Diane Prather: Soup's on the menu

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Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.

— This week's soup recipes are courtesy of Nancy Hettinger and Debbie Taylor, of Craig.

The first, "Italian Vegetable Soup," makes 2 1/2 quarts. The ingredients are: 1 pound bulk Italian sausage, 2 cups chopped onion, 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic, seven cups of water, 4 medium carrots, pared and sliced, 1 28-ounce can of tomatoes, undrained and broken up, 2 tablespoons of Wyler's or Steero Beef-flavored Instant Bouillon, 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, 1 1/2 cups coarsely-chopped zucchini (Nancy also uses yellow squash) 1 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans (Nancy uses Italian green beans instead) and 1 cup cooked Creamette Rotini or elbow macaroni (Nancy says no more than 1 cup).

In a large kettle, brown the sausage, onion and garlic. Nancy likes to form the sausage into little balls, but she says you can crumble it. Pour off the fat after browning and add the water, carrots, tomatoes, bouillon, Italian seasoning and pepper. Nancy uses instant bouillon.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add zucchini, beans and rotini. Cover; cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rotini is tender. Refrigerate leftovers.

"Broccoli cheese soup" makes about 2 quarts. You'll need: 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/4 cup margarine or butter, 1/4 cup unsifted flour, 3 cups of water, 2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and well drained, 4 teaspoons Wyler's or Steero Chicken-flavor Instant Bouillon or 4 chicken-flavor bouillon cubes, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce; 3 cups or 12 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese and 2 cups, or 1 pint, coffee cream or half and half.

In a large kettle, cook onion in the margarine until tender. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in water, then broccoli, bouillon and Worcestershire.

Over medium heat, cook and stir until thickened and broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes. Add cheese and cream. Cook and stir until cheese melts and soup is hot. Do not boil. Refrigerate leftovers.

Six cups, or about 1 1/4 pounds chopped, fresh broccoli can be substituted for frozen.

Thanks so much, Nancy and Debbie.

Thoughts about broccoli turn to cabbage and cauliflower and thus a story about our 2007 garden.

We always grow lots of cabbage. This year, cabbage bedding plants were scarce, but I finally found some at a nursery. The plants looked like cabbage, and in the beginning they grew like cabbage. However, my husband, Lyle, eyed them suspiciously.

He didn't think they looked like cabbage. I thought maybe it was a different type.

As spring turned to summer, it was pretty apparent that something was amiss. The supposed cabbage plants grew taller and taller. To date, they are at least 2 feet tall with gorgeous long leaves. Lyle, who is lots more observant than I, found little bunches of green cauliflower heads down inside some of the plants. Whether it matures remains to be seen.

I'm waiting to hear your recipes, comments and stories. Send them to me at P.O. Box 415, Craig, 81626 or call me at 824-8809.

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