“Moroccan” Coconut & Chickpea Soup

I’m really into chickpeas lately. I found a recipe similar to this one while looking through a friend’s recipe book, but, as always, I’ve made some changes. I love this soup! It is hearty, smells delicious and was very easy to throw into a pot.

3 cups chicken stock
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced FullSizeRender(1)
1 large sweet potato, peeled & chopped
2 medium-sized yukon gold potatoes
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped roasted green chiles
15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
14oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
14oz can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon Thai Kitchen red curry paste
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper — to taste — optional (I try to make a habit of not adding additional salt to soup dishes, especially since the sodium levels in canned products are generally high. After it’s had a chance to simmer you can always add salt if needed!)

This makes a large batch of soup, so be prepared to freeze some or host a dinner party. In a large stew pot, heat the olive oil and add the garlic. Add the onion and the cinnamon and cumin and cook on medium for 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Then let simmer. I left mine on the stove for close to two hours. My apartment smelled amazing! Once the soup was ready I decided to give it a little mix with the immersion blender because I wanted the texture to be more soup-like, rather than so chunky. I didn’t puree it, but I did mix until somewhat smooth. This part is totally optional and all about personal preference!

Serve with naan, over rice or simply as is. Right before serving you could also consider adding any of the following: a squeeze of lime, siracha, fresh mint, fresh cilantro, greens (like spinach). I even added some pork/chicken meatballs one day for a little extra protein– yum!

Summer Corn “Chowder”

IMG_1545Summer soup, what could be better? I adapted this recipe from one I came across on Pinterest and was really happy with it. The changes I made were simply because I wanted a bit more protein to make a heartier soup.

Summer Corn “Chowder” 

2 tbsp butter  

1 white onion, diced

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1.5 lbs of yukon gold potatoes, peeled & diced in 1/2-inch cubes 

3 ears of corn 

1 red bell pepper

2 chicken sausages (TJ’s smoked with apple) 

1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed

2 cups of chicken broth + 3 cups of vegetable broth 

5 sprigs of thyme

Goat cheese with herbs (optional)

Melt the butter in a large dutch oven and then add the onion. Saute until the onion is tender. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil, then let simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Remove the thyme sprigs before serving. This is a great broth-based soup, but the real kicker is to add a dollop of goat cheese. The recipe I saw called for ricotta, which I didn’t have on hand, so I tried goat cheese instead. I was a bit skeptical, but it actually gives a great flavor and once mixed in makes a nice, creamy “chowder!”

Perfecting sweet potato soup

A few weeks ago, pretty charged up about my new immersion blender, I tried a sweet potato chipotle soup recipe. The soup was good, but seriously spicy hot. I have been wanting to perfect it ever since and finally had the chance when I was gifted with two of the world’s largest sweet potatoes this week. I decided to make two batches: one without the chipotle chili and one with. The result made four lunches and I like both. The chipotle version has the perfect bit of spiciness and a hint of sweet smokiness. Bonus: (almost) zero fat… I’m a fan.

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Sweet Potato Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil                   1 medium white onion
2 cloves of garlic                              4 carrots                                            
2 tsp ground cumin                        salt and pepper
2 extra large (or 3-4 medium) sweet potatoes
6 cups vegetable broth (I actually used 4 + 2 cups chicken broth)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce

Heat the oil in a dutch oven (or large soup pot) over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, seasoned with salt & pepper, and saute until lightly browned. Stir in the cumin and garlic (minced). Add the sweet potatoes and carrots– chopped in about one inch pieces– and broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Once the potatoes are soft, remove from heat and let cool. When the soup is still slightly warm, use your immersion blender until it is smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, scoop the soup into a blender and puree in batches.

At this point, the soup is good and ready to eat! I split it into two batches and added about a quarter of a chipotle chili to what was still remaining in the pot. I blended in the chile and eventually added about a teaspoon or two of the adobo sauce. This part is all about personal preference so just adjust until it fits to your taste!

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It’s time to start documenting my “culinary” adventures

Acknowledging the plethora of food bloggers out there, I’m doing this mainly for my own personal benefit. Pinterest has opened us up to a world of recipes and food porn, yet only occasionally does the recipe turn out the way it “should.” Pinterest Recipes always seem to require a bit of tweaking and they never look exactly like the picture that accompanies them. I’ve also decided that in my next life I want to be the next Top Chef and I figure soup is a good starting point. It’s pretty hard to mess up and pretty much always delicious. One day I will graduate to more involved dishes. Until then, I will be experimenting with easy, post-grad, budget-friendly recipes.

Taking advantage of a free morning (yay, President’s Day), I decided to make a big pot of soup to get me through the rest of the week. Side note: after all of the foodie posts I have done in the past, I am coming to the realization that soup is actually my favorite food. Sad? Maybe. At least there’s a lot of variety.

Italian Vegetable Soup (can anyone think of a more creative name?)

1 lb ground beef                                         1lb Italian sausage (I like it hot)
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes                1 can red kidney beans (drained)
1 can cannellini beans (drained)        3 carrots
3 stalks of celery                                      2 large russet potatoes
1 yellow onion                                          1 jar (almost) of Prego traditional
3 cups beef stock                                      1.5 cups water
2 tsp black pepper                                  2 tsp Italian medley seasoning blend
1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and Italian sausage. Drain. In a large dutch oven, combine the ground beef/sausage with all of the other ingredients (chopped– doesn’t have to be perfect… you’re throwing them all in a pot together). Bring to a boil. Let simmer for another hour to hour and a half. Finito! It’s actually that easy. The soup can simmer for longer, but at this point all of the vegetables are perfectly tender and ready to eat. Even better with toasty bread and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

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PS. This recipe makes A LOT of soup. I’m talking I have enough to eat it every day this week and also freeze some. Make sure your dutch oven is big enough (my 6 qt was nearly overflowing!) and that you are really in the mood for soup!

PPS. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE BUY ME A CAMERA THAT TAKES PICTURES OF FOOD