Tag Archives: soup

Minimalist Pea Soup

Finally, real summer time weather! More and more crops are being harvested now, including blueberries, summer squash, cucumbers, and peas! Sugar snap peas are the most popular pea by far, but I really like fresh shelling peas.

Earlier this summer, we went on a short trip to Chicago. One evening, I had the delight of eating a pea soup at Hot Chocolate. I was determined to recreate this soup when we were ready to harvest our shelling peas.

The most important thing about this soup is that you need to buy fresh shelling peas! Make sure that they are freshly picked to insure the highest sugar level. After you pick peas, the sugars gradually start to turn into starch. This summertime soup is sort of like “nose-to-tail” cookery for vegetables. After you shell the peas, reserve the pods to make a light green broth and then you cook the peas in their own broth! Simple, fast, and very tasty.

Minimalist Pea Soup 
2 pounds fresh shelling peas, shelled, reserving pods and peas separately

2 tbsp butter

2 garlic scapes, optional, or 1 small garlic clove

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp flour

salt, to taste

Place the pea pods in a large saucepan. Cover the pods with water and add the bay leaf and a large pinch of salt. Bring this up to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Simmer the broth until the pea pods are soft, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. Strain and transfer the broth to a bowl or another pot.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan and gentle saute the two garlic scapes or garlic clove. Add the peas and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Cover the peas with some of the pea broth. You will most likely not need all of the broth. Simmer the peas for about 5-8 minutes and remove from heat. Blend with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. The soup should be quite thin.

In a small bowl, mash together 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour. Bring the soup back up to a high simmer and whisk in the butter/flour mixture. Continue to cook until the soup thickens. Taste and season. Ladle into bowls and serve with a drizzle of cream, yogurt, or formage blanc. Enjoy!


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creamy broccoli soup

New year, new resolutions? I am sure lots of people are trying to eat a little bit cleaner this week, and combined with the harsh chill of January, this broccoli soup is perfect for a light, but filling supper. As much as I like creamy soups, the amount of heavy cream required (literally) makes my stomach hurt. Cream of broccoli soup is that sort of nostalgic soup that can become pretty healthy after a couple of tweaks. Instead of pouring in the heavy cream, I just use a couple of potatoes, giving the final pureed soup a creamy mouth feel and a velvety body. If you want to go a step further, I added some tofu for even more cream like flavor and a protein boost. Feel free to sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese on top, if you please.

“Creamy” Broccoli Soup

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 rib of celery, diced

3-4 small potatoes, diced. No need to peel!

1 pound of broccoli. I used the organic frozen whole foods brand, but fresh would be great also.

1 tsp smoked paprika

salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. I used aleppo pepper.

4 cups vegetable broth

1/3 cup of nutritional yeast

1 cup of spinach or tender kale, chopped. Once again, I used frozen.

fresh parsley, minced, if you have it

optional tofu puree:

1/2 block of firm tofu

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp soy sauce, tamari, or bragg’s liquid animos

salt and pepper to taste


In your soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sweat the onion and celery until soft. Add the garlic and potatoes and continue to sweat for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle in the paprika, red pepper flakes, and season. Stir in the broccoli and add the broth. Bring everything up to a boil and turn down to a simmer. If you are using the tofu puree, combine everything in a small food processor and blend until smooth.

When all of the vegetables are soft, turn off the heat and puree using an immersion blender or transfer to a regular blender and blend until almost smooth. Add the nutritional yeast and taste and season. Add the spinach or kale and heat through. Stir in the tofu if you are using it. Reheat the soup, ladle out into bowls, and garnish with parsley, more red pepper flakes, or shredded cheddar cheese.




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Pumpkin, Corn, and Lemongrass soup

Thanksgiving is less than ten days away! If you are still planning or tweaking your menu, I will have a couple festive recipes in the next week that you could add to your traditional rotation or bring to a holiday potluck.

Is Thanksgiving at your house traditional or not? When I was in school, our studio would get together, despite the looming pencils down deadline, and have a great assemblage of everyone’s family traditions. We would have JP’s mom’s delicious stuffing, full of dried fruit and nuts, Toine’s apple crumble, and Jason would brine and roast Alton Brown’s turkey. Last year was our last studio Thanksgiving, and while I do not miss being constantly stressed (between finishing my plots and watching the pumpkin pie bake), I do miss having everyone over at our house, eating the products of our hard work and drinking Shiner Bock.

This year, Thanksgiving is a lot less stressful and I am looking forward to experimenting with twists on traditional dishes. This pumpkin soup is creamy and rich, like the traditional soup, but has a kick of the Southeast Asian flavors of coconut, lemongrass, and galangal (a rhizome similar to ginger). Pumpkin (in this case a kobocha pumpkin) and corn are somewhat recent and quite popular imports in Asia and both of these vegetables work really well together in soup. I found everything in this recipe easily at my local Asian grocery, but if you have trouble finding galangal, feel free to use regular ginger instead. So, if can mix up Thanksgiving at your house this year, this soup is a great way to start, haha.

