soup cravings or a blender addiction?
November 24, 2008, 7:38 am
Filed under: Cooking/Food | Tags: ,

I made another soup tonight–Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Hazelnut.

I was at Whole Foods, and I wanted something warm, nutty, autumn-inspired for dinner tonight, so what better than pumpkin soup?  The more I thought about soup, the more I craved for it.  But since I’ve never made it before, I had no idea what else other than pumpkin I would put in it.  I just knew that at the end, I’d be pureeing the soup with my favorite new gadget. I picked up canned pumpkin puree, nutmeg, shallots, frozen butternut squash–already not an ambitious attempt to make the soup with fresh ingredients.

After clicking through an assortment of pumpkin soup recipes online, I’ve decided to only loosely follow what has been simmered, and pave my own golden pumpkin road to another great soup. I sauteed onions, shallots, and garlic until softened.  Then I added the butternut squash, some sweet corn, and seasoned it with sage, thyme, cumin, bay leaves, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  After everything was softened, I poured in the pumpkin puree and chicken stock.  I kept added herbs and spices until it tasted closer to what I imagine my soup should taste like.  Still it lacked depth and sweetness.  I got a little impatient with trying to figure out what was lacking in the soup, I just wanted to jump to the final step–the best part of making soup–busting out my immersion blender.

Realizing that my soup tonight wasn’t going to get any better than what it was, I tossed in the last ingredients of toasted hazelnuts, maple syrup, a little cream. Without even remembering to take out the bay leaves, I blended away. The blender is loud and it splatters hot soup on my arm, and I actually don’t even know if this cheap brand can withstand the heat of the hot soups I’ve been plunging it into, but I love the crushing process. Blades in hand, it makes me feel strong. Muahhhahhaha.


Oh, the soup.  It was good, but not quite the flavor I wanted, so I won’t bother posting the recipe now.  It needs deeper layers of flavor.  But it was still quite a tasty and filling meal full of autumn lusciousness.



ain’t it a pretty night
November 16, 2008, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Food | Tags: , , ,


You know how Post-It was an accidental invention and that some of the best creations in history were results of trials and mishaps? My dinner tonight was almost that, except I dare not call it the best in history. Perhaps it is the best in my soup-making history.

The dinner choices on this cool, tranquil Sunday night were either Indian or Italian–frozen dinners which fill my freezer.  Hidden behind the prepared frosty goodness were veggies–spinach, corn, peas. Suddenly, vegetable soup sounded perfect.  The only fresh vegetable I had on hand was my recent new favorite, brussels sprouts. No, I didn’t grow up with my parents forcing me to eat the vociferous green, so I never developed an aversion to it.  In fact, after reading about its bounty health benefits, and seeing them handsomely displayed at Whole Foods, I had to try them.

I chopped up some onions and garlic, threw the brussels sprouts, frozen corn, spinach, and peas into a pot and started sauteeing, not knowing what to do next.  Then I found a bottle of Bitton brand Rosemary, Thyme, & Vanilla Oil that my dear friend Amy, whose effortless but delectable soups I often crave (and whose spice cabinet is inspiring!), gave me recently. The label on the bottle said that it’ll be an excellent soup so in the pot it went.  I opened up my measly spice drawer and randomly picked out some dried thyme, coriander, and black pepper (a must for me) to go into the soup.

As the soup simmered away, all the frozen vegetables began to liquefy except for the thewy brussels sprouts. Even for me who likes brussel sprouts, the soups was not looking particularly appetizing.  Some visual changes had to be done.  In went the hand held blender.

The soup turned out to be excellent!  I had a nice soup, bread, prosciutto and cheese dinner with my roommate. It’s an accidental success that needs some tweaking and improving.

Brussels Sprouts Veggie Soup

1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 medium size onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 cup frozen spinach

5 heads of brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved

2 tbs. olive oil

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp dried thyme

1 tbs Bitton Rosemary, Thyme & Vanilla Oil

2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

2 cups vegetable broth (or double chicken broth)

salt & pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil on medium low heat until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add in brussels sprouts for a couple of minutes, then add in spinach, corn, and peas.  Season with coriander, thyme, and flavored oil.  Add in broth, turn heat on high.  Once soup comes to a boil, turn heat down to low and simmer for 7 minutes until vegetables are soft.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Turn heat off, use hand held blender to puree soup, or ladle soup mixture into conventional blender in batches.  Be careful of hot liquids.

Serve with bread and cheese.  Serves 4.