Tag Archives: soup

butter soup

Yes, now I’ve got your attention. You see, I arrived home from work yesterday and landed happily in my resting place: the kitchen. For those of you who have alternative preferences for lounging, you will so appreciate this three ingredient soup. Summer has emerged from a rainy spring this week with hot, hot days here on the east coast. It’s just that kind of weather for such a pleasant color pallate: corn and lime.

Peeling corn may not sound like a post-workday activity for some. For me, it brought back memories of sitting on the deck with Mom, tearing husks over newspaper. Even with the peeling, this entire soup is on the table in 20 minutes. Guiltless budget-friendly creamy creamless soup with a flavorful low-fat side in 20 minutes?! Well, let’s get right to it.

Creamy Corn Soup

gently adapted from Fresh Food Fast, serves 8

16 ears yellow corn

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

coarse salt

suggested garnishes:

tortilla chips

lime wedges

sliced scallions or chives

Remove the husks and silks from the corn. My kernel method: using a large, sharp chef’s knife, slice the bottom of the cob so it is flat. Hold the corn upright on the flat end and use a gentle sawing motion to slice the kernels onto your chopping board.

Add the kernels to a large bowl, and be sure to add the cob’s milk to the kernels. I used the dull end of the knife to scrape all of the milk into the bowl, but found wringing the cob with my hands—in a twisting motion—released the most milk.

In a food processor (or blender), puree the kernels and accumulated juices with about 1 cup of water until chunky. If you are making the full recipe, you may need to puree in two batches.

(Though these are Martha’s recommendations, I found this previous step a little pointless if you’ve got an immersion blender—my most beloved used appliance).

In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook the pureed corn, butter, 3 cups water, and 1 tbsp. coarse salt until the butter is melted and the soup is heated through, 5 minutes. (I blended 1/2 cup chicken stock with the corn). Taste for seasonings—essential in every cooking endeavor. I found the soup surprisingly rich and added a little more water. The original recipe called for too much water, I liked the soup a little thicker.

Serve hot with generous squeezes of lime for a fabulous starter to my grilled quesadillas with salsa verde, coming up the next post!

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a super bowl of soup

Very exciting: I finally, finally bought a new camera. Something a wee more impressive than my former 6 megapixel point-and-shoot. Isn’t it purty?

Not exciting: I wasn’t feeling too hot today. And though we had no plans to watch the football part of the Superbowl, I did have homemade onion rings in mind. Maybe some feta dip with pita. Disappointed to resort to something tamer, yet tired of hot tea and ramen noodles, I made it off the sofa by 7pm to whip up this thick, tasty soup. Andrew enjoyed it, agreed it wasn’t too sweet-potatoe-y, proving this is more than Get-Well Soup.

This was inspired by a far more ambitious recipe I’m eager to try on a better day, but another quick soup to add to your repertoire and mine. With so few ingredients, it’s an inexpensive and simple dish.

Speedy Sweet Potato Soup with Grilled Bread

a Super Bowl Sunday Linvention

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into two-inch chunks

3 cups chicken broth

1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped

1 tbsp. butter

I like these palm-tools for washing and peeling potatoes

In a pot over medium-low heat, add the butter and onions. Stir until soft, but not browned. When the onions are soft, add the broth and potatoes, increasing the heat to boil the soup. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.

When the potatoes are tender, puree with an immersion blender, or pour into an upright blender. This is a wonderfully thick soup. Topped with some sliced scallions and freshly ground pepper—the soup is lovely with fresh bread.

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time-off Tuesday

Though I really believe every recipe on this blog is do-able for the home cook, beautiful food can seem daunting.

I like to think of most meals on A Pear to Remember as at-home gourmet. Chefs don’t hold the patent to Extremely Tasty Food. We can have these meals every day, and at home they can be loads healthier.

Sometimes, even still, it’s simply grilled cheese night. Whole grain bread on the grill (spritzed with a little olive oil), grated cheddar and mozzarella, and low-sodium red pepper-tomato soup from Trader Joes. Even on effortless nights like these, any meal can be memorable.

And you will find plenty right here.

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sweet, soup!

We’ve fallen into a chilly Autumn, and if sick season has also taken you as its coughing little victim, you might appreciate my impromptu, weeknight-friendly Sweet Squash Soup.

