Culinary Quest #2 – Garbanzo Bean Soup

When I was little, my mom used to treat my sister and me to a rare visit at an upscale Spanish restaurant. They had the best garbanzo bean soup and pumpernickel bread in the world!  My mom also loved their flan (I couldn’t get past its texture). Actually, those three things are all I knew they offered.  I didn’t even know they had a menu because she never asked for one. Why? Too pricey. I was an adult before I knew they had things like paella, seafood, and chicken & rice. That’s okay, because their soup and bread was the best.

After my husband and I got married, we moved into our one-bedroom apartment while working our way through college. I missed the taste of my childhood – including the garbanzo bean soup. So, I set out on a culinary quest to recreate it. After much experimenting, I did!

It’s super easy and freezes well.  Hope you like it, too.

Kristi’s Garbanzo Bean Soup

1 bag               dry garbanzo beans/chick peas (same thing)

1 large            onion (sweet); diced

1 bag               frozen (or fresh) mixed fresh pepper strips (red, green & yellow); diced 

2 pkgs            Turkey Polish Kielbasa links, fully cooked; sliced into bite-sized pieces (I use Butterball brand – no MSG)

2 boxes         chicken broth (I use Wolfgang Puck’s all natural stock) – 32oz each

1 box              beef broth (Wolfgang’s) – 32oz

1T                    dried parsley

Directions:

1. Soak beans for 3 hrs in a large bowl of water (enough to cover beans while absorbed)

2. Drain beans & discard water

3. Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook for 5hrs on low then 2 hrs on high (or until beans are soft and onions are translucent)

<You can also soak the beans overnight and reduce cooking time to 5 hrs on low>


Culinary Quest #1 – Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

Yeah!  It’s Saturday!  A day for exhaling, maybe sleeping in a little, no make-up, running shoes, and hopefully doing something you really enjoy amid projects and work.  Two things I enjoy are baking and cooking – depending on if my mood is sweet or savory or both!

I was in the grocery store yesterday and a huge display of strawberries caught my eye and smelled so good.  It’s great when produce hits its peak season because the price drops!

Every spring, my family looks forward to a special treat – homemade strawberry shortcake trifle.  I just couldn’t resist those small, red juicy treats begging me to take them home yesterday, so trifle here we come!  Thought I’d share our version of this classic spring & summer dessert:

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle (serves about 12)

5           quarts of strawberries; washed, de-stemmed & cut in half (reserve the biggest, best berry uncut w/stem)

3/4c    sugar

3T        flour or cornstarch

1           angel food cake or individual sponge cakes

12oz   whipped topping

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Directions for the sauce:

Place 2 quarts of berries in a sauce pot, covered, on low/med heat until they begin to boil. Stir occasionally.

Once they begin to boil, turn heat to low, remove lid, and cook until they have thickened a bit.

Remove from heat and beat the flour or cornstarch into the cooked berries with an electric mixer until smooth.

Put the sauce pot back on low heat and cook until thick. Stir occasionally.

Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cold (at least an hour).

Assembly:

Cut the angel food cake (or sponge cakes) into cubes.

Layer 1/3 of the cake in the bottom of a trifle bowl or large clear serving bowl.

Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the cake.

Add 1/2 of remaining fresh, halved strawberries.

Add 6oz of whipped topping in large dollops.

Repeat layers, finishing with whipped topping.

Taking the whole, reserved berry, cut the berry in slices – not all the way through – just to the stem.  Fan the berry’s slices on top.

The sauce is also great on pancakes, waffles, over ice cream, etc.  Frozen strawberries can be used for the sauce if fresh is not available.  Other berries can be substituted.

Have a sweet day!
Kristi