Purple Cabbage and Potato Soup with Roasted Mango

A colorful heart warming soup for autumn.

When I received a purple cabbage in my CSA delivery I decided to do something different than preparing it as a slaw or salad, or even roasting it with apples (which I love). This time I want to see how it would turn out as a puréed soup. 

  The unusual color of this soup is enhanced by the bright yellow sautéed mango which also adds a sweet note to the cabbage. 

  Ingredients:

  • 1 red/purple cabbage
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1/2 mango
  • Olive oil
  • A few chives
  • Freshly ground nutmeg
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

  Clean, peel, slice and cube the potatoes and onion.

Clean and cut the celery lengthwise and dice it as well.  
  Place a little olive oil in a large pot. Heat on medium. When hot, add the onion and celery and reduce the heat to low.   Meanwhile, wash and cut the cabbage. 
  Add the potatoes to the onion and celery.   Add the cabbage. 
  Add enough water to come up to the level of the cabbage. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender.   Cut the mango in half above the pit. 
  Reserve the half with the pit for another use.   Peel and slice the mango. 
Heat a little olive oil in a cast iron pan.   Add the slices of mango and cook until the bottom side is roasted.   Turn them over and roast them on the other side. 
  When the vegetables are tender, use an immersion blender.   Blend until smooth. You’ll obtain a beautiful color. 
  Season with freshly ground salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Serve in bowls, top with a slice of mango and some chopped chives. 

Enjoy!
   
   

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Piperade

One summer, our parents took us to Les Landes for a month, in the southwestern part of France, by the Atlantic Ocean. It was a summer of smelling the tall and dense pine forests, admiring the grounds covered with ferns, climbing the huge dunes of fine white sand and playing with the forceful rolling waves, most famous for surfing. All unfamiliar topography and vegetation compared to our Provençal surroundings. Our eyes were wide-open with curiosity and our taste buds were delighting in exciting new dishes.  In the evening we would wander by the colorful and fragrant freshly picked peppers and tomatoes at the outdoor markets and prepare the local specialty of Piperade. It was such a delicious combination of flavors as the vegetables were in their prime, we wanted to savor it every night!

 Yesterday morning, as I discovered what our weekly CSA delivery held from Tomato Mountain, these memories instantly permeated at the sight of onions, peppers, garlic and tomatoes. I couldn’t wait to recreate those scents and tastes reminiscent of a joyful childhood discovery. 

  The variety of vegetables grown in the Midwest is different from my original introduction to Piperade in Les Landes, nevertheless just as delectable. So feel free to adjust ingredients based on what’s available from your local market.

Ingredients:

  • 3 yellow Aura peppers 
  • 2 Carmen sweet peppers 
  • 5 Capperino mildly hot peppers 
  • 5 medium size tomatoes
  • 1 extra large white onion (about 500 g/ 1 lb)
  • 1 extra large garlic clove
  • 5 Tbps extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh thyme and bay leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  Wash the yellow Aura peppers, cut in half, remove the core, seeds and white flesh, and thinly slice each half. Reserve. 
  Wash the Carmen sweet peppers, cut in half, remove the core, seeds and white flesh, and thinly slice each half. Reserve.   Wash the Capperino peppers, cut in half, remove the core, seeds and white flesh, and thinly slice each half. Reserve. 
  Wash the herbs and garlic clove without peeling it.   Peel the large white onion and cut in half. Thinly slice each half by hold down the root end. Discard the roots. 
  Heat the olive oil in a cast iron French oven. Add the onions and reduce the heat.   Place the herbs and garlic on top. 
  Arrange the sliced peppers as the top layer and cover with a lid. Cook on low heat for about 10-15 minutes.   Meanwhile wash and cut the tomatoes in quarters. Remove the hard green part attached to the stem and discard. Slice each quarter into smaller pieces. 
  After the onion and peppers have cooked for about 15 minutes, add the tomatoes as the last layer. Seasson with salt and pepper and cover with a lid. Cook over low heat for another 20-25 minutes.   Then remove the lid, and the vegetables will have shrunk. 
  Take the herbs and garlic out with a fork. Discard the herbs. You may keep the garlic for spreading on bread or crackers with a little butter as it will have become creamy inside.   Mix the vegetables with a wooden spoon to combine the flavors. 
  Serve hot or cold, either immediately or let sit to further infuse the flavors. Delicious on its own or with some eggs scrambled with red pepper flakes. 