Despite disappointment over my usual onion and chicken broth supply, this came together in very few ingredients—delicious still. Lucky for us! I only used on-hand items from Saturday’s trip to the farmer’s market, so feel free to experiment with whatever lingers in your fridge.

 

Lindsey’s Sweet Squash Soup

makes 4 generous servings

1 butternut squash

1 apple

2 pears

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 cup apple juice

1 tbsp. canola oil

Roast the fruit and squash.

Cut the squash into roughly 1″ pieces. Cut the apple and pears into slightly larger pieces, especially if they are a bit ripe.

In a bowl, toss the veggies and fruit with the canola oil, and a generous sprinkling of coarse salt and ground pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes at 425F, or until tender and slightly brown.

Puree and Season.

In a pot, combine the roasted vegetables with the broth and apple juice or cider. If you have an immersion blender, puree away! If not, simply combine the roastings and broth directly in a blender.

Once pureed, taste for level of deliciousness. If you find the soup too thick, add broth or water and blend again—you’ll find the single apple adds plenty of sweetness to the soup. I added about a cup of water at this point, and the soup remained rich in flavor. Add salt and plenty of pepper, it’s perfect against the sweet apple.

sweet squash soup with parsnip fries

If you’re craving a simultaneous side and have root veggies in the cupboard as well…

Rosemary Root Veggies

These, again, are simply ingredients I had lying around. They would be beautifully enhanced with an onion or two.

Combine cut potatoes, parsnips, or whatever root veggies you might have with a generous tablespoon or two of olive oil and fresh rosemary. Roast in the same 425F oven as the soup ingredients, and allow these to continue roasting as you finish the soup. They should be brown and tender in about 20-25 minutes. If not, I never hesitate to crank up the oven!

Dress fresh greens with lemon and a bit of olive oil and you’ve completed one fast, fabulous meal.

This sweet soup is husband and kid-friendly. I hope you love it, too.

do you enjoy A Pear to Remember? ever tried a recipe you’re pretty darn proud of? pass it on!

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a gift for soup

Last night, we enjoyed a really awesome, easy, healthy, and creamy leek & potato soup. And I’m noting this “gift for soup” not in reference to any talent I have pertaining to the craft, but to publicly express my gratitude to Rick (of Rick’s Grape Skinny) and dear Lynette, who shocked me with this amazing gift for soup. Specifically, an immersion blender.

like I said, a gift for soup!

It was my true Julie Powell moment, receiving a large surprise package at the door from loyal blog readers all the way down in North Carolina. Nevermind that they also happen to be my favorite Godparents.

Well, let me tell you: besides being overwhelmed with gratitude, I was also overwhelmed with the urge to make homemade soup! It only took three or so days to get around to it.

It was this odd-weather day yesterday: not hot, not cool. I perused vegetarian soups on my favorite recipe sites, flipped through my array of cookbooks, and nothing hit me. Did I want a hot soup? I wasn’t sure, it certainly was not cold out. But gazpacho? Chilled avocado? Not always impressed with cold soup. A serious Monday dilemma.

Then I pulled out this giant VEGETARIAN the best-ever recipe collection cookbook I’d long forgotten, opened up to the chapter on soups and there it was. Humble in its simplicity, yet begging me to eat it within the hour. Technically, it’s Cold Leek and Potato Soup. I’ll tell you later how my impatience/hunger led us to the hot version of this dish…

three ingredients: my kind of meal

One russet potato with a few leeks and broth I already had in the fridge—what could be simpler? Now, I’m sure you’ll believe that the single time I remember to cut a soup recipe in half, it turns out unbelievable and I’m miserable without a drop for leftovers. Oh that avocado soup, the cream of mushroom, that disgustingly-diluted chicken soup? I made those all with serious servings for ten. Five tupperware containers and a week later and we were still battling who would be stuck downing the rest. My horrible soups lasted forever. So long, in fact, I think I found one cleaning the fridge last week… But this simple delight: barely enough for the two of us!

So, yes, just a single russet if you’re cooking for two, but since this is supposed to be a chilled soup and you’ll absolutely want it for work the following afternoon, follow the full recipe for 6-8 servings.

1 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed (only about 2 medium russets)

6  1/4 cups vegetable stock (though I used low-sodium chicken stock and attribute to much of the flavorful success)

4 medium leeks, trimmed

Garnish (you are legally obligated to indulge in this one instance):

2/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

3 tablespoons snipped chives

Add the potatoes and stock in a saucepan (or dutch oven, you lucky whoever you are) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. And then, if you’re like me, you’ll start freaking out about the leeks.