Pumpkin, Corn, and Lemongrass Soup

inspired by Gourmet

1 large stalk of lemongrass, trimmed and the outer layer(s) removed. I used 2 smaller stalks.

1 1″ piece of galangal or ginger

1 tbsp butter or olive oil

1 small kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 4 cups). You can use another other winter squash or pumpkin.

1 medium onion, diced

2 cups corn kernels, frozen is fine.

1 cup coconut milk (or more, if you want a more velvety soup. decrease the water proportionally)

about 4 cups water

lime juice, thai basil, or cilantro
Bruise the lemongrass and galangal with the back of your knife to release some of the oils. In your soup pot, heat the butter or oil over medium heat and start to sweat the onion, lemongrass, and galangal. Once the onions are translucent, add the squash and corn and season generously. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the coconut milk and water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the squash is fork tender. Remove the lemongrass and galangal and puree the soup, either using a stick blender or a regular blender, in small batches. If you wish, you can put the soup through a strainer to achieve a smoother texture. Return the pureed soup back to the pot and add more coconut milk or water if you wish to thin it out more and taste. I wound up using a pretty generous amount of salt. The soup is on the sweeter side so a good hit of acid in the form of lime juice is welcome. Ladle into bowls and garnish with more lime juice or a chiffonade of Thai basil or cilantro. A fancy touch might be making a basil or cilantro oil and drizzling a couple drops on top of each serving. A spoon of Greek yogurt would be nice here too.

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We are solidly in soup season here in Seattle. There is a Russian cafe tucked in Pike Place Market that serves delicious salads, pelmeni, and soups, including a tasty Borscht. I took home a bunch of beautiful beets from the farm the last week and was inspired to recreate this Borscht. The flavors are very clean and light, but the root vegetables make it pretty substantial. Be sure to have some sour cream or Greek yogurt on hand to swirl into the soup to add some richness. Unfortunately, I ran out when I got the chance to photograph this for lunch the next day. Keep tasting this soup as you are cooking and adjust the seasonings so it is a good balance of sweet, salty, and sour.

Simple Borscht

adapted from food52

10 cups water

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium-large onion, diced

3 medium carrots, chopped small enough to fit easily on a soup spoon

3 large beets, peeled and chopped

1 large or 2 smaller potatoes, chopped

3 small turnips, chopped

1 celery stalk, sliced thinly

1 small bunch of dill, chopped

1 lemon’s juice

1-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

salt, pepper

10 juniper berries, optional

sour cream or greek yogurt for serving

Set the pot of water over low to medium heat. Add the juniper berries, oil, and 1-2 tsp of salt. Add the onions, beets, carrots, potatoes, turnips, and celery. As the vegetable soften, skim the foam off of the broth. When you can easily pierce the vegetables with a fork, add the lemon juice and dill and taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the thinly slice garlic right before turning the heat off. Serve hot or cold, with sour cream or yogurt.

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watermelon gazpacho

Summer melons are finally starting to come into season here in the PNW, after a cold spring and late summer. On the three days of the year where it gets somewhat uncomfortable in your third floor apartment, cold blended soups come to the rescue! I usually make a greener, veggie packed gazpacho, but last week I had a quarter of a small watermelon left and a huge, fat heirloom tomato sitting on my kitchen table. This combination of watermelon and tomato seems to be popping up in salads everywhere these days, and is justifiably delicious. Whenever I come across sun ripened tomatoes, I usually eat them simply on toast with a slathering mayonnaise and basil leaf. But! now, at this time of year, there is quite an abundance of heirloom tomatoes and I can afford to blend some farmers market seconds up into gazpacho.

This version of gazpacho is sweeter than the traditional soup and does not use stale bread to thicken. I usually use a cup of cooked white beans to thicken the soup and add some protein. In this case, I did not have any cooked beans on hand and just used some xanthan gum. This is a powder that is used a lot in both molecular gastronomy and in gluten free baking. Just be sure not to use too much or your soup will become really, really thick and gummy. Avocado can be blended into the soup or simply diced and scattered on top and provides both something creamy and something to chew to the soup.

Watermelon and tomato gazpacho

adapted from herbivoracious

2 cups cubed red, seedless watermelon

2-3  cups cubed, very ripe (and most likely, expensive) heirloom tomato

1 small sweet white onion, roughly chopped. (I used a fresh walla walla onion)

1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup of cooked white beans (optional) OR

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

small handful of basil or cilantro

juice of one lime

1-2 tbsp good olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

garnishes: diced avocado, tossed in lime juice, or plain yogurt, more herbs to garnish


In a blender, combine watermelon, tomato. pepper, onion, beans or xanthan gum, herbs, lime juice, olive oil, and seasoning. If you are using the gum, let the gum hydrate for a bit and reblend. Taste and adjust seasoning; I usually have to add more salt and acid. Chill and let the flavors meld. Serve in small bowls or cups and garnish with avocado or plain yogurt and scatter some herbs on top.


