Stove Top Mac & Cheese

Have you ever heard those stories about people who win the lottery multiple times, yet still end up broke? Those stories fascinate me. I like to think if I ever won big I would use the money wisely, but it’s entirely possible I’d spend it all on shoes. At work we play the lottery whenever the jackpot is big. Even though we all know we’re probably just throwing away our money, no one in the department wants to risk being the only one who has to show up at work on Monday morning.

That’s not to say I’ve never won anything. Last Friday I found a penny, picked it up, then won a free coffee from Tim Horton’s Roll up the Rim. Free coffee makes me ridiculously happy. And in December I entered the Holiday Recipe Exchange from Good Life Eats and My Baking Addiction with my Maple Butterscotch Pudding. Thanks to your kind votes I won a gift package from Kerrygold. The package had TONS of cheese and a selection of butter. Looking at all the cheese I received I knew I had to make something with it. The first thing that came to mind was Macaroni and Cheese.

I’m not going to say this is the best recipe ever, because I’m sure there are many of you out there who make a mean mac and cheese, but it was definitely the best I’ve ever made. I used Kerrygolds Garlic and Herb Butter to make the roux, and their Red Leicester cheese in the sauce. It’s a mild, cheddar like cheese with a nice tang to it. The sauce was pure cheesy goodness. I can’t wait for my next Kerrygold experiment!

Stove Top Mac & Cheese

  • 1 pound macaroni
  • 2 tbsp Garlic and Herb Butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk (warm)
  • 7 oz Red Leicester Cheese (or sharp cheddar)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the macaroni as per package instructions until al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. In a large sauce pan on medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until it starts to bubble slightly. Add the warm milk. Lower the heat to medium and stir constantly until the sauce begins to thicken (about 5 minutes).
  3. Once thickened, add the cheese and stir until completely melted. Taste the sauce, add salt and pepper if necessary.
  4. Drain the pasta and toss into the sauce.
  5. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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Chicken with Vegetables & Spinach And Ways to Help

Last week when I decided to cook this dish, I planned to write a silly little post about the pot holes in Montreal, or “nids de poules” as they are called in French (chickens nests). But then Japan happened. Seeing all the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami made writing about a few bumps in the road seem so petty.

People around the world are looking for ways to help. The easiest thing to do is to make a donation to a non-profit that is helping in the area. Which non-profit to donate to is always a tough call. The safe choices like The Red Cross have high overhead costs, and the smaller organizations may not be legitamite. Because of their reputation, I choose to donate to organizations like The Red Cross or Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders); they may have more overhead but they are trusted, well known organizations.

If you are looking for another way to help, Sabrina from The Tomato Tart is hosting an Online Bake Sale to help Japan. Check out her post if you want to donate goods or bid.

If you simply want to donate, here are a few links.

In Canada:

The Canadian Red Cross

Medecins Sans Frontieres

Unicef

Oxfam

In the United States:

The American Red Cross

Doctors Without Borders

Oxfam

Unicef

And now for the recipe…

Chicken With Vegetables and Spinach

  • 2 chicken legs
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large pieces
  • 5 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into large pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper and thyme to taste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • fresh spinach
  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Clean and pat dry the chicken legs. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the onion, garlic cloves, bell pepper and potatoes with oil so that everything is coated. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.
  3. Place the vegetables on a large baking sheet in an even layer. Place the chicken legs on top of the vegetables. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pan. Place the pan on a burner on high, pour the wine into the pan and deglaze (scrape up all the brown bits).
  5. Place the chicken and vegetables on a bed of spinach and top with the wine sauce.

Enjoy!

Daring Cooks Peruvian Ceviche

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

Once again, I found this months Daring Cooks Challenge to be quite intimidating. Ceviche is fish or seafood that is “cooked” in lime or lemon juice. In a restaurant I wouldn’t hesitate to order it, but making it at home had me worried about food poisoning. I read up on the safety of making your own ceviche and found that the most important thing is to have fresh fish. If you don’t have a trusted fish monger, the secret is to buy fish or seafood that has been frozen at sea. Freezing at sea means the freshness is basically locked in.

