Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Soup Diet

I’ve finally begun to embrace fall. This comes with the endless whir of my blender and gallons of soup just as summer temperatures seem to be returning. No matter, though, I’m enjoying all my creations even as I’m dabbing the perspiration from my brow.

It all started two weeks ago when cauliflower appeared in my CSA box. I don’t have anythingagainst cauliflower, but I don’t really love it either. When I see it on a vegetable tray I avoid it unless the olives and broccoli have already been eaten. And cooked, my preference leans toward cheese topped or in a cream-based soup.

I set out to find a different way to cook it and use up some of my other vegetables and was
excited to find a recipe for Cauliflower and Kohlrabi soup.The recipe calls for roasting the cauliflower and kohlrabi, then cooking them in chicken broth, before pureeing them and adding cream. I used skim milk instead to make it creamy and little healthier, but I didn’t notice the difference. It was fabulous and will become my new go-to cauliflower recipe. I added a little Parmesan to the top and it was much better than any cream of cauliflower soup I’ve tasted anywhere else, and better for me too.

Next, I moved on to the leeks in my CSA box. My employer was having a slow cooker potluck lunch as a United Way fundraiser, so I made curried lentil, leek, and kale soup, using up the kale from my delivery. I like plain curried lentil soup, and was pleased to find that the lentils and kale added a little something extra to it.

I used the other leek this past Sunday to make potato, leek, and ham soup, which cooked all day while I went to a new volunteer position. I was volunteering for the REAP Farm-School-Program, which provides fruit and vegetable snacks to local schools. This week the snack was cherry tomatoes and my job was to sort through the tomatoes for the ones without cracks, discarding the ones that couldn’t be used into large plastic buckets. Later I helped seal the cherries in snack-sized portions and label them for the schools.

I was even able to take some of the discards home with me. And when I say some, I mean a lot, like a garbage-bag-full. While they weren’t very appealing raw, I knew they would make great soup. I threw the bag over my shoulder and took them home to my waiting slow cooker of potato, leek, and ham soup, which I ate while I made my tomato soup.

To make the tomato soup, I altered a recipe from Cooking Light for Creamy Balsamic Tomato Soup. I roasted the tomatoes in balsamic vinegar, beef broth, and brown sugar before pureeing them in the blender. Next, I put them all through my food mill to take out any skins or seeds, a step I had often skipped in the past. The extra step was definitely worth it. The soup was so creamy and I didn’t bite into one errant seed. And the soup was so good as is, I didn’t even bother adding the cream.

So now only the tomato soup remains. I’ve had it for lunch and dinner today even as the heat rises outside. I picked up a new box of vegetables yesterday, but they’ll have to wait until I’m done with the tomato soup. I haven’t decided if soup is still on the menu. That will all depend on the weather. Or not.

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