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) 

Winter Soup Olympics in Whistler A Gold Delight!

One more day till the end of our 2 month stay up at Whistler. It’s been a great journey with downhill and cross-country skiing, biking, and walking around trails in British Columbia’s winter wonderland. With all of the outdoor exercise came a few apres ski sessions, fresh track morning buffets, some mighty fine cooking sessions at home and visiting various restaurants in the main village and creekside.  For many meals I had soup, and there were a few to be mentioned and one a sure winner that was a gold delight!

The following are three notable soups and I ranked them as Gold, Silver and Bronze for overall taste and presentation:

Gold Soup Medal

The Gold Soup Medal goes to Alta Bistro’s with their Rootdown Farms Organic Carrot Soup ($10) with roasted chickpeas, fried celery, goat cheese & orange cream, black cumin seeds, fresh thyme, corn bread. What a playful looking soup and great presentation. The orange cream gave this soup a tiny burst of greatness. The fresh thyme was delightful and the bowl seemed to be a great choice for serving soup – it seemed to conduct heat for quite sometime after I was served it! Brilliant!

Silver Soup Medal

The Silver Soup Medal goes to Nita Lakes’ Lodge Aura Restaurant Mussel Chowder ($10) with honey mussels, diced house cured pancetta, Yukon gold potato, onion, ginger, lemongrass bisque. Wow! The service overall at this restaurant was very outstanding. The waitress brought the bowl of morsels to our table and poured in the broth – that was so classy and a nice experience indeed – love when restaurants do that with soups! The large pieces of potato were perfect and gave it a rustic feel. The lemongrass bisque was light but very tasty! And oh my, the honey mussels were good, I wish I had more though, but for $10 this soup really rocked!

Bronze Soup Medal

The Bronze Medal goes the Roundhouse up on Whistler Mountain with their Mushroom Soup. The roundhouse is a huge cafeteria style restaurant and probably serves a few thousand people for lunch between 11 – 2pm easily. We had this mushroom soup a few times in the last two months. I also heard a few other people mention that this soup is one of their favourites as well! The tiny chunks of mushrooms and onions we so very good (really made the soup) and kudos to a cafe style restaurant to use pea shoots as a garnish. If you are ever up there, go for the soup, salad and half sandwich – it’s the best deal in the house! I think it was $12.45 for the combo.

I can’t wait to come back and try more soups next season! Whistler is the premium place for Soup Olympics I am sure!

Princess & A Pea Soup Challenge at Horizons Restaurant

Just this week I had my big brother visiting from Winnipeg. I wanted to take him for dinner at a nice restaurant with a view of Vancouver. I thought that Horizons on Burnaby Mountain was a mighty fine choice for the view.

When I read the menu the soup of the day, it really fancied me:

“Carrot & Sweet Pea Soup – Sourdough croutons, paprika oil”

So I ordered it and my brother followed suit.

Leading up to being served the soup, I imagined that it came with more than one crouton and would be very colourful to my eyes with green (for the peas) floating around perhaps in the orange broth (carrots) with some equisite kind of garnish.

This is what I was served:

The Verdict of Horizons Carrot & Sweet Pea Soup?

There seemed to be a disconnect of how it was described on the menu and what was in front of me. Don’t get me wrong, the broth was super tasty and a very nice touch with the paprika oil. But the soup overall did not wow me what-so-ever. Perhaps my expectation of a fancy dancy restaurant on one of the highest points in Burnaby was way to inflated.

 

I question if Horizons in fact used sweet peas in the soup and why did they not celebrate them floating around in a beautiful broth? Were some peas actually pureed in the soup? I don’t know and couldn’t tell if they were. Perhaps they did not use fresh sweet peas and hid them in the broth?

Also, the notion of “croutons” being plural in the description was deceiving. I only received one very thin baguette piece which got very soggy after my first spoonful. It disappointed me a tad.

 

I have been so blessed with superb soups at many restaurants I have visited in the past and would consider myself a soup princess.

So, what I am saying is this soup did not passs the princess test. I am pretty sure someone forgot to put the pea under the twenty mattresses. I was not feeling it what-soever! And the prince is asking “Where did the pea go?!!”