I chose to use Argentinian scallops that were frozen at sea. At my local grocery store they come in packages that are vaccum sealed; if you use the same ones make sure the seal isn’t broken. If it is the scallops may be freezer burned. Argentinian scallops are quite small so I didn’t cut them into pieces.

Even though I used all the precautions I could when making the ceviche, I was still very nervous about eating. I took a bite. It tasted good. I took another, then another. I finished my plate, then waited. No food poisoning! This was a ceviche success!

I was also going to make the Papas Rellanas. Papas Rellanas are fried mashed potatoes with a ground beef filling. I was sure I had the ingredients on hand, but it turns out I was missing quite a few. Instead of making something that was very far from the original recipe, I chose to skip that part of he challenge.

Peruvian Ceviche

  • 2 lbs. scallops
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 1 chili pepper, mince
  • 1 cup (240 ml) freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice (between 8-12 limes)
  • fresh coriander (I omitted this)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  1. Combine the lime juice, garlic, chili and coriander. Pour over the scallops, making sure all are covered.
  2. Put sliced onion on top. Let sit for 10 minutes as it “cooks”.
  3. Lift fish out of lime juice mixture and serve with sweet potato or corn.

Enjoy!

Canadian Beef Tacos

The people at Canadian Beef are giving five Canadian bloggers the opportunity to go to Eat Write Retreat this May. Eat Write Retreat is a food blogging conference with workshops on writing, cooking and photography. And I’m dying to go.

Although I have several vegetarian posts up, I am a meat eater. I often mess up beef so when making it for myself I tend to stick to simple recipes. These tacos are incredibly simple,perfect for a weeknight meal. They are by no means authentic Mexican cuisine, just a combination of flavours I enjoy.

I used sirloin tip steak. This is not the same as top round; if not marinated or cut very thinly it can be chewy. This recipe calls for both of those steps, so the meat works well in the tacos.

Canadian Beef Tacos

  • Sirloin Tip Steak
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Chilli powder
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Red and green peppers, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tortillas
  • Avocado, mashed
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  1. In a large Ziploc bag, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, and chilli powder. Add the steaks to the bag, seal and marinate for 20 minutes to an hour on the counter, or up to 4 hours in the fridge.
  2. When ready to serve, sautee the onions and peppers for a few minutes until slightly softened but not cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the steaks from the plastic bag and dry them with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet on high heat, fry the steaks for 2-3 minutes a side. Let rest of 5 minutes then thinly slice. While the meat is resting warm the tortillas.
  4. Assemble the tacos. Place some meat on a tortilla, then the peppers and onion, and top with the mashed avocado.

Enjoy!

Vegetarian Lasagna

Food photography is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to learn. I try to take nice pictures; sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. One of the things you realize almost immediately when writing a food blog is that pictures can make or break your blog. People want to see big gorgeous pictures of scrumptious looking food. I’ve read a lot about lighting and composition over the last year, and I’ve tried to implement some of the things I’ve learned. I think what it comes down to in the end is talent and practice.

Every time I’ve seen a picture of lasagna in a magazine it’s had perfectly even layers, with the ruffled noodles poking out just so. My lasagna didn’t look like that. I’m pretty sure I cut off the ruffles while slicing the pieces, and my sauce and cheese layers kind of melded together. It tasted incredible, but it was incredibly difficult to photograph. My experience made me wonder if all the lasagna I’ve seen in magazines was ever actually baked.

I still have a lot to learn when it comes to food photography and styling, but when it comes to taste I think I know what I’m doing. This was the first time I tried making a vegetarian lasagna. I wanted it to be pretty packed with vegetables to make up for the absence of meat. The sauce has zucchini and mushrooms, and the cheese lmixture has spinach. I was a little nervous about leaving out the meat, but the four kinds of cheese and tons of veggies were very satisfying. I couldn’t even tell that I had used low fat cheese.

