On cold winter days (or days I just don’t feel like eating a big breakfast) I reach out for an umami-filled soup like miso to warm me up. I didn’t realize until recently that this soup can be as simple as melting some miso paste in hot water until it develops that rich color and flavor.
Once I got it down, I decided to give it even more flavor with a few of my favorite things. Of course, all of these ingredients are optional, but I like them together. I generally use Mellow White Miso, but you could experiment with different types.
I always taste at the end to make sure there is enough miso flavor in there. Finely cut strips of dried seaweed are optional, but they definitely up the fishy flavor! Add a dash of Sriracha and Sesame Oil at the end, if you want.
¼ cup Miso Paste
4 cups Water
1 cup torn Spinach
¼ cup chopped Cilantro
1 cup diced Silken Tofu
Juice of 1 lime
Throw everything in a pot until it’s hot. Enjoy.
A few years ago I got to go to Ojo Caliente Hot Springs Resort outside of Taos, NM…my husband was skiing and I was looking for something a little more relaxing. I booked myself a massage, soaked in the springs and treated myself to lunch at their fantastic little restaurant. It was there that I had the most amazing Tortilla Soup of my life.
Since then I’ve been searching for something comparable, and now that rumors of fall are twinkling in the air, soup seems just about the only thing I want to eat these days. Luckily, I happened upon this recipe from Blue Apron and made it for the first time tonight. It was sheer bliss. A warm, tangy, salty soup with all of my favorite flavors. I even had to tweak the recipe a bit since I didn’t have everything perfectly right, and it still tasted amazing. Here’s what I came up with.
• 6 Corn Tortillas (6-Inch, Taco-Sized)
• 1 tbsp Olive Oil
• 1 Onion, diced
• 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
• 1 Jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed
• 1 Anaheim Pepper, seeds and membranes removed
• 1 tbsp Olive Oil
• 1 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes
• 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
• 4 cups Vegetable Broth (I used 2 veggie bouillon cubes and 4 cups of water)
• 1 14.5 oz can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 Avocado, diced
• 2 Ounces Queso Fresco, crumbled or cubed
• 1 Bunch Cilantro, separated from stems
• 1 Lime, cut into wedges
Preheat oven to 475*. Stack the tortillas and cut them into ½ inch by 2 inch strips. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to cookie sheet, and toss strips to coat. When oven is hot, bake for 6-8 minutes, until lightly brown and crispy.
Dice onion, garlic, jalapeno and anaheim peppers. Add to soup pot with 1 tbsp olive oil and heat on medium. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, until veggies are soft. Add cumin and combine. Add tomatoes and vegetable broth and increase heat until it comes to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes, then add black beans. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium again and let sit for 10-12 minutes, until soup starts to thicken.
Divvy diced avocado, tortilla strips and queso fresco among 4 bowls. Ladle soup into the bowls and top with a handful of cilantro and serve with lime.
So I have some friends at work—MC and LB—who are workout buddies and cooking buddies. The catch is that MC is on the Paleo diet, and LB is a long-term vegetarian. Amazingly, these two things seem to mesh pretty well when they’re cooking! (MC even has a Paleo blog, where she posted a non-veg version of this recipe.) This is their take on all the different tom kha variations they found out there.
My first experience with this soup was at my favorite Thai restaurant in Chicago. There it was pure white, and stocked only with cilantro, tofu, green onion and mushrooms. Simple, but the perfect combination of flavors, and it quickly became one of my takeout go-tos.
Here, MC and LB futzed until they found their own version of tom kha, chock full of healthy veggies and spice.
4 cups Vegetable Broth
1 stalk Lemongrass, about 5 inches
3 cloves Garlic
1-1/2 inches Ginger, peeled (1-½ tablespoons minced)
2 Thai Chili Peppers
1/3 cup Red and/or Yellow Peppers
1 Carrot, thinly sliced
2/3 cup Butternut Squash, cooked and diced
½ cup Button, White or Straw Mushrooms, cut into quarters
14 oz can Coconut Milk
Juice of one Lime
Soy Sauce, to taste (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
To prep, peel lemongrass until you see pale yellow. (If you already bought it peeled, you will skip this step.) Chop off 1/3 of stalk and set aside.
