Soups to bolster your ‘status’ |

Soups to bolster your ‘status’

Submitted photo by Jeff Kane

My life would have been a piece of cake had Facebook been around when I was in high school.

Just knowing I had 782 friends and 29 invitations would have raised my self-esteem to at least ground level. Posting my favorite silly cat pictures, playing Scrabble, downloading, uploading, keeping up with everyone else’s musings: My Saturday home-alone nights would have been demanding.

Cellphones weren’t yet common purse items, but had they existed then, I could have pretended to chat with friends instead of fruitlessly waiting for varsity-jacketed hunks to notice me.

No one would ever have guessed I was just asking my mom what we were having for dinner.

And keeping my thumbs permanently employed texting would probably have broken my neurotic nail-biting habit.

As for my embarrassing less-than-cover-girl complexion, I could have hidden it by constantly reviewing the pictures on my cell phone camera.

Of course, my frizzy hair and pimples would have kept me from wanting to Skype, but thanks to Photoshop, my yearbook picture would have ensured supermodel looks.

I apologize if I sound like a sour curmudgeon. I really do appreciate much of today’s technology, and I’m curious about your comments.

You can message me, or else just press “Like” if you agree with my observations or “Delete” if you don’t.

Whatever your comments, please press “Share” when you read these new recipes.

Ronnie Paul is a freelance writer in Nevada City.

Vegetable-Lentil-Barley Soup

Serves 4-6

Prepare to warm your innards on chilly winter nights.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yam, cut in chunks (I don’t bother peeling)

1 medium potato, cut in chunks (same policy as above)

1 carrot, cut in medium-size pieces

1 stalk celery, cut in thick pieces

1 onion, chopped

1/4 packed cup minced parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 cups veggie broth

1 15-ounce can organic lentils

1 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice

1/2 cup cooked barley

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional topping: grated Parmesan

Sauté both kinds of potatoes in the oil for 10 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, onion, parsley and oregano, and sauté for 10 minutes more.

Add the veggie broth, lentils and tomatoes, and simmer until all the veggies are tender. Add the cooked barley and simmer a few minutes longer.

If you like, top each bowl with grated Parmesan.

Garlicky Potato Soup

6 Servings

And yet another soup-for-supper idea.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cups potatoes, measured after thinly sliced and cut in quarters

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with the juice

6 cups veggie broth

4 large garlic cloves, pressed

1 15-ounce can small white beans, drained and rinsed (If you lean towards cooking your own, please do.)

3 cups chopped kale

Salt and pepper to taste

In a soup pot, sauté the chopped onions, potatoes, and paprika in the olive oil for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice and simmer another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are almost tender.

Add the broth, garlic, beans and kale, and simmer for at least 10 more minutes. Culinary equation: the longer soup simmers, the thicker and yummier the taste.

Curried Slaw with Chutney Dressing

Serves 4-6

Talk about no-fuss exotic creations. By the way, this is also a great soup partner.

1 packed cup grated carrots

1 packed cup grated red cabbage

1 packed cup grated green cabbage

1/2 cup chopped red onion

2 tablespoons minced cilantro


Stir together until fairly smooth:

2 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 tablespoons plain yogurt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon curry powder

3 tablespoons of chutney (I used my homemade Asian pear chutney, but any chutney should do.)

Mix everything together and chill for a few hours. Prepare for rave reviews.

Cheesy Corn Muffins

1 dozen

Cooking 101: I often come up with recipes by assessing what needs to be used immediately.

An example is the variety of dairy products in these muffins.

Be wild! Be brave! A fabulous new recipe may emerge when you notice that a refrigerator item is about to outdate.

1 beaten egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup corn meal

1 cup white flour

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup scallions cut in thinly-sliced Os

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Stir together the egg, buttermilk, yogurts, and butter, until smooth. In another bowl, mix the corn meal, flour, sugar and baking powder.

Stir the dry mixture into the wet ingredients, and blend until smooth. Finally, stir in the scallions and cheddar cheese.

Divide the mixture into a muffin tin, and bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees until the muffin tops spring back when touched.

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