Saturday, February 9, 2008

Recipe mania

The roller coaster continues. I'm excited, I'm freaked out, I'm happy, I'm sad, I'm brave, I'm terrified. I don't know what I am anymore. I just know I need to make soup. And blog about making soup.

Seriously, this soup making thing is keeping me sane. Or as sane as I'm going to get. I'm a control freak, and this surgery is completely out of my control. It's an uncomfortable and scary and thoroughly unpleasant feeling for someone like me. So, although I cannot control that particular situation, I'm controlling everything I can around it. Researching, making appointments, and obsessing about soup.

I put out a call to a group of my friends for some recipes, and they responded with some great ones. I made all of the following soups (with help from my boyfriend on a couple - what a doll) in the two weeks before my surgery. I have used up all my Tupperware containers, and my freezer is full. But this soup making thing is addictive...I want to make more!!

The funny thing is, before this, my idea of cooking was opening up a bag of pasta and a jar of sauce. Now, I'm the Soup Mistress. Don't mess with me - I carry a ladle.

So, here's some recipes for your obsessive compulsive enjoyment! (I am a vegetarian, so I made the soups with veggie broth. Please feel free to make carnivorous substitutions :)

Black Bean Soup from Pierre

2 cups veggie broth
1 cup salsa
2 cans black beans, rinsed (or any other kind of beans)
1/2 red pepper (roasted, if desired)
dash of cumin

Pour ingredients in blender and make it smooth. Heat it up and enjoy. Garnish with sour cream if desired.

Fresh Pea Soup with Mint from Holly

4 cups frozen or fresh peas
1 medium onion, chopped
2 1/4 cups veggie stock
1/2 cup cream, coconut milk or milk substitute
pinch of sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint or dill
1 tsp salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

In saucepan, bring peas, onion, stock to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Simmer for 6-8 minutes. Puree in blender. Stir in cream/milk and sugar. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Thin with more stock or cream if mixture is too thick. Serve with a garnish of mint and cream/milk.

Ginger Carrot Soup from Dianne

4 pounds carrots, chopped
1 potato, cubed
4 cups veggie stock
1 large onion, chopped
Lots of fresh ginger, chopped
1/3 cup almonds or cashews
olive oil
dry sherry
sour cream

Put carrots, potato and veggie stock in large pot. Cook until done. In a skillet, sauté onion, ginger and almonds in olive oil. When carrots are done, add onion/ginger mix. Puree mixture. Garnish with a couple of tablespoons of dry sherry and sour cream if desired.

Roasted Eggplant and Lentil Soup from Erika, who got it from Epicurious

1 eggplant, quartered lengthwise
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup French green lentils
14 large sage leaves
2 cups veggie broth
1 cup 1% milk
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400. Place eggplant quarters on a rimmed baking sheet, skin side down. Drizzle with one Tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until eggplant is tender (30 mins).

In a medium saucepan, cover the lentils with 2 inches of water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 sage leaves and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until lentils are tender (20 mins). Drain lentils in colander and discard sage leaves.

Scrape eggplant flesh into a blender, discard skin. Add 1 cup of stock and puree until smooth; transfer to a clean saucepan. Add lentils and remaining cup of stock to blender and puree until smooth. Add lentil puree to eggplant puree in the saucepan.

Stir in milk and lemon juice and bring soup to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper; keep the soup hot over low heat, stirring occasionally.

In a small skillet, heat the remaining Tbsp of olive oil. Add remaining 12 sage leaves and cook over moderate heat until crisp, about 30 seconds per side. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with fried sage leaves.

Red Lentil Soup from Epicurious

1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
3 1/2 cups veggie broth
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Cook onion in oil with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened (8 minutes).

Add garlic, cumin, bay leaf, and thyme and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add lentils, broth, water, salt and pepper, and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft and falling apart (30-45 minutes).

Discard bay leaf and thyme sprig. Puree 2 cups of mixture and return to pan. Stir in parsley and season with salt.

Spinach and Mint Soup from Epicurious

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 russet potato, peeled, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
4 1/2 cups veggie broth
3 green onions, chopped
2 (10 oz) pkgs frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1 cup chopped fresh mint, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper
2 tsps Hungarian sweet paprika

Heat 1/4 cup oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until tender (8 mins). Add potato and garlic; sauté 5 mins. Add broth and green onions; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until potato is tender, about 15 mins. Add spinach, 3/4 cup mint and cilantro. Simmer for 1 minute.

Puree soup in blander in batches; return to same pot. Thin with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in small skillet over low heat. Mix in paprika; cook 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with paprika oil; garnish with 1/4 cup mint.


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