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

Anjo Blanco

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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) 

Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup – A Great Pick Me Up Soup

Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup

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The Completed Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup

Yesterday I decided to make this refreshing soup. I was looking for something to pick me up because the night before I had one too many glasses of wine with my girl friends.

I decided to replace regular green cabbage with napa cabbage – it is somewhat milder and a bit sweeter. Napa cabbage is a good source of vitamin C, folate, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Read more on the nutritional value here: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/3035/2

The Verdict of Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup? I did like the sweet and sour taste of the soup. It seemed more on the sweet side to me though – so if you are not a sweet soup kind of person, this is not for you. Myself, I do like savory as well as sweet soups. This soup did in fact pick me up and make me feel like I did not have wine the night before. It was a great pick me up soup. I would make this soup in the future. I think this soup could also be served cold in the summertime or used as a base (simmered down more) to cook chicken in and served it over some rice.

Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cups napa cabbage, finely chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced (plus few slices for garnish)
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 14oz canned tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3.5 oz pineapple with reserved juice, finely chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoon wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper

Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium sauté onions for about 5 minutes or until soft (not browned).
  2. Add cabbage and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add apples and apple juice,  and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, pineapple, vinegar, and water.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour until fruit and veggies are soft.
  6. Take soup off heat, add lime juice and puree soup with hand blender (or in food processor working in batches).
  7. Return soup to rinsed out pot, and heat up soup on low.
  8. Add pepper and salt to taste.
  9. Ladle soup in warmed bowls.
  10. Garnish with thin apple slices.

Original Recipe: Soup Bowl, An inspiring Collection of Soups, Broths, and Chowders,  Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup (page 137)

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • omitted raisins and orange juice
  • added lime juice and tomato paste
  • omitted tomato juice
  • used more cabbage and napa cabbage instead of regular cabbage
  • used more pineapple and the reserved juice

Soup Mistress Rating for Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage Apple Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5)
Presentation: (3.75/5) 
Taste: (3.85/5) 

Curry Chicken Soup – A Great Noodleless Under The Weather Soup

curry-chicken-soup-2

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The completed curry chicken soup

Last week, I felt a bit under the weather. In the past, I would attempt to make the same homemade chicken noodle soup to make me feel better. But not this time, I wanted to try something different and went on a hunt for a soup that I can add chicken and garlic to make me feel better.

I found this Curry Chicken Soup recipe in a cookbook called “Soup Bowl” – I modified it a tad to my liking though.

The verdict? This soup is pretty good and even better the next day! The superstar ingredient is the apple – it gives the soup a subtle sweetness, yet not too sweet. Even though this soup seems quite creamy, there is no cream or milk what-so-ever. The lemon juice gives it a very nice zest. The shredded raw carrot adds a nice touch as well – I think the next time I make it I would add even more!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 and ½ cups white onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 and ½ cups parsnip, chopped small
  • 1 and ½ cups carrots finely sliced chopped small, plus some shredded for garnish
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped small
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 6oz / 175 g cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
  • salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, ginger and garlic, saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the parsnip, carrots, and apple and continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stir in the curry powder until the vegetables are well coated, then pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Keeping a cup of the solids aside, transfer the balance of soup to a food processor or blender. Add lemon juice and puree soup until smooth.
  5. In a separate pan, fry up chicken pieces on medium to high heat.
  6. Return soup puree and reserved solids to the saucepan. Add the chicken and cilantro to the saucepan and gently heat through. If you want a thinner soup, add more vegetable stock to your liking.
  7. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with cilantro and shredded carrots. Serve immediately.

Original Recipe: Page 103 – Book: Soup Bowl – An inspiring collection of soups, broths and chowders.

What I changed from original recipe:

  • replaced butter with olive oil
  • used more curry powder
  • used more lemon juice
  • replaced chicken stock with vegetable stock
  • omitted rice
  • added garlic clove
  • added ginger

Soup Mistress Rating for Curry Chicken Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Butternut Squash Apple Soup – A Soup Recreation

Completed Butternut Squash Apple Soup

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The completed butternut squash apple soup with goat cheese, chives and roasted pumpkin seeds.

A few weeks ago I went to Liquid and Solids Cafe in Vancouver’s Commercial Drive area and picked up their Squashed! Soup (read the soup review here).  I really liked their soup and wanted to recreate it at home. This recipe is my recreation of the soup and I think I did a great job with some minor modifications to the listed ingredients.

The verdict? This soup is really yummy…I will make it again at home in a heartbeat!

I have plans to redo many soups in the future and I will be:

  • cutting calories and trimming fat from some favorite recipes
  • adjusting so they are vegetarian, gluten-free as well as vegan – where I can
  • adjusting dried herbs for fresh herbs
  • adjusting processed foods for natural and/or organic – where I can
  • adjusting highly acidic forming recipes to be more alkaline forming (healthier for you)

This soup makeover is:

  • vegetarian
  • vegan (exclude the goat cheese from recipe or use a soy-based alternative)
  • gluten-free

Butternut Squash Apple Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 -1/2 cups white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery rib, finely chopped
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 7 cups butternut squash, flesh out, cut into small pieces
  • 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ cup dry roasted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in heavy pot over moderate. Add onions, garlic, celery and sauté until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add squash and stock. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer at med-low for about 20 minutes until squash is tender.
  3. Add apples, apple juice and allspice. Simmer uncovered for about 7 minutes.
  4. Working in batches, purée soup in blender until very smooth, then return to pot.
  5. Return soup to pot, and gently heat through.
  6. To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls and top with crumbled goat cheese, roasted pumpkin seeds and chives. Serve immediately.

