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Posts Tagged ‘easy soup recipes’

Hot and Sweet Vegetable and Tofu Soup After nearly two months of holiday gluttony, I longed for a soothing and nutritious soup. With its balance of spicy, sweet, and sour, this soup fit the bill. Simple to make and delicious to eat, this soup took the chill off of a cold winter day. Some recipes transcend their basic ingredients and this is one of them.

Hot and Sweet Vegetable and Tofu Soup
The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Thai Cooking

INGREDIENTS
Hot and Sweet Vetgetable and Tofu Soup Supplies
5 cups vegetable stock
1 to 2 tsp Thai red curry paste
2 kaffir lime leaves, torn
3 tbsp palm sugar or light muscovado (brown) sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 carrot, cut into thin batons
2 oz baby spinach leaves, any coarse stalks removed
8 oz block silken tofu, diced

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the stock in a large pan, then add the red curry paste. Stir constantly over medium heat until the paste has dissolved.

2. Add the lime leaves, sugar and soy sauce and bring to a boil.

3. Add the lime juice and carrot to the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Place the spinach and tofu in four individual serving bowls and pour hot stock on top to serve.

Serves 4

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I used only 1 tsp of the red curry paste. The soup had a mild curry flavor and a bit of heat which was just right for me. My family likes spicy food, so if I were making this for them, I would add more than the 1 tsp of curry paste.

2. According to the cookbook, palm sugar is:
Made from the sap of the coconut palm or the sugar palm tree; palm sugar varies in colour from golden to light brown. It has a distinctive flavor and is not so sweet as cane sugar. It is often sold as a solid cake. If this is the case, grate it before use.

3. Kaffir lime leaves are green, glossy, double leaves that have a fragrant citrus oil. They are aromatic and lend an amazing flavor to soup. There is no substitute for them. Purchase these leaves fresh at an Asian market or, perhaps, ask your local Thai restaurant if they will sell you a few.

4. Silken tofu has the delicate consistency of egg custard, so it must be handled with care. If handled roughly, it will break apart.

5. To make this soup heartier, you can add mushrooms (straw or quartered button mushrooms), prawns, and/or noodles. Peel and devein the prawns, leaving the tail segment intact. Add prawns to the soup about 5 minutes before serving and cook them for 3 minutes or until they are firm and pink. If serving with noodles, it is best to cook the noodles separately and add them just before serving or place them in a soup bowl with the spinach and tofu and pour the hot broth over them. By doing so, you are preventing the soup from becoming cloudy and thick.

ENJOY!

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Hearty Lentil Soup “Can you stay for dinner?” an elementary schoolmate asked me decades ago. “We’re having lentil soup, she said. “What are lentils?” I asked. Being of Asian descent, lentils had never passed through my lips before. To my delight, I found her family’s lentil soup to be rich in flavor and texture and I will forever associate lentils with her.

Lentils, like other legumes, are high in fiber and protein and low in fat. But unlike other legumes, there’s no need to presoak lentils and they take less time to cook. The dominant flavors in this robust soup come from the earthiness of the lentils and the fresh vegetables, but the subtle undertones come from two surprising ingredients: Dijon mustard and vinegar. This soup is hostess-friendly, too, because it can be made a day in advance and it tastes even better when served the second day!

Hearty Lentil Soup
Recipe from the Sacramento Bee

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely diced onion
3 large garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup finely diced celery
1/3 cup finely diced carrot
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1½ cups French green or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Chopped celery leaves and parsley, for garnish

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over high heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to color around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, mince or pound the garlic in a mortar with 1 teaspoon salt.

3. Work the tomato paste into the onion, then add the garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaves and parsley and cook for 3 minutes.

4. Add the lentils, 2 quarts of water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, 24 to 35 minutes.

5. Stir in the mustard and vinegar. Taste and add more of either as needed.

6. Check the salt, season with plenty of pepper, remove the bay leaves and serve, garnished with the celery leaves and parsley.

7. The longer the soup sits before serving, the better it will taste.

Serves 4 to 6

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I use Italian parsley when I make this soup.

2. Because I like the way French green lentils hold their shape, I prefer using them in this soup over brown lentils.

3. The second time I made this soup, I used vegetable broth in place of the water. I can honestly say that there was no noticeable improvement in flavor using the broth, so I don’t recommend spending extra money on vegetable broth. This is not to say, though, that homemade vegetable stock wouldn’t have added a richness to the soup.

ENJOY!

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Mud puddles, computer tantrums, and an irritating left eye – because of these things, my day did not turn out as planned. My gardener found, not one, but five broken irrigation lines in my front yard. As soon as we repaired one and the water pressure returned, another bubbling puddle would form somewhere else. Little did my gardener know that under the soil in this particular flower bed lay a complicated network of irrigation tubing that only my husband, the “Mad Scientist” of irrigation, could create. While I was outside with the gardener, my left eye started to ache. “Aargh,” I moaned. Having an unusual eye condition, I went inside the house to put eye drops in to soothe my cranky eye. Leaving the gardener outside to play in the mud and with one eye shut, I decided to work on a computer project. Alerts and message windows popped up constantly – my computer did not want to cooperate with the printer. “What now?” I asked it. “Can’t we all just get along?”

To make a long story short, my day fell apart and by dinnertime I was in no mood to cook. I remembered this quick and easy recipe for black bean soup and whipped it up in about 15 minutes. Toppings of cilantro, green onions, cheese, and sour cream added fresh flavors to the soup. And a chunk of fresh artisan bread and a hearty green salad rounded out the meal. Although my day fell apart, the evening began with a great dinner.

Instant Black Bean Soup

Recipe from Cooking Light

Ingredients:
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt added black beans, undrained
1/2 cup bottled salsa
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 (16-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup (2-ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
5 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
5 tablespoons minced green onion
2½ tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

Directions:
1. Place beans and liquid in a medium saucepan; partially mash beans with a potato masher.
2. Place over high heat; stir in salsa, chili powder, and broth. Bring to a boil.
3. Ladle soup into bowls; top with cheese, sour cream, onions, and cilantro.

Yields 5 servings

Linnell’s Notes:
1. I didn’t have any cans of no-salt-added black beans, so I used regular cans of black beans. Because of this, no added salt was needed.

2. The toppings really add to the flavor of the soup, so don’t omit them. I only had shredded Monterey Jack cheese at home, but it worked out well.

Enjoy!

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