Thai Coconut Soup

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With the Winter season in full swing, everyone is looking for the heavy, hearty, warm dishes to savor on a cold brisk evening. Folks will often say that the cold weather is the best for soup season,  I respectfully disagree. I love a nice bowl of Tomato Bisque with a grilled cheese sandwich in the middle of the summer, or a bowl of Pho just because It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed one.  Soup is the one thing I haven’t made yet this winter and I had a craving for something spicy, a dish with a little heat and something out of the ordinary aside from the common split pea, chicken noodle, chili and beef barley that everyone showcases this time of the year.

I opened up the pantry to dig through the dry goods and see what I could come up with. I came across two cans of Coconut Milk and said “boom, a Coconut Curry Soup!” Unfortunately the only curry I had on hand was yellow curry powder, not what I was looking for, so I made a version of  Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Soup) instead, minus a few key ingredients because I didn’t have them on hand. Coconut milk has a thick consistency, and a rich, creamy texture. Coconut milk comes from the flesh of mature brown coconuts (not to be confused with coconut water which is found naturally in immature green coconuts). This milk is found in many cuisines around the world ie: Southeast Asian (Thai), Hawaiian, and the Caribbean. 

I’ve personally always loved coconut. From the dried shavings that are in desserts, to the cream used in Pina Coladas. I know plenty of people that don’t enjoy coconut as much, but I believe it’s because they’re consuming all the wrong stuff! The battery on my Nikon died and until I replace it, I’m stuck using my camera phone for pictures, so I apologize if the photo quality isn’t the best. The pictures don’t do this soup justice! If you like heat, coconut and ginger, this soup is worth a try! The coconut milk adds a wonderful sweet balance to smooth out the spice from the chili paste. 

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Mise en Place:

  • 2 Cans Coconut Milk (full fat, be sure it’s milk and not cream!)
  • 1 Cup Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger, minced
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, julienne
  • 2 Cups Stock (I used homemade Chicken stock, vegetable works fine!)
  • 2 Limes, juiced
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Chili Paste
  • 6 Oz Pack Rice Noodles, prepared according to package
  • 1 Small Bunch Fresh Cilantro
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • In a large sauce pot over medium heat, add a tablespoon Oil and cook onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add in garlic, and fresh ginger, cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in Mushrooms, season with a little salt and pepper.  Stir and allow to cook for an additional two minutes.
  • Pour in Stock and coconut milk, mix well. Season with more salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, add in chili paste, fish sauce and lime juice. Stir and allow to simmer slowly for 20 minutes. Taste, adjust seasoning if needed.
  • In a serving bowl, add in 1 handful of rice noodles. Add in hot soup and garnish with cilantro.
  • Enjoy!

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Roasted Beets

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You can’t beat beets. One of my favorite root veggies the sweet, earthy and colorful beet. They’re not only a chock-full of everyday nutrients like B Vitamins, Iron, Copper, Magnesium & Potassium, these ruby gems also are a gold mine of health boosting nutrients. 

Beets are rich in nitrates—a compound that relaxes and dilates blood vessels. That means better circulation, and possibly lower blood pressure.  Beets are good for lowering inflammation and blood pressure. They also help to detoxify the body, boost immunity, and prevent respiratory issues. They also help lower your risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and stroke. I think you get the idea when I say, nothing beats a beet. 

I don’t know too many folks who dislike beets, but I’m thinking the ones that do, have never had a freshly roasted beet. They are probably used to something from a can & ya’ll don’t want to know my feelings on canned vegetables! Beets can be prepared numerous ways but roasted is the way to go. The beets in this recipe are rich and firm bursting with juicy flavor. They take a bit to cook but absolutely worth the wait. You be the judge of how you want to drop the beet..If you know what I mean! 

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Mise en Place:

  • 4 Medium Red Beets
  • Olive Oil
  • S&P
  • Tin Foil
  • Latex Gloves
  • Kitchen Towl

Method of Prep:

  • Turn oven to 300 degrees farenheit
  • Trim beets off the green and rinse under cold water cleaning away any dirt from skin
  • Pull a long sheet of tin foil, about the length of a sheet pan
  • Place the beets on the foil, drizzle enough oil to lightly glaze each beet. Use your hands to massage the oil around each beet. Sprinkle with S&P
  • Close the foil around the beets, creating a pouch. Place on a sheet tray and set in oven for 50 Minutes
  • Check to see if the beets are cooked through by taking a pairing knife and inserting it through the center of a beet. If the knife slides through softly, beets are ready to pull. if beet still feels firm in the center, place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Open up foil to remove the steam and allow the beets to cool down to room temperature for approximately 20 minutes.

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Peeling the Beets:

All beets purchased from the produce section of the grocery store, need to be peeled before eating. How to do this is simple but I highly recommend you wear latex or rubber gloves to keep your hands from turning purple from the beets bleeding as the skin is removed. I start with placing a kitchen towel in both hands. Placing the beet in my left hand, on top of the towel (because i’m right handed), take the towel in your right hand and begin to push downwards  on skin. If the beets have been cooked all the way the skin will peel off very easily. If the skin is harder to peel, your beets need to be cooked a little longer. Continue to do this around the whole beet until all the of the skin is removed. Cut into quarters, or slice into rounds and add to any meal of your choice!

Enjoy, Cheers!

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Carrot Soup with Maple Chantilly

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Aside from pumpkin everything, I love to cook with a lot of carrot. Last year my favorite carrot recipe was my spiced carrot cake. 

This year its carrot soup. While the fall season is excellent for heartier soups, I like to keep it a little on the lighter side and save those soups and stews for when the weather is super cold in the winter. Vegetable based soups are the best way to go in the fall. This was the first time I made a carrot soup and it’s almost as good as tomato soup. I prefer the Chantilly (which is basically a flavored whipped cream) on top of the soup. If your vegan or dairy free just omit the Chantilly and just drizzle some maple syrup over the top prior to serving.

