Category Archives: Recipes – Soup

Chickpea Soup – One Way to Manage Your Produce Budget

Chickpea SoupRecently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected that the lasting drought in California could have “large and lasting effects” on fruit and vegetable prices. Since California produces almost half of all U.S.-grown fruits and vegetables, their weather has budget implications for us all over the country. Experts are estimating that consumers will have to pay as much as 10% to 15% more this year for fresh produce than we paid in 2013.

A March 12 Hartford Courant article includes a host of ways to trim your grocery budget. One way to lower your expenditures is to use canned or frozen produce, which is something I tend to forget about doing. However, many supermarket brands offer organic options and low-sodium options, which are two of the main reasons why consumers avoid them. And then I thought about a chickpea soup that I just tried, inspired by a recipe in Martha Stewart Living from November 2013, and realized that this dish is a keeper for a few reasons. It was quite delicious, only took about 10 minutes to prepare, and was relatively inexpensive to create. This is a winning combination in my book! I omitted the garlic crisps and red pepper flakes, and substituted asiago cheese for parmesan. So if the higher produce prices start to pinch at your wallet, consider trying this chickpea soup as a tasty alternative that uses canned beans.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced (about 2 tablespoons)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cans (about 15 ounces each) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken broth (homemade if you have it)
1 cup water
Coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Finely shredded parmesan (or asiago) cheese

Preparation:
Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add garlic, season with salt and pepper. Cook until oil is infused and garlic is just beginning to color (do not let brown), 2 to 3 minutes.

Add chickpeas to oil in pot, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until heated through and creamy, about 5 minutes. Smash some of the chickpeas with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. Add broth and water; simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide soup among 4 bowls. Top with parsley and cheese.

Advertisements

Spinach Sausage Soup That is Full of Flavor and Free From Gluten, Sugar and Yeast!

SpinachSausageSoupI have been really pleased lately because the weather has been delightful. Not only have I been able to enjoy the outdoors, my CSA farm share extended its season for an additional five weeks! I am still receiving fresh produce that is inspiring me to try new recipes.

Last weekend I had a bounty of farm fresh carrots, garlic, parsley, thyme and spinach. I also had a nice chicken sausage sitting in the fridge that had not yet been spoken for. I decided to whip up a spinach and sausage soup, which seemed like a nice accompaniment to the cool temperatures in the evenings.

If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, the soup will do well with the dried versions – just use smaller quantities. All of the ingredients can be purchased either at the grocery store or farm stand. My sausage of choice is Aidell’s Roasted Garlic and Gruyere because it does not contain anything that I am sensitive to. Their web site has a useful list of their products with allergen information so you can choose a sausage that will work with your dietary needs. And if you need a yeast/gluten/sugar/onion free broth, Pacific Organic Mushroom Broth is a great option.

The soup is full of flavor and is great as an appetizer or entree. I hope that you find this soup to be delicious too.

Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
2-3 carrots, sliced
2-3 celery stalks, sliced
12 oz. smoked sausage (4 links), sliced
2 cups broth (mushroom, vegetable, or chicken)
4 cups water
1 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. fresh parsley (or 1 Tbs. dried parsley)
1 Tbs. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
1-2 cups fresh spinach, washed and ripped/cut into bite-siced pieces

Preparation:
Heat a large saucepan on medium high. Add olive oil and garlic to pan, and allow the garlic to start sizzling. Add the carrots, celery, and sausage to the pan, and allow to brown, stirring occasionally, about 5-10 minutes. Add broth and water to the pan, turn up the heat to high, and bring to a boil. While heating up, add the pepper, parsley and thyme. Once the soup has reached a boil, add the spinach and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes; then your soup is ready to enjoy.

I am sharing my recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Rachel’s Radish Greens Soup

Today’s post is a real treat from a guest blogger! When Rachel is not crunching numbers, she enjoys crunching on fresh vegetables from her new garden. I hope you enjoy her story of discovering the beauty and taste of fresh radishes, and finding a recipe that includes both the root and leaves.

RadishGreensSoupRadishes so tasty they inspired me to write a blog
Radishes are not my favorite food. They are hard, pungent, and have a propensity to be pithy and/or rubbery if left to their own devices for too long a time. So when I was looking to plant my spring garden, I was not inclined to waste precious space on such a disagreeable crucifer. But after reading that radishes can be co-planted with carrots to double up on space (as radishes grow quickly and would be harvested well before the carrots are large enough to need the room) and that this is a great way to break up the soil for the growth of the more tender root vegetables, I decided to spend the $1.89 for a packet of seeds and give it a go.

