Easy seaweed soup

Seaweed soup

You can’t go wrong with a name like that — and indeed, this was very easy, and quite lovely.

I found the recipe while wondering what to do with a small amount of fresh vegetable broth I’d made last week after coming home from up north. Most of it had already been consumed over the intervening days while another portion was frozen, but I wanted to use a remaining fresh remnant for something else. Given the chillier weather, soup was a logical choice, but I wasn’t interested in anything too complicated after a busy work day.

The advantage of the recipe is not merely that it’s simple but protean; one can easily adapt as one chooses. In this case, the seaweed had already been shredded and roasted, while I had some fresh parsley around instead of cilantro, so I used that instead. The end result was gently tasty, as much about the light touch of the broth and the hint of texture and scent the roasted seaweed provided as anything else; paired with some hearty bread, salad and a bit of chocolate, it’s a little hard to beat.

Tuscan Swiss chard and bread soup

Tuscan Swiss chard and bread soup

A little overexposed but you get the idea! Used some homemade beet stock for the base and the rest you can find via this recipe I stumbled across. Using the bread in this fashion was damn tasty, I have to say…

Eggplant and green beans in spicy garlic sauce

Garlic and green beans in spicy garlic sauce

So having made a huge batch of vegetable stock the other day I was figuring out recipes to use it for — and as it happened I also wanted to use up both eggplant and green beans I had around, so when I found this recipe by chance, hey. Courtesy of Emeril and Martha, it turns out! Well hey, it did taste pretty damn good, so.

Garlicky roasted beets, leeks and eggplant

Garlicky roasted beets, leeks and eggplant

This was actually from the other night — a good light dinner, very delicious! I was looking for some way to use these very three ingredients from the CSA basket and thanks to Sarah’s Cucina Bella I did — the recipe is here.

Butternut squash stew

Butternut squash stew

Had a huge butternut squash that I wanted to do something a little different with, and some scrounging turned up this recipe, which I adapted here. The major change was necessitated by my not having any carrots to hand, while instead of quinoa I just simply cooked up some good brown rice. End result = delicious, fiery without being overwhelming.

Chard salad with pomegranate and honey mustard vinaigrette

Chard salad

And hurrah for serendipity. So for the first time I’d received a pomegranate in my latest basket the other week, though I wasn’t too sure what to do with it. I’d had some juice before but never worked with the fruit itself, so I set it aside with a ‘well I’ll get back to it’ thought.

Meantime I had a slew of chard to deal with as well. In searching for kale salad recipes, though, I found this recipe via the Not Eating out in New York blog, and even though it’s using Tuscan kale instead of chard, nothing ventured nothing gained! The great part was that it included pomegranate even though I hadn’t been using that as a search term, so I took it as an omen.

Chard and kale, while close enough, aren’t quite the same thing, but I’ve had good enough experience with both in its raw state that I figured it couldn’t hurt to substitute and see what happened. This was all very easy to prepare — strips and cut the leaves finely, get the seeds from the pomegranate, mix up the vinaigrette, toss and eat.

Squash and kale risotto

Squash and kale risotto

Hadn’t done a risotto in a while and I was wondering what to do with the winter squash and kale I had around — so there ya go! Recipe was from here and proved pretty nice…

Skillet gnocchi with chard and white beans

Skillet gnocchi with chard and white beans

So this recipe was suggested via my CSA — and it was fun cooking gnocchi this way after mostly going the boil and drain approach all this time. Cooked up very easily and the resultant sauce suited it very well, would have added a few more herbs had I thought of it. Also, great way to use a lot of chard, and I saved half of the end result for dinner at a later date.

Corn, tomato and zucchini soup

Soup!

A combination of fortuitousness and weather — it’s been a very cool summer out here and it’s just starting to feel a bit like fall in corners. Also, I had a nicely open evening to cook up something, and had thought a little tomato soup would be a good idea.

Turned out something even better was to hand — a quick check in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything turned up this variant with corn, zucchini and plenty of basil, all of which I had sitting around courtesy of my last basket delivery. (To be fair the zucchini was more smaller summer squash but it was all the same principle!) It was the perfect opportunity to make use of it all — took about an hour and a half from stop to start and was worth it all, especially since there was plenty leftover for later in the wake.

Also, the broth I used had been prepared the other week from the remnants of the previous basket, so it was truly a totally from scratch preparation. All that and light on the olive oil and with no salt either. Tasted great!

If you’d like to try it, go nuts!

Malabar spinach soup

I should preface this with a description of malabar spinach, which my friend Y is growing in the garden:

Malabar spinach

As Wikipedia says, it’s a plant that appears under a number of different names; much like the molokhiya which I suggested for the garden this year, it’s heavy with the mucilage so it’s got both sticky leaves and acts as a thickener for soups, as well as being protein-rich. All a good sign!

Meantime, the previous evening I made a standard batch of vegetable stock from a variety of things in my fridge that needed cooking; having frozen most of it I kept one batch fresh for some sort of use. Given I had some of the malabar spinach leaves courtesy of Y I wanted to see if there was a basic soup recipe I could whip up. Turns out there is — in fact there are a ton of basic recipes I was able to find, selecting this one after reading it over a bit, enjoying the story of how the leaves are described and used.

So with that as the guide, some soba noodles to hand and a little prep and cooking:

Malabar spinach soup

Quite delicious, very flavorful, with the stock, noodles and leaves all blending deliciously. Will definitely be trying this one again sometime!

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