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Zucchini and Chickpea Soup

5 Jan

One day while driving back from visiting my family in Rhode Island, we caught an interview on NPR with a cookbook author about her new book, Bean by Bean. She sounded awesome and had the most random name – Crescent Dragonwagon. (Of course we googled and read a really good story as to how she got that name.) We went to Porter Square Books soon after and bought Bean by Bean and this was the first recipe we tried. We used some of her suggestions and variations and came up with something that we love and have already made a few times. Give it a try!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight, or 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 carrot, cut and sliced thin
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp basmati rice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • juice of 2 lemons

Instructions:

  • If using dried chickpeas, after soaking them overnight, put them in a large soup pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat and simmer, covered, until the chickpeas are tender, about 1 and 1/2 hours (but cooking time can be as long as 3 or more hours). If using canned chickpeas, add them, with their liquid, plus 2 cans of water to a soup pan and begin to simmer.
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and carrot and saute, until the onions are soft, 6-8 minutes.
  • Lower heat and add garlic and cayenne, letting that cook for a few minutes, until the garlic becomes really fragrant.
  • Add the onion mixture from the skillet into the chickpeas in the soup pot. Then add in the cumin, allspice, tomato paste, zucchini and rice.
  • Cover and cook for 45 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the parsley and cook for another 15 minutes.

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Add in the juice of 2 lemons, stir well and serve. We ate the soup with toasted pitas, which were crunchy and delicious.

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Lentil and Kale Slowcooker Soup

12 Feb

I decided I should eat more greens. So that means a refrigerator full of kale and no clue what to do with it. I added some to a salad, but the greens are a bit tough to be the base of your salad. So I did some googling and found a great recipe for lentil and kale soup. I changed it up a little bit and ended up with this. I put  my crockpot to use and arrived home to wonderfully smelling house and a nearly finished dinner. Sounds perfect to me!

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 potato, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Add the carrots, celery, onion, potato, garlic, lentils, vegetable broth, and thyme to the slow cooker. Stir, mixing well. Set on low for all day cooking or high for half day.

About 20 minutes before you plan to eat, add in the chopped kale, balsamic vinegar, and some salt and pepper, if you’d like.

Stir in the kale and let cook for another 20 minutes. Serve up a heaping bowl and enjoy!

Week 49: Thai Soups

11 Dec

We have the most fabulous Thai restaurant, Lemon Thai, down the street from our house and we often go there when we’re craving Thai or are too lazy to make dinner. Most of the time I get pad thai or yellow curry and we sometimes share the veggie puff or fresh roll appetizers. My friend LeeMarie (of the awesomely random Secretary of Shenanigans) told me that she eats their hot and sour soup when she has a cold because the spiciness clears her sinuses right up. So the other day, when I felt a cold coming on, Andrew and I headed to Lemon Thai to ward it off.

Andrew got the Tom Yum (hot and sour soup):

And I got the Tom Kha (coconut soup):

Tom yum is a pretty popular Thai soup. The broth is spiced with chili, lemongrass, mushroom, and lime juice and then they add tons of veggies and sometimes chicken or tofu. Tom kha is coconut soup spiced with galangal, lime juice, and lemongrass. This soup also has tons of vegetables and will oftentimes also include chicken or tofu.

Andrew’s tom yum was way better than my tom kha. I was nervous to order the hot and sour soup myself because I was afraid it would be spicy, but it wasn’t too bad. The coconut soup was good, but the broth was so sweet. Maybe I should have expected the sweetness, with a coconut soup, but I wasn’t in the mood for sweet and I ended up eating most of Andrew’s soup instead. (We got pad thai too, so he ate most of that when I stole his soup.)

I’m glad LeeMarie told me the wonders of the hot and sour soup because although I’m not sure if it actually wards off colds, it is pretty delicious and I’ll definitely be ordering it again.

Week 3: Borscht

18 Jan

Yesterday afternoon I went to see the 2010 Sundance Shorts at Coolidge Corner Theatre. The shorts ranged from funny and offbeat to dramatic and heartfelt. We had a fantastic time watching them and decided to go to Zaftigs afterward to get something to eat and talk about our favorites.

I decided to get a cup of borscht, a Ukrainian soup consisting mainly of beets, because I’d never had it before. I also got a falafel sandwich, which was great too.

At Zaftigs the borscht is served either hot or cold (I ordered mine hot, but it came cold and I didn’t wanna risk spit in my soup  so I just ate it) and includes beets, boiled potatoes, scallions and chopped pickles. It is served with a big ol’ dollop of sour cream on top, but since I’m not a sour cream fan, I just scooped it off.

The soup was pretty good, not my favorite, and I think I’d only order it again hot so I could try it. I mean, there was nothing bad about it – the flavors were really good and I especially liked the flavor the pickles gave it. It’s not every day that you have pickles in your soup. I like beets, but maybe I don’t like them enough to have them as the main ingredient of my soup.

Anyway, another successful week.  I’m hoping next week to tackle Cambodian food. We’ll see!

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