Spiced Mixed Pulses Soup

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I don’t really experiment with dried beans or lentils much, but I saw a little bag of mixed pulses in the store and it was just so colorful and pretty that I bought it. Thus, I had this bag of dried pulses and had to do something. So, I made some soup! Perfect for the lovely 97 degree November days we’ve been having!

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Spiced Mixed Pulses Soup

Adapted from Lisa’s Kitchen

1 small bag of mixed pulses (see original recipe for exact amounts; the types and amounts don’t matter toooo much). I had channa (chickpeas), some different beans, and some different daals (lentils).

Mix together in a bowl:

1 small red onion, chopped very finely

1 tablespoon garlic/ginger paste

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Cayenne if you want some kick (I didn’t… I’m boring)

Remaining ingredients:

2 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil

1 small tomato, seeded and finely chopped

handful of dried curry leaves

1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup coconut milk

Fresh cilantro.

Soak the pulses overnight (this is why I don’t deal with dried legume stuff). Drain, and bring to a boil in enough water to cover the pulses with about 2 inches of water to spare. Simmer for about 1 hour.

Mix together what I told you to mix together above.

Heat your fat of choice in a pan and add the mixture in the bowl to it; saute for 5 minutes. Add the tomato, curry leaves, hing, and salt to taste. Cook and stir often for 8-10 minutes. Add this to the beans. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for 20 minutes.

Garnish with the cilantro and serve hot. Additional garnish: some extra coconut milk!

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Enjoy. Love me some fiber, protein… coconut… yum. This was pretty tasty and went very well with sweet potato parathas. Other accompaniments would be some dahi (yogurt), or rice, or both, and a sweet lime pickle.

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So many dishes, though… I can make such a mess in the kitchen. It’s kind of unavoidable especially with Indian food… or so I’ve found thus far.

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So that’s my kitchen, here in our little ground floor flat. Hope you like the soup. I recommend it.

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Cheddar Cauliflower Soup with Frizzled Leeks

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Crispy pan-fried leek greens top this satisfying soup that works for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast… if you’re feeling adventurous. I’d stick with lunch or dinner.

Today, I plated this soup in in the beautiful ceramic bowl that my lovely chica Sarah made for me. Earthy blue glaze coats the inside, with a metallic bronze on the outside. It is absolutely perfect for yogurt, cereal, soup, *cough* ice cream *cough*. Ice cream? Who said that?

Anyway, this girl is seriously multi-talented–cooks, bakes, ceramic-izes, and is going for her Master’s in Nutrition. You go, girl. I love my ceramics dishware and I shall be the envy of all when I go to Ithaca this Fall!

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Um… back to the soup. It was deliciously cheesy and had an amazingly creamy, decadent mouth-feel. By not puréeing the cauliflower and leek, the soup still retained some texture and bite. Topped with a garnish of frizzled leeks, all this soup needed was some sourdough bread. Sadly, I had none. But keep that in mind.

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This was a winnah.

Cheddar Cauliflower Soup with Frizzled Leeks

Adapted from Eating Well

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 small or medium sized leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed well [save the greens!]
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets that are bite-sized
2 1/2 cups low-fat milk, divided
3 cups water
1 cup soy milk or milk + 1/2 cup soy milk or milk
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a large nonstick saucepan, sauté the leek in the oil until soft (5 minutes). Add the cauliflower, water, 1 cup milk, bay leaf, salt, pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce and simmer about 8 minutes or until cauliflower is soft and tender.  Remove the bay leaf.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour.  Add to cauliflower mixture. Cook about 2 more minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese and lemon juice.

Serve with an optional garnish of frizzled leeks:

Frizzled Leeks

Adapted from technique by Vegetable a Month Club

Leek greens, cleaned and thinly julienned
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a cold saucepan, add oil, leek greens, and salt and pepper. Use your fingertips to toss the leeks and get them coated evenly in oil. Spread in an even layer, try to not overlap the greens.

