Saturday, October 29, 2011

Good soup for you!

Welp, Autumn is just trucking on in these parts. Beautiful leaves litter the ground,

sometimes the days are crisp, sunny and beautiful 
 Obviously it's warm enough for the geese to still be hanging around. It's so cute how they all stand on this inner-ring on the big fountain at UW, right under the spray. It's like they're part of a synchronized swimming team. 

Of course, since it's Seattle, it's starting to rain a lot. Luckily for me, I love the rain, especially when it comes to running in it. What an attractive picture for me to share with everyone eh?

 And finally, when I wake up in the morning, the sky is doing this:


The only thing I don't love about Fall is it's tendency to turn me into a hibernating creature.  Instead of eating salad and going for runs like I (kind of) do during the Summer, I now really prefer snuggling on the couch with chocolate covered potato chips (yeah, those heart attacks exist at Trader Joes, and yes, they are as delicious as they sound). So to fight this battle, I turn to healthy and oh so delicious soups.  Let's talk about how soups are the greatest food on Earth and how I am sad that I am just now discovering this. The problem is: canned soups. They ruin it for ya. I would say 95% of canned soups taste terrible, and the other 5% are fine, but still can't hold a candle to the homemade stuff.   Of course those delicious and fatty chowders and cream of ------- can always do something for you, but the crazy thing about homemade soups is not only how delicious they are, but also how absolutely healthy and filling they can be with so little effort. Recently my good friends cauliflower and brocolli were on sale, and so I took that opportunity to find and alter some soup recipes to my liking. The first:

Brocolli and white bean soup, courtesy of my dear friend Maaaatha (as I like to call her) of course.

  • 1 pound (or more) of broccoli, cut into florets, stems thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves (or you know, 6), thinly sliced
  • One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
  • Shaved Parmesan (or whateva), for serving

  • Steam broccoli for about 3 minutes until tender. Leave aside about a cup of florets for garnish. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add beans and stock and bring mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat and add broccoli; puree in batches in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish each bowl with broccoli florets, toasted pine nuts, and shaved Parmesan.  That's it! Easiest and most delicious thing ever right? Also, make sure to serve with lots of carbs so that you aren't TOO healthy.

    Now, this silky cauliflower soup truly rocked my world. I think I could possibly eat it for every meal for the rest of my life. And would you like to see how easy it is?

    • 1 head cauliflower
    • 2 tablespoons evoooooooo (haha couldn't resist))
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock OR, if like me you only have half a quart sitting in your fridge (you know, from half of it being used for the broccoli soup), make up the difference with skim milk. In fact, I highly recommend doing this modification. Just do some extra seasoning to make up for lack of stock.
    • 1/2 cup finely grated cheese. It said parmesan, I used gouda; cheddar would easily suffice. The motto of my life is "'s all good!"
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (I also did some garlic salt and red pepper flakes. Because I am a red pepper-flake addict)
    Remove the leaves and thick core from the cauliflower, coarsely chop, and reserve. Heat the olive oil in a large  soup pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and stock (and milk!) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the cauliflower is very soft and falling apart, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and, using any sort of food processor or blender, puree the soup, and return it to the pot. Add the CHEESE and stir until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Bon appetit! Tastes like a soup with whole milk, cream, all that other stuff, but it's NOT!

    Keep enjoying this frabjous Fall!

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