Creamy (Creamless) Summer Corn Soup

This soup is a celebration of summer corn- with few ingredients the creamy, sweet corn flavor really is what it’s about.  Adaptable for a fancy first course, a simple summer dinner, or a side for summer grilling, Creamy Corn Soup is a handy chameleon to have in your recipe bank.

This weekend, it was a simple Sunday dinner, accompanied by a Boston leaf, radish, and walnut salad.  I also made a quick sea bean chutney to dollop into the soup, as well as seared tempeh cubes for light protein.

For another winning dinner, drop in some seared okra chunks and serve it alongside this pork dish.

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Creamy (Creamless) Summer Corn Soup 

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter or avocado oil (or better yet, half of each- butter for flavor, avocado oil for cooking properties)

1/2 onion or 1 large shallot

1 whole clove garlic, peeled and quartered

2 ears corn

1/3 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 1½ cups florets)

⅛ teaspoon dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh thyme

4 cups water

¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

⅛ teaspoon white pepper or finely ground black pepper

Fresh thyme, for serving
What to do:

Remove kernels from corn cobs.  Do not throw out the cobs!

Sweat onion and garlic in butter/oil. Add corn kernels, cobs, cauliflower, thyme and water.  Season with salt and pepper and simmer 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Remove corn cobs from soup, as well as thyme sprigs if using fresh.  Blend soup in high speed blender until very smooth.

Pour into soup bowls and sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Serving suggestions:  Top with a dollop of green bean chutney (pictured); chili seasoned seared tempeh cubes; seared okra chunks; or make it a side for roasted/grilled pork loin.

 


Saffron and Ginger Kabocha Soup with Black Salt and Sesame Seeds

I made this when I was visiting family in California and found some fun ingredients in the pantry.  Stuff like crystallized ginger, this World Salt Tower and black sesame seeds.  Not to mention an excellent spice selection and hyper local produce from New Leaf Community Market in Half Moon Bay.

Warm and hearty, this soup tastes like a decadent cream soup, but is actually more of a detox soup in that there is no dairy, little oil and is lightly spiced.  You’ll also get lots of carotenoids (great for the eye health) from the squash and extra minerals from the black Cyprus salt, which is Mediterranean sea salt mixed with volcanic charcoal, a natural detoxifier.

Serves 6

What you need:

1 kabocha squash (about 2.5 pounds), halved and deseeded

2 teaspoons olive oil or avocado oil

1/3 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks

1 stalk celery, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 small (4-inch diameter) celeriac (a.k.a. celery root), peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

3 cups chicken broth or light vegetable stock

pinch saffron

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

To serve:

crystallized ginger, very fine dice

black sesame seeds

black Cyprus salt

What to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Rub kabocha flesh with olive oil or avocado oil and place cut sides down on parchment.  Pour orange juice into pan and place in oven.  Roast for about 45 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces through the skin and flesh.  Remove from oven and let cool.

In a medium sauce pot, sauté the ginger, onion, celery and garlic in the coconut oil, along with the salt, over medium heat.  Stir frequently to prevent browning.  Once the onions are translucent, add the celeriac, broth, saffron and remaining spices.  Scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and add to the soup.  Raise heat to high, bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Ensure that the celeriac is fork tender and turn off the heat.  If time permits, allow to cool 10-15 minutes.  Put contents in blender, working in batches if your blender is small, and blend on high (though starting at LOW) until silky smooth.  Return to pot and rewarm over low heat, adding water if necessary.  Adjust for salt, keeping in mind that you will be topping with black salt just before serving.

To serve, ladle soup into warmed bowls and top with crystallized ginger (they will sink), black sesame seeds and a few flakes of black Cyprus salt.