 

Soup Mistress (and Chris Yelland my brother) Rating for Horizons Carrot & Sweet Pea Soup:

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

Presentation: (2.5/5)

Taste: (3/5)

San Francisco and Napa Valley – A Souper Duper Culinary Crawl

For the last week and half I have been in San Francisco, Napa Valley and then to San Mateo for work. It has been a wonderful culinary experience and a souper duper time. And especially so, because I had a partner in crime who likes food close to or a tad more than I! For probably half of our meals, if a soup fancied me on the menu, I just had to try!

Below is a list of soups I tried during the past week and half. I ranked them from the highest in taste. I definitely have no major complaint about any of the soups. The choices of restaurants were fine choices indeed in the first place, so no run ins with dud soups what-so-ever.

  1. French Onion Soup (Bouchon Cafe)
  2. Spring Suppa (A16)
  3. Asparagus Soup (Auberge Du Soliel)
  4. Beer Crab Soup (Kingfish Restaurant)
  5. Panna Cotta Chilled Carrot Soup (French Laundry)
  6. Tofu Soon Dobu (Sesame Korean Cuisine)
  7. Tom Yum Pak (Lemongrass Thai Cuisine)
  8. Wild Mushroom, Farro and Thyme Soup (Foreign Cinema)
  9. Potato Leek Soup (Cindys Kitchen)

Rank #1: Bouchon Bistro: Soupe a L’Oignon

A perfect afternoon in Napa Valley first started with a quick stop at Bouchon Bakery for a coffee and Monkey Bun and then over to Gotts for a lighter lunch. Shortly after sitting outside at a picnic table eating some mighty fine tacos from Gotts, we headed for a superb tour at a winery. After our wine tour we found ourselves back in Yountville at Bouchon but instead at the Cafe for second light afternoon snack!

We had the Soupe a L’Oignon (French Onion Soup) and Moules au Safran (Mussels) with French Fries with some nice white wine (can’t remember what wine exactly, but I’m pretty sure it was a local one).

Bouchon Bistro
6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA, 94599
http://bouchonbistro.com

The Verdict of Bouchon Cafe Soupe a L’Oignon?

The onions were probably one of the best carmelized onions I had in an French Onion Soup. I asked the bartender if there were any special secrets to the soup. He said that the onions were first dredged in flour then caramelized slowly with red wine. I’m betting that they used some mighty fine red wine to caramelized these sweet babies in.

The soup had a lot of onions, and the bread in the soup kept it’s texture and not to mushy unlike some french onions soup may be guilty of.

The Gruyere cheese was the super star of the dish, I do wish that they used way more of it and had it oozing over the side of the bowl so that I could have peeled the crispy browned cheese off. I was sharing the soup – I do believe that my culinary partner in crime ate more cheese than me when I wasn’t looking! Doh!

Soup Mistress Rating for Bouchon Cafe Soupe a L’Oignon:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (2.5/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Rank #2: A16: Spring Zuppa

A16
2355 Chestnut Ave, San Francisco, California
http://www.a16sf.com

The Verdict of A16 Spring Zuppa?

The soup was not your stuffy high end soup with heavy cream. It had a wonderful tasty and delicate broth. Actually probably one of the top broths I’ve had. It had very thinly sliced asparagus morsels and oh so fine crispy fried croutons. The herbs seemed very fresh, and they definitely used some fresh English Peas – oh my, I liked how they popped in my mouth! The soup seemed simple yet very elegant and oh so tasteful. It seemed as though the soup is an au natural for your tastebuds. No need to glamourize and heavy it up with fat and cream! I am guessing that the broth was a vegetable base – the roasted spring onion oil gave a really good depth to the broth that a meat based broth may have done. Brilliant. Overall, my tastebuds felt very satisfied with A16s Spring Zuppa and my hips didn’t feel guilty what-so-ever.

Soup Mistress Rating for A16 Spring Zuppa:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (3/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Rank #3: Auberge Du Soliel: Asparagus Soup

Auberge Du Soliel
180 Rutherford Hill Road
Rutherford, California
http://www.aubergedusoleil.com

The Verdict of Auberge Du Soliel Asparagus Soup?

