Posts tagged ‘soup’

December 31, 2012

Carrot and fennel soup

As I was going through my refrigerator last week searching for things to make for dinner, I came upon a realization: I had a ton of carrots! And I had just gotten my Farm Fresh to You box which had even more carrots…and fennel. So the creation of this soup was pretty much inevitable.

carrot fennel soup1

Carrot and Fennel Soup

A bunch of carrots (I had three large and about twelve smaller ones)

1 large onion, chopped

2 small fennel bulbs, chopped

Garlic, chopped (I used about six cloves, but measure on your own taste. Garlic is kind of personal)

3-4 tbsp olive oil

Sprinkling of sugar (maybe 2 tbsp)

5 cups vegetable broth

Thyme (Again, to taste. I just sort of sprinkled a small pile in the pan)

Salt and pepper

1 cup heavy cream

Heat olive oil at the bottom of a large soup pot. Add carrots, fennel, onion, and sugar to the pan and caramelize the vegetables. After about five minutes add the garlic. Add the thyme, salt and pepper and let cook, stirring frequently for another five minutes or until veggies start to soften. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let it boil away for about 30-45 minutes or until all veggies are soft. Transfer in small batches to a blender and whip until it’s all a big pile of orange mush (or use your fancy immersion blender…you know, the one I got rid of because I didn’t think I needed it anymore?). Return it to the pot and gently bring it back to an edible temp. Mix in heavy cream (you can skip this step if you want. It’s not necessary but it sure makes it taste more substantial). Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and a personal-sized baguette (courtesy of Trader Joes…as in I bought it there, not as in they donated it to my cause). If you have the energy, which I did not, make up a nice salad to go with it. Or grilled cheese when you serve the leftovers for lunch the next day.

carrot fennel soup2

I hope everyone is having a wonderful last day of 2012. My day would be better if I wasn’t working, but so far I have no complaints.

Does anyone have fun New Year’s plans tonight?

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April 16, 2012

Fun with the Slow Cooker

I’m a slow cooker newbie. I’ll admit it. For most of my adult life, I’ve avoided them. As a vegetarian, and having heard all about beef stew and pulled pork and all the wonderful slow cooked meats you could prepare in them, I just never developed an interest.

When it came time to register for wedding gifts, my husband insisted we add one to our list. “We’ll use the heck out of it!” he’d promised. And, because lesson number one in marriage is compromise, I scanned the box of a 3.5 qt Cuisinart and moved on.

Well, since our wedding (yes, we received the slow cooker), I’ve made far more use of it than I ever expected I would.

In November, I posted about my crock-pot applesauce,which turned out amazingly delicious. And it was so easy! I did make Jim some beef stew and he cooked up some sort of pork soup thing.

And last night, I branched out. People always rave about how easy slow cooking is. “Just throw the stuff in there, put it on low and leave it all day.” Sounds easy enough. But I have an acute fear of wasting food (I believe it’s stemmed from my father guilt tripping me with “There are starving children in Ethiopia who would love those lima beans” when I was a kid), and I am always aware of the possibility that I could ruin a whole 3.5 quarts of food.

But I took a leap of faith, and threw a bag of lentils and a carton of veggie broth in the pot and set it to “low.” Six hours later, we had the most delicious lentil soup ever. And I think (I hope) I’m over my fear of the slow cooker.

 

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

1 bag lentils (their color is your choice. I think mine were green?)

1 carton veggie broth (approx 4 cups)

1 cup water

2 tbsp miso paste (again, I’m not sure the difference in colors. mine was yellow, maybe?)

4 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks

1 small head of celery, chopped

1 largish potato, peeled and chopped

1/2 large onion, chopped

salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste (usually I would have used fresh, chopped garlic, but I was going for easy here)

Throw your bag of lentils, miso paste, water and carton of veggie broth in the pot and set to low. If you must set a timer, shoot for 6 hours, I suppose. I’ve heard you can throw it all in at one time, but I also have a slightly less poignant fear of overcooked vegetables, so if you aren’t going to be home, I’d say throw everything in the pot and let ‘er hum. If you are going to be around, I say throw the veggies in around hour 3. My veggies still had a little bit of crunch to them (not raw crunch, just right crunch) but they were plenty cooked when put in at hour 3.

Serve with a small salad and a hunk of fresh-baked bread (or just regular old sprouted wheat toast if that’s all you have…like me). I’m having the leftovers for lunch today, and I’m uuber excited about it!

Lame me didn't take a photo last night, so here's a photo of the last batch of lentil soup I madeLame me didn’t take a photo last night, so here’s a photo of the last batch of lentil soup I made

Although I’m not about to go all crazy, I believe I’m making strides toward overcoming my fear of the slow cooker, especially when the soup tastes this good!

I hope everyone is having a wildly fabulous Monday!

February 15, 2012

Potato Soup

I’ve been sitting on my new potato soup recipe for a couple of days now. Why I have yet to post it, I’m not sure. Probably just laziness. Oh, I know. Because I made it Friday night and we just talked about how I don’t post on weekends, so there ya have it. Anyway, the soup is pretty dern delicious. It’s a variation on a potato cheese soup I’ve made forever. I think I like it better.

Potato Cheese Soup

3 russet potatoes, chopped

2 shallots, chopped (or more or less depending on how oniony you want it)

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 tbsp butter (or Earth Balance vegan spread)

3 tbsp flour

2 cups milk (or soy milk)

1 can vegetable broth

a handful of cheese (I used low fat mexican from Trader Joes)

salt and pepper to taste

 

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook your potatoes till they’re softish. In the meantime, combine the butter, shallots and garlic in a soup pot and cook until butter is melted (the shallots are milder than regular onions, so it’s okay if they are still a little crunchy). Add the flour and stir until it makes a thin paste. Slowly add the milk. Stir frequently until the mixture begins to thicken (usually around 4 minutes). Add the cheese, salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low.

