And Another Soup

It has been COLD here in the Boston area. Snow. Power outages (not at my homestead). Freezing trick-or-treaters. So today, when school was cancelled (no power there), I decided it was time for another soup. This one comes from yours truly’s brain, so forgive the lack of a recipe. Basically, you can make this soup with anything you want. It’s a great way to use up veggies that are about to turn (or just have turned). I’ve decided to call this version Super Soup because of the nice variety of veggies and vitamins (and because I have the sense of humor of a 10 year old…)

Start with equal parts butter and olive oil in the bottom of a large stock pot (I used about 1 tablespoon of each). Heat over medium. Add celery, leeks, and garlic (or onions, or shallots, or any combination thereof). Cook for about 5-8 minutes, until they start to caramelize.


Next, I added 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces. Cook a few more minutes, until the sweet potato starts to brown.


Cover the whole combo with broth (I used chicken because I had it on hand, but I’d prefer vegetable for this type of soup). I use a mixture of broth and water, because I think it’s a bit too potent otherwise. For this batch, I used 5 cups broth and 2 cups water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.

When the soup is boiling, add beans (I used beautiful fresh cranberry beans). Leave uncovered and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add broccoli and simmer until the beans are soft (about 15 more minutes).

Aren’t they pretty?

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with a nice piece of crusty bread, or if you’re like me and out of nice crusty bread, with a plate of crackers and goat Gouda.

 


Happy November, everyone! Stay warm!

~CM

Two Soups for You

There’s nothing I love more on a cool fall day than a delicious soup and tonight I have two for you! (Sadly, none left over for me. Ah, well.)

Soup 1: Roasted Corn Chowder

Adapted from FoodNetwork.com

This soup takes WORK. Like, a lot of work. But it was so worth it, especially making the corn stock from scratch. Give yourself all afternoon for this one. Definitely a weekend endeavor.

Stock:

  • 8 ears corn
  • 1 1/2 quarts water, or more if needed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 habanero pepper, seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro stems
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Put the husked corn on the grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning as needed to evenly brown. Remove the corn from the grill and when cool enough to handle remove kernels and set aside.

Put the corn cobs into a large stock pot, add the water, chicken stock, salt, pepper, garlic, peppers, cilantro stems, onion and celery. Put the pot over high heat and bring it to a strong boil. Cook for 45 minutes, then strain the solids. Cool.

Soup:

  • 2 cups baby purple potatoes diced (1/2-inch)  {I used purple potatoes just because I love them and the extra pop of color; red-skinned potatoes would work just as well}
  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup diced bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

In a medium saucepan, cover the diced potatoes with 3 cups of the cooled stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. then remove from heat and set aside.

In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, add the 4 tablespoons of butter, and once melted, add the diced onions, half of the corn kernels and all the peppers. Saute about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, stirring frequently. Stir in 3 cups of the stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender (get one…it’s worth it. My sister got me this one from Cuisinart for my birthday. Best. Thing. Ever), blend until smooth. Pour out of the stockpot into a bowl to set aside.

Wipe the stock pot clean, put it over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, then drain on a paper towel lined plate. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the bacon fat, along with the remaining corn. Season with the salt and pepper and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the stock and potatoes and combine well. Stir in the heavy cream, add the corn puree mixture. Heat through and salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, I topped the soup with the cilantro leaves and freshly made corn tortilla strips. (Just cut up a stack of corn tortillas with a pizza cutter and fry until golden in vegetable oil.)

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Soup 2: Winter Squash Soup with Dried Figs and Toasted Pine Nuts

(also known as wildly easier than the last soup!)

This soup is adapted from an amazing cookbook, Simply Organic, by Jesse Ziff Cool. This is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. I’ve had it for a few years and have so enjoyed it. It’s divided by season and has beautiful pictures (which I love in my cookbooks). Check it out here on Amazon.

Ingredients:

  • a mixture of winter squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped coarsely {I used 1 large acorn squash and 1/2 medium butternut squash}
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped (skins on)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4-6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 5 dried figs, sliced (I used Turkish figs, my favorite)

In a large stock pot (I used my 4.5 quart Le Creuset….yay for wedding presents!), add the olive oil, onion, carrots, and celery. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft and slightly caramelized. Add the chopped squash and the wine. Cover the veggies with broth. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes until the squash is very soft.

Using an immersion blender (again, get one, it’s worth it), puree until totally smooth. Add the thyme through the maple syrup and puree again.

Top with the pine nuts and the figs. Along with a crusty piece of bread, you have a delicious and satisfying fall dinner.

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What is your favorite fall soup?

~CM

A Meal in Three-Part Harmony

This dinner didn’t really go together, but each part worked and was delicious, so we’ll do this a little differently tonight!

Part 1 – Summer Borscht

I love borscht. Which, I suppose, shouldn’t be too surprising based on my undying love for beets. When I was puppysitting for my in-laws last week, I got to watch some TV (my husband and I don’t have one) and tuned in to the Food Network, one of my favorites. Ina Garten was making a summer borscht and I couldn’t wait to try it once I got more beets.

This made an amazing meal and was even better the next day for lunch. Plus, it just kept getting more and more pink, which is always fun!

Cold Summer Borscht (adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe)

Serves 4

4 medium beets, cleaned with the tops cut off

1 cup chicken broth

3/4 cup beet cooking liquid

8 ounces low-fat sour cream

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons sugar

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

1 cup English cucumber

2 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon dried dill

Salt and pepper

First, cook the beets in a medium pot of salted water and boil, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Place beets in a bowl of cold water to cool and set aside 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid to cool.

While the beets are cooking, whisk together the chicken stock, sour cream, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, pepper (about 1 teaspoon), and the dill in a large bowl. Put the bowl in the fridge to allow the flavors to meld.

Seed and chop the cucumber (about 1/2 an English cucumber).

Peel and chop the beets into small cubes. Add the beets, green onions, and cucumbers to the soup and put back into the fridge for at least 2 hours, the more the better.

This is what the soup looked like at first…just a hint of pink.

Part 2 – A New Take On Zucchini Bread

Zucchini is the bumper crop right now and I’ve been doing everything I can to use it up. I love zucchini bread, but wanted to try something a bit more savory. I found this great recipe for a whole-wheat zucchini bread-maker bread. It came out delicious and ended up being a perfect compliment to the borscht.

Whole Wheat Zucchini Herb Bread

adapted from a recipe by Barb Gertz

(Makes a 2 lb loaf)

2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

3/4 cup water

2 teaspoons dry active yeast

Add these ingredients in the order recommended by your breadmaker and bake it on the Whole Wheat setting. Make sure you do NOT drain the zucchini like you might for other baking situations…it’s important to have the moisture.

This was particularly good toasted with a bit of butter

Part 3 – Deep Dish Peach Pie

Now, deep dish peach pie is one of my family’s favorites and this was my first attempt at this super easy and delicious summer dessert. This recipe is one I’ve wanted to share for the while, but the photos, well, they’re to show you that I am not ashamed of my kitchen foibles. Okay, well maybe I’m a little ashamed, but I’ll share them anyway.

I burnt this! My husband affectionally referred to this as the “Pie of Mordor”. It was bubbling and looking very sinister when it first came out of the oven…like molten lava! Oops!

Deep Dish Peach Pie

(My mother’s recipe)

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 large can of peaches in heavy syrup

Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix first four ingredients in a deep casserole dish. Pour the can of peaches over the mixture with the syrup included and do NOT stir. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and bake for about 1 hour (or maybe less if my Pie of Mordor is any indication). Delicious served with vanilla ice cream!

Yes, we ate it anyway. What? It’s dessert!

~CM