My little family and I took a trip several weekends ago to a pick-your-own-vegetables farm. It was a great time. Our little one loved picking "geen beans" and "sqash" and "totatoes". We bounced along on a hayrack ride between the fields, and she loved that too. Mommy and Daddy loved picking well over $100 worth of fresh produce for only $30. We seriously picked a LOT. We have an entire rubbermaid container full of butternut squash, another one of acorn squash, another one full of corn and potatoes, and a fridge full of tomatoes, green beans, carrots, onions, turnips, and beets. Grocery budget win! Anyway, I spent that week shucking corn, snapping beans, and chopping onions. As well as making spaghetti sauce from all the tomatoes. I used this basic recipe from Smitten Kitchen (genius!) for the tomato sauce: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/08/fresh-tomato-sauce/ I made a few minor modifications. I used tomato, olive oil, garlic, and onion, but I also added basil and a tablespoon or two of sugar. And salt of course. I also cheated and stretched my sauce a bit with a can of store bought spaghetti sauce. It turned out lovely and caramelized, with a beautiful, full bodied flavor. Unfortunately, my sink of tomatoes only turned out about 8 cups of sauce. Anyhow, I used two cups of that sauce as the base for this vegetable soup.
It gives it a depth of flavor that a simple can of crushed tomatoes (my usual go to) can't dream of competing with. Yum. Vegetable soup is a great recipe to personalize because of it's versatility. I used potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and corn. You can use literally any vegetable combination that floats your boat. I used ham with a combination of beef and chicken broth. You can use ground beef, chicken, steak, or even shrimp, with any broth. Whatever your little heart desires. Here is my personal favorite combination. It's by far the best vegetable soup I've ever come up with, and will now be my stand by. I love the sweetness of the carrots and corn with the heartiness of potatoes. The caramelized hint of onions and cabbage with the slight acidity from the tomato sauce. The salty, smoky ham with the modest bite of the quinoa. Mmm, mmm, good. And on another note, I tried a bowl of it over some leftover mashed potatoes and carrots, and that was great too!