True to the promise of a quick growing season, last week, some of my first plantings were ready for harvest. I know only a couple of recipes that use radishes, and those call for only the roots. However, the plants looked so lovely and fresh when I plucked them from the ground, it seemed like a waste the throw out 2/3 of the plant, especially after all the work it took to grow them (mainly, to prepare the ground, since once I planted the seeds, they pretty much took off on their own). So I turned to a lovely book given to me by Sensitive Economist, Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison, to see what could be done about the greens.

Not only did the book’s section on radishes regale me with tales of gardening in Alabama and give a lesson on the diverse varieties of radishes available (note to self: try planting the milder-flavored French Breakfast variety!), but it also persuaded me to try eating one of the radishes “as the French do”: raw, tender leaves and all, with a bit of (vegan) butter spread and salt. Magnifique! These radishes were tender and juicy, nothing like the grocery-store radishes I remembered. I ate all three, and had to go back to the garden for more to get the greens needed to make a vegan, sugar-free, yeast-free, gluten-free version of Madison’s delicious radish-top soup recipe.

Even without the butter, yogurt, and chicken stock, the soup has a light, clean, and surprisingly delightful flavor, thanks to the fresh radish greens. It’s perfect for a spring lunch! Unlike the roots, radish greens are very mild, but you can also add thinly sliced radish roots to the soup as well if you want a little more zest.

Radish Greens Soup
–1 tbsp olive oil
–½ onion, thinly sliced (1/4 c of sliced leeks or garlic chives would probably be good, as well)
–4 small or fingerling potatoes (I used the purple variety, which gave the soup a nice, rich color), thinly sliced
–4 cups water
–tops of 10 radishes, rinsed, thick stems removed, and coarsely chopped
–fresh lemons for garnish

Place the olive oil, onion slices, potato slices, and a generous sprinkle of salt (in that order) in the bottom of a large pan over low heat. Cook, covered, for approximately 15 minutes to steam the potatoes and carmelize the onions. Add 4 cups of water and stir, scraping the bottom to incorporate the carmelized onions, and add the radish greens. Cook just until wilted, approximately 5 minutes. Cool, puree, and serve with sea salt, fresh ground pepper to taste, and a slice of lemon squeezed over the top.

I am sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Minding the Vitamix – Part 1: Turnip, Apple & Potato Soup

turnip soupThe alternate title for this blog post is: Sending My Condolences to the 30-Year-Old Blender.

A few weeks ago my mother-in-law called me to say that her trusty decades-old blender had stopped working that morning. It just conked out while making a smoothie! I offered my condolences because the blender had been a staple in MIL and FIL’s kitchen for some time. However, as MIL noted, all was not lost, because the Vitamix blender that she had her eye on had just gone on sale! She wanted to purchase the new appliance but knew that she would be starting a vacation soon after, and did not want her shiny, new blender to be sitting on her front step. So being the generous DIL that I am, I offered to have it shipped to my house, where I could take it in. And I offered to go one step further – I would test out the new Vitamix. After considerable laughing on both sides of the phone, we decided to venture forth with this plan.

The Vitamix arrived on my doorstep on a Thursday evening. I opened the box to reveal the machine that had a very pretty cinnamon hue. I spent most of that weekend just reading the manual and all of the cookbooks that came with it. There was quite a bit of reading material! By Sunday afternoon I was ready to try my first creation – Turnip Soup! I enjoy roasted turnips and had never tried making a soup that required blending. Now was the time!

I peeled and cubed the turnip before roasting so the vegetable became very tender. I chopped the potatoes and apples yet left the skins on because I figured the Vitamix would blend all those pieces well, which it did. If your blender is not as powerful you may want to peel those items.

Turning a Vitamix blender on for the first time is quite an experience. Please note that any lightweight items (such as napkins, nuts, etc.) on any nearby counterspace will move as a result of the wind current created. The hum is distinctive, kind of like an airplane taking off but not as loud. That Vitamix had the food blended in no time! I had to blend a few batches, which got to be kind of a messy experience, but the blender is really easy to clean. Below are the steps I took to a very tasty blended soup with roasted turnip, apple and potato. I hope that you like the soup as much as SensitiveHusband and I did.

