SOUP SATURDAY: ROOT VEGETABLES

Third Saturday of the month, which means it’s time for soup! This month’s Soup Saturday Event event is hosted by Wendy, from A Day in the Life on the Farm. She chose Root Vegetables as the theme.  I thought about making a potato soup I’ve had in my files sitting for 6 years. Yes, I checked. That soup calls for two kinds of potatoes and it also involves shrimp. Unusual, right? I definitely have to make it before another 6 years go by. But then, another option called my attention, one that features a veggie that doesn’t get much praise. The parsnip. Inspiration for the recipe came from  the cookbook The New England Soup Factory, but I modified it quite a bit. Parsnips paired with tomatoes, a tasty idea. No matter your stance on this humble looking root veggie, I am certain you will love this soup.


PARSNIP AND TOMATO SOUP

(inspired by New England Soup Factory)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
2 ribs celery, sliced
8 medium parsnips, peeled and cut in chunks
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, peeled, with liquid
1 bottle V8 juice (12 ounces)
2 cups water
1/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper
fresh dill
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Add the olive oil, shallot and celery pieces into a pan, and saute until soft and fragrant in low heat, about 5 minutes. Add the parsnips, increase heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until it get a bit of color.
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Add the tomatoes with the liquid, stir to release brown bits from the pan.  Transfer to a pressure cooker, add the V8  juice and 1 cup of the water. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook on top of the stove until the parsnip pieces are tender, around 50 minutes.  If you use a pressure cooker, cook for 20 minutes and release pressure under cold running water.
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Transfer contents to a high-powered blender, and blend until smooth. Return to the pan. If too thick, thin with additional water. If too thin, simmer to thicken it. Add the half and half, some fresh dill and simmer gently for a couple of minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and add fresh dill right before serving it.
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Sprinkle some more fresh dill as a garnish.
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ENJOY!
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to print the recipe, click here
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Comments: I was really pleased with this soup. I love tomato soup but sometimes find it a bit too intense. The parsnips mellow the flavor of the tomato and give the whole thing a more earthy flavor. It’s important to use a very powerful blender, otherwise you could get a bit of  a fibrous texture. I ran the blender for a few minutes to make sure it was absolutely smooth. Oranges and tomatoes are great together, so when I enjoyed the soup again for my lunch next day, I added a bit of orange zest and squeezed some orange juice while warming it. Very nice, and the dill doesn’t fight with the citric flavor. I had never used V8 as a cooking ingredient, but will definitely keep it around, maybe even the spicy version for added kick. Often vegetable soups include chicken stock, but for the most part I prefer to use either water of a veggie stock. The half and half could be omitted, I suppose, if you like to keep it lower in fat, but it is such a small amount, I say go for it…
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Wendy, thanks for hosting! I invite my readers to click on the link feast below, to see what my virtual friends cooked up this month…

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ONE YEAR AGO: A Retro Dessert

TWO YEARS AGO: Cauliflower Tortillas: Going low-carb and loving it!

THREE YEARS AGO: Clementines in Cinnamon Syrup

FOUR YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2013 

FIVE YEARS AGO: Thrilling Moments (CROISSANTS!)

SIX YEARS AGO: Maple-Oatmeal Sourdough Bread

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Pork Trinity: coffee, mushrooms, and curry

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SOUP SATURDAY: MEXICAN SOUPS

SOUP SATURDAY IS ON!

Third Saturday of the month, it’s time for soup! This month our event is hosted by the one and only, Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories. I’ve been a follower for a long time, and if you read my blog, you might remember I’ve made quite a few recipes from her site. The Bread Queen! For this event, she chose Mexican Soups. My first thought was tortilla soup, since it’s something I’ve been meaning to make for a while. But before settling on that classic, I sat down with some of my cookbooks. Maybe I should say I sat down with my iPad to electronically browse through my cookbooks. Yes, I might have a slight cookbook obsession, but I do so while sparing trees. The moment I laid my eyes on Marcela Valladolid’s Manchego and Poblano Soup, I knew it had to be it.  First, I love poblanos because their heat does not scream at you or threaten to strip the outer layer of your larynx. Second, Manchego cheese is a favorite of ours. We got hooked on this Spanish delicacy many years ago through our friends and next door neighbors back in Oklahoma. Ever since that time, we always seem to have a piece of Manchego in our fridge. Just because.  If you have trouble finding it, a Monterey Jack, with its nice melting qualities will do.

