Matzo Ball Soup (With a Twist)

Passover has always been a favorite holiday of mine, and I think that is at least 50% due to matzo ball soup. Every year, for days, my mom would have a pot boiling on the stove – preparing her stock for the matzo ball soup that was to come. The light and fluffy balls mixed with her delicious broth made for the perfect comfort food. Read More

Mamma’s Pumpkin & Pear Curried Soup

Going home for a visit, I always look forward to some of my mother’s home cooking. There’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Everything coming out of “Mamma’s” kitchen is a unique invention that combines unexpected ingredients into something miraculous. I don’t know how she does it, but I thought I’d feature a sample of one for you all to get a taste (literally). This Pumpkin & Pear Curried Soup was the opener to our Thanksgiving meal this year. The recipe is delicately spiced, perfectly creamy, and just enough sweet. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. :)

Ingredients:

1 Medium Sweet Onion – Chopped

1/2 Lb Carrots – Chopped

1 Large Yukon Gold Potato – Cut into 1/2″ cubes

1 Tbsp Sesame Oil

1/8 Cup Olive Oil

1/2 Liter of Vegetable Stock

2 Ripe Pears

16oz Pear Nectar

2 – 29oz Cans of Pureed Pumpkin

3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

3 Cups of Nonfat Greek Yogurt

3 Tsp Curry Powder

3/4 Tsp Gara Masala

Salt to taste

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds/Sesame oil for garnish

Directions:

Place onions into a large pot with sesame and olive oils to saute.

As they begin to turn translucent, add in carrots & potato.

IMG_1169

IMG_1170

When the carrots and potatoes are soft, remove from heat.

IMG_1312

Slice pear, and add into sauteed vegetable mix.

IMG_1327

Using a blender, puree mixture in batches. For each batch you’ll want to add a bit of vegetable stock and pear nectar to cool it down.

IMG_1313

Return pureed mixture to heat on the stove. Stir in pumpkin, brown sugar, spices, and any remaining vegetable stock/pear nectar. Let cook until mixture is heated through.

IMG_1342

Pour into a serving bowl, and stir in yogurt.

IMG_1385

Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and sesame oil, then serve!

IMG_1387

Spicy Four Bean Soup

I love crock pots. There’s something magical about them. It’s like the modern day witch’s cauldron that you throw a bunch of stuff into, and poof, it turns into a delicious meal. It’s great for when I’m feeling lazy, or just plain don’t have the time to prep dinners all week. I’ll put together a concoction, turn the temperature to low, and go to bed for the night. When I wake up in the morning I’ll put aside enough for lunch. Then stick about half of the remains into the freezer, the other half in the fridge, and I’m set for a go-to healthy meal all week.

This Four Bean Soup recipe as is, is definitely not for wimps. The spice is strong, but burn is good. If you’re not into it, leave out the jalapeno peppers, or cut down on the amount of red pepper. You can also try removing the jalapeno pepper seeds before you add them into the pot as this is where they contain most of their spice. However you like it, it’s simple, good for you, and will make your week much more convenient. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

1 Can Kidney Beans

1 Can Cannellini Beans

1 Can Black Beans

1 Can Pinto Beans

1 28oz Can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes

4 Cups of Vegetable Broth

2 Carrots

2 Celery Stalks

1 Red Onion

2 Jalapeno Peppers

1 Tbsp Chili Powder

1 Tbsp Cumin

1 Tsp Turmeric

1 Tsp Salt

3 Garlic Cloves

Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes

Directions:

Drain and toss all of your beans into the crock pot.

Picture 005

Pour in tomatoes and then cut each one into smaller pieces.

Picture 008

Peel and chop carrots

Picture 012

Picture 013

Peel and slice onion

Picture 016

Chop celery, jalapenos, and garlic

Picture 014

Picnik collage1

Throw all chopped ingredients into the crock pot along with vegetable broth and seasonings. Stir

Picture 024

Turn crock pot to “low” if you’d like the soup to cook for 6-8 hours. If you want you want to speed the process up to 3-4 hours, you can turn it to “high.”

Picture 026

Turn off and you’re done!

Picture 034

Pineapple Gazpacho

Every day in our cafeteria here at Free People they offer the most interesting soups. Since it’s been summer they’ll usually do one chilled option. I’m always intrigued, but never actually like the sample enough to get it for lunch…until the other day. They made this pineapple gazpacho – sounds weird – but I LOVED its mixture of sweet and spicy so much that I ended up devouring it down for lunch. At home I later tried to replicate the dish and found it’s beyond easy. The only thing is, you’ll need a bit of planning ahead since the dish tastes better chilled in the fridge over night.

For the Gazpacho You’ll Need:

1 Pineapple

1 Yellow Pepper

¼ Cucumber

½ Sweet Onion

5 Sprigs Cilantro (stems included)

2 tsp Rice Vinegar

½ tsp Spicy Sriracha Sauce

¼ tsp White Pepper

Picnik collage

For The Garnish:

¼ Red Pepper

2 Sprigs Cilantro (leaves only)

Directions:

1. Core & Peel Pineapple. Then cut pineapple, yellow pepper, cucumber, and onion into medium pieces.

2. Throw all gazpacho ingredients into a blender or bowl if you have a hand blender like I do. Puree until texture is smooth.

Picture 0073. Chill over night

4. Garnish with red pepper and cilantro to serve

Picture 013