Original soup that I tried to recreate: http://soupmistress.com/2011/09/squashed-soup-at-liquid-and-solids-in-vancouver-a-review/ 

What I changed from original recipe:

  • replaced butter with olive oil and did not use any canola oil
  • did not use any cream
  • did not use any brown sugar
  • did not use any extra salt
  • used vegetable stock with low sodium
  • did not use water, used 1 cup of apple juice instead
  • did not use xanthan gum
  • added goat cheese, pumpkin seeds and chives for garnish
  • used allspice, original ingredients did not specify what spices were used

Soup Mistress Rating for Butternut Squash Apple Soup:

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

Red Cabbage and Apple Soup – A Recipe Makeover

Red Cabbage and Apple Soup

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Completed Red Cabbage and Apple Soup

If you are into sweet and sour soups, then this soup is for you. The apple cider vinegar adds a bite to it, so beware if you are not into that. This soup can be made a day before serving and refrigerated. I personally like this soup, but find it much more tastier the next day.

I have plans to redo many soups in the future and I will be:

  • cutting calories and trimming fat from some favorite recipes
  • adjusting so they are vegetarian, gluten-free as well as vegan – where I can
  • adjusting dried herbs for fresh herbs
  • adjusting processed foods for natural and/or organic – where I can
  • adjusting highly acidic forming recipes to be more alkaline forming (healthier for you)

This soup makeover is:

  • vegetarian
  • vegan (exclude the goat yogurt from recipe or use a soy-based alternative)
  • gluten-free

Red Cabbage and Apple Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 7 cups thinly sliced cored red cabbage (about 1 med head)
  • 1-1/2 cup large onion, chopped
  • 8 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 5 cups low-salt vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 large apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of plain goat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Cooking Instructions:

Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and onion; sauté until soft, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add 8 thyme sprigs and sauté 1 minute longer. Add broth, water, apple cider vinegar, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon stick, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

In a separate heavy large skillet heat 1 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and sauté until brown and tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add apples to soup pot, season with dash of salt and pepper, simmer for 10 minutes longer.

Remove thyme sprigs, cloves and cinnamon stick from soup.

Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with a large scoop of plain goat yogurt and chopped fresh thyme.

Enjoy!

Original Recipe that I tried and adjusted: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cabbage-Soup-with-Apples-and-Thyme-107249

What I changed from original recipe:

  • replaced butter with olive oil
  • replaced green cabbage with red cabbage
  • added cloves
  • added cinnamon stick
  • added nutmeg
  • replaced chicken broth with vegetable broth
  • added apple cider vinegar
  • added water
  • added plain goat yogurt

Soup Mistress Rating for Red Cabbage and Apple Soup:

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

Squashed! Soup at Liquid and Solids in Vancouver – A Soup Review

Squashed Soup Package

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Squashed! Soup from Liquid and Solids

A client of mine knew that I was a soup lover and today she recommended that I visit Liquid and Solids on Venables in Vancouver. She mentioned that they had a range of unique soups. So why not? It was great timing right before lunchtime.

Although the fresh daily soups posted on the board looked amazing, I decided to pick up a frozen packaged soup to bring back to my office for lunch instead. The one that I purchased sounded healthy and delicious. It was called Squashed!

Package description:
It is a pureed blend of butternut squash, granny smith apples and a little light cream. Our most popular soup ever.

The ingredients:
Butternut squash, water, vegetable broth, apple, onion, cream, butter, brown sugar, canola oil, salt, xanthan gum (natural).

What I like about Liquid and Solids Squashed! soup:
It was very tasty (can taste the butternut squash) and creamy smooth (not too thick nor to thin). I was a bit surprised though when I tried the soup cold (before I heated it) – I think I like it even better than hot. I would recommend it cold on a day like today. Yummy indeed. I highly recommend Squashed! soup.

What I would tweak:
If I was to make this soup at home, there are a few ingredients I would tweak in the recipe to satisfy my preferences as well as my lust for a slimmer soup. Also the sodium is a tad high for me at 600 mg (25% daily value). The soup can use some garnishes on top before serving to pretty it up. I may attempt to recreate this yummy recipe at home and I will share what I have done if I do.

For those who don’t like to cook or looking for some yummy soup in Vancouver’s Commercial Drive area, just hop on over to Liquid and Solids at 1530 Venables Street to get your Squashed! soup.

What I really like about Liquid and Solids overall:
When I got home, I visited their website and was impressed with a few key factors of Liquid and Solids production approach for their soups. Some of them are:

  • They use all-natural ingredients. No preservatives.
  • All their products are made entirely from scratch, and their crew is involved in every step of production to ensure the integrity of each ingredient as well as the finished goods.
  • All recipes produced in controlled small batches to ensure quality control & product integrity.
  • All suppliers are located within 25 km of our manufacturing site.
  • All efforts are used to source locally grown produce when seasonally possible.
  • All beef, pork and fish ingredients are organic and/or free range.
  • They package in recyclable containers and 2.5 L plastic bladders to ensure foodsafe single use while minimizing the footprint of used containers and related refuse.

I’m thinking the next time I have another client meeting in the area, I will stop in and pick up their African Safari Soup (has peanut butter and cilantro in it) – it sounds totally delish!

Soup Mistress Rating for Squashed! Soup at Liquids and Solids in Vancouver:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.5/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5):
Taste: (4/5)