Butternut Squash & Apple Soup with Crispy Fried Onions & Goat Cheese

DSC_1121

Last year we stored a lot of vegetables, I mean our freezer was full of cut up pumpkin shortly after the Halloween:) I promised Sergey that it will go to good use…however by the time summer came…it was still sitting there…so we finally got rid of it.   I just simply didn’t have time to come up with something creative that my family will love…because most of them don’t like pumpkin to begin with.  We also bought some butternut squashes last fall and Sergey planted some seeds next to the house and guess what…a year later we grew our own homegrown butternut squashes!

DSC_1132

I’ll be quite honest I know nothing about gardening:) so don’t start asking me questions on that topic…but Sergey does…so hopefully he can teach me:) there is some hope there for me to learn.  The squashes grew quite big and looked amazing and with my older daughter’s request we decided to make some soup, this time adding some extra ingredients to spice things up.  This soup has puree texture (you can thin it out with extra broth if you like)…but it still needs a little bit of crunch.  So we decided to add there some homemade fried onions and topping it with  goat cheese,  This dish ended up looking like something you would find in a fancy Manhattan restaurant…or at least we like to think so…what do you think?:)

Ingredients:

3 Granny Smith Apples
1 cup of Half and Half
1 cup of Carrots
5 Cloves of Garlic
Chicken Stock (already made) or you can make your own
Yellow Onions
Celery Stalks
1/2 Cup of Flour
1/2 Cup of Milk to soak onions
Garlic Powder
Olive Oil
Canola Oil for Frying Onions
Salt and Pepper to Taste
 

DSC_1072

How to make Butternut Squash, Apple Soup with Home Crispy Fried onions and Goat Cheese:

1.  Peel the skin off your Granny Smith Apples and cut them up.

DSC_1079

2.  Cut Butternut Squash in Half and spoon out the middle part.

DSC_1073

3.  Peel the skin off the squashes and cut them up in smaller pieces.

DSC_1076

4.  Cut up roughly half of the yellow onion.

DSC_1082

5.  Wash your carrots, if you have baby carrots you can leave them as is, if you have regular size carrots…cut them up in smaller pieces. Cut up you celery and garlic as well.

DSC_1084

6.  Add all your apples, vegetables and onions on a baking tray, cover it nicely with olive oil….add salt and pepper to taste.

DSC_1083

7.  Preheat your over to 375F and cook your vegetables until they are ready and butternut squash can be easily pierced with fork.   It might take between 45 minutes to an hour…depending how small you will cut the pieces.

DSC_1103

8.  In the meantime heat up your chicken stock in the pot, or prepare fresh one from scratch.  Once your vegetables and apples are nicely roasted and ready add them all to your chicken stock.

DSC_1104

9.  Using immersion blender, puree all the ingredients to the consistency you prefer.  Add more salt/pepper to taste if necessary.

10.   Once your soup is ready you can add some half and half to make it more creamy and smooth.  I added about a cup of half and half…(it was a pretty big pot).  You can make it light and avoid it all together…but it does taste better with it.

11.  Now it’s time to make some crispy onions.  I’ve always bought them in the store already made (my daughter likes to add them to salads), but this time around I ran out of them…..and decided to make our own version of them at home.  To do that, use your mandoline slicer on a thin setting and slice up the rest of your onion in thin half rings…about 3 mm.  Put all the onions in a bowl and cover them with milk, let them stand for about an hour.  Once onions have soaked for a bit, coat them well in a flour mixed with some garlic powder/salt and pepper.

DSC_1107

DSC_1111

12.  Once onions are well coated fry them covered in oil for few minutes and fry them until they become crispy golden color.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Some of my onions were over fried:) that what I get when I am trying to cook and do HW with kids at the same time:)….but they still turned out pretty good.

DSC_1128

13.  Once everything is ready, pour some soup in a soup bowl, make a little nest with your fried onions and top it with some goat cheese.  I also sprinkled some parsley on top for extra color and taste.

DSC_1121

This dish ended up being really delicious and healthy.  I hope you will enjoy it too!

