THE HEALTHY HAG

I COOK … I EAT … I SHARE.

The Weekly Soup – Red Lentil January 28, 2010

I live for lentils.  Okay not literally, but I get excited about lentils the way some people do about bacon.  I could add them to just about everything and be one happy camper.  Packed with flavour, protein and fiber (okay, and phosphorus, copper, thiamin and potassium, you get the point) lentils come in a variety of forms and typically are cheap cheap cheap.  Oh did I mention they are pretty darned easy to prepare too?  If you’re a lazypants, buy the canned, however you can really control the flavour and texture (and sodium!) if you buy them dried, and they’re even cheaper.  This soup is creamy, slightly sweet and hearty.  Perfect for fall, winter or a chilly summers night.  PS – it’s dairy free too!

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INGREDIENTS:
1 TBSP coconut oil (this is a great way to add more flavour, but you could use olive oil if you’re desparate)
1 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

2 cups red lentils
2 cans coconut milk (I use the powdered kind that you add to water – it’s handy to have, and less fatty)
4-6 cups water (enough to cover all ingredients)
1/2 cup carrot or zucchini, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced
2 cups sweet potato, diced
1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 TBSP curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp pepper
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DIRECTIONS:
1. In a dutch oven or large stockpot over medium heat, sauté onion for 2 min in coconut oil, then add garlic and salt, stir, and cook for 1-2 min.
2. Add all remaining ingredients, combine and cover and bring to a boil.
3. Stir well, reduce heat to simmer, cover again, and cook on low for 30-45 min, until lentils are cooked through and creamy.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with your favourite naan or pita bread!

 

The Weekly Soup: Tomato Dill December 23, 2009

I went a little over zealous last week at the grocers with a sale of cherry tomatoes.  I am a sucker for a sale and when these little gems were 2 pints for $3 I just had to get some (okay more than some).  I then found myself with too many little red rubies staring at me every time I hit the kitchen. There was only so many Greek Salads I could eat in a week, so I decided to soup it.  I forgot how nicely dill and tomato go together.  This is a fresh style soup – and it can be served smooth or rustic – your choice.  Good for any time of year!!  I loved this with super crusty bread and tasted incredible the next day too.  I assume it would freeze pretty well, but mine didn’t make it that far. 

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INGREDIENTS:

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBSP canola or olive oil

1 tsp butter

2 medium tomatoes, sliced (or 1 pint of cherry tomatoes)

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

1/3 cup tomato paste

2 TBSP (all-purpose) flour

1 1/4 cups cold water, divided

1/3 cup cream

1 tsp minced fresh dill (or 1/2 tsp dried)

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DIRECTIONS:

1) In a small saucepan, cook onion and garlic in oil and/or butter over low heat until translucent.

2) Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, then remove from heat then stir in tomato paste.

3) In a separate small bowl, combine flour and 1/2 cup of water until smooth, stir into tomato mixture, then gradually stir in remaining water until smooth (you can add more water if you want a thinner consistency).

4) Return saucepan to heat and bring to a boil, then continue to cook and stir for 2-3 minutes longer.

5) Place a sieve over a large bowl, pour soup into sieve, and press with the back of a large spoon to remove tomato seeds and skin.  NOTE – you can skip this step if you want a more rustic or chunky soup.

6) Return puree to pan and add cream and dill, and cook over low heat just until heated through (do not boil!!!!!!!).

7) Serve HOT!

 

The Weekly Soup: All alone-ey Minestrone December 16, 2009

I found myself with a night of me me me, so what do I do?  Cook.  It was cold, wet, damp and miserable enough out that I was desperate for comfort food that would not infringe on my upcoming Christmas binging.  The result was another soup – one that was sooooo good it only lasted a day (no freezing possibilities were even a glimmer in anyone’s eye).  The best thing about this soup is its versatility.  Add or remove whatever you want or have or feel like – maybe double the batch so at least there’s a chance it may last for more than a day.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 TBSP olive or canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 tsp coarse salt

2 cups mushrooms, chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 pepper, chopped (red, yellow, orange will do)

1/2 can of sweet corn

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced)

4 cups good quality broth

1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz )

1 can mixed beans (19 oz)

2 TBSP tomato paste

2 tsps each of dried basil and dried parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

fresh pepper to taste

3-4 cups water

1 cup dried macaroni or shells

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oil in a large stove-top pot at med-high, add chopped onion and sauté until translucent.

