Light Late Summer Dal

Light Late Summer Dal

Dal is incredibly versatile and has become a dish that I turn to again and again for a fast and satisfying meal. The versatility is really what makes me swoon.  By making a few small changes to a basic recipe, you can create a whole new dish. I love to change up dal by adding different veg - depending on the season. You can also be playful with different spice profiles, as well as different mediums for the broth. For a light version use water, for something heartier go for coconut milk. Finding staple recipes that you can easily and satisfyingly change up is the KEY to cooking for yourself at home! . . .

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Immunity Boost Soup

Oh boy oh boy. Everyone is sick. And if you have young kids, or know people who do, then you know 'tis the season to be on the merry-go-round of seemingly endless illness for the next 4 months. Booo! So, I offer you some cold and flu season comfort. The ingredients are both soothing (for when you are sick) and protective (for when you aren't--but are in the danger zone!)

The real magic of this bad boy come from the stock. Pictured below are the superstars in this soups: Miso paste, fresh ginger root, an insane amount of garlic, and the often overlooked white peppercorn.

I want to give some extra love to the miso paste and the white pepper in this soup.

Miso:

One of my favorite super foods! Miso paste is an ancient fermented food that originated in China, 2,500 years ago, but is commonly thought of as a Japanese staple food. Miso paste is a made by fermenting beans and/or grains for months to years, depending on the type of miso you end up with. I love fermented foods for many reasons…one is that they are a sustainable way to preserve, in the case of miso, your bean or grain of choice.

I also love the health benefits that arise from the fermentation process. Fermentation uses earth energy to transform a plant food into a living health food, by decomposing the plant and turning it into something new. Fermented foods are chock full of good bacteria (probiotics), that help us to bring life and energy to our intestines, and are beneficial in helping our digestive systems break down and assimilate nutrients from our foods. If you think about the word pro-bitoic, or pro-living things, it makes sense that fermented foods are being touted for their ability to heal our guts in a world that is rampant with an  antibiotic or anti-living things philosophy.  It is a deep philosophical statement to choose to eat fermented foods, to choose to build good life in your body, rather than strip the "bad" away. Whether or not you want to go on the philosophy journey with me, know that miso is delicious--and that is a good enough reason to enjoy it!

Miso has an earthy, soothing umami flavor, which translates to “deliciousness” in Japanese or "pleasant savory taste”. This is a flavor that is difficult to find in our standard diet, but our bodies crave it! Finding ways to balance our intake of flavors is a good way to ward off cravings—which typically have us grabbing for packaged sweets or oily, salty snacks.

Eat miso when wanting something warm, comforting or salty. The Earth qualities of miso mean that is is a grounding, stabilizing, nourishing food to eat. Great at times when feeling ill, anxious, or “flighty”.

When buying miso, be sure to get the unpasteurized paste that will be in a glass jar or plastic tub in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. The unpasteurized miso will still be teeming with those good gut bugs-the lactobacillus, and you want those!

When it comes to color, the lighter the miso, the lighter and sweeter the flavor. The deeper in color the more robust the flavor. I encourage you to experiment with different types to discover how YOU miso!

For this soup we will use a light and sweet white miso, and we will stir a shot of it into the main stock, right at the end. By not "cooking" the miso, we are preserving the good bacteria that are alive in there!

White Peppercorn:

White pepper berries come from the same vine as the familiar black peppercorns, but are harvested later and processed slightly differently. For white pepper, the hull of the berry is removed - the outer black “shell”. Check out that  g o r g e o u  s  illustration at right. The cross-section of the berry on the left side of he drawing clearly illustrates that black hull.

With the hull much of the biting spice is removed from the peppercorn. Instead, white pepper has a more floral taste and has the most beautiful warming quality when eaten - rather than an overt spiciness. You will notice this right away in the soup broth, and I think that is what makes it so special: It warms the chest and belly without spicing out the tongue.

I like to eat this soup when it is hot hot hot. Like mouth burning, chest radiating, nose running kind of hot. It just feels more healing that way!

I hope you enjoy this delicious soup, and this season leaves you well and full of vitality!

