Roasted Garlic & Cauliflower Soup (v, gf)

All I’ve been making and eating lately is soup. Vegetable soups, fish soups, more vegetable soups. I’ve spared you from yet another soup of late, a mushroom and wild rice concoction which was delicious, but… soup. This one, however, I had to post. Healthy, vegan and gluten free for those who swing that way, easy, and cheap (I am a sucker for saving money). Warming and hearty for a nice winter lunch and it’s even better the next day.

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ROASTED GARLIC & CAULIFLOWER SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into florets 
  • 1 head garlic, intact
  • 1-2 yellow onions, sliced or diced
  • olive oil
  • 5 c stock or broth of your choice
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 c white wine, optional
  • 3 tbsp flour of your choice, optional
  • 1 c milk, half and half, or cream, optional

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Roasted Lemon-Dill Salmon (pes, gf) and Really Easy Butternut Squash Soup (v, gf)

You know those meals that look impressive but are super easy to throw together? The hands-off, Williams Sonoma photo shoot, break out your all-white everything serveware at your winter home in the Swiss Alps fancy? Yeah. Those are my favorite. Here’s one to add to your arsenal.

ROASTED SALMON WITH LEMON AND DILL

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lb salmon plank
  • 1 lemon
  • 10-15 fresh dill sprigs
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt & cracked black pepper
  • parchment paper

Directions:

On a baking dish, place the salmon on a sheet of parchment paper. The paper isn’t a must but will simplify cleanup. Generously salt and pepper the salmon. Cut the lemon in half and juice one half. Slice the other lemon half into thin, crosswise slices.

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Seafood Chowda (pes, gf)

Making this soup really stepped up my annoying culinary joke game last week. Anytime I make/eat/order/think of chowder, I think of the Simpsons chowda/chower Freddy Quimby scandal episode, which makes me laugh out loud regardless of time or location:

And having been given a beautiful filet of Alaskan halibut that I used in the chowder, I also got to walk around saying things like this,

halibut

which, as you can imagine, made me very happy. Just for the halibut…. hahahahaha…. Oh, top hat crab! You so crazy.

On to the soup. I’d stumbled across the idea for salmon chowder, which sounded delicious but quickly changed when the halibut entered my life. I decided to make a halibut, cod, and shrimp chowder just for the- wait for it- because I wanted to. Gotcha.

soup8

This soup can be made with whatever sturdy fish fillets you have on hand. You want the fish to be thick enough to stand up to being cooked in hot broth- the goal is to have large, spoon-sized chunks of cooked fish in the soup, not flakes. Leave the fish out altogether if you prefer- shrimp, chunks of lobster, and scallops would be equally amazing. This was a really tasty dinner and improved, as most soups do, overnight. It keeps for a few days and travels well. All in all, a tasty, hearty, warming dish.

SEAFOOD CHOWDA

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fish, skinned and boned, cut into 1″ chunks, or 2 lbs seafood and shellfish mix of your choice
  • large handful peeled and deveined shrimp, optional
  • 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour, optional (leave out for gf option)
  • 1/2-1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • kosher salt, to tastesoup1
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 leeks, white and light green bits chopped into rings 
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and cut into rounds
  • 1 clove minced garlic, optional
  • 1 bulb fennel, stalks and fronds cut off, chopped into small pieces
  • large handful kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 6 cups stock or broth of your choice
  • 1 cup half-and half
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, optional
  • Crystal hot sauce, for serving – or (sacrilegious) Tabasco

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Brian’s Sunday Soup (v, gf)

The introduction to this glorious soup should start with an introduction to my uncle Brian and aunt Liz. They are runners, scientists, urban farmers, yogis, cat whisperers, and cooks. They’ve been known to move to China and Korea to teach English. They work tirelessly to restore the creek by their home* to health. They’ve collected water in rain barrels decades longer than your ironically bearded neighbor has, and they do things like compost and march for clean energy because everyone should do those things. On top of all this, they find time to fearlessly reinvent their careers and go see St. Vincent at the 9:30 Club. They’re that cool.