White Root and Pear Soup (Zuppa di Radici Bianche e Pera)

This soup is all about fall.  Right now, I am all about fall so this soup makes me happy.  I just spent the weekend in upstate New York among friends and we did all the quintessential fall stuff: apple picking, walks through the fall foliage, sitting by a wood-burning stove and making apple pie.  Fun as it was, by Sunday I was ready again for balance.  That means meals that are nutrient dense with low oil, light protein and complex carbs.  That does not mean, however, no yum.  Luckily when I came home I had some good produce in my fridge that came together really nicely.

The celeriac, turnips and pears are low starch, but have enough to make the soup creamy when blended.  I used light homemade chicken broth- just some chicken bones, celery leaves, garlic, onion and thyme.  If you use vegetable broth, make sure to use one that doesn’t have tomato added to it, not only because of its flavor, but because of its color as well.  I added tomatillos because they become citrusy when cooked, which meant I wouldn’t need to add lemon.  However, if you can’t get your hands on tomatillos, a little lemon juice at the end should be perfect.  I used two Seckel pears, which are small green and red pears that become very sweet and soft when fully ripe.  If you can’t find Seckel pears, Comice is a good substitute.  Fully ripe pears are key for flavor, as well as for lending texture to the soup.

White Root and Pear Soup (M) - The Clean Gourmet

A note on nutrition: It’s important to eat a variety of colors for optimal nutrition.  White is part of that nutritional “rainbow”.  There are nutrients in white produce, such as quercitin in pears, vitamin C and calcium in turnips, vitamin B-6 and magnesium in celeriac, not to mention plenty of fiber.  I could go on.  Basically, you should eat all the colors, including white (I know…white is not a color, but you get what I mean).

Everything in this soup is seasonal and can be purchased at your farmer’s market (at least here in the Northeast).  If you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, this soup is very vegan friendly.

Serves 3-4

What you need:

1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil (can sub half with grass-fed butter)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks

1 medium head celeriac (5-6 inches in diameter), peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

4 medium turnips, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

5 cups chicken stock or light vegetable broth

1/4 head green cabbage, light inner leaves, cut into 1 inch chunks

3 tomatillos*, quartered

2 Seckel or 1 Comice pear, well-ripened, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (reserve half for serving)

3 sprigs thyme

To serve:

5 leaves sage, very finely chopped

freshly ground black pepper

eggs, medium boiled (1 per person)

100% rye bread slices, toasted

grass-fed butter, for bread (optional)

What to do:

Sweat garlic and shallot in oil with salt over medium heat in a medium/large pot or dutch oven.  Stir frequently and cook until soft but not brown (lower heat if any browning begins to occur), about 3 minutes.

Add the celery, celeriac and turnips.  Sauté 4-5 minutes to soften the celery and the root vegetables.  Add some water (or white wine, if you have it!) if any browning or sticking begins to occur.

Add stock, cabbage, tomatillos, half the pear and thyme sprigs.  Cover, bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove thyme sprigs and transfer soup to blender.  Start on LOW speed, then gradually raise to high speed and let run until very smooth.  (Thirty seconds with a Vitamix or high-speed blender, about a minute with a regular blender.)  Transfer soup back to the pot and re-warm over low heat while you prep to serve.  Adjust for salt (*and add lemon juice if you didn’t use tomatillos).

Ladle soup into bowls, top with remaining pear chunks, black pepper and a sprinkling of minced sage.  Serve with rye bread and a light smear of grass-fed butter for omega-3s and drop in a medium-boiled egg for protein, aminos and more omega-3 if you’re not vegan.

Leftovers: This soup will last about three days in the refrigerator, but it will thicken.  Reconstitute with a little water and reheat over medium-low flame, stirring frequently.