This is my second time using leeks. Until probably a year or so ago, I hadn’t heard of or seen a leek, and certainly only thought a leek was associated with this god-awful apartment refrigerator. (Seriously, we were mopping up the floor just this morning).

If you haven’t tried leeks before, bought them, smelled them, touched them, weighed them, washed them: join me in embracing their beautiful, mild presence in this world. I might be completely making this up, but when I was adding the chives to our soup, Andrew said, “Chives are like spring onions, right?” And I said (prepare for potential Chef Lindsey baloney response here), “Think of chives, scallions, and leeks as close cousins. Chives are the babies, scallions the regular kids, and leeks the refined adults.”

Anyhow, these guys are just like onions, with less tears and more sand. Yes, sand. Here’s how you cut them, not as tricky as it seems:

Decapitate the poor guys. A gruesome image for an elegant plant, yes, but it’s the word that popped into my mind once I read that you want to cut all the tough green parts off for this soup. Though the leeks are very sandy and gritty, cut them like this before washing.

Leaving the root intact, cut just above and slice the length of the leek. Rotate and slice again so the leek is in four sections. This need not be a perfect art, but it’s the best way to expose the layers for a thorough, essential washin’.

 

You can see here how it’s easy to access all that wet grit with a powerful cold faucet. Just rinse very well, removing all traces of sand, dirt, stuff you don’t want to find in your food, etc.

Now chop just like you were thinly slicing scallions.

Check the potatoes, and add in the leeks when the potatoes are barely tender. Season well with salt and pepper and simmer 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. If the soup appears too thick, thin with a little more stock or simply water. Puree the soup once everything is tender, but check the seasoning first.

 

 

If you are amazingly fortunate to have an immersion blender, you don’t have to lug batches and batches of soup through the crowded kitchen over to the blender. If the latter is your case, it was just days ago I was in your shoes (larger than mine most likely, as I fit into children’s sneakers). Ah, but now I am spoiled with my no-mess, watch-me-puree-this-soup-in-five-seconds-flat immersion blender from Rick and lovely Lynette.

these little leeks don't even know what's coming

However you smooth out your soup (immersion blender, regular-old blender, or food processor), process to your preferred consistency. I pureed mine all the way to a very creamy blend.

Now I tasted my soup and this point, and it was a decent potato soup. Not special, but not bland. I wasn’t disappointed, but a bit discouraged to produce anything less than life-altering soup with my new toy.

But then I remembered the sour cream part. I don’t buy sour cream often, and I am so grateful I made this exception. Sure, you could add a little milk, but in this soup the cream was so much more about the tangy flavor than the dairy’s consistency.

You can chill at this point. Oh sure, the cookbook even recommended it. Cool, and then chill. And then eat dinner at 11pm, if you started this so darn late like Lindsey. Well, I found things to do for the an hour, puttering around the apartment, returning to the stove every five minutes to see if the soup cooled yet. Sure enough, when you want soup to stay hot it never will. But, darn it, if you attempt chilled soup, this sucker will retain heat late into the night.

That’s when we decided to enjoy hot soup for dinner. I couldn’t wait any longer, the anticipation of my decadent one-pot awesomeness. 

I only stirred one heaping teaspoon of sour cream into each bowl (none into the actual pot), and this was plenty for flavor—cut back on fat, though overall this is not a fattening meal. (You’ll see I clearly compensate for fat when we get to dessert!)

The photo in my cookbook has a bright yellow soup, where mine was a lovely taupe. I’m certain, however, the chicken stock accounts for this variation. Chicken stock is richer in flavor, if you’re not opposed to meat-based stocks. Vegetables stocks/broths that you find in the grocery store often have identical sodium, not to mention msg and more additives than chicken broths.

If you don’t grow your own chives (this includes my sunless apartment), it may seem like a waste of a buck-and-a-half to purchase a whole bunch of them. But do trust me on this. If you imagine a loaded baked potato with sour cream and chives, you have the idea of how essential the chives are to this soup.

I swirled it around all pretty for you, yet it’s still difficult to express how delicious and seriously easy this soup is. You just have to make it. And if you, like me, don’t have the patience or time to chill it, it’s fantastic hot. I can’t tell you how it tastes after hours in the fridge, because we emptied the pot before it could ever make that trip. Andrew was on the verge of licking his bowl, seriously, so please believe that, in his words, “this one’s a winner”.

