Monday, October 11, 2010

Meatless Monday: Classic Tortilla Soup

Day 92

One of the things I love most about fall is that the cooler temps mean it's time to bring back soup! We have a few standbys we love, which I'll share with you another time, but it's always nice to try something new. Last week, I made a Classic Tortilla Soup recipe from Marcela Valladolid, host of Food Network's "Mexican Made Easy."

Okay, okay... if you really want to be a stickler then technically this recipe calls for six cups of chicken broth so it's not 100% meat-free, but you could just as easily use vegetable broth if you prefer that option. I had some chicken broth in the pantry so that's the direction I went.

Almost immediately upon placing the veggies in the skillet for roasting and blackening, the house smelled unbelievably warm and delicious. They took a little longer than the recipe stated, but I'm guessing that's because I have an electric cook-top (I know, BOO!) and the burner size doesn't exactly match up with the size of my skillet so I'm constantly pushing all the veggies to the center for their time on the heat. But they eventually came along and were ready for the blender.

I made one crucial mistake in blending the ingredients together - I completely forgot to add the two corn tortillas into the mix. I did go back later and ladle some of the soup from the pan back into the blender with the tortillas, and then back into the soup, but I'm afraid I was a little rushed and anxious so I didn't get them broken down and pureed as much as I'd have liked to thicken up the soup.

The toppings were my favorite part. Who doesn't love fresh avocado, queso fresco and homemade fried tortilla strips. I mean, really. The only suggested ingredient we didn't use were the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I had some in the pantry, but wanted to keep the dish a little milder and more refreshing with more avocado and sour cream.

This would be a great party dish. You could set up a little soup station/bar with the crock of soup followed by the toppings in individual bowls, allowing each guest to build their own bowl of deliciousness. If you try it, let me know what you think!

My Grade: B+ (only because of the corn tortillas/blender fiasco; the flavor was still amazing)
Hubby's Grade: A

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's Official: Fall is Here!

Day 86

Whether we want to admit it or not, ready or not, fall is here! And with it comes a big list of to-dos in our house, many of which we checked off this past weekend.

Raking leaves? Check.
Visit to the apple orchard for cider and pumpkins? Check.
Flu shot? Check.
Turn on the heat? Check.
Switching out spring/summer wardrobe for fall/winter clothing? Ccccchhhhheeeeccckkkk.

Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel when it comes to this task. If I'm being honest, it's something I usually spread out over a few days. Pull the spring/summer clothes out of the closet and drawers and go through which items to keep and which to donate one day; start loading in the fall/winter items the next; and the next; and the next. But this year I was a woman on a mission. It took me almost four hours, but I'm okay with that because it felt so good to get it done! No lingering to-do list for me, thank you very much.

Now I can focus on something else, specifically preparing a homemade apple sauce with the bag of Empires we picked up at the orchard. I'm hoping Mom or Sister might have Great Grandma's famous recipe tucked away somewhere. That's one of the best ways I can think of to stay warm this season. Comfort food always wins!

If you have any apple sauce recipes you love, please share!