White Root and Pear Soup (M) - The Clean Gourmet

Zuppa di Radici Bianche e Pera:

3-4 porzioni

Ingredienti:

1 cucchiaio di olio d’oliva (potete sostituire metà col burro)

1/2 cucchiaino di sale marino, più altro a piacere

2 spicchi d’aglio, tritati

1 scalogno, tritato

1 gambo di sedano, tagliato a pezzi

1 sedano rapa media, pelato e tagliato a cubetti

4 rape medie, pelate e tagliate a cubetti

1,25 litri di brodo di pollo o di verdura leggero (sennò usate dell’acqua)

1/4 del cespo d’un cavolo verde

3 tomatillo, tagliati a quarti (*oppure del succo di limone fresco)

2 pere Seckel oppure 1 pera Comice, tagliate a cubetti (tenete da parte metà dei cubetti)

3 ramoscelli di timo

Per servire:

5 foglie di salvia, tritate

pepe nero

uova sode (uno a testa)

fette di pane integrale di segale (100%), tostate

burro grass-fed, per il pane (secondo la vostra dieta)

Cosa fare:

Saltare in una pentola media/grande l’aglio e lo scalogno nell’olio col sale su fiamma media.  Agitate frequentemente e fate cuocere finché non siano teneri (attenti a non far rosolare), circa tre minuti.

Aggiungete il sedano, il sedano rapa e le rape.  Fateli cuocere altri 4-5 minuti per far ammorbidire le verdure.  Aggiungete un pò d’acqua (o di vino bianco, se ne avete!) se comincino ad attaccare al fondo della pentola.

Aggiungete il brodo, il cavolo, i tomatillo, metà della pera tagliata ed i ramoscelli di timo.  Coprite, fate bollire, poi abbassate il fuoco e lasciate sobbollire finché la verdura non sia morbida, circa 15 minuti.

Togliete il timo e trasferite la minestra al frullatore.  Fatelo andare prima a velocità bassa, alzandola pianamente a velocità alta.  Fatelo andare finché la zuppa non sia liscissima.  (Circa 30 secondi col frullatore potente, 1 minuto col frullatore normale.)  Trasferite la zuppa alla pentola e riscaldatela a fuoco basso mentre preparate per servire.  Aggiustate il sale (*e aggiungete del succo di limone se non avete usato del tomatillo).

Servite la zuppa e guarnite con la pera rimasta, del pepe nero e la salvia tritata.  Se non siete vegani, spalmate le fette di pane col burro grass-fed per omega-3 e aggiungeteci un uovo sodo per proteine, aminoacidi ed altre omega-3.

Per le rimaste:  Questa zuppa dura circa tre giorni in frigo, ma s’addensa.  Ricostituitela con un pò d’acqua e riscaldatela sul fuoco medio-basso, agitando frequentemente.

White Root and Pear Soup - The Clean Gourmet


Ginger-Spiced Carrot Soup with Kohlrabi Relish (Vellutata di Carote allo Zenzero con Insalata di Cavolo Rapa)

This meal was inspired by a box of almost impossibly fresh produce from Double L Market in Westport, CT.  I was especially motivated by the cartoonishly large carrot (2 inches in diameter and 10 inches long!) that I couldn’t resist buying.  I also picked up some mizuna, a mildly bitter lettuce I’d never tried before (it is delish).  If you can’t get a hold of this unusual lettuce, I think arugula would be a good substitute.  The ginger, too, was juicy and tender- the kind of fresh you can never get at the grocery store (nope, not even Whole Foods).  This box of vegetables and the soup it spawned was no doubt the highlight of my day.  I hope you like it too.

Please note that this soup is spicy, all thanks to the extremely fresh ginger.  It’s hard to believe there’s no capsaicin (hot pepper), but the spice is definitely there, with a bit of tang.  The bread was amazingly fresh and had been brought to the market from a bakery in New Haven, CT.  It was made with whole wheat and rye flours and without preservatives.

