Category Archives: Soups

My favorite time of year…no, my other favorite time of year.

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

This is my favorite time of year, when all the beautiful summer veggies come from the fields into my kitchen. Oh, wait, I think I said that about early spring and the first greens. OK, ok, I just love the whole year in any year that I can have a part in bringing beautiful veggies into the world.

So let’s talk about this particular favorite time of year. Summer squash. Early cucumbers. Cabbage. Broccoli. Cauliflower. And of course that beautiful kale (hasn’t Farmer Bob’s kale been gorgeous this year?)

I saved my summer squash from last week, so with what’s coming in this week, I’ll have plenty to make a soup to share. This squash soup is a lovely recipe with a very slight sweet flavor.

SUMMER SQUASH & CORN SOUP

Ingredients
• 1 pound yellow summer squash
• 2 ears corn
• 3 large shallots (or use some of the leeks)
• 2 large garlic cloves (or use some garlic scapes)
• 1 fresh jalapeño chile
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 1/2 cups water

Instructions
1. Cut up summer squash into cubes, and cut corn kernels away from the cob. Mince the garlic and finely chop the shallots or leeks.
2. Add some extra virgin olive oil to the bottom of a soup pan.
3. Saute the garlic and shallots or leeks.
4. Add the veggies and water to just barely cover, no more than 2-1/2 cups.
5. Return to simmer, add seasonings (I usually bump them up).
6. When done, pulse soup in a blender, preserving texture.
7. Pour back into the pot, check and adjust seasoning, and hold warm.
8. At serving time, garnish with jalapeno slices and/or sour cream or yogurt. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the surface.

I originally found this recipe at loveandoliveoil.com. I’ve used it many times with groups, and it always gets great reviews! I usually at least double it and bump up the seasonings a little.

We’ll enjoy cucumbers again this week as well. Of course, anything you don’t use right away can be pickled. Last week I pickled the rainbow chard stems along with a garlic scape (if you love garlic flavor, these scapes deliver a powerful punch). Can’t wait to see how that comes out! The cucumbers this week can also be pickled — just use the recipe I provided for refrigerator pickles.

But here’s another way to try them, and it’s delicious! A Hungarian friend shared her recipe with me many years ago — would you believe more than 40? It dropped out of my recipe repertoire somehow because I’ve just been doing vegan recipes. Sadly, I will have to wait on this one until Perfect Day perfects its milk, which they promise will have all the properties of cows’ milk but without using a cow. I’ve already translated most of my former cafe recipes.

Lots of yummy salads! The Creamy Cucumber Salad is at 5:00 in the right picture.

CREAMY CUCUMBER SALAD

Ingredients
• Cucumbers, 4, washed, sliced in half lengthwise, deseeded, thinly sliced across (thin slicer blade on mandolin or processor)
• Salt, 1 TB
• Garlic, 1 fresh clove (or some garlic scape)
• Sugar, 2 TB
• Vinegar, white, 1/4 cup
• Middle Eastern Labne or Greek yogurt, 3 TB – 1/2 cup

Instructions
1. Mix the deseeded thinly sliced cucumber in a bowl with the salt and minced garlic (or garlic scape).
2. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, overnight if you wish.
3. Remove from refrigerator and drain accumulated liquid, squeezing it from the cucumbers.
4. Return drained and squeezed cucumbers to the bowl. Mix with sugar and white vinegar.
5. Cover and refrigerate for at least another hour.
6. Remove from the refrigerator and drain accumulated liquid, again squeezing it from the cucumbers.
7. Return drained and squeezed cucumbers to the bowl, and fold in Middle Eastern Labne. Greek yogurt, preferably full fat, makes a good substitute.

Just two weeks ago, our beautiful yellow summer squash was a small yellow flower.

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

5 Ways to Use This Week’s CSA Veggies

Prepared for Bob’s Fresh and Local CSA. Visit them on Facebook.

This week we’ll enjoy a wonderful variety of spring greens, mostly Asian and from the mustard family, including Mizuna, Tokyo Bekana, Hon Tsai Tai and Tatsoi as well as the more familiar spinach. We’ll also receive radishes, Hakurai, red stem turnip…and maybe some chives.