Turn on the heat to medium-low and be patient. Once the leeks become golden brown on one side, flip and frizzle on the other side. Continue to stir and cook until they are as golden brown everywhere as possible. Drain on paper towels.

They will be crunchy and delicious! Sprinkle on each serving of soup.

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Deeeeelish.

Summer Squash Soup

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When life gives you summer squash…

… Squash upon squash upon summer squash…

You really have no choice but to make soup.

We have four summer squash plants in our garden. Every day I go out and find some ginormous summer squash that I somehow missed the day before.

To make this soup, I used three VERY BIG squash, about four MEDIUM-ISH squash, and 3 very tiny baby squashies.

It worked out well for this soup, a very light and refreshing (and hydrating) soup. I think it would also serve well as gazpacho if you are so inclined (and with temps in the mid-90s this week, I am definitely so inclined).

Summer Squash Soup

Adapted from a recipe on Taste of Home

Two large onions, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

6-10 garlic cloves, minced or thinly sliced

A lot of summer squash, cubed (the original calls for 6. I used the amount I said above. I think you can go with pretty much any number, as the recipe is forgiving, so long as it’s a decent number. Also, you can leave the seeds in; it’ll all be puréed anyway,  and who doesn’t like a little extra fiber and nutrients from the seeds?)

4 cups of water

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons dried thyme

A few sprinkles of sea salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice (1/2 a lemon)

Grated or shredded Parmesan or Pecorino romano cheese

Lemon zest from 1 lemon

Two fistfuls of basil, sliced (chiffonade-d)

In a large, nonstick pot, sauté the onions until tender and nearly translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add the garlic and sauté a minute or two longer. Add the squash and cook for 5 minutes. Add the water, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, covered, until tender.

Remove some of the liquid and reserve; you can add it back in if the soup is too thick.

Using your handy immersion blender (or in batches, in the food processor), purée the soup until smooth as can be. If too thick for your liking, add some of the reserved liquid back.

Stir in the lemon juice and basil. Taste-test and add salt, pepper, etc. if necessary.

To serve, top with a pinch of lemon zest and cheese.

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This soup is homegrown, in the sense that the squash and basil both came from our garden–and so delicious. The lemon is surprising but adds some needed brightness and tang, and the cheese complements with its saltiness. This is a perfect light lunch or dinner.

I can’t wait to try it cold!

Cream of Broccoli Soup (vegan)

Four heads of broccoli in the fridge.

Then I stumbled upon Joy the Baker’s vegan cream of broccoli soup.

And I had some cashew butter on hand from those peppermint patties that were oh-so-good.

So I made soup on a hot summer night.

But it was worth it!

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Adapted from Joy the Baker

about 3/4 cup raw cashew butter or 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour then drained

1 small onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 heads of broccoli, chopped into bite-size florets

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

pepper to taste

juice of half a lemon

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar + 1 teaspoon molasses, mixed (to make vegan worcestshire sauce)

about 4 cups of water

If using raw cashews, soak raw cashews in warm water for 1 hour.  They’ll soften slightly.  Drain.

Steam broccoli until tender–about 8 minutes in the microwave ought to do it. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, sauté onions until tender/translucent. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Add cumin, salt, mustard, black pepper and cook 30 seconds. Add broccoli and remove from heat. Add water and cashews (or cashew butter, if using). Using an immersion blender, blend until blended. Heat over low heat, and add lemon and worcestshire sauce. Taste and season as necessary.

Okay, so it’s hard to capture this soup in photos (Joy the Baker does a much better job). But it was so good–and so creamy! You’d never guess it was cashews that provided such creaminess. We ate this with melba toasts smothered in almond butter, or just plain. I meant to have garlic bread with it, but I ended up not being hungry enough because I tasted the soup so much in the making of it (taste. does it need more lemon? taste. More pepper? taste. What what? Taste taste taste).

But, I made this on a Saturday. So that means the weekly shipment of random food (current favorites are oranges, bananas, celery, lettuce, Chinese sponge cake, lettuce, potato chips, chocolate chip cookies, tomatoes) came home with Dad, from Grandma. So even though I halved our broccoli stores by using 2 heads for this soup, the total heads equaled four once again due to two new heads’ arrival.

