One of the best things about travel for me is getting ideas about ramping up our food game. Last week, we were in New York City and landed a reservation at Bar Boulud. The prix fixe for the night included a bowl of chilled pea soup which was simple, fresh, and stunning. And no, that’s not the wine talking! This recipe from Mark Bittman reaches back to when he wrote the Diners Journal for the NYTimes comes very close; the flavoring at Bar Boulud was rosemary infused, but either rosemary or tarragon as suggested in Mark Bittman’s recipe makes this a great summer-time soup to start off a meal, or on its own.
Our reason for traveling to NYC this time was to see the Irving Penn Centennial exhibit at the Metropolitan. If you have a chance to get to NY before the show closes on July 30, 2017, by all means go! It is an amazing and inspiring show of Penn’s personal projects and more commercial endeavors.
Possibly the Best Pea Soup – Mark Bittman, NYTimes
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely sliced shallots
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pound shelled fresh sweet peas (I used WFM frozen; not a fan of shelling peas)
- 1/2 TBSP chopped fresh tarragon*
- 1/2 TBSP salt
- Pinch pepper
- 1/4 cup half and half or light cream
*If adapting for Bar Boulud version, experiment with fresh rosemary here
- Heat olive oil in soup pot. Add shallots and garlic and cook over medium heat until shallots are just wilted. Add 3 1/2 cups water, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for 1/2 hour.
- Add peas, tarragon, salt and pepper and bring back to boil. Turn down heat and let simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and let cook to room temperature. Puree in a blender in batches until very smooth. Force through fine sieve into clean pot, discarding small amount of pea skins left in sieve. (I used my handy stick blender and left the skins in. They were pulverized and added a bit of texture to the soup)
- Stir in half and half and add salt if necessary to taste. Can be reheated and served hot or chilled and served cold. (Top with a dollop of creme fraiche and chives if you want to fancy this up)
Living in a diverse community such as Lowell, MA, I sometimes find that I’ve taken for granted all of the ethnic flavors that are available to us here. With one of the largest Southeast Asian populations in the United States, we’ve been so fortunate to experience some fantastic foods and flavors, and even the mainstream grocers carry many ethnic foods.
This curry-flavored soup comes from Vegetarian Times, one of my favorite sources for non-meat based meals. The magazine encourages cooks to substitute whatever might be available for both the cauliflower and green beans; however, in the dead of winter, access to either of these veggies in not a problem. In almost all cooking, I use either olive oil or coconut oil; I substituted the coconut oil for canola in this recipe.
- 1 TBSP canola oil (I substituted coconut oil)
- 12 oz cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (3 cups)
- 4 large green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
- 1 TBSP Thai red curry paste
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes in their juice
- 3/4 cup light coconut milk
- 6 oz green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used thawed frozen beans)
- 1 TBSP lime juice
- Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and white parts of green onions. Saute 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to brown. Add curry paste, and saute 1 minute more.
- Add broth and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes.
- Add coconut milk and green beans , and simmer 5 minutes, or until beans are tender.
- Stir in lime juice and remaining green onions. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
Note: the nutritional information for each serving (6) can be found on Vegetarian Times’ webpage for this recipe.
It’s cold and damp and definitely a good night for soup! This recipe comes from Whole Foods Market. No kale, no problem – I used spinach in place of the kale this time around.
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cup red lentils
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 TBSP)
- 1 1/2 cup shredded kale (I used baby spinach)
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- Heat a sauce pot over medium heat until hot. Add cumin and toast 1 minute or until aromatic. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown and stick to the pot, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Add lentils, broth, 2 cups water, coconut milk and lemon juice; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 to 35 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in kale and salt.
Adapted from Whole Foods Market Quinoa Vegetable Soup.
Having adopted more mindful eating this year, I’m always looking for satisfying soups and salad mains that don’t load on lots of calories. This soup, courtesy of Whole Foods Market, not only makes use of more seasonal vegetables (like turnips), but is quite tasty – and low in calorires (110/cup). With a 20-minute cook time, it comes together quickly.
- 1 TBSP expeller pressed canola oil (I use olive oil)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 large turnip, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (I used red quinoa for variety)
- 4 cups low-sodium beef broth (vegetable broth substituted)
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
- In a large sauce pot, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and garlic and cook 6-8 minutes or until golden and soft. Stir in tomatoes, bell pepper, turnip, quinoa, broth, 1 cup water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked and vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley.
I recently happened upon the perfect empty-nester cookbook: The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, from America’s Test Kitchen. What could be more perfect – the detailed testing of every recipe fro ATK paired with recipes built for two?
This Gazpacho recipe found on page 37 comes with complete instructions for seeding raw tomatoes and a soup variation using shrimp. With summer tomatoes at their peak and an abundance of sweet peppers and cukes, this was tonight’s winner for supper.
For subscribers to ATK’s website, the Gazpacho is available online.
Adapted from Mayo Clinic Diet.
I love the combination of spices in this carrot soup – and with just 80 calories per 1 1/2 cups it is a perfect way to counteract the food treats I experienced at the Lowell Folk Festival this past weekend. This tasty soup comes from the Mayo Clinic recipe resources. Most of the spices I already had in my stash, so it was one tasty meal that came together quickly and with minimal shopping.
- 1 TBSP Olive Oil (substituted coconut oil)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 pound carrots peeled and cut in 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 TBSP fresh ginger + 1 tsp (peeled and chopped)
- 1/2 medium jalepeno pepper, seeded
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 5 cups chick stock or vegetable stock/broth
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (save some leaves for garnish if desired)
- 2 TBSP fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp salt (omitted)
- 3 TBSP sour cream, light or fat-free (I used fat-free plain Greek yogurt)
- 1 lime (grate the zest + use the juice in last steps)
- In large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seed. When the seeds just start to pop (after about 1 minute), add the onion and saute until soft and translucent (about 4 minutes). Add the carrots, ginger, jalepeno and curry powder and saute until the seasonings are fragrant (about 3 minutes).
- Add 3 cups of the stock, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the carrots are tender (about 6 minutes).
- In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth and return to saucepan. Here’s where I make use of my immersion blender. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of stock. Return the soup to medium heat and reheat gently. Just before serving, stir in the chopped cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt if desired.
- Ladle into warmed individual bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of yogurt, a sprinkle of the lime zest and additional cilantro leaves.
Recipe downloaded from Mollie Katzen’s website; originally published in Vegetable Heaven.
We’re in for a string of 90-plus degree days here in New England. A chilled soup seemed like something that might be light and tasty in the heat and humidity of early September. Be sure to clean the leeks thoroughly!
- 2 fist-sized russet potatoes (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into cubes
- 5 cups water or broth (I used water)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups chopped leeks, well cleaned
- 1 TBSP minced garlic
- 2 pounds fresh spinach, cleaned, stemmed, and chopped
- 1/2 cup minced fresh dill
- small handful fresh basil leaves
- small handful fresh mint leaves
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- white pepper to taste
- minced fresh mint for garnish (optional)
- Place the potatoes, water or broth, and salt in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer very slowly for about 20 minutes. Add the leeks, garlic, and spinach during the last 5 minutes or so.
- Use a food processor or hand blender to puree the soup with all its solids, adding fresh herbs along the way. You will need to do this in several batches if using a food processor or countertop blender. Puree until very smooth.
- Transfer to a container, cover tightly and chill.
- Stir in the buttermilk just before serving, and add white pepper to taste. Top each serving with some minced fresh mint, if desired.
Yield: 6 servings