soup and such

simple, fresh vegetarian soups and more


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corn chowder

corn chowder

Jeanne Lemlin has written some of my all-time favorite cookbooks. Her soup recipes in particular are always delicious. I know if I take a chance on one of her recipes, I’m in good hands. A few weekends ago, I decided to try her method for corn chowder from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures. I mainly followed the original recipe, but added in some chopped poblano peppers and swapped out sweet paprika for smoked paprika. The result was one of the best soups I’ve made in a long time. Absolutely delicious! Another winner!

p.s. In addition to her excellent cookbooks, Jeanne Lemlin also publishes a very nice recipe blog HERE. We have been making her “best pasta dish in the world” fairly regularly for the past month now with farmer’s market tomatoes. So, so good.

corn chowder in bowl

Corn chowder
Adapted from Jeanne Lemlin’s Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 poblano peppers, diced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 cups veggie stock
2.5 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
4 cups fresh (or frozen) corn kernels
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 cup milk
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
Cayenne pepper (to taste)

Method:

1. In your favorite soup pot, heat the butter and olive oil. Saute the onions, garlic, and poblano peppers until soft and a little brown (about 10 minutes). Add the paprika, stir to combine, and cook for about 1 minute.

2. Add the stock, potatoes, celery, bay leaf, salt, sugar, and some freshly ground black pepper. Cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes). When the potatoes are soft, add in the corn and scallions and cook for another few minutes. Find and remove the bay leaf.

3. Ladle out about 2 cups of the soup and set aside. Using an immersion blender, blend the rest of the soup directly in the pot. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend everything in a traditional blender in batches.

4. Stir in the reserved portion of the soup along with the milk, thyme, and cayenne pepper (to taste). Cook about 5 minutes more just to heat everything back up. Enjoy!

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potato and summer squash torte

We have made this dish a few times this summer and it is reliably tasty. And it’s easy to throw together! You basically layer thin slices of potato and summer squash (yellow or green) in a baking dish with some drizzles of olive oil and sprinkles of a cheese mixture flavored with lots of fresh thyme. The whole thing bakes in the oven for about an hour, giving you plenty of time to mix up a green salad to have on the side. It’s really a lovely summer dinner. This one comes highly recommended. It’s so good!

 

Potato and summer squash torte
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Tend

Do not skimp on the fresh thyme! The flavor really comes through and it is one of the star ingredients. Feel free to add additional fresh herbs. One time I added some chopped oregano and it was delicious!

2 medium to large summer squash (yellow or green)
1.5 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus extra for sprinkling on top (if needed)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
Half of a small red onion, chopped
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
olive oil (a few teaspoons)

Method:
1. Thinly slice the squash and potatoes. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, flour, thyme, green and red onions, salt + pepper.

3. Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Place half of the potatoes in a single layer at the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange the slices so they overlap a bit. Then, layer half of the squash slices in the same way on top of the potatoes. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, then sprinkle on half of the cheese mixture. Repeat (potatoes, squash, drizzle of oil, cheese). You should end with the cheese sprinkling step. Sprinkle on some more mozzarella on the very top layer if you don’t think there’s enough. Go ahead, it’s ok.

4. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Then, remove foil and bake uncovered for another 25 minutes. Enjoy with a big green salad on the side!


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lime rickey

Busy, busy, busy. That has been my July and August (so far) in a nutshell. Lots of work but also lots of fun things, including a trip with family to sunny San Diego where I tried In-and-Out Burger (the veggie option) and stand-up paddle boarding for the first time. I give the former a B+ and the latter an A+. I also had a great weekend visit here in Chicago with an old friend. It’s fun to be a tourist in your own city every now and then. So far, it’s been a stellar summer.

Chicago

This post is about the lime rickey. It’s a refreshing, summery, and easy cocktail. It really hits the spot after a long day of work. I have no idea if this is the authentic way to make this drink, but it’s the way I like to make it.

lime rickey

I’ll be back soon with some great summer vegetable recipes we’ve been cooking! ~Inge

lime rickey

serves 1, scale accordingly

In a cocktail glass, squeeze the juice from half a lime. Drop the juiced lime half in the glass. Add a tiny pinch of salt and a drop or two of agave syrup. Add your desired amount of gin. Drop in 2 ice cubes and top off with club soda. Give it a quick stir and enjoy!


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grilled vegetable skewers + cucumber sangria

grilled veggie skewers

grilled veggie skewers

Inspired by the homemade salsa we had in the fridge, we decided to do a Tex-Mex cookout for July 4th weekend! It was really more of an indoor cookout. Since we don’t have an outdoor spacing for grilling, we just use a cast iron stovetop grill pan. This one works really well.

First, we made a festive drink to kick off the celebration. I had my eye on something I saw on this blog a few weeks ago, namely a white wine sangria made with honeydew, cucumber, and limes. It sounded so summery and refreshing. We mixed up a batch and it was so good! This is a great summertime drink to have in your repertoire.

refreshing cucumber sangrias!

refreshing cucumber sangria!

