Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup With Chilli Oil – Great Warm Up For New Year Resolutions!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2016! Let’s make it a souptastic year!

After the holidays drinking and eating naughty, New Years is a proper time again to start thinking about feeding our bodies warm and healthy soups. I love healthy soups and I am hoping to make more this year so that they will keep me fueled for my biggest goal for 2016 – my very first ever triathlon in May. Just the other day, I was sifting through Jamie Oliver’s Recipe Yearbook and this Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup with Chilli Oil  caught my attention. I love many of Jamie’s recipes because he seems to use a fair bit of Indian inspired spices and root vegetables  – and who doesn’t love parsnips?

The Verdict of Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup with Chilli Oil

I love the garlic chilli oil with this warm spicy and filling lentil soup – it definitely adds a nice layer and it looks oh so pretty! The fresh mint with the Masala spices really play together very well. I am surprised how filling this soup is – it must be the meaty red lentils. The soup is comforting and fulfilling. But, there is always room for improvement. If I was to make this soup again in the future,  I would fry a lot more garlic pieces separately and add with them with oil as the garnish. I personally like having some chunks of goodness as I think it gets a tad boring with smooth puree soups. You need to add multiple levels of goodness!

Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup with Chilli Oil Ingredients:
Serves 4 -6
Soup:
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 400g parsnips, scrubbed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoon Garam Masala
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 250g red lentils
  • 1.6 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely shredded to serve

Chill Oil:

  • 3 Tablespoon oil
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic, finely sliced
Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup with Chilli Oil Instructions:
  • To make the chili oil, place the oil in a small pan over a very low heat. Add the chillies and garlic and warm through for 5 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t brown. Set aside to steep while making the soup.  The oil can be strained before using or left as is, depending how you like it.
  • For the soup, head the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion. Cook gently, stirring often, for 5 minutes then add the parsnips, masala and ginger and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the lentils and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are nice and soft.
  • Puree the soup until smooth in blender or with hand immersion wand, being careful with the hot liquid.
  • Serve the soup with the chills oil and mint.
Original Recipe: Jamie Oliver’s Recipe Yearbook, Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup With Chilli Oil.
What I changed from original recipe:
  • I did not use hamhock as I wanted a veggie version
  • I substituted rogan josh paste with garam masala dried spice
  • I omitted yogurt as a garnish
  • I substituted groundnut oil with olive oil for the chilli oil.
Soup Mistress Rating For Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Soup with Chilli Oil:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4.5/5 )
Taste: (3.75/5) 

Vegetarian or Pescatarian Curry Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles

 Above is a Pescatarian version with grilled shrimp and eggplant that I made a month later – what a mighty fine addition indeed! Below is the vegetarian version:

So what is Laksa? Well, let me share with you on Wikipedia says:

Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup in the Peranakan cuisine, which is a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisine. Laksa consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup; either based on rich and spicy curry coconut milk, or based on sour asam (tamarind or gelugur). It can be found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Southern Thailand.

The Verdict of Vegetarian Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles:

Over a year ago, I was blessed with visiting Singapore, Malaysia for 5 weeks and had a chance to try a few Laksa soups to appreciate it from where it originated. All versions I tried had either chicken or seafood in it when I was there. I did not see any vegetarian versions. For my version below, I decided to make a vegetarian Laksa (with egg) and I really LOVED the result, taste and healthiness.

I am sold on this very authentic soup base recipe. If I closed my eyes and smelt the aroma of the soup I made, I truly felt like I was back in Asia!!

I had great fun making my version of the soup for two reasons:

  1. I had an opportunity to use my fancy spiralizr to replace rice noodles with healthy veggie zuchinni noodles. They worked very well.
  2. I attempted to make a perfectly soft-boiled egg to put in the soup and will be trying it in the future with a ramen version I am sure. It added a velvety goodness to the soup!

Laksa Paste Ingredients:

  • 4 red chilies (If you are using dried ones, you need to presoak them)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, chopped
  • 3 cm piece galangal, peeled, chopped
  • 5 cashew nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

Laksa Paste Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a food Processor. Process until finely chopped. Add oil. Process until a smooth paste forms.

