Tag Archives: soup

Fairytale Pumpkin Soup with Shiitake “Bacon”

9 Nov

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Tis the season for pumpkin soup! My friend Lizzette gave me a ~*fairytale pumpkin*~ (look it up) the other week and it was almost too beautiful to eat. But, because I don’t like to waste food, I hacked the pretty pumpkin into quarters and scooped out the seeds, cleaned and roasted the seeds and baked the pumpkin quarters with olive oil until super soft. Tip: whenever you make a winter squash or pumpkin soup, the flavor is so much better if you have time to roast the squash/pumpkin instead of boil it.

This fairytale pumpkin was absolutely gorgeous outside and inside. The inside flesh was a kind of vibrant orange that almost looked fake. Stunning. Continue reading

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Homemade Miso Ramen

29 Sep

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After spatchcocking a chicken the other night (recipe here), I saved the backbone to make a chicken stock.

To make a light chicken stock: Place the backbone and a few other chicken bones/discards into a pot with a chopped carrot, onion, and celery stalk and cover with water. Let it come to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour, partially covered. Drain the solids out and you get a beautiful homemade chicken stock. Salt to taste. Skim some fat off during simmering or after refrigeration.

I was contemplating a recipe to make that would let the homemade chicken stock shine, and my boyfriend suggested/challenged me to make ramen. Genius! Sometimes I need a little outside input to get my creative juices going again.

And guess what? Making ramen at home was not as scary as I thought it would be.

Granted, I made a somewhat simplified version compared to what one might find at a Japanese ramen shop, but I appreciate my less salty, vegetable-topped ramen for it’s purpose as an amped-up dinner at home. Having the chicken stock already prepared from the day before saved me a lot of time, too.

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I cooked all of the components of the ramen dish separately, but I was multitasking the whole time and only used 2 pots in the process. As the miso broth was simmering, I made 7-minute eggs* and set them in an ice bath while I steamed some broccoli and boiled my ramen noodles (eggs, broccoli, and noodles were all cooked in the same pot at different times). I kept everything separate until serving.

To serve the ramen, I placed cooked noodles in the bottom of a serving bowl. Then I ladled in hot broth and placed egg halves and vegetables on top.

*This was also my first time making a medium or 7-minute egg. It was so good, I need to do this more often.

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I had broccoli and greens on-hand at home. Use whatever seasonal vegetables you want. Also, you could add some ground pork or chicken to this recipe after sautéing the shallot/garlic/ginger. Cook until no longer pink and then add the miso/bean/sesame and follow the rest of the recipe.

Homemade Miso Ramen

adapted from Just One Cookbook

makes 2-3 servings

For the broth:

1 shallot or a small onion

2 garlic cloves

1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons white miso paste

1 teaspoon fermented black bean paste (not super spicy) or chili bean paste/La Doubanjiang (spicy)

1 tablespoons crushed sesame seeds

4 cups chicken stock, homemade if you have it (or vegetarian stock or water)

Noodles:

2 servings of packaged ramen noodles (do not use any of the powders or sauces that come with)

Toppings:

7-minute boiled eggs

steamed broccoli

fresh greens

more “authentic” might be: pickled red ginger, nori (seaweed), bean sprouts, corn, scallion, Japanese chili oil, pork or chicken

Directions: 

Finely chop the shallot and garlic. Mince the ginger with a microplane.

Heat the sesame oil in a pot. Add the garlic, shallot, and ginger and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the miso, bean paste, and crushed sesame seeds and stir. Add a little of the chicken stock to deglaze the pan and smooth out the miso paste, then add the rest of the chicken stock and stir. Simmer this while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

-Make your eggs. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Set two eggs on a large spoon and gently set them into the boiling water. Set the timer for 6 minutes, then spoon the eggs out of the boiling water and into an ice bath.

-Next, set a steamer over the same water you used to boil the eggs. Steam the broccoli, covered, for about 4 minutes. Set aside.

-Using the same pot you boiled the eggs and steamed the broccoli in, bring water to a boil and cook the ramen noodles for about 3 minutes.

To serve:

Spoon cooked ramen noodles into serving bowls. Ladle the miso broth on top of the noodles. Place your toppings–eggs, steamed broccoli, fresh greens–over the broth and noodles. Enjoy!

“Creamy” Chicken Barley Soup

17 Jan

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You know that area right underneath your nostrils? Mine is red and dry because I have been blowing my nose for almost a week now. Yuck. Colds are the worst. I still have energy to go about my usual business, but I’m just a snotty, gross mess.

Alas, chicken soup.

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Funny enough, a few days into the snotty sickness that has been permeating my apartment, I received an email from my boyfriend’s mom with a recipe for a fantastic chicken barley soup. Must have been mother’s intuition that we needed comfort.

This “Creamy” Chicken Barley Soup is heartier than the typical clear-broth chicken soup. Blending some of the broth with cooked potato, onion, celery, and garlic lends a creamy texture without any cream. If your favorite kitchen tool is an immersion blender, raise your hand! Makes life so easy.

Adding a little barley to the soup offers a nice contrast, a bite of texture. Barley is a great source of whole grain, it is rich in fiber and protein, and it turns the soup into its own meal.

I used a homemade turkey stock for this soup. It is so easy to freeze a bunch of leftover odds and ends of vegetables and prepare a quick stock. After I made a vegetable stock, I strained it, and then added it back to a pot with the neck and giblets I had in the freezer from my Thanksgiving turkey. There’s some good dark meat on the neck of a turkey, so don’t throw the neck away! Prepare your stock the day before if you want to get ahead.

So I had turkey stock in my chicken soup. No big deal. If you are short on time, you could just use water instead of stock, and add salt. Or buy stock. Either way.

Note that you could buy pre-cooked chicken, but I found it very easy to just toss two breasts (save the bones for stock if you want!) in the oven while I was preparing the rest of my ingredients.

“Creamy” Chicken Barley Soup

Recipe from Lucy, by way of Jackie

This makes a LOT of soup, about 10 servings (you could freeze extras, bring some to a friend, or halve the recipe)

2 T butter or oil
2 onions, chopped
6-7 celery sticks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 C russet potatoes, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1/2 C pearl barley
8 -9 C stock (I made my vegetable stock, strained it, and added the neck and giblets that were in my freezer from Thanksgiving and simmered for ~1hour)
2 bay leaves
1/2 C white wine
2 bone-in chicken breasts (or slightly less than 2lbs), pre-cooked and shredded (see below for how to cook)
salt and pepper to taste

First, cook your chicken breasts. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done (165 degrees F). When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones (save the bones in your freezer for stock), and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large stockpot melt butter (or oil) and saute onions, celery, garlic until soft.

Next, add potatoes, 6 – 7 C chicken stock, and thyme. Cook until potatoes are soft (15- 30 min), then use an immersion blender or transfer 3/4 of the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.

Return this mixture to the pot, add the carrots, barley and bay leaves.  Cook partially covered for 30 minutes. Add more stock for a soupier soup. When barley is tender, add wine and chicken, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a few more minutes to warm up the chicken.

French Lentil Soup

7 Apr

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When it comes to legumes, I almost always think of beans, too often forgetting about lentils (shame on me). Lentils are so easy to make and provide a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, iron, and magnesium.

This soup is great for a light lunch or dinner, or even a mid-day snack. After a quick chopping session, everything gets thrown into a pot and simmers for an hour. This provides time for you to get other things done, allowing the soup to be left alone except for a little stir here and there.

Flipping throughAlice’s In the Green KitchenI was reminded of her “green kitchen manifesto:”

green kitchen manifesto

I understand that sometimes these tips are easier said than done, and that location and income are huge factors that affect the desire and ability to keep a green kitchen. Try focusing on 1 or 2 of these components, and see where that takes you…

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I purchased my French lentils in the bulk section of my local health food store. Aren’t they beauties? These girls are hold their shape nicely when cooked, and pack such a comforting flavor.

