soup and such

simple, fresh vegetarian soups and more


2 Comments

Pinto bean tostadas with lime cabbage slaw

Here is a fantastic summer meal idea when it’s too hot to turn on the oven and you’re tired of eating salad for dinner. That was us last week! So we decided to make some tostadas with an improvised cabbage slaw and a doctored-up can of pinto beans. Everything turned out really tasty, so I figured I’d share the idea here. These aren’t really strict recipes, just ideas for inspiration in your own kitchen during these dog days of summer. Tostadas are fun – make some tonight!

002 (2)

Pinto bean tostadas with lime cabbage slaw
These aren’t hard-and-fast recipes here, just quick and easy ideas to get you started! Adjust ingredients, amounts, and seasonings to your liking. Make the slaw first and let it marinate in the fridge while you get the rest of the meal prepared.

For the beans:
2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
About ¼ cup of diced red onion
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and/or coriander
Juice from 1-2 limes
Fresh chopped cilantro

Heat a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of a saucepan or deep skillet. Add onions and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add drained and rinsed pinto beans and whatever spices you are using. Stir everything around and let cook for a few minutes. Add lime juice. Smash up the beans a bit (I use a potato masher) to desired texture. Turn off heat and stir in cilantro, more lime juice (if you want), and adjust seasonings (sometime I add a little salt, depending on how salty the beans were to begin with).

For the lime cabbage slaw:

About 4 cups very thinly sliced cabbage
3-4 scallions or green onions, sliced
Big handful of chopped fresh cilantro
Good pinch of salt
Pinch of oregano
Juice of 2-3 limes

Place the cabbage in a bowl and add a good pinch of salt. Toss to combine. Then, add the rest of the ingredients and stir it all up. Let the slaw sit for about 30 minutes so the flavors combine and the cabbage softens a bit. Add as much lime juice as you want/need – we like ours very lime-y!

Assemble the tostadas:

On each tostada shell, spread some of the pinto bean mixture. Top with whatever toppings you’d like: chopped tomatoes, avocado slices, shredded cheese, grilled veggies, chopped onion, etc. Add your favorite salsa or hot sauce then pile on the cabbage slaw! I always add a little extra fresh chopped cilantro to mine. Enjoy!

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Gougères with cumin

gougeres plated

This is a favorite recipe around here. We especially love it as a special appetizer or snack, like for Oscar night or New Year’s Eve. These little guys go very well with a glass or two of bubbly. But lately we’ve been making a batch of these to have as a light dinner, served alongside a big green salad.

Gougères are basically like little soufflés or cheese puffs. I first had them when I was teaching English in France. The principal of the school where I was working invited me over for a Sunday lunch and his wife served champagne and gougères before the main meal. They were absolutely delicious.

gougeres ingredients

I thought they would be difficult to make, but they aren’t! There are just a few tricks to remember: measure out all your ingredients beforehand and do not (!!) open the oven door for the 20 minutes of baking time. Once you’ve got those two tricks down, they are pretty easy to make. Make some the next time you’re feeling like something fancy and French!

gougeres from oven

Gougères with cumin
From Chocolate and Zucchini

6 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted; if you have salted, use a scant ½ teaspoon salt)
½ teaspoon salt (or just a bit less if using salted butter)
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups freshly grated Gruyère cheese (you can also use a good-quality Swiss)
Method:

1. Measure out all your ingredients. Have everything ready to go.

2. Combine butter, salt, and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. I use a 3-quart saucepan and there is plenty of room; a 2-quart pan would probably also work. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Then, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour all at once. Use a wooden spoon and stir the flour quickly until everything is well combined. Then, return the pan to the heat and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has formed into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan. (When I return the pan to the heat after mixing in the flour, it usually only takes 1-2 more minutes of cooking before it’s pulling away from the sides of the pan).

3. Take the pan off of the heat and let it cool for 3 minutes. I always time this exactly, so that’s what I recommend. Then, add the eggs one at a time, stirring very well after each addition. At first it might seem like the egg isn’t blending in, but don’t worry, they do! Just keep stirring!

Sidenote: I once made a double batch of this recipe for my family at Christmas, which meant I had 8 eggs to incorporate one at a time. It took me forever and my arm was killing me!

4. Once the eggs are stirred in, then add the cumin seeds and black pepper. Give the mixture a stir to incorporate those. Then, fold in the grated cheese. You will have a very thick batter at this point! Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. It can stay in the fridge for longer than 30 minutes, too. In fact, I’ve made the batter up to 48 hours in advance and it worked out just fine.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the batter from the fridge. Using two small spoons, scoop the batter into small balls (about 1 inch across) and place on the baking sheet. They need a little room between them, but not much. Keep any remaining batter in the fridge for a later batch.

6. Bake the gougères in the oven for 20 minutes. I always time this exactly. Whatever you do, DO NOT open the oven door while they are baking! This will cause them not to rise properly. If you have an oven window, you can peek on them through that. If you don’t, wait at least 10 minutes before you open the oven door to peek. Once the 20 minutes is up, they should be puffy and golden. Turn the oven off and leave the door open just a crack for a few minutes before you take then completely out of the oven. This helps them not deflate! Although, if they do deflate, rest assured that they will still be just as tasty!

Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy with a favorite beverage, or serve alongside a big green salad for a light meal. Yum!


1 Comment

kale and quinoa salad with feta

 

kale + quinoa salad

Meet my new favorite salad. I made it for the first time a few weeks ago, and I’ve made it about three times since then. It’s delicious and very easy to throw together. The only thing you have to cook is the quinoa; everything else just gets chopped and thrown into the bowl. Mix up a super simple honey-dijon dressing and that’s it! Lunch is ready.

This is one of my new favorite ways to eat kale, too. I’ve tried a few raw kale salad recipes before, but this is by far my favorite. For this salad, make sure to use flat-leaf kale (not the curly kind). One of my grocery stores calls it lacinato kale, and the other calls it dinosaur kale. The name dinosaur kale is appropriate because its leaves are bumpy, like what I imagine petting a dinosaur would feel like.

quinoa and kala salad ingredients

I find that it’s a great variety of kale to eat raw in a salad because the leaves seem more tender and don’t require any massaging to break down. I never have any trouble finding it in my various grocery stores, so keep an eye out for it!

kale and quinoa salad2

I hope you give this salad a try. It’s so good!

~Inge

 

Kale and quinoa salad with feta
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

This salad makes a super satisfying lunch, especially on a work day. The nuts and berries can be easily substituted with whatever variety you have on hand. I used feta, but the original recipe calls for ricotta salata. The lemon zest really adds some flavor, so be sure to include it. 

½ cup quinoa, rinsed well (or 1.5 cups cooked leftover quinoa)
1 bunch of Lacinato kale, very thinly sliced (see directions below)
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup crumbled feta (or more, to taste)

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or white/red wine vinegar)
2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
Scant 1 teaspoon honey
Salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method:

1. To make the quinoa, combine the rinsed quinoa with 1.5 cups water in a medium saucepan. Add a few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer (covered) for about 15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Set aside to cool, then fluff with a fork.

2. Rinse and dry the kale leaves. Remove the tough stems and ribs from the leaves. You should end up with long, thin leaves. To slice them, stack a few of the leaves into a small pile. Then, roll up the stacked leaves (the long way) as tightly as you can. Using a sharp knife, very thinly slice the rolled-up stack of leaves. You should end up with thin ribbons of kale that resemble the fake green grass people put in Easter baskets.

3. Combine the kale ribbons and cooked quinoa in a large salad bowl. Add the remaining salad ingredients (almonds, cranberries, scallions, lemon zest, and feta).Toss to combine.

4. To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Alternatively, you could add all the ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake to combine. Pour the dressing on the salad and toss to combine. I find that tongs work best for this job.

Enjoy!

 


Leave a comment

chévre chaud salad with dijon-shallot vinaigrette

chevre chaud salad

 

Ever find yourself in a cooking rut? Some days (or weeks) nothing really sounds good and you end up making the same old same old. When I’m lacking inspiration for meal ideas, I usually turn to this salad. It’s super simple to make but it feels like a special treat. Just the thing to get me excited about dinner again.

This isn’t so much a recipe as an idea, in case you need some inspiration of your own for dinner.

Happy salad-making!

~Inge

chevre chaud

Chévre chaud salad with dijon-shallot vinaigrette

For the salad:

  • goat cheese (at room temperature so it spreads easily)
  • baguette slices
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Za’atar (optional)
  • salad greens
  • chopped tomatoes

For the vinaigrette:

  • about 1.5 tablespoons finely minced shallot
  • about 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • about  1.5 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • about 1/4 cup olive oil
  • good pinch of salt + freshly ground black pepper

 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arranges the baguette slices on a baking pan. Spread the goat cheese on the slices, then top with freshly ground black pepper. Sometimes I also sprinkle on some Za’atar. Put the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese melts and the bread gets a little crispy. You could also do this step in the broiler or a toaster oven.

2. In a salad bowl, combine the salad greens and tomatoes and whatever other veggies you’d like to throw in.

3. To make the vinaigrette, add the minced shallot, dijon, salt + pepper, and vinegar in a small bowl. Using a whisk, add the olive oil in a steady stream, constantly whisking to combine. Make sure to taste the vinaigrette to see if you want to add more of any of the ingredients. The amounts I listed are really flexible; I never even measure when I make this. I generally prefer my vinaigrette to be on the more mustard-y side, so you might want to start with 1 teaspoon and work your way up.

Another way to make the vinaigrette is to add all the ingredients to a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Then just shake it up. Super easy. This is a good way to go if you’ve reached the end of a jar of mustard. Just make a vinaigrette in the jar!

