Comfort Food for a Frosty Spring

This week in my kid’s belly:

-homemade tomato soup

-homemade cheddar crackers

-‘green grilled cheese’

I’ve been a blatant fan of Izy Hossack’s lovely blog and cookbook Top With Cinnamon. It’s from her fabulous book that I tracked down my recipe for tomato soup. As a keener, I, of course, made my own vegetable broth a few days before rather than buying the salty concoction you find on grocery store shelves. This way I could control my own flavours and the level of salt involved.

Thy-y-yme is on my side

Thy-y-yme is on my side

This worked in my favour, as I now have oodles of frozen pucks pf flavorful broth in my freezer (freeze in muffin tins and then pop out and store in freezer bag). Her recipe calls for a couple of cans of tomatoes (I used low sodium tomatoes, and though I HATE the metallic taste of canned tomatoes, I recognize that at this time of year, in northern Alberta, our fresh tomatoes are usually from Chile or some such exotic locale, and they taste like nothing at all. I added a couple of handfuls of fresh Roma tomatoes anyway.)

I won’t poach her recipe word for word, but the jist of it is, saute some onion (I added a bit of garlic too) until softened and translucent. A little butter and flour to make a roux, and a bit of milk (Izy calls for almond or soy, I used 1 percent cow’s. Homogenized would lend itself well, with a bit of richness).   Some tangy balsamic vinegar adds a bite of flavour. A handful of torn basil, a tablespoon of sugar, a pinch of salt. A couple of cans of diced tomatoes, a couple of cups of vegetable broth. Simmer and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

Drizzle of balsamic vinegar, sprinkle of feta and a lil bit o basil for feelin' fancy

Drizzle of balsamic vinegar, sprinkle of feta and a lil bit o basil for feelin’ fancy

On the side? Green grilled cheese. Yes, that would be steamed and chopped broccoli mixed with shredded cheddar and grilled to gooey broccoli cheese soup-ish perfection. Feeling crazy?  Mix in some steamed and minced cauliflower. Pepper loved it! New sneaky veg trick: veg grilled cheese!

The final touch, homemade cheddar crackers.

I got this idea from a blog that pops up on my radar often, focusing on Baby Led Weaning ideas.

I tried their recipe for strawberry crackers, and while it was a new and interesting idea for snacks on the go, I didn’t find them too flavourful, and Peps could take or leave them. SO, I said to myself, I said, Cheese! Cheese it up! My Cheese Cracker recipe:

1 cup shredded cheddar

1 (ish) cups AP flour

4 tbs margarine

4 tbs cold vegetable broth (aha! It comes in handy again!)

Mix cheese, flour and margarine. Just use your hands, pinch it around until combined. Add broth and mix into a soft dough. Add a bit more broth, a bit more flour to get the consistency you like. Not too sticky, firm enough to roll out after resting a bit.

Divide dough into two disks, wrap and store in fridge for 30 min or so.

Preheat to 375 F, line baking sheets with parchment

Roll dough (on floured surface) to about 1/8 in thickness.

Use pizza cutter to cut squares, or be fancy and use tiny cookie cutters. Place on sheets and bake for about 7-10 minutes or until edges brown.

Let cool.

These are delicious. YOu MAY want to triple the batch!

These are delicious. YOu MAY want to triple the batch!

These crackers are soft and cheesy, satisfying and addictive! Next time, I’m making a lot more. They’re an excellent snack to throw into the diaper bag, and Peps adores them!

Admittedly, she wasn’t that crazy about the soup. I don’t think the flavour was the issue, but the ease of distribution. No matter how chunky with crackers I made it, Pep got far more on the floor than in her mouth, and she’s in a phase of fierce independence. There will be no eating from a spoon help by any parent!!

A warm and comforting meal, tomato soup and grilled cheese hits the spot. Currently, I’m mourning the loss of our green grass and budding trees, here in the north. Out my window, the after effects of a random snowfall warning. This is how we do spring, people.

Stay tuned for some tasty sweet treats coming up in a few days.

On a side note; did you know that May 3 was International Bereaved Mother’s Day? Women worldwide are living and grieving without their children. Mother’s Day is salt in the wounds of many. Don’t know what to say (on either day)? Say, I’m sorry your child isn’t here with you. If that child has a name, say it. That child was here, that child lived, that child made an impact, even if (in the case of pregnancy loss, miscarriage, stillbirth) that child on briefly met this world, or not at all. Afraid to make someone cry? Guess what? If it’s a new loss, she’s going to cry anyone, at least you’ll be with her, not leaving her to cry at home alone. If it’s been some time, she’ll be touched that you cared enough to reach out. If she cries, hold her hand, give her a hug. Bring her some tea. Ask her about her child. Be kind. And say something.

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