May 17, 2012

Ella’s Kitchen

After the really warm March, we are now experiencing cool evenings again. A hot soup for supper is in order. But the two soups below have a light, spring flair to them. The other recipes are of the made-from-scratch variety. Convenient foods are great, but sometimes it is rewarding to do it the “old-fashioned way.” Enjoy and happy cooking!


[Ella can be contacted at or Ella – 50+ Lifestyles, 804 W Lombard Street, Davenport, IA, 52804]

Spring Vegetable Soup

4 Tbs. unsalted butter
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
4.5 lbs. ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 cups chicken stock 2 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. salt 8 small new potatoes
freshly ground black pepper 16-20 radishes, stems removed
24 baby carrots 4.5 oz. snow peas
1/4 cup frsh dill, chopped 1 cup milk
12 basil leaves, cut into slivers 12-16 spears asparagus, cut into 2” lengths

Melt the butter over low heat in a large pot. Add the garlic and cook gently until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, stock, tarragon, salt and a good grind of pepper. cover and cook for 30 minutes. Meawhile cook the potatoes, carrots, radishes and asparagus separately in boiling water until just tender. Pureé the tomato mixture in batches and strain to remove any seeds. Return to the pot and add the milk. Just before serving, reheat gently and, once hot, add all the vegetables, the basil and the dill. Ladle the vegetables into shallow soup bowls and pour the soup around. Serves 8.


Spinach and Broccoli Soup

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1 onion diced
garlic clove, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped 1 small head broccoli, chopped
10 oz. spinach, washed and chopped 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Juice of 1/2 lemon 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts for garnish salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled into small pieces

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic. Saute for 3
minutes. Add the chopped vegetables and stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the Gorgonzola to the soup with the lemon juice and the nutmeg, salt and pepper. This soup can be served pureed or left with chunky pieces, as you wish. Garnish with the toasted pine nuts.


Raisin-Nut Swirl Loaf

1 package active dry yeast
1 egg
1 Tb. granulated sugar
2-1/2 cups packaged biscuit mix
2 Tbs. butter, softened 2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped California walnuts 1/2 cup raisins

Soften yeast in 1/2 cup warm water; set aside. Stir in next 3 ingredients. Beat vigorously; knead on lightly floured surface till smooth. Roll in 15×8 inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick. Butter; sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Roll up from a narrow side; seal edges. Place seam side down in greased
8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 inch loaf dish. Cover; let rise in warm place till nearly doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 375° about 25 minutes. Cover with foil after 20 minutes. cool. Frost; sprinkle additional nuts and raisins over top. Makes 1 loaf.