Turmeric and Sweet Potato Soup – Get the F*%k Out!

I really get a kick out of Thug’s Kitchen 101 Fast as Fuck Recipes. This book has a lot of great vegetarian recipes and reading the blurbs are entertaining and to say the least also very “down to earth” with a healthy dose of curse words!

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 5.45.44 PM

Here’s a sample blurb to get the gist:

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 5.50.19 PM

So, today I decided to give Thug Kitchen’s Turmeric and Sweet Potato Soup to warm myself up after my long swim workout.

The Verdict of Turmeric and Sweet Potato Soup:

Yum, warm and cozy goodness!! It’s quite similar to a minestrone soup. I like how the soup has a magical goodness to the broth with spices that I’d never guess to put together in a soup (for example: cinnamon, dried basil, paprika, turmeric, and ginger?). And Turmeric is a spice that comes up over and over again with health benefits but I never really feel inspired to use turmeric in any soups. This one is a keeper though for turmeric soup. For this soup I decided to clean my pantry and use up loose pieces of lasagna noodles and it played very well in this soup. I do suggest adding extra stock the next day if you have left overs, it seems as though my noodles lapped up all the liquids over night!

Turmeric and Sweet Potato Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, skin on, diced into small pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (I used 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or Tamari)
  • 1 can (15 ounces)  low salt diced tomatoes with juices (I used 28 ounce large can)
  • 5 cups of veggie stock (I used 6.5 cups)
  • 1 cup macaroni, stars, letters, orzo or other small pasta (I used broken lasagna noodles)
  • 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 can (15 ounces) drained & rinsed
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey (I added myself)

Turmeric and Sweet Potato Soup Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, warm up olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute it around until it starts to look translucent, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potato, bell pepper, and jalepeno and cook them all around for another 4 minutes.
  4. Add the turmeric, basil, paprika, ginger, cinnamon, and tamari and keep stirring so that everything gets coated and the spices get a chance to warm up, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes and broth, cover, and simmer until sweet potatoes are almost tender, about 8 minutes.
  6. Add the pasta, uncover, and cook until the pasta is good to go (8 -20 minutes, depending on size/thickness of your choice of pasta).
  7. Fold in the chickpeas, kale, and lemon juice and simmer away until the kale wilts and the chickpeas are warm, about 4 more minutes. Tast and add salt and pepper. You can add a little honey (1 tablespoon like I did).
  8. Serve Warm! Enjoy!

Where I received my inspiration for this soup: Thug Kitchen 101, Fast as Fuck

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 5.45.44 PM 

What I changed from the original recipe:

  • Used Tamari instead of Soya Sauce
  • Added 6.5 cups of veggie stock instead of 5
  • Added a large tin of diced tomatoes (28 oz)
  • Added a tablespoon of honey at end to balance the soup.

Soup Mistress Rating for Turmeric and Sweet Potato Soup

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5)fiveheart
Presentation: (3/5) threehearts
Taste: (4.25/5)fourhalfheart

Doenjang Guk – A Korean Vegetarian Delightful Meal in a Bowl

I have to say that I am really enjoying finding recipes that go well with Kimchi as a sidekick (Kimchi is one of our favorite homemade staples in the house lately). Back in early December, I made a Kimchi Soup and it was oh so creamy and spicy delight!

Why not try something different and keep Korean? So this afternoon I was searching for another Korean Vegetarian soup contender to make and this recipe fancied me particularly because we had a few zucchini’s already in the fridge as well as the Korean Bean paste.

Hmm, interesting. During my journey learning about Korean cuisine, I learned a good differentiation from soups versus stews:

  • Doenjang Guk – means Korean Bean Paste Soup (more liquid is used than the stew below), Guk = soup.
  • Doenjang Jjigae  – means Korean Bean Paste Stew (just use less liquid), Jjigae = stew

Who knew…good to know. I am going to watch the terminology being used whenever I eat out at a Korean Restaurant!