Bring vegetable broth to simmer over medium heat. Add 1/3 of stalk to pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
Mince the remaining 2/3 of lemongrass stalk, garlic, ginger and Thai peppers and add to pot. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
Add yellow peppers, carrots, squash and mushrooms. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add coconut milk and lime juice. (If you’re using soy sauce, splash that in now too.)
Serve and enjoy!
Last weekend we went on a hut trip with a bunch of friends (20, to be exact). The huts in Colorado's 10th Mountain Division System are amazing--comfy beds, great wood-burning stoves, and kitchens stocked with pretty much everything you need to make a great dinner. While some people think it's easier to just bring in the dehydrated stuff (and keep your pack lighter for the several-mile snowshoe/ski in), I think the meals are an important part of the whole experience.
We divided our 20-some into groups, and my group was responsible for dinner one night. As we brainstormed interesting options, I came across a lentil soup recipe from Food and Wine mag. The ingredients were simple enough, and I thought I could tweak it to make it tastier without the smoked turkey the original recipe called for. We chopped the veggies ahead of time in the food processor and brought them up in well-sealed bags. Here's what I ended up with--the most amazing lentil soup I've ever had! It got great reviews from the hungry hut-trippers, too.
1 tbsp Olive Oil
3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Celery stalks, finely chopped
2 Carrots, finely chopped
1 Onion, finely chopped
3 Tomatoes, chopped
1 small can Tomato Juice
1 Bay Leaf
4 Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon Cubes (or other good veg version)
2 quarts Water
1 cup Green Lentils
4 small Red Potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, celery, carrots, and onion. Saute until soft, stirring often, about 7 minutes.
Add tomatoes, juice, bay leaf, bouillon cubes, water, and lentils. Mix thoroughly, and allow soup to come to a boil. Partially cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for one hour, stirring once in awhile, until the lentils are tender. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, until potatoes, too, are soft. Remove bay leaf before ladling out into small bowls.
We served with some amazing rosemary-sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches...a perfect and hearty combination.
This is the first of a bunch of soup recipes I’ll post from my friend Amy and her pals. This one comes from the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook (via Amy). She says “groundnut stews are a staple of the West African diet, and vary greatly according to region–fiery or mild, gingery or not, with or without garlic, some with okra, others with eggplant … The liquids used can also change, i.e. coconut milk, veggie stock, or other fruit and veggie juices. Experiment as your tastes prefer, but don’t forget the most basic ingredients, peanut butter and cayenne!”
This recipe comes from my neighbor Joy via my once-neighbor AK. We had it at AK’s house last night, and it was the perfect, filling soup for a chilly evening. AK was delighted that she found pre-cubed squash at Costco, but if you prefer to do it yourself, directions follow. Serve with Joy’s other fave, Pesto Chango sandwiches.
My grad school friend Joanna gave this to me, since she’s got a fabulous garden overflowing with pumpkins! She says peeling, seeding, and cubing the pumpkin is a little labor intensive, but worth it to have baked seeds afterward. But canned pumpkin would also work. Goes well with rice or cous cous.
This recipe is quick, flavorful, and especially good on a winter evening! Chili is great because it’s all veggies and beans–like a whole meal in one bowl. The meatless ground burger adds good texture, but isn’t necessary. You can even replace it with frozen corn. For a thicker chili, use crushed tomatoes; for a stewier one, use diced.
There’s this vegan hot and sour soup at our nearby Chinese place that I crave often…it’s so good. So I did a little searching for veggie recipes that don’t require hard-to-find things like essence of forest flowers, and came up with this one.