Broccoli-Spinach Soup with Avocado Toasts

18 03 2012

I thought I was going to hate this soup. It reminded me of the stuff that I was eating during my detox, and I didn’t think I was ready to go back to eating all plant-based ingredients. But both me and my boyfriend ended up really enjoying it. The soup is light and really fresh-tasting, and the addition of tahini and parmesan add a bit of creaminess and tang.

My favorite part though were the little avocado toasts. They match the style of the soup perfectly. The lemon juice spritzed over everything really brings out the flavors.

I wish I could make this post a bit more interesting, but my mind is elsewhere. Boyfriend is gone for the weekend. I have a giant bed to myself and Game of Thrones all loaded up on the iPad. awyeah.

Broccoli-Spinach Soup with Avocado Toasts
Adapted from Whole Living magazine

1 tb. olive oil
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 bunch broccoli, chopped
6 oz baby spinach
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbs. tahini
Salt and pepper
4 slices rustic bread, toasted
2 avocados, sliced
1/4 cup sprouts
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leek and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook, covered, until bright green and tender, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in the spinach, Parmesan, and tahini. Let cool slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Or use an immersion blender.

Top the toasted bread with slices of avocado and sprouts. Season with salt and pepper, squeeze with lemon and give it a drizzle of olive oil.

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Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta and Scallions

18 01 2012

My mother eats quinoa for dinner pretty much every day of the week. She’s one of those Dr. Oz health-conscious types; clinging to every word he says about wheat berries, fish oil, whatever it may be. Now I know these things are great for you, but I don’t need it indoctrinated into me by some television health guro who resembles a cross between grown-up Eddie Munster and a legit vampire.

Anyways. Quinoa. It’s a dinner staple for her. Quinoa with a green and a protein; the blandness meal on the planet. In truth, it has made me loathe quinoa. I think of it as the flavorless, boring mans meal. It tastes like air and it makes me envision myself being trapped in some cruel hell of having to eat the same food every day. I would rather be shark bait.

I came across this recipe while looking for a way to use up some leftover scallions and decided to give the ancient grain a chance, and ya know, I actually liked it! Quinoa adds a lot of body to the soup and I can imagine it adding it to pretty much any kind of veggie soup. The broth is flavored using just the quinoa cooking water, but emits a real smooth and earthy flavor, very similar to a chicken stock. The tangy feta and sweet pops of corn make every bite a flavorful surprise…in your mouth!

Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta and Scallions
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

3/4 cups quinoa, rinsed well
2 tbs. olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chili, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 lb. boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 bunches scallions, including an inch of the greens, thinly sliced into rounds
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1/4 lb. feta cheese, finely diced
1/2 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Put the quinoa and 2 quarts water in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, dice the vegetables and cheese. Drain, saving the liquid. Measure the liquid and add water to make 6 cups if needed.

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile. Cook for about 30 seconds, giving it a quick stir. Add the cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and the potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let the garlic brown. Add the quinoa water and half the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the quinoa, spinach, corn and remaining scallions and simmer for 3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and stir in the feta. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the chopped egg and some more crumbled feta.





Vegan “Cheddar” & Sweet Potato Soup

19 12 2011

I absolutely adore cheese. But I also absolutely adore vegan cheese substitutes. It really makes no sense. I also love nutritional yeast, though it gives me really bad gas. It’s worth it for all them B vitamins though.

For cheese and yeast lovers alike, this soup will satisfy. It’s creamy, tangy and comforting. Cinnamon and brown sugar mixed with sweet potatoes… c’mmoonnn.

Try toasting up your own croutons or just have some crusty bread on hand because you’ll be wanting it to soak up every bite.

Vegan “Cheddar” & Sweet Potato Soup
Adapted from The Uncheese Cookbook

2 cups water
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tbs. Spice Blend (recipe below)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups cooked sweet potatoes, mashed
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups vegan milk
2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the first six ingredients in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the mashed sweet potatoes, nutritional yeast and milk.

Puree the mixture in a blender, a portion at a time, until smooth. Return to the soup pot and stir in the brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Warm over medium heat, until heated through, stirring often.

Serve with croutons.

Spice Blend

1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast flakes
3 tbs. salt
1 tb. onion granules
1 tb. paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1/4 tsp. dill seed

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until finely ground. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.





Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Soup

28 09 2011

The main reason I chose to make this soup, minus the fact that it harnesses some great autumn veggies, also minus the fact that I had some tahini kicking around in the fridge… was that in the cookbook picture, it looked so creamy, like a spiced pumpkin puree.