Greens, spinach, radishes and carrot with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt.

Most of these greens have a slightly peppery flavor. Hon Tsai Tai, somewhat similar to broccoli raab, is a bit more mild and delicious from stem to flower. Tokyo Bekana, closer to lettuce, is a little sweeter and crunchy. Tatsoi has pale lime green leaves in rosettes. The mixture makes beautiful salads, and I always like to make a simple one as soon as I get home with my Box. Spring radishes are a perfect addition. I dress these salads simply with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper.

But salads are only the beginning of what you can do with those flavorful greens! Here are five other ways to use your greens:

  1. Soba Salads or Entrees. Soba is a buckwheat Japanese noodle available packaged in many grocery stores. Prepare according to directions. Saute minced garlic and fresh ginger root in extra virgin olive oil. Add radishes and even turnips Julienne to the saute if desired. Add the greens and wilt. Turn off the heat. Add a little of salt or soy sauce to taste. Stir into the Soba noodles, or just top them off with a crown of sautéed greens. Serve warm or cold (for a salad).
  2. Patties. Make your favorite veggie patty. I like the Middle Eastern way (falafel), in which the beans are not pre-cooked, just soaked overnight. Try this: 1/2 lb. dried chickpeas rinsed and soaked in a covered container overnight, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 Spanish onion in chunks, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. allspice, 1 tsp. hot paprika and 3-6 oz. mixed greens, chopped. Using a food processor, place the garlic in first, then the chunked onion, the chickpeas, the seasonings and rough chopped greens. Place everything except beans in bowl, and pulse about 10 times, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then run for about 30 seconds. Scrape down, add the beans, and run another 30 seconds or more, scraping sides periodically, or until you have a uniform gravelly mixture that holds together. If you plan to fry, form the mixture into (falafel) balls. If you plan to saute or bake, form into small patties (I use a 3/4 oz. candy scoop). Deep-frying, the balls will take 3-1/2 minutes. If you saute, you might need to experiment a little. The patties should be browned on the outside and soft but not raw inside. Enjoy with pita, Middle Eastern chopped salad and tahini dressing.
  3. Soups. I’m a soup-lover, in the summer too. Ramen soup is very easy. I use three items that I always keep on hand in my home: 1) Costco has a great Millet and Brown Rice Ramen from Lotus Foods, 2) I order Mori-Nu Silken Tofu Organic Firm by the case from Amazon, which can remain unrefrigerated until opened (I just open one 12.3 oz. package from the case at a time), and 3) quality Miso. Make a delicious Miso broth, and when the broth boils, drop loads of roughly chopped Asian (or other) greens. Finally, drop in a square of Ramen for a moment or two until you can pull it apart. For a more substantial dish and a protein boost, add a few squares of Tofu. The chives would work nicely with this soup as a garnish and for added flavor.
  4. Omelets, Frittatas, Quiches, “Shakshouka.” Those of you who get eggs with your Meal Box remember to enhance all your favorite egg dishes with greens and chives! You’re probably familiar with omelets, frittatas and quiches, but Shakshouka might be new to you. Traditional Shakshouka, made with tomatoes and peppers, originated in North Africa. When the rich and aromatic tomato and pepper sauce is hot, the eggs are cracked into it, poached briefly in a covered pan, then served. In this version, saute some garlic in extra virgin olive oil, add the greens, salt, pepper or other seasonings to taste, and when you have a hot, saucy mixture, add the eggs for poaching covered.
  5. Pizza! Make or buy a whole wheat pizza crust — or use 6″ whole wheat pitas. Pre-heat the oven to high heat (unless you’re fortunate enough to have a small pizza oven). Oil the top of the crust. Add briefly braised and wilted greens to the crust, then thinly sliced onions and halved grape or cherry tomatoes, some pine nuts if you have them, seasonings (oregano, salt, crushed red pepper). Bake until the edges of the pizza crust begin to brown a little. Enjoy!

Next week I’ll write about turnips and radishes, spectacular veggies we take for granted. For now, save those turnip greens to use with other greens in your soups and egg dishes, or just to use as a (sautéed and seasoned) bed for roasted turnips.

