Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Roasted Squash and Apple Soup

Hey there! So I’m back from my little hiatus, ready to soup again. Last weekend I was at the farmer’s market — specifically there to buy cider from this fantastic place in Missouri that comes to the market every fall and has the best cider I have EVER TASTED — and while I was eating my delicious farmer’s market crepe I was thinking up a soup I could make with my new purchases… squash and apples. The result is like autumn in a bowl.

The flavors went together very well, and the apple flavor in particular is fairly strong so that the first taste is almost like a sweet and savory applesauce, and then the flavors of squash and thyme and shallots come through as well. Enjoy!

Roasted Squash and Apple Soup
serves 4

about 2 pounds of winter squash (I used one each of a medium-sized butternut and delicata), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
3-4 medium apples (I used 2 empire and 1 granny smith), quartered with cores removed (I left the peels on; you do whatever you like)
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 T butter
2 medium shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken stock (sub vegetable for vegetarian soup)
2 t brown sugar
leaves from about 4 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the squash (cut side up), apples, and carrots on a baking pan and roast for about 45 minutes.
2. Once the veggies are about finished, melt the butter in a soup pot or Dutch oven and add the shallots and garlic over medium heat. Stir occasionally, and cook until translucent and starting to caramelize.
3. Scoop the flesh out of the squash, and add with the roasted carrots and apples to the pot and reduce heat to medium low. Cook together for about 10 minutes.
4. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for about 25 minutes.
5. Puree the soup with an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender. I didn’t puree for too long because I wanted some chunks of carrots and apple peel. Return to pot and stir in sugar and thyme, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Melon and Mint Salad

This is the perfect salad for a cookout or a potluck — it’s even better if you make it 4-6 hours ahead, so that the flavors have time to meld. The cayenne gives it a subtle kick, but the end effect is barely spicy. It’s very pretty and refreshing for any hot summer day!

Melon and Mind Salad
serves: about 12

INGREDIENTS
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
3 smallish melons (I used a watermelon, cantaloupe, and musk melon) or 2 medium, with seeds removed
3 2″ sprigs fresh mint, with extra leaves minced for garnish
1/3 cup sweet white wine (such as Riesling)
juice of 3 limes
dash salt
1/4 tsp cayenne

PROCEDURE
1. Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, to make a simple syrup. In the meantime, remove the seeds from the melons and scoop out melon balls into large bowl.
2. When syrup has come together, keep at low heat and add sprigs of mint and Riesling, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
3. Juice the limes into a small bowl, and add a pinch of salt. Remove the mint sprigs and add syrup mixture to lime juice mixture and whisk together into dressing.
4. Pour the dressing onto the melon through a strainer. Sprinkle on a bit more salad and the cayenne pepper and gently stir (add more cayenne to taste if desired).
5. Add the extra minced mint leaves just before serving (they might turn brown if left on too long) and stir. Enjoy!

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

Another CSA-inspired recipe (abundance of carrots this week!), this is something I made up based on a bunch of simple carrot soup recipe research, with an added spicy-lime twist. It’s been a stormy summer in St. Louis thus far, and this is the perfect complement to the wet and steamy weather.

The potato is optional, but it will thicken up the soup a bit. Without the potato it will still taste great but might be a little thin.

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup
serves about 4

INGREDIENTS
3 T butter (can substitute olive oil for vegan soup)
1 Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
dash salt
1 pound young carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 or 3 inches of fresh ginger (to taste), peeled and roughly chopped
1 yukon gold potato, peeled and roughly chopped (optional; see above)
4 cups vegetable stock
white pepper
juice of 1.5 limes
cayenne pepper

PROCEDURE
1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large stockpot, and then add the onions and dash of salt and sweat for 4-5 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add at least 3 cups of the vegetable stock (add more to cover all the vegetables if necessary) and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle in a 1/4 tsp of white pepper.
3. Puree the soup using an immersion or regular blender. When thoroughly blended, squeeze in the lime juice and sprinkle in cayenne pepper to taste (I like at least a teaspoon, but I like my spicy food to be pretty darn spicy).

