We are having a beautiful, mild winter here in Northern California. I would enjoy the weather more if the specter of drought wasn’t hanging over our heads, but we have had beautiful days to hike, bike and enjoy the outdoors. January and February are usually gray and drippy, so we don’t plan many camping trips or outdoor activities. The weather in October is a different story.
Northern California beaches are best in the fall. The summer fog is gone, and the ocean water is a little warmer than in the spring, although less cold is probably a better description. With the good weather of fall in mind, Sandy and Brian plan a beach camping trip for the beginning of October every year. My son loves this trip! We head to the beach campground on Friday, set up our tents, and hike down the cliff to enjoy the sand, water and a beautiful sunset before heading back up to our campground. The kids go up without complaint because they know they will be spending all day Saturday in the water.
Then on Saturday, while I’m sitting on the beach under my umbrella, our friends Janet and Tony are usually decked out in wetsuits riding the waves on boogie boards with the kids. This year, though, they roared into camp with surfboards strapped to the roof of their Yukon. This raised their cool factor enormously. I’m sure my son wishes he had parents like Janet and Tony! Never mind we never actually saw Janet and Tony surf. They used the excuse that the waves were better at another beach, blah, blah, blah, but they allegedly surf.
Janet was in charge of dinner on Friday night, and she brought—you guessed it—Surfer Soup! Janet’s soup was perfect for camping. She calls the soup Surfer Soup because she makes the soup in the morning before they head to the beach. When Janet’s family returns from surfing, they have a delicious dinner to help warm them up after a day in the ocean.
I made a double batch of the soup a couple months ago, so I stashed the leftovers in the freezer. I pulled the soup out for a quick dinner last night. The soup tasted just as good, and maybe a little better out of the freezer than it did the night I made it.
Surfer Soup is a hearty, healthy, low fat soup perfect for when you’ve spent the day surfing the waves, or if you’ve only spent the day surfing the net.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 15-ounce can petite cut diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 6-ounce bag of baby spinach, chopped
In a large saucepot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil, add the onion and cook until the onion is soft. Add the turkey to the onions, and cook until the turkey is no longer pink. Stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, cannellini beans, and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer, and simmer the soup for 15 minutes. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if needed. Add the spinach and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese and Tabasco sauce.