The soup was wonderful and the swirls of oil and cream were a very fine touch to the eye as for taste. Seasoned just right and no complaints. I do wish that there were a tad more morsels of asparagus in the soup.

Ok, I must confess. I didn’t take much notes of this soup nor did I pay attention to the exact  ingredients. Perhaps my culinary dropout mishap was because I went on a wine tour prior and my attention to detail was impaired due to alcohol and the breath taking view sitting on the deck looking down at the hills and vines. Best view ever of our trip dining for sure!

All I remember is that I really loved this soup (and it deserves this rating) and the grilled artichokes were awesome!

Soup Mistress Rating for Auberge Du Soliel Asparagus Soup:

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

Rank #4: Kingfish Restaurant: Crab and Beer Soup

Kingfish Restaurant
201 South B Street, San Mateo, CA, 94401
http://www.kingfish.net

The Verdict of Kingfish Restaurant Crab and Beer Soup:

For my first spoonful, I thought this soup was very strong and had too much of a bold taste. Thinking that it was the beer itself in the recipe that made it so. But after my second and third spoonful, it really grew on me. I loved how it also was bitter yet spicy. I think when my soup came to life is when my chardonnay arrived to join the party. Somehow the wine tamed the bold taste and the really complimented it a ton. The soup had wonderful crab pieces and even some whole claws. Yum! I would order it again.

I loved the little drops of oil in the soup, I do wish that the soup had a dollop of creme fraiche and that they used chives instead of green onions though!

Soup Mistress Rating for Kingfish Restaurant Crab and Beer Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5) 
Taste: (4/5) 

Rank #5: French Laundry: Panna Cotta Chilled Carrot Soup

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, California
http://www.frenchlaundry.com

The Verdict of French Laundry Panna Cotta Chilled Carrot Soup:

This is one of the many dishes we were treated to above and beyond the tasting menu at the French Laundry last week. My culinary partner in crime seemed to have a good connection with Thomas Keller indeed. I felt like royalty and oh so lucky!!

Wonderful eye candy – the best of my soups for presentation by far for the week! It’s where culinary presentation meets performance art! Loved how we first got a peek of the Panna Cotta in the bottom and then experienced the server pouring the chilled soup over top. This beautiful tiny serving looked so delicate yet had the flavour of many garden fresh carrots! The soup was so velvety good and had just the right amount of sweetness and I think it had a tiny dash of curry. I loved digging down and getting the Panna Cotta with a pop of fine herbs (I think there were some finely chopped chives).

This is one chilled soup I would love to recreate at home – and yes, even making my own Panna Cotta may be in store! Thomas Keller’s establishment is top notch indeed, no wonder it can take months to get a reservation there! Check out their kitchen below – a sparkling perfection!!

Soup Mistress Rating for French Laundry Panna Cotta Chilled Carrot Soup:

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

Rank #6: Sesame Korean Cuisine: Tofu Soon Dobu

Sesame Korean Cuisine
1355 Broadway
Burlingame, CA 94010

 

The Verdict of Tofu Soon Dobu :

This is the first of a Korean Tofu soup I ever tried. A very good friend of mine introduced me to this kind of cuisine. We were first served the small dishes, which is also known as Banchan. Then shortly after our bubbling hot soups arrived in little clay pots, the server walked away and we kept talking for a few minutes. Just as I was ready to dig into my yummy looking soup the owner came up and explained that the new server messed up and she needed to make the pots all bubbly again for us. And poof! they were taken away just as I was salivating at the smell of the broth!

Doh! What? Why?…. The new server forgot to crack in an egg in each of our bowls!

It was well worth the extra minutes of wait because when the owner came back, she had two eggs in her pocket with our bubbling soups and cracked the eggs in right away. Nice touch!

I stirred in my egg and watched it cook then dug in!

OMG, who needs meat and seafood?! This soup was very good with tofu and I loved how eating the Banchan between spoonfuls made a great marriage. I especially loved the pickled components because they brought out the soup broth even more.

I’m now going to keep a look out for this sort of soup back in Vancouver. Surprised that I never experienced before.