Immunity Boost Soup

 

This spicy, healing, power-house of soup is great anytime, but especially when needing some added protection during cold + flu season.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 medium carrot, diced
  • 8 -10 cloves garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced or crushed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 turnip or daikon radish, diced
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground white pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, wiped and trimmed (I used chantrelles)
  • 1 small head broccoli, chopped into pieces
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons white miso paste
  • For garnish: fresh scallions - finely chopped, cilantro finely-chopped, radish-thinly sliced (pictured are watermelon radish)

Instructions

  1. Heat a heavy soup pot over high heat.
  2. Stir in the oil, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and ginger.
  3. Gently sauté just until soft, but not browned. Add a bit of water if the pan drys out.
  4. Stir in the white pepper and 8 - 10 cups of water.
  5. Turn up the heat to bring the broth to a simmer, and hold there for about 15 minutes.
  6. Add the mushrooms, broccoli, and salt, and gently simmer for another 5 minutes.
  7. Prepare the miso by stirring the miso paste into approximately 1/2 cup water to dissolve. Set aside.
  8. After 5 minutes, stir the soup well, taste, and adjust with more salt, pepper or water if needed.
  9. Turn off heat.

Notes

  • Ladle the soup into shallow soup bowls and drizzle about a teaspoon of the miso mixture into the broth. 
  • Top with a big dollop of green onions, cilantro, and a few watermelon radish slices. Fresh and crisp garnish rocks the heck out of most soups!

Enjoy!

 

SPRINGTIME TUSCAN MINESTRONE SOUP

Springtime Tuscan MinestroneSpring has sprung in the Pacific Northwest, which means that nutrient dense baby greens and sprouts are plentiful.  Not to mention an abundance of asparagus--which, let's be real, is ONLY worth eating in the springtime when it is fresh and tender.

Fresh spring-y veg and herb is great to eat raw, but I also love to toss these bright greens into light soups, when there is still a chill in the air and I want something to warm my bones! Because this soup uses a lot of fresh light veggies, it will cook up pretty quickly. Don't let the long ingredient list fool you. Most of the work is in the rough chopping of all these beautiful vegetables.

This soup's amazing flavor, is brought to you by all the lemon and garlic in the broth--PLUS the super sassy drizzle of basil-parsley pesto, swirled in right before serving.

I shared this recipe and the Wondrous White Bean Spread recently at Chucks Produce in Vancouver. It's great fun to share a bunch of laughs, cook delicious food, and enjoy it together--on a particularly blustery spring day. Here I am getting ready to chop chop chop...

Denise_Chucks

For more information about upcoming cooking demos and such, check out my cooking demos--or other services!

To the the soup!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups cooked cranberry beans-or other white bean (or 1 can)
  • 6 cups stock, water, or combination of the two
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 portobello mushroom, cubed
  • 5 oz dry pasta of your choice, about half a box (I like ditalini)
  • A large handful of asparagus, diced
  • A large handful of green beans, diced or julienned
  • Approx. 2 cups greens, roughly chopped (try chard, spinach, kale, collards, green cabbage, spinach—or a combo!)
  • 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to tasteFOR PESTO
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh herbs (I used basil and parsley)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup nuts (pistachio, walnut, cashews, pine nuts )**optional
  • 1-2 cups olive oil (depending on how thin you wantto go and how much you want to save for later--and you might as well!)

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a heavy bottomed soup pot, sauté onion, celery, garlic and leeks in olive oil until fragrant and translucent.

2. Add one can of cranberry beans with it’s “juices”. Using your wooden spoon crush some of the beans in the pan. This will make for a “slightly thicker “creamier” broth.

3. Add stock or water, salt and pepper, and the juice of 1 lemon.

4. Bring liquids to a low boil. In the meantime, clean and chop veggies. Cube portobellos, dice asparagus, julienne green beans, rough chop greens, and set a aside.

5. Once the broth is gently boiling, add the pasta and the mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until pasta is tender.

6. While pasta is cooking, make pesto. In a food processor add fresh herbs, garlic cloves, nuts (if using), and begin drizzling in olive oil as you pulse. You want the pesto to be pretty thin, so that it drizzles, so continue to run until pesto is smooth.

7. Once pasta is nearly done, al dente, turn heat to low, add asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes.

8. Turn off the heat, add the rest of the veggies and cover. Veggies should become slightly tender, but not mushy.

9. Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh cracked pepper and a generous swirl of the pesto.

 

NOTES:

This will make a pretty big batch of soup, which is great because you can save some

This vegan version would be tasty with some non- vegan add-ins such as:

  • grated parmesan or Romano cheese
  • a mild chicken sausage
  • ground turkey or chicken*If adding meat, toss it in before step one.

Enjoy!