Friday, January 10, 2014

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" & "Ricotta Balls Soup" For "National Soup Month"

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is a song with words and music by Frank Loesser. It is a romantic winter song that premiered as a duet in 1944 with his wife, Lynn Garland. 

What made me think of this song is, here on Long Island this past week temperatures have been below freezing, in the single digits, and even into the minuses. It seems that all across the country, there is what the meteorologists call a “Polar Vortex.” Snow and ice has covered the country from, north, south, east, and the west. I know we are in the month of January, but these temperatures have not been that low since 20 years. How are you keeping warm and cozy? Are you near a fireplace, or under your blankets? I have been in the kitchen making the best recipe for keeping warm and comfy. That would be by cooking a warm bowl of delicious soup.

Did you know that January is “National Soup Month?” Soup can be dated back to about 6,000 B.C. Did you know that soup is the #1 choice for comfort foods? I can't think of anything better than a nice hot bowl of soup or stew to make a person feel comforted when their feeling down. There's just something about having a hot steaming bowl under your nose, with a nice wedge of homemade bread and all your worries go away for the moment.

"Soup is not just for eating." There are many things that a person will cling to for comfort. Many people will not want to eat at all when they are worried about something, but if you offer them a bowl of soup, 9 out of 10 times they will accept it and eat it. Soup even gives us a nice warm feeling inside when we watch someone eating it too. It's a good idea to always have some soup available for those unexpected rainy days, because the truth is; soup is healing, inside and out. Have you ever noticed when a loved one is sick, the first thing they ask for is soup? Soup feels real nice to a sore throat. Its smoothness and soft veggies slide down the throat without scratching and with very little effort. This is another reason why soup is a great meal to give a sick person. It can be eaten quickly with little effort at all, and they feel comforted. 

Soups are quick, easy, and practically no fail. You don't have to be an expert cook to make a great bowl of soup and make those comforting memories for your family. Soup also freeze easily too. You can make up a big pot and freeze part of it for a rainy day. In doing research for this post, I found that “Soup Month” is gaining momentum in other countries as well. Why? Because everybody loves soups and every country is famous for their own soups.

Food in general has always had a way of sticking in our minds. How many times have you walked in a room and you smelt a familiar aroma that sent fond memories of your mom and grandmother’s cooking, rushing to your taste buds? We all have those memories and we would be lost without them. That’s why it’s so important for us to make fond memories of meals around a dinner table that our children can carry with them to their adult life. 

Christmas NY City Late 1970's
From left: Aunt Sophie, my mom, 
Paul my son, myself, & my brother Christopher

Memories of enjoying a warm bowl or cup of soup were like a big hug for me, from my mom! In my Italian family my mom would always make some form of soup or stew for our dinner. Whether it was homemade chicken soup when we were sick or a cup of soup after we were out in the snow, building snowmen. There is nothing like that warm aroma of steaming soup to melt all your troubles away. One of my favorite soups that my mother made when I was young and still does today is called “Ricotta Balls Soup.” When any of my family members hear that she is making this, our mouths water, and it brings back memories of when I was a child. It is really a feeling of family and love. So I would love to share this recipe with you, my readers. Once you have had this soup, you will be hooked and want to make this creamy, yummy, Ricotta Balls recipe over and over again. Make sure you have a bowl of soup before January melts away into a memory. Enjoy!!

"Ricotta Balls Soup"

2 lbs Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
4 cloves of peeled whole garlic
Fresh cut parsley/a handful
1 cup of bread crumbs (unflavored)
3/4 cup fresh Pecorino Romano grated cheese
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of vegetable oil 
3 to 4 quarts of water

Put water in a wide but not deep pot. (Dutch Oven) After water is boiled put in 4 cloves of peeled garlic. Add about 1/4 cup of oil to water. Then add fresh parsley and about 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Lower water to a simmer; meanwhile prepare the Ricotta Balls mixture.

Mix together in a large bowl, ricotta, eggs, grated cheese, salt, pepper, and the bread crumbs. After combined, roll the mixture into small balls, (like meatball shape) make sure they are small, they will expand when cooked. (Like golf ball size) Once they are shaped into balls, place carefully in simmering water to cook. Cook them for about 20-30 minutes. Turn them very carefully in the pot as they will break apart. They tend to puff so do not overcrowd them. The water which becomes the soup, turns a little creamy from the cheese of the ricotta balls, and has the flavor as well.  This recipe makes about 30-35 balls depending on how big you make them.

