All Recipes Need Tweaking

Zucchini SoupWhen it comes to cooking, I tend to categorize people into two groups: those who need a recipe and those who cannot follow them.

I happen to fall into the latter category, which is the main reason I don’t bake. Call it my rebellious side, creativity, imagination or the only-child-syndrome, but bottom line is that I hate having to follow a recipe. Following a recipe makes me anxious, edgy and irritable. Cooking for me is a way to decompress and get away from all the things that need to get done… in university this was my way of procrastinating. However, I do enjoy reading them, thumbing through recipe books and let my mouth water at the fabulous pictures that open our taste buds to the recipes on its opposite page.

One of my favorite things to make is soup, and I make all kinds of soup. I make one batch per week and they come in handy as last minute appetizers or even as a quick meal. I have my classics that are fool proof and also remind me of my childhood. So last night I was gearing up for a new soup to potentially add to my repertoire and unlike most other experiences of my soup making days, I actually tried to follow this recipe for a shredded zucchini and pasta soup taken from The Soup Bible published by Lorenz Books in 1999.

There is one thing that cook books are good at and also tend to have in common: keeping secrets. I had been reluctant for a very long time to not share some of my “signature” recipes because I wanted to be the one and only creator. Then I started realizing that being the one and only creator does not limit itself to the recipe. Sure, if I make something up it is nice to be remembered by it, but each person brings a different essence to each recipe and that is what makes each dish uniquely memorable.

This pasta and shredded zucchini soup was one of those moment where I failed to uncover the secret from the beginning. Pasta 101 to all: if you cook it too long it gets soggy! I know, I know… sounds unbelievable right? But I swear it’s true. So, the recipe in the book goes “add pasta and shredded zucchini to boiling broth, cook for 7 minutes and serve”. Only do this if you are planning on serving all the soup at that instance. I made this soup ahead of time so the pasta ended up soaking for over an hour before I actually curled up on my couch with a chick-flick and steaming mug of shredded zucchini and soggy pasta soup. Although it was tasty, it was also soggy. Next time I will not add the pasta at the same time as the zucchini. Next time I will store the soup without cooking the pasta. And, next time I will only add the pasta when I am ready to steam up a cup.

This is my version, it takes less than 30 minutes to make, serves two and is best enjoyed fresh out of the pot.

Shredded Zucchini and Pasta Soup

  • 1 medium onion – chopped
  • 1 zucchini – shredded
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • ½ cup of soup pasta – I used farfalline
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a pot with a drizzle of olive oil, add the chopped onions, salt and pepper. Sauté the onions until they get a hint of color. Add the white balsamic vinegar to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add the shredded zucchini and stir. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender. Adjust seasoning.

To serve you can dress up the soup with a spoonful of Greek style yogurt, chives and a slice of baguette bread drizzled with olive oil.

FYI, I am offering personalized service to all readers: if you send me a recipe, I will do the secret breakdown for you!

To eat or not to eat?

Kristel's Kitchen 1That is the question… but the answer is and always will be to eat!

In this blog I will share my recipes and experiences in the kitchen. I also aim to include tools and techniques, tips for keeping a “green” and clean kitchen, how to reuse leftovers, as well as any bits and bites that may come to mind. I firmly believe that everyday cooking can be low maintenance, while still keeping that high maintenance flair.

With this I hope to ignite curiosity for experimenting in your own kitchen.