Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Being able to actually go outdoors without a heavy winter coat, boots, scarf and gloves is among one of life's greatest pleasures. For anyone who lives in Canada, I think I'm hearing a few people saying "AMEN to that". It has been a very long winter, or at least to me it seems as though it has. The streets have been reasonably barron in the burbs and now, as though someone flicked a switch, the sun is shining and people actually have come out of hibernation. The spring shows have begun and the venues have packed parking lots and people mulling around outdoors and just soaking in the vitamin D the sun has to offer.
I'm in a good mood! No - I'm in a great mood. I'm in the mood for spring type food - I'm cleaning off the bar-b-que and starting to look at summer salad recipes. I'm even buying a bicycle to ride the trails and get some outdoor exercise.
I found this recipe in Eating Well Magazine and just couldn't resist. Although our asparagus hasn't yet matured, paying homage to this fine vegetable makes me believe we'll have local produce soon. If you like asparagus, try this soup - it's really delicious.
Ingredients for Asparagus Soup:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt (divided)
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Zest and juice of 1 lemon (divided)
2 cups diced peeled red potatoes
3 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup lite coconut milk
2 cups 1/2 inch pieces trimmed asparagus (about 1 bunch)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup creme fraiche or reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped scallion greens or fresh chives
1. Melt butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add onion and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 5 minutes
3. Stir in curry powder, ginger, lemon zest and potatoes and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend the flavours, for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in broth, coconut milk and asparagus. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, partially cover and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes)
5. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or a regular blender (in batches) until smooth. Season with remaining 1/4 tsp salt and pepper
6. Whisk creme fraiche (or sour cream), lemon juice and scallion greens (or chives) in a small bowl and garnish with a swirl of it in each bowl. (I didn't do this part -I just couldn't wait to have a bowl of the soup)
Continuing with the theme of green soups, I made my colleagues zucchini soup last weekend. I was initially introduced to this soup at a dinner party my colleague hosted about a year ago. This was my first attempt at making it.
Ingredients for Zucchini Soup:
1 small cooking onion
2 cups of chicken broth
1 tsp basil
1 and 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup cream
salt and pepper, to tast
Wash and cut zucchinis into 1-inch thick rounds, discard ends.
Cut onion into medium-sized chunks.
In a large pot, combine zucchinis, onion, chicken broth and basil (I basically did this but allowed the onions to sweat for a few minutes before adding the other ingredients). Bring broth to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer until veggies are soft
Puree vegetable mixture in food processor (I used a hand blender) and return to pot. Add milk and cream. Heat thoroughly. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
I must admit, I was quite generous on the chicken broth. Probably too much so. I also found the taste of milk to be stronger in my soup than I recall it being when my colleague made it. I'm thinking it may be due to using Lactaid instead of regular milk. Has anyone had this experience with lactose-free milk?
This soup was so easy to make, I wouldn't hesitate to make it again.