Showing posts with label harissa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label harissa. Show all posts

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Chickpea, Leek, and Bread Soup with Harissa Yogurt for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Do you have trigger words that jump out at you when you look at recipes online, in cookbooks or magazines? Certain ingredients that stand out in the recipe index, name, or description that make you take a closer look. On my short list--beyond the very obvious soup of course--there is chocolate (and any pairing of it with sea salt and/or caramel), tarragon, fried egg, avocado, and four ingredients that happen to be in this week's soup recipe--chickpeas, leek, cumin, and harissa. Which is why it is surprising that this recipe for Chickpea, Bread, and Leek Soup with Harissa and Yogurt from the April 2010 issue of Cooking Light, took me so long to make. I had it in a stack of recipes to try and just came back across it the other day and it immediately jumped to the top of the list.

Cooking Light says, "This hearty Middle Eastern-inspired soup is based on a favorite at Garden State Cart (a Portland, Oregon food cart). Look for harissa--a fiery North African condiment incorporating chile peppers, tomatoes, and paprika--in tubes and cans at ethnic grocery stores and specialty shops."

I made a couple of small changes to the recipe--namely increasing the chickpeas and garlic, reducing the sodium, and choosing to add the bread portion to a couple of the servings via the fun of sourdough bread bowls--because isn't a great soup made even greater by a bread bowl?! My changes are noted in red below.

Chickpea, Leek, and Bread Soup with Harissa Yogurt
Adapted from Ivy Manning, Cooking Light April 2010
(Serves 6

4 large leeks (about 2 1/2 lbs)
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 tsp ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced (I used six cloves worth)
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (19-oz) can chickpeas, rinsed & drained (I used 3 13.4-oz boxes of no-salt added beans)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 1/2 cups cubed day-old bread (about 6 oz)
3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
6 tsp harissa

Remove roots, outer leaves, and tops from leeks, leaving white and light green parts of each leek. Cut each leek in half lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into thin slices. Rinse with cold water; drain.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add cumin and garlic; cook for 1 minute. 

Add chicken broth and chickpeas; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in parsley. Place about 2/3 cup bread in each of 6 bowls; ladle about 1 1/3 cups soup over each serving. 

Combine 3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt and 6 teaspoons harissa in a small bowl. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons yogurt mixture. 

Nutritional Information: Per Serving: Calories: 334,  Fat: 7.6g, Saturated fat: 1.1g, Protein: 11.8g, Carbs: 57g, Fiber: 6.7g, Cholesterol: 2.5mg, Iron: 6mg,  Sodium: 805mg, Calcium: 226mg

Notes/Results: A relatively quick soup to make with not a lot of ingredients but plenty of flavor. The sweetness of the leeks with the nuttiness of the chickpeas first, then the heat from the spicy harissa yogurt kicks in--a fantastic combination. (And BTW harissa yogurt is a very good thing--I will be making it a lot I think for soups, salads, veggies and fish.) The chickpeas and the bread--whether in chunks, or with the soup served in a bread bowl, help make it very satisfying. A pretty wonderful soup all around except for the sodium content which is pretty high. I reduced it a bit by using homemade almost-no-salt veggie broth in place of the chicken stock and using no-salt chickpeas too. With the extra garlic and the cumin, there was still plenty of flavor. I will make it again.  

Janet of The Taste Space is here with me today in the Souper Sundays kitchen, sharing this golden-hued Coconut Cabbage and Lentil Soup with Cilantro. Janet says, "The coconut-infused broth is silky smooth with spicy hints of sriracha and ginger, balanced by the lime juice and cilantro and packed with good-for-you veggies like sweet potato and cabbage. Oh, and there are red lentils in there to make this a complete meal. The cabbage was fun because they were inadvertently like noodles with their long strands. Dig in!"

Thanks to Janet for joining in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week! 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Quick Harissa-Spiced Creamy Tomato Soup with Hummus Toasts for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I was planning making a different soup this week but found myself sitting at the vet's office for several hours and never quite made it to the grocery store as planned to pick up needed ingredients. Improvising is always easier with a well-stocked pantry and spice rack and since I had a few boxes of Pomi chopped tomatoes, I decided on a quick blender tomato soup with my Vitamix blender. (Don't stop reading if you don't have a high-speed blender, this soup can easily be made on the stove top too.)

