Sunday, August 24, 2014

Green Bean and Almond Soup

This is a modification of a recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini blog. I used coconut oil rather than olive oil, and reduced the amount of almond meal to keep the fat content more manageable for me. The use of almond meal was new to me as a way to thicken a soup without a dairy product such as cream.  I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture.  The almond meal gave the soup a slightly nutty, earthy taste and a finely nubby texture that was pleasing. Definitely a strategy that adds Pzazz and I will apply to other soup creations.  

Royal Burgundy  Bush Bean
Celery, Carrots, Beans
The beans that Tom planted again this year are Royal Burgundy Bush Beans, and turn green when cooked. Their color as well as their placement in the raised garden bins makes picking easy!  

Tom planted orange, yellow, white and red carrots this year. He mixed all of them together in the row so when I pulled some for this recipe, I didn't know what I would get and there were 4 orange ones, and one red one.  Next time, I think I will hold out for the white ones because they won't discolor the green soup as much as the orange and red ones did.

1 T. coconut oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups peeled and sliced carrots
500 grams (a little over a pound) green beans, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup almond meal

Heat the oil in a medium heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onions, garlic, and carrots, and cook over medium heat, stirring every now and then, until softened and very lightly golden. In the meantime, trim the green beans and rinse them well. Add to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Pour in the stock or water, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft. In the meantime, pour the powdered almonds in a dry skillet. Set over medium-high heat and toast for about two minutes, stirring constantly and watching closely, until golden and fragrant. Set aside in a bowl to prevent overtoasting.

When the vegetables are soft, add the almond meal to the pot and stir well. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Using an immersion blender or working in batches in a blender, purée the soup until completely smooth. Taste, adjust the seasoning, reheat over gentle heat if necessary, and serve.

Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 6
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 132
Total Fat: 7 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 210 mg
Total Carbs: 15 g
Dietary Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 4 g

Monday, August 18, 2014

Watermelon Gazpacho

On one of the rare steamy hot summer days in Duluth last week, I yearned for a cold, refreshing soup that was a bit different from my usual tomato gazpacho or cucumber soups.  This one from Eating Well fit the description for my desires.  The only modification I made to it was to reduce the amount of olive oil and salt.  I considered trying coconut oil in it, but thought the coconut oil would harden in a cold soup.  So I opted for the olive oil and reduced the amount.

Unfortunately, by the time I could make the soup, the temperature was down to 61 degrees.   But the soup was still filled with Pzazz!  My husband, Tom, and our son, Sam, both gave it a thumbs up, as well.  

8 cups finely diced seedless watermelon, (about 6 pounds with the rind)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Puree to desired consistency.  My immersion blender worked well for this. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Nutrition per serving :
Servings per recipe: 8
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 68
Total Fat:  2 g
Cholesterol:  0 mg
Sodium: 138  mg
Total Carbs: 12 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 1 g

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cold Pickled Beet and Basil Soup

I had originally planned to make a warm beet soup, but realized Tom hadn't planted many beets this year and the few we have aren't quite ready to be harvested. But I did have a jar of pickled beets in the cupboard. And an abundance of basil in the pots on the deck.  Thus a marriage of flavors was born. Beets and basil are an exquisite couple.  

As I was beginning to take a photo of this incredibly delicious and simple soup, Tom brought me a few of the highly fragrant Nicotiana flowers from the garden. These flowers are fragrant only in the evening, but attract hummingbirds throughout the day to their trumpet shaped flowers.  They are also known as Tobacco Flower, and have high concentrations of nicotine.  

Even if you don't have any Nicotiana to add to your dining Pzazz, I think you will enjoy this soup.  

Potted basil  and other flowers and herbs on the deck 
8 whole pickled beets (medium sized)
4 -5 fresh purple basil leaves and extra for garnish (either green or purple)

Purple Basil and Genovese Basil 
I used my Magic Bullet to puree the beets and basil together and it worked perfectly.  You might need to add just a bit of the beet juice to get the consistency you want.

Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 1
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 81
Total Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium:  260 mg
Total Carbs: 20 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 0 g
Variety of Nicotiana from the garden