Cool fall day…soup day…Matzo Ball Soup My Way day….restorative and nourishing. My way with lots of fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley, freshly ground black pepper…it is as “easy-as-this”.
You know what else is as “easy-as-this”? Voting. It is also restorative and nourishing for the soul. Coming up in just a few days is one of the most important times to get out and vote to keep women’s health care a free choice for all, to keep it safe and legal. It is a time to say no to no-background check gun purchases. It is a time to support our public schools. It is a time when doing good is possible if we vote. Vote early if you can or on Tuesday November 8th at your local voting location. It is as “easy-as-that”.
First grab a box of matzo ball and soup mix…there are quite a few to choose from. I use whatever is on the shelf..Streit’s or Manischewitz are the most common in my supermarket. They are very similar in what is in the box….a packet of matzo meal for making the balls and a packet of dried soup mix. Follow the directions on the box, but with a few additions to make it “my way”.
The additions of fresh lemons, low salt chicken stock or bone broth, generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and chopped fresh parsley turn an already good packaged product into something special. Adding chopped fresh parsley and black pepper to the matzo balls and the broth adds an updated flavor profile while the lemon juice brightens up the overall finished soup.
Restorative and nourishing this soup is ready to eat in under 1 hour…as easy-as-this dinner on brrrrrr chilly days.
Restorative and nourishing voting only takes minutes.
Matzo Ball Soup My Way
1box matzo ball and soup mix, usually 4.5 oz
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
6 cups water
4 cups low sodium chicken broth or bone broth
freshly ground black pepper – 1 teaspoons for the matzo balls + extra for serving
3 lemons – 2 juiced + one l sliced thinly for garnishing soup
fresh parsley chopped – 1 tablespoon for the matzo balls + extra for serving
- In a mixing bowl whisk together the vegetable oil and 2 eggs until light and frothy. Add the matzo ball packet contents, 1 teaspoon of the black pepper and 1 tablespoon of the chopped parsley to the bowl, cover and chill for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the water and chicken broth to a large stock pot. Stir in the soup mix packet and bring to a boil.
- Form chilled matzo ball mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter to make about 12 balls. Wet hands if need be while rolling.
- Drop matzo balls into the boiling broth, add a tight-fitting lid to the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until matzo balls are throughly cooked. Remove pan from heat and add the juice of two lemons, additional black pepper and fresh parsley. Stir and serve bowls of hot soup with slices of lemon.
Spontaneous soups are often the best. What to have for lunch? Something cozy, delicious and quick. Yellow lentils, a package of Mahatma yellow rice with seasonings and a couple of golden beets in the fridge drawer and some chicken broth…30 minutes later and we were enjoying lovely, warm and steamy bowls of “Golden Soup”. So very “easy-as-this”.
In my early cooking days one of the most exotic items available in local groceries was Mahatma seasoned rice. There were no local import groceries, nor International aisles in supermarkets. There was little to be had from other cultures in the way of food….I thought a package of yellow seasoned rice was “it”. To this day a few packages reside alongside lots of other aromatic and culturally-dense rice in my pantry. No rice shaming please. Thank you.
Saltines and a heavy-handed splash of Cholula…lunch is ready. Be well. Do the right thing. Wear your mask. It can be as “easy-as-that”.
Golden Soup - Lentils, Rice and Beets
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup yellow lentils
- One 5 oz. package yellow rice with seasonings (like Mahatma brand)
- 2 small, or one large yellow beet, peeled and thinly sliced, then chopped
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups chicken broth (or veg)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or Italian seasoning
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- To Serve: Saltines and hot sauce, like Cholula
- Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium high heat until slightly softened. Turn heat to medium.
- Add in lentils, rice packet, beets and stir well. Pour in water, broth and herbs, a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Turn heat to low and cook for 30 minutes or until beets are just softened. Add more broth or water if soup gets too thick. Taste, adjust seasonings if need be. Serve with crisp saltines and a splash of hot sauce if you like.
This past week I often wondered “is it me?” or “is it them?” when pondering the roller coaster world of photo shoots. To put it mildly this past week was one for the books in all ways. I am still reeling a bit from the drama, the multitudes on all the various sets, the daily mental Rorschach test I needed to do to keep things balanced. Do you have weeks like that?
Along with “the crazy” there are some very good things afoot….one good this weekend is that we “spring forward”into Daylight Savings time and I, for one, love it when I get that extra hour of natural light at the end of the day. It was also International Women’s Day this past week. I hope you celebrated all the great women in your lives… mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, friends, every last one. Another good thing was I made comforting, healthy, warm and cozy lentil soup. When the going gets tough, the tough make soup! Soup and laughter can get you through a lot.
Red Lentils, tomatoes, broth, chopped fresh bok chop, lemon juice all cooked together with some herbs served piping hot with an additional squeeze of fresh lemon and toasted baguette slices. Easy, quick and cozy.
Lentils are full of good things as well. An edible legume, they are rich in complex carbohydrates which will boost metabolism and help burn body fat. The are a good source of fiber, low in fat and are good sources of folate and magnesium. Lentils are gluten-free as well. You can have a pot of lentils ready to eat in about 30 minutes more or less which is another good thing.
The lemons add a wonderful flavor layer to this soup which is a cross of tomato soup and lentil soup with a bok choy twist. Enjoy. I you have leftover, freeze for later. It’s nice to have some good things ready and waiting for when the days get tough!
Good Things Lentil-Tomato Soup with Bok Choy and Lemon
- 1 pound of dried red lentils (or any other)
- 1 can of cherry tomatoes or chopped tomatoes with juice
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
- Juice of two lemons
- 2 to 3 cups water as needed
- 1 bunch of bok choy, trimmed and chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- lemon wedges for serving
- toasted baguette slices for serving
- Rinse lentils well in mesh strainer. Place in a stock pot.
- Add can of tomatoes with juice, garlic cloves, broth and lemon juice to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer. Cook, stirring every now and then, until lentils are just beginning to soften, 20 minutes or so. Add water as lentils cook if needed.
- Stir in chopped bok choy and cook for another 10 minutes or until lentils are soft but not mushy. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve piping hot in bowls with lemon wedges for squeezing into soup and toasted baguette slices.
- Note: You can freeze leftovers for later if you like or enjoy for lunches later in the week.
Teresa Blackburn. www. teresablackburnfoodstyling.com