The soup is great on it’s own with some toast or pita. You can also serve it with fluffy brown rice or quinoa. A few dabs of yogurt or a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar add some oomph. Or even a poached egg right on top, the yolk dripping right into the broth…

French Lentil Soup

4-6 servings

adapted from Alice Waters’ In the Green Kitchen

1 tablespoons olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and diced (I used 1 carrot and 1 parsnip)

1/2 onion, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 cup French green lentils, rinsed

7 cups of water or vegetable stock

Fresh ground pepper

Heat a large saucepan or soup pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the carrots, onion, celery, and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to dry and soften. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the onion translucent. Add the garlic and cook briefly to release the aroma.

Add the lentils and stir while adding the water/stock and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the lentils crush easily and have a creamy texture. Mash some of the lentils in the pan using a whisk or a quick go with the immersion blender to thicken the soup slightly. Season with pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Miso Soup

7 Dec

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Miso soup goes from appetizer to dinner with the addition of noodles, larger tofu cubes, broccoli, and avocado.

The broth is made with just 2 ingredients: water and miso paste. The rest is up to you: noodles or rice, tofu, egg, seasonal vegetables, chili flakes or oil, scallions, herbs, garlic…Heidi Swanson, who inspired this soup, even suggests using tea instead of water.

I’ve gabbed about my love for miso paste before, and once you have a tub of it hanging out in the fridge, you know that you can always make some soup when you’re in a dinner pinch.

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Miso Soup

adapted from 101 cookbooks

serves 2-3

**NOTE: You may need to add some salt to the soup. Taste and add as necessary. Sometimes I like to add a splash of soy sauce for a deeper, saltier flavor, too.

3 ounces dried noodles, soba or spaghetti
2 – 4 tablespoons white miso paste (to taste)
2 – 3 ounces firm tofu (2 handfuls), chopped into 1/3-inch cubes
2 handfuls of chopped broccoli florets (or spinach)
Additional toppings: a pinch of red pepper flakes, avocado cubes

Cook the noodles in salted water. Add the broccoli during the last minute of cooking. Drain, run cold water over the noodles/broccoli to stop them from cooking, shake off any excess water, and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove from heat. Put the miso paste in a small bowl and pour a bit of the hot water over the miso, whisking so it thins out a bit (this is to avoid clumping). Stir this back into the pot. Taste, and then add more (the same way) a bit at a time until it is to your liking. Add the tofu, remove from the heat, and let it sit for just a minute or so.

Split the noodles/broccoli between two (or three) bowls, and pour the miso broth and tofu over them. Add red pepper flakes to each bowl and enjoy.

Red Lentil Soup

9 Oct

The weather is turning here in New York, and that means it’s soup and stew time! Soups and stews are a treat because I can stretch a pot out for a few days, guaranteeing a healthy meal in a pinch.

Last week I made a rendition (with purple potato, romanesco, turnips, turnip greens…) of the always satisfying Tofu Panang Curry.

This week I made a riff on a soup by my favorite soup/stew queen, Heidi Swanson. She always gets her veggies in, with some sort of plant-based protein (tofu, lentils, quinoa, beans, nuts…), and then tops everything off with nuts or olives and a spoon of yogurt or a sprinkle of cheese. Her soups and stews have a little of everything, just the way I like.

I made her very simple red lentil soup. It has brown rice for texture and substance. I added in some veggies from my Sunday farmer’s market trip. To top things off, I sprinkled a hefty amount of queso fresco on top (you could use any cheese you want, or if you are vegan you could use chopped avocado and/or sliced almonds…). I also added on the side some roasted delicata squash, my absolute favorite because it is super easy to cut, and you can eat the skin!

