Greetings from a snowy, cold town in New England!! We have been experiencing all sorts of extremes over the last week or so. We had quite a blizzard last week, then most folks watched and rejoiced as the Patriots won the Super Bowl and then, hours after the victory – more snow!
There have been a lot of snow days for schools and even businesses these days. I had a snow day yesterday, so I spent a lot of time in the kitchen making all sorts of comfort food. I slept until 9am and spent most of the morning putzing around the house, and I’m not sure where the morning went! Oh, I did spend a little bit of time watching the news – recapping the Patriots Game (great!!) and covering the serious snow storm that was making a mess of the roads on Monday morning (not great!!) I had two big mugs of coffee (that my other half made for me – they were completely perfect and comforting on a snowy, cold morning – lucky me, I got to stay in my flannel pajamas all morning, too). I ate a Digestive cookie while sipping my coffee. Not much of a breakfast, if you ask me!
By late morning I was in the kitchen starting my vegetable turkey soup that I thought would be perfect for a snowy day. I decided to roast some cauliflower to start.
While the cauliflower was in the oven, I peeled and diced an onion and a shallot. I heated up two tablespoons of olive oil and once the dutch oven was hot, I started sautéing the onions and shallots. After the shallots had cooked for a few minutes, I added the lean ground turkey and cooked it.
While the turkey cooked, I chopped up celery and carrots for the soup. I used a container to keep all of the vegetables together – it was really helpful!
The carrots and celery went in and everything cooked for a bit. I added freshly ground pepper, paprika, cumin, thyme and a pinch of sea salt. After a little while longer, I added a 14 ounce can of low sodium crushed tomatoes and 4 quarts of low sodium chicken broth. While things were cooking away, I quickly realized that I did not have much for breakfast and I needed something for lunch.
I wondered about a comfort food lunch for a snow day. I immediately figured I should throw together some grilled cheese sandwiches. My other half made some great tuna to go with the sandwiches – he had a tuna melt and I had my tuna on the side. My grilled cheese was so delicious – I immediately wondered why I do not live on grilled cheese!
It was just perfect!
For a lot of the day my sous chef was outside using the snow blower. I felt awful that I was inside and warm, and really wanted to do something to cheer him up when he came inside from the cold. I figured out a batter that would just make a few chocolate chip cookies – a fantastic treat that would not take al day…
While I started on the cookies, the soup continued to cook away:
(I added the green beans, butternut squash & cauliflower at this point – I really like using roasted cauliflower in this soup recipe because it adds a deeper flavor.)
For the cookies it was pretty simple. Here are the ingredients for a few cookies:
1/4 C brown sugar
2 T granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
4 T (1/2 stick) of butter
1/2 T (or more – if you’re like me, I just love vanilla!!)
1/2 C flour
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t sea salt
sprinkle of cinnamon and / or nutmeg
1/3 C dark chocolate chunks or chips
preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
mix softened butter with brown and white sugars until combined and fluffy (you can use a mixer, but I was trying to not make my kitchen a complete disaster, so I used a wooden spoon and mixed vigorously!) Once combined, add egg yolk and vanilla, mix well again. Once all ingredients are combined, gradually add the dry ingredients (you can mix them all together in a small bowl, but I didn’t). Do not over mix at this point because the flour will be developing gluten. Once the flour, baking soda and salt are combined, add the cinnamon & / or nutmeg and chocolate chunks.
Line your cookie sheet with parchment for best results.
Use two spoons to make the cookies whatever size you desire. I made medium sized cookies, and I came out with seven. They baked for a little over ten minutes, just until they started turning brown. If you make smaller cookies watch your oven so they don’t cook too quickly!
These cookies were amazing. I ate one a minute or two after it came out of the oven. (thus there are six in this photo):
My other half had two with a cup of coffee after he came back from removing the snow – the cookies were still warm and it was a great treat!
Soon enough, it was time for dinner and we were enjoyed the vegetable soup that had been cooking all day. I was worried about how it might come out – but it was delicious and flavorful.
I topped our soup with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Fresh parsley or basil also would have been great – but it was the middle of a snow storm and I was making due with what we had. I was pretty impressed that we had all of these ingredients available for such a fresh tasting soup. Who needs canned soup when you have a little time and great ingredients!? (No, you certainly do not need all day to make this soup – I just decided to let the flavors develop since we had all day!)
As for a better way to spend a snow day, I can’t think of one. I loved every moment of this day! Here’s to happy snow days during this lovely winter season. Happy cooking, blog readers!