Laksa Soup Ingredients:

  •  Laksa paste (above)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 6 cups veggie stock
  • 2½ tsp brown or raw sugar
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1.5 cup cabbage, chopped
  • 1.5 cup tofu, cubed small to medium sized
  • 2½ cups bean sprouts
  • 3 cups fresh zucchini noodles, spiralized from whole zucchini
  • 1/2 pund shrimp (optional/added)
  • 1 cup diced eggplant (optional/added)

Garnish/Fixings Ingredients:

  • 2 soft boiled eggs (7 minute egg: boil water, softly immerse 2 cold eggs in boiling water, simmer water for exactly 7 minutes, immerse eggs in cold ice water bath, peel and slice the egg just right before placed in the bowls for serving)
  • Fried shallots (in peanut oil)
  • Fresh Thai Basil
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Lime wedges in quarters

Laksa Soup Instructions:

  • Optional: grill shrimp until almost cooked pink/white. Put aside on plate.
  • Heat peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add Laksa paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add stock and sugar. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer.
  • Add carrots, cabbage, and eggplant return to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Separately, in a frying pan, sauté the zucchini noodles for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to make them to soft and mushy. Divide these noodles among bowls for serving.
  • Add coconut milk, tofu and beansprouts. Stir gently to combine, then bring almost to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 minutes or until beansprouts are wilted and tofu are heated through.
  • Ladle Laksa soup among bowls. Drop in a few grilled shrimps (optional), scatter over fried shallots, basil leaves, Sriricha sauce, and lime wedges.

Original Soup Recipe: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/malay-curry-laksa-laksa-lemak

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Added cabbage
  • Added carrots
  • Added soft boiled eggs
  • Omitted prawns, chicken and fish balls
  • Replaced chicken stock with vegetarian stock
  • Replaced thin rice noodles with zucchini noodles
  • Replaced tofu puffs with sprouted organic tofu
  • Replaced mint with basil for garnish

Soup Mistress Rating For Vegetarian Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4/5 )
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Northwest Salmon Soup, Starring Grammy Award Winning Kale!

Northwest Salmon Soup

Picture 1 of 5

Northwest Salmon Soup

Saw this recipe in a magazine at the book store, can’t recall what magazine it was though. The sight of the salmon with the roe looked so delightful along with the use of kale in the soup. So I decided to give it a whirl and voila – what a delight!

The Verdict of Northwest Salmon Soup?

Even though I added lemon juice to the creme fresh, it seemed like not enough, next time I would add some lemon zest to the creme fraiche. The broth tasted better and better after a few minutes. The the kale and salmon played so well in the taste. I’m starting to like kale a ton more especially in broths – it gives a flavourful depth to any soup! I’m going to give the Kale the superstar Grammy ingredient for this recipe – it deserves it!

Northwest Salmon Soup Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen salmon
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 – 32 ounce vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped potatoes
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1/4 creme fraiche
  •  1 tablespoon monkfish caviar
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Northwest Salmon Soup Instructions:
  1. Pat dry salmon, cut in 1 inch pieces.
  2. In large pot (or dutch oven) heat butter over medium low heat until melted. Add onion and garlic, cook, covered 10 – 15 mins until tender, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high, cook onions, uncovered for few more minutes, stir in paprika and pepper.
  3. Stir in broth, kale, potatoes and carrots. bring to boiling reduce heat. Simmer covered, about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. In a separate pan add salmon to hot pan on med/high, cook until salmon fillet pieces flake easily when tested with fork.
  5. Ladle soup in bowls, add salmon pieces to each bowl.
  6. Top each serving with a kettle chip, sour cream, dill and caviar.

Recipe makes 4 yummy servings.

Original Soup Recipe: Jeepers, I cannot recall what magazine, if you do know, let me know and I will give the publisher full credit and a link!