Enjoy!

Pear and Celery Soup with Roquefort, walnuts and pomegranate

A light, colorful and delicately fragrant winter holiday soup with a well balanced combination of tart, sweet and savory flavors.

IMG_2591.JPG
The immersion blender makes this soup very smooth. By contrast, the walnuts and pomegranate seeds give it texture.

IMG_2561.JPGIngredients for the soup:
6 pears d’Anjou, ripe
1 celery bunch
1/2 sweet yellow onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 cups water

Garnish: pomegranate, Roquefort, walnuts
Serves 4

IMG_2562.JPGPeel and chop the onion finely.

IMG_2563.JPGHeat the oil on medium high heat in a large pot. Add the chopped onion and reduce to low. Cover and simmer about 8 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

IMG_2565.JPG Wash each branch of the celery carefully and absorb excess water with a kitchen towel.

IMG_2566.JPGCut the branches of the celery lengthwise, then chop them into small pieces. Reserve the leaves for garnish.

IMG_2569.JPGAdd the celery to the pot with the onions. Raise the heat to medium low and cover, cooking another 12-15 minutes.

IMG_2572.JPGCut the pears in half, then quarters. Reserve two quarters for garnish. Peel the other quarters (5 1/2 pears total) and cut them into large slices.

IMG_2574.JPGAdd the pears to the pot with the celery and onion.

IMG_2576.JPGAdd two cups of water, season with a pinch of salt, bring to a simmer and lower the heat. Keep cooking covered about 8 minutes.

IMG_2578.JPGTurn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup.

IMG_2582.JPGThe soup should be completely smooth.

IMG_2587.JPGThinly slice the reserved pears.

IMG_2584.JPGRemove seeds from the pomegranate. Crumble some of the Roquefort.

IMG_2585.JPGServe the soup in bowls. Arrange some celery leaves, walnuts….

IMG_2588.JPG…Roquefort, pear slices and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
Serve at once and enjoy!

English Pea Soup

Quick. Simple. Fresh.
One of my favorite soups to make in no time and enjoy healthy nourishment.
The compliment of herbs, parsley and mint, brings fresh flavors, which can also be achieved with basil, chives, or dill depending on your preference and what grows in your garden.
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Here presented with a lemon rind and some peas sprouts for an elegant serving.
20140725-151840-55120962.jpgIngredients:
2 lbs fresh English peas
1/2 lb white onion
1 oz mint leaves
1 oz parsley leaves
1 Tbsp grape seed oil
5 cups water
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
20140725-151841-55121292.jpgFirst peel and cut the onion in half, leaving the roots at the end. Finely chop the onion by slicing it horizontally and vertically almost to the roots. This technique allows the onion to still hold together.  Then slice from the tip to the root to have a perfectly sized chopped onion.
20140725-151841-55121637.jpgHeat a little grape seed oil in the bottom of a large pot. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onion at once and reduce the heat to low. Cook for a few minutes until the onion becomes translucent and softens.
20140725-151841-55121986.jpgAdd the water, season with salt and bring to a simmer.  Cook a few minutes (5 to 8) until the peas are tender.
20140725-151842-55122354.jpgUsing an immersion blender, process the soup until smooth.
20140725-151843-55123223.jpgWash and remove the stems from the herbs.
20140725-151843-55123659.jpgAdd the herbs to the soup. Continue processing with the immersion blender until you obtain a velvety texture.
20140725-151842-55122770.jpgAdjust seasoning with freshly ground pepper and a little salt if needed. Refrigerate to cool.

Serve and enjoy!