Category Archives: Soups

Instant Pot! Israeli White Bean Soup

This is another of my old favorites that I reworked for my Instant Pot. Although I already halved the recipe from what I made in the Cafe, I had to halve it again to fit my pot. It should now actually make a gallon (I mistakenly indicated it would make a gallon in the original recipe).

ISRAELI WHITE BEAN SOUP FOR THE INSTANT POT

Ingredients 

  • Olive Oil, 2 TB – 1/4 cup
  • Garlic, 2 large cloves, minced
  • Spanish onion, 1/2 lg, petite diced
  • Celery, 1 (lg) or 2 regular stalks, bias cut
  • Carrots, 1 (lg) or 2 regular, bias cut
  • Potatoes, 3 size “A” potatoes, 1″ dice, skin on
  • Cumin, 1/2 TB
  • Tomato, 4 lg plum tomatoes, petite diced, or one  19 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste,  2 level TB or to desired thickness
  • Salt, 2 tsp or to taste
  • Szeged hot paprika, 1/2 tsp
  • Cilantro, 1/2 bunch, chopped
  • White beans (Navy Pea Beans or Canellini), 1 lb. dried
  • Water, 2 quarts to start

Directions

  1. Rinse beans well, and put into Instant Pot with 2 quarts water. Close the lid and vent, and Pressure the beans for 15 minutes.
  2. At the end of the cooking time, hit Cancel, and do a Quick Release. Remove the beans with their water to a bowl and set aside.
  3. While the beans are cooking, mince the garlic, petite dice or chop the onion, slice the celery and carrots on the bias, and cut the potato into 1” chunks. If using fresh tomatoes, petite dice the tomatoes.
  4. When the veggies are ready and the beans with their liquid removed from the Instant Pot, add olive oil to the pot.
  5. Set Instant Pot to Sauté and add the minced garlic. Stir briefly.
  6. Add the onions next, and saute until soft, then the carrots and celery. Sauté, stirring, for a moment or two longer.
  7. Add the potatoes to the pot along with the petite diced tomatoes and reserved  beans and cooking liquid, and 2 TB of the tomato paste. Leave the Instant Pot on Sauté to bring the mixture to a simmer.
  8. While waiting for the mixture to come to a simmer, add the seasonings: cumin, salt, hot paprika.
  9. Cancel Sauté. Put the lid on the IP and close the vent. Set to Pressure for 15 minutes.
  10. At the end of the cooking time, hit Cancel, and do a Quick Release.
  11. Check the consistency of the soup. When finished, the soup should be thick with veggies and beans but with enough broth to be soup. Add remaining TB of tomato paste if desired, more water if desired, and adjust the seasoning.
  12. Check the consistency of the potatoes and beans, which should be tender (usually Cannellini beans cook fairly quickly). If needed, set the pot to Sauté, cover and select either Sauté to continue cooking at a more rapid rate or Keep Warm to continue at a slower rate. I like to cover it with my glass Instant Pot lid at this point so I can see what’s happening.
  13. When the soup is ready, either Cancel or Keep Warm (if you’re not eating immediately). Add chopped cilantro — and serve and enjoy.

P.S. If you need to thin the soup, just add water at the end of cooking (or when you reheat after storage) until it reaches the consistency you like. You will probably need to adjust the salt as well.

Instant Pot Cauliflower and Broccoli Curry Soup

I got a little behind on the broccoli from my CSA box this week and had to use that and the head of cauliflower I received as well. I found what looked like a quick and easy recipe on Pinterest, made a couple of modifications to it, and  it came out very nicely, a lovely creamy vegan soup.

