Posted by Tegan on Aug 29, 2011 in one brave soup
, Tegan's posts
This morning, Seattle summer feels quite like fall– cool, misty, and grey. But we’ve had a glorious run of sunny and warm-to-hot days lately. I am grateful for Seattle’s temperate summers, especially when compared to the 70+ days of 100+-degree weather in Texas and the humidity, heat, and hurricanes on the east coast.
However, when the mercury rises above about 75, I become a huge wimp when it comes to cooking. I have been known to subsist on cucumber sandwiches and frozen grapes for days at a time during heat waves– not good. So I’m building an arsenal of Healthy Meals I Won’t Melt Cooking. Salads and sandwiches count, but I’m especially proud of my latest vegan soup, good served hot or cold.
Carrot & Lentil Summer Soup
1 onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
6 cups water
3 cups of carrot slices (3-4 large carrots)
1/2 cup dried lentils
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup frozen corn
salt & pepper
Normally, when I start a soup, I sautee onions. Because I was such a wimp, I started to sautee the onions and the mustard seed together, then deemed it “TOO HOT,” so I poured in the water for the soup, gave a quick stir, threw on the pot lid, and stepped away from the stove.
After reading a few pages in front of a fan, I peeked in again, saw the water was boiling, and dumped in the carrots. Again, I put the lid back on and retreated. After about 5 minutes, I returned to toss in the lentils, cumin, and ginger.
10 minutes later, I returned to turn off the burner. More stirring. I let the pot cool for another 15 minutes, then went at it with my stick blender until the soup was thick, with a few chunks. To reward myself for proximity to a warm pot of soup, I
clambered into the freezer added 1/2 cup of frozen corn to the soup, dashed salt and pepper, stirred, and left the kitchen.
After about 20 minutes, the soup was cooled down enough for me to taste, and the kitchen was back to pre-cooking temps.
You can serve this hot or cold, depending on the temperature outside.
For our latest meeting of the Wise Women, I made a vegan curry soup to share. (Full disclosure: I’m vegan at home, but I’ll eat anything someone cooks for me with love.) I was tickled that all the omnivores enjoyed this recipe. How could we go wrong with Linda’s side of pita and hummus and Phoebe’s delicious blueberry crumble for dessert?
Vegan curry soup (serves 6+)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp ground coriander
4 cardamom pods
8 dried cloves
2 tsp fresh ginger, chopped fine
2 sweet potatoes, skinned and cubed
3 small yukon gold potatoes, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 cups petite crimson lentils (any lentils will do, but I love the color of these!)
1/4 cup dried split peas
6-10 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onions and garlic. When the onions get translucent, push aside and add the spices to the hot pan. Your house will smell like an Indian restaurant!
Stir. Add the sweet potatoes, potatoes, and carrots. The nice thing about this recipe is all your cutting can be really rough, since we’re going to puree before we add the lentils… Then add about 4-6 cups of water (enough to cover everything) and bring your pot to a boil.
Simmer until all the veggies break apart with a fork. (This took about 30 minutes from the time I added the water in my massive pan.)
Let the soup cool slightly. Then use an immersion blender to blend until mostly smooth. (A few chunks are OK.)
I started another 3-4 cups of water boiling in a separate pan to boil up my lentils and split peas, but you could probably add some more water to your puree and boil them right in the main soup. But I like to boil my legumes into a mush, then add them to the soup.
Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as more curry spices if desired.
This is the kind of soup that I think gets even better after sitting in the fridge overnight and reheating.
Cooking for others can take courage. Our group of wise women gets together once a month for book critique and friendship over dinner. When we started meeting, Linda hosted and cooked dinner, and the rest of us took took rotations making dessert. Then a snafu with the rice cooker prompted us to take turns channeling our inner chefs. We call it One Brave Soup a Month. So far every soup has been unique, delicious, flavorful, and filling. I think there’s a metaphor there somewhere…
Now I’ve teased you long enough. Please enjoy Wise Woman Beth’s delicious soup! It goes perfectly with oven-baked rolls and great friends.
Beth’s Sausage, Lentil & Kale Soup
2 tsp olive oil
8 ounces Sweet Italian Sausage (casings removed if present)
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
1/2 cup dried lentils
6 cups chicken broth, (either low-sodium or reg; adjust salt if needed)
1 bunch, (about 1/2 pound kale, Tuscan preferably – also known as Dinosaur kale), stems removed, torn into bite size pieces
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
In heavy pot, heat oil over med-high heat. Add sausage, breaking up meat during cooking, until golden brown, about five minutes. Add celery and onion, cooking another five min or so til softened a bit. Add lentils, broth and 1/2 cup water; bring to boil. Reduce to rapid simmer, partially cover, and cook until lentils and vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Add kale, and season with salt. Return soup to simmer, for about 5 more minutes, until kale wilts. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar.
The vinegar at the end is really what brings the soup its flavor! Enjoy!