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Gallactica.

Okay, I realize that in certain circles, beets have gotten a bad rap.

More beets, this week, from the CSA. I don’t want this blog to become Mostly Soup & Beets, but I’m sorry, I love beets. Yesterday I tried grilling beets for the first time — I sliced a beet, splashed on some olive oil, ground some black pepper, sprinkled on the big sea salts, and wrapped it in foil. I wasn’t sure how long to grill my little packet but I gave it about a half an hour. This was so delicious! I’m sure after the beets are cooked you could add different herbs, or goat cheese, or other yummy things to spice this up, but it was fantastic just nice and simple. I plan to make this every day until my beet supply runs out (horror!), and I just wanted to share.

Vegetarian Borscht

After last week’s epic failure, I am so pleased to be writing about a soup that is seriously one of the best soups I have made since starting this blog.

For one, it is gorgeous. I have never wished that my stupid camera was working so much ever since it broke two months ago (I will get it fixed –or a new one– soon I promise). Not only is the finished product beautiful, but I was using carrots and beets from my CSA, and they were such great looking vegetables; I mean, the carrots looked nothing like carrots from the grocery store, they looked like carrots from a children’s book, all short and squashy and cute. Oh well I’m sure there will be more of that to come!

I’ll admit, I have always had a soft spot for borscht. In fact — all you lucky ducks getting to visit the Art Institute of Chicago’s new modern wing this summer, don’t forget to add Russian Tea Time, which is right across the street, to your itinerary. Their Ukranian borscht (and the selection of flavored vodkas) is not to be missed.

This recipe is incredibly easy, and remarkably good. And, it is made even easier, and more fun, for those with a food processor with one of those shredder attachments. If you have one of these and have never used it, now is the time to start, it is a blast. In addition, this soup can be eaten hot or cold, and is good either way — always a good feature of a summer recipe. And unlike my wintertime favorite Roasted Beet Soup, this borscht requires no oven roasting of vegetables at high temperatures for an hour, making it even more summer-friendly.

Alright, enough talking this up, lets get down to business:

Continue reading ‘Vegetarian Borscht’

Creamy Cantaloupe Mint Soup

In my opinion, one of the key advantages of all this soup-making is that often I can decide to make something that’s going to help use up whatever I happen to have a surplus of in the kitchen. And that’s exactly how this Creamy Cantaloupe Mint Soup was created. Last Thursday I got a little preview share from my CSA, which will officially begin in a few weeks (and undoubtedly exert an influence over my soup-making, and this blog, in the coming months). Anyway, the preview share was mostly delicious radishes, which I promptly ate up in two days, and bunches of some fresh herbs, including a large supply of mint. And for me, when I see a big bunch of mint, of course I think mojitos, so I’ve been living on mojitos and radishes with butter and baguette for the last few days (not a bad existence at all, I’ll admit).

So today when I still had some mint to use up, plus the sugar syrup from the mojito recipes, I tried to think about what soup I could concoct with them. I also noticed that cantaloupes were on sale at the grocery this weekend and decided to pull all of these together into a quick and easy summer soup. I found this recipe online and adapted it to what I had around, and thus Creamy Cantaloupe Mint Soup was born.

Continue reading ‘Creamy Cantaloupe Mint Soup’

Strawberry Rhubarb Soup

This is absolutely, hands down, one of my all-time favorite soups. For one thing, I have lots of fond memories of my grandma’s strawberry rhubarb pie, and this incorporates many of the same amazing flavors. So until it is socially acceptable to sit down at lunch with a big bowl of pie (I wish!), I will continue to make this soup, especially during rhubarb season.

I will say, this soup is not for everyone. Not everybody is cool with a chilled fruit soup. I have made this for parties before and I can tell that the idea kind of  freaks some people out. But I say — at least try it, because it is delish. Eat if for dessert if that makes you feel better about it. (I also think it would probably be completely yummy mixed with champagne for a refreshing spring cocktail. Must confirm this suspicion asap.)

