Archive for Soup

Lettuce Week: Salads are great, but…

Lettuce  just get the pun out the way up front, so we can jump right in and make good use of the leafy green bounty in the spring garden.

From the Lynch Farm

I’m pretty thrilled that our little lettuce crop survived the bizarre hot-and-dry-then-rainy-and-cold spring, and didn’t end up as groundhog food. But now there’s the question of how to use all of it. We’ve been eating plenty of simple green salads, and tried a strawberry and goat cheese salad from Eating Well that was very tasty. Some of our lettuce also has ended up in tacos when we had make-your-own taco bar recently.

From there, though, I ran out of lettuce ideas besides just eating green salads for 27 days in a row. Thankfully, Teh Internets provided a week’s worth of recipes that make creative use of the leafy green stuff. Head past the jump for the list & a recent award.

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Recipe ReDux: Sea what you’ve been missing

There are some people who just aren’t going to be swayed by seaweed. It may be chock full of minerals – especially iodine and (compared with other plant-based foods) calcium – and useable in everything from sushi to salad to baked goods. But the pro-sea-vegetable arguments sometimes fall flat when people are presented with a bowlful of this:

Even if we pretty it up a little for photos…

…it does, frankly, look like something you’d take pains to avoid lest it spoil a beach stroll by goo-ily (sure, that’s a word) grabbing hold of your foot.

So even thought I like the stuff enough to eat it in sheets, plain, as a snack, I thought I’d use this month’s “Sea What You’ve Been Missing” Recipe ReDux to try my hand at (cue James Bond music) Secret Seaweed. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to hide this nutritious ugly duckling inside some tomato and clam soup.

When the Reduxers were charged with creating recipes that celebrate the more-obscure culinary treasures from the deep (little fished like sardines, or sea vegetables like seaweed), I knew I wanted to use seaweed. I have zero sushi-rolling skills, but figured seaweed soup was in my wheelhouse. Many traditional Korean seaweed soup recipes feature beef, which I don’t eat, but why not swap in clams? And while we’re at it, why not pretend the seaweed is like the spinach I use in a pasta with clams, tomatoes and spinach recipe, and base a soup on those flavors?

The result: an Italian-style seaweed soup (seriously, that’s a thing) that could easily be passed off as one of its “kale and beans and tomato” brethren. I even sprinkled on some Parmesan cheese (not kidding; cheese on seaweed) and it tasted great. So if someone at your dinner table is giving you a face full of seaweed skepticism, see if you can sneak it past the guards in this recipe.

Seaweed, tomato and clam soup (text file here)

4 servings, approx. 125 calories each

½ tbs olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
½ red onion, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
15 oz (1 ½ cups) diced tomatoes
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1 6-oz can of clams
½ ounce dry nori seaweed

Soak the nori in water for a few minutes, then drain it and slice it into inch-wide strips.

Heat the olive oil over medium-heat heat in a nonstick pan. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes; cook for 1-2 minutes then add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and just starting to brown on the edges.

Add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and juice from the clams to the pan, and remove it from heat. Allow it to cool slightly, then add the pan’s contents to a blender along with the sun-dried tomatoes. Puree until smooth.

Pour the blender’s contents back into the pan or into a stock pot. Add the clams and nori, and bring the soup nearly to a boil. Remove from heat, divide among four bowls and enjoy.

My fellow Recipe Reduxers have also been busy working with the lesser-known bounties of the sea; you can find links below to their contributions for this month:


Stalking the Week: Waving the magical celery wand

Maybe it’s the wand-like shape of a celery stalk which suggests it is imbued with magical, “negative calorie” powers. Let’s just get this out of the way up front: it’s a myth that you burn more calories digesting celery than are actually in the celery itself. And nutritionally, it’s not really a big standout – there’s a reasonable amount of water and vitamin K in each stalk, but mostly it’s just a fiber delivery system.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy this relative of carrots and parsley for its other merits, like the crunchy texture and clean, distinctive flavor. Those firm green ribs stand up great to all sorts of dips and schmears, making celery a perennial favorite on the veggie-and-dip tray at parties. But there are several other ways to enjoy it, especially in crunchy salads with fruit or other veggies.

The recipe that got this all started for me was a vegan creamy celery soup in the recent issue of Vegetarian Times. But that recipe isn’t yet posted on their site, and I’m not a big fan of copyright infringement, so I can’t share it with you here. I did manage to find a very similar recipe from Pamela Goes Primal, however, linked in the recipe list at the end of this post.

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Junior Week: Miles picks 7 from Babble’s 50 Best Recipes for Kids

After stumbling across Babble’s 50 Best Recipes for Kids, I figured it was time to let Eating The Week, Jr., take a crack at a week’s worth of recipes. Not the cooking – no 5-yo has the patience for 12-hour chicken soup – but the menu selection and taste-testing were all up to him.

As background: Miles is right in the middle of the picky-to-adventurous eater spectrum. He loves kale smoothies, but won’t touch broccoli with a ten-foot pole. He snarfs down plenty of fruit every day, but getting protein from sources other than cheese can be a challenge. In general, he’s interested in trying new foods, so it didn’t take too much encouragement to get Miles to pick 7 interesting choices from the Babble recipe list.

Want to see what he picked, and how they scored on the 10-point Jr. and Mom scales? Head past the jump

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License and registration, please: Eating The Week takes on Cooking Light’s Superfast

Usually, I have a ludicrous amount of time for food bloggery. I work from home, with my “office” all of 10 steps from the kitchen. And being a freelancer is a fairly autonomous gig, which means I can make room in my schedule pretty easily for menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking.

Nevertheless, there are still times where the workload required for Paying The Mortgage trumps Eating The Week, and I can barely find room in my day to brush my teeth, much less spend 2 hours making chili. So when I saw Cooking Light’s challenge to try out recipes from their Superfast collection – all of which are designed to require less than 20 minutes to prepare – I was gung-ho to add some to my repertoire.

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A souper week

When I first pitched the idea for this blog to him, Mr. Eating The Week (aka Tim) was agreeable and supportive. He’d suggested several times that I get a blog started, and one that would feed him regularly? Bonus.

Nearly two months into this experiment, soup week was the first test of Tim’s resolve. First, there were the skeptical mutterings when I suggested that chili counts as soup. Then the cryptic response to my announcement that vegetable pasta soup was on the menu: “You know how I feel about that.”

But for Tim, the line in the sand was drawn at spinach yogurt soup. I wilted spinach, mixed in garlic and mint, thinned with cold water, and chilled as directed, expecting to reawaken our winter-laden palates with a cool, tangy, summer-style soup. But when I put a bowl in front of him at dinner, I got the “sorry, but” face as he handed it back. “This is dip,” he said.

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