The Verdict of Korean Soybean Paste Vegetarian Soup: 

Korean cuisine is truly impressing me, especially so in the soup department. This recipe is so easy and one would think that the soup base simmered for a long time and/or have had a ton of labour behind it because of its rich beautiful creamy and deep base. No not so. With the zucchini, shiitake mushrooms, tofu and onion, it is such a healthy soup. The shiitake mushrooms definitely added another deep meaty level to the soup and also the base itself. I would not use nothing but shiitake mushrooms. Add in the Kimchi and an optional 7 minute egg and you have a meal!

More soup? Yes please? Give me more…I love this Korean Bean Paste Soup. Deep base, spicy goodness and the zucchini are so flavorful and filling.

 

Missing from picture above: Kimchi and eggs in which I added in at the end!

Korean Soybean Paste Vegetarian Soup Ingredients:

  • 4 small zucchini, peeled, thinly sliced and cut into quarter circles
  • 1 packet (50g, 1.8 ounces) shiitake mushrooms – thinly sliced.
  • 1 medium yellow onion – diced.
  • 250g  (8.8 ounces) Korean tofu – medium firm – diced or cut into small rectangular pieces
  • 5 cups vegetable broth

Soup seasoning sauce (mix these well in a small bow):

  • 6 Tbsp Korean soybean paste (Doenjang)
  • 2 tsp Korean chili paste (Gochujang)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp anchovies, minced
  • 2 tablespoon seaweed
  • 1 cup hot water
Garnish
  • green onion, sliced very thin the long way
  • kimchi
  • seven minute boiled eggs

Korean Soybean Paste Vegetarian Soup Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients for soup seasoning in a bowl with 1 cup of hot water.
  • Heat olive oil up in pot,
  • Sauté zucchini and the onion for 3 minutes on med high heat. Add in soup seasoning and 5 cups of veggie stock.
  • Add the tofu and boil for a further 1 to 2 mins.
  • Add the shiitake mushroom and and boil for last the 1 to 2 mins.
  • Turn the heat off and serve.
  • Serve with green onion thinly sliced, a big spoonful of Kimchi and a 7 minute runny egg. Enjoy the meal!
Inspired By This Original Recipe: http://mykoreankitchen.com/2015/05/23/korean-soybean-paste-soup-doenjang-guk/

What I changed from the original recipe:

  • Omitted enoki mushrooms.
  • Revised amounts to make 2x more soup base.
  • Added green onions as garnish.
  • Used 1 tsp anchovies.
  • Used mara seaweed instead of kelp.
  • Used veggie broth instead of water.
  • Added Kimchi as garnish
  • Added 7 minute boiled egg as garnish
Soup Mistress Rating For Korean Soybean Paste Vegetarian Soup:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4.5/5 )
Taste: (4.5/5) 

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) 

Kimchi Soup – A Soup Way Too Creamy Spicy Good to Be Rationed For!

Kimchi, Kimchi, Kimchi…oh I love you by yourself, I love you in fried rice and now you are a shining star swimming around in my soup clay pot!

I’ve been meaning too make this soup since I had it a year and half ago in Singapore. And I am a very lucky gal to be using a fresh batch of my husbands homemade Kimchi in this soup this week. Did you know that back in the day in Korea, Kimchi was normally made to last the long winter months and sometimes used in soups when it is older and perhaps stale (if it can get stale)? Hmmn, interesting, we cannot seem to ration ours well – it disappears magically so fast!

So what is in my husbands Kimchi? It is fermented Napa cabbage, daikon radish, green onions, garlic, ginger and a red chile pepper spice, fish and Korean salted shrimps. I will update this blog post with the link to the recipe he used, which I will be post up shortly. My husband has made 3 batches to date and it seems to be a hot staple in our household.

Now let’s talk about the soup….I followed one particular recipe and adjusted/added some ingredients from other recipes I researched. I am very happy that I took the time to to research many other recipes because the bean paste made it a delight along with the egg.

The Verdict of Kimchi Soup:

I am so happy that I used an egg and added the bean paste. I truly think that is what sets it apart from a so-so kimchi soup to a marvelous creamy spicy goodness. I tried the soup before the egg was stirred in and it was good, but after the egg was stirred in it was very creamy…oh such a creamy spicy delight!

Oh and I love napa cabbage and the red pepper!

But wait , the soup party fun really happens when you have a small bowl of rice on the side. Dip your spoon in and get some of those little white party morsels and give them a quick dip in the soup. More rice please? Yessum.