Next, we went to work on some grilled vegetable skewers with zucchini, red pepper, mushrooms, and red onion. To make it special, we let the veggies marinate in a jalapeno-lime dressing for about an hour before grilling. The marinade gave a ton of flavor to these veggies! We’ll be making this again for sure.

veggies with marinade

veggies with marinade

grilling up the skewers!

grilling up the skewers!

The veggies are flavorful enough to eat on their own, but we decided to make them into tacos. We stuffed them in tortillas with some smashed pinto beans, avocado slices, and tomatillo salsa. To make the smashed pinto beans, sauté some chopped onion, garlic, and cilantro in a saucepan, then add 1 can of drained and rinsed pinto beans along with a few pinches of chili powder and cumin. Cook the bean mixture for a few minutes while smashing some of the beans against the side of the pot with a wood spoon (or, just use a potato masher).

veggie skewers with smashed pinto beans and tomatillo salsa

veggie skewers with smashed pinto beans and tomatillo salsa

Everything was delicious! I highly recommend this marinade for any veggies you might want to grill this summer. Have you fired up your (indoor or outdoor) grills yet?

Happy summer cooking and grilling, everyone! ~Inge

Grilled vegetable skewers
This is a delicious and easy marinade idea for grilled veggies. We ate these grilled veggies in tortillas with smashed pinto beans, tomatillo salsa, and avocado slices. I highly recommend this delicious combo!

For the marinade:
4 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lime
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ teaspoon each of chili powder and smoked paprika
Pinch of salt

For the veggies:

1 large (or 2 medium) zucchini
1 red onion
1 red pepper
8-ounce container of mushrooms (I used baby bellas)

You’ll also need about 15 skewers. If you’re using bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them in water for about 30 minutes so they don’t burn on the grill.

Method:

1. Whisk all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut the veggies into chunks that you’ll be able to easily spear onto the skewers. Add the veggies to the marinade and stir to coat. Let the coated veggies marinate for about an hour (I kept it in the fridge).

2. After the veggies have marinated, make up your skewers. I ended up with about 15 skewers, which I grilled up in 3 batches on a stovetop cast iron grill pan. I let each batch cook for about 5-7 minutes on one side, then flipped them over for another 5-7 minutes. I took them off once I saw blackened grill marks on most of the veggies. Yum!

Tip: Squeeze additional fresh lime juice over the platter of grilled veggies before serving. Delicious!

Cucumber sangria
Adapted from The Forest Feast

1 bottle of chilled white wine (we used a budget-friendly Sauvignon Blanc from Chile)
Honeydew melon, about 2 cups chopped
Cucumber, about 1.5 cups sliced
1 lime, sliced
A handful of fresh mint leaves
A little bit of Agave syrup or honey, just to sweeten it up a bit
Club soda or seltzer, chilled

Method:

1. Add the honeydew, cucumber, lime, mint leaves, and agave to a pitcher. Pour in the bottle of wine. Give the mixture a little stir. Refrigerate the sangria for 2 hours before serving.

2. Pour sangria into pretty glasses. Top off each glass with a little chilled seltzer. Enjoy!


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beets with lemon and herb vinaigrette

June has been a super busy month and it looks like it will continue to be one in the weeks ahead. I’ve still been finding time to cook, though. After a quick visit to my neighborhood farmer’s market yesterday morning, I came home and made these beets for lunch. Wow, they were good!

beets with lemon and herb vinaigrette

beets with lemon and herb vinaigrette

In my opinion, beets are best with some sort of vinaigrette, eaten cold or at room temperature, in salads or simply on their own. I think beets sometimes get a bad rap because of their appearance, but they are so tasty! I learned recently that you can even grate raw beet into a salad. This sounds like a messy affair (pink beet juice flying everywhere?), but something I’d like to try.

Yesterday, though, I simply steamed my beets, cut them into bite-sized wedges, and dressed them with a lemony vinaigrette made with a good amount of red onion, fresh parsley, and cilantro. It was delicious! Even if you’re staunchly opposed to beets, go ahead and make this vinaigrette recipe – it’s a keeper!

beets with vinaigrette over greens

Happy June cooking, everyone! ~Inge

Beets with lemon and herb vinaigrette
Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

This recipe makes more than enough dressing for one bunch of beets (which is what I bought). Store any leftovers in the fridge and use later on salad greens or other steamed veggies.

1 – 1.5 pounds of beets
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ teaspoon coriander
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Clean and scrub your beets to remove any dirt. Steam the beets in a steamer basket for about 20-25 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork. Carefully remove cooked beets and place in a small dish to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, you should be able to easily slide their skins right off. After removing their skins (and washing all that pink beet juice off your fingers!), cut the beets into bite-sized wedges.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a jar with a fitted lid. Shake it up! Taste a little of the vinaigrette on one of the beet wedges to see if you want to add more lemon juice, salt, etc.

3. Mix some of the vinaigrette with the beets. Gobble up all the beets as is, or serve them over some salad greens dressed with a little more of the vinaigrette. Enjoy!