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Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category

 

In case you were wondering what to dunk your cornbread into, worry no more … this chowder is the perfect thing to pair with it.  I have a love affair with sweet potatoes every autumn, and they find their way onto our dinner table at least one time per week, often times more.  I love their vibrant orange color, their sweet flavor, and their versatility.  I bake ’em, mash ’em, cream ’em, slice ’em, dice ’em, and roast ’em.  I make sweet potato bread, sweet potato and black bean burgers, baked sweet potatoes with all of the fixings, coconut-mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato casserole, sweet potato pie, sweet potato cake, roasted sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, and sweet potato chowders.  For those of you who are having a Forrest Gump moment right now, I will demonstrate restraint … but please know how much I love thee, dear sweet potato.

Here in Hawaii we have purple sweet potatoes. True story.  Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes (‘uala) are also called Okinawan potatoes and are native to Japan, but they are believed to have been grown in the Hawaiian islands for centuries.  They get their unique purple hue from their abundance of anthocyanin (a type of phytochemical).  We also have purple Molokai Sweet Potatoes, which are only grown on the island of Molokai.  This chowder  does not use purple sweet potatoes but instead calls for the traditional Mainland-style red-skin and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes because I really love their flavor and, quite frankly, am not too keen on serving up purple soup.  Purple sweet potatoes are best served with simple preparation so that their purple coloring can be a unique addition to your plate and not look like a side dish at a grotesque Halloween buffet.  If you ever have the opportunity to work with them, mashed or baked is the way to go with purple potatoes, and then top them off with the simple garnish of your choice.

This (not purple) chowder is simple to make, which makes it a prime candidate for a weekday meal.  Pair it with some bread and a salad and you’ve got a delicious, healthy dinner for your busy work week.  Enjoy!

 

 

Two Potato and Corn Chowder
1 tbsp Earth Balance butter
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
4 medium red potatoes, diced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder (add more or less depending upon your heat tolerance)
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 cups broth ( I used Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base but use whatever flavor strikes your fancy)
1 10 oz frozen corn
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish
1.  Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the onion, and saute for 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the carrots and potatoes and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the spices, salt, and pepper and cook for 30 additional seconds.  Add the broth, bring to a boil, lower to medium-low heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
2.  Stir in the corn and almond milk and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.  Use an immersion blender or stand-up blender to puree the soup (I like to leave it a little bit chunky, but puree to your desired consistency).  Sir in the cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper.  Gently heat for 2-3 minutes.  Garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro and serve.

 

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December 31st is a day to take stock of the year passed, a day to celebrate our gems and recognize our challenges in order to capitalize on these opportunities for improvement in the coming year.  I personally enjoy this occasion to formally recognize one year’s passing and ready myself for the possibilities of the year ahead. Isn’t that really what is at the heart of the celebration of the New Year:  all of the possibilities contained within the yet unturned pages of the new calendar?  Possibility, if it were an emotion, could easily be hope – the thing that drives us, lifts our spirits, and makes us look towards the future with enthusiasm and gratified anticipation.  The new year is a blank slate upon which we can write our hopes, dreams, and goals.

Come January 1st, however, we should not sweep the previous year under the rug – we should enter the new year armed with the accomplishments that were celebrated, lessons that were learned, and growth that incurred during the previous twelve months.  In that spirit, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you all our favorite recipes from the Outpost for 2008.  These recipes will definitely be making repeat appearances on our table in 2009.

I wish each and everyone of you a very happy, healthy, joyous, and prosperous 2009.

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!

The Best of the Outpost in 2008

The Best of the Outpost in 2008

Working from the top left to bottom right:

Danish Braid

French Yule Log

Green Papaya Salad

Crepes

Small Tarts

Jambalaya Stuffed Eggplant

Pineapple Poppy Seed Ice Cream

Fesenjan

Pumpkin Pie

Lemon Gems

Noodle Kugel

Seitan Pot Roast Brisket

Raw Papaya Banana Pie

No Piggies in Blankets

Roasted Butternut Squash, Potato, Apple, and Caramelized Onion Bisque with Pepita-Poblano Garnish

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Enjoy!

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Not a name that rolls easily off the tongue, eh? What can I say? Brevity has never been a strong point of mine ….

Now, I understand that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet … and that a bisque by any other name would be just as spoon licking, lip smacking delicious … but it didn’t seem fair to reduce a soup with such a mélange of flavors to the everyday plain name of “butternut squash bisque.”

The logic behind this recipe:

Roasting the squash, potatoes, and apple deepens the complexity of their flavors. Caramelizing the onion brings out the sweetness of the onion, and pureeing it into this bisque adds another layer of flavor and heightens the taste in each spoonful. The pepita-pepper garnish serves to both add a bit of a kick to the sweet undertones of the soup and adds some texture to the smoothness of the bisque.