Soup Mistress Rating for Tofu Soon Dobu :

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (3/5) 
Taste: (3.75/5) 

Rank #7: Lemongrass Thai Cuisine: Tom Yum Pak

Lemongrass Thai Cuisine
2348 Polk Street, San Francisco, California
http://www.lemongrasssf.com

The Verdict of Lemongrass Thai Cuisine Tom Yum Pak?

We didn’t scope out this place before hand, but just stumbled across it after walking up and down very steep hills in the Russian Hill area of San Francisco.

Two thumbs up for this soup. The broth was sweet and tangy just like any Tom Yum broth should. But the choice of the veggies and the way better than average broth made this stop so very delightful and unexpected!

Soup Mistress Rating for Lemongrass Thai Cuisine Tom Yum Pak:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (3/5) 
Taste: (3.75/5) 

Rank #8: Foreign Cinema: Wild Mushroom, Farro and Thyme Soup

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission Street, San Francisco CA 94110
http://www.foreigncinema.com

The Verdict of Foreign Cinema Wild Mushroom, Farro and Thyme Soup?

Foreign Cinema is a very neat restaurant nestled in a yet to be gentrified neighbourhood. When we first got out of the cab, I thought we were taken to the wrong place. But once we entered, the entrance was quite elegant with a red carpet and then we entered a large bustling place!

We decided to have the Wild Mushroom Farro and Thyme Soup for one of our appies. It was a good soup, but I was puzzled about the absence of mushrooms. There was no hint of mushrooms per se, but I am guessing it was a part of the broth perhaps? Loved the Farro and the broth was very tasty and seemed light and healthy (good in my books btw). The use of the thin crusty bread was elegant and it kept its crispiness quiet good. Kudos to the kitchen to split the one order up in two bowls. That was very nice of them!

The use of fresh thyme made the soup and I think another green herb (larger than thyme) was used, but I couldn’t pinpoint what it was.

Soup Mistress Rating for Foreign Cinema Wild Mushroom, Farro and Thyme Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (3/5) 
Taste: (3.5/5) 

Rank #9: Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen: Potato Leek Soup

Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen
1327 Railroad Avenue, St Helena, CA
http://www.cindysbackstreetkitchen.com

The Verdict of Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen: Potato Leek Soup?

This soup was good tasting, but seemed plain jane to me when comparing to the rest of soups above. Not really any wows from myself. Nothing outstanding stood out for me. It most likely had cream, butter and the use of chives is expected.

One dish that did blow the soup away that is notable from Cindy’s was a wonderful Rabbit Tostada with red chile salsa, black beans and feta. I felt really naughty since my diet is usually 90% vegetarian with some sort of bacon.

Soup Mistress Rating for Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen: Potato Leek Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.5/5)
Presentation: (3/5) 
Taste: (3.5/5) 

Roasted Golden Beet Curry Soup – What Beauties Beets They Are!

Roasted Golden Beet Curry Soup

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Yummy, Spicy Beet Soup!

Over a week ago I roasted some red beets for the very first time ever and made a delish beet salad with lemon juice, shallots, macadamia oil with sprouts and arugula. It was so easy to roast beets and very yummy and fresh. I decided that my next beet culinary adventure would be in a soup and I wanted to try golden beets instead.

This soup recipe caught my attention and yesterday I headed to New Westminster Quay (Rivermarket.com) for some fresh produce to use in my soup. My good friend Karen Carter, a mighty fine real estate agent with Remax was coming over to get paperwork signed to list my condo on the market and I decided to make the soup for her visit!

The Verdict of Golden Beet Curry Soup:

Golden Beets –beauties they are!

Karen and I really liked how the curry played with the golden beets. They seem less sweet to me than red beets and perfect for this soup. The addition of carrot and parsnip gave a warm and earthy taste to the soup. Also the cayenne gave the soup a very nice mysterious heat to the soup – I don’t think it should be omitted from this soup ever (versus optional in the original recipe). The julienned red beets on top gave a nice contrast and texture. Karen did suggest that it would have been nice to have a dollop of cream in the soup (dairy or non-dairy cream like product – perhaps almond cheese?) – I have to agree with her on that point. Would have made it look even prettier as well!

