potato, beef and bacon soup, parmesan basil toast and caesar soft boiled egg salad

When I think of easy recipes, I think of soups. It wasn’t always this way, I used to have to stir a pot, make sure it didn’t boil over, get out an immersion blender… Then I graduated to a regular blender, however it didn’t occur to me that heat rises while plopping a scalding hot soup into a blender and watching it spill over and burn my hands.

I stayed away from soup for quite some time after that. Once burned, twice shy.

Then I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and saw on a table, heavily discounted, discarded and on their last legs items of disinterest. What immediately caught my eye was a Cuisinart contraption. It read it was a soup maker and that was it for me. It was great for a while. No booklet or box, of course, so I had to learn as I went along but, it really did sauté vegetables and then blend. It was a one stop soup shop.

But it was very loud and very finicky. For anyone who still has the product and loves it, I applaud you. I however, can see why it was returned. Moving on, I went back to my ol’ faithful: Philips; they too, have a soup maker. This machine does not overflow, it does not make noises continuously (only when it’s blending for about 15 seconds) and makes anything you want in 18 minutes or less. Guaranteed. I can confirm this. I have tried it.

So now, I make soups all the time. This recipe has been a go-to, you only need a few ingredients as most of my soups call for.

You will need:

Soup

  • Cashews (I like the salt and pepper or the lightly salted)
  • Yellow potatoes (I like the small buttery starchy ones in this recipe)
  • Beef Broth (full on, low sodium or no sodium and you control the salt – depends on your taste)
  • Jenni-o turkey bacon (or whichever kind is your favorite)
  • Grated parmesan (use over finished soup, is optional)

Toast

  • Honey wheat (try out a new brand or use your favorite)
  • Dried basil
  • Grated parmesan
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Salad

  • Lettuce (whichever kind your family is most likely to eat)
  • Eggs (we choose the free-range, or Eggsland Best – any size)
  • Avocado
  • Caesar dressing (I like the yogurt based kind in the produce section)
  • Dried or fresh dill

Soup:

If you do NOT have one of these glorious machines, just create the soup as you normally would: in a stock pot, put your entire container of broth and start to heat it up while chopping your potatoes. I like a lot of potatoes in this as it’s the main ingredient. Then after putting them all in the pot, put in your cashews. I use two handfuls of cashews; I have small hands – take that into consideration. Note: the cashews considerably thicken a standing cooling soup. Meaning, should you put leftovers in your fridge don’t be surprised if the next day it has become very thick. Just add some water and reheat.

If you DO have one of the Philips soup makers (or are planning on buying one and want to try this recipe out first), you will see the fill line in the machine. I have gone over that line, I admit it, I’m a rebel. I use all but one half inch of the broth in the box, and the same amount of the aforementioned ingredients. The first button on the machine is for creamy blended soups. Press that button and walk away. In less than 18 mins it will be done and will be kept warm (it’s actually quite hot) for 40 mins.

When your potatoes are sufficiently softened and you can kind of smoosh a cashew, go ahead and use your best tried and true method of blending: immersion or standard blender. Just be careful not to burn yourself! Taste it and see if you need salt or want to add pepper.

Bacon:

Since you will take the time (hopefully) to purchase the bacon that states it’s already cooked and not frozen bacon, this should just take two mins in the microwave. Cut your bacon with kitchen shears and place it over soup. In the picture you will see I also added grated parmesan (optional).

Toast:

We love honey wheat toast, and it’s especially good here. I cut them into triangles but you can make smaller pieces and use them like croutons. I drizzle them first with olive oil and then shake some parmesan and dried basil over top. It tastes like the bread you dunk in the oil at Italian restaurants but with that little honey kick. Plus, you’re dunking it instead in this soup; divine. You will toast to the darkness level you prefer. Obviously, if you have a regular upright toaster, you will toast and then season.

Salad:

I was obsessed for a period of time with soft boiled eggs, I would put them in everything. I would study and experiment how long I needed to boil an egg to get it to the consistency we liked. Here’s where I wish I could direct you but, I find no matter which recipe I’m following, the eggs are never exactly like the picture because the size differs. But ignoring that minor inconsistency, typically for regular sized eggs, you will fill a small pot with water, bring it to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer. Gently put in your egg(s), start the timer for 6 minutes *again, please try this with your size egg and only you can decide what level of softness you like for your yolk*. After six mins, remove the egg and run it under cold water for 15secs. Tap each side of the egg on a level surface, roll them gently between your palm and the surface and start peeling. Slice them down the middle so they are open and you can season them if you’d like. Cut an avocado into cubes and put all of this in a bowl with your lettuce, topping with dill and cheese and putting the dressing on the side. Do not heavily toss; you don’t want to break up the yolks. If you do want to toss, do that with everything and then put in the eggs.

No matter what day it is, my husband never rejects soup and what I refer to as “toast points”. He perks up at the idea of that bread with the warm cheese and basil, the creamy satisfying soup with bacon and the salad that feels so decadent but which took no time at all. In fact, most of this meal cooked itself and needed little effort on my end, truly. If you want to up your soup game, think about getting a soup maker. Save your sanity, save your skin and save some time.

Below you will find the table setting for this meal. Bone china from Wedgewood, Royal Worcester and Lennox. Napkins from Williams Sonoma. Silver and crystal from Waterford. Silverware is Napoleon Bee.

Table Setting:

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