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Archive for the ‘soups’ Category

Recently my ukulele friends and I ate at Technique, the resturant of Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Downtown Pittsburgh. The experience was truly memorable—the food was delicious and service was excellent. The ambiance was dream-like: soft colors, white tablecloths, white napkins, and white china. Gentle music served as the accompaniment to soft melodic conversations. Each course was beautifully presented. The wait staff was very professional, courteous, and attentive. Sorbet was served to cleanse our palate between courses. A three course lunch of appetizer, main course, and dessert was ten dollars with no tipping! My friends and I left Technique with the impression that this was the new standard for fine dining.

A few of us in the group ordered avocado soup as our appetizer. As soon as a spoonful of this soup touched our lips, we knew we wanted the recipe. It was refreshing and light, yet full-bodied. It’s savoriness was actually sweet from all the inherent flavor of each vegetable. It was crunchy, yet smooth at the same time. We asked for the recipe but was only given a list of ingredients—no proportions. Each of us looked at the list and remarked, “The secret ingredient is missing. There’s more to this soup.”

After making this soup about four times, I was able to figure out the secret ingredient!

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I recently made this soup for a very special guest, my pastor during his visit with my husband and me. I wanted him to experience the full range of textures and flavors this wonderful cold soup provides from summer’s bounty.

I made one change in the ingredients. The recipe calls for red  or sweet onions, but this time, I used a white onion instead to give it an added punch. The soup already had two sweet fruits in it-a red bell pepper and tomatoes. To give the soup some contrast, I thought a stronger, more pungent onion would provide the added kick! I was right. My pastor liked the soup so much, he e-mailed me for the recipe!

To enhance your enjoyment of the delicious gazpacho, may I suggest you pair this soup with the viewing of my painting, White Onion.

From the land of sun drenched summers, where sunlight bathes every object and colors vibrate comes Gazpacho Soup.

Refreshing Gazpacho Soup

Refreshing Gazpacho Soup

It was during one of my walks through the streets of Barcelona, Spain that I came upon this chilled soup at a local Spanish restaurant made with farm fresh vegetables. After my first spoonful, I knew I had to replicate this soup when I got home.

Today, each spoonful of this chilled, refreshing soup brings to mind the memory of the Iberian sun, the same unique summer sun that makes Sorolla paintings shimmer.

Gazpacho Soup is simple and economical to make. It is the perfect soup for summer when its ingredients are bountiful, and you’re yearning for something cool and refreshing. For an added boost in nutrition use organically grown vegetables from your local farmers’ market or from your own garden.

tomatoes 024

cubed and seeded cucumber (leave seeds if not mature) 028two stalks celery and leaves 027

sweet red pepper 025diced onions 036minced garlic 026

The vegetables for Gazpacho Soup only need to be roughly cut or sliced for the blended part of the soup. The blender or food processor does all the work! Well, except the red onions and garlic cloves. You’ll need to dice and chop a little more so that no one gets a chunk of onion or garlic in their soup.

If you’d like to add some texture to your gazpacho, reserve some of the red bell pepper, cucumber, celery, basil leaves, and cilantro. Set them aside for later. These need to be chopped a bit smaller.

I like to blend the vegetables that contain the most liquid first. The liquid makes it easier for the rest of the ingredients to liquify.

Blend four vine ripened tomatoes until liquidy. Add one half of a seeded cucumber and blend. Add celery, leaves included; half of a large sweet red pepper or one medium; two tablespoons of red onions; three cloves of garlic with shoots removed, diced. Blend.

basil 034cilantro 029lime 030

Cut or torn basil leaves; and three tablespoons of cilantro. Blend.

Add the juice of one lime to the blended mixture. Blend.

cucumber, celery, sweet red pepper chunks with cilantro and basil 038

extra virgin olive oil 035water lillies; gazpacho soup; crepes 035

In serving bowls combine diced red bell peppers, cucumber, and celery (reserved earlier).

