Making Albondigas Soup

Remember I said I was going to start cooking again?

Now, I don't mean like making basic food that meets the nutritional requirements of a family. I mean like, really cooking... like, making something with love.

This week, I decided to make one of my favorite comfort foods: Albondigas Soup.

Albondigas Soup is a popular meatball soup in Hispanic communities and can be found in most Mexican restaurants. (If it's not, slowly get out of your seat and walk away... those are not real Mexicans!)

The basic ingredients of Albondigas Soup are simple, but as you'll notice, I've made some adjustments.

MAKING THE ALBONDIGAS

  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef*
  • 1/2 lb soyrizo**
  • 1/2 cup of rice (make a little extra to throw in the soup)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste

* For the ground beef, I used the leanest I could find: 85/15. I wouldn't try to substitute it for turkey as the beef really makes the broth.

** As for the chorizo substitution, I might get some angry emails over this, but I am a HUGE fan of Soyrizo. Yep... soy chorizo. Regular chorizo is super yummy, but can be really greasy, and you know it leaves you feeling weighed down later. Soyrizo is a fantastic substitute. The only thing you'll notice is that you're not feeling like you have a pound of manteca lard in your belly.  And guess what? Nobody noticed the difference.

Feel free to add a couple more cloves of garlic, if you're a fan. I am, so I used about five cloves. 

Oh! And some people like to add a tiny bit of chopped mint leaves to the mix. Not too much, or BLECH!!! 

Combine all the ingredients. Roll the mixture into balls. Make sure to put some pressure on them when rolling. You don't want them to be loose and fall apart in the soup. Once you've made all the meatballs, set them aside and get to work on the actual soup.

Albondigas Soup - Meatballs.jpg

 THE ACTUAL SOUP

  • 6 cups broth (chicken or veggie)
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 3-4 diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tblspn can of tomato paste
  • 1 tspn ground cumin
  • 1 tspn dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups of assorted veggies
  • salt & pepper to taste

The veggies you'll usually find in Albondigas soup are yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, and celery. You can also throw in a handful of peas to the mix. Include some or all, it's up to you.

Combine all ingredients except for the squash, zucchini, and/or peas (those will be added at the end).  Bring the soup to a boil and then set it to simmer for about 10 minutes. Now you're ready to drop the meatballs in. Raise the temperature up just a tiny bit to make sure it's good and hot because those balls are going to have to cook all the way through. Cook for about another ten minutes, then add in the little bit of extra rice you had from making the albondigas. Then add in the squash, zucchini, and/or peas. Ten more minutes of simmering and the Albondigas Soup is ready!

Serve with a wedge of lime to squeeze and top with a little fresh cilantro. For extra yums, top with avocado slices. 

Albondigas Soup in a Bowl.jpg

Buen Provecho!

2011: What a Year!

I knew it was going to be a big one, but I had not idea what was coming.

The year started off with a fabulous trip to Ford headquarters in Detroit. You know what? 9 degrees in January is really not that bad! As part of a group of bloggers and journalists hosted by Ford, I got to enjoy the North American International Auto Show where Ford unveiled more cars with green technology that makes sense. A pleasant bonus was being introduced to The Head and the Heart at a show sponsored by Pandora one evening. They're a cool indie band from Seattle that I absolutely fell in love with. Needless to say, my new favorite Pandora station is named after them.

Spring sprung with all kinds of interesting fun.

My husband and I got back together, for one. Right after that, I returned to Austin for SxSWi with a blow up doll. Judy was a big hit, standing out in the crowd and getting her picture taken all over the place. Quite a success since she was wearing my client's logo the whole time. Word of caution: always take a spare blow up doll... just in case.

In April, my friend, Sondra and I, along with a bunch of usual suspects in the San Diego social media scene raced through the Gaslamp looking for answers to clues in the Fiji Scavenger Hunt. SO much fun! We definitely need to do that again. That same month, my Fab Over Forty friend, Kari Solyntjes asked me to be her So Cal correspondent for the Redbook party in honor of the Kardashians Mother's Day cover. It was a great party and I was loving Kris and Kim... which makes the whole sham marriage scam even slimier for me. Oh well. The cupcakes were awesome. Ask SweatPantsMom.

And just like I envisioned on my dream board, I was featured in our local rag, the San Diego Magazine as part of the Best of North County issue! I got to spotlight a few things I love about the seaside town I was living in: Oceanside. That issue came out in May, just in time for my birthday. What a gift to unwrap!

That summer, Blogher came to San Diego! I was pleased to answer questions about the event at our local station, KUSI, although I was a wee bit hoarse from the Vicks party at East Village Tavern + Bowl the night before. No worries, though. I had plenty of cough syrup to soothe the throat! One special event was a dinner hosted by Sony Pictures. We got to preview Pan Am, a show I am still ticked about being canceled. Jets and swank... how can you say no to that? Aiming Low hosted its first official BlogHer party, Come As You Are. Robin Plemmons tattoed me with some nice words on my arm ("I will cut a bitch") before we headed down to jump on beds at the CheeseburgHer party. It was so great seeing all of my favorite bloggers in my town. I'm pretty sure the consensus was that everyone wanted to return to our fine city. I know it's far for many, but oh my lanta, it's worth the trip.

Also that summer, I was part of a group I like to call "The Strawberry Girls." Five bloggers from across the country convened on the strawberry fields of Monterey to learn all about my favorite berry from the California Strawberry Commission. We learned about the safety and transportation of the strawberry, as well as tasting some incredible sweet and savory dishes and drinks flavored with them. We each hosted a party in our own regions. The LA party I got to host was the final leg of the tour. The food and presentation was a big hit with all my guests, as was discovering the California Strawberries app that holds all kinds of nutritional information and recipes in store.

Fall came and it was back to business. Kids went back to school and I went to work. I even got myself an office, cuz I'm all serious like that. So serious that I painted purple tulips on the wall. Sondra and I soft-launched Smart & Social, hosting a few social media seminars and strategy sessions for beginning bloggers and business women. We've also been strategizing on some webinars to get more bang for our bucks; bucks being time.

The end of the year brought a couple of trips to my high school workplace, Knott's Berry Farm. The kids loved the trips so much, they now want season tickets. Another sweet experience was going to the Pantages for a symphony performance in honor of 25th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. It doesn't suck being a brand ambassador for Nintendo. :)

And just for giggles, I launched Stuff Mexicans Like. Orale!

My year is coming to a close with a new beginning. I'm enjoying the sweet serenity of a new home to start the new year and the next chapter of my life off right. I'm excited to see what 2012 has in store!