brians soup

So now you know a bit about the brilliantly kaleidoscopic lives that inhabit the sunny kitchen full of great conversation where my uncle Brian threw together this soup the last time we visited. The soup is as healthy and vibrant as Liz and he. “Oh, it’s just got a little of everything in it,” Brian humbly explained as Dave and I poured bowls of the stuff into our gaping faces. If we could have done keg stands over the stockpot, we would have. My sweet mama had come up that weekend to visit and she loved the soup- so did my 20-month-old curly-topped nephew! It’s a crowd-pleaser.

deftly showcasing his spoon-handling skills and Mardi Gras beads

the neph’ showcasing wicked awesome curls, spoon-handling skills, and Mardi Gras beads

I emailed Brian asking how to make the soup soon after and he gave me a true cook’s recipe- ingredients, ideas, tips, no measurements. The mark of a cook at home in his kitchen. I’ve included some of these notes. Behold, Brian’s Sunday Soup.

ingreds

BRIAN’S SUNDAY SOUP

Adapted from Brian Parr

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of mixed beans, soaked overnight
  • eeoo (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Spice mix (edit according to your tastes): 1/2- 1 tsp coriander, 1/2-1 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp-1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2- 1 tsp turmericrosemary is nice if you have a bush, cumin (but only a little as you know how it overpowers everything else)
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 russet potato, diced
  • sweet corn (sometimes)
  • 5-6 carrots, peeled and chopped into coins
  • 5-6 stalks celery, chopped, greens chopped and reserved
  • 1/3 cup brown lentils
  • 1/3 cup medium pearl barley (leave out if you’re avoiding gluten)
  • 2-3 quarts low sodium vegetable stock, or 2-3 quarts water and 1 1/2 tbsp low sodium vegetable base
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, optional
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • a little bit of the vinegary juice form a jar of hot pepper rings adds a nice little bite!
  • red cabbage, sliced into confetti for garnish
  • mustard greens, sliced into confetti for garnish (super important and make all the difference. Plus, they are easy to grow and have a long season)
  • your favorite hot sauce for serving

Directions:

One day ahead, or before you leave for work: SOAK YOUR BEANS. Place them in a bowl or pot, cover with water to a depth of 2 inches above the beans, and let soak for 8 hours or overnight. I put my bowl of beans and water in the microwave to cat-proof while I was at work. Okay, now fast-forward, cooking show-style to: perfectly soaked beans! Rinse and drain them twice. Chop your veggies on your pretty wooden cutting board, which you should care for with food-grade mineral oil, did you know?

onions chopped final

This soup is a very manly soup (if soups can be manly), as the recipe came from Brian and Dave made it at our house. Man Soup: for men, by men. In a large stockpot, have yo’ man heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion in eeoo in the pot, Get them to the browning stage on medium to low heat and then throw in the garlic at the end. Move the onion to the sides of the pot, create a space in the middle, and add spices to ‘dry cook.’ This gets really aromatic, sometimes to the point of burning eyes and coughing, achh, ohh, ahh, hack, hack….  As they cook on medium heat, be careful not to burn- they are quite potent!!

spices

When your spice blend is fragrant and toasty, add the beans, russet potato, sweet potato, corn, carrots, lentils, tomatoes, and barley (you read that right- don’t add the celery!). Cover with enough water or stock to come a few inches above the veggies and beans and add vegetable base, if using. Stir the soup, raise the heat to medium-high and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2- 2 hours on low, until the beans are tender.

soup

When the beans are tender, stir in the chopped celery. Give it a taste and add black pepper. Salt, if needed. Dip up a few bowls and top with the gorgeous, ribbony mix of red cabbage, celery greens, and mustard greens, the last of which give the soup a leafy, horseradish-like bite. You’ll be glad you did! Pass some hot sauce around. And go thank you uncle and aunt for being your uncle and aunt. It’s probably long overdue.

lovely greens and purples

lovely greens and purples

Thank you, Brian and Liz, for the hospitality and the memorable meal.

