Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Simple Summer Squash Soup

Simple Summer Squash Soup

This recipe for Simple Summer Squash Soup is one I found on The Kitchn blog, which I just recently discovered and love.  While most of the recipes are out of my realm of pureed, low-fat, and low-glycemic, the plethora of great recipes for most people is astounding.   

But, back to my diet and life.  I modified this soup for my needs by using coconut oil rather than olive oil and the taste of the coconut oil complimented the Indian spices of cumin and curry quite well. Don't be deceived into thinking the use of cumin and curry make the soup too spicy.  It was the perfect amount and did not overwhelm the taste of the summer squash.   I used yellow crookneck summer squash for this soup and, as always, was impressed with how creamy this type of summer squash becomes when it is pureed.  Of course, you could use any type of summer squash that is invading your garden.  This soup got a five star rating by both Tom and me. And the ease of making this soup means Pzazz!  I will likely make it frequently.  

Yellow Crookneck Squash, Zucchini, and Eight Ball Summer Squash

3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 lbs summer squash, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces (5 cups)
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (not ground cumin)
1 teaspoon curry powder
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
(I used two 14.5 oz cans of low-sodium vegetable broth, so it was a bit more than 3 1/2 cups)
salt and pepper to taste (if the vegetable broth you use has salt in it already, you probably won't need any additional salt)

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring often, until just fragrant. Add the garlic and onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sliced squash and cook until just softened, about 10 minutes.

Add curry powder and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, and using an immersion-blender, puree to desired consistency. Allow to cool before seasoning with salt and pepper.

Ladle into soup bowls to serve and garnish with cilantro or parsley, if desired.    

Ready to eat  Simple Summer Squash Soup

Nutrition: (using coconut oil)
Garden Gold in a Glass
Servings per recipe: 6
Serving Size: 1 cup                                        
Calories: 97
Total Fat: 7 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 88 mg
Total Carbs: 7 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2 g

Friday, August 24, 2012

Zuke, Cuke, and Basil Soup

Zuke, Cuke and Basil Soup

Just when I thought I had exhausted all of the possibilities to use the bounty of zucchini growing in Tom's garden, I found a recipe for zucchini gazpacho.  But really?  Zucchini gazpacho???   And as I was trying to wrap my brain around the idea of zucchini gazpacho, I read the list of ingredients, and it seemed like a mish-mash of flavors including basil, dill, artichokes, squash blossoms, olive oil, vinegar, tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini.  Whoa....that's quite a mixture.  Maybe the fact that I found the recipe in a flyer for auto insurance should have alerted me to the lack of fine culinary taste.  Anyway, it was time to seriously modify this recipe as I could see some potential.   I retained the most basic ingredients of zucchini, cucumbers, tomato and basil to form the foundation of flavors, then added a dash of red wine vinegar for a punch of flavor.  It worked!  The fresh basil is what really made this refreshing, easy, attractive soup so full of Pzazz!  Bring on that zucchini!

1 cup peeled, cubed zucchini
1/3 cup chopped tomato
Zucchini, cucumber and basil 
1/3 cup peeled, chopped cucumber        
5 fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
dash of sea salt

Place all ingredients in a Magic Bullet or blender
and puree to desired consistency.


Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories: 47
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg                        
Sodium:  12 mg
Total Carbs: 11 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g                                              
Protein: 2 g

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Italian Summer Squash Soup

Variety of summer squash Tom harvested in one day!
White Patty Pan, Yellow crookneck summer squash,  & Green zucchini squash

Garden Gold!  The bounty from Tom's garden simply keeps multiplying, especially the varieties of summer squash.  I remembered from last summer that the yellow crookneck summer squash has a particularly creamy texture when pureed into a soup.  This creation was a quick throw-together that Tom ate as a side dish before I pureed the remainder for me.  The fresh herbs from the pots on the deck are what really made this dish pop with flavor. Of course, feel free to put in whatever fresh herbs you have available.  The possibilities are endless and each full of Pzazz!

Italian Summer Squash Soup


2 Tablespoons coconut oil
4 cups cubed crookneck summer squash
(peel the squash if it grew to mutant size and the skin is tough, otherwise there is no need to peel it )
1/2  cup chopped yellow onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Variegated lemon thyme
2 - 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh lemon thyme        
2 - 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh purple basil
1 - 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground cracked pepper

Purple basil with sweet basil

Heat the oil in large skillet and saute the onion and garlic until brown and fragrant.  Add the summer squash and saute until the squash is tender.  A bit of water or broth might be needed to prevent sticking. Add the fresh herbs and salt and pepper and cook until the herbs are wilted and tender. Pzazz!  It's ready to puree and eat!    

Potted herbs on the deck
Variegated lemon thyme, rosemary, lavendar, watercress and chamomile

Servings per recipe: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 88
Total Fat: 7 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 150 mg
Total Carbs: 6   g                                                          
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2 g

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Southeast Asian Coconut Zucchini Soup

The funky round zucchini in the basket served as the basis for this soup today.  This unique and delicious soup is from The Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook.  Several years ago, I purchased this cookbook in an antique store for a mere $3 and have never been disappointed by any of the recipes I have tried from it.  This one was no exception.  The recipe was really created as a vegetable side dish of zucchini, but it lent itself to a pureed soup incredibly well. 

 I was quite impressed that Tom's garden supplied so many of the ingredients : the zucchini, the mint, the basil, and the fresh chili pepper. Tom has two types of peppers in the garden this year:  "Jimmy Nardalo's" and "Some Like It Hot".  For this soup, I used the first one, which is on the mild side of a medium hot chili pepper.    For the scallions, I used "walking onions" (Allium cepa) from the garden.  These easy-care shallotlike bulblets are also known as Welsh, or Egyptian onions and provide an easy care green onion for the entire summer.  The mint was part of the lettuce mix that Tom had planted in the deck pot and he decided he doesn't really like mint in his garden salads.  That's ok because I can find many uses for it. 

