#4: Rainbow Soup & Family Dinner

My brother, my sister-in-law and my adorable little niece (and soon to be 2 nieces!) all live in Boise, ID. I am definitely not thrilled about being states away from them, but it does make it extra extra special when we do get to spend time with together. For the month of April, I had the opportunity to soak in moments with my niece and sister-in-law because they stayed in California for the whole month! Woohoo! It was amazing, but made it that much harder when they left :(

On Mondays, they got in the habit of coming over to Sean and my house for dinner and a beautiful walk downtown. The first week, I made everyone's (well, at least MOST peoples) favorite: Breakfast-for-dinner...oh yeah baby, complete with waffles, eggs, bacon, sausage, mimosas, THE WORKS! And for the second week, I thought I would try out one of the recipes Sean and I came to love while on our trip. We named it "Rainbow Soup."

Jumping from country to country (especially in Europe) meant we jumped from cuisine to cuisine which yielded a variety of grocery stores, ingredients, markets, etc. But, we found a set of ingredients that pretty much remained constant between each place we went to: vegetables, chicken stock, fresh herbs, pasta (or rice), canned tomatoes, and a loaf of bread...well that one was kind of hard to find in Asia! So, what do you make with those ingredients? Soup, of course! 

A lot of time, we would spend all/most of the day traveling to get to our destination so by the time we actually arrived to our AirBnb we weren't in much of a mood to go out on the town or cook up something extravagant so usually, we would pick up something quick (a cities version of street food whatever that may be) or, we would pick up ingredients to throw in the pot and make rainbow soup! With a glass of wine on the side ;) Plus, another benefit of rainbow soup was that it made for lots of leftovers that we could enjoy throughout our time in the city because...we were living that strict budget life so each meal we didn't go out for was more money we saved!

Each time we made rainbow soup, it differed a little bit depending on what vegetables were available and what our cooking situation looked like. Sometimes, all we had was a itty-bitty studio kitchen with a single hot-plate. Other times, we had a big kitchen with a beautiful gas stove and tons of room for chopping up all the veggies we bought! But, regardless, it was always somewhat similar: sauté the veggies and herbs in olive oil (we actually carried around a bottle of olive oil and a box of chicken bouillon cubes in our backpacks for the purpose of rainbow soup!), add the can of tomatoes, the chicken stock, and let it cook away! Once it has reduced, we would add some pasta and sometimes, beans. To serve, we would grate cheese over the steaming plate of soup,  toast up some bread and slather some delicious butter all over the bread (btw, France has the best butter)! 

When I made Rainbow Soup for my family, I enlisted help from the wonderful Ina Garten to get a little professional insight on making a big pot of soup. I loosely followed her recipe and my confidence was totally boosted when I realized that we make our soup about the same way! Not that there are multiple ways to make soup, but still. Same ingredients and process! But...I have to ask a question: Would you pre-cook your pasta or let it cook in the soup? I always cooked it in the soup so it would soak up the flavor but she said to pre-cook it? Thoughts? 

Until next time & next recipe,

Lisa Call