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.

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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.


Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

It’s not the prettiest soup, but it is loaded with flavor. I omitted the traditional tofu (and pork) and then added cabbage, carrots, and bamboo shoots to this vegetarian version of Hot and Sour Soup. It’s a delicious and filling soup and it only comes in at around 59 calories per 1 cup serving.

Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

Dried shiitake mushrooms and black fungus are some of my favorite ingredients found in an Asian market. They are essential for this soup. Yet another reason to visit an Asian market. Go.

Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

6 dried shiitake mushrooms
handful of dried black fungus (also know as wood ear mushrooms)
3 cups hot water
8 cups vegetable broth
2 cups thinly shredded cabbage (green, Savoy, or Napa)
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/2 5 ounce can bamboo shoots, drained and julienned
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
1 teaspoon sambal olek or sriracha
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 6 tablespoons water
2 eggs, lightly beaten

In separate bowls, soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in 2 cups of hot water and the dried black fungus in 1 cup of hot water until soft, 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove the stems from the shiitakes and discard. Slice the rehydrated mushrooms thinly and return to the soaking liquid. Set aside. Thinly slice the rehydrated black fungus. I find it easier to stack a few pieces, roll them up, and then slice with a very sharp knife. Add the sliced shiitakes and their soaking liquid, as well as the sliced black fungus to a soup pot. Discard the black fungus soaking liquid.

Add the vegetable broth to the soup pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add the shredded cabbage, julienned carrot and bamboo shoots, minced garlic and ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Chinese cooking wine, sambal olek (or sriracha), sesame oil, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until the cabbage is tender, 10 minutes.

Stir in the cornstarch/water slurry and cook until the soup slightly thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and then slowly add the beaten eggs in a thin stream while stirring the soup. Serve immediately.


Kale and Posole Soup

Kale and Posole Soup

This is one of my favorite soups. I make it often.  If I happen to have some poblanos in the fridge, I will chop one up and add it to this soup to kick up the spice level a bit.

Kale and Posole Soup

1 tablespoon oil (I use canola mostly)
1 medium onion, chopped
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
8 – 10 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch kale, cleaned, ribs removed, and chopped
1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed and minced
1 15.5 ounce can hominy, drained
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes and their juices
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Sauté the onion over medium heat until soft, add the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute. Add remaining ingredients, except the zucchini and cilantro. Bring the soup to a boil on high heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered. Add the zucchini ands simmer another 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4


Chiang Mai Curry Noodle Soup with Vegetables

Vegetarian Chiang Mai Curry Noodle Soup 2

Earlier this year, I revamped one of my favorite Thai soups to make it vegetarian, as well as acceptable for the low iodine diet I was on at the time. I was super happy with the way the soup turned out. It was delicious! So flavorful.

I replaced the traditional fish sauce with a Umami Sauce I made. I typically use my favorite Madras curry powder in this recipe, but I included a recipe for a Madras-style curry powder at the bottom of the recipe anyway. I have a big collection of spices, but I realize not everyone does, so feel free to replace the Madras curry powder with any store-bought Indian curry powder. For the noodles you can use linguine (or spaghetti) or rice noodles.

Vegetarian Chiang Mai Curry Noodle Soup

I contacted Thai Kitchen via their Facebook page and asked about the type of salt they use in their products. Turns out they do not use iodized salt. This opens a world of possibilities for those on a low iodine diet. The Thai Kitchen red curry paste should not be hard to find. Look in the ethnic section of your grocery store. I actually bought a jar at Target.

TK Red Curry Paste

Chiang Mai Curry Noodle Soup with Vegetables

1/2 lb. linguine, cooked
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 – 3 tsp. Thai Kitchen red curry paste (to taste)
1 T. Madras curry powder (recipe follows)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can (13.5 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
4 cups  vegetable or chicken stock (unsalted or homemade for LID)
3 tablespoons Umami Sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 head green cabbage, cored and shredded
4 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed and halved (you can use snow peas instead)
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (or use the mushrooms left over from making the Umami Sauce)
1/2 to 1 12 ounce (approximately) can baby corn, drained
1 cup fresh spinach, torn
Kosher salt, to taste
fresh cilantro leaves
unsalted peanuts, crushed
limes, cut into wedges

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add shredded cabbage and cook until just tender. Add the red curry paste, curry powder, and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant (about 40 seconds).  Whisk in coconut milk and stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, add Umami Sauce and sugar, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Stir in sugar snap peas, mushrooms, and baby corn and simmer until all the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt. Stir in torn spinach and take off the heat.

Divide noodles in soup bowls, ladle soup into bowls, and top with fresh cilantro leaves and crushed unsalted peanuts.  Serve with a wedge of lime.

Curry Powder

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 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
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.


Collards and Chickpeas Soup with Sausage

Collards and Chickpeas Soup with Sausage

We are three weeks into the new CSA season and I’m so happy to be getting the box of fresh produce each week again. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to blog about what I’ve been cooking with the wonderful vegetables (and strawberries) from Pinckney’s Produce.

For lunch today, I made this easy Portuguese-inspired soup using collards from my CSA box. The simple combination of ingredients made for a very flavorful soup.

Collards and Chickpeas Soup with Sausage

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 large potatoes (Russet are good), peeled and diced
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
8 cups chicken broth
1 bunch collards, center stem removed and then thinly sliced
8 ounces fully cooked sausage link, sliced (I used Eckrich Smoked Sausage)
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
salt and black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until tender. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more. Add the remaining ingredients, increase the heat, and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.


Ribollita (Italian Vegetable Soup with Bread)

Ribollita

This is another one of my favorite soups. It is loaded with vegetables. The way I make it is more like a stew than a soup, more veggies than broth. Adjust the amount of broth to your liking. This soup is also nice with a little pasta (like ditalini, pastina, or acini di pepe) added around the same time as the zucchini. If you add pasta,  you don’t necessarily need the bread, but the soup-soaked bread is pretty fantastic.

This recipes makes a lot of soup, so you will have plenty of leftovers. It’s great to have on hand for a quick lunch or as a nutritious and filling start of a meal. It keeps for a week in the fridge and freezes well.

Ribollita (Italian Vegetable Soup with Bread)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 – 10 cups vegetable broth
1 14.5 can of diced tomatoes & their juices
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced (I use Russet)
1 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 head green cabbage (or savoy), cored and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 zucchini, diced
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Italian bread, sliced

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Add the broth, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, cabbage, thyme, and basil to the soup pot. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer 15 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until the zucchini is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.

To serve, place a slice of Italian bread in a bowl and ladle soup over bread.