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

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

Moroccan Soup With Butternut Squash & Swiss Chard

I loved making this soup from The Green Panda’s Kitchen. The story that went with it was just as delightful. It was great fun and inspirational to watch The Green Panda’s group in Kenya put together this beautiful soup outdoors. I’m looking forward to trying that myself during the warmer months here! The flavors on this one are wonderful, and I simplified the procedure a little.

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.
  • Coriander, 1 tsp.
  • Salt, to taste (I usually use about 1 TB per gallon of soup)
  • Water to cover

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 a 19 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes if you’re in a hurry)
  3. Mince the garlic.
  4. Add 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil to a large soup pot. Saute the garlic and onion until softened.
  5. Add the squash, carrots and tomato (or 19-oz. can petite diced tomatoes) and the reserved chickpeas with their water.
  6. Add additional water until all is cover — less for a more “packed” soup, more for a brothier soup.
  7. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until the veggies are tender.
  8. Add the seasonings and lemon juice and check the taste. Adjust seasonings if needed.
  9. Stir in the cilantro and chard.

I hope you enjoy this delicious, aromatic soup.

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

It’s Time For A Recipe! Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

Andy needs smoothies and smooth soups these days and likes broccoli, so I thought I might try a Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup. I figured I would use coconut milk as the “cream,” but since it’s much thinner than milk and certainly than cream, I decided to add some potato to thicken it. This is a really easy soup to make, simple ingredients, and it was delicious. Andy was very happy. 🙂

VEGAN CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP

Ingredients

  • Broccoli, two large bunches, lots of stem included
  • Onion, Spanish, one large
  • Idaho potato, 2 small or 1 large
  • Coconut milk, 5 cups
  • Water, 5 cups
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
  • Salt, 1 TB
  • Hot paprika, 1/4 tsp.

Instructions

  1. Prepare the veggies: wash all, then peel and petite dice the potato, petite dice the onion (chunks are ok too since this part of the soup will be blended anyway), and remove all stems from the broccoli and chunk, setting the florets aside.
  2. Add the extra virgin olive oil to a soup pot, add the onion and broccoli and saute briefly.
  3. Add the potato to the pot, and add 2-1/2 cups of water and 2-1/2 cups of coconut milk and stir. Turn down heat, cover and simmer until all is cooked and soft.
  4. Cook the broccoli florets in the remaining 2-1/2 cups of water and 2-1/2 cups of coconut milk in a separate covered pot until soft.
  5. Add the potato, broccoli stems and onion mixture to a high-powered blender (regular blender will work as well). Blend until very smooth, at least 1 full minute. Remove from blender to soup pot. This might take a few loads.
  6. Add the cooked florets with their liquid to the blender (might require a couple of loads). Pulse 5 or 6 times so all is regularly processed but you can still see the green buds.
  7. Add the blended florets to the stem/onion/potato puree in the soup pot.
  8. Season to taste. I usually use 1 TB of salt for a gallon of soup, which is about what this makes. I also used 1/4 tsp of hot paprika.

This soup is along the lines of comfort food, nothing complicated here to make or to eat. It’s very creamy, and the potatoes make it just the right consistency. Enjoy!

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

Quinoa & White Bean Soup

This soup, like so many other dishes, began its life with me on Pinterest, where I often go for inspiration. It’s a lovely, brothy soup the first day. The flavor improves with age, and it also thickens, due to the quinoa. By the third day, it is actually more of a light stew. My family loved it that way for a substantial and delicious dinner.

I’m including here the veggies that I used. Any greens are fine, though, and the summer squash and zucchini can be traded out for another high water content veggie.