Roasted Golden Beet Curry Soup Ingredients:

  • 6-7 golden beets, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red beet (for garnish)
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 -1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth
Roasted Golden Beet Curry Soup:
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. In a large baking pan or oven dish, toss beets, onions,  parsnip and carrot with oil and all spices. Roast the red beet whole by itself for garnish.
  3. Pour 1 cup water over the mixture and cover in foil. Roast for 1 hour.
  4. Blend using an immersion blender or puree in batches in a food processor, adding vegetable broth half a cup at a time followed by remaining water (up to 2 cup) until you reach your desired consistency.
  5. Add soup into a pot on stove top, add cinnamon stick, simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  6. Adjust curry and salt to taste.
  7. Ladle soup into bowls.
  8. Julienne red beet and garnish on top of soup.

What I changed from original soup recipe:

  • Used more beets (6-7)
  • Roasted a red beet separately and used it is  garnish julienned
  • Used 1 onion versus 1/2 onion
  • Doubled, curry, coriander, cumin, cayenne
  • Used a cinnamon stick after soup pureed and simmered it for 8-10 minutes
  • Used fresh ginger minced instead of ground ginger
  • Used more vegetable stock
Soup Mistress Rating (and Karen) for Roasted Golden Beet Curry Soup:

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

Taste: (4.5/5)

 

Ra Ra For Kristen Suzanne’s Harvest Raw Soup

Raw Harvest Soup

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The Completed Raw Harvest Soup

I have been meaning to try raw (uncooked) soup recipes and venture out more to raw food restaurants in Vancouver. Don`t get me wrong, I do love bacon, prosciutto and cooked foods – I am not a vegan and I do like to cook some of my food.  I do though try to eat a fair bit of raw foods (salads, veggies, fruits, fresh juices, nuts etc..) and I am a huge advocate of Vega One (a plant based shake)  – been taking it for over 2 years for breakfast. Having a raw food based diet in the mornings helped me a ton to do long runs and work bright eyed and effectively all day. I have never felt healthier.

So What Are The Benefits of Raw?
In short, when you cook your food, you’re destroying the nutrients. Read more here on the benefits of raw food.

A few weeks ago, I started following Choosing Raw on Facebook. She shared this raw soup recipe that she swore is awesome and she made it a few times in one week.

The Verdict of Kristen Suzanne’s Raw Harvest Soup ? Overall, this soup tasted pretty good! Presentation leaves a little to be desired being purred and all. The soup was a little warm and went down nice and smooth. I had some left over in fridge and tried it later chilled – I prefer it right out of the blender at room temperature though. My favorite thing I liked about this soup is how healthy I felt instantly and it was quite filling.

Kristen Suzanne’s Raw Harvest Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups carrot, chopped
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4cup flax oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Kristen Suzanne’s Raw Harvest Soup Instructions:

  • Blend all of the ingredients except for the flax oil, on high speed in your blender until really creamy (approximately one minute). Then, while the blender is running on low speed, add the flax oil. Continue blending, at a higher speed, for another minute or less. This will make it slightly warm. Enjoy!

Original Recipe here: http://kristensraw.com/blog/2007/09/05/kristen-suzannes-harvest-soup/

What I changed from the original recipe:

  • Used 1 and 1/4 cup of water to compensate for less flax oil
  • Instead of Himalayan crystal salt I used sea salt
  • instead of 1 tablespoon of onion powder I used 1/4 cup of chopped white onion
  • used 1/4 cup of flax oil versus 1/2 cup
  • added coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg (original recommend pumpkin pie spice mix as optional)

Soup Mistress Rating for Kristen Suzanne’s Raw Harvest Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5)
Presentation: (3/5)
Taste: (4/5)

Soups of San Francisco – Spring Carrot Soup at Wayfare Tavern

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While visiting here in San Francisco, I ventured out to Wayfare Tavern in the Financial District with a few friends last night. I was impressed as soon as we walked in – it is definitely a classy tavern!

The service was five star and the choices on the menu were mouth watering. If you ever do visit this tavern, I highly recommend that you never turn down the fresh pop overs which are so buttery and fluffy! They reminded me of my mothers yorkshire puddings.

