……………………………………………………. Baking our mark

Cool Avocado Soup July 31, 2012

I rarely pull recipes off restaurant websites – I always feel like they’re going to leave off a key ingredient in order to inspire me to come back to their spot instead of making a dish myself. But, when I got this recommendation, it sounded too good to pass up.

Before I made this, I’d never eaten a cold soup. Now, I basically want to live off cold soup all summer long. This was incredibly refreshing, all while being incredibly creamy and decadent.

Plus, we finally got to use the antique cold soup china tureen that’s been in the basement for a year. Classy business, this soup.

Plus it’s green. Which is awesome.

Cool Avocado Soup from Panera

2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1/2 English cucumber, partially peeled, then chopped (I used a little cucumber from my garden!)
4 scallions, green parts only
2 cups vegetable broth
Juice of one lime
1/3 cup packed cilantro (leaves and stems)
1/2 – 1 jalapeño pepper, depending on your taste preference, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 – 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4+ tsp. cumin
1/4+ tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt

Throw everything in the blender and puree for 2-3 minutes. Let it sit for a few hours, then blend again for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with additional cilantro as desired.


Menu ideas: When bacon is on sale June 4, 2012

Filed under: Breakfast,Dinner,Lunch,Soup — krandle @ 10:29 pm
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I like bacon as much as the next gal – but I only ever buy it when it’s on sale (and when I’m feeling relatively healthy / all my jeans fit at the beginning of the week). And it recently was on sale (and I was feeling ready to take on an absurd amount of fat), so I got to try out a whole new slew of recipes. Here are some recipes I found to try to keep my skillet busy.

Bacon, egg and leek risotto – a quick weekend breakfast this is not, but it is pretty delicious. Watch out, though – I halved this recipe and it still made four servings

Amazing grilled cheese sandwich – yes, it includes bacon…and sriracha and avocado. It’s going to change your sandwich world.

Crockpot baked beans – big disclaimer here: total cooking time here is 15 hours, plus you need to soak some beans overnight ahead of time. Sure, you can be sleeping for part of it, but you’re going to need to figure out your schedule ahead of time so you don’t burn anything. The beans are tasty, but you need to have the time committed to do this.

Vegan cream of broccoli soup – what, did you think I was trying to harden my arteries entirely in a week? This soup has become one of my favorites this year, and I don’t even like broccoli. It’s fresh, fast, and freezable. Plus, if you’re not vegan, you can sprinkle your own cheese on top to make it a light version of broccoli cheddar soup.


Red Lentil Soup May 30, 2012

Filed under: Lunch,Soup,Vegan,Vegetarian — krandle @ 5:27 pm
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Sometimes, you wind up with an ingredient that you have to invent uses for. It doesn’t fit into the things you normally make, you have no idea how to use it, and none of your stockpiled recipe ideas mention it anywhere. So you start making things up.

A while ago, my mother gave me a bag of red lentils. Not just any old bag. An enormous, unending bag of red lentils, so authentically designed for frequent lentil cooks that Lakshmi is on the outside of the bag. It was an incredibly thoughtful present, and I do love cooking beans/lentils/etc., so I was excited about it. I have to say that I ended up using most of the bag to make a weird rice/lentil mixture. Every time I needed a grain for a stir fry or something, I’d do 3/4 cup rice and 1/4 cup lentils. It added some texture and fiber…and that was pretty much the only idea I had. All my other lentil recipes called for firmer green or brown lentils.

That is, until I decided to make some red lentil soup. I have to say I wish I’d never concocted the rice/lentil mixture; this soup is so much better than that.

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dried Cherries and Cilantro
from Martha Stewart Living

Lentil soup is delicious – but it always looks weird, so you get a small photo. The coconut milk drizzle adds extra creaminess to the soup.

2 tsp. safflower oil (or just vegetable oil if you’re a plain person)
3 Tbs. finely chopped peeled ginger (from a 2-in piece)
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 Tbs.)
1 large shallot, finely chopped (4 Tbs.)
2 carrots, finely diced (about 1 cup)
2 tsp. curry powder
Coarse salt
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk, divided
1 cup red lentils
1/3 cup chopped dried cherries
3 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro stems, plus 3 Tbs. cilantro leaves for garnish

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook ginger, garlic, shallots and carrots, stirring often, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add in 1 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 cup coconut milk, 4 cups water and the lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils and carrots are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour 2 cups of soup through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving the solids. Puree the strained liquid and the remaining soup in a food processor until smooth. Reheat after blending and stir in reserved solids.

