Soup

Chilled Spiced Peach Mango Soup

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peach mango soup

Hot summer days like today beg for a chilled fruit soup recipe. Since mangoes and peaches are at their peek this season, I decided on a chilled spiced peach and mango soup. I’ve been through many chilled fruit soup recipes and nothing pleases the palate more than a bowl of chilled refreshing fruit soup. I am already approaching that stage where I limit my use of stoves and ovens. The idea of sweating in the process of preparing meals does not appeal to me in the least.  Yes we tend to be more stagnant when the temperature is hotter but I don’t make chilled fruit soups just for the mere convenience – I happen to love fruit soups (and I love taking shortcuts as well).

I also happen to love fresh peaches and mango – together or on their own. I routinely serve a hot bowl of soup but the weather changed my plans for me and not necessarily in a bad way.  This chilled spiced peach mango soup was very appropriate for this season. A hint of  chipotle seasoning lifts the flavors of this chilled fruit soup recipe. If you can’t find chipotle seasoning, you can use chili powder as well.

This gluten free chilled spiced peach mango soup recipe can double as healthy smoothie to be eaten as breakfast, lunch or a snack. It also makes for  a wonderfully refreshing appetizer. Leftovers can be reserved for making frozen yogurt or sorbet. It takes a peach and a mango to tango with this zesty, aromatic, and vibrant chilled soup. With the bright colors of the peaches and mango,  you’ll feel the zing of energy you need to keep yourself fueled throughout the day.  Have fun playing around with different fruits you love but don’t leave out the ginger. Ginger assembles all the flavors together, not to mention the health benefits it provides.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 4 ripe peaches peeled and pitted
  2. 2 ripe mangoes peeled and pitted
  3. 2 cups of coconut water or milk of your choice
  4. 2 teaspoons of fresh minced ginger
  5. 1 teaspoon of chipotle or chili powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon of dried cardamon
  7. Low fat plain yogurt of your choice
  8. Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Place first 6 ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend till smooth.  Dollop yogurt on each bowl of soup. Garnish with fresh mint leaves if you like. Serve chilled. Enjoy!

Yields 4 servings

 

 

 

 

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Cauliflower Lentil Soup

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cauliflower lentil soup

I admit having very little tolerance and patience for heat. Many people look forward to spending more time at the beach (not that I don’t) whereas I prefer to remain inside an air conditioned facility. Yes, I may gripe a bit much about the summer heat but all that griping has worked up my appetite for BBQ, spicy, and/or curry flavored dishes apart from ice cream. I suppose my palate tends to reflect my summer mania therefore gravitating torwards flavors that illustrate my mood.  I’m merely thinking through my stomach. That doesn’t mean I overindulge but I decided to make a curry flavored soup primarily because I was in the mood for it. Considering how curry and cauliflower pair nicely together, cauliflower lentil soup appeared on my radar.

This cauliflower lentil soup recipe features a slew of ingredients that blend well together and made even more companionable with a mildly curry  flavored broth. Light and hearty, this cauliflower lentil soup recipe is perfect all year round. Like most soups, this curry flavored soup gets better in time. You can make this soup ahead of time if you like. You can try the slow cooker/crock pat method if you prefer as well. This gorgeous and healthy soup is great on it’s own as a light dinner idea or served over brown rice. Alternatively, tortillas are just as good if you are feeling ambitious.  Leftovers would be perfect for a casserole or as a sauce.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 onion chopped
  2. 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger
  3. 4 cloves of garlic minced
  4. 2 teaspoons of curry powder
  5. 3 1/2 cups of chopped cauliflower
  6. 1 cup of dried red lentils
  7. 2 tomatoes chopped
  8. 4 cups of chopped fresh spinach
  9. 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro or parsley minced
  10. Salt and pepper for taste

 

Instructions

In a medium soup pot on medium heat, sauté the onions in oil until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, and curry powder  and sauté for 2 minutes; stir constantly to avoid sticking. Add the stock, cauliflower, tomatoes, and lentils.Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover with lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables and lentils are cooked. Puree vegetables  using a hand blender or in batches using a standing blender. Stir in cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Let the soup sit for a few minutes before serving.