Instant Pot Cauliflower and Broccoli Curry Soup

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil, 2-3 TB
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Onion, 1/2 large
  • Cauliflower head, small, broken into florets
  • Broccoli florets, 2 cups
  • Red bell pepper, 1 small, thinly sliced
  • Potatoes, five or six very small red or blue potatoes quartered
  • Coconut milk, 1 19-oz. can full fat or 2 cups fresh
  • Water, 2 cups
  • Vegeta, 2 tsp.
  • Cumin, 1 tsp.
  • Thyme, dried, 1 tsp.
  • Curry powder, 1-2 TB to taste (My curry powder called itself “hot” — ok — but since I have spice sensitive people, I started with 1 tsp and ended up with 4. The original recipe also called for 1 tsp. cayenne. I prefer hot paprika, but I left it out since the curry had enough bite for my group).
  • Cilantro, fresh, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prepare the veggies: peel and mince the garlic, petite-dice/chop the onion, cut the pepper into 1″ strips, break or cut the cauliflower and broccoli into florets.
  2. Whisk the seasonings into the coconut milk and set aside.
  3. Add the Vegeta to 2 cups hot water and set aside.
  4. Add the extra virgin olive oil to the Instant Pot and turn on to Saute for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the minced garlic and onion to the pot and saute briefly until softened.
  6. Cancel Saute. Add the water mixed with Vegeta to the pot.
  7. Add the remaining veggies to the pot. I have a mesh basket insert, and I think it’s easier to place the veggies in the basket and put the basket into the pot.
  8. Close the lid and set to Steam for three minutes. When finished, do a Quick Release and open the lid. If you used a basket insert with the veggies, lift it out. Otherwise spoon out most of the veggies into a bowl.
  9. Whisk the coconut milk and seasonings into the water that remains in the bottom of the Instant Pot, and return the veggies to the pot (this time without the mesh basket).

Serve, slurp, savor . . .

Quick Instant Pot Soup From Kitchen Basics

Last year was the “Year of the Pulse.” Fancy word for beans. Despite the low-carb craze, beans are still an incredibly potent health food. They were good before the carb thing, during it and yes, are still good. As one writer said, they “scour” your veins. And that’s not to mention they are loaded with B-vitamins and iron (in case you don’t get enough from your cast iron cookware). Now those are important vitamins and minerals in a vegan household.

My Instant Pot lets me throw in dried beans and usually have them perfectly cooked within half an hour (with the exception of chickpeas, which usually cook longer, and lentils, which usually cook shorter). So I said to my husband, Andy, “We should eat more beans.” To which he responded, “I don’t like them.” To which I responded, “Trust me.”

The only problem is, I haven’t been in the mood for cooking as much lately, winter doldrums maybe, after long weeks of zigzagging temperatures from -60 degrees (with the windchill) to +30 degrees overnight, ice, snow, salt, slush and high winds. Oh, and did I mention the coyote having a party in my backyard? So I needed something quick and easy.

I looked through my kitchen library of beans and chose lentils because they cook quickly, small red beans (really, Goya calls them that) because they’re pretty, and then I thought barley might be a nice, chewy and substantial addition. I had almost a pound of Crimini mushrooms I needed to use up before my new CSA box arrived from Andy’s office, and as always I had carrots and celery in the ‘fridge and onions. And that’s all I needed plus five minutes prep-time and thirty minutes Instant Pot time.

Oh, and one more thing: I always keep Vegeta in the cabinet. I usually make my soup broths from the veggies I saute when I start to make a soup, but every once in a while, I throw in the Vegeta, and it’s very good! I can county on Andy liking something when I use the Vegeta, and since I was making a point with the beans, I figured that would help me make my case.

One thing I should have used but didn’t this time was turmeric, which I should be putting into our food every day for best benefits and beautiful dishes.