I had just spent the night at a friends grandparents house out in Chemsford, MA and part of dinner was a pumpkin soup that was so yummy and had the same texture that I was dying for; the kind where you can swirl imprints with your spoon that will hold just long enough. Sadly, my soup didn’t turn out that way. Maybe I didn’t use enough squash, or too much broth. Maybe I’ll just keep blaming myself. Stupid stupid stupid. Maybe I’m a victim of metric system conversions. The book was published in Australia.

Either way, it’s a thinner soup than expected, but don’t let that deter you. It has a mellow, sweet flavor with the occasional hint of hotness. If I made it again, I would add some roasted garlic and some herbs, I’m thinking sage.

Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Soup
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

1 tb. olive oil
1 long red chili, seeded and chopped, plus extra to garnish
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
5-6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup red lentils
1 tb. tahini
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute the chili, onion and garlic over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion has softened.

Reduce the heat to low, add the squash and sweet potato, cover and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lentils, put the lid back on and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Process the soup in batches in a blender, add the tahini and blend until smooth. Return to the saucepan, and gently reheat. Season to tase. Serve garnished with chili.





French Miso Onion Soup

29 12 2010

Its been pretty icky out. Though the sun was shining today, the wind was whipping and everything is coated in scary scary ice. So I stayed in and made soup. A really cool Japanese/French fusion soup. No butter, no chicken stock, add some miso; this soup is like a warming winter detox. I need to incorporate more miso into my life. It’s so good for you. Too good for you.

Here’s a pig I got for Christmas. He eats coins.

French Miso Onion Soup
Adapted from Tofu & Soyfoods Cookery

2 tbs. sesame oil
8 onions, thinly sliced
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tbs. red miso (or any sort of dark miso)
2 tbs. light/white miso
1/2 cup warm water or veggie stock

Heat the sesame oil in a large stockpot. Add the onions and cook slowly for 1 hour, stirring often.

Add the 4 cups vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Dissolve the miso in the 1/2 cup warm water/stock. Bring the heat down on the soup. Stir the miso into the soup and cook for 5 more minutes. Don’t let it boil! The micro-organisms in miso are killed from over-cooking. Serve with croutons and (soy) Parmesan cheese melted on top.





Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons

14 10 2010

Life is finally assembling itself into something that I could really dig thanks to a nice blend of cosmic settling and personal ambition. Ryan and I secured a winter rental in East Falmouth in the gorgeous home of a traveling couple who are off to Costa Rica from January – July. And I must say, this place is a dream come true, amenities & price-wise. We’re really excited. It’s giving us a chance to play out our youths a bit longer, ice cream for breakfast, sex on the counters whiskey bottle in hand sort of thing. But I think it’s also going to open up a creative wormhome, in that it’s going to give us endless time and space to work on things like our writing and music. Oh and did I mention the kitchen ?? Maybe some other time.

Anyways. In celebration, I’ve made this soup in hopes that I’ll be making similar soups like this in our new home. Nothing could bring a bigger smile to my face than the smell of roasting squash mixed with ginger and sage permeating my new walls. It’s so comforting. Tastes like velvet winter.

Some things got changed. I mixed up thyme with oregano when digging through drying herbs. Not sure how that happened. But I suppose that’s ok seeing as how thyme isn’t one of my favorite spices. Also, in my search for a good chunk of Gruyere cheese, I came across an Applewood Smoked Gruyere. Using plain Gruyere would be fine, but holy crap am I lucky to have found this. The smokiness brings out so many new flavors from the soup. Whole new level. So if you happen to stumble across it as well, good god man purchase that cheese.

Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Soup:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 14 1/2-oz cans vegetable broth
4 cups 1-in. pieces peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 lbs, check out the already peeled versions in supermarkets)
4 cups 1-in. pieces peeled acorn squash (about 1 1/2 lbs; incredibly tricky to peel; cut in half, scoop out seeds and throw into an oven at 425 degrees until soft, then just scoop it out into pot)
1 1/4 tsps. minced fresh sage
1 1/4 tsps. minced fresh thyme (or oregano! hah. really, both are good. Whatever you have)
1 1/2 tsps. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 cup whipping cream

Croutons:
2 tbs. (1/4 stick butter)
1 baguette loaf, sliced 1/4-in. thick
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme (or oregano…)
1 tsp. minced fresh sage

For soup: Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)

For croutons: Preheat broiler. Butter 1 side of each bread slice. Arrange bread, buttered side up, on baking sheet. Broil until golden, about 1 minute. Turn over. Sprinkle cheese, then thyme and sage over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with croutons and serve.