Garlic and Kale Soup

This is a great soup to make when you are feeling a bit under the weather.  Not only does it
taste good, but the ingredients have potential health benefits.  Mushrooms contain beta glucans which modulate and support the immune system, and the garlic (yes 10 cloves) contains natural antibiotic compounds.  If I am experiencing respiratory symptoms I will add some extra crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to kick the heat up a notch.

Regardless of how you are feeling, this soup tastes great.  The mushrooms add a nice meaty depth to the broth, which also has a slightly tangy flavor reminiscent of a thin Hot and Sour Soup.  Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz of shiitake or other mushrooms sliced thinly
  • 10 cloves of garlic peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 carrot thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 5-6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup quick cooking barley
  • 3-4 cups chopped kale
  • Black pepper and salt to taste
  • Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper if desired

 

Heat oil in saucepan and add mushrooms and carrots.  Sauté until mushrooms are beginning
to brown.  Add onion, garlic, and pepper, sauté 2 minutes.  Add rice vinegar and deglaze pan, scraping up any brown bits.  Cook until vinegar nearly evaporated.  Add broth, water, and barley. Simmer for 10 minutes.   Add kale and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

 

 

Lightning Fast Black Bean Soup with Lime-Cilantro Cream 

Why this recipe works, and is frequently on our table:  1) It is incredibly fast, literally 20 minutes from opening the first can to putting it on the table. 2) Despite how quick it is to make, it tasts like it took much longer and was much more invoved than it is.  Much of this is due to the use of prepared salsa and the smoked paprika.  3) It is incredibly healthy.  Low fat, high protein, high fiber, gluten and dairy free.  As a side note, I prefer to use 1/2 cup red salsa and 1/2 cup green salsa, feeling that the deeper notes of the cooked tomato in the red salsa match well with the more acidic green salsa–making a more complex soup.

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 15 ounce cans organic black beans, drained
  • 1 1/2 cans chicken or vegetable broth (I prefer chicken)
  • 1 cup prepared salsa (see above)
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves (1/4 cup each for soup and garnish)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup non-dairy sour cream
  • 1 tsp of lime zest or 1 Tbsp lime juice

Puree beans, broth, salsa, 1/4 cup cilantro, smoked paprika, and cumin in a blender till smooth.  Pour into a saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes.  While the soup is cooking, mix thogether the sour cream, reserved 1/4 cup cilantro, and lime.  Garnish each bowl of soup with sour cream mixture just before serving.

 

Home Made Organic Applesauce

Homemade applesauce is incredibly easy to make, tastes better than anything you will buy in the store, and is less expensive to make than it is to buy. The key to making it is having a food mill. This under used kitchen tool is easy to find, can be purchased for under $25, and easily produces perfect applesauce, not to mention mashed potatoes with flawless consistency, and endless varieties of homemade baby food.

For this recipe using frozen organic apple juice concentrate adds more apple flavor as well as natural sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 5 lbs of organic apples, washed, and quartered with cores removed. Leave skin on as it adds color and extra flavor to your applesauce
  • 1/2-1 can of frozen, undiluted organic apple juice concentrate (or 1/4-1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup water)
  • Pinch of salt

Put apples, concentrate (or sugar/water), and salt in a large non-reactive pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes till apples begin to break down. Process using a food mill choosing disc according to desired texture. Add additional water to adjust consistency if needed.

Optional add-ins:

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (add to finished sauce)
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries (cook and process with apples)
  • 2/3 cup red-hot candies (cook with apples–may omit some sweetener if desired)
  • 1 1/2 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger cut into 3 pieces (cook with apples and remove before processing)