I started out with the Spring Carrot Soup. It had roasted pineapple pulp, carrot fritters, shaved country ham and was topped with some finely chopped chives.

The soup was refreshing and rich. I loved the addition of the roasted pineapple pulp and carrots fritters.

I would order this soup again and I think it went well with my next course, which was the Ahi Tuna Carpaccio with petit potatoes.

This place is a keeper and one to remember when I return to San Francisco for its soup!

The only thing I would do next time is to ask to sit downstairs as it seemed more lively and more conducive to people watch!

Check it out here: http://www.wayfaretavern.com/

Shiitake and Button Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom Barley Soup

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The Completed Shiitake and Button Mushroom Barley Soup

Barley – I have never used it in a soup, and this is my first. My doctor has been reminding me to work on lowering my cholesterol. I do like the fact that according to the FDA, barley’s soluble fiber reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and can lower cholesterol.

The Verdict of Shiitake and Button Mushroom Barley Soup? This is a filling and great tasting vegetarian soup. The original recipe called for button mushrooms only. I like adding in shiitake mushrooms anywhere a recipe calls for buttons mushrooms, they give a different dimension of meatiness. The soup has a richer taste the next day and gets thicker, I added extra broth. I try to avoid gluten in my soups most of the time but this soup is an exception as I like the taste of barley. If you area true celiac, this soup is not for you because barley has gluten if you didn’t know that.

Shiitake and Button Mushroom Barley Soup Ingredients:

  • 7 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 – 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic clove, minced or chopped very fine
  • 1 cup baby carrots, thinly sliced
  • 16oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Shiitake and Button Mushroom Barley Soup Instructions:

  1. Add 2 cups of broth to a large saucepan/pot. Bring to a boil and add the pearl barley, cover then simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. In a separate saucepan, add olive oil and saute onions over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, carrot, mushrooms to onions and saute for another 6 minutes.
  4. Combine mushroom and rest of broth into saucepan with barley/broth.
  5. Add pepper and salt to taste.
  6. Bring back up to a boil and simmer on low for about 30-35 minutes with lid partially covered.
  7. Stir in parsley and thyme (keeping some for garnish).
  8. Ladle soup into warmed bowls.
  9. Add parsley and thyme as garnish.
  10. Enjoy!

Original Recipe: Book: Soup Bowl, An Inspiring Collection of Soups, Broths and Chowders – Mushroom Barley Soup (page 64)

What I changed from original recipe:

  • used thyme instead of tarragon
  • used more mushrooms and broth
  • added shiitake mushroom and garlic
  • used olive oil instead of butter
  • omitted bay leaf

Soup Mistress Rating for Shiitake and Button Mushroom Barley Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5)
Presentation: (3.75/5) 
Taste: (4.25/5) 

Carrot and Yam Soup – A Great Way To Lose Your Soup Virginity

Carrot and Yam Soup

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The completed Carrot and Yam Soup

Just the other day I pulled out one on my largest and heaviest cook books. I realized that on the inside of the cover I had scribbled a soup recipe for a Carrot and Yam Soup. The recipe was given to me from my sister-in-law back in 1991 and it was my very first homemade soup that I cooked up. The recipe was long forgotten about for about 2 decades. It seems as though my soup making lifetime has been about 23 years to date. Wow – where does time go?!

Ohh, Carrot and Yam Soup – the soup I lost my soup virginity to. I was curious to find out if it was as great as I remembered it. So I decided to make the soup yesterday evening.

The Verdict of Carrot and Yam Soup? Very refreshing indeed. I adjusted a few ingredients from the original recipe a tad. I added freshly squeezed juices versus concentrates and focussed on more ginger and some tasty garnishes on top. I would make this soup again in future. It is even better than what I remembered it!

