Friday, April 28, 2006

Plant Sale Soup

The Recipe: A hearty hamburger soup recipe with beans, vegetables and pasta, great for feeding a crowd. Wondering about the name, Plant Sale Soup? You've got to admit, it's an unusual name for a soup! This is the soup that the Webster Groves Herb Society feeds its volunteers during its annual spring plant sale!

The Conversation: Now's the time to plant fresh herbs to carry you through the summer. Never done it before? Check out this challenge, Never Buy Fresh Herbs Again.

Plant Sale Soup @, hearty hamburger soup recipe with beans, vegetables and pasta, great for feeding a crowd.

"We loved this soup! ... homey and comforting and hearty and delicious." ~ Felicia
"... it was INCREDIBLE! Definitely making this again." ~ Wendy

Do farmers and home vegetable gardeners feel as proud picking fresh corn and tomatoes from their gardens as I do snipping herbs from pots?

Lucky for home cooks, fresh herbs are sold year-round in grocery stores, convenient albeit expensive.

But now’s the perfect time to plant a few herbs in sunny spots, either in the ground or in pots.

From now through frost, you too can experience a primal pleasure when crafting a salad, seasoning a vegetable or brightening a pasta dish.

Just step outside with scissors to harvest bits of heady rosemary or earthy sage or lively chive, all flavor and no calories.

I keep big pots of the ever-reliable chive, rosemary, parsley and mint. After that, it’s what catches my imagination: enough basil for salads though not pesto; tarragon and dill for fish; oregano and thyme for meat rubs; fragrant lavender; even catnip for the neighborhood cat.

Many thanks to Kirkwood reader and my neighbor Jane Smith for sharing her soup recipe, the one she makes for volunteers at the annual herb sale for the Webster Groves Herb Society.

UPDATES In 2008, I issued a friendly challenge, Never Buy Fresh Herbs Again. This post shares many tips, all from personal experience, for growing fresh herbs in pots, in the ground, even in apartments. Then in 2010, I missed the window for putting in fresh herbs, wow, did I ever miss them and wow, was it ever expensive to buy fresh herbs all summer long, especially knowing how lovely it is to just step outside and snip off a few fresh herbs. I'll never let that happen again!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. What herbs are favorites in your home? Share a recipe via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. "Like" Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hearty and heart-warming fare
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 55 minutes
Makes 12 cups
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 16 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 15 ounces canned kidney beans, rinsed
  • 3 cups water (two cansful)
  • 5 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 2 cups (6oz or 170g) chopped cabbage
  • 8 ounces (225g) frozen cut green beans
  • 1/2 cup (2oz or 56g) small pasta
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Brown meat in large, heavy kettle. Drain fat (see ALANNA’s TIPS). Add garlic, parsley, herbs (see TIPS), salt and pepper; cook for 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except cabbage, green beans and macaroni. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Add cabbage, green beans and macaroni. Return to a boil, simmer until vegetables are tender and pasta cooked, about 10 minutes.

To serve, top with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

ALANNA's TIPS To remove virtually all the fat, rinse the cooked meat in hot water. For extra flavor, use a mild or spicy pork sausage rather than ground beef. Release the fragrance and flavor of dried herbs by rubbing them between your fingers before adding to dishes. Twelve cups is a LOT of soup - make sure your pot is big enough or use two. I start off with one Dutch oven, then split the soup in two before adding the cabbage, green beans and pasta. This soup freezes well.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 134 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 16g Carb; 4g Fiber; 542mg Sodium; 23mg Cholesterol; 11g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3

More Hearty Soup Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Hamburger Soup Turkey Sweet Potato Soup Scandinavian Split-Pea Soup
~ more soup recipes ~

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

© Copyright 2006, 2010 & 2015 (repub) Kitchen Parade

Friday, April 21, 2006

Sole with Mushrooms & Onions

An easy spring supper

For the last few weeks, nearby churches have hosted fund-raiser fish fries on Friday nights. By six o’clock, the kitchens bustled with volunteers and the parish halls echoed with conversation and laughter.

Friday Fish. It can hit just the right note on spring nights, even after Easter. It’s lighter than the heavy stews and braised meats of winter, like doffing the heavy coat for a light jacket.

And it’s quick to prepare and cook, letting us linger outside as the days lengthen.

There, the cool evening air, warmed by afternoon sunshine, beckons. Even mowing the fast-growing grass is a pleasure. In the garden, plants muscle their way out of the dirt. Many need dividing, or moving, still others seem slow to appear, causing worry about winter damage.

Ahhhh, spring.

This easy fish dish spends 20 minutes in the oven – time enough to cook a vegetable and make a salad – and comes out moist and flavorful.

So spend a few minutes a-bustle in your own kitchen then recruit a table-setter and call the family to supper. Hear your own home, your own halls, ring out with talk and laughter.

Ahhhh, spring.

