Diane Prather

Diane Prather

Diane Prather: A new take on vegetable hamburger soup

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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.

— Isn't it great when a cook can adjust recipe ingredients to accommodate the family's preferences? That's what Erma Ozbun did with the Vegetable Hamburger Soup recipe that appeared in the Sept. 14 column.

Erma called me last week to tell me that she made a triple batch of the soup for a family gathering, and they all enjoyed it. She told me about some of the changes she made in the recipe, too.

First, a "replay" of the recipe so the changes will make more sense. The soup ingredients are: 1 pound of ground beef, cooked until it loses its red color; 1 cup sliced or chopped celery (and some chopped leaves); 1 small to medium onion (to taste), chopped; 2 cups, cubed raw potatoes; 2 medium carrots, sliced thin; 1/4 to 1/3 cup raw rice (depending on how thick you want the soup; 2 small cans tomato sauce; 6 cups water; 2 teaspoons salt, and a dash of pepper (to taste).

Put all of the ingredients into a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook about an hour, or until the vegetables are tender.

Erma added 3 cans of chicken broth because she tripled the recipe, used diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, and substituted raw barley for the rice.

Because my husband, Lyle, likes barley, we decided to try it in place of the rice when I made the soup the following day. It was good, but we agreed that we liked the rice better. If you try this soup recipe, let me know what you think.

Thanks so much, Erma.

Awhile back, I was asked if my recipes are adjusted for high altitudes. I'm ashamed to write that I really never thought about it (except where canning is concerned). So, I called Elisa Shackleton at Moffat County Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. She said altitude can make a difference when cooking.

I went by the office and picked up "High Altitudes: Food Preparation Guide," a pamphlet prepared by Patricia Kendall, of the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. The pamphlet contains a lot of helpful information about why foods prepared at elevations above 3,000 feet may require changes in time, temperature and recipe.

There's information about food preservation, candy-making, deep-fat frying, cakes made with shortening, and more. I always wondered why my mother punched her bread dough down twice, instead of the one time called for in the recipe.

Now I know.

According to the information in the pamphlet, high altitudes shorten the length of rising time for bread dough. The flavor of bread depends partially on the length of rising time. So, punching the dough down twice gives more time for the flavor to develop.

More on high altitude cooking in further columns.

This helpful pamphlet is free at the Moffat County CSU Extension Office.

Send your recipes, comments, and stories to me at Box 415, Craig 81626 or call me at 824-8809.

Next Week: The Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehabilitation residents share their spicy popcorn recipe.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2007. All rights reserved.

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