Yields 4 servings

 

 

Chilled Cherry Cantaloupe Soup

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cherry cantatlope soup

While the weather hasn’t thankfully been oppressively hot lately, the temperature isn’t going to dramatically drop anytime soon. The season hasn’t yet been at the stage where I am forced to self-confinement in order to avoid the brutal heat. I normally love spending time outdoors but the summertime here can sometimes make it unpleasant for me. As a fervent chilled fruit soup aficionado, I suppose the heat does serve some purpose so I can’t complain too much about it. Various cold soup recipes have been a consideration for me as of late. Chilled soup ideas are one of many ways for me to keep cool in the summer. They are also a great way to use up fruit that is about to go bad.

This cold soup recipe in which I am about to share with you is an inspiration between a Hungarian sour cherry soup recipe and a chilled cantaloupe recipe. Not wanting to make two different chilled fruit soups, I decided to pair the cherries and cantaloupe soup together to create my own variation. And it worked!! Aside for the strong impact of flavors in this cold soup recipe, the color is absolutely magnificent despite the picture I captured above.  The aroma that this soup emanates is just captivating to describe it at best. Even though chilled strawberry mango soup has been listed as my favorite fruit soup, this chilled cherry cantaloupe soup is not trailing too far behind.

Delicious and very refreshing, this chilled fruit soup can be served as a starter or as a dessert. Since there were plenty of leftovers, I had this soup for breakfast in lieu of smoothies along with a slice or toasted whole grain bread and it was simply divine. The flavors deepen as the soup chills. Like most of my recipes, this fruit soup can be customizing to your liking. Feel free to experiment if you like.  However, the best part of this soup that it is incredibly easy to make. The process only involves blending all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor and chilling the soup for several hours before serving it.  It’s practically child’s play but very gourmet as well.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 cantaloupe seeded and cut into chunks
  2. 1 lbs of fresh or frozen sour cherries pitted and stemmed plus more for garnish
  3. 1 teaspoon of ginger
  4. Juice from one small orange
  5. 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped mint
  6. 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped basil (optional)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  8. 1 tablespoon of honey (or to taste)

Instructions

Blend all ingredients in a blender and process till smooth. Taste and adjust amounts of honey, ginger or orange juice if desired. Serve chilled.

Yields 2-4 servings

 

 

Vichyssoise – Potato Leek Soup

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potato leek soup

Summer time meant a 2 month break from school as a kid. As an adult, my favorite part of the summer is keeping cool by or swimming and eating chilled dishes – virtually anything that doesn’t require me to burn a hole in my wallet from running the AC all day. The sun is getting stronger as my tolerance for heat is getting weaker. I never was really a summer person and I never liked the heat.  The disadvantage of being fair-skinned is that I am more susceptible to sunburns among other things. The only thing I liked about the sun that it brought out more natural highlights in my hair. Otherwise, I try to avoid the outdoors during the day as much as I possibly can.

The hot weather inspired me with the idea of making this French potato leek soup which can be eaten chilled or hot. While most people consider vichyssoise to be a classic cold French soup, it is believed by others that the vichyssoise soup recipe was invented at the Ritz Carlton in New York City by a French chef, Louis Diat in the summer of 1917. His idea behind this soup was to help keep the patrons cool.

The actual origins of this soup don’t make a difference to me. But the original ingredients do which consist of heavy cream, milk, and a quart of broth which totals to a half a cup of cream per serving! That is why I eliminated those ingredients from my vichyssoise soup recipe without compromising on its creamy texture that everyone loves.

This chilled potato and leek soup recipe is very easy to follow, doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, and lasts for days. Although vichyssoise is designed to be a chilled soup, it tastes just as great served hot. Regardless whether vichyssoise soup has its French origins or not, this potato and leek soup still remains a classic with a wonderful flavor.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 3-4 medium large Yukon potatoes peeled and cubed
  2. 1-2 large leek washed, rinsed, and thinly sliced
  3. 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus extra for garnish
  4. 3 cups of low sodium broth or water
  5. 2 cups of low fat milk of your choice
  6. Salt and pepper for taste
  7. 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh chives for garnish

Instructions

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and gently sweat for 5 minutes until they are soft. Then add potatoes, broth/water, and milk. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cook for another 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Puree soup in batches in a blender. Return soup to pot and bring to a boil again while stirring. Simmer for 5 minutes before removing from heat. Add more water or broth if the soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled or hot. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with chopped chives.

Yields 4 servings

 

 

Emerald City Soup

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Emerald soup

Remember the classic movie of “The Wizard of OZ”  where Dorothy is directed to the City of Emerald in hopes for someone there to transport her back to Kansas? While making this soup, that scene was replaying itself in my head.  In fact, the name I gave this soup was inspired by the movie. I thought to go with that than generic titles  such as green vegetable soup recipe  as there are many variations of them.  Incorporating green vegetables daily in your diet seems to be one of the most recommended pieces of nutritional advice given today. While I had many objections to eating vegetables as a kid, green vegetables were an exception.

