Posts Tagged ‘soup’

Carrot Ginger SoupThe food processor is escaping the cupboard and seeing the light of day more often lately. First oatmeal raisin cookies, then carrot ginger soup.

I was starting the soup later than expected, and didn’t know if Bee would be patient enough to allow me to chop the carrots and prepare the other ingredients. Out came the food processor, and we grated all the vegetables, as well as the ginger and onion in a couple of minutes, together!

Another bonus: having the vegetables cut so finely sped up the cooking time and made the soup easier and quicker to blend before serving.

Recipe: Carrot Ginger Food Processor Soup

6 large carrots, peeled
1 small yam or sweet potato, peeled
1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 small onion, peeled
1 tsp coriander seed
1-2 tbsp oil
Approx. 2 litres water or vegetable broth
Vegetable bouillon cube (if using water)
3/4 cup cooked millet (optional, gives some body and added nutritional value to the soup)
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro for serving (optional)

Toast coriander seed until fragrant in pot intended to make soup. Remove from heat and grind using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

Grate carrots, sweet potato/yam, ginger and onion using food processor.

Heat oil in pot. Add grated vegetable, ginger and onion mixture and ground coriander. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add water or vegetable broth to cover generously. If using water, then add vegetable bouillon cube (I use a bit less than the recommended amount for the quantity of water). Add cooked millet. Stir to combine and bring soup to a simmer.

Simmer soup until vegetables are tender. Blend soup using an immersion blender or blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro to serve.

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This summer’s food discovery was without a doubt smoked tomatoes. My first taste of this flavour sensation was at Town where smoked tomato butter topped corn in a bag. Not long after that, we had smoked tomatoes in a dish at Murray Street.

That evening at Murray Street, David and I were seated on its fabulous patio. On the way out, we spoke briefly with Chef Steve Mitton at the kitchen pass. He asked us how our meal was. “Delicious!” as usual. Then David asked how he smokes tomatoes. “Slit them and smoke them,” he answered. “We do them in a stove-top smoker.” Not much to go by, but enough to give it a try!

David’s the grill guy, so this is how he interpreted those instructions:

  • Use perfectly ripe, but still firm plum tomatoes. They will stay whole throughout the process.
  • Mark the tops (opposite of the stem end) with an X and place them stem end down in a dish. I would suggest using an aluminum dish to avoid ruining a dish of better quality—we now have a dedicated smoking dish.
  • Smoke the tomatoes for 1-1.5 hours over indirect heat. David smoked them over apple wood on a Weber charcoal grill.
Smoked tomatoes

Relatively easy to do, smoked tomatoes add interesting flavour and complexity to dishes.

Back in the kitchen, the tomatoes were easy to peel once cool. Aside from freezing some—I think they would can well too—I used them in beef chili and paella. But their subtle and unique smokiness came through best, was truly showcased, in this smoked tomato gazpacho.

Recipe: Smoked Tomato Gazpacho

Start this recipe 24 hours before serving. The ingredients need to marinate, then the flavours need to meld. Serves 6.

Smoked tomato gazpacho600g orange cherry tomatoes (aka “garden candy“—these tomatoes lend the soup a beautiful sweetness), sliced in half
400g smoked tomatoes, peeled
1/2 cucumber, peeled (and seeded, if necessary)
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 leaves purple Thai basil, roughly chopped
100mL good quality olive oil
salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let marinate overnight. The vegetables will draw water as they marinate and create the liquid required for the soup.

The next day (8-12 hours before serving), blend the marinated ingredients until smooth. Pass the mixture through a chinois or mesh strainer to remove the tomato seeds. Add some water or vegetable bouillon if the mixture is too thick for your liking. Adjust seasoning. Return to refrigerator.

Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to serving. Garnish with basil leaves, finely chopped red pepper or something else that is tasty and pretty to serve.

This smoked tomato gazpacho was part of a delicious end-of-summer dinner that included smoked shrimp, velvety paella and creamy caramel flans.

Cooking paella

Family watches David cooks paella on the grill.

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Corn and fish chowder

Crisp. Creamy. Sweet. Summer. Corn and fish chowder. I had a small yellow zucchini I needed to use, so I added it too.

