After only sourcing vintage for years, it has been very exciting to choose a selection of new products to bring into the shop at The West End Garage. Similar to my approach when buying vintage, I simply buy my favorite new items to stock. I ask… Is this something I would want in my house? Is this something I truly love? Is this something I will be sad to see go? The answer should be yes! (Hello, turn of the century oak harvest table pictured below. I really, really love you! I will be sad to see you go but you deserve a good home.)
This approach to buying inventory is something that I have been reminded of lately and have found myself telling others who are just starting out. I think it is really important to love what you are selling. Don’t choose it or make it just because you “think” someone else will love it. Now granted, not everyone will have the same taste as you. For example, I have a growing collection of old ship captains, ahem. However, I believe the authenticity of your merchandise will show through when you are passionate about what you are selling. It’s hard to honestly sell something you don’t believe in.
With that said we’ve stocked a few choice cookbooks and gardening books to keep in line with the garden to table collection we have at The West End Garage. I am really excited about the line up. We have Deep-Rooted Wisdom, a new release authored by blogger Augustus Jenkins Farmer. I am about half way through this book and I’m loving the gardening tips, stories & characters.
People have asked me how I chose which books to carry. Well, I initially took the lead from a few tried and true favorites in my own kitchen stack of cookbooks and cocktail books.
The Kinfolk Table has since been added to that stack. It has quickly become a favorite for two reasons. One, the photography and stories are beautiful. Of course I love a good aesthetic! Two, the recipes are really approachable made with pantry staples that we pretty much always have on hand. Essentially the book lends new ideas with classic ingredients.
I have been inspired to make many of the soups and stews outlined in The Kinfolk Table. A few weeks ago I made the Wilted Greens & Potato Soup on page 287. I hadn’t thought to put kale in soup until this recipe.
Great idea. We loved it!
What is your favorite gardening or cookbook?
On a frigid cold day, like today ’round here, there’s nothing like hot spicy soup.
Tortilla soup, that is!
I adapted part of this recipe from Happy Herbivore (which I am a big fan of) but gave it my own spin.
It all started with a jar of salsa and a 15 oz can of pinto beans. Not the most glamorous ingredients in the world of eating fresh plant-based foods but the pantry choices were slim and we were in the midst of a snowstorm. So my friends, the two main ingredients came from a can and a jar. And I think it’s quite genius in a pinch.
Puree 1 cup of salsa, 1 cup of the beans with 1 cup of broth. Fortunately I made my favorite French Onion Soup the night before so I simply drained a cup of the flavorful broth from there.
Once blended into a creamy broth (you know how I love creamy soups, right?) I transferred into a stock pot. Adding a fresh diced mango, another half cup of salsa and a teaspoon of cumin.
I let the soup simmer on low while juicing mangoes.
The perfect drink companion to spicy tortilla soup.
The soup was served with feta cheese and Late July brand tortilla chips, which I also love. Yep, I go heavy on the feta.
There you have it, spicy tortilla soup in a bind. Super tasty and ready in under 30 minutes!
Let me add that in the future I am going to make this as a follow-up to Taco Tuesday. Usually there are diced tomatoes, peppers and more left over that I am going to try as a fresh substitute for the jarred salsa.
Hello! Hello! How was your Thanksgiving weekend? We were on the move for 4 days straight. I managed to steer clear from all of the mall madness and put in some serious time antiquing. More about that later this week…
Now that your Thanksgiving leftovers have ran out, I’ve got another tasty soup recipe for you. One of my favorite things about creating new recipes is naming them. Actually I feel this way about most creative projects. Once something new is produced, I love to step back, evaluate and then brand the package. With that said, I introduce you to my newest comfort food…Baked Potato Soup.
Can I let you in on a little secret though? It is not really baked at all. More like boiled and mashed. But Baked Potato Soup sounds better.
Start by peeling and washing a couple of pounds of potatoes. Place them in a large pot of boiling water.
While the potatoes are cooking, caramelize a large chopped onion in a separate pan.