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Added a large clove of garlic (minced)
  • Added 1/4 tablespoon lemon juice to the creme fraiche. Could have use even more! I wanted to add lemon zest, but where I was staying in Whistler did not have a utensil to do so.
  • I didn’t use salmon roe, I used two types of monkfish caviar (red and black)

Soup Mistress Rating for Northwest Salmon Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (4/5) 

Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup or Vice Versa

Serve up[

Picture 1 of 6

Serve with a few pieces of fried sage and a swirl of cashew cream.

After a few recent visits to Nuba restaurant in Vancover-  it has inspired my Scottish sous chef and I to create more cauliflower dishes lately. Nuba has a killer Cauliflower Najib’s special, if you ever make it there, do make sure you order it. My Scottish sous chef decided to make this yummy soup for us after a beautiful day of cross-country skiing in the Callaghan Valley, BC, Canada.

The Verdict of Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup?

This soup is tasty and very much filling – the parsnips dominate the cauliflower and we both liked the parsnips. I think the soup should have been called “Parsnip Cauliflower Soup” instead of “Cauliflower Parsnip Soup”.  No herb stood out that much either, but that being said, the herbs and spices worked well in this delightful bowl of liquid! I would make it again.

Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped
  • 4 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 shallots, cut in half
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • dash of sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray or two with tin foil.
  2. Lay cauliflower, parsnips, shallots, and garlic, out on foil, and drizzle with olive oil, thyme, sage, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast veggies for about 35-40 min, or until they’re soft and golden brown.
  4. Place veggies in a high speed blender (you may have to work in batches) and add broth and almond milk. Blend until soup is smooth and creamy, adding more liquid if you need to. We added about 2 more cups. Alternately, you can use an immersion blender.
  5. Transfer soup to a pot and re-season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6.  Serve with a few pieces of fried sage and a swirl of cashew cream.
Original Soup Recipe: http://www.choosingraw.com/roasted-cauliflower-and-parsnip-soup/

What My Scottish Sous Chef Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Used almond milk instead of rice, soy, or coconut milk
  • Used 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Added fried sage as garnish
  • Added a dollop of cashew cream
  • Used more vegetable broth – 5 to 6 cups. Was originally too thick.

Soup Mistress Rating for Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5
Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4/5) 

Cashew Cream of Leek, Zucchini and Parsley Soup

Serve up

Picture 1 of 14

Serve onions on top for garnish with some finely chopped parsley.

I just picked up a great cook book in Vancouver (Mouthwatering Vegan, Over 130 Irresistible Recipes For Everyone). I read it from front cover to back cover like I have done so with all of my cookbooks and magazines. I love reading recipes to learn from common techniques and ratios of ingredients, especially so for soups!

I decided to make this super easy soup for a chilly rainy day. It fancied me because it had leeks – they are something that I want to use more in my cooking.

The Verdict of Zucchini Leek and Cashew Cream Soup?

This soup is very nice and healthy indeed. At first I found the soup quite bland when I tried it, but when we added garlic and then truffle salt at the end, bam – it was to die for! Also, the addition of caramelized onions as a garnish was a good idea…I went back for more onions when I got halfway through my bowl of soup! I wished that I caramelized more onions though – perhaps next time!

This soup freezes well and is very much so truffle salts best friend! I would make it again next time!

Zucchini Leek and Cashew Cream Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 leeks, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 or 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1/2 cashew cream (1/4 cup of cashews and 1/2 cup water)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
Zucchini Leek and Cashew Cream Instructions Soup:
  1. In a large sauce pan, heat the oil.
  2. Saute leeks and garlic for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Add zucchini and sauté for 4 more minutes.
  4. Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes over low heat.
  5. Blend using an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender (be very careful when blending hot liquids!), until soup is smooth.
  6. Return soup back into pot to reheat, add salt and pepper
  7. Soak 1/4 cup of cashews in water for 20 minutes, drain and blend in blender with 1/2 cup of water.
  8. Add cashew cream to soup, keep soup in pot on very low/simmer.
  9. Fry up onions until they are slightly caramelized.
  10. Add finely chopped parley to soup pot and stir (leave a little for garnish)
  11. Ladle soup in bowls.
  12. Serve onions on top for garnish with some finely chopped parsley.
  13. Sprinkle a small amount of truffle oil and/or truffle salt.
  14. Enjoy!
Original Soup Recipe: from a book I just purchased: Mouthwatering Vegan, Over 130 Irresistible Recipes For Everyone, by Miriam Sorrell.

