A foodblog can be an exacting mistress, a fact which several of my fellow bloggers have bemoaned of late. What at first seems like a fun little hobby actually takes a surprising amount of work and can quickly become all-consuming. When things are going well, your recipes are on point, your pictures look good and your readers are responding favourably and you feel like a million bucks. You start to think that you are pretty good at this, and you begin walking with a little swagger. But at other times, it can feel like something of a burden. You don’t feel like making anything, much less photographing and writing about it. Or you do feel like making things, but the results are less-than-stellar and not, as we say in my house, “blogworthy”. Suddenly, this little hobby of yours doesn’t seem like much fun, and that swagger in your walk is nowhere to be seen.
I had a lousy blogging week this past week. My photographs were ho-hum, my writing felt uninspired, and a few great recipe ideas resulted in non-blogworthy foods. In fact, just this morning I threw away a pan of brownies that were barely edible. Coconut flour foiled me again, but this time I was actually following someone else’s recipe. I’d tinkered with the flavourings, but that didn’t appear to be the problem. The recipe promised lovely fudgey brownies, but what I ended up with was dry and chalky, and required huge gulps of water to get down. Not exactly something I want to pass on to my readers.
Sometimes I get so focused on creating new, interesting dishes, I lose sight of what this blog is about – sharing my love of cooking and baking with anyone who cares to listen. So I am going back to basics and bringing you a time-honoured recipe, one that I’ve made so many times I could do it in my sleep. But it’s also really, really good. So good that my six-year old son requested it for his birthday dinner last week. He could have had whatever greasy, bad-for-you meal he wanted, but he chose this, a hearty, healthy soup that warms you right down to your toes.
Being that it contains tortellini, it’s not exactly low carb. For my portion, I skipped the pasta and added extra vegetables like zucchini and broccoli. And it was still wonderfully hearty and filling. And it really did warm me right down to my toes. And that, my friends, makes it blogworthy.
Tortellini and Kielbasa Soup adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2002
2 tbsp olive oil
16oz cooked kielbasa sausage, thinly sliced (turkey kielbasa is fine)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp dried pepper flakes
10 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 packaged frozen chopped spinach
2 cups cooked cannellini (canned is fine, but I prefer to use dried and cook them ahead of time. If using canned, be sure to drain and rinse them before adding)
1 12oz package cheese tortellini
salt and pepper to taste
Grated asiago or parmesan cheese for serving
Heat oil in large heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat. Add kielbasa and saute until browned, about 10 minutes. Add onion and continue to stir until onion is soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in cannellini and spinach and reduce heat to low. Simmer 4-5 minutes.
Stir in tortellini. Simmer until tender but firm, about 6 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a sprinkle of cheese on top.