Quick Instant Pot Soup From Kitchen Basics

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
  • Garlic, 1 large clove
  • Onion, 1/2 large
  • Carrots, 3 med.-large
  • Celery, 3 stalks, med.-large
  • Mushrooms, Crimini, 3/4-1 lb.
  • Lentils, 1/2 cup
  • Barley, 1/2 cup
  • Small Red Beans, 1/4 cup
  • Water, 3 quarts
  • Vegeta, 1 tsp/cup water (4 TB)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the veggies: peel and mince the garlic, petite-dice/chop the onion, slice carrots and celery on the bias, dry-wipe the mushrooms to clean them and slice.
  2. Add the extra virgin olive oil to the Instant Pot and turn on to Saute for 10-20 minutes.
  3. Add the veggies in this order and saute briefly after each addition: minced garlic, chopped onion, sliced carrots and celery, and finally, sliced mushrooms.
  4. Add 3 quarts of water to the Instant Pot along with 4 TB Vegeta, and continue cooking on Saute.
  5. Rinse the lentils and beans and add to the pot along with the barley (I wanted a brothy soup, but if you like a thicker soup, just add more beans and barley).
  6. Cancel Saute. Set Pressure to High for 30 minutes, and close the lid and vent.
  7. At the end of the cooking time, you can do either a Natural Release or a Quick Release, and check the beans. These small beans and the barley should be cooked at this point, but if they’re not, put them back under Pressure for a few minutes longer.
  8. If you’d like to add some fresh greens, chop and add them when the soup is ready to serve.

Guess what? This soup took me no time, was delicious, and had beans in it. And best of all . . . Andy liked it!

Instant Pot: Veggie Soup Middle Eastern Style

In my tiny cafe, we served up sixteen fresh salads, three soups and a daily special every day as well as homemade condiments. We made everything fresh from whole foods, so as you can imagine, we had to move pretty quickly. Mornings in the cafe were not the time to meditate on seasonings — so I developed templates for myself.

I had two soup templates — puréed soups, for which I relied on my pot and my VitaMix, and chunky soups, which needed only a pot and now my Instant Pot. This recipe is one of the latter, although I never made it in the Cafe. I just created it now from what I happened to have in my refrigerator.

My chunky soups almost all began the same way: I prepared my beans to barely al denté (oh my gosh, the IP changed my world of beans) and set them aside. The exception to this process was lentils, which I added after the initial veggie saute. I filled the bottom of a very large soup pot with extra virgin olive oil and sautéed lots of chopped onion and garlic in it. Sometimes I added petite diced carrots and celery to that. Then I added water sufficient for the soup (along with lentils if I was using those). Sometimes the cooking liquid included petite diced tomatoes, either fresh or canned, sometimes a little tomato paste, sometimes tomatoes and tomato paste, sometimes none of those, just broth. The water with the sautéed onions, garlic, carrot and celery made was a lovely broth base for anything else I might add — and now, if I want to get really fancy with extra layers of flavor, I can add an IP broth from veggie “waste” if I happen to have some on hand. I added beans back into the pot close to the end of cooking time.

My basic Middle Eastern seasoning set was 3:3:1 — Salt:Cumin:Hot Paprika, that is, the same amount of salt as cumin and one-third as much hot paprika. For a three gallon pot, that would be three tablespoons of salt, three tablespoons of cumin and 1 tablespoon of hot paprika. Of course, I always used a little less than the template so I could adjust for variations in how the soup mingled with the seasonings — and I often added a variety of other typical Middle Eastern seasonings for more textured flavors. These included fresh ginger root, crushed coriander, harif (Arabic: harissa), fresh mint and more. And of course lemon, which brightens everything.

So that was how this veggie soup came about. I wanted lunch from my Instant Pot today so took an inventory of my ‘fridge and found that in addition to the standard veggies I always have in the house, onions, carrots, and a little red bell pepper, I had some grape tomatoes, a head of cauliflower and redskin potatoes. Here’s what happened with that:

