Southwestern Split Pea Soup

spicy-split-pea-soup

I haven’t blogged in so long. Life has been really busy. I’m not getting into the kitchen much. Plus, it’s been so hot this summer, I don’t even want to cook to avoid heating up the house. To make things worse, the hard drive on my computer died and I lost so many pictures, including food pics for future posts. I thought I had backed up my computer this past spring, but that appears to not be the case. I lost a year and a half worth of pictures and documents. Stop what you are doing and back up your hard drive right now. I’ve been spending my extra time trying to compile my pictures from various sources and organize them. I’m not sure if I will ever finish this daunting task.

It is finally starting to cool down here in South Carolina. It was only in the low 80’s today. My hubby is out of town and my youngest son didn’t have a soccer game today so I got to spend some time cooking. I baked some brownies and then started working on this soup.

Southwestern Split Pea Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel)
7 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup green split peas
1 large Russet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 zucchini, chopped
fresh cilantro, chopped

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and jalapeno. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the cumin, chili powder, coriander, Rotel (including the juices), dried split peas, and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the potato, corn, and zucchini. Cook until the split peas and potato are tender, about another 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.


Tortilla Soup with Shrimp and Avocado

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp and Avocado

This soup is incredibly good!  Plus, it’s fast to make. Perfect for a weeknight dinner. If you are in a rush, you can just skip baking the tortilla strips and just crumble some purchased tortilla chips over the top.

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp and Avocado

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp and Avocado

corn tortillas, about 12
cooking spray

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, chipped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes (with juices)
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

avocado, diced
fresh cilantro, chopped
lime, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Stack the fresh corn tortillas and cut in half. Re-stack and then cut into then strips. Arrange the corn tortilla strips on a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray, and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake in the oven until golden (about 8 – 10 minutes), stirring occasionally to ensure even browning. Remove from oven and let cool.

In a soup pot, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and jalapeno and continue to cook for another minute or two. Stir in the ground cumin. Next, add the petite diced tomatoes and juices, broth, cayenne, Mexican oregano, and tomato paste. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once the soup has come to a boil, add the peeled and deveined shrimp and cook until the shrimp is done, about 5 minutes.

Ladle the soup into a bowl. Top with diced avocado, fresh cilantro, and a handful of the baked tortilla strips. Serve with a wedge of lime to squeeze over the soup before eating.


Cream of Cabbage and Potato Soup

Cream of Cabbage and Potato Soup

Cabbage. So much cabbage. I have gotten 4 or 5 heads of green cabbage in my CSA boxes this season. I’ve been struggling to come of with new ways of using it. I have fallen back on old favorites like stir fries, Fried Cabbage, vegetable soups, Southeast Asian Cabbage Salad, Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup, and Coleslaw. I also made Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (which I will blog later). And, I made this soup.

I was really happy with how the soup turned out. It was delicious! It reminded me of my Cream of Cauliflower and Potato Soup. That is a good thing.

I sprinkled a little shredded cheddar cheese over my first bowl of soup. It’s a wonderful compliment to the flavors of the cabbage and potatoes. The soup is also wonderful without cheese.

Cream of Cabbage and Potato Soup with Cheese

Cream of Cabbage and Potato Soup

3 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and shredded
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 large potatoes (or 6 smallish), peeled and diced
7 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1 cup half & half or cream
salt and pepper, to taste

cheese (cheddar, Swiss, Edam, etc…), shredded (optional)

In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cabbage and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the diced carrot, diced potatoes, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the half & half and season with salt and pepper. Serve. Sprinkle with shredded cheese of your choice, if you desire.


Crockpot Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

Crockpot Tom Kha Gai

This is one of my favorite soups. It’s so flavorful. Traditionally, it is not done in the crockpot, but there is no reason why it can’t be. Cooking it in the crockpot is not only easy, but it allows for the flavors to meld as it cooks over several hours. It turns out fantastic! To make it a little more substantial, sometimes we will eat this soup over some cooked rice vermicelli noodles.

This recipe contains several ingredients that may not be easy to find in a regular grocery store. Use this recipe as an excuse to visit an Asian market. I cook so much Thai food that I tend to keep these ingredients on hand.

Galangal: I have rarely been able to find fresh galangal, but I have been able to find it frozen or dried at Asian markets. If you use dried galangal, don’t mince it, instead throw a handful of slices into the soup. Remove the galangal slices (as you would a bay leaf) before serving. If you are unable to get galangal, you may substitute ginger instead.

Galangal

Lemongrass: I am able to find lemongrass at my local Asian market. I will buy a bunch and clean it up and freeze it to use later. I have also seen a lemongrass paste in the produce section of my Publix. I would think 1 tablespoon of the paste could be used instead of minced lemongrass. If you can’t find lemongrass, you can leave it out.