Spicy harissa paste was on my mind since I just used it in a salad dressing recipe (see the "Crazy Salad" below) so I decided to make my tomato soup Moroccan-inspired with the harissa, cumin, smoked paprika and cinnamon, and to make it creamy but dairy-free with coconut milk. Creamy tomato soups are always better with something to dunk into them and since I had leftover olive bread on hand and homemade hummus in the fridge--hummus toasts seemed like the perfect accompaniment. A more exotic but equally delicious take on the classic tomato and grilled cheese. 

Quick Harissa-Spiced Creamy Tomato Soup 
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2 Bowls or about 4 cups)

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 scallions coarsely chopped or 1/2 sweet onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp harissa paste, or to taste
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp round cinnamon
1 (28 oz) can or (750 g) box of chopped tomatoes
1 cup coconut milk
sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a medium pan, heat the olive oil and add the scallions, garlic and ginger. Saute about 5 minutes until scallions have softened and begun to lightly brown (make sure not to burn them). Stir in tomato paste, harissa, smoked paprika, cumin and cinnamon and cook another minute or two until spices are mixed in and releasing their fragrances. 
I used my Vitamix Blender to make the soup but you can easily make it in a pan on the store and blend with a regular blender or immersion blender. Below you will find the method for each.

Vitamix Blender Method:
Place tomatoes  in blender jar and scrape in the scallion-spice mix. Add the coconut milk and blend on high (or on soup setting if using a newer model) until soup is hot and you see steam around the blender top. In my older Vitamix it takes roughly 5 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and serve hot with hummus toasts. 

Stove-Top Method:
To the scallion and spice mix, add the tomatoes and their juices. Heat until just and a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender in the pan or a regular blender, puree until smooth. Return to pan and stir in coconut milk. Heat through, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with hummus toasts.  

Hummus Toasts: I brushed slices of olive bread and grilled them until crisp then spread them with homemade hummus. Mine had chickpeas, almond butter, lemon juice, cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne. You can use your hummus recipe or store-bought.

Notes/Results: Smooth and creamy, great warm and exotic flavors, and a slight burn at the back of the throat from the harissa. It's quick and easy to prepare too. Cooking the scallions, garlic, spices, etc. before adding them to the blender is an extra step but helps intensify the flavors. It paired perfectly with the hummus toasts and the briny bites of olive in the bread I used were a nice addition to the flavor mix. I will definitely make it again.    

Although it's "Souper Bowl Sunday" today--it is salads and a tasty sandwich that dominate in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week. Let's have a look.  

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes is here with Thai Mango Grain Salad. Pam says, "...I rarely deviate from my list.  One of the few exceptions is if a favorite fruit or veggie just happens to be on sale, as was the case last week.  Mangoes.  I will deviate from my list for some perfectly ripe, organic mangoes, which Earth Fare had on sale.  So, I brought these home, along with $5.00 rotisserie chicken and plotted what to make for dinner. ... This salad was basically created from what I already had in my pantry and fridge and my lovely mangoes.  It is bright and refreshing with the Thai flavors shining through."

Sue of Couscous & Consciousness brings Sicilian Artichoke & Broad Bean Salad with Saffron Dressing and says, "The fact that this "veggieccentric" meal (though I did sneak in some anchovies) is also a salad, that salad of any description just happens to be my favourite meal of any kind, that it offered a riot of colour on a grey and gloomy day, and that it delivered a sublime combination of flavours and textures (which is always the benchmark of a great dish for me), meant that this dish ticked every conceivable box for me."

Help me welcome a new face to Souper Sundays this week, Correen of Food Lovers Web, hailing from SW Washington and here with her "nice and spicyChimichurri Kale and Cabbage Salad. She says, "The combination of kale and cabbage make this an extra crunchy salad, even into day 3. A surprising whoa! are the tiny bits of red onions and raisins tossed into the mix. Undeniably spicy (~swoon), all the flavors in this salad enhance one another perfectly. Make it the night before so all the ingredients have a chance to meld. In this salad’s case, melding is a very good thing!" Welcome Correen!

