SOUP SATURDAY: A NEW BLOG EVENT!

16114833_10211890414716031_5142216880039446529_nAs those who follow my site might remember, a blog event I participated for years – The Secret Recipe Club – recently came to an end. Some of the participants took matters into their own hands and came up with fun ideas to keep us connected and sharing recipes on a regular basis. With this post, I offer my first contribution to Soup Saturday, as launched by Wendy, from A Day In the Life on the Farm. We are all sharing recipes for healthy soups so if you’d like some serious inspiration, make sure to click on the link party at the end of this post. I loved the idea because if there’s one thing I should make more often, it’s soup. Any reason to make it more often sounds great to me.

To start things on a nice note, I will share not one but two recipes, both were a huge hit with us. I honestly don’t know which one would be my favorite. Phil leaned towards the second.  I wish I had made them on the same day to pour them in a bowl side by side,  making an Yin Yang kind of hybrid soup. I’ve seen that done before, it looks very stylish. Take a look at this version, for instance.

These are very low in carbs, especially the first one. The second involves some carrots (three for the whole batch), so it is slightly more fulfilling. Both are Paleo-friendly, in case you are interested…

asparagus-soup-2

ASPARAGUS SOUP WITH ADVIEH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 bunch of asparagus, tough ends removed (about 1 pound)
1 leek, white part only, minced
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 cup baby spinach leaves, well packed
salt and pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon advieh (or a mild curry mix)
2 + 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup coconut milk
fresh lemon juice to taste

Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and saute until translucent. Cut the asparagus, in 1-inch pieces, add to the pan and saute gently for a few minutes, until it starts to get some color. Season with salt and pepper. Add the advieh, is using, saute briefly stirring constantly, until the spice mix releases its aroma.

Add the water, close the pan, and simmer gently until the asparagus is fully tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender (preferably high power), add the spinach leaves, and blend. The spinach will “cook” in the residual heat of the soup. Return soup to pan, add the coconut milk, simmer until heated through. Squirt a little lemon juice right before serving. Adjust seasoning, and…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Advieh is a mixture of spices that varies a lot depending on the region, but usually contains turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger and dried rose petals. I got mine not too long ago, and decided to give it a try. Good move by Sally. It turned out subtle, not at all as if you are swallowing perfume… I would define it as a floral curry. Quite unique, very flavorful. I find the idea of eating something with rose petals quite enticing…  don’t you?

carrotcaulisoup

LEMONY CAULIFLOWER & CARROT SOUP
(adapted from a recipe from Melissa Clark)

1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 to 6 cups of water
1 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
1 tablespoon white miso
1 small head of cauliflower or 1/2 large one,
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste

Rice the cauliflower in a food processor and reserve (you can also use the florets, in this case add them together with the carrots). Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the shallots and saute until translucent. Add coriander and a little salt, saute until fragrant.  Add carrots, saute briefly, add 5 cups of water  and the miso, stirring well until it dissolves. Simmer for 15 minutes, add the riced cauliflower and cook everything together for 5 more minutes (riced cauliflower cooks fast).

Remove the soup from the heat. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth, or transfer to a blender. Return the soup to the pan, over very low heat add the lemon zest and juice. Adjust seasoning, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The original recipe from Melissa Clark has a higher proportion of carrots and uses more miso, which in my opinion overpowered the flavor of the veggies. I liked my revised version a lot more. You can barely detect the miso, but it adds a nice exotic flavor to it.  This soup was my lunch three days in a row, and if there was more, I would have it on day 4 again. Nothing better in a chilly day, I can tell you that.  I topped it with black sesame seeds, and a swirl of yogurt and Sriracha. That really took the soup to a higher level, I love to vary the amount of Sriracha at each spoonful, testing my limits. Of course, if you prefer a more tamed version, omit the hot sauce, but the yogurt is perfect with it.

 

low-carb-soups-from-bewitching-kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO: Salmon Rillettes

TWO YEARS AGO: Linzer Cookies

THREE YEARS AGO: Baked Ricotta

SALMON SOUS-VIDE WITH MISO-MAPLE GLAZE

I am very picky about salmon, for my taste it should not be cooked even slightly past medium-rare. Our default method is grilling, and all credit should go to Phil for hitting it perfectly every single time.  I don’t even try to grill it myself, when it’s my turn to cook dinner and I happen to be craving a nice piece of salmon, I bat my eyelashes in his direction, and he cooks it for me…. Now let’s consider the sous-vide approach: you can choose the temperature that takes the fish to that exact point you love the most, seal a bag, press a few buttons, and call it a day. No need to bat eyelashes! HA!

Due to the popularity of seafood in sous-vide cooking, one can easily spend hours comparing methods, recipes, and finishing techniques. A gazillion recipes out there.  I did quite a bit of research on the subject before settling on this recipe.  It rewarded us with a perfectly cooked filet, topped with a salty-sweet glaze of miso and soy.   Of course, if you don’t have a sous-vide you can still cook it using other methods, roasting in the oven, grilling,  then spread the glaze and run the meat under the broiler to give it that healthy glow and intensify the flavors.

