I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Creamy Vegetable and Rice Soup

It has been a big month for me. The five year anniversary a few weeks ago, and then last week was a big birthday for me--30.

I know a lot of people freak out a little about beginning a new decade of their life as they get older, but I have felt pretty good about the transition to my 30's. Maybe I'm not exactly in my career of choice, but I do have a good job, a truly special, incredible husband, am surrounded by wonderful friends, and am living in one of the best cities on earth. Hard to be upset by that.

To celebrate the big day, I decided I wanted to do more than just get together at a bar with friends. So Joe and I planned out 3 days worth of celebrations. Day 1 we took the Metro North to the Appalachian Trail stop. Literally the train drops you off right on the trail. We spent the day hiking and taking in the gorgeous fall folliage and weather with some college friends. Then we all took the train back to Brooklyn for some margaritas and Mexican food.
My hiking buddies and I at the tiny train station.

Day 2 started with a 10 mile run with Joe. Followed by lunch at Tom's Diner (still one of my favorite restaurants in the city) and then we went on to Etsy's Craft Night, where we made paper mache masks. After the crafting we ended up at reBar in Dumbo where we met up with a bunch of great friends and drank the night away.

Day 3 was mostly spent on the couch--recovering. :) But finally we roused ourselves enough to get out for our final birthday experience: dinner at Torrisi Italian Specialties. This is an Italian restaurant located near Little Italy and Chinatown and is incredibly creative and an overall wonderful dining experience. Each night there is only one menu--you don't get to chose what you eat (except for a choice between entrees). We also had the option to add on some oysters--which we did. It was one of the most interesting and delicious meals I have had in a long time. I was most surprised by a dish with a smoked eggplant broth and by how wonderful the little plate of desserts was (flag cookies, cannoli, truffles, butternut squash squares--all sounds straight-forward, but they were packed with flavor). Overall, a pretty successful 30th birthday.
Torrisi Italian Specialties
The Menu.
The following day was one for recovery and simplicity. So we enjoyed this soup.

(Just a heads-up: It does have a light layer of oil on the top after finishing which you can skim off (or avoid mostly by straining the cooked veggies before adding the stock) but other than the for look of the dish it is unnecessary.)

Creamy Vegetable and Rice Soup
about 6 servings

1 TB cooking oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 TB tomato paste
2 TB chopped fresh parsley
1/2 t. dried tarragon
32 oz. chicken broth
1 c. minute brown rice
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook until they are just tender, about 10-12 minutes or so. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Then add the tomato paste, parsley and tarragon and again cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn the heat to high and add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then add the rice, cover, and lower the temperature to allow the soup to simmer for about 10 minutes. Then remove the lid from the pan and add in the mushrooms. Cook for about 8 minutes, allowing the mushrooms to cook through. (If skimming the fat off the top of the soup, now is a good time to do so). Then add the heavy cream and turn up the heat to allow to simmer, stirring constantly, for about 10 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. 


That Girl said...

Happy Belated 30th! Sounds like a great way to spend it - with food and friends.

Mary said...

mmm...this sounds awesome!!! What a fun and wonderful way to hit your 30s full on!!!