INSTANT POT VEGGIE SOUP MIDDLE EASTERN STYLE
Ingredients

  • Onion, one large, finely chopped
  • Garlic, two large cloves, minced
  • Carrots, 1-2, petite diced
  • Celery, 1-2 stalks, petite diced
  • Water, 6 cups
  • Tomato paste, 1/4 cup
  • Red lentils, one scant cup
  • Grape tomatoes, 1/2 pint, cut in half
  • Red bell pepper, 1/2 large pepper, petite diced
  • Redskin potatoes with skin, 2 large, scrubbed,  chunked
  • Cauliflower, about 1/2 head, cut into flowerets
  • Salt, 2 tsp.
  • Cumin, 2 tsp.
  • Powdered harissa, 2/3 tsp.*
  • Cilantro or parsley, chopped, for garnish

* A word about the harissa: I prefer my own freshly made harif/harissa but didn’t happen to have any made. I had this powdered version in my cabinet and thought I might try it. It added a subtle Middle Eastern flavor but barely any heat I could detect — that was great for my husband, not so much for me. In the absence of the fresh harif another time, I would probably opt for something a little stronger like hot paprika or crushed red pepper.

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil to Instant Pot and turn IP to Saute.
  2. Add garlic, onion, celery and carrots and saute for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, then add 6 cups (1-1/2 quarts) water, the red lentils, and mix all well. Let continue on Saute for a moment or two to start heating the water.
  4. Cancel Saute. Place the lid on the pot, seal, close the vent and set to High Pressure for 30 minutes.
  5. Do a Quick Release, and remove the lid.
  6. Add all seasonings (hold the cilantro or parsley) and the tomatoes, red bell pepper, potatoes and cauliflower.
  7. Place the lid back on the pot, seal, close the vent and set to High Pressure for 30 minutes.
  8. Do a Quick Release, and remove the lid. Check the texture to determine if it needs more pressure. This time was about right for me.
  9. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Add chopped cilantro or parsley.

I love red lentils. They have great flavor and texture, adding body and creaminess to soups — and they cook quickly.  Have fun with this recipe, adding to the basics (garlic/onion/carrots/celery/red lentils) whatever veggies you happen to have on hand.

Split Pea Barley Soup Redux – For The Instant Pot

I’m going to work my way through some of my old recipes with my Instant Pot — which, by the way, I’m loving! Here’s one I made the other day: Split Pea Soup with Barley. Hearty and delicious.

SPLIT PEA SOUP WITH BARLEY
Ingredients

I am using a 6 quart Instant Pot. This recipe makes about three quarts.

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic, 2 cloves minced (1 TB)
  • Spanish onion, 1/2 large, petite diced
  • Carrots, 2 large, petite diced
  • Celery stalks, 2 large, petite diced
  • Salt, 2 tsp.
  • Cumin, 2 tsp.
  • Turmeric, 2 tsp.
  • Hot paprika, 1/2 tsp.
  • Water, 7 cups (for the lentils) + 2 more cups (for the barley)
  • Vinegar, 3 TB
  • Green split peas, 1 lb.
  • Barley, 1/2 cup
  • Cilantro, 1 bunch, chopped (sometimes I also use, or use instead, chopped kale or spinach or chard)

Instructions

  1. Wash and prepare all the veggies and the garlic.
  2. Set the Instant Pot on Saute, and add the olive oil.
  3. Add the garlic and onion and saute briefly. Add the carrots and celery and continue to saute for a few moments.
  4. “Cancel” the Saute.
  5. Add the split peas to the Instant Pot, 7 cups of water, salt, cumin, turmeric, hot paprika and vinegar. Stir to mix all well.
  6. Close the lid of the Instant Pot and the vent. Set it to Pressure, High, for 20 minutes. I like to still see peas a bit, not have them totally disintegrated.
  7. Measure two cups of water. Rinse the barley, and add it to the 2 cups of water and set aside.
  8. Hit “Cancel” on the Instant Pot when finished. I usually do a QPR (Quick Pressure Release) so I can check on the state of the pot contents, not overcook. I can always Pressure more as needed. In this case, the split peas will not be finished because they’re going to cook more with the barley.
  9. Add the barley and water mixture to the soup, stirring it in. Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 10 minutes.
  10. This time when finished, don’t hit “Cancel.” You can do a regular pressure release (until you’re in a hurry to taste), letting the pot contents cook a little more as the pressure subsides. The pot will go to holding Warm.
  11. Stir, and check the liquid content and seasoning. Add more water if you need it and adjust seasonings as needed.
  12. I like my split peas and barley to retain some texture, but if you like everything softer and have a glass lid, you can put on the lid and let the Instant Pot continue to keep the soup warm, or you can Cancel and set the Pot to Saute with the lid on while you watch. With the latter, you need to stir fairly frequently to avoid browning on the bottom.  You can also set the Pot to Pressure on High for another 2-5 minutes (remember, there is cooking time before and after the Pressure time as pressure builds, then subsides).
  13. When the soup is finished, stir in the chopped cilantro.