Vegetarian Lasagna

  • 9 Whole Wheat Lasagna Sheets
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 packaged frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup shredded gouda
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  1. Follow package instructions for noodles.
  2. In a large pan over medium high heat, heat the oil then sautee the onions for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, cook until fragrant.
  3. Stir in the zucchini and mushrooms, cook until the zucchini starts to brown. Pour in the red wine. Scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan, then add the tomatoes. Season with salt pepper and spices. Let simmer 20-30 minutes.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, put together the cheese layer. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, yogurt and egg together. Stir in half the mozzarella and gouda, as well as the spinach.
  5. Once the sauce has cooked assemble the lasagna. Pour a bit of the sauce in the bottom of a large glass baking dish. Top with three sheets of lasagna. Pour half of the ricotta mixture over the lasagna sheets, top with a third of the remaining sauce. Place three more of the lasagna sheets, topped with the remaining ricotta mixture and another third of the sauce. Place the final lasagna sheets, topped with the remaining sauce, then cover with the remaining mozzarella, gouda and parmesan.
  6. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until the cheese is golden.
  7. Let set for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Chickpea and Tomato Stew

When I got the March issue of Food and Wine in the mail last week, I realized it had been forever since I did a Magazine Monday post. For those of you have not heard of it, Magazine Mondays are an informal blog event hosted (usually) by Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice. The goal is for us to actually make those magazine recipes we have book marked. I’m sure many of us have the same habits. When we get a new cookbook or food magazine we are filled with excitement, but they often end up in a pile or on a shelf, their potential unfulfilled.  Personally, I love to spend weekend afternoons curled up on the couch with a hot cup of coffee flipping through a magazine. I drool over the gorgeous images, enjoy the articles, and fold down all the pages with recipes I want to make. More often than not a magazine will end up with most of its pages folded. Yet somehow when it comes time to find a  new recipe my first stop is always the internet. I think its because I usually have an ingredient in mind before I look for the recipe, and googling “chicken legs” is a lot easier than searching through all my magazines for a good recipe. That’s why I appreciate Magazine Monday so much; it reminds me that food magazines are for more than just drooling over.

This months Food and Wine is full of healthy recipes, which made it even more motivating. As usual there were plenty of them that I wanted to try, but this one really caught my eye. The pictures was gorgeous ( I admit it, I tried to recreate it and failed), and I had all the ingredients on hand. No need to run to the grocery store to make this! It’s a really quick meal to put together, which I’m sure many people will appreciate. The leftovers were also great, so I feel pretty comfortable calling this a good make ahead dish. It’s got a great flavour combination, with ginger and cumin being the dominant flavours. I ate it the stew alone and on a bed of basmitti rice; it’s good both ways, but I preferred it with rice. The original recipe called for a paste to be made with garlic, ginger and jalepenos; as I didn’t have the jalepenos on hand I just omitted them and sauteed the ginger and garlic with the onion rather than making the paste.

Chickpea and Tomato Stew

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
  1. In a large skillet over high heat, add the oil and onions sauteeing until the onions are sizzling.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions start to brown.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add the cumin, coriander, and cayenne; cook for one minute to bring the flavours out of the spices.
  3. Add the tomatoes and water then simmer until thickened.
  4. Add the chickpeas and simmer for another 10 minutes so that the chickpeas take on the flavours on the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve topped with yogurt and cilantro over a bed of basmitti rice or with naan.

Enjoy!

Tempura and Soba Salad

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com

After missing last months Daring Cooks Challenge I was really excited to get to this one. I joined the Daring Cooks as a way to broaden my cooking horizons and push myself, and tempura is definitely new to me. In fact, I’ve never even tried it before. When I read the recipe I realized it’s basically just deep fried seafood and vegetables. My track record with deep frying is just so so, but I thought I could do this. I followed Lisa’s instructions to make the batter, then started heating the oil. Then the oil started to smoke well before the thermometer said the temperature was right. I started doubting the thermometer. That’s when the smoke detector went off. I turned off the heat, ran to the smoke detector and started waving a towel at it until it stopped. I took the battery out of the smoke detector then went back to work. My mistake in all this was that I didn’t check the temperature of the oil again after the smoke detector went off. I don’t think it was hot enough because both the shrimp and peppers were kind of soggy.

The moral of the story: take the battery out of the smoke detector before I start deep frying.

