Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Spicy Broccoli Soup

Tom's garden bins raise gardening to new heights!!   Wow!  He picked the second crop of broccoli yesterday and there is still more coming.  Last year when he built them, I thought they looked like over-sized caskets in our back yard.  Now they are a verdant abundance of living produce! And I am totally convinced of their merits in terms of production as well as ease of caring for them. No more bending to plant, weed, or harvest.  And the depth of soil conserves water and heat and he has not needed to water the garden even once this summer.  The only problem they create is keeping up with the harvesting!  

Raised garden bins containing tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, & beans

View of the bins from our deck

This delectable and mildly spicy soup is my modification of a recipe in the Soup Bible (Penguin Books, 2007).  The coconut milk adds a creamy dimension and is surprisingly complimentary to the broccoli.  I enjoyed some for lunch, even on this wonderfully warm summer day!  The rest will be frozen for a winter treat.  

    1 Tablespoon coconut oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 clove garlic, finely minced
    1 Tablespoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
    1 cup lite coconut milk
    2 lbs broccoli, cut into small pieces  

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add chopped onion and minced garlic and cook gently for 4 -5 minutes until onion is soft. Add ground spices and cook for 2 -3 minutes. Pour in stock and coconut milk, and slowly bring to a boil. Add broccoli, reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool a little.Puree to desired consistency. 

Garnish with cilantro or mango chutney also is a great compliment for it.  

Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 8                        
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 80
Total Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg                  
Sodium: 158 mg
Total Carbs: 10 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 4 g

Sunday, July 13, 2014

White Bean Sage Hummus

Why did I plant so much sage in my herb pots on the deck?  I have no clue.  And I usually associate sage with fall cooking, like with turkey, so I was a bit perplexed to figure out what to do with this beautiful abundance.  As I searched a bit on-line I was struck by the pairing of white beans with sage, especially in the form of a hummus.  So this is my adaptation of several recipes I found. I mixed some with a baked/mashed potato and thought it was delicious.  

Fresh sage in pot with parsley and rosemary

Most of the recipes I found used canned cannellini beans.  But Tom had just ordered and cooked some delicious corona beans, after listening to a show on The Splendid Table about these wonderful types of beans.  Corona beans are large white beans, also known as crown beans, and are a favorite in Italy's Piedmont region.  Tom ordered his through Purcell Mountain Farm.  He also ordered a few other types of dried beans from that source and I'll keep you posted if we find some other delectable ways to use them.  

    2 cups cooked beans (I used corona)
    3 Tablespoons tahini
    3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    6 - 10 fresh sage leaves, chopped to about 3 Tablespoons
    2 Tablespoons water

Puree it all together. ( I used my magic bullet when I made 1/2 batch.) Chill thoroughly before serving. 

Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 16
Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon
Calories: 45
Total Fat:  2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium:  88 mg
Total Carbs: 6 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2 g

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cold Tomato-Cilantro Soup

The weather forecast was for a couple of warm and sunny days in the midst of the persistent rain, fog and cool days we have been experiencing in Duluth.  Time to prepare for my quintessential summer day - eating lunch on the deck in the sunshine, while watching the hummingbirds and yellow finches dart among the flowers.  Finally, I would be able to try out this recipe that I found on the NY Times site for a tomato-cilantro soup.  The weather and the soup both delivered!  A wonderful lunch on the deck on a sunny summer day in Duluth, and I even used up a large portion of the abundant cilantro in the deck pots.

The only modification I made to the recipe that I found on the NY Times was to use coconut oil rather than olive oil, and to reduce the amount of water from 4 cups to 2 cups. Four cups seemed too much to my culinary instincts, and I was right - at least for the consistency of a cold soup that I like.  The soup also maintained a great consistency in the refrigerator for a few days, while I waited for another warm, sunny day to enjoy on the deck.  Fortunately, we have had a few more of those delightful days!

1 large or 2 small bunches fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large or 3 small garlic cloves
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, whole or diced, with liquid
2 cups water
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 lime

Pull off a small handful of cilantro leaves to use for garnish and set aside.  Tie remaining cilantro into a  bundle with kitchen twine.
Heat oil in a deep, medium-size heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring until softened and golden, about 8 minutes; reduce heat as needed to prevent browning.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute; then add tomato paste, cumin, paprika, and cayenne, and cook until tomato paste begins to darken, about 2 minutes more.
Add tomatoes with liquid, 2 cups water, and cilantro bundle, and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer 30 minutes, covered.  Set aside until cool enough to blend, then remove cilantro bundle.  Using regular or hand-held blender, blend until smooth.  Refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, squeeze in juice of half a lime, and add salt and pepper to taste; the soup should not be very salty.  If desired, squeeze in remaining lime juice.  Serve in small bowls or cups, garnished with a few whole cilantro leaves.

Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 5
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 95
Total Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 165 mg
Total Carbs: 9 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2 g

From The NYTimes
Published: March 24, 2009
Adapted from “Mediterranean Light,” by Martha Rose Shulman (Morrow, 2000)

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.