My parents never had to put in much painstaking efforts to encourage me to eat my green veggies. I suppose the parental negative reinforcement of threatening me with no dessert somewhat helped to a certain degree. Growing up, I would snack on raw broccoli and spinach. Thankfully, I never really had to compete with anyone as everyone else didn’t seem to share my love for these vegetables. They were a treat to me second to high quality Swiss dark chocolate.  I’ve also looked forward to a creamy green soup my mother made for dinner be it broccoli soup or spinach soup.  As much as I like green soup, I haven’t had much success achieving the creamy and velvety consistency that I desire in a soup. I didn’t want to use potatoes nor heavy cream as a thickening agent. At the same token, I don’t care for watery soups either.

This green soup has been one of the most healthiest vegetable soup ideas I’ve ever used. And one of the easiest as well. It has the best of three worlds; broccoli, spinach, and kale. Ever since my newfound love for fresh kale has been publicly vociferated to others, nearly to the point of insanity, I wanted to utilize it in other ways aside for chips, and salads. I normally wouldn’t mind eat kale raw as it is but I had a surplus of them. I shamefully confess to overstocking on produce but I do make sure that nothing goes to waste.  I didn’t have to fish out too far for vegetable soup ideas for the week. While I only used three green vegetables, you can use chard in lieu or in addition to kale. You can include green peas as well.  What I like most about green soup is that it is loaded with hearty, fiber-rich vegetables. Besides, a steaming bowl of green soup, packed with the season’s freshest vegetables, is a healthy way to jumpstart your dinner. Serve with a swirl of fruity, fragrant extra-virgin olive oil for richness if you like. Reserve leftovers for an improvised Alfredo sauce.  

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 tablespoon of olive oil + more for garnish (optional)
  2. 1 onion chopped
  3. 2 cloves of garlic minced
  4. 1 lbs of fresh kale leaves removed from stems
  5. 2 cups of chopped broccoli
  6. 1/2 cup of green peas (optional)
  7. 1 cup of fresh spinach stems trimmed
  8. 4 cups of reduced sodium vegetable broth
  9. Salt and pepper for taste
  10. Toasted whole wheat croutons (optional)

Instructions

Heat oil in a stock pot over high heat.  Add chopped onions and saute for 5 minutes till they begin to brown. Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add the vegetables, salt, and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Pour in broth, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Puree with a hand blender or in batches using a standing blender.  Serve hot and garnish each bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and croutons.

Yields 6 servings

 

Cream of Asparagus Soup

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2014-03-25 08.47.21

I shamefully admit to not eating enough asparagus as I should. It’s not that I don’t like this vegetable; it happens to be one of the most expensive vegetables in the market. Since they are at their peek this short lived season, I bought them in a cluster as a treat. This will be my first but not last recipe I will be sharing with you on asparagus. I made this cream of asparagus soup for dinner last night and it was met by a lot of lip smacking compliments. Who would have thought that asparagus would be in the lime light for the day? Here is the kicker; this creamy soup has no cream or milk of any kind primarily because it doesn’t need any. The potato and celery root employed it’s creamy and silky texture. The asparagus gave this soup a wonderful flavor and that spectacular olive green hue. Elegance does not require a lot of calories and fat. Something gourmet as this healthful version of cream of asparagus soup can be nutritional as well. If you normally add cream to your vegetable soups, I suggest you forgo this method just this once. Looking back, I can’t recall when I last added cream or milk to any of my vegetable soups.

Since ancient times, asparagus was considered to be a delicacy. As one of the oldest recorded vegetables in history, asparagus  is thought to have originated along the coastal regions of eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor areas. This herbaceous perennial plant is botanically classified with the Asparagaceae family.  Succulent and tender, this prized vegetable arrives in the beginning of spring when its shoots break through the soil and reach their 6-8 inch harvest length. Just as a spear is used as a weapon, asparagus’s javelin-shaped form could be viewed by some as symbolic for its age- and disease-fighting abilities. Asparagus is packed with health benefits that I have been sadly depriving myself of. Loaded with nutrients, asparagus  is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.

Along with avocado, kale, and Brussel sprouts, this herbaceous plant contains a large amount of  of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. This is one of the reasons why eating asparagus may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers. Packed with antioxidants, asparagus is ranked among the top fruit and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. According to preliminary research, this may help delay the aging process. Asparagus contains another anti-aging property which may help our brains fight cognitive declination.