*


Quickie: Kimchi Tofu Soup and the Benefits of Fermented Foods (v, gf)

So it’s springtime. Allegedly. Can’t verify that for you right now, I’m too busy scraping ice off of my windshield. Or at least I was this morning… Sheesh! This should be the time to make chilled soups and bright, minty salads dotted with neon green peas! Instead, I find myself craving warmth, spice, and honestly, detoxification, thanks to an overzealous Friday night with friends (who are totally worth celebrating- hello, ladies). So I suppose that will be my spring theme for this delectable Korean-inspired recipe: renewal!

kimchi soup

The spicy, fragrant, good for you star of this detoxifying soup, kimchi, is a Korean side dish made with fermented vegetables, mainly cabbage. While kimchi is near and dear to my heart, all fermented and cultured foods are powerful nutritional underdogs. I’ll quote Casey Seidenberg’s  Washington Post rundown of why we should all be eating fermented foods: Seidenberg, co-founder of D.C.-based nutrition education company Nourish Schools, says,

“Organic or lactic-acid fermented foods (such as dill pickles and sauerkraut) are rich in enzyme activity that aids in the breakdown of our food, helping us absorb the important nutrients we rely on to stay healthy. | Fermented foods have been shown to support the beneficial bacteria in our digestive tract. In our antiseptic world with chlorinated water, antibiotics in our meat, our milk and our own bodies, and antibacterial everything, we could use some beneficial bacteria in our bodies. | When our digestion is functioning properly and we are absorbing and assimilating all the nutrients we need, our immune system tends to be happy, and thus better equipped to wage war against disease and illness.” 

underdog

What a delicious way to get the good bugs in our systems- by EATING! If kimchi’s not your style you can nosh on sauerkraut, beer (easy, tiger, easy), stinky cheese, dill pickles, yogurt, miso, sourdough bread, and kombucha to make your tummy and immune system happy and healthy. Or if you like kimchi and have five minutes, you can make this soup. Happy winterspringtime, everyone!

KIMCHI TOFU SOUP (KIMCHI JJIGAE)

Adapted from Competitive Cyclist

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of your favorite kimchi, packed and chopped (I used two packages of Trader Joe’s napa cabbage kimchi)
  • 1 package tofu, cut to medium dice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp low-sodium vegetable cooking base or 2 tsp bouillon
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Korean chili paste or garlic chili paste, such as Huy Fong
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced and divided
  • eggs, optional

Directions:

Chop your kimchi into bite-sized pieces. You may eat as much as you want as you chop. Watch your fingers.

kimchi chopped

Dice the tofu block. It’s really fun.

tofu chopped

Mix the kimchi and vinegar and add to a large stockpot. Add the water, cooking base, tamari or soy sauce, sesame oil, chili paste, and half the scallions. Stir this together, then gently stir in the tofu blocks and bring the soup to a boil. If you’d like, crack a few eggs into the boiling soup and cook until the whites are opaque. If not, serve and top bowls with remaining fresh scallions, passing sesame oil around. So very tasty and so, so good for you.

kimchi soup cooking


Where Soul Meets Body: Green Soup For What Ails You (v, gf)

Hi! Long time no talk! Not sure how things have gone during your November, but mine has involved a nasty running fall, bronchitis, and various culinary and alcoholic over-indulgences. Okay, the last few are on me but I found myself in need of purification tonight (soul, mind, and body) and whipped up this tasty and heart-warming soup. I’m nursing myself back to health from the brink of my antibiotic haze and from the over-zealous discovery of my new favorite cocktail, the old-fashioned. Yowza.

ignore my creepy, crepey hand

ignore my creepy, crepey hand

Though the ingredient list below seems long, it’s a chop, boil, and puree kinda soup. The easy kind. The easy kind you can add your own favorite healing green veggies to. Enjoy!

GREEN SOUP FOR YOUR TARNISHED SOUL

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 16-oz bag frozen broccoli
  • 3 stalks kale, deveined and chopped (or 3 cups chopped kale)
  • 1 medium yukon gold potato, chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • handful roasted garlic cloves or 3 fresh garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • cracked black pepper
  • a few dashes cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or 4 cups water and 4 tsp vegetable base )
  • dollop of yogurt for serving, if you like (recipe is vegan if not)

Directions:

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped kale and the entire bag of spinach, stirring until the greens are completely wilted. Add the thyme, curry powder, and as much black pepper as you’d like, and cook until fragrant, about one minute more. Ready for the easy part?