Love,

Natalie

Butternut Squash/Apple Soup with Fried Onions and Goat Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Butternut Squash, Apple Soup with Crispy Fried Onions and Goat Cheese
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3 Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 cup of Half and Half
  • 1 cup of Carrots
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic
  • Garlic Powder
  • ½ Cup of milk to coat the onions
  • Chicken Stock (already made) or you can make your own
  • Yellow Onions
  • Celery Stalks
  • Olive Oil
  • Canola Oil for frying
  • ½ of Flour
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Instructions
  1. Peel the skin off your Granny Smith Apples and cut them up.
  2. Cut Butternut Squash in Half and spoon out the middle part.
  3. Peel the skin off the squashes and cut them up in smaller pieces.
  4. Cut up roughly half of the yellow onion.
  5. Wash your carrots, if you have baby carrots you can leave them as is, if you have regular size carrots…cut them up in smaller pieces. Cut up you celery and garlic as well.
  6. Add all your apples, vegetables and onions on a baking tray, cover it nicely with olive oil….add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Preheat your over to 375F and cook your vegetables until they are ready and butternut squash can be easily pierced with fork. It might take between 45 minutes to an hour…depending how small you will cut the pieces.
  8. In the meantime heat up your chicken stock in the pot, or prepare fresh one from scratch. Once your vegetables and apples are nicely roasted and ready add them all to your chicken stock.
  9. Using immersion blender, puree all the ingredients to the consistency you prefer. Add more salt/pepper to taste if necessary.
  10. Once your soup is ready you can add some half and half to make it more creamy and smooth. I added about a cup of half and half…(it was a pretty big pot). You can make it light and avoid it all together…but it does taste better with it.
  11. Now it’s time to make some crispy onions. Use your mandoline slicer on a thin setting and slice up the rest of your onion in thin half rings…about 3 mm. Then coat them well in a flour.
  12. Once onions are well coated fry them covered in oil for few minutes and fry them until they become crispy golden color. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Once everything is ready, pour some soup in a soup bowl, make a little nest with your fried onions and top it with some goat cheese. I also sprinkled some parsley on top for extra color and taste.
  14. Enjoy!

 

Tex-Mex Soup

DSC_0701

The recipe of this soup goes almost two years back for me and I am sure even longer for my good friend Rita who has shared this amazing cup of goodness during our trip upstate with OT’s and PT’s.  Ever since I have made this soup on several occasions and it’s been a hit every time.

DSC_0701

I have to admit initially when I saw a list of the ingredients, I was a little shocked and couldn’t believe how all of them would work together…but they did!  Ofcourse nothing in this soup says “diet”…it has cheese and tortilla chips and a large load of cream cheese…but it’s so good!  My daughter loves this soup and every time I make it…she asks to have it for lunch and then dinner again.  I mean this recipe makes a large pot of soup, so if you are cooking just for two of you may consider decreasing the portions of ingredients.  We however, finished it all within three days:)

Ingredients:

Ingredients for the Chicken Stock (avoid this step if you buy ready made broth and cooked chicken)

5 Dried Bay Leaves
1 lb of Pieces of skinless chicken (I prefer natural or organic if available)
1/2 of medium onion
1 Table Spoon of Dried Parsley
1/2 Table Spoon of Vegetta Seasoning (try to get the one with no MSG Added)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
 
P1190616
 
Ingredients for the Soup:
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced green peppers (original recipe calls for it, I however avoided them)
1 tablespoon garlic
2 table spoons of vegetable (to saute)
1 pack taco seasoning
1 pack ranch seasoning
8 oz. salsa (if you like your soup spicy choose spicy salsa, I bought very mild type for kids)
8 oz. tomato paste or tomato sauce
1 cup of corn (either fresh, canned or frozen)
1 can black beans
1 can of kidney beans
8 oz. cream cheese
tortilla chips and Mexican cheese mix to serve

 DSC_0655

1.  Wash your chicken and make your chicken based stock.  Click here for step by step instructions how to make it.  You can also just replace this step and buy ready made chicken stock and cooked chicken.

P1190637

2.  Once your chicken is ready take it out and dice it up.  If you buy ready made broth and chicken, just dice up your chicken and heat up the broth.

DSC_0665

3.  Saute the onions and peppers in the vegetable oil.  My kids don’t like peppers int their soup…so I didn’t add any, but you can if you like.