I couldn't resist adding my adaptation of Diana Henry's "Crazy Salad" to the roundup this week. It would probably be easier to say what isn't in this salad as in addition to barley, spelt and chickpeas, there are plenty of greens and veggies, pomegranate seeds and blueberries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, a sweet and spicy harissa dressing and a little local cheese on top. It was crazy-good and a good pairing with the crazy-intense book I reviewed on the post.

And finally, one sandwich this week from Janet of The Taste Space. She shares this fun Jackfruit Vegan Gyros with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce and says, "The jackfruit had an excellent texture, similar to pulled pork and the flavours were bright and fresh. Because I didn’t have yogurt or sour cream on hand, I made my own version of tzatziki which complemented the pita well. I opted for a tofu base since I thought the meal needed an extra hit of protein. As leftovers, once I ran out of the pita, this was also excellent as a quinoa bowl, with the jackfruit and veggies piled high and a generous serving of the tzatziki overtop."

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week! 


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "One Step Too Far" by Tina Seskis, Served with Diana Henry's "Crazy Salad"

An intense mystery and psychological drama One Step Too Far: A Novel by Tina Seskis, is what is on today's TLC Book Tour. Since things get a little crazy in this book and it kept me guessing to the final page--which made me a little crazy, I made a variation of Diana Henry's Crazy Salad to accompany it. 

Publisher's Blurb:

The #1 international bestseller reminiscent of After I’m Gone, Sister, Before I Go to Sleep, and The Silent Wife—an intricately plotted, thoroughly addictive thriller that introduces a major new voice in suspense fiction—a mesmerizing and powerful novel that will keep you guessing to the very end. 

No one has ever guessed Emily’s secret. Will you? 

A happy marriage. A beautiful family. A lovely home. So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life—to start again as someone new?

Now, Emily has become Cat, working at a hip advertising agency in London and living on the edge with her inseparable new friend, Angel. Cat’s buried any trace of her old self so well, no one knows how to find her. But she can’t bury the past—or her own memories. 

And soon, she’ll have to face the truth of what she’s done—a shocking revelation that may push her one step too far. . . .

Hardcover: 320 pages 
Publisher: William Morrow (January 27, 2015)

One Step Too Far starts with Emily stepping away from her life, leaving her family and on her way to a new life. We don't know why. We know she is conflicted about leaving and that something has happened to cause her to leave, but not much more. Next, we go back 30 years or so, to Emily's birth--and find out that she has a twin, born after Emily and a surprise (and not a happy one) to her mother and father who were expecting one baby and don't want a second. Whether from nature or nurture, the temperaments of these two sisters are very different--Emily is the happy golden child and her sister Caroline is rejected, bitter, and takes out her anger on her twin, her family and the world. From there we go back and forth through past and present, hearing mostly from Emily but also from the points of view of her husband Ben, Caroline, her parents, and her friend Angel. The story unfolds in bits and pieces as Emily becomes Cat and the reader tries to guess what terrible event, what dark secrets, led her to run away from what seemed to be a happy life. I can't say much more about the book than that or the story would be spoiled.  

One Step Too Far is a definite page-turner with so many twists and turns, I found myself tied up in anxious knots. It's not a happy book with happy people--Emily as Cat is self-destructive and makes some truly bad choices. She was hard to like as Cat. I knew I should feel sympathetic towards her and that there was going to be a reason for her actions--but I struggled to truly connect with her. With the behaviors of her sister and parents, the only character I really liked was Ben--the husband left behind. But, luckily I didn't have like all of the characters to be intrigued by the story and the mystery. I love to guess the ending in books like this and author Seskis kept me hopping--so many things in this book are not what they seem or what the reader is led to believe, that things were a surprise up to the end. Several times I was tempted to read ahead just to know what happened but I resisted and let it all unfold. Once secrets were revealed, I had to go back and re-read certain parts to see whether I missed something or if I was deliberately misled by the author (if you were wondering it was a bit of both). If you like your books to lean on the darker side of human emotion, enjoy psychological thrillers, and like to be kept guessing as suspense steadily builds, you should like this one.   