Carrot and Yam Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil (plus 1/4 cup for frying yam shavings for garnish)
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2- 1/2 cups yams, chopped (keep a small chunk for rough shaved yam pieces for garnish)
  • 4 cups carrots, chopped
  • 3 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of goat yogurt
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • orange zest from 1 orange

Carrot and Yam Soup Instructions:

  1. Heat up olive oil in large pan. Saute onions on medium heat until soft for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in yam, carrot and ginger and saute for 3 more minutes.
  3. Add in vegetable stock, apple juice, orange juice, lemon juice, coriander, allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for about 40 minutes (or when carrots are soft).
  5. While soup is simmering, heat up 1/4 cup of oil in small pan and fry approx 1/2 cup of rougly shaved yam pieces in batches. When golden brown reserve yam pieces on a paper towel.
  6. Puree soup with blender. Be careful with hot liquids. If using hand blender take soup off of heat first.
  7. Heat soup back up on low/medium.
  8. Ladle soup in bowls.
  9. Garnish each bowl with a dollop of goat yogurt, some fried yam pieces and sprinkle of orange/lemon zest.

What I changed from original recipe:

  • used fresh lemon juice and fresh orange juice instead of concentrates, and more of both
  • used more onions
  • doubled the ginger
  • used fried shaved yam pieces, lemon/orange zest, orange slice and goat yogurt as garnish

Soup Mistress Rating for Carrot and Yam Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (4/5) 
Taste: (4.15/5) 

Spicy Oyster Chowder Perfect to Serve up for Valentine’s – A Soup Recreation

Spicy Oyster Chowder

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The completed Spicy Oyster Chowder garnished with chives.

Happy Valentine’s day! If you are looking for ideas on what to cook for your loved one tonight, why not serve up some Spicy Oyster Chowder?

Did you know that oysters are an excellent source of zinc, a nutrient known for its contribution to sexual development, hence the reputation as an aphrodisiac? Well, if you didn’t, you know now. Oysters are also rich in iron, copper and other minerals, which contribute to good health.

I have been on a hunt for a good Oyster Chowder recipe and decided to modify another recipe last night. This recipe is a recreation from a Clam Chowder I made at a cooking class a few months ago.

The Verdict of Spicy Oyster Chowder? Yup – this is a keeper recipe for sure. This is one soup I am very proud of. With the modifications, this chowder base can be very versatile and used with other variations of fish (I.E. salmon, clams, shrimp or any white fish). The superstar ingredient is the Thai Red Chile (don’t underestimate this little chile – one alone can really heat up your whole pot of chowder). I also decided to use a goat yogurt (10% Greek style) instead of a cows milk/cream since I am a little sensitive to casein which is found in cows milk and not in goats milk. Along with the heat from the red chile, the tangy goat yogurt with the lemon and thyme, the chowder has an addicting freshness and good balance of acidity!

For a special treat, I used more white wine as the base.

Spicy Oyster Chowder Ingredients:

  • 100 grams double smoked bacon, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots (approx 1 cup), diced small
  • 2 celery (approx 1 cup), diced small
  • 1 red thai chile, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper (approx 3/4 cup), diced small
  • 4 medium red potatoes (approx 2.5 – 3 cups), diced small
  • reserved oyster juice from oysters
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 large tomato, diced small
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup goat yogurt (I used 10% Greek style)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 small tubs fresh oysters, drained, washed, chopped midsized. (Sieve the oyster liquid and keep to use)
  • 3 teaspoon chives, finely sliced
  • dash of salt and pepper

Spicy Oyster Chowder Instructions:

  1. In a large pan, sauté bacon over medium heat until brown and crisp, approximately 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to plate and allow to rest.
  2. Add in shallot, garlic, carrot, celery, red thai chile, red pepper and potatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in oyster juice, wine, tomato and water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Add the goat yogurt, lemon juice, thyme and bacon to pan. Heat through until potatoes are soft, but do not boil at this point.
  5. Add in chopped oysters and cook until oysters are slightly firm (edges curl a little) , approx 2 -4 minutes.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Ladle the chowder into bowls and garnish with chives.

Original recipe here: Julienning and Dicing For The Perfect Soup

What I changed from the original recipe:

  • replaced clams and nectar with oysters and juice of oysters
  • added red thai chile, celery, red pepper, tomato
  • replaced whipping cream with goat yogurt
  • omitted cornstarch and corn
  • used more veggies, thyme, wine and garlic

Soup Mistress Rating for Spicy Oyster Chowder:

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