Monthly Archive for June, 2010

Stone Soup

When my first child went to pre-school I recall being perplexed when we were told that our children were going to be making Stone Soup. As someone who can typically find their way around the kitchen, and enjoys trying new recipes, I have to confess, this concept did not excite me.

Yet the lore of the story is about making something from nothing. A good-tasting soup, beginning with a stone and boiling water, becomes a fabulous soup with the addition of a little bit of this and that. At heart, the traditional story is a trickster tale. Typically, the person starting the soup is a beggar who is denied the food he requests from someone living in a house. In many versions, including in the American Civil War version, the beggar is a soldier looking for food. For the original version of how to make this soup, you’ll have to read to the end of the post, for those in the hurry I will share with you my very very favorite version of Stone Soup, named such because the person who taught me this recipe is named Colbi Stone. Read on, it will not disappoint you. Try it as a breakfast, snack or dessert and I promise you’ll be hooked before you can say Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Acai Bowl Bliss (AKA Stone Soup)


1 100g packet organic acai smoothie packs/original Rio Blend with gurana, frozen
2 ripe bananas
3/4 cup blueberries + 1 TBS, frozen
6 strawberries, frozen
2 strawberries
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup granola

All ingredients can be found at Whole Foods. There are two kinds of Acai smoothie packs, you want the original Rio Blend. The brand I used was Sambazon. They are sold in the freezer section in four packs.


In a blender add frozen acai berry puree, 1 sliced banana, 3/4 cup frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries and soy milk. Mix until well blended. Pour into a bowl. Add granola, layer with remaining banana, strawberries, blue berries and drizzle with honey.

Note: for my version I used granola with chocolate chips- why? Because I love the flavor of chocolate and berries commingled.

Back to my previous story of pre-school Stone Soup cookery….
The day before the big meal, the teachers asked each student to bring in a vegetable to share and the teacher brought in a pot and one very clean, scrubbed, river stone. With the stage set, the story was read.

The Story of Stone Soup

Once upon a time, somewhere in post-war Eastern Europe, there was a great famine in which people jealously hoarded whatever food they could find, hiding it even from their friends and neighbors. One day a wandering soldier came into a village and began asking questions as if he planned to stay for the night.

“There’s not a bite to eat in the whole province,” he was told. “Better keep moving on.”

“Oh, I have everything I need,” he said. “In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you.” He pulled an iron cauldron from his wagon, filled it with water, and built a fire under it. Then, with great ceremony, he drew an ordinary-looking stone from a velvet bag and dropped it into the water.

By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come to the square or watched from their windows. As the soldier sniffed the “broth” and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their skepticism.

“Ahh,” the soldier said to himself rather loudly, “I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage — that’s hard to beat.”

Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a cabbage he’d retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot. “Capital!” cried the soldier. “You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king.”

The village butcher managed to find some salt beef . . . and so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for all. The villagers offered the soldier a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell and traveled on the next day. The moral is that by working together, with everyone contributing what they can, a greater good is achieved.

For those of you who are feeling adventurous, I would HIGHLY recommend this version of Stone Soup.

Just when you thought….

that I couldn’t come up with anything more unusual than my submission to the chocolate contest, BAM, here I come to try to inspire you to make Cactus Taco Filling. Why? Well it is a fun vegetarian main or side dish alternative and it is a dish that will be well enjoyed!

While I have attempted to cross post from my original piece done for the SV Mom’s Blog, technical difficulties have prevailed on my end and I am now going to just do my best to fill your foodie appetite for a new recipe. That said, for the full story behind this recipe please do read on at Silicon Valley Mom’s Blog: Mi Pueblo San Rafael’s Newest Latin Supermarket

Cactus Taco Filling (Nopales en Ensalada)


1 ½ lbs paddle cactus leaves (nopales), spines removed cut the size of French Green Beans
4 TBS white vinegar
½ tsp oregano, dried but not ground
¼ cup cilantro plus more for garnish, fresh chopped
1 large potato, peeled then cubed
salt and pepper, to taste
1 yellow onion, sliced length-wise
3 tomatoes, diced
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 package corn tortillas, cooked
sour cream (optional)
Panela or cotija cheese (optional)

Mexican and other Latino markets, like Mi Pueblo, often sell prepared cactus leaves, which is MUCH easier than having to wear gloves and use a paring knife to remove spines. If you would like to see a good video on how to do this I recommend Zarela Martinez’s son, Food Network star, Aaron Sanchez clip that shows you how to work with Nopales & Chayotes.


Cut the fresh cactus leaves into strips. In a saucepan, boil cactus with 1/2 cup water and a large pinch of salt, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and rinse well in cold water to remove the slippery film which develops from boiling. In a bowl, combine cactus with white wine vinegar, oregano and cilantro. Let sit for 30 minutes.

I typically cook my tortillas on top of an oven burner, at low heat, for 15-25 seconds on each side. This does tend to mess up an electric burner — it is a bit less of a mess on a gas burner. You can also pan fry them by spraying a non-stick spray in a pan and turning once on each side or there is always the popular oil pan fry method. To keep cooked tortillas warm, place in a cloth or paper towel on a plate while preparing the remainder of tortillas. Set aside. Note: Plastic wrap or aluminum foil used to keep the tortillas warm often creates a damp tortilla unless there is an ample amount of paper/cloth involved to absorb the moisture.

Heat vegetable oil in a saute pan and add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent from sticking to bottom of pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Add in the onion and cook 5-7 minutes until translucent. Lower to medium heat and add in the tomatoes for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the cactus for 5 minutes to warm and absorb the flavors. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with cheese and additional cilantro.

Serves 4-6

This is an original recipe post to Silicon Valley Moms Blog.