 

 

 

 

Scandalous Lindsey…

During my brief visit to the supermarket for a leek, I bought an item I enjoy once every ten years. Truly. Not exaggerating. I think I last laid eyes on this spread in 8th grade French class. Oh man, what a way to end the night…

I didn't even think I liked bananas and chocolate before this...

  

 

 

 

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get-well soup

Before my Andrew left for his AT hiking expedition last weekend, he said he probably shouldn’t kiss me goodbye on account of this scratchy throat he’d been developing. I responded don’t be ridiculous, demanded a kiss, and woke up the next morn, congested, unable to speak. Ah, married life.

As for my firm belief in the power of alternative medicine…

My Grammy made this fantastic chicken-corn soup that everyone always loved except me because I had never tried it—you know: chicken. Around high school, my Grammy started putting portions aside for me to enjoy, sans chicken, because, among many reasons, she was the greatest woman who ever lived. It tasted like love.

My sniffles and scratchy throat (a likely result of all these gosh-darn gorgeous blossoms) had me needing—and craving—soothing soup. Now you know I don’t invent recipes often (just a hair above never), but in this case I had a vision for something comforting and vegetarian and somehow reminiscent of this wonder she so often made in her kitchen. Specifically, if I recall, her crockpot.

I had onions and baby carrots on hand and thought that wasn’t a bad start. As you may have read in an earlier posting, I am not a vegetarian because I oppose animal consumption. Thus my choosing low-sodium chicken broth for my liquid (essential for re-creating the flavor of Grammy’s soup). I do enjoy both chicken broth and chicken stock, particularly as I find some vegetable broths too carrot-y. (When I don’t make my own, which is divine in taste, but a pain in the toosh to make some days).

So I diced one yellow onion, and a handful of baby carrots and sautéed them (a little olive oil, a little butter) on a medium-low heat so they wouldn’t brown. After softening, I added fresh garlic (two chopped cloves, but I would recommend more) and about two cups of corn. As you’ll note, I used a can of corn kernels. Typically, many canned products are a turn-off to me, but in this case it was less expensive to get kernels in a can (ensuring that these specific ones did not contain any additives: my no. 1 rule), and being on a tight spend-no-money-these-days budget, I decided to follow my Grammy’s example of making exceptional things from both a can and a coupon 🙂

I sautéed the corn a few minutes before adding the broth, which I simmered before adding these funky textured vegetable noodles. I don’t know anything about creating soup recipes, so please don’t apply my efforts here to any steadfast rules of soupmaking!

Even simmering the noodles very low, they cooked much quicker than in boiling water, and would have overcooked if I’d given them a full 7 minutes. Soggy noodles are gross, beware over cooking noodles in your own soupmaking endeavors!

A sprinkle of fresh parsley from my windowsill, lots and lots of pepper and then, oh what to accompany my little get-well delight? What about a sundried tomato-purple basil tapenade? Sounds like an appealing possibility…

I just had to find an excuse to serve my purple basil (if only to myself). As with my Oscar-night dips, I discovered the beauty of popping minimal, powerful ingredients into my mini food processor and creating magic. Much as in my goat-cheese roasted-pepper sandwich spread, I just put a few beautiful tomatoes from this jar (of TJ’s superior sun-dried tomatoes) with some extra-virgin olive oil, a clove of fresh garlic, and a small handful of fresh, PURPLE basil. Believe me, if my basil plant was big enough, this would have been a more significant handful.

A few pulses and voila, this suuuuuuuuuuuper flavorful accompaniment to my get-well soup—topped with some shavings of parmesan, naturally. And can I tell you something exciting? My chicken broth-corn concoction replicated the essence and flavor of my Grammy’s soup. It may have just been the sweet presence of the corn, but I think there was more going on here. Sure my hubby was off hiking, but on that Sunday evening, I don’t think I was alone in the kitchen.

miss you, Grammy

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looks like velveeta

I hope I’m not offending anyone, but I find Velveeta cheese way gross. That’s why I’m happy to report tonight’s out-of-this-world butternut cashew soup only looks like a bowl of Velveeta. In fact, this rich, thick, creamy soup doesn’t contain any cheese, cream, or heavy ingredients.