Once the potatoes are soft, drain most of the water and combine with the onions. Blend with an immersion blend. Season with salt & pepper. Garlic is good too if you’d like. Basically season as you would mashed potatoes. Don’t stop there though! We’re making soup, remember? Now add a cup of stock for each pound of potato. This will thin it into a nice creamy potato soup base sans any heavy cream or dairy. Allow it to simmer on low-medium in the stock pot with the lid on.
At this point, you can add in vegetables of your choice like broccoli or asparagus to create a dairy free ‘cream of (fill in the blank) soup’. I took another approach in order to make this soup more personal and interactive.
Think Baked Potato Soup Bar.
I chopped and steamed fresh vegetables separately along with shredded cheese. The options are pretty much endless – carrots, avocado, broccoli, peas, mushrooms and even bacon if you want. Just don’t forget the cheese! It will melt right into the base of this dish – the warm baked potato soup.
I served my hearty Baked Potato Soup along with a berry smoothie filled with antioxidants. Yum!
You guys, SOUP! I seriously can’t get enough of homemade soup on these chilly late fall days. I have been making all kinds over here. But my all time favorite has always been French Onion Soup. Sometimes I just crave that salty tavern staple but don’t want to head to order it. Surprisingly I usually have enough ingredients in the house to throw it together. I have made it a few times now this month and we’re not sick of it yet! I have got it down to 30 minutes because when you crave French Onion Soup, you crave it now.
There are a lot of recipes out there calling for all sorts of seasonings like bay leaves, garlic, thyme, etc. While these are all great, I skip them completely and use one simple ingredient. Wait for it…
To make 4 servings, I simply chop a vidalia onion into about 1 inch slices. I place them all into a frying pan with a dash of olive oil and the secret sweetener that my friend clued me into… brown sugar! Approximately 2 tablespoons should do the trick. This will help caramelize your onions in no time on medium-high heat.
While the onions are sweetening, I put the broth on high. I use about 4 cups to one large onion in a stock pot. When the water boils, the onions are ready to be transferred into the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and all the onions and broth to tango.
In the meantime, prepare your Gruyère cheese. I prefer to cut them in long, thin slices.
For the bread in your soup, you can go in a few directions…
- You can simply use croutons.
- You can slice up French bread and pop it in the broiler for a minute or 2 to brown it.
- My favorite thing to do is use bread I already have – usually a whole grain of sorts. If I plan to make onion soup that day, I leave a few slices out to basically dry out. So glamorous letting your bread go stale, I know.
Now it’s time to put it all together. Place the bread in your crock. Ladle the soup in it. Drape the Gruyère cheese across the crock in sort of a Z. I find this gives the best cheese coverage. Pop it into the broiler for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts and lightly browns.
I finally did it.
Yep, I finally made my own healthy and light butternut squash soup. After hearing about my mom’s and mother-in-law’s versions. I decided to try my own spin and so Apple Butternut Squash Soup was born over here on a chilly October day.
It was simple, friends. There was barely anything left in the refrigerator except for a large butternut squash taunting me. Plus 3 golden apples – I can’t remember the variety. And 3 lonely, nearly forgotten about radishes. I know. Radishes. What do you do with these other than throw them in a salad? I found out that they taste pretty darn good in a warm creamy soup. Radishes seemed to give a little bit of bite where you might otherwise use an onion. An onion we didn’t have.
So that’s where I started. I chopped and peeled the squash, apples and radishes. Then boiled the chunks in a large sauce pan. Once soft I pureed them all in a blender.
Once the fruit and vegetables were a nice creamy consistency, I tossed them back in the empty sauce pan along with 16 ounces of vegetable stock and let simmer.
I seasoned with salt and pepper. A teaspoon of cinnamon, half teaspoon of ginger, quarter teaspoon of cloves and quarter teaspoon of thyme.
About 20 minutes later, we had this healthy soup for lunch!
Alongside the soup, I came up with a fantastic new smoothie that was a little bit more like dessert! It consisted of a banana, spoonful of peanut butter, spoonful of raw honey, 2 spoonfuls of vanilla Greek yogurt, kale and about half a cup of coffee.
Yum! It was a mid-day energy boost. And surprisingly, the flavor complemented the Apple Butternut Squash Soup so well. We’ll call this one the Java Green Smoothie.