What a perfect day to make a pot of soup and something that makes soup even better is a batch of homemade rolls or biscuits. Of course, a gloomy day requires something deliciously sweet, too! My freezer is filled with berries, so I grabbed a bag of blackberries to make a simple crumble. I'm still working with a limited kitchen ... right in the middle of the remodel awaiting counter tops ... so I haven't put dishes or foods back in their appropriate places. To tell the truth, I've forgotten which box contains my baking staples, so I had to improvise a little bit!
Let's begin with the scrumptious warm blackberry crumble. The blackberries in Southern Illinois last summer were as big as small eggs. For real! I froze bags containing 2 cups, because my smallest creations that I make for just 4 - 6 servings typically require that portion.
The recipe is simple. Place 2 cups of frozen berries in a baking dish and cover it with 1/2 to 1 cup of brown or granulated sugar. These berries were sweet, so I used 1/2 cup of brown sugar. To make the topping, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar with 1/2 cup of self-rising flour and another 1/2 cup of chopped nuts. Sprinkle this over the berries. Cut 1/2 a stick of butter into pats and place over the topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. If your fruit is fresh, it will only take 30 minutes. Serve it warm with ice cream or whipped cream. *Notice that this crumble does not include oatmeal ... and you can make it even better by cutting 4 ounces of cream cheese into cubes and sticking it down into the crumble topping before you bake it.
Now, let's talk about vegetable soup! Hopefully you have a meat market where you can still buy beef soup bones or neck bones. Those make an incredible base for soup ... and yes, I flavor my vegetable soup with a little meat. Back at the time I cooked for a family, I kept a freezer container filled with leftover vegetables from other meals. I'd just keep adding to it until it was full ... and then I'd make soup. I don't cook that much anymore, so my soup isn't a pot filled with leftovers!
I started today's pot of soup with a beef neck bone and browned it in a little olive oil. Then I added chopped celery, onion, carrot and turnip with enough water to barely cover it. I added some Basil and Rosemary ... and a Bay Leaf. I let this simmer with the lid on, until the carrots were fork tender. Then I added 2 cans of stewed tomatoes, a can of corn and a can of lima beans. If you have frozen vegetables, you should certainly use those. I include the juice from the cans of vegetables. Then for a little more flavor, I added a teaspoon of ham base (bouillon powder) and plenty of pepper. The bouillon powder contains plenty of salt, so no need to add more. There are lots of other vegetables that you can add. These just happen to be my favorites, and because I like to freeze some of the soup, I don't include potatoes. I don't like the texture of potatoes after they have been frozen!
The bread machine loaded with cheesy bread is something I like to prepare with soup ... but my Breadman is packed in a box someplace in this house! However, I had a box of Red Lobster's cheesy biscuit mix within reach, so that is what I made. They were a great choice!
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