Drain your potatoes and put about 3/4 of them in a blender. Add about half of the vegetable brother and blend until creamy. Add potato/broth mixture to cheese mixture. Add the rest of the potatoes to the soup. Simmer as long as you’d like. The longer it cooks, the better the flavor. But remember to keep stirring and keep it on low.

 

I served it with some sliced tomatoes and a slice of french bread. Jim really enjoyed it, and it was great for lunch the next day.

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November 14, 2011

Getting to the gym + tomato soup

I seem to be on a kick. I’ve managed to get myself to the gym five out of the past eight days, and for me, that’s amazing! The funny thing about it is it’s getting easier. It used to feel so hard, first to find the time, and then to find the motivation to move for 30+ minutes when I was ready to just crash on the couch for a few hours. I couldn’t be happier. I want fitness to be a part of my daily life, but the past several months it’s been so hard.

When I got home from the gym, I got to work making one of my favorite soups. It was originally from Cooking Light magazine, but I’ve changed a few things.

Tomato Soup with Parmesan Toasts

 

1 medium-sized onion, chopped

1 fennel bulb, chopped

A couple cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 can diced tomatoes, with their juice

4 cups vegetable broth

bread of your choice, sliced (I used a whole wheat french bread thing from Trader Joes, but you could use a baguette or french bread or whatever you prefer)

Shredded parmesan cheese (I actually used Trader Joes’ quatro formaggio…LOOOOOVE that stuff!)

Thyme (fresh or dried…I used dried because that’s all I had)

Fresh basil leaves

Heat your olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes or until onions start to soften. Add the fennel and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and the broth and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and let simmer for 35-40 minutes. As I say, the longer you can deal, the better it will taste.

Meanwhile, spread your sliced bread on a baking sheet (I lined mine with foil first because it makes it easier to clean that way) and cover each with a pinch of cheese. Broil in the oven until the cheese melts. But watch it! It’s easy to burn them.

Transfer half of the soup into a blender and blend until smooth…I like mine with a little bit of chunk left to it. I’ll leave that part up to your discretion. Then do the other half. But make sure your blender can vent or the heat will make the lid pop and make a big mess (I have a Ninja blender with a little flip lid pour spout, so that works for me. If you have a regular blender, you could take the little circle out in the middle and cover it with a dish towel).

Sprinkle soup with basil and serve a cup of soup with a couple of toasts.

Delicious!

Now it’s off to bed I go with the love of my life! Night!

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November 7, 2011

Mr and Meatless’ Tortilla Soup

I adore fall! Have I mentioned that before?

I love waking up to cold mornings that eventually heat to just above chilly at the peak of the afternoon. I love the colors: brilliant red leaves, the almost milky orange of pumpkins. And the smells: apple pies in the oven, the damp pavement after the first rain. I love busting out my scarves and sweaters and boots and my belovedly comfy Uggs (cliche, I know, but you can’t argue with their comfort!).

I love all the delicious seaonal food: pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, making my own applesauce. Okay, pumpkin ANYTHING really.

Saturday I made some pumpkin scones.

 

They’re not much to look at, but they sure were perfect with my earl grey tea.

And later that evening, after I’d caught up on five episodes of “Revenge” (seriously, anyone wanna talk about this show?!) while waiting for the husband to get home, I made one of our favorite fall dishes: tortilla soup.

This happens to be another “compromise” for Jim…so to speak. He LOOOOOVES this soup. In fact, we polished off the whole pot. Of course, he ate about twice as much as I did because he’s bigger than me, but also because even though it’s a “compromise” because it has no meat, he loves it. Further proof that meat is not necessary to have good flavor.

Mr and Meatless’ Tortilla Soup

3 corn tortillas

1/2 large onion

a glug of olive oil (like 1 tbsp or something. I never really measure)

1 garlic clove, chopped

Salt, pepper, paprika (to taste…feel free to add any other spices you may desire)

1/2 cup white wine (you can use more vegetable broth if you’d rather. I like the flavor the wine adds, personally)

2 medium sized tomatoes, pretty finely chopped

4-5 cups vegetable broth

2 cups brown rice, cooked

1 cup (or a whole can if you heart them) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup (or more if you love it, like me!) frozen corn

2 handfuls of cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, sliced

sour cream

shredded jack cheese

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine your glug of olive oil, chopped onions and garlic in a large sauce pan on medium heat. When onions start to appear opaque, add the spices, one handful of cilantro, the wine (or vegetable broth) and chopped tomatoes. Let that bubble away until the liquid has been reduced by about half.

Next, add the vegetable broth (I use 4 cups to start and add the 5th at the end if my rice sucks up too much). Reduce the heat and let this simmer. It needs at least 10 mins, but if you can stand to wait longer, your flavor will be better.

Meanwhile, slice your tortillas into small strips and spread them evenly on a baking sheet. Spray (or brush) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 8 mins or until they’re crispy and starting to brown.

Next add the rice, black beans and corn. I usually give it another 2-3 minutes at this point to make sure your corn has defrosted and gotten warm in the broth.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with a handful of the tortilla strips, a sprinkle of jack cheese, a glop of sour cream, a few slices of avocado and a sprinkle of the remaining handful of cilantro.

Enjoy to the very last bite!

(I guess that’s more like bites…)