MANCHEGO AND POBLANO SOUP
(adapted from Marcela Valladolid’s Fresh Mexico)

7 poblano chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 medium shallots, halved
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 + 1/2  tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese (or Monterey Jack cheese)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
diced Manchego cheese for serving, to taste
Tajin seasoning (optional)

Bring a medium-size heavy saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the poblanos and shallots and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain them and transfer to a blender. Add  ¼ cup water. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, whisking constantly, but not allowing it to brown. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the chile mixture. Cook, whisking, for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Whisk in the milk. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, whisking every minute or so to prevent scorching, for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Whisk in the grated Manchego cheese. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, and top with the diced cheese, plus a sprinkle of Tajin seasoning, if using.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments: I modified the recipe quite a bit from Marcela’s version. She used double the amount of poblanos. Fourteen. You read me right. I could not bring myself to make it so peppery. I also modified the cooking method. I am really pleased with the resulting soup, creamy, just the right amount of heat, and that final touch of adding small cubes of Manchego cheese floating on top is sublime! As you get a spoonful, that cheese melts and fills your mind with happy thoughts. Then you get all cozy and warm inside. There was a bit of texture in my soup, even though I used a powerful Vitamix to blend it. It did not bother me, but just for fun I passed leftovers through a chinois. It turned out quite spectacular that way, I would follow the extra step if serving it for company.  There I go again, dreaming with soup shots. A recurring theme. Must do something about it.

Wendy, thanks for organizing the Soup Saturday Event, and Karen, thanks for hosting this month! 

You can take a nice tour of Mexican Soups made by my virtual friends with a click on the link at the bottom of the post. Have fun!

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ONE YEAR AGO: A Smashing Pair

TWO YEARS AGO: Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

THREE YEARS AGO: Crispy Chickpea and Caper Spaghetti

FOUR YEARS AGO: Spring has Sprung!

FIVE YEARS AGO: Chickpea and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

SIX YEARS AGO: Double Asparagus Delight

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  Sun-dried Tomato and Feta Cheese Torte

 

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SOUP SATURDAY: PERSIAN BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

In this sunny, gorgeous weekend, I’m thrilled to join the group event Soup Saturday. This month our assignment was designed by Kathy from A Spoonful of Thyme, and she chose International Soups as the theme. I considered visiting my home country, but for some reason lately  I’ve been absolutely mesmerized by all things Middle Eastern. Their spices, their sweets, their teas, they all fascinate me. After intense research, I went with a comforting butternut squash soup.

butternutsoup1

PERSIAN BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP 
(adapted from The Saffron Tales)

for the soup:
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
¼ tsp coriander seeds
¼ tsp cumin seeds
1 butternut squash, cut in chunks
2 dried limes
3 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
salt and black pepper to taste

for topping:
Greek yogurt
pomegranate seeds (optional)
toasted sunflower seeds

Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and cook gently until soft and fragrant. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a small pan over low heat for a minute, then grind them with a pestle and mortar. Reserve. Add the butternut pieces to the pan with the sautéed shallot, then sprinkle the toasted ground spices, and stir well. Close with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes or so.

Pierce the dried limes with a fork a few times and add to the pan. Pour in the water, cover, and cook for around  20 minutes more, or until the squash is tender, easily pierced with a fork.  Meanwhile, prepare the seed topping by toasting the sunflower seeds in a small pan for a few minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. When the squash is cooked, squeeze the dried limes against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon until they burst, releasing a lot of liquid. Remove the limes and discard them. Add the contents of the pan to a blender, and process until very smooth. With the blender running, add the butter, yogurt, and pomegranate molasses. Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasoning.

Ladle the soup into a bowl and top with yogurt, pomegranate seeds, and toasted sunflower seeds.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: This soup won my heart. I feel like hosting a dinner party simply to serve soup shots to my guests as they arrive, and this would be it. I find soup shots quite elegant, but of course they would be more appropriate on cold evenings, and those are ready to go into my rear view mirror. I am about to survive another winter, can you imagine the thrill of it?  Anyway, this soup uses one unusual ingredient, dried lime. Together with celery root, dried limes will scare little kids and impressionable adults. But be brave, hold one by one in your hand, go at them with the fork, and once they simmer, they release the most amazing citric flavor. Trust me, you need to bring dried limes to your kitchen.  And a mortar and pestle, while you’re at it. I normally would use a spice grinder, but adding the hot spices to the mortar while the smoke is still going up, then grinding them manually, is so rewarding! You catch the aromas as the spices grind, you can control how fine or coarse you want them. A perfect culinary experience.

If you’d like to see what other members of the Soup Saturday made for this month’s assignment, click on the link at the end of the post, I am looking forward to a tour around the globe in soup form…

persian-butternut-squash-soup

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ONE YEAR AGO: Walnut Cranberry Sourdough Bread

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THREE YEARS AGO: Roasted Winter Vegetables with Miso-Lime Dressing

FOUR YEARS AGO: 2012 Fitness Report: P90X2

FIVE YEARS AGO: Caramelized Bananas

SIX YEARS AGO: Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Whole Wheat Bread

 

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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

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