Akin to leafy green vegetables, this vegetable delivers folate, which works together with vitamin B12 to help prevent cognitive impairment.  Another health benefit of asparagus is that it  contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine , a natural diuretic  increased urination not only releases fluid but helps rid the body of excess salts.

This incredibly simple cream of asparagus, pureed till smooth, has rightfully earned it’s place on my menu. It is delicious eaten hot or cold.  For brutal hot summer days, a bit of lemon juice in this soup can be very refreshing to the palate. A piece of toasted bread completes this soup for me.  I may use leftovers to make an asparagus Alfredo sauce.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 2 lbs of asparagus chopped and stems removed (reserve one cup of cooked asparagus spears for garnish if you like)
  2. 1 onion chopped
  3. 2 cloves of garlic minced
  4. 1 medium-small potato peeled and chopped
  5. 1 celery root peeled and chopped
  6. 4 cups of water or vegetable broth
  7. Salt and pepper for taste
  8. Olive oil (optional)

Instructions

Place vegetables in a stock pot over medium high heat. Saute for 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to sweat. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 25 minutes or until vegetables are soft and tender. Puree with a hand blender or in batches with a standing blender till smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with asparagus spears when serving.

Yields 4 servings

 

 

 

White Winter Vegetable Soup

Posted on

2014-03-11 12.37.47

The weather has been intermittently frigid here. Just a couple days ago, the climate went from being pleasantly warm to murky and rainy. The sun just decided to emerge from hiding behind the black clouds just seconds ago. I personally don’t mind the rain but my body doesn’t react to major temperature shifts too well. It almost seems like to me that Mother Nature can’t decide whether she wants to welcome Spring prematurely or not. Even though I hypocritically don’t always believe in doing things by the book, I sometimes wish that Mother Nature would follow the calendar. We are not due for Spring till another week so why bring in the heat early?

For those of you who have been griping about the non-stop snow storms and below zero temperatures, my biggest complaint about Winter this year is that it was short lived. I am not looking forward to 6+ months of intense humidity. I like the natural highlights that the Summer sun gives my hair but that’s just about it. I may have complained about the bitter cold weather in the past but I enjoy the heartwarming meals, soft clothing, hot baths, and lots of snuggles that came with it. I am not ready to escort Old Man Winter just yet so I have a white winter soup recipe for you to enjoy just one last time (this isn’t the last soup recipe for the year. I promise more will follow).

This winter soup got it’s name and color from the vegetables I used.  The onions, garlic, apples, fennel, kohlrabi, parsnips, turnips and leeks make this a fantastically nourishing winter soup. All these vegetables are an excellent choice if we need an energy boost.  They are fabulous sources of vitamin B. Among its many health benefits, vitamin B also helps to create hormones which keep us in good form and sleeping well. Onions and leeks are fabulous for those trying to control their cravings for sugar. They are also superb for those of us who need to monitor our cholesterol level and blood pressure. So savor the nourishing winter veggies as much as you possibly can.

Some people balk over turnips mainly because of the rancid odor it gives off while cooking. I used to. It’s an acquired taste in which I eventually became accustomed to. If you still have an aversion to turnips, you need not fret so. I guarantee that you won’t detect the turnipy flavors in this white winter vegetable soup. If you are still not convinced, you can used an additional kohlrabi bulb. There are many varieties of flavors in this winter soup, that it all merges together into a happy combination of flavors where it’s hard to discern the ingredients in the soup.

Leeks are also a wonderful addition to this white winter soup. They add a subtle onion flavor to the mix without overpowering the soup. But make sure you clean the leeks really well before chopping them up. They tend to be very dirty and you need to rinse them well before cooking with them.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 onion diced
  2. 2 leeks chopped
  3. 3 cloves of garlic minced
  4. 1 apple peeled, cored, and chopped
  5. 1 kohlrabi peeled and chopped
  6. 1 turnip peeled and chopped
  7. 1 fennel bulb chopped
  8. 2 parsnips peeled and chopped
  9. 4 1/2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
  10. 1/2 cup of low fat milk of your choice
  11. Salt and pepper for taste
  12. 1 tablespoon of snipped fresh chives (optional)

Instructions

Place all the vegetables in a stock pot. Saute over medium high heat for 5-10 minutes. Add stock and milk. Cook for 35-40 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Puree vegetables till smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh chives if you like and serve.

Yields 6 servings