Zucchini Bisque

6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1-1/2 lbs. zucchini, ends trimmed, and cut into chunks
2 heaping Tablespoons white basmati rice or long-grain white rice
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup half-and-half (organic is the best!)
Croutons (optional) for serving

1. In a medium round or oval slow cooker put the butter, onion, curry powder, and zucchini, cover, and cook on HIGH to sweat the vegetables for 30 minutes.
2. Add the rice, basil, and broth, cover, and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours.
3. Purée with a handheld immersion blender or transfer to a food processor or blender and purée in batches. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the half-and-half, cover, and continue to cook on LOW until heated through, 20 minutes; do not boil.
To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish with croutons, if desired.
Serves 4.

Winter Vegetable Chowder

The Milk–2 cups milk, preferably whole
3 large parsley branches
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 onion, sliced
10 peppercorns, lightly crushed
5 juniper berries, lightly crushed

The Soup–
2 Tablespoons butter
2 large leeks, white parts plus an inch of the greens, chopped
4 cups chopped winter vegetables–turnips, carrots, celery or celery root, rutabagas, a little parsnip
3 boiling potatoes, about 12 ounces, peeled and diced
2 small bay leaves
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and freshly milled pepper
2 Tablespoons flour
4 to 6 large slices sourdough or country-style bread, toasted
grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese
chopped parsley, tarragon, or lovage

1. Put everything for the milk in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat. Cover and set aside while you prepare the vegetables.
2. Melt the butter in a soup pot over low heat.
3. Add the vegetables, bay leaves, parsley, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Stir in the flour and add 5 cups water; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
5. Pour the milk through a strainer right into the soup. Taste for salt and season with pepper.
To serve, lay a piece of toast in each bowl, cover it with grated cheese, ladle the soup on top, and sprinkle with parsley.
Serves 4 to 6

Vegetarian Chili with Winter Squash

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup bell pepper (any color), diced
3 or more cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
2 1/2 tablespoons mild chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried cumin
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cup pureed squash (pumpkin or delicata are the best)
olive oil for sautéing
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups cooked beans (black, pinto, kidney, or tigers eye)
1 TBSP lime juice

Optional toppings: cilantro, jalapeno, sour cream, cheese, avocado

PROCEDURE:
1. Dice up all the veggies.
2. Sauté onion, carrot, pepper in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, soy sauce, and spices. Sauté another minute.
3. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth, squash and cooked beans.
4. Simmer about 15 minutes to meld.
5. Serve with any or all the suggested toppings and consider whipping up a batch of corn bread.

Vegetable Chowder

Instead of 1/4 cup butter and 1/2-pint heavy cream, as in the original version, this new light one has only 1 Tablespoon butter, no cream, and the option of low-fat milk. It still tastes luxurious.Try not to shy away from the full amount of garlic. It gives the soup a rich flavor and is surprisingly smooth and subtle.

1 Tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons basil
1 medium potato, diced
2 medium stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cups chopped broccoli
2 cups chopped cauliflower
1/2 lb. mushrooms, chopped
2 cups corn (frozen-defrosted is fine)
lots of fresh black pepper
1-1/2 cups water
optional: minced fresh herbs (chives, basil, marjoram)

1. Melt the butter in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add onion, half the garlic, salt, thyme, and basil. Sauté over medium heat 5 minutes. Add potato, celery, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. Sauté another 5 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and corn, plus lots of black pepper. Sauté another 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Add water, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes, or until everything is tender. (Make sure the potatoes are done.)
3. Stir in hot milk and remaining garlic. Remove from heat until about 10 minutes before serving time, then heat gently.
Serve topped with freshly minced herbs.
Makes 8 servings. (Can easily be halved)

Tomato Green Bean Soup

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 tsp butter
6 cups vegetable broth
1 lb. fresh beans, cut into 1-in. pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Procedure:
1. In a large saucepan, sauté onion and carrots in butter for 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, beans and garlic. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, let simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
2. Stir in tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Thai Tofu & Winter Squash Stew

