And I’m back………after a 3 week hiatus. I know, I know. It’s not like me to go MIA with no explanation but I’m afraid it couldn’t be helped.
Things have been just a wee bit stressful at Casa de Epstein. Translation, this is the most stressed out I’ve ever been.
In the last three weeks, my grandfather and my aunt passed away. My husband was hospitalized for a bacterial staph infection that we have no idea how he got but managed to infect his blood and some muscle tissue. He went undiagnosed for five excruciating days. After spending a week in the hospital he is still on IV antibiotics and we’re trying to wipe this sucker out.
I am over the moon to report that my husband is on the road to recovery. The road just happens to be long. Really long. And because it just wasn’t enough stress, my parents happened to move while all of this was going down. And although they only moved a few miles, and the move didn’t stress me out, my parents and I are really close. My mom and I are each others biggest support. We both had so much going on in our own lives we weren’t really there to help one another through it all. That was so tough words won’t cut it. In fact it’s tearing me up just writing about it so let’s move on……….
Everything that has transpired in the past few weeks has left our family misplaced, tired, confused and now trying to regain some sort of normalcy. So here I am on a Sunday evening, dead tired, attempting to rejoin my world as I knew it.
The easiest way for me to “act” normal is to cook. It’s my grounding force and I’m at my calmest and most secure standing in front of my stove. It’s something I’ve missed these past weeks and I’m so happy to be back cooking and sharing what I love most.
I don’t know what it is about soup but it might be one of my favorite things to cook. There is something so cathartic about it for me. Taking the simplest of ingredients and building layers until you have a delicious meal in one pot. It is the ultimate comfort food. The bonus is that we get multiple meals out of a pot of soup and trust me when I tell you that was much needed over the past week.
This soup is based on my favorite minestrone recipe from a vegetarian cookbook my mom gave me years ago. I didn’t have all the vegetables on the ingredient list so I improvised with what I had on hand. The result was nothing short of spectacular. The two shining stars were the cherry tomatoes and the butternut squash ravioli I used in place of regular pasta. This soup is hearty, full of late summer produce, and really hits that comfort spot.
There are no adornments here. No cheese or pesto stirred in at the end. Just a simple soup served with a piece garlic bread made out of a hot dog bun. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes…….
So is this soup really healing? Without a doubt yes. It was made over tears and eaten over laughter. I shared it with my husband and it fed my soul.
Mountain Mama’s Healing Soup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 head white cabbage,cored, shredded thinly
- 4 carrots, diced
- 1 zucchini, quartered, sliced
- 1/2 head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 oz dried squash ravioli, cooked, drained
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
- 1-2 pints whole cherry tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
In a heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion, until soft. Stir in the garlic, cabbage, carrots and zucchini. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, stock and bay leaf. Gently simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cooked squash ravioli and fresh herbs. Heat through for 5-10 more minutes. Just before serving, add the cherry tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste.