Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lemongrass Summer Squash Soup

Crookneck squash is my favorite summer squash because  it is much creamier and less watery than the typical zucchini summer squash. There is no need to remove the bumpy peeling since it is so tender, and most of the nutrients reside in this covering, so it is best not to remove it.  I created this soup from one of the larger 15 crookneck squash Tom harvested from the garden.  I like to look in my refrigerator and the herbs on my deck pots and create from what is available.  I had a tube of lemongrass paste and decided to try it.  I loved the zing it gave to this creation.  For the broth, I used the vegetable broth from the Swiss chard and kale stems I had cooked earlier in the week.  Last summer I froze crookneck squash soup and it was great to have this available for days when I didn't feel well enough to cook. 

Crookneck summer squash and zucchini
1 large or 3 small crookneck summer squash, diced
1 small onion, chopped

Kale and chard stems for broth
3/4 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Lemongrass paste      
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups vegetable broth
(I used stock I made from cooking
Swiss Chard and kale stems)
freshly ground pepper to taste

Place all ingredients, except for the pepper, in a large cooking pan.  You may need to add more water to have enough liquid to cover the vegetables.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the squash and onions are tender.  Puree.  Add freshly ground pepper, and salt if needed.  Garnish with fresh parsley or basil, if desired. 

Lemongrass Summer Squash Soup
Servings per recipe: 5
Serving Size: About 1 cup                        
Calories: 23
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 398 mg
Total Carbs: 5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 1 g

Note:  Sodium calculation used a commercially prepared vegetable broth, rather than my own homemade broth. 

Chilled Beet and Blueberry Soup

My mother loved me.  Not only because I was her child, but because I gladly ate vegetables and actually liked them, including beets.  So mom and I shared an affinity for beets prepared numerous ways. Well, I can no longer tolerate a beet sandwich (sliced, cooked beets on sourdough bread slathered with mayonnaise)  or a beet salad.  But my love for beets hasn't changed one bit.  So Tom harvested the beets from our garden; I boiled them in their skins and then placed them in cold water to make the skins slip off easily. (Mom taught me so well!) Then I contemplated what I would do with these beautiful jewels.  I started with a puree of beets and kefir and discovered it was delicious.  Then I turned around and saw the last of the garden blueberries sitting on the table.  Hmmmm....blueberries and beets?   Why not?   Wow!  Not only was it beautiful; it was tangy, tasty and nutritious.  Try it and be surprised.  And thank your mother for making you eat your vegetables.  And for loving you even when you don't.

1/4 cup low-fat plain kefir
1 cup sliced, cooked beets, chilled   
1/4 cup fresh blueberries

Puree all ingredients in a blender.  If the ingredients are chilled prior to blending them, just eat and enjoy.  Otherwise, I suggest chilling it for about 30 minutes. 

Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: Approximately 1 cup
Calories: 122
Total Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Sodium: 139 mg
Total Carbs: 24 g
Dietary Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 7 g