2-3 leeks sliced
2 tbls peanut oil
2 cloves garlic
2 serrano chilis (optional)
mince
1 tbls finely chopped ginger
1 tbls curry powder
1 tbls green curry paste
1 tbls light brown sugar
3 tbls soy sauce
1 15 oz can coconut milk
1 ½ pounds delicata squash-cubed, (you do not have to peel it!)
salt to taste
1 10 oz cube of firm tofu
juice of one lime
1/3 cup toasted peanuts
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Chop all veggies and ginger ahead of time.
Heat oil in the soup pot.
Add leeks and sauté about 3 minutes
Add garlic, chilies, and ginger Cook 1 minute more.
Add curry powder curry paste, sugar, and soy sauce. Stir well, scraping the pot.
Add 3 cups water or chicken stock, coconut milk, squash, salt.
Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer covered for 15 minutes until squash is tender.
Taste for salt and add lime juice.
Sauté the tofu in peanut oil until browned.
Serve soup over basmati or jasmine rice with tofu, cilantro, and nuts sprinkled on top.
VARIATIONS: You can add all sorts of additional veggies to this. Carrots, mushrooms, and red peppers are especially good.

Sweet & Sour Borscht

Ingredients:
3 medium beets with leafy tops
2 Tablespoons salad oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
2 cups shredded red or green cabbage
1/4 cup lemon juice
2-1/2 Tablespoons dill weed
6 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1. Peel and coarsely chop (or shred) beets. (Only chop good leaves)
2. Heat oil in a 5-quart stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrots. Cook, stir occasionally, until vegetables are soft. (approx. 10 mins.)
3. Add beets and tops, cabbage, lemon juice, sugar, dill, and stock; bring to a simmer.
4. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until beets and cabbage are tender. (approx. 45 mins.)
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Garnish each serving with dollop of yogurt.

Spunky Chili

Ingredients:
2 TBSP olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tsp mild chili powder 2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1 TBSP cider vinegar
1 small bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
5 cups cooked kidney, tiger’s eye, or Rising River Farm’s dry bean mix
4 cups canned, stewed tomatoes
1/2 lb. cooked, ground burger (optional)

Toppings:
sour cream
grated cheddar cheese
salsa
tortilla chips

Procedure:
1. In a soup pot heat 2 TBLS olive oil. When heated add the onion, carrot, celery, chili powder, and cumin, and salt. Sauté for 10 or so minutes.
2. Add vinegar, pepper, garlic, and beans. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Slowly add 2 cups tomato juice.
4. Stir and cover for 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes or so.
5. Serve with the toppings of your choice

Potato Leek Soup

2-3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
2 lbs. Yellow Finn potatoes, cubed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
milk
1 teaspoon salt

1. Sauté leeks and garlic in melted butter until leeks are translucent.
2. Add cubed potatoes, salt, and enough water to just cover veggies.
3. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are soft.
4. Puree soup in a food processor and return to the pot. Add enough milk to get to the
consistency you like and add more salt if necessary.
5. Gently warm the soup, but do not boil.

Variations: You can use just about any type of potato. I often add carrots for extra nutrients and sweetness. You could probably tuck a turnip in there and no one would be the wiser! Finally, I use an one of those hand-held “stick in the pot” blenders, which saves on dishes and reduced the risk of splashing hot soup on yourself.
Serve with a crusty French type bread.

Minestrone Soup

For a minestrone that is more a stew than a soup, use the larger amounts of beans and pasta.Note: These instructions assume the beans or chick peas are already cooked. You can soak and cook your own, or use canned (well rinsed and well drained).

