Well, it is officially here, and I don’t mean just the holidays. I mean the time of year when everyone pulls out that special recipe, the traditional food that comes around just once a year. If you’re anything like my family, we pretend like we have never seen (insert food item of the day here) before and end up eating until we are stuffed, retiring to the couch, promising not to do that again tomorrow.
Well, even if you don’t celebrate the holiday food craze like my family does, I am sure everyone has a favorite side dish that is so indulgent, so wonderful, it must only be brought out on feasting days. As I was racking my brain for this month’s Recipe Redux theme- vintage family favorites- this recipe landed quite literally in my lap.
This soup, a knock-off of Olive Garden’s creation, was developed by a dear friend to both BL and my Momma-in-law. As Thanksgiving is only a day away, it’s the perfect time to stop and reflect on those people (and food, it’s OK to reflect on food right?) who mean the world to us. Rita, who originally crafted this wonderful recipe, prepared everything with love. Because she is no longer with us, what better way to pay tribute and honor the legacy of a woman so revered for her cooking than by re-creating one of her classics. Whether it was an extra half cup of this or a dash of that, she turned any recipe into her own.
Let’s get to it, shall we? Here is the Original Recipe:
Zuppa Tuscano Soup by Rita Mae Greisen
1# Italian Sausage or links
2 medium potatoes diced
¾ cup onion diced
6 slices bacon
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
2 cups kale leaves cut up
2 T chicken base
1 ½ quarts water
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp or 1 tsp red pepper flakes depending on how hot you like it
Cook sausage. Place onions and bacon in frying pan over medium heat and cook until the onions are transparent, add garlic and stir. Remove and crumble bacon. Put the water in a kettle and add the chicken base and potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Add all of the other ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes.
Clearly, a few changes had to happen. First, making it vegetarian. I swapped the Italian sausage for soyrizo. Don’t like or can’t find soyrizo? You can either omit it or sub baked tofu, tempeh sausage, or the like.
I also swapped out heavy cream for cashew cream, a simple trick I often do to mimic the taste of real cream without the extra cholesterol and calories. If your reading this and thinking “Cashew cream? Girl, you’re crazy”. Well, yes but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. While it may not be as low in calories as some other cream swaps, the mouthfeel and texture can’t be beat.
I also like things a tad on the spicy side. Whether it increases your metabolism or not, I notice that I eat less and feel more satisfied if food has a spicy kick to it.
I really, really enjoyed this soup. A perfect addition to my ‘I now make a soup every Sunday’ routine. BL enjoyed it too, although he said there was too much kale in it.
I simply looked at him and in my deepest, scariest voice said: “there is never too much kale.”
This might be my favorite potato salad recipe this week for the color alone. Purple potatoes, ruby beets, and green parsley make for a salad that’s both delicious and gorgeous!
Purple potatoes are making their way into most grocery stores, either sold by themselves or in combination with other potatoes. Depending on your location, you can probably snag some at the farmers market as well. Either way, they make for an unexpected pop of color that livens up any picnic.
Purple potatoes also contain the antioxidant anthocyanin, which gives the potato it’s deep color, the same antioxidant praised in blueberries. Antioxidants help protect body cells against free radical damage that can increase chronic disease risk. Purple potatoes have also been shown to reduce blood pressure, thanks to their high levels of potassium.
If you don’t need anymore convincing, then try this salad out for yourself.
Purple Potato Eater Salad
3 lbs. purple potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 cups beets, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 red onion, minced
3 tbsp. minced parsley
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
In a food processor/blender/or hand, whisk together all ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
Combine cut potatoes and beets into a bowl, toss with 1-2Tbsp. of olive oil and pinch salt/pepper. Toss to coat potatoes and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes until potatoes and beets are tender. Cooking times will depend on how large you cut your potato chunks.
Remove potatoes from oven and cool ~5-10 minutes. Toss potatoes with the dressing and onion. To serve warm: add fresh parsley and salt/pepper to taste. To serve cool: place in fridge and chill for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Top with fresh parsley and salt/pepper if needed just before serving.
Disclosure Statement: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the United States Potato Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
Looking for a fun way to try collards? Try these, a Indian twist on a southern favorite.
3 medium potatoes, diced
Bunch of collards, chopped
1/2 onion, sliced into half moons
2 tbsp cornmeal
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. garam Masala
1 tsp. cumin
1 small lemon, juiced
1 small piece of ginger
1 chili, diced
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup frozen corn (I use TJ’s frozen fire roasted corn)
Steam or roast the potatoes until tender, set aside. Boil or steam the collards until tender. In a blender or food processor, place the greens, ginger and salt and puree. You may need to add a little water to form a thick puree.
In a large saucepan, combine 1/8c olive oil and the cornmeal. Stir together and heat over medium-med/high heat for a few minutes until a thick paste forms. Add the potato, frozen corn and onion. Cook until the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the green blender mixture, curry, cumin, garam masala and lemon juice. Cover, turn to a low heat and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes.
If you’ve been following my recipes, you know that I love a little heat in my dishes. Lately, I had been craving a hearty vegetable dish and came up with this. If you don’t have one or more of these spices, improvise! That’s how the best dishes are made. Feel free to adjust spice amounts to your taste.
Spicy Potatoes and Rainbow Chard
1/4 onion, sliced thinly into half moons
1 large bunch chard or other greens, thinly sliced
1 lb. potatoes, diced
1 serrano chili pepper, minced
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cardamon (I used powdered, but you could use pods)
1 tsp. vindaloo spice
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp. oil, water, or broth
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil over medium heat in a skillet, add garlic and onion and cook for a few minutes until onion begins to soften. Add potatoes and spices. You might need to add a little more broth, oil, or water if potatoes start to stick to bottom of pan. Cook until potatoes are done, about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add greens and cook and additional 5 minutes.