

Melt butter in 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven until sizzling; add celery, green pepper, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender (6 to 8 minutes). Add all remaining ingredients except shrimp and hot pepper sauce. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a full boil (5 to 6 minutes).
Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook until rice is fork-tender (20 to 25 minutes). Add shrimp; continue cooking until shrimp turn pink (4 to 5 minutes). Serve in a bowl over rice with hot pepper sauce. Makes 12 servings.

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RENEE’S LENTIL SOUP

adapted from Everyday Food magazine
3 strips bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 c. shredded carrots, chopped roughly
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 - 3 c. cooked lentils
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 cans (14.5 oz each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp. red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper

In a 5-qt. Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 mins. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. fat. Add onion and carrots, cook until softened, about 5 mins. Stir in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste, and cook 1 minute. Add lentils, thyme, and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook until lentils are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Stir in vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Serve immediately.

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JOANN’S CHICKEN AND WILD RICE SOUP

1 box Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice, Original Recipe, cooked as directed on box
1 lb. chicken, cooked and chopped
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing
2 c. milk
1/2 c. shredded carrots
3 chopped green onions
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all and cook until cheese is melted. If too thick, add extra broth or milk.

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DIANNE’S TURKEY CORN CHOWDER

2 c. turkey, diced
2 c. turkey or chicken broth
1/4 c. butter
1 c. onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 c. new potatoes, diced
1 c. celery, diced
2 c. carrots, diced
1-16 oz. can cream-style corn
2 c. half & half
2 tsp. fresh parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter; add onion and pepper and cook until tender. Add 1 c. broth, potatoes, celery, and carrots. Cook about 10 mins. or until potatoes are tender. Add turkey, corn, cream, and parsley and remaining 1 c. broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Heat throughout. Serves 6-8. (Great use for leftover turkey!)

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DIANNA’S TORTILLA SOUP

8 c. water
6 chicken breasts
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 c. chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
6 medium zucchini, sliced and quartered
16 oz. stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can Rotel tomatoes and chiles
15 oz. tomato sauce
2-12 oz. cans whole kernel corn, undrained
3 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 t. black pepper
Salt to taste
Tortilla chips
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

To make broth, boil chicken breasts in 8 c. water until chicken is done. Remove chicken and allow to cool. When cooled, shred chicken. Add bouillon cubes to broth.
Sauté onions and garlic in oil. Add zucchini, sautéed mixture, chicken and all remaining ingredients (except tortilla chips and cheese) to chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chips and cheese.

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SOUP SWAP CHEDDAR-HERB BREAD MIX
from Barb at the blog A Chelsea Morning
BASIC MIX (place in a clear plastic bag):
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. dried cilantro or parsley
1 tbsp. dried rosemary
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

(BASIC MIX may be stored in re-sealable plastic bag or container for up to a month.)

INSTRUCTIONS (write on a recipe card and attach to mix):
One package Basic Mix
1/4 c. butter
4 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 c. milk
1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x4x2-in. loaf pan. Place Basic Mix in a bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cheese. Combine milk and egg in a small bowl. Add to crumb mixture all at once. Stir quickly with a fork to moisten. Spread in prepared pan. Bake 45 mins. or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 mins. Turn loaf out onto wire rack; cool completely. Makes 12 servings.

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