… Oh well. At least we don’t have six heads of broccoli now.

Roasted Tricolor Bell Pepper Soup

Usually, soup with a roasted bell pepper base is made with just red peppers, resulting in a lovely, rich red hue.

But when one is met with a multitude of many colored peppers, a palette of a multitude of colors will result.

Count them. 20+ peppers, AFTER I threw away 5 rotten ones.

But they do look so beautiful after burning their skins to a crisp.

(I did two trays.)

Roasted Tricolor Bell Pepper Soup

Adapted from this recipe

20+ bell peppers, cored and halved

2-4 tablespoons olive oil, enough to cook…

4 small onions and

4 cloves (or more) garlic

1 teaspoon + smoked paprika

4 cups vegetable stock

4 cups water

6 small potatoes, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Greek yogurt

Cover a pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place peppers, skin side up, on tray and spray. Broil for 15-20 minutes (I’m serious, unless my broiler was faulty) until the skins blacken.

Empty peppers into some kind of sturdy bag that can be sealed. The first tray: the peppers had so much juice, they broke through the paper bag. The second tray: The peppers melted right through a ziploc freezer bag. I don’t know what to do.

Let them sit for 10 minutes, then carefully remove and discard the skins (they’ll be pretty hot) but do not rinse the peppers. Chop coarsely.

Heat olive oil in a large vat/cauldron/nonstick soup pot, and cook onions and garlic until soft but not brown. Add paprika and cook 1 minute.

Add roasted peppers, broth, water, dried herbs, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Puree the soup using an immersion blender or food processor, and add the balsamic vinegar just before finishing.

Serve with dollops of Greek yogurt. You can also stir some into the soup itself in place of cream… or just stir in some cream.

Makes A LOT.

This soup was delicious. The smoked paprika adds another layer of flavor, and I’m happy I finally got to use some in this recipe. And the color is actually pretty nice, even though it’s not red. Some black beans and corn might go nicely in this too, and add some protein to make a hearty meal!

We are now bell-pepper-less and couldn’t be happier. However, there are some cucumbers that are taking over the vegetable drawer that might need to be stopped.

Carrot Ginger Apple Soup

Notice my reflection in the spoon... heehee

After seeing variants of this recipe floating around, I decided to try it out too.

Result? Deliciousness that didn’t last for leftovers.

Carrot Apple Ginger Soup

Ultimately adapted from Joy the Baker but also seen at Oh She Glows

Some olive oil (a few tablespoons; eyeball)

1 small yellow onion, sliced (I used 1/4 of a huge Costco vidalia onion)

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated (I had to use ground ginger. About a tablespoon. It was good but more would not have hurt. Then again I do love ginger.)

1 small apple, peeled and sliced

4 to 5 cups sliced, peeled carrots (about 1 1/2 pounds)

4 cups vegetable broth (I used 3 and then thinned it out with water at the end)

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook about 5 minutes or until soft.  I mixed the ground ginger with the minced garlic and then added and cooked for about a minute.  Add sliced apples and diced carrots and cook for 3 minutes.

Turn flame to medium-high and add vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce flame to low and simmer, uncovered,  until carrots and apples are softened, about 30 minutes.  Remove pan from the flame and let rest for 10 minutes.

Blend the soup until smooth. My favorite way to do this is to yell, “Hey Dad, want to immersion blend something?” and then he comes running because immersion blending is his favorite thing to do in the kitchen.

Add some water while your dad is immersion blending to thin it out to your desired consistency. I personally like thicker rather than brothy soups.

Add a pinch of nutmeg, salt, pepper to taste.

Serve with a drizzle of quality olive oil, some pepper, and another tiny pinch of nutmeg.

Apparently the soup freezes well but you’d never know… because it shall be devoured. Definitely double this recipe for good sized portions. Wow, that’s a lot of carrots.