Serves 4-6 (Serve 4-6)

For the Soup:

6-7 regular carrots (or 1 enormous one), peeled and chopped*

2-inch piece FRESH ginger, peeled and minced

3 celery stalks, sliced

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon white or yellow miso paste

salt and pepper

2/3 cup almond milk (or 2% organic cow milk if you don’t care whether or not this is vegan)

Kohlrabi Relish:

1 (~1 lb) kohlrabi cabbage head, peeled and diced

1/2 apple, finely diced

4 scallions, sliced

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, minced

1 bunch mizuna (stalks included) or a handful of arugula, chopped

For the Kohlrabi Marinade:

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (Bragg or other high quality type)

1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

2-3 teaspoons white or yellow miso paste

salt and pepper, to taste

To Serve:

florets from 1 head of broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces

Whole grain organic bread, sliced

1 avocado, mashed

What to do:

Whisk the marinade ingredients in a small bowl.

Place the kohlrabi, apple, scallions and cilantro in a medium bowl.  Toss with marinade and set aside.

Put the carrots, ginger and celery in a medium pot with just enough water to cover.  Heat over medium-low heat and allow to come to a simmer.  Be careful not to boil.

Let simmer gently until carrots are just tender.  (This is a good time to give the relish another toss.)  Purée with an immersion blender.

Turn heat to low and add coriander, miso and almond milk.  Simmer on low for 2 minutes to allow miso to melt and flavors to marry.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss relish one more time, this time adding the mizuna.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with relish** and broccoli “croutons”.  Serve with bread smeared with mashed avocado.

*While carrots’ enzymes are best assimilated when cooked, carrots only need to be lightly cooked, or else the enzymes end up getting completely destroyed.  Luckily, the smaller you chop the carrots, the less you have to cook them, thereby preserving their nutrients.

**Don’t use use a slotted spoon to serve the relish, as the marinade flavors the soup :).

Vellutata di Carote allo Zenzero con Insalata di Cavolo Rapa:

Ingredienti:

Per la Vellutata:

6-7 carote, pelate e affettate*

pezzo di zenzero fresco a 5 cm, pelato e tritato

3 gambi di sedano, affettati

2 cucchiaini di seme di coriandolo macinato

1 cucchiaio di pasta di miso bianco

sale e pepe

150 ml di latte di mandorle (oppure latte parzialmente scremato, se vi va bene che non sia vegana)

Insalata di Cavolo Rapa:

1 (~500gm) cavolo rapa, pelato e tagliato a cubetti

1/2 mela, tagliata a cubetti

4 cipolline, affettate

1/2 tazza di coriandolo fresco, tritato

1 grappolo di mizuna, oppure una manciata di rucola, tagliata

Per la Marinata:

60 ml d’aceto di mele di alta qualità

1 cucchiaio di olio d’oliva o di olio di vinacciolo

1 cucchiaio di senape di Digione

2-3 cucchiaini di pasta di miso bianco

sale e pepe, a piacere

Per servire:

infiorescenze d’un grappolo di broccoli, tagliate a pezzi piccoli

pane integrale biologico, tagliato

1 avocado, pestato

Cosa fare:

Frustate le ingredienti per la marinata in una scodella piccola.

Mettete il cavolo rapa, la mela, le cipolline e il coriandolo fresco in un’insalatiera non molto grande.  Mescolate con la marinata e mettete da parte.

In una pentola media, metteteci le carote, lo zenzero e il sedano con dell’acqua che giusto copre la verdura.  Mettete sul fuoco medio-basso e fate sobbollire, facendo attenzione che non bolla.

Lasciate sobbollire giusto finché le carote non siano cotte.  (A questo punto, darei l’insalta un’altra mischiata.)  Quindi, fateci una purea col frullatore a immersione.

Abbassate il fuoco e aggiungete il seme di coriandolo, la pasta di miso e il latte di mandorle.  Fate sobbollire altri due minuti, così il miso si scioglie e i gusti si congiungono.  Insaporite con sale e pepe a piacere.

Mischiate l’insalata un’altra volta, questa volta con la mizuna o la rucola.

Servite la vellutata con mestolo e guarnite con l’insalata** e i pezzetti di broccoli.  Servite da parte delle fette di pane spalmate d’avocado.