I do typically cook from books (my favorite tried and true method on weeknights), but tonight I actually created a quicker and slighty sweeter version of this spectacular soup. (Not created, just used some basic techniques that we’ve already talked about in the roasting post)!  I’ve met (okay, and am perhaps related to) some people out there who claim they’re “not squash people”. Once again, cooking with methods that bring out maximum flavor and combining new flavors makes something as unique as squash appealing to even the vegetable-phobic out there.

If nutrition excites you as much as me, or if nourishing your body with wholesome foods is even the teeniest bit of interest, you might enjoy knowing that just one cup of butternut squash fulfills 457% of the daily value for Vitamin A, and 52% Vitamin C, not to mention Calcium and Iron and absolutely no fat or cholesterol! Naturally, cashews are high in fat (though not so in saturated fats), but they’re also high in Magnesium and Iron and important things like protein.

I’m not usually grabbing pre-bagged veggies off the shelves, but when it comes to butternut squash, you can understand why I appreciate someone else peeling and cubing for me. I learned from Jacques Pepin (via PBS) that it’s important to peel two layers from the squash before using. Peel down to the rich orange color, as the skin is bitter.

I also found that my handy-dandy peeler had a hard time working through this skin. When I switched hands, however, the less-used blade did the job well. Just a head’s up that your mom’s hand-me-down vegetable peeler might not make it through—it feels like you’re peeling a pumpkin (also an unpleasant, though delicious, task).

Speaking of pumpkin, don’t forget to scoop out the seeds!

Honestly, I didn’t find any taste difference between super fresh squash and pre-cut bagged squash. Moral: If your grocery store has bagged squash, go for it!

You might notice an apple hanging out here among my squash. Ina Garten made a chunky butternut squash soup with apples and all kinds of fun things inside. I had a Granny Smith on hand for a never-made applesauce cake (one day…) so I added it into the veggies for roasting. Next time I would consider an additional apple.

The original recipe  for this soup involves all kinds of work and then simmering the ingredients with the water and milk for 30 minutes and then another 20 minutes of chores. I decided to roast my ingredients for optimal flavor and less cooking time. Since this recipes includes a large amount of olive oil, I also cut down on the overall olive oil by tossing the squash and apples with just one tablespoon of oil, plus coarse salt and a big pinch of pepper. Our oven was being funky, so I cranked the heat like usual. I was also trying to spend the evening doing things outside of soupmaking. So I actually spread my veggies (plus the apple chunks) on a sheet and popped them in a 475 F oven just until tender–about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, I softened one onion (finely chopped) in 4 tablespoons of butter in a really big pot. (A Dutch oven would be delightful, preferably purple, but here’s waiting on Christmas…)

Then I added my roasted ingredients, along with 1 teaspoon of curry powder, to the onions and butter and mixed well over medium heat. I’ve seen this done with chicken broth (which I might try next time), but I added 2/3 cup of lowfat milk and 2 cups of water. No need to simmer for ages since the veggies are already soft! I did mash the veggies with my spoon, just to make the blending easier.

note our honeymoon souvenirs behind the cashews. best potholders ever.

 

Chop 1 cup of cashews (I use roasted and unsalted) and add to the mixture in the pot. I would love an immersion blender, and if you have one, I’m completely jealous and suggest you use it at this point. If you don’t, here’s time to bring out the food processor or blender. I used a blender this time and found it was more friendly for pouring. Our blender is wimpy, so I added about 2/3 cup water with each batch. This soup is sooooooooo super-thick and flavorful, don’t be shy about adding water in the blending process.

 

Since  smoothing out the soup in batches can be messy with extra bowls to hold the smooth soup, reserving the pot to heat the finished soup, I finally found a system. (Please do share if yours is more efficient!!) Food processors and bowls make a mess in pouring, so this time I utilized 4-cup and 8-cup Pyrex measuring containers. I ladled the soup into the 4-cup one to transfer to the blender (though if you have more counter space, ladle right into your nearby blender!). After blending, I poured the smooth soup into the 8-cup container, which was then problem-free pouring to heat back in the pot!  A final taste for flavor and you’re ready to enjoy with fresh, warmed country bread and cold sweet butter. Soooooooooooooo incredible. My hubby intended to make a sandwich too, but we both found the soup so filling one roll completed a perfect winter meal!

 This soup is so thick (a bowl of Velveeta, I’m telling you) you could lessen the cashew amounts or substitute the milk for broth (though you may be replacing calcium with sodium). Do make and share your suggestions! Worth creating over and over and over again.

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