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Used truffle oil and truffle salt after soup ladled in bowls
  • Used fried caramelized onions as garnish with parsley
  • Added 2 cloves of garlic
  • Adjusted leeks and zucchini to 3 and 2

Oh ya, I made a great accompaniment with the soup – Tomato Onion Phyllo Pie, here’s a recipe that was my inspiration: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/tomato-onion-phyllo-pizza. So delish and so easy!

Soup Mistress Rating for Zucchini Leek and Cashew Cream Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5
Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4/5) 

Oh So Very Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup Sans Cream!

Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup

Picture 1 of 12

The completed Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup with Goat Brie Pesto grilled sandwiches,

Lately I’ve been using cashews in recipes for replacement of sour cream or cream cheese (in savoury dishes as well as sweet dessert toppings) and all have turned out so wonderful. I have a fair bit of almond milk in soups to date, but wanted to try cashew cream in its place. This particular recipe grabbed my attention because it had a range of spices that I would not normally use together in one recipe. I was first a little septic because I never thought of using cumin, curry, dill and basil together with cloves. I thought “what the heck”, let’s risk it and give it a shot.

The Verdict of Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup

Wow, let’s just say it is a home run! If I was served this soup in a restaurant I would definitely think that it had a ton of fatty cream and butter!

I must say that my scepticism was wasted thinking time. The mix of spices played very well together. Not one spice was overpowering and they all seemed to be in perfect harmony!

The soup had delightful hint of heat…not too much either.

And oh so awesome creaminess!!!

This soup goes very well with the goat brie pesto grilled sandwiches I made with yummy gluten-free bread!

I also think this soup is very versatile and tasty for any kind of pasta. The next day I simmered it down a little and added in fresh cooked gluten free pasta with jumbo shrimp, smoked salmon and a bit more pieces of fresh basil.  Who would know that this delectable pasta sauce was a soup the previous day?!!


Note: Cellery is missing in the above ingredient picture – I did add it in the recipe though!

Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups onions,
  • chopped
1/2 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/4 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle, dried
  • 3 tablespoon fresh basil
 , finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 whole cloves 
(or ground)
  • 2 28-oz cans chopped or diced oragnic tomatoes
  • The juice from one lemon or lime
  • basil for garnish

Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup Instructions:

  1. In a blender (I used a vitamix) blend the cashews and water until smooth.
  2. In a large sauce pan, heat the oil, and add the onion, celery and salt. Cook slowly, partially covered. Stir occasionally. When onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic and chipotle and cook until fragrant. Add remaining spices and continue to cook another minute or two.
  3. Add tomatoes, and stir. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until soup begins to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.
  4.  Blend using an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender (be very careful when blending hot liquids!), until soup is smooth.
  5. Add cashew cream into soup.
  6. Add the lemon juice and fresh basil
  7. Reheat gently, watching carefully as it’s easy to scorch the bottom.
  8. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the optional basil leaves.
  9. Enjoy!
I made a pesto with nutritional yeast instead of parmesan for a lactose-free alternative for the brie goat grilled sandwiches, here’s the recipe:

 Basil Pesto Ingredients:

  • 1 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 cup Nutritional yeast

Combine the basil, garlic, nutritional yeast, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

The Original Creamy Cashew Tomato Soup Recipe Here: http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Cashew-tomato-soup-346120

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Used olive oil instead of canola oil
  • Did not use fennel
  • Used fresh basil and added it at the end.
  • halved the recipe
  • Added a 1 1/2 cup of water, it seemed to thick

Soup Mistress Rating for Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5
Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4.25/5) 

Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup With Quinoa

Curry Squash Lentil Soup

Picture 1 of 9

Brrr, can someone turn up the heat please? I’m in Vegas and it has been chilly and rainy for the last few days – I feel very much like I am back home in rainy Vancouver, BC!