ALANNA's TIPS If you can’t find sole or its cousin flounder, substitute a mild, white flaky-fleshed fish. Use additional clam juice or chicken broth if you prefer to cook without wine. “Dredge” is kitchen code for coating meat or fish or other foods in a flour or crumb mixture.
Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Share a favorite fast supper via e-mail.


Herb-brightened fish
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 40 minutes
Serves 4
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 4- to 6-ounce sole filets (see ALANNA’s TIPS)

  • ¾ cup very finely chopped onion
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup white wine (see TIPS)
  • ¼ cup clam juice or chicken broth
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 teaspoon fresh chive, minced
  • Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 450F. Lightly butter or spray a baking dish large enough to arrange the fish in a single layer.

Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a broad dish. Dredge (see TIPS) the filets in the flour mixture and arrange in the baking dish. Spread the onion, then mushrooms on top.

Mix wine, clam juice, zest and lemon juice in a small bowl, then pour over the fish. Top with herbs, then a twist or two of salt and pepper. Cover dish with foil.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 5 minutes or until fish is cooked through.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 181 Cal (10% from Fat); 2g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 9g Carb; 1g Fiber; 428mg Sodium; 54mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 4 points


(2007) In recent weeks, I've made this with both tilapia and fresh walleye (pickerel).

(2007) Tarragon is lovely, for sure, but so is basil, so is sage. The chives do seem to add an edge that make me think they're quite necessary in the herb mix.

(2007) I prefer the color of brown baby portobella mushrooms (vs white button mushrooms) in this dish.

(2008) A friend suggests to take care when opening the hot-hot-hot packets. Keep your face at a distance.

More Fish Recipes

so fast to prepare, so delicious to eat
(click a photo for a recipe)
Tiapinno (Ciopinno) - Italian Fish Stew Roasted Salmon & Asparagus Quick Supper: Cornmeal Catfish with Warm Potato Salad
~ more fish recipes ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.

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If you like Kitchen Parade, you'll also like A Veggie Venture, my food blog packed with vegetable recipes for every course.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Hot Cross Buns: A Recipe Tradition for Easter

My long-time favorite recipe for Hot Cross Buns, the sweet buns topped with icing in a cross shape traditional at Easter, especially on Good Friday.

Hot Cross Buns, an Easter tradition ♥

"I had to make them! ... They are irresistible." ~ Anne
"We have made them for the last couple of years. This year we glazed them with maple syrup and they turned out beautifully." ~ Krissy
"I made these last night, delicious!" ~Becki on Facebook

Birthdays aren’t birthdays without balloons. July 4th isn’t the Fourth of July without a flag-filled parade. And a particular Thursday in November isn’t Thanksgiving without a turkey.

In the Christian tradition, Good Friday’s resurrection promise begs no adornment or heraldry.

Still, in many homes around the world, Good Friday isn’t Good Friday without rich, spiced buns topped with crosses to signify Christ’s sacrifice.

One year, my sister called early Good Friday, wondering if our mother were ‘beaming from heaven’ because her daughters were each elbow-deep in dough for hot cross buns.

Though my sister and I use different recipes – and neither one use our mother’s – we still treasure the tradition. Within a few minutes of my sister’s call, Mom had reason to beam!

My friend Anne, aka the pastry whisperer, wrote after making Hot Cross Buns. "Have you ever read a recipe and just had to rush into the kitchen to make it? That happened to me today when I read about Hot Cross Buns. I had not made them in twenty years and they are delightfully yummy. The dough is a butter-egg rich dough — like a brioche — flavored with currants and spices, then iced with a powdered sugar cross. I was intrigued by the liberal use of spices in this recipe (1 teaspoon per cup of flour) ... now I understand why hot cross buns are full of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mace, and cloves. Those aromas perfumed my kitchen while the buns were baking and they are intoxicatingly delicious." Anne soaked the currants in warm brandy, then used part bread flour and her own spice mix, all good options. Check her variation on my Hot Cross Buns.

I've become fascinated with the breads I call "Celebration Breads", ones often made just once a year to mark an occasion, often religious. It's a growing collection of recipes, from the Hot Cross Buns I've made for so many years to Armenian Easter Bread to the Latin Pan de Muerto for Day of the Dead in November.

ALANNA's TIPS As it sits, flour settles heavily. If you stir it well before measuring, you’ll find your baked goods suddenly lighter. The Penzeys spice people sell a blend of cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves. It’s called ‘cake spice’ and has been a family favorite for several years now. Use it whenever cinnamon or nutmeg are called for – and prepare yourself for compliments! Order via 800-741-7787 or I make Hot Cross Buns every year so am always trying one variation and another, more whole-grain flour, a different mix of fruit, etc. Be sure to check the Later Notes (below) for more insight.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Sweet buns traditional for Easter
Hands-on time: 30 minutes to mix; 15 minutes to shape; unattended time to bake
Total time to complete: 3½ - 4 hours
Makes 24 large buns
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 packages dry yeast (4-1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup (115g) currants
  • Zests from 1 orange and 1 lemon or 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 4 cups flour, 500g or fluffed to aerate before measuring
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or Penzey's cake spice, see TIPS)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 10 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut in small bits
  • Additional flour for kneading
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)

PROOF the YEAST In a small dish, heat milk in microwave about 1 minute to 105F – 115F. Gently stir in yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.