The second part of the challenge was to make a cold soba noodle salad. This part was less dramatic. I made the spicy dipping sauce to serve on the salad. I was a little disappointed with the sauce, I found it mostly tasted like soy sauce and sesame oil. Both are great flavours, bur I guess I was expecting something a little more complex.

Since I think I kind of failed at this challenge, I’m just going to paste the instructions exactly as written. My tips and changes are only useful if you like soggy deep fried foods.

Soba Noodles:

Ingredients
2 quarts (2 Liters) water + 1 cup cold water, separate
12 oz (340 g) dried soba (buckwheat) noodles (or any Asian thin noodle)

Directions:

Cooking the noodles:

  1. Heat 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the noodles a small bundle at a time, stirring gently to separate. When the water returns to a full boil, add 1 cup of cold water. Repeat this twice. When the water returns to a full boil, check the noodles for doneness. You want to cook them until they are firm-tender. Do not overcook them.
  2. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse well under cold running water until the noodles are cool. This not only stops the cooking process, but also removes the starch from the noodles. This is an essential part of soba noodle making. Once the noodles are cool, drain them and cover them with a damp kitchen towel and set them aside allowing them to cool completely.

Spicy Dipping Sauce:

Ingredients
¾ cup 70gm/2½ oz spring onions/green onions/scallions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (4 ⅔ gm) (0.16 oz) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1/8 gm) (0.005 oz) English mustard powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grape-seed oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil (if you can’t find this just omit from recipe.)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste – roughly 1/3 a teaspoon of each

Directions:

1. Shake all the ingredients together in a covered container. Once the salt has dissolved, add and shake in 2 tablespoons of water and season again if needed.

Tempura

Ingredients
1 egg yolk from a large egg
1 cup (240 ml) iced water
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) plain (all purpose) flour, plus extra for dredging
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) cornflour (also called cornstarch)
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (2½ gm) (0.09 oz) baking powder
oil, for deep frying preferably vegetable
ice water bath, for the tempura batter (a larger bowl than what will be used for the tempura should be used. Fill the large bowl with ice and some water, set aside)

Directions:

  1. Place the iced water into a mixing bowl. Lightly beat the egg yolk and gradually pour into the iced water, stirring (preferably with chopsticks) and blending well. Add flours and baking powder all at once, stroke a few times with chopsticks until the ingredients are loosely combined. The batter should be runny and lumpy. Place the bowl of batter in an ice water bath to keep it cold while you are frying the tempura. The batter as well as the vegetables and seafood have to be very cold. The temperature shock between the hot oil and the cold veggies help create a crispy tempura.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan or a wok. For vegetables, the oil should be 320°F/160°C; for seafood it should be 340°F/170°C. It is more difficult to maintain a steady temperature and produce consistent tempura if you don’t have a thermometer, but it can be done. You can test the oil by dropping a piece of batter into the hot oil. If it sinks a little bit and then immediately rises to the top, the oil is ready.
  3. Start with the vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, that won’t leave a strong odor in the oil. Dip them in a shallow bowl of flour to lightly coat them and then dip them into the batter. Slide them into the hot oil, deep frying only a couple of pieces at a time so that the temperature of the oil does not drop.
  4. Start with the vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, that won’t leave a strong odor in the oil. Dip them in a shallow bowl of flour to lightly coat them and then dip them into the batter. Slide them into the hot oil, deep frying only a couple of pieces at a time so that the temperature of the oil does not drop.
  5. Place finished tempura pieces on a wire rack so that excess oil can drip off. Continue frying the other items, frequently scooping out any bits of batter to keep the oil clean and prevent the oil (and the remaining tempura) from getting a burned flavor.
  6. Serve immediately for the best flavor, but they can also be eaten cold.

Enjoy!


French Lentils with Feta

I had a bit of a bloggers dilemma while considering writing this post. This is one of my favourite meals, it’s easy to put together, it’s made entirely from pantry items, and it’s delicious. So why would I hesitate?

Well, it ain’t sexy. I stuck a parley sprig garnish on it because while I was taking the pictures all I could think was “man, that’s brown”. Brown food is a tough sell. What does sells in the food blogging world is dessert. If you need proof  have a look at the FoodBuzz Top 9 on any given day; it’s heavily slanted towards sweets, but honestly who can eat that much sugar and maintain any semblance of health?