Soup is on my mind more lately and since there seems to be abundance of squash at the supermarkets – I asked myself “why not make a soup with it?”

I found this recipe online (link below) but I adjusted it a tad to my liking.

The Verdict of Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup With Quinoa

This soup’s broth turned out pretty tasty with just enough curry.  The original recipe called for only water in the base – I think adding in vegetable stock in place of the water made the broth much nicer! I liked how the cilantro oil floated on the top and gave a nice herbal flavour. The quinoa was hearty and filling and a great source of protein. If I was to make this soup again in the future (and I think I may), I would add a little more celery. I think the soup had a little more room for some chunky vegetables like celery and carrot if you like. I also liked the fact that I substituted coconut oil for olive oil – it added a little bit of a Thai flair to the curry broth. My soup tester fella really liked the souo as well and only commented that it needed a little more ginger in the next batch!

I found it interesting that the red lentils sort of dissolved into the soup. I am sure they added to the tasty broth even though I could not distinguish them in my spoonful of goodness!

We ate the soup two days in a row and on the second day, we added some torn up kale – it worked very well in the soup!  I never felt healthier after soup as I did with this one!

Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup  Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped small
  • 2 carrot, chopped small
  • 2 celery rib, chopped small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 quart (32 oz) vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup quinoa

For cilantro oil:

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoon coconut oil
  • salt
I like to chop the vegetables really nice and small so it presents well in the soup!

 

Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup Instructions:

  • Heat coconut oil in a large heavy pot,  on medium saute squash, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 10-15 minutes.
  • Stir in curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.
  • Add lentils, broth and water and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Stir in lemon juice into soup and season with salt and pepper in the soup.
  • In a separate pot while soup is simmering, boil 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water, simmer until fluffy.
  • Ladle soup into bowls, add in a scoop of quinoa and drizzle cilantro oil.
  • Enjoy!

Make cilantro oil: 
Purée cilantro, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender.

Serve soup drizzled with cilantro oil.

Original recipe from here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Curried-Squash-and-Red-Lentil-Soup-351416#ixzz2l7gwR653

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Replaced butter and vegetable oil with cocnut oil for soup base and cilantro oil.
  • Changed basmati rice to quinoa as the accompaniment.
  • Replaced half the water with broth – I like always using a vegetable broth for more depth.
  • Added 1 more carrot and celery rib.
  • Added salt to cilantro oil. It tasted too bland without the salt. Salt lifts the flavours very much so!

What I’d Do Next Time to Make it Even Better:

  • Add one more celery rib.
  • Add one more teaspoon of minced ginger.

Soup Mistress Rating for Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (3.5/5) 

Taste: (4.25/5) 

Raw Cucumber Avocado Chilled Soup, A Vegan-a-licious Delight with Zip!

Raw Cucumber Avocado Chilled Soup

Picture 1 of 5

Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice. Serve chilled, garnished with the lemon, and fresh dill.

Yup, I am on a quest for some great summertime soups and think I am on the right track. This is my second cold soup recipe for the summer that I adjusted and I am now thinking that there may be endless possibilities to find some keepers in the chilled soup category!

Just the other day I got inspired to make a full raw meal after perusing Brendan Braziers Thrive book. His book is great and full of wonderful ideas to eat a great plant-based diet to optimize a lifestyle that has a lot of sports and endurance activities.

So last night was my first attempt of a 100% homemade vegan and raw meal, it included:

  • Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup (with horseradish)
  • Strawberry Mint Lemonade
  • Zucchini Lasagna (with cremini mushrooms, sage lemon cashew cream, herb pesto (with nutritional yeast instead of parmesan), sun-dried tomato sauce, tomatoes, pine nuts)
  • Raw Raspberry Torte (almonds, macadamia nuts, cacao powder, dates, raspberries)

 

The Verdict of Cucumber Avocado Chilled Soup?