SalmonSousVide1

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SALMON SOUS-VIDE WITH MISO-MAPLE GLAZE
(slightly modified from Cooking Madly)
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450g (1 pound) fresh salmon
500g (2 cups) water
25g (3 tablespoons) salt
20g (1/4 cup) sugar
70g (1/4 cup) white miso
60g (1/4 cup) maple syrup
14g (1 tablespoon) red wine vinegar
1g (1/2 teaspoon) smoked paprika
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Whisk together water, salt, and sugar until dissolved. Prepare salmon by removing skin (optional) and pin bones and cover with brine. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
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While salmon is brining, whisk together miso, maple syrup, red wine vinegar, and smoked paprika in a small bowl.
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Discard brine and thoroughly rinse salmon. Place in a vacuum seal pouch with ½ of the miso sauce and seal. Cook sous-vide for 20 minutes at 122°F. Start broiler preheating at the same time.
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When salmon is cooked, open bag and discard liquid. Place salmon on a baking sheet, brush a small amount of sauce over the top, and broil until the top starts to brown.
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Finish with remaining sauce and serve.
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ENJOY!
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to print the recipe, click here
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ingredients

Comments:
  At first I was a bit skeptical that brining would be necessary, since the main reason for it is retaining moisture. In my mind, that would not be a concern when cooking sous-vide. But in fact there is a rationale behind it.  Have you noticed that sometimes a white liquid forms on the surface of salmon as it cooks?  That is albumin,  a protein that sometimes gets pushed out during cooking. Some methods are more prone to this sipping of albumin, poaching being one of them.  There is nothing bad as far as taste is concerned, but if you want to avoid that, brining works best.
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Obviously, in the name of proper scientific conduct, I should have cooked two pieces of fish – one brined, one not – to compare the effect of brining on overall texture and taste. But sometimes it feels nice to leave the scientific approach at work, and not take cooking too seriously.  That’s what I did…   😉
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This marinade is spectacular, and I have also used it on pork tenderloin. I love how just a few simple ingredients can perform magic: miso is like nothing else, vinegar cuts the sweetness, smoked paprika heats things up, and maple makes my heart sing.  At the risk of repeating myself, if you do not have a sous-vide gadget, simply cook your salmon the way you like it, and use this marinade to brush the surface at the end of cooking. It caramelizes beautifully…  It might just make your heart sing too…  😉
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ONE YEAR AGO: Avocado “Hummus”.
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TWO YEARS AGO: Moving is not for sissies!
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THREE YEARS AGO:
 Awesome Broccolini
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FOUR YEARS AGO
Pizza! Pizza!
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FIVE YEARS AGO: 
 From Backyard to Kitchen

ROASTED WINTER VEGETABLES WITH MISO-LIME DRESSING

Long name for a great side dish that might turn into a full meal if coupled with goodies such as barley, couscous, quinoa, or a nice helping of soft-cooked polenta…  Once more the inspiration to make this recipe came from Fer’s site, Chucrute com Salsicha. She always shares interesting recipes that take ingredients through some unusual path.  I love it!

Roasted Vegetables with Miso-Lime GlazeROASTED WINTER VEGETABLES WITH MISO-LIME DRESSING
(adapted from Chucrute com Salsicha,  originally published in The Kitchn)

8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil (I needed to use a little more)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons yellow miso paste
2 tablespoons walnut oil
Black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place sweet potato and cauliflower pieces on a large bowl. Place Brussels sprouts in a separate bowl. Drizzle all veggies with olive oil,  sprinkle with salt and toss to thoroughly coat. Add the sweet potato and cauliflower to a baking sheet and roast, moving them every once in a while.  Total roasting time for sweet potato and cauliflower will be about 25 minutes.  After they have been in the oven for 10 minutes, add the Brussels sprouts.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the lime juice and miso paste until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the walnut oil, whisking constantly, until thoroughly combined.

Place the roasted vegetables in a large bowl, pour in the dressing and toss to coat. Adjust seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you visit TheKitchn for the original recipe, you will notice they recommend using three baking trays, but Fer, in her version, simplified quite a bit, and I did the same.  One large baking sheet was more than enough to handle all the veggies, just add them in the order they cook, Brussels sprouts going last.  Other than that, the recipe was followed closely enough.

CloseUpRoasted

Miso and lime might become my favorite flavor combo for this year, the miso is sweet and funky, the lime is the life of the party, and if you ask me, a mandatory guest when Brussels sprouts are around.  Fer served her veggies with barley, I went with Israeli couscous.  But being the omnivores we are, this super delicious side dish was paired with (vegetarians, close your eyes now) grilled flank steak.  A great dinner! Leftovers were amazing for lunch next day, by the way.

Served1

ONE YEAR AGO: 2012 Fitness Report: P90X2

TWO YEARS AGO: Caramelized Bananas

THREE YEARS AGO: Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

FOUR YEARS AGO: Whole Wheat Bread

MISO IT UP

Green beans show up at our dinner table once a week, most of the time in a quick preparation with slivered, toasted almonds.  It’s nice to have some recipes that you can almost pull on your sleep.  This version from Bon Appetit is almost as simple, but feels a lot more special because it uses miso.  I suppose it’s the funk factor, that umami component that adds extra flavor. Try this recipe, even if you don’t normally use this Japanese gem in your cooking. You’ll love it, I am sure.

GREEN BEANS WITH MISO AND ALMONDS
(adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 + 1/2 pounds green beans
salt
1/4 cup white miso (may use less if you are a miso newbie)
3 tablespoons  rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Cut green beans in pieces 1 to 1.5 inches long. Cook them in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender (less than 5 minutes). Transfer to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well. 

Whisk miso,  vinegar, mustard, oil, and sugar in a small bowl. Season with salt, but very lightly because miso is already salty. Place green beans in a large bowl. Pour dressing over; toss to coat. Garnish with almonds.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

I always have miso in the fridge. It keeps for a long time, and shows up more and more in recipes everywhere. I often add it to sauteed mushrooms, but green beans match equally well with the sweet-saltiness of miso.  Yin and Yang.  Gotta love it!

This dish is a great side for chicken, salmon, steak, or pork. And leftovers are excellent even at room temperature.

ONE YEAR AGOZiti with Fresh Artichokes and Meyer Lemon Sauce

TWO YEARS AGO: Chicken Soup on a Chilly Evening

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