QUINOA & WHITE BEAN SOUP

INGREDIENTS

  • Beans, Great Northern, 1/2 lb. cooked ’til al dente in water to cover (check water periodically and add if needed)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 3 TB
  • Spanish onion, 1, minced
  • Poblano, 1, minced
  • Garlic, 6 cloves, minced
  • Carrots, 3 med.-large, washed and cut on bias
  • Celery, 2 large stalks
  • Seasonal veggies, 2 cups at least, coarsely chopped (I used zucchini and yellow squash)
  • Greens, 1-2 cups rough chopped
  • Tomatoes, 8 Roma, petite diced or 1 28-oz. can petite diced
  • Quinoa, 1 cup
  • Water, 1 quart
  • Vegeta, 4 tsp.
  • Salt, 1 TB
  • Szeged Hot paprika, 1/2 tsp.
  • Thyme, 1 TB fresh (stripped from stems)
  • Pepper, black, freshly ground

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse beans and cook in pot with lid in water to cover. Check periodically to make certain water doesn’t cook off. When just tender, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Mince onion and saute in extra virgin olive oil in a soup pot.
  3. Add minced garlic to the pot, and saute a moment longer.
  4. Add carrots and celery cut on bias to the pot and saute until just tender.
  5. Add 1 quart water with Vegeta (soup base) stirred in. If you don’t have a vegan soup base, water is fine — you might just have to use a little more salt.
  6. Add one 32-oz. can petite diced tomatoes (or 8 Roma tomatoes, petite diced)
  7. Add seasonings and 2 cups seasonal vegetables (zucchini and summer squash this time)
  8. Simmer together until flavors well-blended and veggies are all softened.
  9. Add seasonings (salt, hot paprika, thyme).
  10. Add 1 cup quinoa and cook for 15 minutes until done.
  11. Add beans with their liquid (should have cooked down some so it just covers the beans).
  12. At the end of the cooking time, add rough-chopped greens. I used kale in this batch.
  13. Grind in fresh black pepper to taste.

Hope you enjoy this healthy, substantial, delicious veggie soup!

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

Potato & Corn Soup

Potato and Corn Soup

I would call this a “chowder,” but it’s not quite thick enough. If you want more of a chowder consistency, stir some cornstarch into water and add it to the soup toward the end of the cooking time. You may need to adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Note: I tried this soup again, and I whisked cornstarch into the coconut milk before I added it. That made the soup thicker and provided a little better consistency.

POTATO & CORN SOUP
Ingredients

  • Red potatoes, 5 lb.
  • Carrots, 4 large, sliced on the bias
  • Spanish onion, 1 very large, petite diced (makes about 2 cups)
  • Corn, 3 lb. frozen
  • Cilantro, 1 large bunch
  • Salt, 2 TB
  • Hot paprika, 1 tsp.
  • Water, 3 quarts
  • Coconut milk, 1 quart
  • Red onion, petite diced
  • Green chilis, diced
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup

Instructions

  1. Add the extra virgin olive oil to a soup pot.
  2. Petite dice the onion, and add it to the pot to saute.
  3. Wash and slice the carrots on the bias, and add to the pot to saute.
  4. Quarter and slice the potatoes (leaving the peel on) and add to the pot.
  5. Add 3 quarts water to the pot along with the seasoning. Bring to a boil, and simmer the potatoes, onion and carrots until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Add the corn to the pot and continue to simmer.
  7. Whisk the coconut milk, and add to the soup.  2 cans of coconut milk are almost 1 quart.
  8. Add the chopped cilantro to the soup. Check seasoning and adjust.
  9. Garnish the soup with chilis and chopped red onion.

I’m a big fan of potatoes, especially with the peel on, especially when they’re cooked in some way other than frying. Contrary to the bad rap they get, they have lots of great health benefits.

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

Beans ‘n’ Greens Soup

Beans ‘n’ Greens Soup

BEANS ‘N’ GREENS SOUP
Ingredients

  • Cannellini, 1 lb. dried, cooked (check water during cooking to be certain the beans are always just covered)
  • Garlic, 3 cloves
  • Salt, 2.5 tsp.
  • Hot paprika, 1/2 tsp.
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 2-3 TB
  • Broccoli, 2 lb. flowerets
  • Greens, 4 cups coarsely chopped
  • Onion, 1 cup diced
  • Coconut milk, 1 can