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spring stew

a vegetable that i love but hate to prep is the artichoke.  the season for artichokes is nearing the end so i thought i should buy and cook a few before it was too late, since almost all artichokes in the us are grown in california.  i was thinking about roasting them, but didn’t want to turn the oven on for just a few artichokes.  the weekend was particularly blustery so a comforting warm bowl of soup was welcome.  a look inside of the fridge revealed all of the ingredients for a classic spring vegetable stew.  i used frozen shelled edamame and peas instead of fresh favas and fresh english peas because i am moving soon and want to eat everything in my fridge and pantry.  i, however, did use a couple lovely, sweet, new carrots with the greens still attached.  i wish i had fresh parsley and mint to toss in the end to provide a bit of lift, but even without, this was pretty tasty.  this is a really brothy stew that goes well with a crusty heel of bread.  just be sure to be aggressive when prepping the artichokes other wise their will be tough fibrous artichoke leaves floating around; nothing terrible but quite annoying to eat.

spring vegetable stew

adapted from smitten kitchen

(if you like food and pretty pictures (and if you don’t, who are you?) visit this blog)

4 medium artichokes prepped to the point that you remove the choke and sliced into eighths (please refer to here for all of the steps and dont be alarmed at the pile of trimmings for your compost bucket)

3 smallish carrots, diced

2 green garlic stalks sliced

1 small onion diced

1 cupish shelled fava beans or frozen edamame

1 cupish fresh or frozen english peas

1 large lemon

handful of chopped parsley and mint

large pinch of dried thyme or a sprig of fresh thyme, stripped

while prepping your artichokes, be sure to have a bowl of water with some lemon juice to keep the artichokes from browning too much.  when everything is prepped, heat a heavy bottomed skillet or small dutch oven over medium heat with enough olive oil to cover the bottom.  add the carrots, onion, and green garlic and saute until the onion is translucent.  add the artichokes and thyme, and season.  add enough vegetable stock to almost cover all of the vegetables and bring the heat down to simmer.  let the artichokes cook until nearly tender (maybe 20 minutes?)

if you are using favas, par boil them while the artichokes are simmering.  add these (or the edamame) to the artichokes along with the peas and simmer until just cooked.  check the seasoning and turn the heat off and add the fresh herbs.  serve with some bread and maybe a bit of goat cheese.

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kabocha squash puree and pickled cucumbers and avocado

remember that previous post about spring?  sadly, sf has seemed to reverse back into winter this week.  luckily, i was prepared with a kabocha squash from the farmers market.  kabocha or japanese pumpkin, is my favorite winter squash to cook because it much denser than other winter squash so it is not as watery.  the peel is also very thin and edible and it cooks pretty quickly.  if you have ever had pumpkin curry at a thai restaurant, they most likely used kabocha.  i kept this puree simple in flavor so i could really taste the kabocha but you can increase the spices if wanted.  you can also make the puree as thick or thin as you want, depending on what you want to do with it.  i kept it simple as a soup, but i think if you mixed some with ricotta or goat cheese it would make an excellent pasta stuffing or maybe even a dip.  if you do not puree it, you could also serve it on top of some grains (polenta/grits or rice would be good.)  i also added about 1/2 cup of red lentils to the squash to add some protein and increase the thickness of the soup, but you can omit them or use another legume.

to garnish my puree, i sauteed a bunch of scallions with some chile oil and garlic until soft and browned.  most people do not think of scallions as a vegetable on their own, but they make an excellent component.  i have also braised whole scallions until tender, but that is another post.  yogurt and thai basil provide a cooling touch.  on the side, i quick pickled an english cucumber while i was making the soup with salt, 1 smashed clove of garlic, sesame oil, and lime juice and folded in a chopped avocado right before serving.

kabocha squash puree/soup

1 kabocha squash about the size of a large baby’s head peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes

1 medium red onion diced

about 1/2 cup red lentils rinsed

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

water or vegetable stock

garnishes of your choice- sauteed scallions, yogurt, herbs

heat a couple tablespoons of light tasting oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.  add the onions and saute until soft.  add the spices and saute for about a minute or two or until everything is very fragrant.  add the squash and lentils, season,  and just enough liquid to cover.  bring to a steady simmer and turn down the heat and let the squash cook until very tender.  the red lentils will break down and pretty much disappear.  monitor and make sure the pot does not get dry.  when the squash is tender, puree in batches in your blender.  return to the pot and add more liquid if needed and reheat.  i just used a bit more stock but you could use coconut milk to make it even creamier.  check the seasoning, ladle into bowls, garnish and serve.

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