The original recipe comes from the book The Whole Foods Market Cookbook, but I have adapted it significantly because the original was way, way too sweet for my taste. I also incorporated some additional (optional) spices.

Strawberry Rhubarb Soup
serves 6

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 quarts cranberry-pomegranate juice (use any juice that you like that has no added sugar and isn’t too sweet to start with)
16 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced
8 ounces rhubarb, sliced (fresh, in season, preferred, but frozen also will work)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, plus more to taste
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 whole star anise (optional)
1 tsp whole cloves (optional)
1 T whole peppercorns (optional)
2 T cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup juice

PROCEDURE
1. Add the juice, strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, and raisins to a large sauce pot. If desired, add the remaining spices (star anise, cloves, peppercorns) to a spice ball or tie into a cheesecloth and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if you prefer.
2. Add the cornstarch mixture and and cook for 2 minutes, until the soup thickens.
3. From the original recipe: “This soup may be eaten warm if you can’t wait; however, when cooled, it becomes dreamy and irresistible.” True!

P.S. I do apologize for the lack of pictures on these recipes lately, my camera is out of commission but I’m working on it!…

Leftover Crudités Soup

From KS: Please enjoy this post from good friend/guest blogger/rockstar Jenn, of That’s Punny! and Acronyms Sometimes Suck.

11:08am
Text message from Jenn to Kimberly
Need soup advice. Have leftover crudités from a work gathering. Too much for me to snack on. Thinking of making a veggie soup.

3:37pm
Email from Kimberly to Jenn
Here’s what I would recommend for your crudités problem:
http://www.phoo-d.com/2009/03/omas-anytime-roasted-vegetable-soup.html

So many questions!

Should I go out and buy cabbage? Do I have enough bell peppers? Will sugar snap peas mess this all up? Can I use a can of tomato paste just past its expiration date? (No. Yes. Kinda. Check in with me tomorrow, in that order).

Because I set out with a very specific mission — waste elimination — I decided against using anything that wasn’t already in my fridge or pantry. This meant that cabbage, one of the key ingredients in the recipe that Kimberly sent, would be missing. That said, I have no idea if my veggie soup is anywhere near Oma’s Anytime Roasted Vegetable Soup. But it tastes good and has fantastic texture (aside from the occasional sugar snap pea stringiness – oops). And I got to use up of all those carrots, broccoli florets, tomatoes, and snap peas from the “Oh, I’ll just pick up a veggie tray” leftovers. As far as adjustments to the original recipe go, rather than sautéing just garlic with the oil at the beginning of the recipe, I added some leeks, onions, and chopped carrots.  Also, it calls for broiling the veggies, but since I don’t have a broiler, I used a stovetop grill. Oh, and the last major adjustment was that I used a pressure cooker rather than a stock pot. This cut my time in half (for an already quick recipe). Here is my take on the original recipe.

Leftover Crudités Soup
serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

olive oil
4 small red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and halved
1 cup baby carrots (leave half of them whole, chop the other half)
1 zucchini, chopped
½ cup broccoli florets
½ cup sugar snap peas (de-string!)
2 medium onions, 1 peeled and halved, the other peeled and chopped
1 leek, chopped
½ cup cherry tomatoes
1 T dried basil
2 T minced garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Vegetable stock
Key lime juice
Salt and pepper

PROCEDURE

veggies1. Toss the bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, sugar snap peas, the halved onion, and the whole baby carrots in a small amount of olive oil, making sure all the veggies are coated. Spread this mixture out over a stovetop grill set to medium heat. Stir and turn the mixture often until the veggies are soft and slightly blistered and blackened (though be careful not to burn). Remove from heat and let cool. (Note: I haven’t figured out the best way to remove a large amount of tiny mixed items from a very hot stovetop grill, but I’m considering purchasing this).

2. Place a large pressure cooker pot over medium heat, and drizzle a small amount (about 2 teaspoons) of olive oil in the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic, chopped carrots, the other onion, and leeks and stir for 2-3 minutes, until the onions are soft. Add the tomato paste and stir for about a minute.

