Fruitcake is my holiday heroin. I can't really keep it in the house because, every time I go into the kitchen, ostensibly to get a glass of water or throw out some trash, I pick at it. And by pick I mean eat an entire slice. Then I find a piece of paper on the living room floor or some lint in the laundry room and--you guessed it--it needs throwing out and I just *have* to go up to the kitchen. It got so bad last week that I wrapped what was left and gave it to Jerry to keep in the computer room when he was at home working. This was on a Monday. Tuesday morning, coffee mug in hand, I went in to "check my email" and--sad to say--devoured another slice. I didn't touch it the rest of the day but I woke feeling very poorly Wednesday morning and made the painful decision to toss the rest. Starving children be damned. So I've moved on to my holiday meth (pannetone). So far, so good.
I made soup today, really nice soup. It's tomato-ish, really quite healthy (if you're not watching your sodium), and full of yum. I offer it to you.
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp oil (your choice)
1 large can (I believe it's 46oz) vegetable juice
1 cup canned tomatoes (crushed, diced, doesn't matter)
1 cup water
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
3/4 small pasta (orzo, alphabets, nothing bigger)
2 cups frozen peas
Saute the onion in the oil, adding a pinch of salt, until soft. Add the juice, tomatoes, water, and mixed vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for about 20 mins, stirring on occasion (a really good excuse to visit the kitchen for fruitcake). Remove from heat and whiz until smooth using an immersion blender. You don't want any texture and the corn and green beans usually take some work. If you don't have an immersion blender, let the soup cool slightly then puree in batches in a regular blender and return to pan. Heat soup to boiling again and add pasta, following cooking time on package. When time is up turn off the heat and add the peas, stirring them through. The heat from the soup will be enough to cook the peas. Serve. Especially good with a loaf of soft Italian bread slathered with butter. Kerrygold Irish butter if you want a treat. A spinach salad on the side with some creamy Italian dressing would also be nice. You can get all your veggies out of the way in one fell swoop and enjoy cake for dinner.
I'm enjoying a little Gentleman Jack and ginger (ale) right now to celebrate the Winter Solstice. I highly recommend you do the same. Buon natale!