Don’t get me wrong, I love dessert, but most of what I eat is more along the lines of this meal. Simple, healthy, and still delicious. So I decided to share my boring lentil recipe with you, even though it won’t spike my traffic, because it’s good, and I love it, and you should try it.

French Lentils with Feta

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup French Lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • feta, crumbled
  • parsley to garnish
  • brown rice to serve with
  1. In a pot over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, cooking until fragrant.
  2. Add the lentils and vegetable broth. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.
  3. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the lentils until cooked (about  to minutes)
  4. Serve over brown rice, topped with feta and parsley. Don’t skimp on the feta, it makes the meal.

Enjoy!

Simple, Comforting, Delicious: Roast Chicken

It’s amazing how quickly stuff can accumulate. I’ve been in my current condo since 2006. It was my first place so all I had when I moved in were the basics. My budget was pretty tight in the beginning, so I stayed with the basics for awhile. As time went on and I got more comfortable, I started buying some of those “nice to have” things. Then I started buying the “don’t really need by it’s so darn cute” things. Now as I’m decluttering and simplifying for my next move, I’ve realized that I’m bursting at the seams with stuff.

I know most of it is unnecessary, but just putting things in a box is difficult. It’s easy to become attached to stuff. Memories and emotions get all mixed up with possessions. I know that by choosing to sacrifice square footage in order to be in a better location, I’ve also made the choice to simplify. I need to start embracing that.

Simplicity can be a very good thing, like this one pan meal of roast chicken and vegetables. Low on effort and dirty dishes but high in flavour, this is one of my favourite things to make when life gets a little too hectic. Just chop up some root vegetables, toss them with oil and pour them in a pan, put some seasoned chicken on top and roast. I used chicken legs, but if you’re feeding a crowd a whole chicken be used in the exact same way, just use a deeper pan.

Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

  • Chicken Legs
  • Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Carrots, cut into chunks
  • Leeks, cleaned and sliced into large pieces
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Put the potatoes, carrots and leeks in a pan. Drizzle with some olive oil, then season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss until the vegetables are evenly coated ( I used my hands)
  3. Season the chicken legs with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Coat with a small amount of oil, then sprinkle with paprika.
  4. Place in the oven and roast for about 40 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and the chicken is cooked through. (Test the chicken by piercing it with a knife and seeing if the juices run clear)

Enjoy!

Roasted White Vegetable Soup

I haven’t been able to find the time to write more than one blog post a week lately, for that I apologize. The biggest reason for this is that I’m about to put my condo up for sale and I’ve been running around taking care of last minute things to get the place showing ready. My real estate gave me a list of things to do, she said there wasn’t that much, yet it seems to be taking all my time. I can’t imagine what having a lot to do would be like.

This weekend I removed all the caulking from my bathtub and redid it. Caulking is not as much fun as it sounds. Removing it is long and tedious work, and applying it is a lot harder than the youtube videos make it seem. Thankfully I had a nice bowl of soup waiting for me when I was done with the silicone-ey mess.

I had seen this recipe on Tartlette a year ago and it stayed in the back of my mind all this time. This weekend’s deep freeze seemed like the perfect setting for it. The soup is thick and creamy, even though there is no cream. Roasting the vegetables gives them a great almost caramelized flavour. It was a wonderfully soothing meal.

I also made the polenta croutons she recommends from Lisa’s Kitchen. I generally don’t like polenta, but a corn flavoured crunch really appealed to me. I followed the recipe and used cayenne, but I think these would also be great with rosemary or thyme. The croutons lost their crunchiness after a day, so if you make them, eat them all fast!

Roasted White Vegetable Soup

  • 1 Cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 celery root, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 L low sodium vegetable stock
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place the vegetables, onion and garlic on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast vegetables for 40 minutes.
  3. Transfer roasted vegetables to a large soup pot. Cover with stock. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender puree soup, or allow to cool and pour into a regular blender to puree (may have to be done in batches)
  5. Serve with polenta croutons.

Enjoy!