Instructions

  1. Cook the beans in water to cover — keep checking to be certain the beans remain barely covered throughout. When tender, set aside with their liquid.
  2. Add garlic to food processor, and pulse until minced.
  3. Add salt, hot paprika and wine to processor.
  4. Add beans with their liquid to the processor. Pulse until desired consistency — you can even leave some beans showing. In the picture here, I pulsed until the mixture was uniformly gravelly.
  5. Move the bean mixture to a soup pot.
  6. Add extra virgin olive oil to a different pot. Saute petite diced onion for a few moments. Add the broccoli flowerets, continuing to saute. Finally add the chopped greens.
  7. When the onion, broccoli and greens are tender, move the mixture to the food processor and pulse until uniformly gravelly.
  8. Add the veggie mixture to the bean mixture in the soup pot. Check seasoning and adjust.
  9. At serving time, garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes.

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

Green Potato Soup

Green Potato Soup

Once again, I started with a Pinterest recipe but made so many changes that it’s virtually unrecognizable. This Potato and Kale Soup ended up with both kale and spinach in it, and if I had had other greens in the house, I would have used them. My soup also has quite a bit more texture, the way I like it, which involved a few extra steps but nothing onerous…and changes in seasoning. Here’s the result:

GREEN POTATO SOUP
Ingredients

  • Potatoes, 5-6 medium or about 5 cups peeled, quartered and sliced
  • Carrot, 1 large ground or about 1 cup
  • Celery, 1-2 large ground or about 1 cup
  • Onion, 1/2 large Spanish, petite diced or about 1 cup
  • Garlic, 1 clove minced
  • Greens (I used half kale and half spinach), 4-5 big handfuls or about 4-5 cups coarsely chopped
  • Salt, 2-1/2 tsp.
  • Hot paprika, 1/4 tsp.
  • Nutmeg, 1/2 tsp.
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 2 TB
  • Potato water, 5-6 cups (save one cup out to add in if needed at the end)
  • Coconut milk, 1 14-oz. can

Instructions

  1. Wash and prepare the veggies. Petite dice the onion, mince the garlic, cut the carrot and celery into smallish pieces and saute in the olive oil until soft.
  2. Place the softened veggies in a food processor and pulse until uniformly grainy. Remove from the processor to a crock pot.
  3. Quarter the peeled potatoes, then cut into 1/8″ slices. You should have about 5 cups. Cover with water to cook until barely soft. Remove about 1/4 of the potatoes (keeping the cooking liquid) and place in food processor. Run the processor until the potatoes make a smooth paste. Add the paste to the crock pot with the veggies.
  4. Remove the remainder of the potatoes (keeping the cooking liquid) and place in the crock pot.
  5. Measure 5 cups of the potato cooking liquid into the crock pot, and stir all together.
  6. Place the chopped greens into the food processor and pulse until evenly minced but not pureed. Add to the crock pot.
  7. Add seasonings (salt, hot paprika and nutmeg), and cook until flavors meld and veggies are soft.
  8. Stir in the can of coconut milk.
  9. Use remaining cup of potato cooking liquid to adjust soup consistency to what you like.

I made croutons by cutting up some left over homemade spelt bread, sauteing it in a bit of extra virgin olive oil until dry and browned in spots. I added some salt and nutmeg to the croutons.

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

Iraqi-Jewish Beet Soup with Kubbeh (Marak Kubbeh Adom)

Marak Kubbeh Adom – Iraqi Jewish Beet Soup with Kubbeh

I found this recipe as I find so many wonderful ideas in Pinterest. I was going to leave out the sugar since I never use any, but the beets were a little older and not as sweet as I like them, so I just followed the recipe, which makes a slightly sweet and sour soup. Dumplings were a bit firm. I’ll want to experiment with that a little next time.

MARAK KUBBEH ADOM
Soup Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup or to cover the bottom of the pot
  • Garlic, 4 cloves minced or 1 TB
  • Beets, 5-6 large peeled, roughly chopped
  • Tomato paste or puree, 4 TB
  • Sweet paprika, 2 TB
  • Salt, 2 tsp.
  • Hot paprika, 1/2 tsp.
  • Water, 8 cups
  • Sugar, 2 TB
  • Lemon, juice of 1

Wash and prepare the veggies. Saute onion and garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Add the roughly chopped beets and seasonings (except the sugar and lemon juice), and cook until the beets are soft. Alternatively just chunk the beets and pulse the broth with veggies and seasonings in a blender when soft. Add sugar and lemon juice at the end of cooking time, check seasoning and adjust.