2. Add all remaining vegetables to the pot and sauté until well cooked and softened (about 10 min).

3. Gradually add stock, tomatoes, mixed beans, tomato paste, spices, and water (add as much as you like until you get your desired consistency – I used 3 cups).

4. Cover with lid and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes – stirring occasionally.

5. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil for macaroni or shells then add pasta to boiling water, and cook until al dente (just under the recommended time)

6. Add al dente pasta to soup and simmer for another 5 minutes.

7. Remove soup from heat, and serve sprinkled with fresh Parmesan and crusty bread.

 

The Weekly Soup: Cream of Mushroom November 23, 2009

After an annual trip to Costco, my fridge looked like it was going to explode at any second.  You had to precariously open the door, for fear of anything from oversized sauce jars to heads of broccoli falling on your unsuspecting foot.  Without even realizing what I’d done, a ginormous tray of sliced mushrooms kept pleading with me everytime I snuck in for a quick snack.  I do love a mushroom and I happened to be in the ball and realized I was overdue in my soup of the week, so I thought: let’s kill two birds with one stone (figuratively of course!!).  This resulted in a creamy, earthy soup that tasted even better as my warming lunch the next day.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 TBSP butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 TBSP olive oil

2 dozen crmini mushrooms, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 cups stock (your choice – as long as it’s rich and good!)

1 cup boiling water (you may use more or less, depending on the thickness you desire)

1 tsp sea or kosher salt (if your stock is super salty, use less)

1/3 cup 10% table cream

Pepper to taste

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DIRECTIONS:

1)      Bring a large pot to medium heat and sauté the onion in the butter and olive oil until just browned.

2)      Add into pot the garlic and mushrooms, and sauté until browned and softened (about 5-10 min).

3)      Pour stock, water and salt into pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 min (or until veg are very tender).

4)      Turn off heat and allow soup to cool slightly, then add in cream.

5)      Pour 3/4 of the contents into a blender, and blend until smooth (you can add in extra liquid if it’s too thick).

6)      Place puréed soup back in pot, add in pepper to taste and re-heat slightly (you do not want to burn the soup, so keep a close eye).

7)      Serve hot with crackers or bread!

 

The Weekly Soup – Leek and Cauliflower November 2, 2009

It dawned on me this weekend that I make home-made soup at least twice a month, so I thought seeing as the weather is turning why not make this into a heart-warming weekly affair!  I do love a theme.  So, I officially welcome you to the very first edition of the Weekly Soup.  Nice and timely right at the beginning of November.  It’s brisk but lovely here in Canadaland where I live, and soup seems to make it all the better.

 

Seeing as leeks just happened to land in my lap (a wee gifty from the mom-in-law), I set out yesterday to make something soothing and oniony.  I intended on making potato leek soup, but with nary a spud in sight, I swapped in that other tasty white veg: cauliflower.  The result?  A gorgeous smooth and savory soup that is actually one of the best I’ve had in ages.  It holds up pretty well to a quick zap to re-heat and would even do well served cold in the summer as a vichyssoise. Versatile, easy and spectacularly tasty?  SOLD!

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 TBSP butter

½ small onion, finely chopped

1 TBSP olive oil

2 leeks, chopped and washed of all grit (TIP: soak the chopped leek in cold water, drain a repeat a few times to ensure all the dirt is gone)

½ large head of cauliflower, chopped

3 cups stock (your choice – as long as it’s rich and good!)

1 cup boiling water (you may use more or less, depending on the thickness you desire)

1 ½ tsp sea or kosher salt (if your stock is super salty, use less)

½ cup 10% table cream

1/3 cup extra old white cheddar, grated (you could use any old hard cheese, but this is my FAVE!)

Pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS:

1)      Bring a large pot to medium heat and sauté the onion in the butter and olive oil until just browned.

2)      Add into pot the leek and cauliflower, and sauté until browned and softened (about 5-10 min).

3)      Pour stock, water and salt into pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 min (or until veg are very tender).

4)      Turn off heat and allow soup to cool slightly, then add in cream.

5)      Pour all contents into a blender, and blend until smooth (you can add in extra liquid if it’s too thick).

6)      Place puréed soup back in pot, add in grated cheese and re-heat slightly (you do not want to burn this soup, so be careful!).

7)      Serve warm with zesty crackers or crusty bread – even top with plain yogurt or sour cream and a sprinkling of freshly chopped chives!!  Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

leekcaul