Tag Archives: soups

Butternut Squash, Ginger and Shallot Soup and Crusty No-Knead Bread

This also from Season 1, Episode one of the cooking club, made by the lovely G.P. I love ginger stuff, so it was especially delicious. We ate it alongside her no-knead bread – a recipe originally printed in the NY Times. Both were amazing!

Butternut Squash, Ginger, Shallot Soup
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup soup and 1 teaspoon chives)

4 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
4 large shallots, peeled and halved
1 (1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbsp. (1-inch) slices fresh chives
Cracked black pepper (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a roasting pan or jelly-roll pan; toss well. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool 10 minutes.

3. Place half of squash mixture and half of broth in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture and broth. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Top with chives and pepper, if desired.

*I used a food processor instead which was easier and worked well
*I doubled the entire recipe, using 1 large 3 lb squash and added extra ginger.

No-Knead Bread

Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 c. all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ tsp. instant yeast
1¼ tsp. salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Pumpkin Soup!

I decided this weekend that I needed to make soup. Maybe because I was fighting a cold yet again, but it’s cold, soup is hot — and there you have it.

I stole my sister’s soup cookbook and saw MANY that I will definitely try (um… ginger leek soup, anyone?). Then I remembered that I have three cans of pumpkin puree in my pantry from Thanksgiving. Since I first started going to my squeeze’s family Thanksgiving in Champaign, Ill., three years ago, I have been the designated pumpkin-pie-maker.

Due to work and some unforeseen circumstances, our trip was axed the morning we were supposed to leave, and the pies never got made (by me, anyway). I didn’t know if pumpkin soup existed, but certainly there is butternut squash soup, and it’s practically the same thing, right?

A quick Google search and I was happy with one of the first I found. A good friend just got out of the hospital after a wicked Penicillin reaction during dental surgery (talk about kicking someone while they’re down), so I decided to double the batch. Holy hell did it make a lot of soup. Around 20 cups to be exact. That had to be pureed one at a time. That is how said squeeze, me, our two guests, recently-sprung-from-the-hospital-friend (and likely her husband) and yet another sick friend got dinner last night. Buyza Soup Kitchen was born.

Without further ado, here is the recipe (a single batch version, which has 7-10 servings). I’ll list the recipe as I found it, then tell you what I added to it at the end. My guess is, you could throw about anything in this soup and it would be delicious.

6 c. vegetable stock
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 c. pumpkin puree
chopped fresh parsley
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 c. whipping cream
5 whole peppercorns

1. Heat stock, salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic and peppercorns in a pot. (I think next time I will probably saute the onions and garlic in a bit of oil and then add everything else…).

2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.

3. Puree the soup (I went with a blender) in small batches – 1 cup at a time (toward then end of my 4,000 cups, I was doing 2 or 3 at a time, but I do think some chunks got through). Some of the people who reviewed the recipe online said they did it right in the pot with a hand mixer too.

4. Return to pan and bring to a boil again.Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes uncovered.

5. Stir in heavy cream. After I made the soup, I realized coconut milk would probably be DELICIOUS in this – and make it vegan. I think I’ll try it next time just to see.

6. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.

NOW for the additions, I made….

I put in extra salt and pepper — my guess is, if you don’t have the peppercorns, obviously you can just use ground pepper.

I also added touches of garlic powder, cinnamon and ginger powder. I think next time I might add some curry too and see how that goes!

The thyme I bought also came with sage, so I put a bunch of that in, not to mention far more thyme than the recipe asked for.

I served it with some French bread — a good crusty baguette would actually be great with this though.

I just ate it for dinner AGAIN and, after a day to hang out, it’s definitely a little spicier than it was last night, but still really good.

For some reason, the idea of making the effort to puree a soup always turned me off from doing it. I am no longer afraid (even 20 cups later). I’m so glad my laziness didn’t stop me from discovering this soup!

African Chickpea and Spinach Soup

I have been subscribing to Vegetarian Times for almost two years now and, sadly, have yet to make a single recipe from any issue.

That is, until tonight. I’ve been saving my soon-to-spoil herbs, stalks, peels and more for a few weeks and decided it was time to make some veggie broth — if for no other reason than the refrigerator at the new house is teeny so it was fighting veggie burgers and ice cube trays for space.

I filled a pot with my two gallon-sized Ziploc bags full of vegetable scraps and let it simmer for about five hours, then let it cool for another hour or so. It made almost 20 cups of broth! Most of it is in plastic bags in the freezer…

Out of three contenders I was deciding between, I realized I had 95 percent of the ingredients for the African Chickpea and Spinach Soup from the March 2007 issue so that’s what won. That and the fact that it sounded goooood.

I just finished making it and — holy cow — did I choose wisely. A brief taste test is all I have experienced, but it’s really good. In a way that’s a little unexpected. One of those recipes that just works, but you can’t figure out what your favorite part is. It almost doesn’t make sense, but that’s OK — it’s delicious nonsense.

Here it is:

2 tsp. olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped (about 1 c.)
1 clove minced garlic — about 1 tsp (I used 2 because I love garlic)
1/4 c. smooth natural peanut butter (I only had Jiff, which seems to have worked fine)
2 c. low sodium vegetable broth (or no sodium, if you make your own)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I added a touch more for extra kick)
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 14 oz. an of diced tomatoes
2 oz. spinach chopped (about 2 c.)

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute 5 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more, or until garlic is lightly browned.

2. Blend peanut butter and 1/2 c. broth in food processor to make smooth paste. (Note: I don’t see how this could be a paste. Maybe with natural peanut butter? It made peanut butter liquid for me, which seems to have turned out fine. Maybe it’s because I just used a whisk instead of putting it in a food processor.) Blend in remaining 1 1/2 c. of broth.

3. Add paprika, coriander and cayenne into onion mixture and saute about 1 minute, until fragrant. Stir in peanut butter mixture, chickpeas and tomatoes.

4. Simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in spinach just before serving. (Although I don’t intend to eat it until tomorrow, I chopped up about 1/2 a bag of spinach and added it. I’m guessing it will hold up just fine until tomorrow).

According to Veg Times, per serving:
257 calories
11 grams protein
13 grams total fat (2 g. saturated fat)
28 grams carbohydrates
581 milligrams sodium
9 grams fiber
9 grams sugar

Now you can see the best soup in the whole wide world.

A while back I posted a blog and recipe about
The best soup in the whole wide world.

More recently, I poached a blog and recipe from my friend Megan about The best GD salad you ever will eat.

I finally have pictures of both!

OK, the pictures of the soup were taken with the exact purpose of posting on this blog, so they were taken with more care.

The salad, on the other hand, I happened to make while having dinner at my sister’s when my dad was in town. I happened to get a shot of it in the foreground of a photo of he and my little brother, so I suppose I should happen to post it for all the curious salad eaters.