 2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
5 medium cloves garlic,
minced
1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
1 stalk celery, minced
1 medium carrot, diced
small zucchini, diced and/or 1 cup diced eggplant
1 teaspoon oregano
fresh black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon basil
1 medium bell pepper, diced
3 to 4 cups (or more) water
1 – 14.5 oz. can tomato purée (approx. 2 cups)
1 to 1-1/2 cups cooked pea beans, chick peas, or kidney beans
1/2 to 1 cup dry pasta (any shape)
1 or 2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, diced (optional)
1/2 cup freshly minced parsley
Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add onion, garlic, and salt. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add celery, carrot, eggplant (if using zucchini, add it later, with the bell pepper), oregano, black pepper, and basil. Cover and cook over very low heat about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add bell pepper, zucchini, water, and tomato purée. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Add beans and simmer another 5 minutes.
Bring soup to a gentle boil. Add pasta, stir, and cook until the pasta is tender. Stir in the diced fresh tomatoes, and serve right away, topped with parsley and Parmesan.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 

Crock Pot Beef Stew

 Whoever created the crock pot was a genius. How great is it to prepare dinner in the morning when you have energy and clarity of mind…and it is ready when you walk in the door after work? I love crock pot days!
You can vary the ingredients to fit your own personal tastes.

 1-2 lbs. cubed stew meat
4 fist-sized potatoes, (Finns, Yukon’s, or Fingerlings are some of my favorites)
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots, chopped in rings
Other suggestions: celery, parsnip, turnips
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
Meat prep: You can just toss the meat in as is, or dredge in flour then brown all sides in a skillet with a little oil.  It depends on how pressed for time you are.
Chop all veggies and add them one variety at a time, salting and peppering with each addition.
Add enough liquid to not quite cover the veggies. I like to add a mix of organic chicken broth and water. Sometimes I’ll add a little puréed tomato as well.
Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 7 or 8 hours.
Serve with your favorite dinner bread or rolls. So good on a cold winter day!

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Perfect for fall and winter to warm your belly on those cool, crisp nights.
1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
3-4 medium potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, chopped
1 large onion
4+ cloves garlic
2+ teaspoons dill seed
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
salt and pepper to taste
about 1 cup milk
2 cups grated cheddar (the sharper the better)

 1. In a soup pot, sauté in olive oil all the veggies and spices starting with onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes.
2. Simmer veggies in just enough water to cover them. Cook until soft.
3. Purée veggies until smooth. Return to soup pot and add milk and cheese. Stir well and simmer for 5-10 minutes more.

 

 

Cream of Broccoli Soup

2 TBLS butter
½ cup minced shallots or 1 & 1/3rd cup leeks-cleaned and chopped small
1 Tbls flour
2 cups chicken stock or veggie stock
¾ pound broccoli
¼ cup heavy cream
¾ tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter in large saucepan over low heat until foaming. Add shallots or leeks and cook covered until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add flour and stir constantly for about 30 seconds.
Slowly add the chicken stock, stirring as you go.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes
Broccoli prep:  Separate florets from stalks and break up florets into smaller pieces. Peel the stalks and chop into small chunks.
In a food processor separately process stalks and florets with quick pulses so the pieces are like the size of peas. Do not puree into mush! Preparing the broccoli this way allows it to cook quickly and evenly, thus avoiding an over-cooked sumptuous smell and taste.
Add broccoli to the simmering stock. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer uncovered until broccoli is tender.
Puree soup in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Transfer soup back to pot and stir in the cream. If the soup is too thick, add hot water or milk to achieve the desired texture.
Warm soup over low heat until warmed through. Add lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Celeriac & Apple Soup with Blue Cheese Toasts

 

Celeriac & Apple Soup with Blue Cheese Toasts
Makes: Eight 1 cup servings with 1 cheese toast a
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients:
2 pounds celeriac (celery root)
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
3 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 t salt, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 t chopped fresh thyme
2 t finely chopped garlic
1 medium russet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and chopped
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t ground pepper

Toasts:
8 slices baguette (1/4-inch), preferably whole-wheat
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
8 t crumbled Gorgonzola or other mild blue cheese

Preparation:
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 450°F.
Cut one end of celeriac to create a flat surface to keep it steady, then cut off the skin, following
the contour of the root. (Or use a vegetable peeler and peel around the root at least three times to ensure all the fibrous skin has been removed.) Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut apples into 1-inch wedges. Toss the celeriac and apples in a large bowl with 2 Tsp oil and 1/4 t salt until well coated. Spread out on a baking sheet. Roast, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned and tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 T oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and thyme; cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened but have not colored, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add potato, broth, water, nutmeg, pepper and the remaining 3/4 t salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables smash easily when pressed against the side of the pot, 35 to 40 minutes. Add the celeriac mixture to the pot. Blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. (Or transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.)
To prepare toasts: About 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, preheat oven to 400°.
Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Rub them with the garlic, then top with cheese. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, 5 to 7 minutes.
Serve the soup topped with a cheese toast.