Author Notes: Tina Seskis grew up in Hampshire, England, and after graduating from the University of Bath spent more than twenty years working in marketing and advertising. One Step Too Far is her debut novel, and was first published independently in the UK, where it shot to the #1 spot on the bestseller list. Her second novel is forthcoming. She lives in North London with her husband and son. Find out more about Tina at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Sometimes the ideas for the usual dish inspired by the book that accompanies my reviews comes easily--other time it is more of a struggle. For One Step Too Far, it was the later, nothing came to mind immediately. Food mentions in the book are limited--take-out curry and Chinese is mentioned a few times, there are a couple of restaurant breakfasts, lots of coffee (and alcohol and cocaine), a marketing industry dinner of fillet of steak in cream and champagne sauce (or pumpkin and ricotta filo parcels for the vegetarian option) and lemon tart, that Cat passes out into. But nothing captured the mood especially.

I was looking through a Diana Henry cookbook and remembered a recipe for Crazy Salad that I had been wanting to try and I realized that crazy salad actually captured my feelings about the book--the coming together of the different perspectives, time periods and 'hints' thrown out by the author, that seemed disjointed but came together in the end--much like the many ingredients in this salad that may seem somewhat random, but ultimately come together and taste great. A little crazy, but in the end--very good.

Diana Henry says, "This is one of my favorite dishes in the book. I wanted to come up with a salad, especially one that would be good in the colder months, that was robust, really healthy, and irresistible ("accidentally healthy"). When I served this the kids said "Crazy mom," because they said it was hippy salad reborn. I wasn't sure whether that was a criticism or a compliment, and then sat back and watched them eat platefuls of it.

This recipe is a starting point. Cook other grains... add peas, cucumber, feta cheese, and mint, other beans, black or red lentils instead of Puy, blueberries or chopped apples instead of pomegranates. There are all kinds of things you can do if you start off with a cooked grain as a salad base."

I made several changes to Diana's recipe based on personal preferences and what I had on hand. They are noted in red below. 

Crazy Salad
Adapted from A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry
(Serves 6 as a Side Dish, 3-4 as A Main Dish)

For the Salad:
1/2-cup semi-pearl farro or pearl spelt (I used pearl spelt and pearl barley)
1/4 cup Puy or green lentils (I used 1/2 cup French green lentils)
2 carrots cup into matchsticks (omitted)
(I added 2 small-ish fennel bulbs, very thinly sliced)
(I added 2 mini cucumbers, very thinly sliced) 
(I added 1/2 cup green peas)
2/3 cup drained and rinsed cooked chickpeas (I used 1 cup)
2 Tbsp mixed seeds of choice (I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds)
seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
(I added 2/3 cup fresh organic blueberries)
a handful of water cress, coarse stem removed
(I added a couple of handfuls of baby romaine lettuce, chopped)
(I added about 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves)
(I added about 4 oz of local Naked Cow Dairy farm cheese studded with pink Hawaiian peppercorn)

For Dressing:
1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar, or to taste (I used about 2 Tbsp)
1/2 to 1 tsp harissa, or to taste (I used about 3 tsp)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2-1 tsp honey (I used 2 tsp local honey)
3/4 Tbsp pomegranate molasses (I used 1 Tbsp)
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Cook grains in a saucepan with plenty of water until grain is cooked but still has a nutty bite. Time will depend on type of grains used--at least 25-35 minutes. Cook lentils at the same time, in water until tender--20-35 minutes depending on the age of the lentils. 

Meanwhile, make the dressing by mixing all of the ingredients together, seasoning well. Drain the grains and lentils, run clod water through them to cool them down. Shake strainer vigorously to get rid of as much water as possible. Transfer to a serving bowl, season and stir in half of the dressing. 