I gave detailed instructions here, but this is soooooo easy. Basically it’s a matter of five minutes veggie prep time, five minutes Saute time, adding the split peas and their water along with the vinegar and seasonings and Pressuring for 20 minutes, then adding the barley and its water and Pressuring for another 10 minutes, checking it out and adjusting and adding the cilantro.

“Give peas a chance.”

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Mushroom Barley Soup with Ten Minutes Work – Instant Pot!

This is a great soup, my comfort food — a meal in itself for a wintry evening. It took me ten minutes of prep time to load it into my Instant Pot, was cooked under pressure for 20 minutes while I put my feet up — and soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Spanish onion, petite diced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced on the bias
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 4 medium to large plum tomatoes, petite diced (or a 19 oz. can)
  • 1/2 lb. pearl barley
  • 1 lb. baby belle mushrooms, quartered (this time I used one very large Portobello mushroom
  • 2 cups chopped greens (kale/spinach/chard, any or all)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. hot paprika

These were my raw ingredients for the Mushroom Barley Soup I made in my Instant Pot.

Instructions

  1. Add the extra virgin olive oil to the Instant Pot.
  2. Petite dice or chop the onion and add to the Instant Pot. Turn on IP to Saute for 5-10 minutes while you prep the remaining veggies.
  3. Slice the carrots on the bias and add to the onions in the IP while continuing the Saute.
  4. Slice the celery and add to the IP while continuing the Saute.
  5. If the veggies are soft or you’ve completed 10 minutes of Saute time, Cancel.
  6. Add all remaining ingredients: the petite diced tomatoes (I usually use fresh but was lazy this time), the 6 cups of water, the cut-up mushrooms, chopped greens, barley, water and seasonings. Stir.
  7. NOTE: If you like your greens greener and a little crunchier, just add the chopped stems to the mix in #6 and hold the greens.
  8. Close the lid on the IP and close the vent. Set to Pressure for 20 minutes.
  9. When the 20 minutes is complete, open the steam release until you can open the lid, about 10 minutes, then remove the lid. If you held the greens, add them now to the hot soup to soften for a few moments before serving. You can also “Sauté” in the soup until they are the way you like them.
  10. Check seasonings and serve. Mmmm…mmm…good.

Time for Fall Soups…This One’s Perfect for Fall CSA Veggies!

Published in Bob’s Fresh and Local Newsletter, 10/25/2017.

I found this recipe last year on The Green Panda’s Kitchen. A group of women made it outdoors in Kenya, and when I read that, I started dreaming of making beautiful meals outdoors with veggies from Farmer Bob’s fields. The squash at this time of year is plentiful, and the fall weather has been amazing…just right for cooking outdoors. A cast iron Dutch oven, some heat, a place to cut up my veggies, and that’s all I needed.

But you don’t have to cook outside! You can use your kitchen cutting board and put a soup pot on your kitchen stove. I halved this recipe for the two of us, and I usually bump up the seasonings a little when I taste it toward the end.