Ingredients:
1 turnip, peeled and cubed
2 apples, peeled (optional), cored, and coarsely sliced
2 russet potatoes, peeled (optional) and cubed
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups vegetable broth (I like Pacific Natural Foods Mushroom Broth)
4 cups water
4 cloves garlic, peeled
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Cut turnips into (roughly) same-sized pieces, about ½ inch to 1 inch thick, depending on diameter. Don’t worry about precision because the soup is going to be blended anyway. Place turnip pieces in a 9×13 glass pan lined with parchment paper. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool before blending.

Peel the potato and cut it into pieces about the same size as the turnip.

In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the butter over a low-to-medium heat.

Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the broth, water and potato. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft enough that they can easily be pierced with a knife.

Remove from heat and purée the potato and liquid in a blender along with turnip, working in batches if necessary.

Tip: Use care when processing hot items in a blender as the hot steam can sometimes blow the blender lid off. Start on a slow speed with the lid slightly ajar to vent any steam, then seal the lid and increase the blending speed.

Return puréed soup to pot and bring to a simmer again, adding more broth or stock to adjust the thickness if necessary.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, add a garnish such as sauteed garlic and kale.

Lentil Vegetable Soup

2013-01 lentil veggie soupI have really been enjoying soup lately. With the cold temperatures outside and frequent snowfall, it’s nice to know that a fresh, hot cup of soup can be ready in minutes. Soup is a great way to incorporate a variety of vegetables into a meal, and by adding lentils it is hearty enough for an appetizer or a whole meal. An article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences late last year finds evidence that humans evolved with larger brains because they cooked their food, which allowed more energy and nutrients to be absorbed in their bodies. It sounds like eating homemade soup is both tasty and a smart thing to do.

I wanted to try making a lentil soup, since you do not have to spend time soaking or peeling lentils – just rinse and add to the soup. This is a time saver over dried beans. I found an online recipe for Chunky Vegetable-Lentil Soup from Better Homes and Gardens, and made a few modifications to remove the onion and boost the number of veggies. I added peapods to my soup, and in my next batch I added spinach, which both worked well and added to the flavor. This soup tastes even better on the second day once the vegetables have a chance to meld. When reheating, you may choose to add another cup of water because the lentils, over time, will soak up moisture and the soup will thicken.

I hope you enjoy this delicious soup.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup dry green lentils, rinsed and drained
1 pound whole small mushrooms, sliced
4 medium carrots, thinly sliced (2 cups)
2 stalks celery, chopped
3/4 cup favorite vegetable (such as peapods or spinach) – optional
4 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth (I like Pacific mushroom broth)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions
In a 4-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic; cook for 2 to 3 minutes until garlic is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in lentils; cook and stir 1 minute.

Add mushrooms, carrots, celery, any other favorite vegetable, water, vegetable broth, salt and pepper. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 25 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Cool Blueberry Gazpacho for the Hot Summer Weather

Good day, everyone! Are you taking advantage of the very summery weather? I am enjoying all of the beach days although my air conditioner is cranked on full blast nearly all of the time.

When I saw this recipe for “Royal Blueberry” Gazpacho with Lemon and Mint in the July 2012 issue of Cooking Light, I have to admit, I was interested. The hot summer weather makes a cool fruity soup sound like a great idea. Plus I had a plethora of blueberries since I came home from the grocery store with two pints (who can pass by a “buy one, get one free” deal?), and then later that week I received another pint from my farm share. Needless to say, I was looking for a good blueberry recipe. This one pairs the blueberries nicely with red seedless grapes. I served the soup, as the recipe suggested, as a sweet starter to our dinner of grilled salmon, potatoes and vegetables. It was great! This mixture would also make a tasty popsicle – just freeze the liquid into some molds. SensitiveHusband and I also agreed that it would be a delicious simple syrup to add to a refreshing beverage with vodka and ice.

To make the recipe a bit simpler (it was just too hot to dirty a food processor), I stirred the mixture and directly poured into a mesh sieve. I was also sure to use 100% grape juice to exclude the cane sugar from this dish.

Ingredients
1 pound red seedless grapes
12 ounces fresh blueberries
1/3-1/2 cup white grape juice (100% juice)
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation
1. Remove stems from fruit. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Place fruit in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add grape juice and honey; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes.

2. Place blueberry mixture in a food processor; process until almost smooth. OR Stir the blueberry mixture briskly until all of the blueberries and grapes have split.

3. Strain; discard solids. Chill 2 hours.

4. Stir in rind, juice, and salt. Ladle about 1/2 cup into each of 5 chilled bowls.

I am sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Gastronomical Sovereignty, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Food Trip Friday and Cybele Pascal Allegen-Friendly Cook.

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage