Some bloggers are putting together what they call a "progressive dinner." Have you heard of those? A group of people gets together at someone's house to begin the dinner, and then they travel from one house to another for the successive courses. Obviously you'd have to have all your hosts live close by. They did it in the Betsy-Tacy books, and it sounded like so much fun!
This time, though, it's a blog dinner ... a link-up for each course hosted on a different day on a different blog. The theme is "Whole Foods for the Holidays" -- starting with soups today and ending with drinks around Christmastime.
I don't have something to share for every category, but I do have one for soup. It's a family tradition to have beef barley soup every Christmas Eve. Some people have their Christmas feast on Christmas Eve, but our family tries to be sacrificial on the vigil and then pulls out all the stops on the day itself.
I made my own version of this soup last Christmas Eve. It was a complete failure, because my broth was bad (that's the one that tasted like foot). But I think the recipe is still a good one -- you just need to start with a good broth.
These amounts are for our family of two hungry adults who expect a little leftovers. Readjust as needed!
1 quart beef stock
1 cup stew beef or shredded beef
6 ounces tomato sauce (or a smaller amount of tomato paste, or a lot of tomato juice)
1/2 cup barley
1 stalk celery
1 clove garlic
Chop up all the vegetables and meat into small pieces. Add all ingredients to the pot and cook over medium heat until all vegetables are cooked and barley has puffed up to about twice its original size.*
Serve immediately, piping hot! It's good with crusty bread alongside ... or without it, if you want to cut down on the grains.
*If using pearl barley, this will be about 20 minutes. If using whole barley, you will probably want to soak and begin cooking it separately.