4. When the toasts are ready, toss the dressing with the salad and assemble your plate. Enjoy!


2 Comments

vegetable lo mein with edamame and mustard greens

veggie lo mein // soup and such

I’ve been making this lo mein recipe for a few years now and I love it. It’s easy, filling, and tasty! Mustard greens are one of my favorite leafy greens, and I love using them in this dish. In general, I think this is a flexible recipe, and you can sub or add whatever veggies you like. I recommend keeping the mushrooms, though, because their juices help create the flavorful sauce.

veggies + noodles // soup and such

Also, you should know that the amounts listed below make a big pot of this lo mein, which is perfect for me because I love the leftovers. I take a little container of this dish with me to campus when I need a quick lunch or dinner option between classes. I actually prefer to eat this lo mein cold or at room temperature, which makes life even easier.

Enjoy! ~Inge

veggie lo mein // soup and such

Vegetable Lo Mein with Edamame and Mustard Greens
Adapted from Cooking Light

This is an easy, veggie-packed noodle dish that comes together pretty quickly. I use spaghetti for the noodles, but feel free to use whatever you like, such as soba or udon. I love the flavor of the peppery mustard greens here, but use kale if that’s what you have. I’ve done that before with tasty results.

 

1 package pre-sliced mushrooms
4 cups mustard greens, rinsed and chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
¾ cup chopped green onions
1 ½ cup frozen edamame (thawed)
8 ounces spaghetti (or a noodle of your choice)
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil (or canola oil)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1-2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce (optional)
Siracha, to taste (optional)

Method:

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the mustard greens and cook for 1 minute. Remove greens with a slotted spoon and place in a colander or small bowl. Drain and squeeze dry; set aside.

2. Use the same pot of water to cook your noodles. I bring the pot back to boiling, then drop in the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water, then drain well again. Place the noodles in a large bowl. Add the sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, toss to coat, and set aside.

3. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and stir-fry for a few seconds. Then, add the mushrooms, bell pepper, green onions, and garlic. Stir-fry everything until the mushrooms have released their juices and the bell pepper is crisp-tender. Stir in the mustard greens and edamame; cook for another 1-2 minutes. Now add the noodles, remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chili-garlic sauce (if using). Use tongs to stir everything up so the veggies and noodles are coated with the sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes, until everything is heated through.

I like a little Siracha on my lo mein for a spicy kick. Enjoy!

 


2 Comments

red lentil soup with lemon

red lentil soup with lemon

Red lentils are a favorite legume around here. They are inexpensive, easy to cook, very tasty, and a good source of vegetarian protein. We just love ‘em.

Here is a delicious red lentil soup that is really easy to make. There is very little chopping/prep work involved, which has been a top priority during this busy winter season. The flavor of the soup is wonderful; the cilantro and lemon add a nice brightness to the lentils, so don’t leave them out!

The amounts here make a big pot of soup. If you’re cooking for just a few, you’ll have plenty of leftovers to freeze for quick work lunches or weeknight meals later on.

Happy soup-making, everyone! ~Inge

red lentil with lemon

Red lentil soup with lemon
From Molly at Orangette, who adapted it from Melissa Clark (original recipe here)

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
8 cups veggie stock
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Method:

1. Heat oil in your favorite soup pot, then add onions and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir everything around and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the stock, lentils, carrots, and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer, and then partially cover the pot and cook for about 30 minutes (until the lentils are soft).

2. Remove the soup from the heat, and use an immersion blender to puree about half of the soup. You can puree the entire soup if you want, but I like to keep a little texture. Warm the soup back up and stir in the cilantro and lemon juice. Taste the soup at this point to see if you need more salt, lemon juice, or pepper. Adjust to your own taste preferences! Enjoy!


4 Comments

Caprese quinoa bake

This is an idea for quinoa that I’ve seen floating around on Pinterest in different forms. I finally decided to take the plunge and try it out. It was tasty!

caprese quinoa bake 2

 

We made this quinoa dish a few nights ago for dinner. It is basically a quinoa casserole made with mozzarella, tomato, and basil, and baked in the oven until hot and bubbly. We ate it with a green salad on the side. Overall, it was an easy and satisfying weeknight meal that will definitely go into the rotation. This is a good recipe to try when you’re in the mood for lasagna or pizza, but want to make something a wee bit healthier. Oh, and leftovers were great the next day for lunch, too.

Until next time! ~Inge

quinoa bake

Caprese quinoa bake
Inspired by a similar recipe here

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1.5 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup grated parmesan
Big handful of basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
1 cup sliced grape or cherry tomatoes
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Method:
1. First, prepare the quinoa. Combine the rinsed quinoa in a saucepan with the water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until almost all of the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit (covered) for about 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and set aside.

2. Combine cooked quinoa, marinara sauce, half of the mozzarella, and almost all of the sliced tomatoes in a medium bowl. Stir in the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Then, fold in half of the basil. Transfer the quinoa mixture to a 2-quart baking dish that has been coated lightly with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil. Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella and all of the parmesan cheese on top. Place the remainder of the sliced tomatoes on top.

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until hot and bubbly. The cheese should be a little brown and everything should be heated through. When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle on the rest of the basil and then let it sit for a few minutes before digging in. Enjoy with a big green salad on the side!