Stirring the pot for more soup please, plus how to use up gift of goat cheese

Good morning, autumn visitors. The first request, if not time-sensitive, is cheese-sensitive. Yeast of the Ridge received a large log of goat cheese as a gift. "I just don't like goat cheese by itself, but I am asking your readers for some good recipes for using goat cheese." Ideas are welcome here, as well as recipes.

(READ MORE: Pair watermelon with goat cheese, mint)


SOUP'S ON

Please continue to send your reflections and directions for the making of soups of all kinds. We've been stirring up the pot of benefits of, and recipes for, making soup, a topic raised first here by a college student. To add to the pot, here's a tip for a cookbook by Kathy Gunst that a reader, A.H.L., has recommended. It's "Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes To Make and Share."

This is one of Ms. L's favorite recipes from that collection, with a few changes of her own.

Minestrone Soup

2 medium leeks

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces

1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces (optional)

2 large celery stalks, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces

1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and chopped into ½-inch pieces

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

½ cup packed finely chopped fresh parsley (divided)

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons tomato paste

2 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces, or 2 cups good-quality canned crushed Italian tomatoes

1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional; see Just a Dash at the end of this column) plus 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

2 cups cooked white cannellini beans (canned beans should be drained, rinsed and redrained)

8 ounces cooked Yukon gold or russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces

6 cups vegetable stock

Pinch of red chili flakes

¼ cup very small soup pasta (Ms. L uses cooked orzo)

Trim off dark green section of leeks, and save for making vegetable stock. Halve the pale green and white sections lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water, pat dry and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces.

In large stockpot over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Add the leeks, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 6 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnips if using, celery, zucchini, rosemary and half of the parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

Turn the heat to medium, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. The vegetables should just be beginning to turn gold. Add the tomato paste, stir to coat the vegetables and cook another 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, Parmesan rind (if using), beans and potatoes, and stir well.

Turn the heat to high, add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, add red chili flakes, and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as needed.

If the soup is not as flavorful as you like, remove the lid and simmer it over medium heat for another 10 minutes.

Add pasta to soup, and simmer for 10 minutes more, or until the pasta is al dente, or just barely tender. Remember that you will be reheating the soup, so you want to slightly undercook the pasta. Cooking the pasta directly in the soup will work only if you are using a very small shape.

If using orzo or a larger shape, boil separately for about 7 minutes, drain and add to the soup. Remove rind from the soup.

Ladle soup into mugs or bowls. Top with remaining parsley and some grated Parmesan cheese.


DESSERT'S READY

In the most recent collection from Roseann Strazinsky, these loaves comprise the grand finale ... at least for now.

(READ MORE: Two rich cakes, a rainy-day soup and chicken nostalgia on the menu)

Orange Streusel Loaves

Cake:

1 package Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Orange Supreme cake mix (reserve 2 tablespoons of mix for the streusel)

1 (3.4-ounce) box vanilla instant pudding and pie filling

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup oil

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 (9- by- 5- by 3-inch) loaf pans. Set aside.

Combine cake mix ingredients into large mixing bowl, and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour into the 2 prepared pans.

Streusel:

2 tablespoons reserved cake mix

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon softened butter or margarine

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Mix all ingredients together in small bowl, and drop spoonfuls evenly over the batter in the loaf pans, patting gently into batter. This way it won't be separated from the loaves when inverting them after being baked.

To bake cake:

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 15 minutes, then loosen sides from pan with knife if needed, and invert onto cooling rack. Then glaze the loaves (recipe follows) by drizzling over the cooled loaves evenly.

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 or more tablespoons orange juice or milk

Mix well.


JUST A DASH

This idea came from A.H.L. in her recommendation for the cookbook "Soup Swap."

"Real Parmesan cheese is so full of flavor that when I'm done grating it into soup, over salads or on top of pasta, I always save the rind. It is also packed with flavor. Cut it into 3 small pieces, toss them in a tightly sealed plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When making soup that calls for Parmesan cheese, pull out the frozen rind and add a piece to the soup. It infuses the soup with a meatiness and depth of flavor. Be sure to remove the rind with a slotted spoon before serving."

(READ MORE: Parmesan adds texture, flavor to this salmon dish)

We are grateful for your good taste, in bites and in pots large and small. Next week? Let's.


REQUESTS

-- Recipes using goat cheese

-- Soups of all kinds


TO REACH US

Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send, and know we cannot test the recipes printed here.

 Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

• Email: chattfare@gmail.com


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