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Archive for February, 2015|Monthly archive page

Creamy Cauliflower & Red Pepper Soup

In Recipe on February 25, 2015 at 5:46 am

cauliflower red pepper soup

This beautiful, pale orange, soup with pretty pink flecks is so sweet and creamy that I ate it for breakfast with smoked salmon and avocado. You’re not going to find a hater for this soup, unless it’s my 7-year-old son.

1 TBSP coconut oil

1 – 5 cloves of garlic, smashed with back of knife

1 red pepper, cored and diced

1 potato, peeled and diced

1/2 a large cauliflower, chopped

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup coconut milk (full fat)

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp coriander

1/4 tsp cumin

cauliflower red pepper soup ingredientsHeat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper, cooking down until the pepper is softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add potato – I used a Japanese sweet potato with purple skin and butter-colored flesh but choose any potato you like – cauliflower, stock, coconut milk, bay leaf, salt, and spices.

Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and mashing chunks with a wooden spoon as the potato and cauliflower soften.

Remove bay leaf and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Add more veggie broth, if needed.

Garnish with chopped almonds and cilantro for added texture and flavor.

Spring Pea Soup with Mint & Coconut

In Recipe on February 25, 2015 at 5:25 am

mint pea soup

This soup is ridiculously easy and so delicious you’ll be caught moaning when you eat it. And, excepting the mint, most ingredients you already have on hand making this a very spontaneous soup.

1 TBSP coconut oil
1 onion
2-5 cloves garlic
2 cups shelled fresh peas or 16oz bag frozen peas (thawed)
1 tsp sea salt
10 sprigs fresh mint
1.5 cups vegetable broth
1.5 cups full-fat coconut milk

mint pea soup ingredientsCoarsely chop the onion and smash the garlic cloves with the back of your knife.

Heat coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and garlic and slowly cook until golden and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Take your time with this step – it adds a depth of flavor. The rest of this recipe is cinch and you’ll be done with the soup in no time at all.

Add the vegetable broth, peas, salt, mint and coconut milk and bring to a bare simmer. Turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Add extra veggie broth, if desired.

Garnish with fresh ground pepper, cayenne, curry powder, or nothing at all.

S&M Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe on February 9, 2015 at 2:04 am

“Life itself is the proper binge.” ~Julia Child

s&m soup

In honor of Valentine’s Day and the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, I’ve masterminded a soup that is for the brave, wacky, and tad bit suicidal parts of all us (oh, come on, don’t play coy with me). I haven’t read the Fifty Shades of Grey book (heard the writing was terrible but that’s not the point, right?) and I’m not sure I’ll watch the movie since I’m not convinced the acting will be very good. But I do recommend watching Secretary with James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal for a bit of uncomfortable but fascinating entertainment in a sexy, disturbing way. Kind of like this soup.

Speaking of sexy. It didn’t used to be sexy to speak about your colon and it’s functions or contents. And while it’s still not exactly sexy, it does seem to be the hippest new topic out there. The registered dietitian’s mantra has always been “The road to health is paved with good intestines.” And now it seems that everyone else cares about their colon as well. Now it’s totally hip to eat – and make your own – fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, kraut, and kombucha (this blog post brought to you by the letter “K”). Kimchi has a powerful, sour-spicy kick and I love it with fried eggs so I thought this soup was worth a try.the joy of food

Since it consists mostly of kimchi and gochujang with some tofu and scallions thrown in, this soup is kind of dark and dangerous. If the Korean spices aren’t intense enough then wait until the end when you top your bowl with a raw egg yolk. I freaked out at the last minute and tried to soften the blow by adding avocado. This soup has an oddly addictive quality to it but I’m not sure that I actually enjoyed eating it. Hence the name of the soup.

All of the gut-friendly benefits of fermented kimchi are lost in this soup recipe but that shouldn’t stop you from taking pleasure from this spicy, broth-y, brooding soup. All encounters with food need not be transactional. You are allowed to eat for pure pleasure from time to time. Stand down from the vigilance around “being healthy”. Treat yourself with kindness. But, if you want more info about maintaining a healthy gut, read on or skip to the recipe below.

Traditional fermented foods like kimchi (and miso and kraut) contain live bacteria (if not super-heated) essential for a healthy gut which in turn positively affects your immune system, endocrine system, and nervous system. For a quick summary on your gut and mental health, read Happy Gut, Happy You and for a more in-depth look at how our gut affects our mind (with links to interesting research), read this article and podcast from NPR.

Fermented and Pickled are not the same thing. Pickling often involves vinegar and sometimes sugar. Fermentation only requires water and salt and the fermentation occurs spontaneously with naturally-occurring bacteria found on the vegetables – well, really, it’s airborne and found on many things, even the glassware used during fermentation. kimchi ingredientsAdditionally, pickled products are shelf-stable through high-heat pasteurization so, even if they did have some beneficial bacteria (which they don’t), it would be destroyed by this process.

To find authentic, fermented products they must be located in the REFRIGERATED section of your market and will most likely have the words “raw”, “live cultures”, or “probiotics” somewhere on the front of the label. Read the back of the label as well for the ingredients list. Avoid sugar, MSG, and preservatives.

S&M Soup Ingredients:

1lb. silken tofu, cubed

1 TBSP raw sesame oil

4 cups cabbage kimchi, gently squeezed and chopped, plus 1 cup liquid

2-4 TBSP gochujang (what can you handle?)

8 scallions, sliced thinly

2 TBSP tamari (I used reduced-sodium)

1 TBSP toasted sesame oil

6 large egg yolks (or 1 per bowl)

a shake or two of toasted sesame seeds

kimchi and gochujangHeat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Pour liquid off jar of kimchi (reserve) and coarsely chop. Add kimchi to the heated oil (first!) and then add gochujang (or it will start popping and sizzling and splattering everywhere!). Cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 5–8 minutes. Add kimchi liquid and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until kimchi is softened and translucent, 35–40 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat, carefully add tofu cubes, and simmer about 4 minutes. The original recipe stated that the tofu will be slightly puffed and firmed up. I saw no such change in the tofu. I simply waited for them to rise to the top like ravioli. This might have been a tofu-cooking-failure but tofu doesn’t actually need to be “cooked from a food safety perspective. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tofu to a medium bowl.

Add scallions, soy sauce, and tofu to kimchi broth; simmer gently about 20–25 minutes. Add sesame oil. Ladle soup into bowls; top each with an egg yolk and sesame seeds. Attempt to enjoy.