Add everything but the yogurt to the pot. This mixture will look super hearty and amazing, because it is. Good for you for making this. Your body will thank you. I reserved a handful of broccoli florets to add back to my soup for texture- do so here but it’s completely optional. If you’re rushed or are fine with your broccoli in liquid form (it’s cool with me), bring all of the ingredients to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

When cooking time is up, blend the soup in batches. Taste for seasoning once it’s all whipped up. You may want to add salt depending on the saltiness of your broth and garbanzos. Ladle up a big bowl and turn your life around!


Provençal Fish Soup (pes, gf)

The change of seasons must be triggering my cravings. I don’t know what it is about summer-to-fall, but the transition puts me into cooking and Pinterest overdrive! Two nights ago, I stopped at the grocery store on a mission: TO MAKE FISH SOUP. I had to have fish soup! A warming yet light, garlicky, fresh and fragrant tomato-based fish soup. IMMEDIATELY. The drive was so intense that I completely neglected to pick up the other items on my grocery list!

feeling rustic?

feeling rustic?

The soupy cravings I had were a perfect compass to a healthy and sustaining meal. We tend to eat large portions, and this recipe fed Dave and me for three meals straight. Please, if you’re a fish lover, give it a shot! It’s a boulliabaise-y dream come true. Would be even more delectable with a crusty loaf of French bread, and shrimp could be left out for those avoiding shellfish. Bonus: I felt quite rustic and womanly while making it. Ha! Bon appétit!

I love little fishes, don't you?

I love little fishes, don’t you?

PROVENCAL FISH SOUP

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse, bless his soul

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs cod or  halibut, chopped into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, smashed (trust me on this)
  • 1/3 c white wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bottle (16 oz) clam juice
  • 6 c vegetable broth, or 6 c water and 5 tsp vegetable base
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 orange, juiced and rind reserved
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut in half width-wise and chopped
  • 2 yellow potatoes, diced
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • salt & cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic, cooking until tender.

mmm, aromatics

mmm, aromatics

Add the white wine, tomato paste, crushed red pepper, orange juice, clam juice, and vegetable broth. Cut a few inch-long strips off of the orange peel, and toss into the pot. Bring this stock to a boil and reduce by one-third. This took me about 10 minutes; feel free to taste-test to gauge your reduction time or cook at a lower heat if you’re blessed with this elusive “patience” I keep hearing about.  Sounds interesting. I haven’t had time to check it out.

nourishing goodness

nourishing goodness

While the stock is reducing, finish chopping your tomato, fennel, and potatoes. Add these veggies when the stock has reduced, and cook at a simmer, uncovered, for 15 additional minutes. Salt and pepper your fish and cut into chunks. When the potatoes and fennel have cooked for 15 minutes, add the fish chunks, shrimp, and parsley. Cook for 5 minutes at medium heat, stirring to make sure the fish is well-immersed in the hot broth. Do a taste test and add salt and pepper, if you like (I added lotsa black pepper). Ladle into bowls and enjoy! And enjoy again!


Oscar Night Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings and Egg Drop Soup

Growing up, Oscar night was always very exciting. My Mom would let my sisters and me stay up to watch the show, and we’d ooh and ahh over the actresses’ dresses, and root for our favorite movies and directors to win. Know this: I am no less excited now by the big show than I was back then. I don’t think I’ve missed a broadcast since those days. It’s my Superbowl.

For the past three or four years, I’ve had a lot of fun trying to see as many of the best picture nominees on the big screen as possible. This is, of course, more difficult now that there are NINE, but trying to keep up with what’s still out in theaters (often movies are re-released before the Academy Awards) is a blast- I see a lot of movies I may not have chosen to otherwise (ahem, Moneyball).

Since the Oscar night tradish starts with watching the red carpet broadcasts and snarkily panning sub-par dresses, I uncorked a bottle of wine, ogled Gwyneth’s Tom Ford-designed dress and CAPE (cape!!), and made these:

VEGETARIAN STEAMED DUMPLINGS

adapted, to the T, from Alton Brown

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound firm tofu (I used Nasoya sprouted tofu)
  • 1/2 c grated carrot (about half a large carrot)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage (I used bagged angel hair cole slaw cabbage) 
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 large scallion, finely chopped (2 tbsp)
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp reduced- sodium soy sauce (Kikkoman is delicious)
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • wonton wrappers (package of 35-40)
  • bowl of water and pastry brush
  • non-stick canola oil spray Read More