MOROCCAN SOUP WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SWISS CHARD

Ingredients

  • Chickpeas, 1 lb., rinsed and cooked until just tender
  • Butternut squash, washed, remove seeds and fibers, cut into 1.5 inch cubes (Don’t peel – I tried this! It really works!)
  • Carrots, 1 lb., washed and cut into medium dice
  • Onions, 1 lb., cut into medium dice
  • Tomatoes, 1 lb., cut into medium dice
  • Swiss Chard, 1 large bunch, remove leaves from stems, finely chopped
  • Garlic, 1 head, peeled and chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
  • Smoked paprika, 1 TB
  • Cinnamon, 1 TB
  • Cilantro, 1 bunch, washed and coarsely chopped
  • Lemon, 1/2 – 1, juiced
  • Cumin, 1 tsp. (Most recently I used 1 TB and no coriander)
  • Coriander, 1 tsp.
  • Salt, to taste (I usually use about 1 TB per gallon of soup)
  • Hot paprika, 1-2 tsp. (Opt.)
  • Water to cover (between the chickpea liquid and water, about 5 quarts)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the chickpeas by rinsing, covering with plenty of water, and cooking covered on low heat until tender (1-2 hours). Check periodically to make certain there is still sufficient water. Set aside with the remaining water.
  2. Prepare the veggies (squash, carrots, onion, tomatoes chard, cilantro) and set aside. Note: you can replace the fresh tomatoes with one-half of a 19 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes if you’re in a hurry)
    Mince the garlic.
  3. Add 2 TB extra virgin olive oil to a large soup pot. Saute the garlic and onion until softened.
  4. Add the squash, carrots and tomato (or one-half of a 19-oz. can petite diced tomatoes) and the reserved chickpeas with their water.
  5. Add additional water until all is cover — less for a more “packed” soup, more for a brothier soup.
  6. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until the veggies are tender.
  7. Add the seasonings and lemon juice and check the taste. Adjust seasonings if needed.
  8. Stir in the cilantro and chard.

I hope you enjoy this delicious, aromatic soup.

Tonight I’m making pumpkin and black bean patties for dinner. I’d love to share the results with you next week, but we’ve reached the end of the season! I hope the winter isn’t too hard on us this year, and I’ll look forward to connecting with you all again when we start getting Farmer Bob’s veggies again in the spring.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

CSA summer veggies…kinda like in the movies

Published in Bob’s Fresh and Local Farm Newsletter 9/6/2017.

Remember the Pixar movie, Ratatouille? My grandson showed it to me a couple of years ago as part of his educate grandma project. I loved it! This week I thought it might be fun to try out their special version of ratatouille, called “Confit Bayildi,” created by Chef Thomas Keller.

Confit Bayildi after cooking with extra sauce drizzled on top. Best to use a cast iron pan with vented lid. I was preparing three smaller portions so had to improvise.

The difference between Chef Keller’s recipe and the ratatouille I usually make is mostly about technique and presentation. Ratatouille is a savory veggie stew, and it’s a must at the peak of the growing season since it uses everything: tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, garlic, summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, basil and/or rosemary. This special version, though, includes arranging the veggies for cooking and serving in concentric circles on top of a rich sauce, making a beautiful, colorful dish.

ChefSteps has a Youtube video (https://youtu.be/iCMGPRiDXQg) that demonstrates the technique, which is great to know not just for Confit Bayildi but for other wonderful dishes like a crustless creamy apple tart. First select, wash and cut up your veggies, trying to choose veggies approximately the same circumference: zucchini, summer squash, plum or smallish tomatoes, eggplant. In the video, the chef peeled and cut the tomatoes by hand into thin, round slices, then used a mandolin for the rest. I cut them all by hand and didn’t peel the tomatoes since I know ours are organic, and I like eating the peel. Any parts of these veggies you don’t use should go into your blender along with lots of garlic, a cut up onion or two and a cut up red bell pepper or two.  Add some extra virgin olive oil, salt and rosemary or basil, and blend until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Check the seasoning, making certain it is strong enough to carry the veggies. I like adding a little crushed red pepper as well.