Heidi explains:

Red lentils collapse and lose structure quite quickly – and in this case they shift color a bit. Don’t let that throw you. And it’s actually the rice that retains it’s texture here, while the lentils provide the body for the soup. So don’t be alarmed when your lentils stop looking like lentils after about ten minutes in the pot.

Red Lentil Soup

adapted from Heidi Swanson

serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

Optional: 2-3 shallots, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 cups liquid (I used 2 cups broth, 4 cups water)

1 1/3 cups red lentils, picked through and rinsed

1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed

salt, to taste

Optional: 1 chopped medium red potato (or sweet potato), large handful of chopped greens (kale, turnip greens…)

Toppings: queso fresco (or feta), roasted delicata squash…

In a big soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium and add the onion, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Let them brown, and caramelize a bit, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the water/broth, bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and rice. Add the potato and kale, if using. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is very tender, and not at all toothsome. By this time, the lentils will have collapsed into a thick slop of sorts. If you need to add more water/broth at any point do so a splash at a time, until the soup thins out to the point you prefer.

Unless you used a salty broth, you will likely need to salt generously, until the the soup no longer tastes flat. Serve each bowl topped with queso fresco and roasted delicata squash. You can also top with avocado, olives, sliced almonds, yogurt…

Green Split Pea Soup With Curry Brown Butter Drizzle

22 May

I have a week and a half left until I go from being a full time pastry cook to a full time nutrition graduate student.

A week and a half left of lifting a gigantic hobart mixer, hauling muffin batters in and out of  low-boy refrigerators, running up and down the stairs to access the various walk-in freezers and refrigerators, getting blasted by the oven fans.

A week and a half left of standing on my feet for 9+ hours straight, scooping ice cream until my wrist hurts, slicing through 20 pound wheels of cheese, folding whipped egg whites into a cake batter.

A week and a half left of nibbling at the corners and edges of brownie scraps, sitting with the servers during the 4:30pm “family meal” before the restaurant opens, sporting my checkered pants and chef coat and clogs.

What a whirlwind year. I have gotten very strong, physically and emotionally.

Here’s to all of the amazing folks who make a restaurant run smoothly, both in the front and the back of the house.

Pretty soon I will be back to cooking dinner most nights (as supposed to my 1 night right now). This green split pea soup is healthy, filling, and gets fancy with a brown butter curry drizzle. So fragrant and comforting.

I quickly toasted some whole wheat bread croutons to accompany my soup. Snipped chives and paneer cubes as per Heidi’s recommendations sound lovely as well.

Green Split Pea Soup With Curry Brown Butter Drizzle

from Heidi’s Super Natural Everyday (you can also find the recipe on her blog, 101 cookbooks)

serves 4-6

Green split peas (and green lentils) are cholesterol-free, low in fat, high in fiber and protein, and provide potassium, iron, and thiamin

Note that leftovers thicken up in the refrigerator; just add a splash of water, broth, or coconut milk to thin out the soup as you reheat it.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

5 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups (10.5 oz or 300 g) green split peas (or green lentils), picked over and rinsed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Indian curry powder

1/2 cup coconut milk

salt

optional:

1 bunch fresh chives, minced

                   2 slices of whole wheat bread, cubed and baked into croutons**

                   paneer cubes, lightly pan-fried

Combine the 2 tablespoons coconut oil, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the water and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This could take 20-30 minutes, or as long as an hour (my green split peas took about an hour to fully cook).

In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and saute until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute.

When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and puree with an immersion blender (I don’t have an immersion blender, so I dumped my soup into my blender…it all fit in one swoop). You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth (I chose the latter). Stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed (I added a few more teaspoons worth of salt because I used water instead of broth).

Serve the soup drizzled with the remaining spice butter and sprinkled with chives and/or whole wheat croutons.

**To make whole wheat croutons, cube some bread. Toss the cubes with about 1 teaspoon of the curry brown butter and 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper then place into a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, until crisp and golden.