I adjusted Barefoot Contessa‘s Chilled Cucumber Soup recipe (link here). It originally called for yogurt, cream and shrimp – so I adjusted it to be vegan and raw, substituting the milk products with almond milk and avocados. Also in the end when I tasted the soup, it was so delish but seemed as though it needed a little kick. There was some mighty fine fresh horseradish in the fridge and so a put a dollop in to swim with the cukes!

I had this soup the very next day and it was just as good and uber refreshing.

For those peeps who are looking for an ultra healthy alkalian diet, this soup is it! I never felt so healthy eating this soup yet at same time my taste buds are not left feeling jipped what-so-ever!

I will make this soup in a heart beat!

Cucumber Avocado Chilled Soup Ingredients:

  • 2  avocados
  • 3 cups plain almond milk
  • 2 hot house cucumbers, unpeeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh horseradish
  • thinly slices of lemon, halved, for garnish
  • fresh dill, for garnish

Cucumber Avocado Chilled Soup Instructions?

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the almond milk, avocado, cucumbers, red onion, scallions, horseradish salt, and pepper.
  2. Transfer the mixture in batches to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Or use an immersion blender.
  3. Process until the cucumbers are coarsely pureed. Fold in the dill, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until very cold.
  4. Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice. Serve chilled, garnished with the lemon, and fresh dill.

The Original Recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/chilled-cucumber-soup-with-shrimp-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • instead of using Greek Yogurt and half-andhalf I used 2 Avocados and 3 cups of plain almond milk
  • added a teaspoon of horseradish

Soup Mistress Rating for Cucumber Avocado Chilled Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Summertime Soup Series: Anjo Blanco, A Gluten-Free White Gazpacho

Anjo Blanco

Picture 1 of 10

Anjo Blanco a great summertime soup!

I’m down in Vegas for a while and it is hot hot hot! The last thing I feel like doing is chowing down on hot hearty soups – so I’m on a hunt for some great summertime soups!

I am keeping a total open mind – as I was one of those people who did not fancy cold soups. I think I changed.

This is the first of my many summertime soups I want to try and I have had this particular Anjo Blanco recipe bookmarked since January from a foodie magazine. It is a Spanish version of white gazpacho.

Ladle and garnish

 

The Verdict of Anjo Blanco Soup?

I would have never thought that these particular ingredients would conjure up into a soup! I was a tad sceptic on the output, but kept an open mind because it looked oh so pretty in the magazine. I am impressed of the way it turned out, especially with my modifications turning it into a gluten-free and cows milk-free soup!

The garlic worked well with the sweetness of the apple, grapes and almond milk. The graininess of the bread made me feel like I was eating a hearty soup because I used a medium sieve (not a fine one that was called for in original recipe)…and that was just fine.

My partner in crime, tester of food extrodinaire, liked the texture of the toasted almonds and the zip of the red wine vinegar it gave the soup. He also gave the soup, to his surprise a 4.5 out of 5 for taste. We both agreed that the presentation came out well too and it deserved a 4.5 out of 5.

Would I changed anything? I would perhaps serve this soup in a martini glass, which would allow me to have a choice of sipping on the soup versus spooning it up.

Anjo Blanco Ingredients:

  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped fine
  • 2.5 cups crust-less gluten-free bread
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
  • 1/2 blanched almonds
  • 2.5 cups almond milk (I used vanilla flavour which worked, you can also use plain)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • dash salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Anjo Blanco Instructions:

  1. Combine apple, garlic, bread, grapes, blanched almonds, almond milk, and 1 cup water in a medium bowl; season with salt.
  2. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.
  3. Transfer soup base to a blender (or use immersion blender) and puree, adding water by tablespoonfuls if too thick, until smooth. With motor running gradually add 1/3 cup olive oil and 3 tbsp vinegar.
  4. Strain soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; cover and chill until very cold, about 2 hours. Soup can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
  5. Toast sliced almonds to a slight brown, let cool.
  6. Ladle soup among bowls; top with toasted almonds: drizzle with oil and vinegar pretty swirls or droplets.
  7. Now go sit out on your summer deck, watch the sunset and enjoy the soup there!