Spread the sauce at the bottom of a cast iron pan or other heavy dish, and arrange the cut up veggies rhythmically in concentric circles on top of the sauce: zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, tomato, then repeat. When the dish is filled, drizzle additional olive oil over the top, and sprinkle with salt. Cover with parchment with a steam hole so the veggies don’t stew, and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. When finished, drizzle a little more extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs — and I squeezed a few drops of lemon juice over the top as well, which always seems to me to brighten the flavor. Finally, I drizzled remaining sauce over the top.

Ratatouille soup…mmm mmm good.

I had some extra cut up veggies after I made this, so I made ratatouille soup, easy peasy. Just put lots of garlic and minced onion into a soup pot with extra virgin olive oil, and saute briefly. Add tomatoes and a little water, and simmer for a few moments. Add all the other cut up veggies and water to barely cover. I usually start with about 1 TB of salt to a gallon of soup and 1/2 tsp. hot paprika. I add chopped fresh herbs like parsley, basil or rosemary after the soup finishes cooking and I turn off the heat. Taste and reseason to your taste. Less or no water would, of course, give you the traditional ratatouille. Enjoy!

And a few memories of this week on the farm:

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Tomatoes! Cucumbers! Green Beans! Basil! CSA riches of summer…

This post was published in Bob’s Fresh and Local newsletter 8/23/2017 under a different title. 

“The breakfast of champions is not cereal, it’s the opposition” …Nick Seitz

Hopefully you’ve had fun with “greenies” (smoothies with loads of greens) over the summer with all that gorgeous kale coming from Farmer Bob.

Here’s another way to think out of the box about breakfast. Put away that boxed cereal, and learn to make an Israeli-style breakfast! This is the perfect time of year to give it a try, when the cucumbers and tomatoes weigh down the vines and fill our CSA boxes.

Israeli breakfasts feature a salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onion and perhaps cilantro or avocado, dressed with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Other typical components of the meal are soft cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, smoked fish, pickles, olives, bread and even hummus (a chickpea “dip” — I shared that recipe a few weeks back).

I love to make Israeli Salad. It’s “vegetative,” that is, a meditative exercise involving beautiful vegetables:

ISRAELI SALAD

Ingredients
Plum (or other small) tomatoes, 6 ripe but firm
Pickling cucumbers, 2-4, depending on size
Red onion, 1/4-1/2, to taste
Red bell peppers, 1
Avocado (opt.), 1 ripe but firm
Cilantro (opt.)
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper

Directions
Although not necessary if the salad is eaten immediately, deseeding tomatoes extends the time the salad will last without drowning in its own juices. To deseed, quarter the tomatoes, scoop out the seeds and pulp (set aside). Cut the tomato flesh, cucumbers, pepper and opt. avocado into a uniform 1/4″ dice. Chop the onions and cilantro. Add extra virgin olive oil, the juice of a lemon and salt and pepper to taste.

VIDEO #1: For a demo of the dice, see the fun video my son created of himself preparing Israeli Salad in my cafe (mandolin optional – I do it by hand): http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bzEcBa9bzu0.

TOMATO & SQUASH PULP SOUP

Hold onto that tomato pulp! I combined it with the pulp that I scooped out of the summer squash when I stuffed them and made this beautiful soup by cooking the pulp in a pot with a cut up onion, peeled ginger root, salt and hot paprika. When the veggies were soft, I pureed them in my VitaMix and at the last pulsed in some of that beautiful basil we received in our boxes (and which we’ll enjoy again this week. This is a variation of one of our favorite soups!!

Last but not least for this week, my favorite way to eat snap beans, Moroccan-style Beans, also using the tomatoes arriving to us straight from the fields of Farmer Bob. I shared this recipe last year but simplified it a little this year.