Toss in all of the other ingredients. If assembling salad ahead of time, don't add the watercress/lettuce until just before serving. (I also would refrain from adding the seeds and cheese until ready to serve.) Add the rest of the dressing. Taste for seasoning and add more as needed.

Notes/Results: It occurred to me a few times as I was gleefully opening my fridge and pulling out all kinds of ingredients that I might be overdoing this crazy salad and taking it to an insane level with too many different things in it. Was I taking it "one step too far?!" (Note the cheesy book title tie-in there!) ;-) I need not have worried--this was a fabulous salad full of goodies and like a little treasure hunt to eat--"ooh there's a chickpea," "here's a chewy bite of barley and spelt," "mmm... a little burst of flavor from the blueberry..." It really all worked together, as did the dressing. I did, as you can see from the recipe notes, pump up the spice, tang, and sweetness of the dressing with extra harissa, white balsamic pomegranate molasses and honey. I liked the extra punch of flavor. I think a lot depends on the harissa brand you have--I don't think the jar of paste I currently have on hand is as spicy as others I have tried or made. I would suggest tasting as you go and adding the amount that makes sense for you. I also found the dressing just a little flat until I added in the extra quantities but after my additions, I really liked it and it added that extra flavor you want in a grain salad. I would definitely add the mint and fennel too, if making this again--they bring a cooling feel to the mix. Leave off the cheese for a vegan salad--but it is pretty yummy. Diana recommended feta but I had sampled a local farmer cheese studded with pink peppercorns the other day and loved it, and it was the cheese I had on hand. Goat cheese would be nice too. This is a substantial enough salad to make a light meal but it also paired well with grilled fish as a side dish. All in all, a very tasty salad, satisfying, colorful and full of great textures and flavors--I would make it again. 

This post is linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is Veggie Variations--Diana Henry recipes that are meat free and full of vegetable goodness . You can see what veg-filled dishes everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.

And, I am also linking this fabulous salad up with the Salad Days: 28 Days of Salad Project that my friend Sue is hosting over at Couscous & Consciousness. Sue is making a salad everyday in the month of February and has a linky in place where you can add your favorite salad creations. Go check it out! 

Note: A review copy of "One Step Too Far" was provided to me by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of the Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ottolenghi's Spicy Chickpea and Freekeh Soup with Herby Creamed Feta Paste: Warm and Spicy Goodness for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I rarely open a new cookbook and start from the beginning. Usually I immediately head for the soups--especially when it comes to Yotam Ottolenghi, who is the master of combining ingredients and flavors into truly fabulous soups. So when I received my copy of Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi, I went right to the Simmer section where this Spicy Chickpea and Bulgur Soup caught my eye.

I made a couple of small changes--subbing the bulgur for freekeh (a roasted green wheat) because I have a large bag from Costco that needs using up, and swapping in Greek yogurt for the crème fraîche in the feta paste (cheaper and more protein). Otherwise, I left Ottolenghi's recipe alone and ended up with a hearty, warm, and spicy soup masterpiece.

Ottolenghi says, "This simple and soothing soup, minus the optional feta paste, can most likely be made with ingredients you already have in your cupboards and fridge (and if you don't have some celery stalks and a couple of carrots regularly lying around in your fridge, plus a jar of good harissa, I highly recommend that you do: they form a good base of some of my favorite sauces). The dairy-free soup works well without the paste, but a spoonful on top elevates a midweek supper into something pretty special."

Spicy Chickpea and Bulgur Soup
Adapted from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
(Serves 4-6)

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, cut into 3/8-inch/1-cm dice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch/1-cm dice
4 celery stalks, cut into 3/8-inch/1-cm dice
2 Tbsp harissa paste, or to taste
1 tsp freshly ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp whole caraway seeds
2 1/2 cups/500 g drained cooked chickpeas (canned are fine)
5 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup/100 g coarse bulgur wheat (I used freekeh)
salt and black pepper

Creamed Feta Paste:
3 1/2 oz/100 g feta, broken into large chunks
1/4 cup/60 g crème fraîche (I used Greek yogurt)
1 cup/15 g cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup/15 g mint leaves
salt (omitted)

Put the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, until translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery and continue cooking for another 8 minutes. Add the harissa, cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring well. Gently mix the chickpeas into the vegetable mixture--you don't want them to break down--along with salt and plenty of black pepper. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until veggies are cooked through.

