As a writer and a reader, I’m always interested in how people express their creative gene. And, despite what some say, we all have one. It might be writing, but it could be music, art or—my favorite go to when my muse is asleep—cooking.
I’ve been on a soup kick lately. It’s not just the cold weather, although that’s definitely a factor. It’s also the art of making a great soup. Of taking a basic recipe and enhancing it in some way to make it even better. I’ve been experimenting each week and being far more inventive than usual. The one conclusion I’ve drawn after nearly 12 weeks of soup making: if you start with good ingredients it’s almost impossible to make a bad soup.
The same principle applies to writing. If you start with a good idea, supplement the initial idea with a concise outline and solid characters, and allow yourself the luxury of taking your time and experimenting, you can also come up with a great story. It’s all a matter of knowing when and how much to add to the mix.
I also enjoy mixing my two passions and often include a recipe or at least a dining scene (or two) in all of my books.
Today, I’d like to share one of my favorite recipes. It’s a knock off of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana (aka Italian sausage soup).
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped (set aside)
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 lb spicy Italian sausages, sliced into ½ inch pieces
- 4-6 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 32 oz chicken broth (do NOT use low sodium)
- 1 cup spinach, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream (35%)
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- Heat olive oil in large soup pot
- Add chopped onion and sausage, brown until cooked through
- Add minced garlic and stir for additional minute to incorporate flavor
- Add chicken broth and bring to boil
- Add potatoes and lower heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender
- Mix flour into cream and whisk until smooth
- Add cream mixture, chopped bacon, and spinach to pot
- Turn down heat to med-low and simmer until soup thickens (5-7 minutes)
Now, sit back with a cup of delicious soup and a good book and relax. Your creative juices have earned a break. Please check out the fun tab on my website for additional recipes.
Stay warm (with soup), stay happy and, most importantly, stay safe and well-read.
P.S.: Purchase our Christmas Comes to Dickens anthology. And, while you’re there, don’t forget to snag our #FREE It’s a Dickens of a Cookie! recipe book. It might not be the holiday and longer but you can never go wrong with cookies!