*Nonostante gli enzimi delle carote siano meglio assimilati quando le carote sono cotte, non devi scotterle, altrimenti distruggi quegli enzimi.  Dunque, più piccole sono le fette, meno le devi cuocere, così preservando loro nutrienti.

**Non usate un mestolo perforato per servire l’insalata, dato che la marinata insaporisce la vellutata :).


Citrus-Scented Asparagus and Pea Soup

Asparagus is an incredibly potent antioxidant and has a surprising amount of protein.  In fact, thanks to the protein and fiber from the asparagus and peas, as well as all of the liquid, this purée is quite filling.   This is a great way to have a quick vegetable-packed meal.  However, if you like more substance, try with Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs or Ricotta Dumplings.

Serves 4-6

What you need:

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1 yellow onion, medium dice

2 large shallots, roughly chopped

2 cups light chicken stock or bone broth

2 bunches fresh asparagus, halved

zest of half an orange

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (preferably Meyer)

salt, to taste

pinch white pepper

½ cup grass fed whole milk or unsweetened almond milk

What to do:

Sweat peas, onion and shallots in oil with a bit of salt in medium-sized pot.  Add broth and bring to a simmer.  Meanwhile, bring a separate small pot of salted water to a boil and set up a small ice bath.

Add asparagus, reserving a few spears to steam, and cook until just done. It is important that the asparagus does not overcook, or else it will turn muddy green. While the asparagus is cooking in the pot, blanch remaining spears in the boiling water for one minute and shock in ice cold water for 2 minutes.  Set aside.

Lower heat and purée with hand blender until very smooth (You can use a Vitamix or high speed blender if you have one, which would give the smoothest result).  Turn off the heat and add zest and citrus juices.

Add milk and season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately with asparagus tips for garnish, a bit of zest and optional dollop of yogurt into each bowl.

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Minted Zucchini Soup (Vellutata di Zucchini alla Menta)

This is a very quick and easy soup that’s also oil free.  I usually have it warm, but it’s also great chilled on a hot summer day.

What you need:

4 zucchini

2 shallots, roughly chopped

½ yellow onion, roughly chopped

4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves

5 oz fresh baby spinach (about 4 handfuls)

Juice from 1 lemon

1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to serve

goat cheese or yogurt (not 0%), to serve

torn mint, to serve

What to do:

Throw zucchini, shallots, onion and broth into a pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiled, turn heat to medium-low and simmer until vegetables are soft.

Stir in mint leaves, spinach, lemon, salt and pepper.  Purée in blender or with an immersion blender.  Adjust lemon, salt and pepper.

Serve immediately and top with goat cheese or yogurt, pepper and a sprinkling of torn mint.  (Great cold too!)

Vellutata di Zucchini alla Menta:

Cosa Serve:

4 zucchini

2 scalogni, spezzettati

½ cipolla gialla, spezzettata

4 tazze di brodo di cipolla o di verdura

1 manciata piccola di menta fresca

4 manciate di spinaci freschi

succo di 1 limone

1/2 – 1 cucchiaino di sale

1/4 cucchiaino di pepe nero

formaggio di capra o yogurt intero, per servire

menta fresca strappata, per servire

Come Fare:

Mettete zucchini, scalogni, cipolla e brodo in una pentola e fate bollire.   Quando bollente, abbassate la fiamma e fate cuocere finché siano cotte le verdure.

Serve immediately and top with goat cheese or yogurt, pepper and a sprinkling of chopped mint.

Aggiungete la menta, gli spinaci, il limone, il sale e il pepe.  Frullate tutto nel mixer e aggiustate il limone, il sale e il pepe.

Servite immediatamente e metteteci sopra una cucchiaiata di formaggio di capra o di yogurt, un pizzico di pepe e un pò di menta strappata.  (Buonissima anche fredda!)

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