Kitchen Experiments – Creamy Beany Broccoli Soup

I love soup! I love soup in the winter, spring, summer or fall. I love soup for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Any time of day, any time of year! I love brothy soups, creamy soups, or loaded with stuff soup. I just plain love soup! I am usually not a follow the recipe kind of a soup maker, I am usually just a throw it in the pot and see what happens kind of a soup maker. However, there are several recipes that have made it into my repertoire when I am in the mood to follow a recipe. The “Creamy Broccoli Soup” by Cynthia Lair from her Feeding the Whole Family cookbook has been one of my favorites since I had Cynthia as a teacher at Bastyr University while getting my masters in nutrition. The only problem that I had with this recipe was that it did not have a significant amount of protein in it. As I said, I like to have soup for breakfast, especially when I am working, but I like it to have protein so that it holds me over for the morning and I don’t spike my blood sugar. So, I decided to tweak the recipe just a little.

soup

Creamy Beany Broccoli Soup

2 large stems of broccoli with flowerets

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

2 leeks, white part mainly with 1 inch of green top, cleaned and chopped

1/2 t. sea salt

1 tsp. coriander

2 medium potatoes, diced

1 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

5 celery stalks, chopped

4 – 4 ½ c. water

2 Tbs. cashew butter

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  1. Cut off the broccoli flowerets, cut into bite-sized pieces. Place flowerets in small saucepan with a little water on the bottom. Steam for 5 minutes, until the color just starts to change. Peel the broccoli stems and dice into small pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a 3-quart pot. Add onions, leeks, salt, and coriander. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion/leek mixture cooks down to a nice mush (10 to 15 minutes).
  3. Add the broccoli stem pieces, potatoes, cannellini beans, celery, and water to the onion mush; cover and simmer until the potatoes are soft (15 to 20 minutes).
  4. Put the soup mixture in a blender, or use a hand blender, with cashew butter and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Makes 6 servings

I hope that you will try this recipe and enjoy it as much as I do for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Happy cooking!

How Does Your Garden Grow?

There is nothing pleasanter than spading when the ground is soft and damp.

~ John Steinbeck

lower gardenI will have to agree that there is something so satisfying to me to be able to put my hands into the dirt.  This is the photo that I sent out awhile ago in the beginning of spring.  This was my garden before I got it planted.  Even though there is still a small section of my garden that is filled with weeds and yet unplanted, I wanted to share with you what I have growing.

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In this row I have peas towards the back with some kale and arugula growing in front of them.  There are some onions left over from last year and some lettuce.  Under the ladder there are two winter squash plants of unknown variety.  It is a wait and see what grows!

middleIn this middle row I have zucchini and yellow squash towards the fence and the some pole beans next to them.  I have lots of basil so that I can make pesto for the freezer.  There are tomatoes, peppers and more lettuce towards the front.

topIn the top row I have lots of herbs and then below  I have potatoes, string beans and more onions that I just planted.

This is my spring garden because once the end of June comes and the sun starts dipping down, the trees start to shade this garden and it gets very little sun.  I hope that I will have some things to eat out of here soon!

On the side of my house where I keep thinking there is more sun, I have my other garden.If I am truly honest with myself, there is not much more sun on this side of the house.  I live in a beautiful spot, but those big trees are just getting in my way!

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Lots and lots of greens in this part of my garden – kale, collards, tatsoi, spinach, endive, escarole and cress.  Yummy!  We have already been eating out of this side.

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More peas on this side along with beets, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, radishes and chard.  Radishes are amazing!  They grow so quickly.  We have already eaten many of those.  There are some strawberries in the back but I transplanted them so they are still trying to find their roots.

blueberries

Hard to tell in this photo, but these are blueberry plants that I just bought this year and they are loaded!  I hope they make it!

Thanks for taking the tour of my garden!  I will keep you posted as I harvest my goodies!  Happy gardening!

Kitchen Experiments – Lentils with Spinach and Shitake Mushrooms

I really like lentils – red, black or green – soup, stew, loaf – almost anyway you cook them, I love them!  Once again this recipe came out of the necessity of finding something to eat for dinner that was different but easy and definitely delicious.  I had made something similar to this previously before we started the Alcat diet, so I will offer some changes at the end that you can try at home.

My first step in this recipe was to cook the lentils.  I sautéed my scallions and celery first in some olive oil and then added the black lentils.  I always like to sauté them together for just a minute before adding the water.  I added only enough water to cover the lentils because I did not want a lot of extra broth since this was not a soup recipe.  My mom always added oregano and a bay leaf when she cooked her lentil soup, so of course I always do the same. I cooked the lentils until almost all of the water was absorbed – about 30-40 minutes.

While the lentils continued to cook, I took my cast iron skillet and added olive oil and shiitake mushrooms and cooked them for several minutes until the mushrooms were soft.  I added the spinach and turned off the heat with a lid on to wilt the spinach and wait for the lentils to be cooked.

In a separate skillet, I sautéed potatoes until brown and crispy on all sides.

When the lentils were cooked, I added them to the cast iron skillet with the mushrooms and spinach.  I tossed it all together until it was well mixed.

lentilsI cannot eat potatoes, but my husband can.  When I made this recipe before, I would toss the potatoes right into the skillet as well and mix it all together and top it would some goat cheese!  Yummy, I can’t wait until I can eat goat cheese again.  This time, I put some potatoes on my husband’s plate and some oat groats on mine and topped them both with the lentil mixture.  It was a very delicious dinner once again! If you have never tried lentils and potatoes together, I encourage you to try them! Good cooking!