SOAK the CURRANTS In a small bowl, whisk egg and yolk well. Stir in currants and zests. Set aside.

MIX the DOUGH In large bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sugar, flour, spices and salt. With fingertips, blend butter into flour until a coarse meal forms. Make well in center, pour in yeast and currant mixtures. Blend thoroughly with hands, then form into ball and transfer to lightly floured counter. (Don't worry, the dough will be sticky. If it starts off too sticky to knead on the counter, just knead it right in the bowl.) Knead 10 minutes, adding as little flour as possible, just enough to work dough without any stickiness when the kneading is done.

FIRST RISE Transfer dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl, first rubbing the dough mass against the bowl to lightly coat all sides with oil. Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

FORM BUNS & SECOND RISE With a fist, gently deflate dough. Cut into 24 pieces. (For buns exactly the same size, weight the pieces before forming, I like buns about 50 grams big.) Form buns and arrange on two or three baking sheets covered with parchment (recommended) or lightly greased (works okay on some baking sheets). Cover with clean towels and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

BAKE Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Whisk egg and 2 tablespoons sugar. Brush tops of buns with egg mixture. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes per baking sheet. Let cool completely.

ICING Blend the butter, milk and extract, then stir in powdered sugar. Place icing in a zip-lock bag, snip a corner to easily mark the crosses. Squirt ribbons of icing onto each bun, forming a Christian cross as my family does, or an X to symbolize the mark early Christians used to identify themselves when Christianity was outlawed. For gifts, put dollops of icing in small bags, just enough for applying later without fear of muss or mess during transportation.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Bun, without icing/with icing: 102/140 Calories; 5/6g Tot Fat; 12/20g Carb; 1g Fiber; 142/146mg Sodium; 40/41mg Cholesterol; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2/3 & PointsPlus 3/4


YEAST I typically move back and forth between rapid rise and regular dry yeast. This year, I used rapid rise yeast and the buns were particularly light and airy. (2008)
FLOUR For more whole-grain buns, I used 1 cup King Arthur whole wheat flour and 3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour (which itself has more gluten than other all-purpose flours). The buns had a lovely pale-brown color but remained light and easy to eat. I would definitely do this again. (2009) I used 3 cups of Pillsbury all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour. Next year, I will return to the King Arthur flours again, this year's dough was a little ropey. That said, I'm not sure that the flour was the cause. The dough seemed particularly hungry for flour during the kneading process, more than I ever remember before. (2010) All bread flour worked great this year. (2012)
DRIED FRUIT A 50:50 mix of currants and dried cranberries is a nice variation. If the cranberries are large, snip them into smaller pieces otherwise they sort of take over. (2008)
FIRST RISE I have started mixing bread dough the night before, covering it and letting it rise in the refrigerator the night before. It really does rise, even in cold conditions! That 'warm place' we seek is really only to speed the rising process.(2010) When the first rise is done in the fridge, the dough becomes quite stiff and while workable, does take more time to form the buns. The second rise can take a long time too, this year it took two full hours in the oven on the bread-proofing temperature. (2012)
RISE TIME When allowed to rise properly, these hot cross buns are as light and airy as pillows. For both the first and the second rise, judge when the dough is risen by its size, which should be doubled, not by time passed. The cooler the temperature, the longer the rise time. Some people have good luck letting bread rise in an oven with the oven light on. In my cold winter house, I let bread rise in a 'proofing box' -- just a large cardboard box on its side with a small space heater blowing warm air into the open side. This year I learned that during the first rise, a double layer of towel sloooooows down the rise time, where a single layer of towel lets in just the right amount of warm air. (2008) My latest favorite way to let bread dough rise is to use a heating pad, for details, see Armenian Easter Bread. (2009)
PARCHMENT I have a favorite non-stick baking sheet and wish it were still made. It "always" bakes just perfectly. But this year I also used an inexpensive baking sheet lined with parchment and was most surprised that the bottoms were golden and crisp, even compared to my favorite baking sheet. So now I recommend parchment! (2012)
FORMING THE ROLLS When forming the rolls, make sure that no currants stick out from the dough because they'll either get hard or burn while baking.
EGG WASH If the egg/sugar mixture brushed on at the end seems a little thick and hard to brush on smoothly without glops or drips, just whisk in a couple of teaspoons of water. (2008)
ICING I use only about 1/4 the icing but intentionally list the ingredients for more so that it can be distributed into bags for delivering to friends and neighbors. I use the full amount for the Nutrition Estimate, however, in case others are more generous with the icing than I am!

More Easter Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe
Choereg, Aremenian Easter Bread Asparagus Custard Tart Estonian Deviled Eggs

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