Jimmy Nardalo's and Some Like It Hot Chili Peppers
from Tom's garden 

If you turn your back on your garden for a day and the zucchini sneaks up behind you, this recipe will provide something new for you to try.  Combining it with the Asian-inspired coconut and lime creates a whole new flavor that will surprise and delight you.  If you serve this as a side dish to others in your family without pureeing it, I think it would be great with Jasmine rice.  

Mint in Tom's salad mix

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
(or olive oil if you prefer)
4 cups cubed zucchini
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2  fresh chili, minced, seeds removed for a milder "hot"
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 green onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup reduced-fat coconut milk

Potted sweet basil, purple basil and lemon basil


In a skillet, heat the oil and saute the zucchini, garlic, chili and turmeric for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the scallions, lime juice, basil, mint and coconut milk.  Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, until the zucchini is tender.  Stir occasionally and if necessary add a splash of water to prevent sticking.  Add salt to taste. Puree in a blender or other device.  The zucchini has enough water in it naturally that the blender was adequate to puree this soup.  

Adding fresh mint and basil to the saute of zucchini, garlic, chili and turmeric

Southeast Asian Coconut Zucchini Soup

As a vegetable side dish without pureeing it, the cookbook said it serves 4, and provided a nutritional analysis.  But when I  pureed it, the yield was 2 cups, so this made two one-cup servings.  So I simply doubled the amounts in the nutritional analysis from the cookbook for this pureed version.  
Servings per recipe: 2
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 112                                            
Total Fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg                                                        
Sodium: 106 mg
Total Carbs: 16   g
Dietary Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 3 g

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Suyo Long Cucumber Gazpacho

Upon the recommendation of a friend,  Tom planted a new variety of cucumber in his garden this year - Suyo Long. These heirloom Asian seed can be purchased from  Fedco Seeds or Baker Creek Heirloom Seed.   Definitely a find! Each plant yields an abundance of mild, burpless, scrumptious, crunchy cukes. The length of some of the cucumbers are up to 15", with curly twisted tops.  The green rippled skin is remarkably thin and tender so there is no need to peel them.

Tom was eager to try them in gazpacho so he quickly whipped up this batch last night, similar to what I have made and posted before as my Easiest Ever Gazpacho.    His differed from mine by not including any celery, adding V-8 juice, and adding a dash of smoked sea salt.  He is as good of a cook as he is a gardener.  Lucky me!

Suyo Long Cucumbers from Tom's garden
1 1/2 long, unpeeled cucumber (about 2 cups sliced) Any variety of long, seedless cucumber can be used
1 cup fresh salsa (purchase a variety as hot or as mild as you prefer.  Tom used Italian Rose Fresh Salsa.)
3/4 cup low-sodium V-8 vegetable juice
Dash of smoked sea salt

Blend all ingredients to desired consistency in a blender.  The ingredients have enough liquid that a blender is sufficient for this task.  Tom added a splash of hot sauce to his serving for additional Pzazz.

Servings per recipe: 2
Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup                                    
Calories: 49
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol:  0mg
Sodium: 642 mg
Total Carbs: 10 g
Dietary Fiber: 6g
Protein: 5 g

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Peach Smoothie

Peach- Yogurt Smoothie

As much as I am committed to eat  "locally grown" fruits and vegetables as much as possible, the peaches in the market were too delectable for me to resist.  And when I pureed one with a small amount of goat yogurt, I knew I had found Pzazz!  You can use any type of yogurt for this smoothie.  The tart goat yogurt from my friend, Christal, complimented the peach remarkably well.  

1 small peach, peeled
1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt

Puree with Pzazz in a Magic Bullet or other food processor.  I am now the proud owner of my very own Magic Bullet, thanks to my friend, Diane.  When I returned hers last week, she gave me a gift card to use toward the purchase of my own Magic Bullet.  What a generous friend!  Thank you Diane!!!!

Nutrition:  (using low-fat cow yogurt)
Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 73
Total Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 4 mg
Sodium: 43 mg
Total Carbs: 13 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 4 g

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lemon Basil Summer Squash Soup

Varieties of Summer Squash with Lemon Basil
 Kamo-Kamo, Zucchini, Yellow crookneck, White Scallop 

Sorry, but there is no photo of this soup because I have been so busy cleaning and cooking the produce that Tom has harvested that I simply haven't had the time or energy to take any photos!  So today I took a photo of the several varieties of summer squash that Tom has been busy harvesting from his luscious garden.  I thought the lemon basil growing in the deck container of herbs would compliment the taste of the yellow crookneck squash perfectly, and I was so right. Any type of summer squash would work well for this soup, but I really love the creamy texture of the yellow crookneck squash.  Summer Pzazz!

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
4 cups cubed yellow summer squash (no need to peel, as the skin is very soft and is full of nutrients!)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5 -10 leaves of  lemon basil
1/2 cup vegetable broth

Melt coconut oil in large saute pan.  Add onion and garlic and brown till fragrant.  Add squash and saute 5 to 6 minutes, until browned.  Add vegetable broth and lemon basil and cook till the squash is tender. You may need to add a bit of water.    Puree with Pzazz!   

Servings per recipe: 2
Serving Size: Approx 1 1/4 cup (depends on how much water is added)
Calories: 140
Total Fat: 7 g
Cholesterol: mg
Sodium: 48 mg
Total Carbs: 19 g
Dietary Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 3 g