At this point, if you’re going to freeze your soup, this is the time to do it. If not, stir in some of the cherries and cilantro stems, then ladle soup into bowls. Swirl the remaining coconut milk and garnish with cherries and cilantro leaves.

Per serving: 348 calories, 8 g saturated fat, 48 g carbohydrates, 15 g protein, 12 g dietary fiber


Pumpkin Black Bean Soup October 28, 2011

This recipe, in addition to being tasty, is incredibly easy to make when you’re away from your kitchen (or feeling very lazy). I made it while away for a weekend when I didn’t have refrigeration beforehand, and didn’t have access to all my normal kitchen things (and yes, I brought all these ingredients and a pan of cornbread with me when I was on vacation).

The original recipe suggests serving with warm tortillas, but I found cornbread to be a great accompaniment.

Note: while I normally advocate adding more of whatever spices you like, this recipe is uniquely balanced as it is. Don’t add more cilantro, even if you love it.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup 

This is supposed to be two servings, but we found that it’s more like four servings.

1 tsp cumin
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can black beans
1 can light, unsweetened coconut milk (in case you’re having a hard time finding this, check the Asian foods section of the grocery store)
1 cup vegetable broth
4 Tbs fresh cilantro
2 Tbs lime juice
3/4 tsp. lime zest

In a large saucepan, combine cumin, pumpkin, black beans, coconut milk, broth and 3 Tbs cilantro. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes to combine the flavors. Turn off heat, add lime juice, lime zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with remaining cilantro.


Spicy Ginger Carrot Soup September 1, 2011

Filed under: Appetizer,Dinner,Lunch,Side dish,Soup,Vegetarian — Michelle Jackson @ 10:41 pm
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A spicy-sweet and light end-of-summery dish that’s easy to make with the help of an oven and a blender (or food processor).

1 lb carrots (I used peeled baby carrots)

1 1 1/2 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger

1 small sweet potato, cut into smallish pieces

3 cloves garlic

1 medium onion

2-3 cups vegetable broth (or water)

Salt, pepper, paprika, and Sriracha to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and roast the carrots,  garlic, and chopped sweet potato for about 45 minutes, rotating so they don’t burn on one side. I wrapped the unpeeled garlic gloves in aluminum foil to roast them separately. Saute the ginger and onion in a small skillet until the onions are translucent and the ginger is fragrant (don’t let anything blacken.) When cool enough to handle, transfer the sautéed ingredients and roasted ingredients to blender (or food processor) in batches and puree with vegetable broth (or about 2-3 cups of water) to desired thickness. Season to taste with black pepper, salt, paprika, and hot sauce. Best eaten cold with a toasted baguette.


Curried Summer Squash Soup August 26, 2011

More squash – and with squash, you don’t need to add milk or anything heavy to make the curry flavors stand out. Just pop the squash in the food processor to make everything creamy and delicious. Plus, it freezes nicely, just like all the other squash soups I’ve made this summer.

Curried Summer Squash Soup 

4 summer squashes, cut into 1/2-in cubes
4 red potatoes, cubed
1-2 garlic cloves
1 onion
Chili powder
Dry mustard
4 cups stock
Green beans
Olive oil
Cayenne powder

Start by browning the onion with the garlic in some olive oil. Add the squash and potatoes and continue to cook. Add in all the spices, stirring frequently so they become fragrant and don’t burn. After vegetables begin to soften and caramelize, add 3 cups of stock. [I also added some white beans at this point.] Cook with the lid closed until potatoes are soft.

Pull out 2/3 of the squash and vegetables and puree in a food processor or blender in batches, then add back into the soup. Add in the remaining 1 cup of stock and all the corn, green beans, and peas, cooking soup until it’s warm and newly added vegetables are just beginning to cook but are still crisp. At this point, also add in cayenne to taste.


Vegetarian Corn and Bell Pepper Chowder April 6, 2011

I realize that it’s April, but I just keep wanting to make soup. Weird, I know. Anyways, this recipe is incredibly easy and requires very few ingredients, making it perfect for when you don’t want to run to the grocery store. Also, since you probably already have this stuff lying around, it’s cheap too. We love cheap this week.

If you consult the original recipe from B.A., note that it is incredibly bland. I don’t do bland. So I fixed it and like the end result. It won’t blow your mind, but it’s really easy and really low cal.