MOROCCAN-STYLE GREEN BEANS

Prepare a quart of beans by washing and cutting into 2″ pieces. Add extra virgin olive oil to a pot with a cover, and saute minced garlic — lots if you love it, scapes if you have any left. Add at least 1/2 minced onion and saute. Add prepared beans and 1-2 good size tomatoes, petite diced. Bring to simmer, turn down heat, cover and let cook until beans are tender. Check occasionally to be certain there is enough liquid in the pan from the tomatoes to cook the beans, adding a little water if necessary. Toward the end of cooking time, stir in 1-2 rounded TB tomato paste, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cumin and 1/4-1/2 tsp. hot paprika. Cover again and simmer a while longer until flavors blend. When finished, squeeze in fresh lemon juice if you like. Enjoy!

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

A delicious way to use mid-summer CSA veggies

Published this week in my CSA newsletter, Bob’s Fresh and Local.

My favorite recipes are healthy, colorful, beautiful, meals-in-themselves, easy and versatile. This week, I had some remaining red cabbage, and our boxes featured the first onions and green beans of the season as well as some carrots. Of course I thought of Pozole Soup (or Stew, if you like it thicker with veggies like I do!).

Pozole is corn — white hominy, to be specific. Since the kernels are large and grow even larger during cooking, one dried bean packager markets it in bags describing it as “Giant White Corn.” Along with a rich array of colorful veggies, pozole is the basis of this delicious Mexican-style soup. Although traditionally made with meat, my version is 100% plant-based, and the taste and texture of the pozole and variety of delicious veggies along with a little extra virgin olive oil and some avocado means no one will miss the meat at all!

Feel free to experiment with the veggies you add. I used some chard in mine this week along with the snap beans, carrots, cabbage and onions. If you have any garlic scapes left, they would also make a nice garnish.

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
  • Red onion, 2-3 medium-large, finely diced
  • Garlic, 8 cloves, minced
  • Oregano, 1 TB
  • Salt, 1+ TB
  • Carrots, 6-8 small-medium, sliced on the bias
  • Snap beans, 16 oz., tipped and cut into 1″ pieces
  • Tomatoes, 8-10 medium, petite diced — or a 28 can of petite diced tomatoes
  • Pozole (whole hominy), 1 lb. dried
  • Water, 3-4 quarts, including hominy cooking water
  • Chipotle in adobo sauce, 1-2.5 TB, minced or blended
  • Avocado, Red Cabbage, Cilantro, Lime Slices (garnish)

Instructions

  1. Slow-cook the pozole until just tender, and set aside in cooking water.
  2. Add the extra virgin olive oil to a large soup pot.
  3. Dice and add the onions and garlic, followed by the green beans and petite diced tomatoes.
  4. Drain the pozole, reserving the cooking water. Add pozole to the pot, and measure the water, adding enough more to make 3-4 quarts depending on how veggie-filled you like it.
  5. Cook until all flavors blended and veggies are tender.
  6. Serve garnished with avocado, slivered raw red cabbage, chopped cilantro and lime slices.

You might like a little more salt — or a little less chipotle. This makes a slightly spicy soup.

This week I’m looking forward to receiving sweet corn, cantaloupe, more summer squash, chard and snap beans, green cabbage, leeks and kale. That sounds like some amazing meals!

There’s no question in my mind what I’ll do with that sweet corn. Last year Andy and I discovered a new taste treat, Mexican-style corn with mayonnaise instead of butter. I prepare the corn either in the husk on the grill or in the oven — or husked in simmering water. I use Just Mayo, a great vegan mayonnaise, flavored with dried chipotle seasoning to taste — and we slather it onto the ears when they’re done. Now that’s something delicious!

The cantaloupe is another easy one. I love cantaloupe, and it won’t last two seconds before I just spoon it out of the shell. As for the greens…can’t get enough of ’em! We stuff our smoothies full every morning, starting off our days with a health rush.

Last but not least, the scenes that remind me that all is still right with the world…

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.