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Vegan/Gluten Free/Grain Free/Dairy Free/Refined Sugar Free

Mise en Place:

-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

-1 Small bag Large Carrots (Approximately 6 carrots) Peeled, cut in small chunks

-1 Large Onion, chopped

-4 Each Garlic Cloves, smashed

-1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

-1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

-Salt, TT

-4 Cups Vegetable Stock OR Chicken Stock

 

Method of Preparation:

-In a large soup pot, sweat garlic and onions in hot oil for 3 minutes. Add in spices and stir. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.

-Add in chopped carrots and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.

-Remove soup from the heat. In a vitamix, begin to blend the soup in small batches for one minute until smooth. Set blended soup aside in a large bowl. If soup is thick, thin it out with water. Repeat until all the soup is blended.

-Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

-Strain soup through a fine mesh strainer (optional).

-Top with Chantilly.

Enjoy!

 

Maple Chantilly: Gluten Free/Grain Free

Mise en Place:

-1 Cup Heavy whipping cream

-1/4 Cup Powder Sugar

-Grade B Maple Syrup, TT

 

Method of Prep:

-In a large mixing bowl, whip together cream and powder sugar and 4 tablespoons of Maple syrup until medium peaks form. Taste and adjust maple syrup if needed.

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Broccoli Salad

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This post should’ve gone up a little over a week ago…but thanks to my ridiculously awesome internet for being slow and overall worthless, I haven’t been able to use the internet let alone post on my blog.

Anyways, I’ve made broccoli salad numerous times but I’ve never made it this way. this my healthier version of the traditional mayonnaise based salad. I substituted plain yogurt and used a natural sweetener to make this better for your body and soul. Summer is my favorite time for salads and broccoli salad is a great dish to bring to your picnic in the backyard or served in a small bowl as a side with some freshly grilled portabella burgers!

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Mise en Place:

-1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt

-2 Heads Broccoli, washed, florets cut small, stems removed

-1/4 Cup Cider vinegar

-4 Tablespoons Honey

-1 Avocado, diced

-4 Strips Bacon, Cooked and chopped

-1/2 White Onion, small dice

-1/2 Bell Pepper, small dice

-S&P, TT

-Garnishes (ie: grated cheese [Blue cheese], dried fruit, nuts, seeds, cooked beets) Optional

 

Method of Prep:

-In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, vinegar and honey.

-Add in broccoli and all vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well until everything in evenly combined.

-Sprinkle garnishes on top if desired.

-keep cold until ready to eat.

-Serve cold and eat immediately.

Enjoy!

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Curried Sweet Potato Soup & My New Vitamix

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If you don’t follow my facebook page you more than likely aren’t aware of the fact that I recently purchased a vitamix. What is that you might ask? Well if you haven’t heard of Vitamixes before or have never used them you are really missing out on one of the best kitchen appliances in the world! This blender looks exactly like the average blender you may already have at home that you use to make smoothies and other drinks, however ordinary blenders cant begin to approach the speed nor output of this extraordinary blender. This multitasking, heavy duty electric blender uses 1380 watt power to chop vegetables, juice fruit, blend shakes, mix ice cream and create delectable sauces, dressings and much more easily with the touch of a button. Ordinary blenders jam and overheat, but with a 2 plus peak horsepower motor, 1-10 speeds and a laser stainless steel blade, this blender chops, grinds minces, juices and crushes ice with a smooth efficiency. The over-sized 64-oz jar is made of durable copolyester – the same material used in airplane windows. Blender cleans easily without removing blade. Jar fitted with a soft-touch handle and It also heats up soup for you, it’s wild!!! I absolutely love my new toy 🙂

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This machine isn’t cheap pricing between $499.00-$699.00. Christmas being a few weeks away and my birthday being in the time frame, gave me an exceptional reason to go out on a limb and buy something I’ve always wanted…and needed. My kitchen is just about complete. I broke in my beautiful new toy by making a soup. I love Indian food and was craving it last night and just wanted something simple. This soup filled me up and even gave me left overs for tomorrow. The best part about this meal, I didn’t have to do any work. The Vita did it all for me! Love it!!

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Active Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

MIse en Place:

-2 Medium Sweet Potatoes, baked until soft

-1 15 ounce can Coconut Milk

-1/2 Tablespoon red curry (massaman)

-1 Teaspoon Yellow curry powder

-1 Cup Soy Milk

-2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

-S&P, TT

-Sliced Almonds for garnish, optional

-Pumpkin spice for garnish, optional

Additional Tools:

-Sheet tray

-Vitamix or blender of your choice

Method of Preparation:

-Turn oven to 350 degrees. Using a paring knife, make a slit going length wise across the potato, Sprinkle salt on top of both. Place on a sheet tray and set in oven for 30 minutes or more until sweet potatoes are soft. Remove from the oven and let cool for up to 15 minutes.

-Once cool, remove potato from the skin.

-Add coconut milk into vitamix or blender and add sweet potatoes, both curries, maple syrup, and a dash of salt. Turn on blender on low speed and slowly adjust the speed until high. Once sweet potatoes begin to puree, slowly pour in soy milk. Blend until smooth.

-Taste and adjust seasoning. If soup is too think add in more milk or water. Be careful to not add too much liquid, you want a nice soup consistency. If you’re using a vitamix blend soup for 3 minutes or until hot. Serve right away.

-Garnish with sliced almonds, pumpkin spice, and a few drizzles of maple syrup.

Enjoy!

**Note: This soup pairs excellent with Paratha (Indian flatbread)

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