Red Veggie Soup

On Friday I had my monthly bread and soup night. When people came in and saw the soup, they said, “It’s red!” It’s true. It’s red and cold. And why would I serve cold, red soup? Why not? :-)

We had been having very hot weather, sometimes record heat for at least a couple of weeks. The idea of making hot soup was just not appealing, even if it were to be made in a slow cooker. And I didn’t decide until after lunch that I would even be having a soup night… as so many of my friends were gone – on vacation, or even out of the country.

When one of my friends stopped by to say they were coming, and they had asked others to come, I decided to go ahead with the soup. (I had the ingredients and didn’t want them to go bad anyways).

At the grocery store I was attracted by a few seasonal, red items in the produce area. I picked up some beets, swiss chard (the stems are red), tomatoes, and a pomegranate. I thought they sounded like an interesting combination. I didn’t want something that would be bitter. And they looked pretty.

Here is my red veggie soup:

I took my little portable oven out unto my balcony so I could roast the beets and the swiss chard. I didn’t want that heat in my home. Those were the only items I cooked.

I roasted the whole beets by putting olive oil on them, wrapping them in foil, then putting them into a 375-400 F degree oven until they were soft (times can vary greatly depending on the size and the age of the beets). Once they were ready I easily peeled them and let them cool off.

In the meantime I prepared the swiss chard. Here are the simple instructions with photos: http://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/techniques/how-to-prepare-swiss-chard-00412000074774/   I folded each leaf in half length-wise and cut the stem off. I then took several at a time and rolled them up like a cigar, slicing them into sections, and then cutting them across so the pieces would be small.

I put them on a cookie sheet, dribbled them with oil, and put them into the oven along with the beets for about 15 minutes.

Red Veggie Soup

Makes approximately 11 to 12 cups of soup.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium beets roasted in olive oil
  • 4 cups sliced and roasted swiss chard
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds only
  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 6 tomatoes

Directions:

Place all items except tomatoes into the blender (in batches) until it reaches the desired consistency. Dice tomatoes and add to soup. Chill for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

The verdict? “Interesting. Different, not what I was expecting. Very refreshing. Wow, this is really good!”

This is a light, nutritional powerhouse of a soup, yet a little of it goes a long way. I will definitely make this again. It’s also really good the next day.

Vegetable, Tortellini, Bean Soup

Would you come over if someone offered you homemade bread and soup for dinner? I thought so! On Friday I had my once a month open to everyone homemade bread and soup night. It’s become the “place to be” with my friends and neighbors. :-)

I knew less people would be coming this time. (When several of my “groupies” tell me they can’t come, I know it will be quieter). Normally I have between 25-45 people show up. On Friday I had 12-15 come. I made one crock pot of soup and four types of bread. (Yes I do have bread left over, but every bite of soup was eaten).

I forgot to get a picture before we started on the soup, but this is what it looked like after about 45 minutes…

“It [soup] breathes reassurance, it offers consolation; after a weary day it promotes sociability…There is nothing like a bowl of hot soup, it’s wisp of aromatic steam teasing the nostrils into quivering anticipation.” – Louis P. DeGouy, Waldorf-Astoria chef, The Soup Book (1949)

I found this wonderful product called 21 Seasoning Salute (available at Trader Joe’s Stores) that I wanted to try. The ingredients include: onion, black pepper, celery seed, cayenne pepper, parsley, basil, marjoram, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, savory, rosemary, cumin, mustard, coriander, garlic, carrot, orange peel, tomato granules, lemon juice powder, oil of lemon and citric acid. I thought this salute would be perfect for a soup!

This is an incredibly easy and versatile soup to make. All you need is a crock pot and a few ingredients. You may use any type of beans and any type of vegetables, either fresh or frozen, and any type of tortellini. I used pinto beans, a frozen stir fry blend of vegetables, and a seven cheese blend frozen tortellini.

Vegetable, Tortellini, Bean Soup

  • 3 cups (or 2 cans) cooked pinto beans
  • 10 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons 21 seasoning salute
  • 4 cups vegetables
  • 8 to 12 ounces tortellini
  • 2 to 4 cups water
  • salt

Directions:

Put pinto beans into crockpot, add water and seasoning salute. Set it on low and let it cook for four hours. Add vegetables and stir, cook for another two hours. Add tortellini and cook for another two hours. Add water, then salt and 21 seasoning salute to taste.

The verdict?

This soup got rave reviews. Everyone totally enjoyed it. Simple, filling and delicious!

If you try this, please let me know what you think in the comments. What kind of soups do you like? Have you made/found any great vegetarian soup recipes that you would like to share? Enjoy your day!

Here are the links for the bread recipes I made:

Cottage Cheese Hemp Bread:  http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/06/10/cottage-cheese-hemp-bread-machine/

Sourdough Quinoa Bread: http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/06/13/sourdough-quinoa-bread/

Pinto Bean Bread: http://lifeofcolors.com/2012/06/19/pinto-bean-bread/

Garlic, Rosemary, Olive Oil Bread: coming soon

Green Tea Infused Sunroot Soup

It was 4:45pm and I was stressed. I had a pile of people coming for my monthly bread and soup night at 5:30pm and my soup wasn’t cooperating. I had already had a few near disasters with the four different kinds of breads I made (although they ended up fine) and I just couldn’t bear the thought of my soup not turning out.

I had asked my friends if they would prefer a traditional vegetarian soup, or a slightly exotic vegetarian soup. The slightly exotic won the vote. So, I decided to make this: http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/green-tea-infused-sunroot-soup/ I figured a recipe that included Green Tea and had a main ingredient I’d never heard of had to be exotic! :-)

This is what Sunroots (also known as Sunchokes or Jerusalem Artichokes) look like…

Image

The roots look similar to ginger root but the plant is actually in the family of sunflowers.  This soup is made with the tubers, known as a root vegetable. It’s similar to potatoes, but has no starch and is slightly sweeter. It can be eaten either raw or cooked. It grows in the USA. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunroot.

The recipe calls for peeling the sunroot, but after reading up on it I decided to leave the skin on it. It would have taken to much time to peel all the lumps and layers. (As it was it took me quite awhile just to wash them). So my soup ended up much darker than the one in the pictures included with the recipe.

So, back to my story… I had cooked the soup for the whole day the day before in the crockpot and expected it to be done. But the sunroot was still not soft and the immersion blender wasn’t doing a good job of blending it. (Living at a high altitude definitely affects things). I went to my neighbors to borrow a pan and use their stove to try to get it cooked enough… and here it was getting close to the time and it still wasn’t done!

Fortunately, a couple of friends came early. One of them worked with the soup turning the heat up and finally getting it to the point where it blended, another one helped pick stuff up and vacuumed, while I worked with my last type of bread which hadn’t had sufficient time to rise enough. It didn’t finish baking until 45 minutes into the evening. But, everything came together in the end.

Over 30 friends showed up to eat!

The verdict on the soup? “Very different. Good, but not what I expected. Interesting blend of flavors.” I think one time was enough for making this soup.

The favorite breads were the harvest bread and the three-cheese (non)-beer bread. I’ll share those recipes later.