Category Archives: Soups

Southwestern Corn Chowder

It’s hard to imagine truly enjoying a soup in full knowledge of the fact that 2 cups of heavy cream is a key ingredient.

That’s my beef with most chowder recipes out there. On top of the ridiculous fat content, cream really does not add much flavor. Fact is, a pureed potato or two creates a  backdrop that could pass for a cream soup, and is far tastier.corn chowder 3

This corn chowder proved to be the best of a few separate soup worlds: a blended base, a chunky component and a ton of flavor. And what’s not to love about a bowl full of fall colors.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 white potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. cumin

Directions

  • Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large, heavy pot. Add chopped onions, celery and potatoes. Saute until vegetables are soft — about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and pour in two cups of vegetable stock. Using either an immersion blender or a freestanding blender, puree the vegetables and the stock. Add corn to the pureed vegetables, along with salt, pepper, cayenne and cumin. Return heat to medium.
  • In a separate skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Remove pith and seeds from a jalapeno pepper and finely dice. Add to skillet along with diced red pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes and combine with pureed vegetables.
  • Add vegetable stock to achieve desired thickness of soup. Cover and simmer for 10 more minutes. Serve warm

Winter Squash and Peanut Butter Soup

Soup and Stew season is back! A four-day deluge and a big drop in the temperature means that it’s time to start chopping, sauteeing, and pureeing.

There’s no better starting point than a winter squash, and it turns out that my idea to combine squash with peanut butter is not an original one — but it is a good one.

Here’s a variation on some of the recipes that I Googled and perused. I went for somewhat of a Thai twist — substituting almond milk for the coconut milk that some of the recipes called for.

This could not have been more delicious. Hearty: Big time. With lots of flavors coming in from all directions. A definite stand-by for the holiday season.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large winter squash
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt.
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Cut squash in half and scrape seeds from the center. Brush lightly with olive oil and place face down on a roasting pan. Roast for 25-30 minutes until squash is soft.
  • Heat olive oil in a heavy soup pot. Add chopped onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and stir frequently. In about 15 minuted, when vegetables are soft, add cumin, cayenne, nutmeg and salt. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock and continue.for another 10 minutes or so.
  • Add 1 Tbsp of grated, fresh ginger followed by peanut butter.
  • When squash is out of the oven and cool enough to handle remove skin and add to the soup.
  • Remove from heat and add remaining stock and almond milk.
  • Puree soup using an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender to puree in batches.
  • Reheat soup. Serve warm topped with a spot of Greek yogurt.

 

Pesto Minestrone Soup

Even though it’s still well into the 90s in Austin, I like to think that we are nearing the start of the Soup and Stew Season. Soup was on my mind while perusing the produce department yesterday and I settled on a variation of  minestrone that incorporates some of my recent favorite ingredients — pesto, jalapeno and kale.

ingredients for minestrone soup

The jalapeno and the kale proved to be nice sidekicks and the pesto took center stage — a minestrone game changer. As a vegetarian soup, the pesto lends that extra dimension and, in my humble opinion, adds a depth that is far superior to anything that sausage or a soup bone has to offer.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  •  2 medium onions
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1  jalapeno, diced very fine
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 4 large kale leaves chopped
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 oz.) of garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 quart of vegetable stock or water
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

  • Heat olive oil in a heavy sauce pan and add diced onion followed by peeled and diced carrots, celery, potatoes, jalapeno and zucchini. Cover and cook on medium heat for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Chop kale and parsley. Add tomatoes, beans, salt, pepper, 2 Tbsp. of pesto  and stock or water.
  • Cover and simmer on medium to low heat for 25 minutes.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve with a dollop of pesto.

Beet Roundup

From pancakes to muffins, smoothies to salads — steamed roasted and raw — beets and beet greens been the subject of lots of posts this year. I didn’t start 2013 with the intention exploring this deeply pigmented root from every possible angle. In fact, on a few occasions, I made a small determination to rein in my new-found fervor, and then I’d end up asking myself, “why stop now.”

The bottom line, I’ve barely just begun. Next on the docket: beet chips, assorted borscht recipes, pickled beets, and a beet cake. In the meantime, here’s a brief recap of the fun that we’ve had with beets for the first 8 months of 2013.

Beet Pancakes with Fresh Blueberry Syrup

Beet Apple Walnut Muffins

Beet Green and Kale Frittata

Yogurt, Blueberry and Beet Green Smoothie

Beet Green and Strawberry Smoothie

Hummus with Roasted Beets

Beet Carrot and Apple Slaw

Beet Pecan and Feta Salad

Beet and Garbanzo Bean Salad

Spinach and Beet Salad

Beet and Blueberry Salad

Moroccan Beet and Carrot Salad

Borscht Lite

Root Vegetable Hash

Roasted Roots

Quinoa with Roasted Beets

Beet Greens and Portobellos over Pasta

Beet Green Quiche in a Brown Rice Crust

 

Creamy Kale and Spinach Soup

So we were out to dinner for our anniversary last week (22 years!) and the waiter announced that the soup was Creamy Spinach. I said to myself, “sounds very tasty, but you just have to know that it is loaded with butter and cream.” I opted for the Gazpacho instead, which I would have done anyway, having just posted my own version and being a big fan of vinegar/tomato/onion/cucumber combinations. The Gazpacho was perfectly pureed. A little watery, but screaming with flavor.  I loved it, even though I had always thought that Gazpacho was by definition, chunky. Seeing as I don’t get out much, what do I know?

Back to Spinach and Kale. The next day, with Creamy Spinach Soup still on my mind, I realized that we were well stocked with greens, and I decided to take a shot at my own version of  a Creamy Spinach Soup that was not artery clogging. The strategy was to add in a few peeled white potatoes for creaminess and to toss in some kale to keep it interesting, and to possibly blend in an avocado at the end. I’m curious what the effect of the avocado would have been, but the fact is, by the time my immersion blender was finished working its magic, I didn’t want to change a thing. I would be curious to do a side-by-side taste test of the version that I had passed up the previous evening and I’m perfectly willing to admit that a French restaurant knows a thing or two about cream soups, but here’s the deal: the only fat mine had in it was a few tablespoons of olive oil and it was outrageously flavorful, creamy and just a delightful new vehicle for consuming kale. And who among us isn’t looking for that?

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 medium white potatoes. Peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups fresh kale, washed, torn from the stems and spun dry
  • 4 cups fresh spinach (Any combination of greens would probably work. This happens to be what I had on hand.)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg

Directions

  • Heat olive oil in a large soup pan or stock pot. Add chopped onions and potatoes. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring frequently until both are very soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Add kale and spinach in batches. Cover to help the greens to cook down and make room for more. Once all of the greens are in the pot, continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add vegetable stock and spices. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly and then puree with an immersion blender or a regular blender.
  • Reheat and serve warm.