Kubbeh Ingredients

  • Semolina, 4 cups
  • Water, 2 cup
  • Salt, 1 tsp.
  • Rice, Brown Basmati, 3 cups cooked (about 1 cup dried cooked with 1 tsp. salt)
  • Mushrooms, Crimini, 1 lb. quartered and pan roasted
  • Lemon, juice of 1/2-1 squeezed, about 3 TB
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp.
  • Za’atar, 1-1/2 tsp. (this is what I usually use for this filling – for this particular recipe, I substituted 1 TB ras al hanout)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup

While the soup broth is cooking, prepare the Kubbeh shell with the Semolina, water and salt. Be very light with the stirring, and let the mixture sit until the water is fully absorbed. It should be soft but not sticky. Roll into good-sized balls.

For the Kubbeh filling, prepare the rice with 1 tsp. salt and some of the extra virgin olive oil. Toast the ras al hanout in a pan, then add the quartered mushrooms and pan roast them in a little more of the extra virgin olive oil. Add the mushroom mixture to a food processor with the rice, seasonings, lemon juice and a bit more of the extra virgin olive oil. Pulse mixture until gravelly throughout.

Flatten the Semolina balls, depressing in the center, and add a heaping tsp. of Kubbeh filling to the depression. Bring edges up around the filling and roll into a filled ball. When all the balls are rolled and about the same size, add to the simmering soup. Bring back to the simmer, cover, and continue to simmer until the dumplings are done. Handle the Semolina shell as little as possible while processing.

This Iraqi-Jewish beet soup was a delightful change from another favorite beet soup, for which I just cook up some peeled, chunked beets with a lot of chunked onion and some peeled, fresh ginger pieces, a very little salt and a bit of hot paprika — and run through a high-powered blender.

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

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup with Barley
Split Pea Soup with Barley

I’ve made split pea soup for many years, both green and yellow. When I make Green Split Pea Soup, I like to use potatoes, which I dice and add toward the end of the cooking time so they don’t completely dissolve.  Last week I didn’t much want to brave the cold so started thinking about what I could make with things I had on hand. I had just cleaned out and reorganized my bean, seed and nut cabinet so knew I had green split peas, check. Onions, check. Carrots, check. Vinegar, check. Cilantro, check. Seasonings, check. Potatoes, check.

Only I didn’t have the potatoes I was sure I had. I didn’t find that out, though, until the soup was almost ready. I went to get the potatoes to prepare and throw in for the final cooking and found not one. I thought…I wonder how barley would taste in that instead? That was something else I noticed I had plenty of in my cleaned up and reorganized cabinet. I cooked up a cup of dried barley and added it — and yes! It was delicious. Going forward I’ll use it instead of potatoes.

SPLIT PEA SOUP WITH BARLEY
Ingredients

  • 1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Green split peas, 2 lb.
  • Garlic, 4 cloves minced (1 TB)
  • Spanish onion, 1 large, petite diced
  • Carrots, 4 large, petite diced
  • Celery stalks, 4 large, petite diced
  • Water, 12-16 cups
  • Salt, 1 TB + 1 tsp.
  • Cumin, 1 TB
  • Turmeric, 1 TB
  • Hot paprika, 1 tsp.
  • Vinegar, 6-8 TB
  • Barley, 1 cup cooked in 4 cups water
  • Cilantro, 1-2 large bunches, 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. Add the olive oil to a soup pot, the garlic and onion and saute until soft. Add the carrots and celery and continue to saute.
  3. Add the split peas, 12 cups of water, salt, cumin, turmeric, hot paprika and vinegar. Stir to mix all well.
  4. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer until soup is done. I like to still see peas a bit, not have them totally disintegrated.
  5. Add the cooked barley to the soup, and adjust liquid and seasoning. If you cool the soup, you may have to do this again since the barley continues to expand and makes the soup thicker.
  6. Add the chopped cilantro and simmer for a couple more minutes.

Easy peasy and delicious.

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