Friday, January 4, 2013

Comfort Food on a Cold Wintry Night!

I did not know it gets this cold in Irvine.  I thought So Cal was suppose to be nice and sunny all year long.  This was the first holiday break that I spent in Irvine after 2 years and may be that's why I feel like this is not normal (a side tangent: I got back to work on Tuesday).  In 2010, I was in India for my Mum's retirement party, and in 2011, I was in Hawaii, where the weather was just awesome!  And this year, I was in Irvine where temperature dropped to as low as 2 degrees Celsius (35F). Cold cold cold!  I know my friends on East Coast are like, oh Comeon!, but what to do?  We SoCal people are always complaining, less sun, more sun, no sun, rain, we always cry and complain :D (by the way it was nice today and is expected to rain over the weekend again).

It got cold.. Notice the low that night was suppose to be 3. This is in Celsius of course!
When it gets cold, one of my favorite things is to make and eat is soup, salad, and garlic bread!  I usually skip garlic bread as I usually try to skip past this high calorie item and do not stock it up!  Another side note, I never liked soup in India.  The most common soup type was that thick tomato soup, where the tomatoes were blended together to make a thick thick paste and was usually tasteless.  I HATED IT! But ever since I was introduced to these new kind of soups like the minestrone at Olive Garden, soups and I are kind of friends during winters!

Since it was cold and rainy over the last weekend, I made vegetable soup and salad, and store-bought garlic bread for dinner.  I usually make a big batch of soup ( or anything else) and share with friends.  This time soup went to Hrishi and Juhi, who like my cooking :))). Hrishi sent me the following text message the very same evening when he tasted the soup and asked for the recipe.  So here is the on-demand soup recipe which is super simple and super quick to make.  I am guessing it is super healthy too!
This message was a great way to close 2012


  1. Olive oil, I usually use 2 tbs
  2. Dried oregano leaves
  3. 1 clove of garlic - peeled
  4. 1/2 Onion (I used red), chopped
  5. 1/2 cup shredded carrot or chopped carrots
  6. 2 stalks (2 ribs ) of celery, chopped
  7. 1 small zucchini, chopped
  8. 1/2 -2/3 can of tomatoes - depends on how much tomatoes you like.  depending on what I have at hand, I either user 1/2 cup of Organic tomato paste/sauce, or canned chopped tomatoes in olive oil and herbs. Sometimes I use a combination of 1 chopped tomato with few tbs of sauce.  Can't really go wrong with this!
  9. 1/2 can of garbanzo beans, 1/2 can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  10. 1 Trader Joe's Low Sodium Vegetable Broth.
  11. 1 bunch of scallions or green onion, chopped nicely (optional, I usually have it in fridge)
  12. Salt and Pepper to taste
  13. Optional - any small pasta like orzo or orecchiette 1/2 cup is more than enough


Heat oil in a pan.  Add garlic ( I use a whole garlic clove without chopping and take it out before serving) and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves.  After a minute add ingredients 2 through 7. Saute on medium heat for a 3-5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, and mix for another 2 minutes.  Add beans and vegetable broth.  Add 1 cup water.  Add Scallions.  Bring it to a boil and simmer on low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes.  If you like, you can add pasta and cook it according to package instructions. Note: I have noticed that my soup turns out much thicker when I add pasta, so you can play with the consistency by adding more water or broth.  

Add Salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with Cheese if you like, I usually skip that part!  Enjoy with salad, bread sticks or simply by itself!

Next I am going to make a Hot and Sour soup to match the name of my soup bowls!


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