Meanwhile, rinse the bulgur, put in a small saucepan, and cover generously with cold water. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from the heat. Drain, refresh under cold water, drain again and set aside.

To make the feta paste, put the feta, crème fraîche, cilantro, mint, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a small food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes, until a smooth, creamy paste forms. Keep in the fridge until needed.

Before serving, add the cooked bulgur to the soup and bring to a gentle simmer. Divide the soup among bowls, add a spoonful of feta paste to each bowl, and serve at once.

Notes/Results: So good! This is a bowl of just-rightly-spiced soup with wonderful flavor. It tastes great on its own with the slightly smoky heat, then when the cooling, herby, creamed feta paste mixes in, it elevates the soup to another level.The caraway seed is a (pleasant) surprise in this soup. Harissa paste often includes caraway, but when you get a small burst of flavor from a caraway seed, it adds a different, unexpected flavor. I started with 1 1/2 tablespoons of harissa but after tasting it, I added the other 1/2 tablespoon finding it just spicy enough for me--I feel the heat but it doesn't overwhelm. The freekeh or bulgur, along with the chickpeas, make this soup satisfying. If you don't plan on serving all of the soup at once, I recommend keeping the grain separate and adding it in when you warm the soup to keep the texture. A truly wonderful soup--simple but special, I will make it again. 

This delicious soup is being linked to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this coming week is November Potluck--the time to make any Diana Henry dish or any recipe from one of our previous IHCC chefs. You can see what dishes everyone made by checking out the picture links when the post goes live.

Let's have a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here and what they brought.

Janet of The Taste Space shares hearty Sweet Potato and Coconut Curry and says, "And like that, winter arrived. The snow dropped in full force and actually stuck around a bit. I had a few short weeks for biking. My broken leg meant I was not fit for biking earlier this fall but it was nice while it lasted. And what is better during the cold weather than a warm bowl of curry? To keep things simple in the kitchen, I have resorted to remaking some favourites and making twice as much. ... So, please, grab yourself a huge sweet potato and make a double batch. It freezes well should you want to save it until a colder day."

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog is here with her Flu Fighting Soup and says, "Our temperatures hit 22 degrees F this week in Bucks County, PA and everyone is sneezing and hacking. I made a new soup. It's really a cabbage vegetable soup, but it's so rich in antioxidants, I'm calling it a flu fighting soup! ... You don't have to have the flu to enjoy a bowl of this delicious soup. However because cold and flu season are upon us,  we can help boost our immunity with the antioxidants in soups like this."

Debbie of The Friday Friends brings Spanish Style Split Pea Soup (Potage de Guisantes Barcelona) this week and says, "I love split pea soup. I especially love the smokey flavor from the ham or ham hocks it cooks with, but this soup from the Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread, has a pea soup made with no meat. Perfect for vegetarians OR anyone who wants a good soup! I loved the addition of caramelized onions and tomatoes."

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week! 


Friday, November 14, 2014

Moroccan-Inspired Sweet Potato Hummus: A Simple Healthy + Delicious Recipe {One Photo Friday}

Here's a confession... I am not a big fan of sweet potatoes. Nutritionally, I can fully get behind them as they are so chock full of vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and a plethora of other nutrients. But flavor-wise, not so much. I think it's the sweetness that my taste buds try to tell me doesn't below in anything labeled potato. But, I have a habit of buying random vegetables and other healthy foods that I am not particularly fond of and challenging myself to find a way to like, maybe even grove to love them--in a way that doesn't involved deep-frying. ;-) This creamy, full-of-wonderful-Moroccan-inspired-flavors hummus might just be the ticket to me loving my sweet potatoes.

This hummus came from a happy accident. I steamed a lonely sweet potato that I needed to use up and was trying to decide how to enjoy it more. I had some homemade hummus that I had spiced up with a combination of sumac, cumin, and smoked paprika, so I slapped some on top of the sweet potato and sprinkled on toasted pumpkin seeds for crunch and thought "Hey, that's pretty good!" I thought it would be even better mixed into the hummus, and with some harissa for a bit of kick so I bought another sweet potato and hit the spice rack.  

