Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gypsy Soup

The first of the Fast Food 4: Beyond the Basics recipes I'm making is the Gypsy Soup. 

The Ingredients:

6 cups vegetable broth (home made without salt preferable)

2 cans rinsed and drained garbanzo beans (or 3 cups if made from scratch)
4 cups diced cooked sweet potatoes
1 pound bag frozen mixed pepper strips
1 pound bag frozen diced onions

The spices Jeff uses in this recipe are:

dried sweet basil
chili powder or cayenne pepper
smoked paprika
garlic powder

Alright, so I lied in another post about this DVD - this IS another dump-and-heat meal. Then again, many soups are.

The broth:

Earlier in the DVD, Jeff showed how he makes his own vegetable broth using potatoes, carrots, onions and celery. Try to keep the volume of each veggie identical. For instance, 2 large potatoes and 4 medium carrots might come out to the same volume, as might 2 large onions and 3 large stalks of celery (tops included). Add more than enough water to cover almost to the top of the pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Let cool, remove the veggies (save to eat for lunch or whatever), and there's your simple home-made salt free vegetable broth.

Sweet potatoes:

Jeff found bags of frozen, diced sweet potatoes to use for this meal. The only frozen sweet potatoes I've ever seen were as fries or tots, not plain old potatoes only, so I'm using 3 sweet potatoes that I had previously cooked and cooled. He says it takes about 4 cups of potatoes for this recipe.

Pepper and onions:

Jeff uses separate bags of each of these veggies, and that's what I have on hand today, but in the future I think I may just grab 2 bags of Bird's Eye pepper and onion mix to use because we like our veggies cut a bit chunkier.

The Spices:

He seems to be very conservative in the use of the spices in this video, shaking maybe 1/2 teaspoon of each over the top. Sprinkle on as much garlic as you like, but not too much or it'll be overwhelming. As with any recipe, adjust the spices to your own liking before serving.

Frozen veggies in general:

Not in this particular video but in another on this DVD he mentions that he lets his frozen vegetables defrost during the day before using them to make these dishes. That's why the recipes do cook up in the 10 minutes he advertises these meals to be. At least now I know I'm not crazy because I have to let these SNAP meals cook much longer than 10 minutes all these years because I found not only are they too hard for our liking but many times still frozen solid. This is info he should have mentioned in the very early post on the McDougall forums about his Simple Nutritious & Affordable Plan recipes. 

Here it is with all the ingredients added into the pot:

As it heats up, if you stir it pretty frequently it gets creamier, as the sweet potatoes start to break down.

It was . . . eh. My husband and I looked at each other after the first few spoonfuls and shrugged. He said the only thing good about it is all the peppers. I said the peppers seemed totally out of place and didn't fit with the other tastes. I used just a small shake of cinnamon, less than 1/8 teaspoon, because we're not cinnamon lovers. I don't even put it in pumpkin- or applesauce-oatmeal, and when a baking recipe calls for it I omit it completely a lot of times. Neither of us could detect the other spices by taste, but they did make my husband go into a sneezing fit. That happens every time he eats something with chili powder lately, even when the amount is infinitesimal. 

Poor guy - it's been 9 1/2 months since his CABG surgery, but when he has his sneezing fits (10 or more explosive sneezes in a row) he still needs to hold his cardiac pillow or it feels as if his chest is ripping open. He claims that's only a slight exaggeration as to how it feels. I hope to never find out for myself, BTW. We've shared a lot of experiences in our 36 1/2 years of marriage, but if I play my cards right, that will never be one of them.

Back to the soup. He had 2 big bowls (3+ cups each) with a lot of bread for dunking, and I had a smaller bowl, and we still have about 4 cups left over, which he said he'll finish off for lunches the rest of the week. We both agree that if this soup is never be made again neither of us would miss it. They can't all be winners.

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