Till Next Time…………

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Good morning, Dottie!

    We always say that expression, "Baby It's Cold Outside" when we come in from the cold especially when it is unseasonable cold as it has been this year. (I wonder, can it be unseasonably cold, lol:)

    Soup is so universal and as you say, each culture has it's own favorite. I happen to love Matzoh Ball soup and your Ricotta Ball Soup reminds me of it. I've never heard of this soup but I can guarantee, I will now be wanting it whether its cold or hot outside. It sounds just right!

    Love those pictures of your family too...Thanks for sharing, Dottie, stay warm...

  2. Morning Louise.

    Thanks for stopping by for a visit..Yes, it sure has been cold, and I have heard myself saying those words as well.

    Soup is so good, but it is great that each culture has their own soup, and that is what I love. All the different types of soups, many ingredients that we know and some we don't.

    My mom told me after I posted that this soup was created by her great grandfather in Calabria, Italy. It does look like Matzoh Ball Soup, but it doesn't taste like it at all. Between the Ricotta and the Pecorino cheese, it is very creamy and delicious! A definite favorite in my family.

    Thanks for the thoughts on my photo of my family. It is always fun to look at old memories.

    Blessings for a great weekend..Dottie :)

  3. Dear Dottie, Yes, I remember that song and yes it is cold and damp outside.
    Today is dangerous outside with the ice.
    One of my dads favorite meals was chicken soup. My mom would make soup all the time as a first dish or a dish of escarole.
    The best gift given is a gift of good memories, simple loving memories.
    I love this soup and I know that the memories you have are cherished.
    Blessings and stay safe.
    Catherine xo

  4. Hi Dottie ,Chicken soup is good anyway you make it , different herbs and spices give it a different taste . I always enjoy your family stories and the pictures is just lovely . Thanks so much for sharing and have a blessed and happy weekend :)
    Don't forget to stay warm . :D

  5. Hi Nee, Thank you for visiting...You always say such sweet things..I love family stories as well, everytime I watch the Food Network, I always love to hear stories about their family too. It makes it such a heart warming experience. I won't forget to stay warm, especially the weather is getting a little warmer here this weekend. Blessing....Dottie :)

  6. Hi Catherine, I agree, it still is cold out and very icy. So that is a perfect recipe to have to keep warm... Sounds like my family, my mom always used to have a first dish. And Escrole or Swiss Chard was always in one of those dishes. Memories are a gift that we need to cherish, you are correct. Thanks for visiting, be safe too..Blessings, Dottie :)

  7. I love that song Dottie! I have it on my Christmas CD too!
    I am a big fun of soups in fact I make it very often. I think children should be raised on soups as they are healthy and nutritious. My mum used to make us lots of soups and the taste stayed with me to these days as I still love them very much and crave for them.
    Very nice this ricotta balls soup, I have never had it before. Thank you for sharing it!
    Ciao bella! XX

  8. Hi Alida, Thank for stopping by. You are right that song is on the Christmas CD's, but it really is a winter song. It's fun to sing I think anytime! I agree with you, children would definitely benefit from the fresh ingredients that go into soups. That is why my mom used to make them a lot especially in the winter. She even made them in the summer,and she would tell us, that the hot soup would cool us off. And she was correct, that is why always listen to your mother. This soup was a recipe from my great-great grandfather who came from Calabria, in Italy. Enjoy! Blessings....Dottie :)

  9. Your recipe reminds me of one I had in northern Italy, it was a cream based soup with light cheese dumplings. I can't wait to try your recipe.

  10. Hi Karen, Welcome...

    So glad that you stopped by and enjoyed my blog post. I am so glad that my recipe inspired you to try it. This dish is really very delicious! I do know that this dish is from southern Italy, from Calabria. But who knows maybe it traveled up to northern Italy. Well, I hope that you enjoy the soup.

    Please do come back on Saturday as I will be celebrating my 3rd Blog Aniversary! Lots of fun and changes going to happen..

    Thank you again, Blessings, Ciao! Dottie :)