Don’t be intimidated by this dish’s long and complicated name – it’s a fairly simple, low-maintenance recipe that packs huge flavor. I will definitely be buying up lots of butternut squash this autumn just to make this soup again and again….

Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash, Potato, Apple, and Caramelized Onion Bisque

2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium sized butternut squash
3 red potatoes
1 red apple
1 onion
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup almond milk ( I like the slight nutty flavor that almond milk lends ot this recipe, but feel free to sub any non-dairy milk)
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
½ tsp grated nutmeg
1 sprig fresh parsley leaves
Salt & pepper

1.    Toss the squash, potatoes, and apple in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in  a glass baking dish and roast in an oven that has been preheated to 400F for 45 minutes.

2.    While the squash, potatoes, and apple are roasting, heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Caramelize the onion for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.

3.    After removing the baking dish from the oven, add the vegetables to five cups of vegetable stock and 1 cup of almond milk in a dutch oven.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

4.    Add the onion, maple syrup, ginger, nutmeg, parsley, salt and pepper to the soup mixture.   Puree the mixture using a handheld immersion blender or a traditional blender until smooth.  Serve topped with pepita-pepper garnish (recipe below).

Pepita-Poblano Garnish

1 tsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter)
1/3 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 small poblano pepper, diced

Melt the EB in  a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the pepitas and poblano and sauté, stirring often, for approximately 10 minutes.

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An Abundance of Gold

As has been well documented on this blog, I have a very generous, very large yellow pear tomato plant taking over my garden. (Never fear, however – we’ve been busy this week carving our two new garden plots.) The tomato plant has kicked into over drive this past week and I’ve been having trouble keeping up with its productivity. We’ve been eating tomato carpaccio just about every day and tossing tomatoes in every salad, but I had to find new ways of using the things. The first recipe listed below was inspired by a recipe that I have been wanting to try for some time now: the Golden Gazpacho on Freshtopia. I had to adapt it somewhat to accommodate my available ingredients (I did not have a lemon cucumber and the store in town only had sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, which I avoid in favor of the ones that come in packages and need to be re-hydrated in hot water) and to adjust it to my taste, and it turned out really very good.  I would still like to try the recipe as posted on Freshtopia because I think the sundried tomatoes would really make the gazpacho something special. The second recipe listed below- yellow tomato sauce – was one I made up on the spot the other night when Dan requested pasta for dinner. The sauce was delicious, and I served it with steamed vegetables.

Tomorrow we are off for a week of rest, relaxation, and adventuring on Kauai. There are some leftovers in the fridge that you can nibble on while we’re away 🙂 I look forward to catching up with everyone when we get back! Have a wonderful week!

Yellow Gazpacho

2 ½ cups yellow pear tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled
1 clove garlic
½ an avocado
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp agave
4 large basil leaves
Hot sauce, salt & pepper to taste
Balsamic vinegar, chopped yellow tomatoes, chopped avocado, and basil leaves to garnish

Mix all ingredients tomatoes through basil in a food processor until your desired consistency is reached.  Taste and season with hot sauce, salt, and pepper.  Top serve, garnish with sliced tomatoes, avocado, and basil leaves drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Yellow Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups yellow pear tomatoes
¼ cup chopped basil
Salt and pepper to taste

1.    Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes and sauté for 5 minutes.

2.    Use a potato masher to break up the tomatoes a bit.  Add salt and pepper.  Cook the sauce over medium heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring e3very so often, until all of the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce a cooked down and thickened (it won’t thicken too much, but it will transition from watery to saucy consistency).

3.    Pour over the pasta of your choice, add vegetables, and enjoy!

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Consider my day made – my pitiful plea for more commenting in my last post resulted in some wonderful word and positive support. I’m putting on my best Cartman voice for this one: “I love you guys.”

Onto other things of which I am fond: I have already professed my love for the smooth and buttery sweet potato on this blog. Happily, I purchased a huge box of them not too long ago … and just the other day I noticed that we were down to a few lonely potatoes waiting to be eaten. I decided to pair these lucky taters with one of my other all time favorites: lentils. I love lentils – red, brown, green and all kinds in between. I had originally wanted to pair the sweet potatoes with red lentils and make a cheerful looking bowl full of orange-y beta carotene goodness, but lacking for red lentils I paired them instead with green lentils. The orange and the green, along with a sprinkle of vivid green cilantro picked straight from the winter garden, created a nice contrast of colors for this soothing bowl of good ol’ fashioned comfort food.


Sweet Potato and Green Lentil Chowder

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
5 cups (2 medium) sweet potatoes, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 tsp red curry powder (red curry for its kick!)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
8 cups vegetable stock
2 cups green lentils
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro to garnish

1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat; add onions and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened.

2. Add the curry, cumin, coriander, garam masala, and salt and saute for 1 minute, until fragrant.

3. Add the sweet potato and carrot saute 1-2 minutes to soften.

4. Stir in the vegetable stock and lentils; bring to a boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils and potatoes are tender.

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

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