Carrot Ginger Soup

2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
4 cups chopped carrots
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup orange juice
water or vegetable stock
3 Tbsp mellow white miso
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté onion and ginger in oil for about 3 minutes.
2. Add carrots, oats, orange juice and enough water or stock to just cover carrots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer until carrots are soft (about 20 minutes).
3. Turn off heat and puree with handheld blender.
4. In small bowl, dissolve miso in 1/2 cup room-temperature water and stir into soup.
5. Garnish with parsley.

 

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:
1 (3-pound) butternut squash
Extra-virgin olive oil, for roasting, plus 2 tablespoons
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 shallots, chopped
1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
2 teaspoons curry powder (mild or spicy)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
1. Cut the squash in half through the stem and remove the seeds. Drizzle the cut edges with oil, season with salt and pepper, and put it, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Roast until very soft, about 1 hour. Remove the squash from the oven, turn the halves over and let them stand until cool enough to handle. Scoop the flesh from the shell, into a bowl and discard the shell.
2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven with a lid, heat the 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the squash flesh, chicken stock, and curry powder and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the squash is broken down, about 10 minutes.
3. Cool the squash mixture for about 5 minutes before adding it to a blender. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth, transferring the puree to a clean saucepan as you work. Season the soup with salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer a few minutes over medium heat to combine the flavors. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and serve immediately.
OPTIONAL: Stir in coconut milk and a little curry paste for additional creamy texture and complex flavor.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Ingredients:
1 TBLS melted butter
1 cup chopped onion
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup ½ & ½ (or substitute and additional cup of milk)
4 cups chicken stock
1 lb or more of broccoli-chopped into small bits
1 cup carrots-chopped small
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Procedure:
1. In a medium sauce pan melt ¼ cup butter. Add the flour and whisk together for about 3 minutes (stir continuously).
2. Add the milk, ½ and ½, and chicken stock. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the broccoli and carrots and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the broccoli and carrots are soft.
4. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheddar cheese until melted.

Black Bean & Salsa Soup

This soup is sooooo good and you can tweak the recipe based on what veggies you have on hand. The recipe is vegan, but you can always add chicken or some other meat if you want extra protein, and/or garnish with shredded cheddar and/or sour cream.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced
3 or more cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red pepper, chopped
1.5 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1.5 cups chunky salsa, fresh (homemade or store bought) is better than jar salsa.
4 cups vegetable stock
2 15 oz cans black beans, drained
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
Extra’s for serving (all are optional)
lime juice
fresh cilantro, chopped
tortilla chips
ripe avocado, cubed
hot sauce
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream

Procedure:
1. Heat oil in a large soup pot. When hot, add garlic, onion, pepper, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir and cooked for about 4 minutes.
2. Add cumin and chili powder, stir to coat. Then add salsa and vegetable stock. Bring to a low boil.
3. Add black beans and corn. Simmer covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you are adding meat, figure out when to add it based on what type and whether it is pre-cooked.
4. Enjoy on its own or add some of the extras suggested above.

Apple Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
4 large apples, peeled, cored and quartered
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup rice milk
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
sea salt

1. Peel squash, cut in half and remove seeds. Cut into 2-inch pieces.
2. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté onion in oil until soft (about 5 minutes). Add squash,
apples, stock, rice milk, coconut milk and nutmeg. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until squash is soft. Puree with a handheld blender and remove from heat to cool slightly. Season to taste with salt and serve.