The corn is ripe (two weeks early!). That means one thing for me: time to make corn chowder. It’s a summer ritual. I look forward to it every year.

Paired with a crisp white and followed with a blueberry tart, it’s a quintessential summer dinner. The only thing that would make this menu even better is starting with something that included fresh peaches, like this salad.

Recipe: Corn and Fish Chowder

This recipe is inspired by Saveur Magazine’s Lobster and Corn Chowder. Makes approximately 10 bowls.

2 1 cm thick slices of bacon, cut into lardons
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 white potatoes, cubed
fresh corn kernels, cut from 6-8 ears
2 tbsp olive oil
several sprigs thyme/lemon thyme
1 bay leaf
3 lbs firm white fish (cod/monkfish/… I’ve used haddock too. A combination provides different tastes and textures), cut into 1″ cubes
6 cups vegetable bouillon
1 ½ cups full cream
½ tsp cayenne, ground
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, saute the bacon lardons until crisp. (We used bacon from Aubrey’s and it was so meaty that we had to add the oil to the pot immediately to prevent it from sticking. Evidence of a high quality product!) Remove the lardons from the pot and drain on a paper towel. If there is a lot of fat in the pot, remove some of the fat.

Add the olive oil to the pot. Add the onion, garlic, 2 sprigs of thyme (keep one for later) and bay leaf. Cook over low heat until onion is translucent. Add the celery and corn. Increase heat to medium and saute for 5 minutes. Add the potato and vegetable bouillon. Bring to just below a simmer and cook until potato is tender.

Add the fish (slower cooking one first if using a combination). Cook until fish is done, 6-8 minutes, keeping the soup just below a simmer. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Stir in the cream, cayenne, half of the chopped parsley and thyme leaves from the remaining sprig. Heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle into bowls, top with some lardons, and sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley.

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David (Mr. GrowChew) says he’s eaten enough asparagus for a while.  I don’t agree, even though we’ve had green spears almost every day for the last week.

Since I like to understand what I’m eating, I look up asparagus in my Whole Foods Encyclopedia, where I learn that asparagus has “good amounts of vitamins A, B complex, C and E, as well as potassium and zinc.” I like the additional comment in brackets, which reads “Given its shape, it is inevitable that asparagus has been considered an aphrodisiac.” Maybe David will reconsider.

The Visual Food Encyclopedia adds folic acid, copper, iron and phosphorus to the asparagus’s nutrients, and only 24 calories per 100g! I also discover that there is a category of purple asparagus, that is harvested when 2-3” high and has a fruity flavor. Is this white asparagus, which has been exposed to light (often the tips of white asparagus are tinged with purple), or truly a different variety?

Not surprisingly, a quick web search answers my question: it is its own variety developed in Italy. Purple asparagus gets its colour from anthocyanins, which are responsible for the red-purple-blue tints of many fruits, vegetables and berries.

But back to the food… In the last week, we’ve had halibut with sautéed asparagus, char grilled asparagus with poached eggs and prosciutto for Mother’s day brunch—yes, David fired up the grill on Sunday morning!—and asparagus risotto. My favourite though was tom khaa kai (chicken, coconut and galangal soup) with asparagus adapted from a recipe in The Food of Thailand.

Recipe: Tom khaa kai with asparagus

Tom khaa kai with asparagus

Chicken, coconut and galangal soup with asparagus is the perfect sweet, salty, sour, and spicy spring.

The base of my version of this soup is an aromatic chicken broth flavoured with lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal, ginger, coriander, onion, garlic and green chili peppers. I put the aromatics into a pot with a chicken leg, fill the pot with cold water, and let it simmer for 2 hours. Then I strain the liquid through a sieve with a tea towel folded in half, which even captures most of the fat.  I freeze extra broth.

To make the soup, I sauté (without browning) 2 sliced chicken breasts and 15 spears of asparagus cut into 1” pieces. As the chicken cooks, I throw in a couple of lime leaves, a red chili, and pieces of lemongrass, ginger and galangal. When the chicken is just cooked, I add a large can of coconut milk and 3-4 cups of the broth. I let the soup simmer until the asparagus is tender. To finish, I remove the aromatics (lemongrass, etc.) and season with 2 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tsp of sugar, and some lime juice (adjust to your taste). To serve, garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

More asparagus info and ideas:

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