It turned out to be fabulous--I think I like it even better than my Sunny Carrot Hummus because of its slightly spicy and smoky flavors. A great, vibrantly-colored, and healthy appetizer to put out for holiday parties. 
Moroccan-Inspired Sweet Potato
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes About 3 Cups)

1 sweet potato (roughly a pound), steamed until soft*
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (low-sodium), rinsed and drained
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp sumac
1 1/2 tsp harissa (spice or paste), or to taste
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and black pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
1 tsp sesame oil  
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water

Place all ingredients except ice water into a food processor and process until smooth, adding ice water as needed to get good consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve with raw veggies of choice. (I like minis--kirby cucumbers, tiny carrots and baby bell peppers.)
(*Sweet Potato Note: I usually steam mine in the microwave because I am lazy. I wash the potato well, cut it into 1-inch cubes and put in a microwave-safe bowl with a Tablespoon of water and cover. I check after 7 or 8 minutes but it can take 10 or more depending on the microwave. It should be soft enough to mash easily. Let potato cool and remove skin.)

{One Photo Friday: Since I normally drag out my big camera and gear, take a bunch of photos of my recipes, and then spend time obsessing over them--I decided that for Fridays, I'll simplify by posting a recipe or something interesting and then just take one photo of it with my iPhone--no muss/no fuss.}

Happy Aloha Friday!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Niçoise Vegetable Stew with Rouille (With Fish or Without) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

It has been grey and cool(er) this weekend which I am enjoying after too many days of humid evenings. It's still in the low to mid 70s at night which makes it ever amusing to hear the weather forecasters say to make sure you have a jacket because it will be 'chilly' at night. Still, I did sleep with a light blanket last night for the first time in months--which was lovely, and it is perfect weather for a big bowl of flavorful soup or stew like this Niçoise Vegetable Stew with Rouille.

I was attracted to this soup from Plenty by Diana Henry for a number of reasons--the assertive flavors, the sunny color, the use of saffron, potatoes and fennel, and the chance to make a new-to-me sauce--a variation of a Provençal rouille. It also fits our Mystery Box Madness Challenge for November at I Heart Cooking Clubs--where the selected recipe needs to contain at least three out of ten ingredients: Harissa, Eggs, Saffron, Pumpkin, Maple Syrup, Dates, Rose Water, Oranges, Spinach, and Chickpeas. The original recipe for this stew contains three of the ingredients--eggs, saffron and oranges. I made a few adaptations to the recipe (noted in red below) and added two more of the ten mystery ingredients--chickpeas and harissa

There is raw egg yolk in the rouille, so I used very fresh, local eggs. (It does make the soup even more special so definitely do it if you can get your hands on good eggs.) Henry serves this stew with grated Gruyère and croûtes or croutons which I think would be delicious, but Henry's talk of putting fish on the top before serving had me craving seared local ahi tuna steak sliced on top. Since ahi is expensive, this is a great way to make the soup more of a meal while also getting away with dividing a piece of fish or two between several people. Both the veggie version and the fish version (shown in the third and fourth photos) were fantastic. 

Henry says, "This is like a Provençal fish soup without the fish. It has a really gutsy flavor. if you want to make it a fishy, you can poach some fish in the soup at the end; or you can cook fish separately and put some on top of each serving. If you don't like rouille you can serve this stew with aioli (garlic mayonnaise) instead.