And finally, I made it a truly authentic experience. I had these authentic Korean clay pots and I broke them in on the stove top for the very first time ever. Serving up the soup and heating the clay pots up until the soup bubbles and drop that key gooey creamy egg in. Be careful and serve the bowl bubbling hot to your hungry mates with an oven mitt and placeholder underneath though!

Kimchi Soup Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 clove garlic garlic, finely chopped
  • 1  teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz. package silken tofu, cut into 1” pieces
  • 4 cups gently squeezed cabbage kimchi, chopped, plus 1 cup liquid
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 2 teaspoons doengjang (Korean bean paste)
  • 6 cups veggie stock
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 8 scallions, cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari (or reduced-sodium soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 large bowl of cooked rice

Servings: 6

Garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • Shredded scallions (green onion) – Tip: Slice them very thin lengthwise and drop them in a bowl of cold water and watch them curl up all pretty!

Kimchi Soup Instructions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat, carefully add tofu, and simmer gently until slightly puffed and firmed up, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tofu to a medium bowl.
  • Heat butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. saute yellow onion, garlic and ginger. Add kimchi and gochujang and  gochujang and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 5–8 minutes. Add kimchi liquid and 6 cups veggie stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until kimchi is softened and translucent, 35–40 minutes.
  • Add scallions, tamari, fish sauce and tofu; simmer gently until tofu has absorbed flavors, 20–25 minutes (tofu will fall apart a little). Add sesame oil; season with salt and pepper.
  • If you have Korean Hot Pots like I have, ladle soups into them on the stove top. Heat until soft boil and top each with an egg yolk (soft egg), shredded green oinions and sesame seeds.
  • Carfeully serve dish with pot holders.
  • Serve with steamed white or brown rice

Original Recipe: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/spicy-kimchi-tofu-stew

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • I added garlic, ginger, yellow onion, and fish sauce
  • I used vegetable stock instead of water – to give it more depth
  • I added Korean bean paste
  • I used butter instead of veggie stock, I wanted an extra creaminess.
Soup Mistress Rating ForMiso Soup With Green Chard and Mushrooms:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4.5/5 )
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Vegetable Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos at Chicago’s XOCO is all xoxo’s!

Just this weekend I ventured to Chicago for a layover on my way to Winnipeg to visit my family. I’ve been in Las Vegas for the last 3 months with beautiful warm sunny weather and holy moly my body was in shock when I got outside in Chicago!!! it was windy and very wintery freeze your butt off weather. Everyone on the streets were bundled up in big bulky jackets, hats, scarfs and gloves. I had a tiny leather jacket and leather gloves…not good enough for my walk to check out XOCO for some mexican fare.

By the time I got to the restaurant, I changed my mind of trying one of their famous Tortas. The Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos (AKA soup) fancied me way more – I really needed some hot broth to thaw out my insides and extremities!

I ordered the Vegetable Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos and it had: black beans, woodland mushrooms, zucchini, potato-masa dumplings, greens, avocados, and serrano chile.

The Verdict of XOCO’s Vegetable Meal-in-a-Bowl:
I felt the love big time with this this Meal-in-a-Bowl (AKA soup)…. it should be called xoxo Soup! My tummy had a genuine almost cuddling-like affair with this soup and was very grateful to the warm tasty broth! The big chunks of avocados, lots of onions, tasty mushrooms, deep flavourful broth and black beans that weren’t mushy made up this delightful meal-in-a-bowl. The broth was unique and not like all other Mexican soup broths, I couldn’t pinpoint what all of the spices were.  And the healthy greens were nice and fresh added on top. XOCO’s soup puts the tortilla mexican soup I had two days ago at El Segundo’s in Vegas to shame.

XOCO had a superb ordering process and great customer service experience. A sweetie of a gal who gave me a seat number, asked me when seated  if I’d like sparkling or still water. The sparling water was for free – a nice touch for so-called street food in a restaurant that did not break the bank!

Here’s a spoonful of all the scrumptious chunks of love and lot’s of onions oh my!