Kaffir Lime Leaves:  These are actually kind of hard to find in any store. This may seem strange, but I buy them on ebay, usually from someone in California that has a kaffir lime tree growing in their yard. They go out and pick the leaves and mail them. The leaves ship well and don’t need to be refrigerated right after picking. Once I get my kaffir lime leaves, I freeze them. They keep forever in the freezer. Lime zest can be substituted for kaffir lime leaves. The flavor isn’t exactly the same, but it is similar.

Sambal Olek:  They actually sell this at Target in the ethnic food section. It is usually right next to the sriracha.

Crockpot Tom Kha Gai

Crockpot Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces mushrooms, washed and thickly sliced
5 cups chicken broth
1 13.5 (approximately) ounce can coconut milk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece galangal, minced (substitute ginger if you can’t find galangal)
1/2 stalk lemongrass, finely minced
3 kaffir lime leaves, rib removed and julienned (substitute zest of 1 lime)
1 teaspoon sambal olek (or sriracha)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon Thai basil, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all the ingredients except the Thai basil and fresh cilantro in the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. Right before serving, remove the chicken and shred with two forks. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot along with the Thai basil and fresh cilantro. Serve with additional chopped fresh cilantro.


Samosa Soup

Samosa Soup

I like Indian food. Samosas, Indian pastries filled with savory ingredients, are a favorite of mine. I have made Samosas filled with spiced potatoes and green peas on numerous occasions. They are a bit time-consuming to make so I do not make them often. I took ingredients found in Samosa filling and turned them into a delicious and easy soup.  This soup is quick enough to make on a weeknight. Served with warm naan bread, this soup is sure to satisfy a Samosas craving.

Samosa Soup

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon curry powder (store-bought or homemade – recipe at bottom)
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup dried green split peas, picked over and rinsed
8 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup frozen green peas
salt, to taste
1/4 fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat the canola oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, and jalapenos, and saute one minute more. Add the curry powder, cayenne (if using), green split peas, and vegetable broth. Cook 10 minutes. Add the diced potatoes and continue to cook until the green split peas and potatoes are tender, about 20 more minutes. Add the frozen green pea and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Take off the heat, add the cilantro, and serve.

Quick and Easy Salt-Free Madras Curry Powder

3 tablespoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all of the spices and store in a glass Mason jar.


Mexican Lentil Soup

Mexican Lentil Soup

I love this time of the year, when summer is changing over to fall. The days are starting to get cooler and the air is a little crisper. The air conditioner is not running non-stop and there is a little chill in the air when you wake up in the morning. It’s a perfect time for soup and this one is wonderful. It is a flavorful and filling soup that comes in at around 76 calories per 1 cup serving.

Mexican Lentil Soup

Mexican Lentil Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (I like to use petite diced)
1/2 cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
7 cups vegetable broth
1 medium zucchini, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the jalapeno, diced tomatoes and their juices, dried lentils, cumin, coriander, and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until the lentils are tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.


Poblano and Corn Chowder

Poblano and Corn Chowder

I got some wonderful poblano peppers in some of my CSA boxes this past spring. I roasted, skinned, seeded, and chopped them and then froze them in 1 cup portions. I used one of the portions to make this wonderfully rich soup.

Poblano and Corn Chowder

Poblano and Corn Chowder

5 large poblanos, roasted, skinned, seeded, and chopped (about 1 cup)*
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cups frozen (or fresh) corn
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion  and sauté until softened. Add the garlic and ground cumin and sauté one minute more. Add the potatoes and vegetable broth. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the roasted poblano peppers, corn, and half and half and heat through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

*How To Roast Fresh Chile Peppers

Gas Stove
This method works well for roasting a small quantity of chile peppers. Use a long handled cooking fork with a handle made with a non heat-conducting material. Pierce the pepper with the fork and hold the pepper over a gas flame (or grill flame), about 4″ from the heat source. Or use tongs. Keep turning the pepper until it is evenly charred on all sides. The pepper skins should turn black when properly roasted.

Dry Grill
For a larger quantity of chiles you can use a stove-top grill that fits over a gas or electric burner. Sit the chiles on top and turn occasionally to allow even charring.

Oven Method
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Spread the peppers evenly on a cookie sheet, in a single layer. Roast the peppers on the top oven rack for about 4-5 minutes until he skins blister. Watch carefully so they do not burn.

Clean and Peel
Place the roasted peppers in a plastic or paper bag and seal the bag – or – in a large bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Allow the chile peppers to sweat in the bag or bowl for about 10 to 15 minutes. When you remove them from the bag or bowl they will be easy to peel.  Do not peel them under running water.  Peel the chile, remove and discard the skin, seeds, and the veins.