Niçoise Vegetable Stew with Rouille
Adapted from Plenty by Diana Henry
(Serves 4 as Main / 6 as Side Dish)

For the Stew:
1/4 cup olive oil (I used 2 Tbsp)
1 lb small waxy potatoes, halved lengthwise
6 oz baby onions (I used a Maui sweet onion)
3 leeks, trimmed, washed and cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
good pinch of saffron threads
1 strip of orange zest (I used several thick strips of zest)
3 thyme sprigs
salt and pepper
2 small fennel bulbs, sliced lengthwise
(I added 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced into strips)
6 plum tomatoes, quartered
(I added 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
(I added some of the fennel fronds)
grated Gruyère cheese and baguette croûtes,to serve (optional) (omitted)

For the Rouille:
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup olive oil
4 tsp tomato paste
lemon juice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper  (I subbed in harissa)

Heat the oil and gently sauté the potatoes, onions, and leeks for about 15 minutes. It's nice if the potatoes get a little golden. Stir from time to time to make sure nothing is sticking. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for another minute, then add half the stock.

Bring to a boil, add the saffron, orange zest, 2 of the thyme sprigs, salt, pepper and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are just becoming tender, about 10 minutes. 

Add the fennel and the tomatoes (and carrots and chickpeas if using & the rest of the stock--see Notes/Results below). Stir well and cook until the vegetables are tender, another 10 minutes or so. Stir carefully every so often to make sure everything's well coated in the saffron juices, but try not to break up the potatoes. 

For the rouille, put the garlic and a little salt into a mortar and grind to a purée. Mix in the yolks, then add the oil drop by drop, beating all the time (with a wooden spoon or electric hand beater). The mixture should thicken. Don't add the next drop of oil until the previous drop has been incorporated fully and the mixture has thickened. Add the tomato purée, lemon juice to taste, and the cayenne, then adjust the seasoning. 

Strip the leaves from the remaining thyme sprig and add to the stew. (I added some of the fennel fronds too for extra color/flavor.) Serve in soup plates with rouille spooned on top. I sometimes also serve grated Gruyère and croûtes, as you would with Provençal fish soup. 

Notes/Results: Such a great bowl of soup, and although there are a few extra steps if you make the rouille and sear fish for the top, it actually goes together fairly quickly. I used a bit less oil for cooking my vegetables because the rouille sauce has quite a lot already. If you find your veggies sticking, add a little of the stock to them and keep stirring. Speaking of the stock, I could not find where it said to add the other half of the stock in the recipe so I added it in with the fennel and tomatoes. The cooked chickpeas are a good addition to make this dish more satisfying as a meal. You wouldn't necessarily need both them and the fish on top but it worked for me. ;-) I liked subbing in the harissa in the rouille--a nice amount of spice and a little different flavor than cayenne. The rouille sort of melts into the warm broth of the soup and gives it a silkiness and a big punch of flavor.

For the tuna, I just seared it in a hot pan with a little oil, salt and pepper (raw in the middle as good ahi really should be), ;-) then I sliced it and placed it on top of the soup with the rouille drizzled on top. So good! But, it was just as appealing without any fish or would be good using another kind fish if ahi is hard to find for you. The fish makes this soup a bit more elegant for company I think, but this recipe is a keeper for me even without it. I would definitely make it again.

As mentioned, this soup will be linked up to this coming week's Mystery Box Madness Challenge at IHCC once the post goes live. You'll be able to see what mystery ingredients and recipes people chose by checking out the picture links on the post.

It's a bit quiet in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week but we have two good friends with soups to share, so let's have a look. 

Tigerfish of Teczcape - An Escape to Food is here with healthy Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Baby Broccoli Pasta Soup (or "Brassica Oleracea-family" Pasta Soup). She says, "This bowl of soup is all part of the Brassica oleracea family which includes cabbage, brussel sprouts and broccoli (broccolini to be exact). If there is only one essential tip to share for making this soup a success, it is to not over-cook the brussel sprouts and baby broccoli when they are added into the soup. A warm, soothing, and satisfying soup for autumn and the coming winter months."

Mireille of Chef Mireille's East West Realm shares Gochujang Dak Juk - Korean Chicken Rice Soup. She says, "Congee or jook is the name for a rice porridge that is a common breakfast item in China. In Korea, it is called juk and with the addition of gochujang, I made a spiced up Korean version. I made this version a little looser consistency so it is closer to an American style soup than an Asian style porridge but this makes a perfect meal to enjoy as the temperatures start to dip."

Thanks to Tigerfish and Mireille for joining me this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!