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • Used 2.5 cups of almond milk instead of whole milk & water (but did add some water)
  • Used 1/3 cup of olive oil instead of 3/4 cup
  • Used shaved almonds in the soup base but thin sliced almonds for garnish
  • Used 2.5 cups of my favorite gluten free bread recipe (minus the olives and almonds) instead of 3 cups of white country bread.

Soup Mistress Rating for Anjo Delight:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5)
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (4.5/5) 

Seafood Swimming in a Fine Red Wine, A Cioppino Delight!

A Cioppino Delight and Friends!

Picture 1 of 13

Completed Cioppino with gluten-free bread (top left), ingredients (bottom left) and my friend Brain helping me cook! (right)

Just last month I had a bunch of good friends over for a dinner party. The theme was Mediterranean and everyone came dressed in white.  We started off with warmed olives & herbs, homemade humus & eggplant dip, and fennel and apple slaw.

The main course was the Cioppino with my favourite homemade gluten free bread (check out the recipe here but this time I made it without the olives and almonds). And then after the Cioppino, we finished off the night with some baked apples with fig & walnuts with homemade coconut ice-cream! Yum! The Cioppino I made has two parts:
  1. The fish stock made from scratch (If you choose not to do so, you can use clam juice or purchase some prepared fish stock).
  2. The Cioppino itself
The Verdict of Cioppino Delight?
I was checking out a few Cioppino recipes online and most had instructions to simmer the cioppino tomato wine base for 20 minutes. I decided to simmer it well over an hour. The wait for the longer simmer was well worth it – it was so rich and full bodied at an hour when compared to what it tasted like at 20 minutes. I also used a tad more expensive bottle of wine. I’m not a believer of using cheap wine for cooking. The homemade fish broth was superb and all of the seafood was cooked just fine and soaked up the base with love (except the clams…see my lesson learned below ). I really love how the soup is presented in a rustic way, especailly with the full corn piece.

I think the Cioppino was well received from my group of friends and everyone was helping themselves to more gluten free bread to dip in it!

 

So what was my lesson learned? Next time I make this Cioppino, I would change my timing of adding in the seafood. I originally threw the clams, shrimp, scallops and halibut all in at the same. The clams did not open up as much as they should have and I was afraid to overcook the other seafood. Next time I will throw in the clams first, let it cook for about 4-5 minutes then add in all other seafood (I adjusted the recipe below to reflect so).

Fish Stock

  • Equal part fish scrap and bones
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 bunch celery, halved
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • A pinch salt
  • Sprigs of thyme
  • Sprigs of oregano

Add all ingredients in a large pot. Top with water and bring to boil then lower to a simmer (just under boiling) for 2 hours. Sieve out the vegetables, herbs and bones and you should have a clear tasty broth!

Cioppino Delight Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds halibut, cut into inch cubes
  • 1 pound (or more) of large shrimp
  • 3 pounds little neck clams
  • 2 pounds scallops
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped (1 large onion)
  • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped (1 large bell pepper)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 x 28-ounce can plum tomatoes in juice
  • 6 cups fish stock
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 2 bay leafs, whole
  • 1 teaspoon lemon thyme, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon  basil, chopped fine
  • 1 dash of salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon dried chile peppers
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley for garnish
Cioppino Instructions
  1. Split the shrimp shells down the back and remove the black vein. Alternatively, you can shell the shrimps and devein them. Shell-on imparts more flavour; shell-off is easier to eat. Cut out the tough mussel in the scallops if your fish monger has not done so. Also take any bones out of halibut if any.
  2. In a deep 8-quart covered pot, sauté onions, garlic and bell pepper on medium heat in olive oil until soft. Add tomatoes, red wine, fish stock, the herbs, chile peppers and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a gentle boil, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Remove bay leaves. Taste and correct seasoning.
  3. Add the clams and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the halibut, shrimp and cook, covered, until shrimp are bright pink, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
  5. Serve in large bowls, shells included. Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve with a great piece of bread to dip into the Cioppino with! Enjoy!

Soup Mistress Rating for Cioppino Delight:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5)
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (4.5/5)