3. Add all roasted vegetables and the dried basil into the pressure cooker. Next add vegetable stock until you’ve completely covered the vegetables by about three-four inches. With a pressure cooker, it is important to add a little more liquid than you would normally use so that you can create steam. Stir the mixture and seal the lid of the pressure cooker.

4. Cook for about 10 minutes, then carefully release the steam. I build and release the steam a couple more (just a few minutes each), though I’m not sure why. It’s fun, I guess. Turn off the heat, release all steam, remove the pressure cooker lid and allow soup to cool slightly.

5. Add lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Using an immersion blender (thanks, Kimberly, for the suggestion and thanks, Mom, for the housewarming gift!), puree until smooth.

6. Serve with a side of ranch dressing. Just kidding.

Thanks, Kimberly, for letting me be a guest blogger!

Vichyssoise

I found this recipe online, but it is originally from Julia Child’s The Way to Cook. It seemed perfect for this time of year, where the weather fluctuates by 30 degrees from one day to the next, since it can be served either hot or cold. (Check out the Wikipedia entry for some fun facts about Vichyssoise.)

Since this was my first time making this soup, I followed the recipe exactly. Next time I make it I think I would substitute chicken stock for about half of the water. I also realize that this recipe is intended to be very very smooth in texture (most recipes recommend sieving the purée a few times), but I preferred my more rustic (and frankly, easier) take.

Vichyssoise
makes 6-8 servings

INGREDIENTS
4 leeks, mostly white part (I used a bit of the light green too), sliced*
4 medium baking potatoes, diced
6 cups water (may substitute 3 cups water/3 cups chicken stock)
salt
white pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
minced fresh chives

PROCEDURE
1. Bring leeks, potatoes, and water/stock to boil in a large saucepan. Salt lightly, cover partially, and simmer 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
2. Purée the soup, stir in sour cream, and taste and correct seasoning. Top soup with a small dollop of sour cream, adjust seasonings if necessary, and sprinkle with chives.

* To thoroughly wash leeks, slice and add to a bowl of cold water, circulate and allow sediment to settle at the bottom.

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Well, spring is almost upon us. Recently I found this nifty tool for figuring out what’s in season: NRDC’s Eat Local info. According to this site right now my options are limited to spinach and asparagus–then again, I went to the Schlafly farmer’s market yesterday, all excited to pick up the star ingredient for this soup I was planning, and unfortunately I guess it is still a bit too soon to expect much outside of honey, salsa, eggs, and meat (although I did get some great pasta from the Mangia Italiano booth).

Anywhoo, I’d already decided on asparagus soup this week so, undeterred, that’s what I made. I’ve been doing some reading about pureed veggie soups, and one thing that keeps coming up is an insistence that, as a base, butter is going to yield a better flavor overall than olive oil. I usually use olive oil because it’s healthier and I always have plenty on hand, but I thought I’d give it a try. Overall, the soup turned out quite tasty, with the asparagus flavor definitely dominant but still fairly mild. I also used these big, fat artisan salts called Maldon Salt that I picked up at Kitchen Conservatory a while back, and the strong salty flavor gave it a good balance and richness.

Creamy Asparagus Soup

INGREDIENTS
serves 4

1 1/2 T butter
4 large shallots, coarsely chopped
1 T minced fresh thyme
1 T all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups water
1 1/2 lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
coarse salt (I recommend Maldon sea salt!)
3 T half and half
juice of one lemon

PROCEDURE
1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the shallots and thyme over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes. Add the flour, stir and cook for about 1 minute.
2. Add the asparagus, water, and white wine; season generously with salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until asparagus is bright green and just tender, about 3 minutes.
3. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender (or use an immersion blender) until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste; stir in the half and half and lemon juice and serve.

UPDATE: After bringing this to work for lunch all week, I just wanted to note that throughout the week, the smell of this soup when I took it out of the fridge was pretty… unpleasant. And it got worse as the week went on. Strangely, the soup still tasted great despite the smell. Weird.



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