If you are going to check out XOCO’s Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos make sure you also order the Roasted Garlic Tomotilo Guacamole with choice of 2 toppings, tomatillo salsa, 3 chile salsa and just-made chips. I had the queso fresco and grilled onion!
Soup Mistress Rating for XOXO’s Vegetable Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos:

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

Taste: (4.5/5) 

Soups of San Francisco – The Grove Signature French Onion Soup

20120509-143433.jpg

I have been very busy for the last 3 weeks with client work and had to put my soup journey on hold until today…

But now, I am very glad to be on vacation in San Francisco for 6 days visiting my very good friend Sharon.

San Francisco is such a great place for cool trendy cafes and restaurants.

Today we ventured to the Lower Pacific Heights area for lunch at a place called The Grove on Fillmore street.

I decided to have their Signature French Onion Soup. This soup has two thumbs up for taste but definitely not for the low salt and low calories. But what the heck, I’m on holidays!

The Grove put a fair bit of love into delivering oh so scrumptious caramelized onions and a very cheesy gruyere topping. I also liked how the bread topped the whole bowl. Very filling and so good.

Here’s a peak under the bread:

20120509-143729.jpg

If you are ever in this area, it is a spot I recommend for French Onion Soup. Then hop on over to La Boulange for some pastries! Yum.

Bye for now. Time to walk my late lunch off for day 1 of San Francisco!

Not Everyone Had The Liberty to Cook Like Julia Child in The 50’s

Julia Child SoupFrom the onset of Julia Childs culinary revelation in Paris in 1949 throughout the 1950s she was teaching cooking to American women in Paris and was also researching and testing recipes for her book. She is the “icon” for pushing recipes and raising the bar with proper descriptions and measurements. Also, by the looks at some of her recipes, she had access to probably the best ingredients, herbs and spices in the world at that time.

But others in the world were not so fortunate in the 50s (for example: those in the Canadian Prairies).

Winnipeg Cookbook 1950'sJust the other day, I pulled out some of my grandmothers cookbooks from the 1950s which were mostly printed pamphlets with local recipes from the Canadian Prairies. I sure get a warm and fuzzy feeling in my heart when I come across my grandmothers writing besides her favorite recipes.The first thing I think of is food, when I think of her. It really brings back fond memories going to her home every Sunday for dinner when I was a child.

Now that I have been paying attention to a lot of soup recipes, I found it a tad surprising to me that my grandmother was not so fortunate with ingredients for cooking in the 50’s. Take a look at these soup recipes below. They are a true reflection to what ingredients were available in the Canadian Prairies at that time:

So, what’s missing from these recipes above that we have access to now?

Besides better instructions, the big thing that sticks out for me is all of the recipes are missing herbs and spices! Nowadays, we can use a different combination of herbs and spices and make any soup a totally different soup from another with same core ingredients!

Boy, it sure makes me really appreciate what we have today. We are so fortunate with tons of unique ingredients at grocery stores and endless sources of herbs and spices to make any kind of wonderful soups! Skies the limit, really!

We should thank our lucky stars. *smile*

So what would I add to the soup recipes above? Below are some things I would add/change to enhance the three soup recipes from the 50’s.

For the French Pea Soup above, I would do the following:

  • add fresh thyme, fresh parsley, garlic gloves
  • garnish: spoonful of kefir, yogurt or crumbled goat cheese + fresh chives + diced pieces of ham or pancetta

For the Vegetable Soup above, I would do the following:

  • omit the meat because this soup is called “vegetable soup” and would be deceiving for the vegetarians today
  • omit the string beans – they get too mushy – yuck!
  • replace water with vegetable stock to give more depth
  • replace canned tomatoes with fresh seeded, peeled tomatoes
  • add bay leaf, garlic cloves, fresh dill, fresh oregano, fresh basil
  • add some gluten-free macaroni pasta
  • add garnish: roughly chopped fresh dill or basil leaves

For the Onion Soup above, I would do the following:

  • replace butter with olive oil
  • add garlic clove
  • add swiss cheese (or gruyère) with the parmesan (not pre shredded/grated cheeses as they may have gluten in them)
  • add some rice flour
  • replace regular french bread with similar gluten-free white bread or croutons
  • add garnish: parsley

What would you add to any of the three recipes from the 1950’s above? Feel free to share in comments below, love to share suggestions!