Something Old and Something New: Soup and Salad for the New Year

I love cookbooks and I love cooking magazines.  I have so many of both (and I’m sorry to say we took a box of cookbooks to Goodwill not long ago) that I’ve made a New Year’s resolution of sorts:  to try one new recipe per week, either from one of my magazines–I subscribe to Fine Cooking and Every Day with Rachael Ray–or a cookbook that I don’t use much.  Or maybe even a new recipe I haven’t tried from a well-used book.  Heck, I might try something from a novel I’m reading, since I’ve been doing that anyway for the last couple of years on Cooking Nick’s Books.  My hope is to share the things I make with you (I’ve got to let Eating Slowly live up to its name, after all, right?)  Whether I keep that resolution or not remains to be seen, but I’ll try.

Today I’m sharing a recipe for a spinach salad from the latest issue of Fine Cooking that I made on New Year’s Day; and as a bonus, a wonderful, simple vegetable beef soup that was handed down to me from my mother.


2 heaping cups torn bread(about 3/4-inch pieces) from a day-old rustic white loaf (I save the heels from my gluten free bread; I just used some of those)

1/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small clove garlic, mashed to a paste with a pinch of kosher salt

1 1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar, more as needed

1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

6 slices bacon

8 oz baby spinach (about 8 cups),washed and well drained

Freshly ground black pepper

4 large eggs

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 F.

Put the bread on a rimmed baking sheet and toss lightly with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil.  Spread in an even layer and season lightly with salt.  Bake until crisp and golden, 8 to 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, mustard, and lemon juice.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of the olive oil.  Taste the vinaigrette with a leaf of spinach and season to taste with salt and vinegar if needed.  Set aside.

Heat the remaining  1 Tbs. olive oil in a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat.  Cook the bacon on both sides until brown and crisp, about 7 minutes.  Leave the skillet on the stovetop and turn off the heat.  Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pan.

Put the spinach and croutons in a large bowl.  Gently toss the salad with just enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Divide the salad among four serving plates.

Heat the bacon fat in the skillet over medium heat.  Crack the eggs into the pan, season with salt and pepper, and fry sunny-side up or over-easy, 1 to 2 minutes total.  kTop each salad with an egg and season with salt and pepper.  Tear each slice of bacon into 3 or 4 pieces and tuck them into the salads.  Serve immediately and pass any remaining vinaigrette at the table.

-Tasha DeSerio

From Fine Cooking Magazine, No. 121.  Feb/Mar 2013, p.15


The main course for this meal?  Something our family calls “Clara’s Soup.”  The recipe was given to my mother from her dear friend Clara from church, and it’s been one of our favorites ever since I was a girl.  It’s simple, comforting, and easy to throw together.  I double the recipe, and sometimes I throw in some oregano or even a little Tabasco sauce if I want a bit of a kick:


1 lb hamburger, browned and drained well

1 onion, chopped and cooked a bit with the hamburger

1 large can tomato juice

16 oz. frozen mixed vegetables (don’t use canned)

3-4 potatoes, diced

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Cook everything together for about 1 1/2 hours.

Mom says if you want thicker soup you can add a little water, and she likes to add about 1/4 cup frozen okra with the vegetables.  I threw in some dehydrated mushrooms that I had picked up at the farmer’s market this fall.


With a hunk of gluten free cornbread (I like Bob’s Red Mill gluten free cornbread mix) on the side, it makes for a yummy winter supper!


About momn3boys

I'm a 50-something mom of three sons. I'm a teacher, Catholic since 1996, and a runner since 2014. I love the outdoors, books, and cooking. I became a widow in July of 2017, and now my boys are I are working together to find our new normal.
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One Response to Something Old and Something New: Soup and Salad for the New Year

  1. gramma2many says:

    Haven’t been around for a while Sharon. I am trying to get back into blogging and visiting my virtual friends 🙂 I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your kind words concerning my Kris. They meant so much to me. Since tomorrow is the two month anniversary, I had just gone back and re-read what I had posted. That reminded me that I had not stopped by to say thanks. Both of your recipes look wonderful. Sadly, Stan cannot eat beef so I will not be making Clara’s soup but I may give the spinach salad a whirl.

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