Pour the blended mixture over the diced vegetables. Garnish with more diced vegetables, cilantro and basil.

Drizzle with extra virgin oil and hot sauce.

Salud!gazpacho soup  044

Gazpacho Soup

Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

Reserve some cucumber, celery, sweet red pepper, cilantro, and basil for added texture and garnishing.

4 organic tomatoes

1 medium, organic cucumber

2 stalks celery with leaves

1 medium organic red sweet pepper

2 tablespoons of organic red onion or sweet onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

Cut or torn cilantro and basil

extra virgin olive oil

hot sauce (cayenne )

extra virgin olive oil

1. Reserve some cucumber, celery, sweet red pepper chunks with cilantro and basil. These need to be chopped finer.

The blended portion of the soup only needs to be roughly cut.

2. Place roughly cut tomatoes in blender or food processor. Blend.

3. Add cucumber. Blend.

4. Add celery stalks and leaves. Blend.

5. Add sweet red pepper. Blend.

6. Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and basil. Blend.

7. Drizzle with hot sauce (to taste) and extra virgin olive oil.

8. Add more vegetable chunks if desired.

Modifications and suggestions: Serve with a side of crusty bread and cheese; place slices of crusty toasted bread or shrimp in the center of the soup; for protein types, add shrimp or sausage to center of soup.

Chill soup before serving. To get it extra cold, add ice cubes.

This is an easy and fun soup to make. Add more or less of each vegetable. Keep tasting to adjust the proportions to your taste.


Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom

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The snowstorm started at noon Friday. It snowed throughout the night and ended at noon on Saturday. The roads had gotten so slippery Friday night that we could not drive uphill, so we drove downhill. Well, downhill eventually became uphill. If it weren’t for the snow, we would have seen the tire marks on the road. The road was a sheet of ice. We were stuck! My daughter and I got out of the car and pushed uphill while my husband steered the car. We finally pushed our car into a parking space a few blocks from our house and walked home. It was quite a workout. The snow was up to my knees. We were glad to be home.

We were snowed in for the weekend. After some shoveling on Saturday, a bowl of hot Arame Kale Soup was perfect.

Arame Kale Soup is a great alternative to coffee or hot chocolate. It’s nourishing and easy to make. The seaweed and kale are a good source of minerals especially calcium. It is also yin (alkaline) for the body—bringing the body into balance after eating foods that are baked, fried, high in grains or meats.

Sometimes I take some of this soup with me in a thermos as an alternative to coffee or tea when I work in my studio.

Arame Kale Soup

Serves 3

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup arame (a sea vegetable)

1/2 Cup filtered water

3 Cups soup stock (chicken, beef, or vegetable)

1/2 bunch of organic kale

1. Rinse arame until water runs clear. Then soak  in 1/2 Cup of filtered water (about 15 minutes).

it will double in size. Drain and rinse 3 more times.

2. Wash kale.

3. In a pot, bring soup stock to a boil.

4. Add kale to the boiling soup stock.

Roughly tear apart each leaf of kale. Sometimes if the stalk is tough, I hold onto the end of the stalk with my left hand, and I wrap my right hand around the entire stalk. I pull with my left hand while my right hand slides along the length of the stalk removing the greens from both sides of the stalk. I then tear the greens into smaller pieces.

I save the tough stalk for soup stock.

5. Cover and simmer until the kale is tender.

6. Add the cleaned arame to the soup.

7. Cover pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

8. Serve in bowls.

Suggestions and Modifications: To make this a complete, balanced meal in terms of its yin-yang (acid-alkaline) properties, a protein (cooked chicken, grass-fed beef, or organic ham) may be added. I usually garnish this soup with some leftover meat. Add a salad and you’ll have a light and nourishing meal.

For protein types, add more meat.

I love to add pieces of grass-fed liver to my soup. Since the other members of my family don’t like liver, I remove a  portion of soup for myself and add the liver in a separate pot. I watch the liver as it cooks so it doesn’t overcook.


Copyright 2009-2010 by Nurturing Wisdom

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