DSC_0776

4.  Drain your beans and add them to the bowl.  Take out your salsa.  Cut up your corn if you bought it fresh.

DSC_0658

DSC_0662

5.  Peel garlic and either dice it up really small or simply use garlic press to add it to your soup.

7.  Add ALL ingredients, including Ranch and Taco seasoning to you soup EXCEPT for cream cheese.   Bring to a little boil (until the edges are sizzling or slightly bubbling), on medium-high heat.

8.  Then bring heat to low and let simmer for additional 20 minutes.  Taste your soup and adjust salt/pepper to your liking.

9.  Put cream cheese in a separate soup bowl, and add a cup of the hot liquid from the soup. Gently mix it up in the bowl until the cream cheese is melted. Add more liquid if needed. Then add that mixture to the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and stir.

DSC_0672

10.  Serve this soup with tortilla chips or any other bread chips and sprinkle it with your favorite cheese.

DSC_0675

DSC_0699

I hope you like it.  Let me know what you think and please share your favorite soup recipes as well…I am always on the look out for new ideas:)

Love,

Natalie

Tex-Mex Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Hearty hot soup with beans, corn and other veggies.
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Serves: 12-14
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for the Chicken Stock (avoid this step if you buy ready made broth and cooked chicken)
  • 5 Dried Bay Leaves
  • 1 lb of Pieces of skinless chicken (I prefer natural or organic if available)
  • ½ of medium onion
  • 1 Table Spoon of Dried Parsley
  • ½ Table Spoon of Vegetta Seasoning (try to get the one with no MSG Added)
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Ingredients for the Soup:
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • ½ cup diced green peppers (original recipe calls for it, I however avoided them)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 2 table spoons of vegetable (to saute)
  • 1 pack taco seasoning
  • 1 pack ranch seasoning
  • 8 oz. salsa (if you like your soup spicy choose spicy salsa, I bought very mild type for kids)
  • 8 oz. tomato paste or tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of corn (either fresh, canned or frozen)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • tortilla chips and Mexican cheese mix to serve
Instructions
  1. Wash your chicken and make your chicken based stock. Open a separate link on this page for step by step instructions if you need it.
  2. Once your chicken is ready take it out and dice it up. If you buy ready made broth and chicken, just dice up your chicken and heat up the broth.
  3. Saute the onions and peppers in the vegetable oil. My kids don’t like peppers int their soup…so I didn’t add any, but you can if you like.
  4. Drain your beans and add them to the bowl. Take out your salsa. Cut up your corn if you bought it fresh.
  5. Peel garlic and either dice it up really small or simply use garlic press to add it to your soup.
  6. Add ALL ingredients, including Ranch and Taco seasoning to you soup EXCEPT for cream cheese. Bring to a little boil (until the edges are sizzling or slightly bubbling), on medium-high heat.
  7. Then bring heat to low and let simmer for additional 20 minutes. Taste your soup and adjust salt/pepper to your liking.
  8. Then bring heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Put cream cheese in a separate soup bowl, and add a cup of the hot liquid from the soup. Gently mix it up in the bowl until the cream cheese is melted. Add more liquid if needed. Then add that mixture to the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and stir.
  9. Serve this soup with tortilla chips or any other bread chips and sprinkle it with your favorite cheese.

 

Creamy Split Pea Soup

DSC_0210

DSC_0210

Pea soup or split pea soup is soup made typically from dried peas, such as the split pea. It is, with variations, a part of the cuisine of many cultures. It is greyish-green or yellow in color depending on the regional variety of peas used.

Pea soup has been eaten since antiquity; it is mentioned in Aristophanes’ The Birds, and according to one source “the Greeks and Romans were cultivating this legume about 500 to 400 BC. During that era, vendors in the streets of Athens were selling hot pea soup.

Eating fresh “garden” peas before they were matured was a luxurious innovation of the Early Modern period: by contrast with the coarse, traditional peasant fare of pease pottage, Potage Saint-Germain, made of fresh peas and other fresh greens braised in light stock and pureed, was an innovation sufficiently refined that it could be served to Louis XIV of France, for whose court at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye it was named, ca 1660-80.

DSC_0207

In the United States, pea soup is merely one of many familiar kinds of soup. “Pea soup” without qualification usually means a perfectly smooth puree. “Split Pea Soup” is a slightly thinner soup with visible peas, pieces of ham or other pork, and vegetables (most commonly carrots) and is usually made from dried, green split peas.

The dish is perhaps most popular in New England, where it was introduced by French-Canadian millworkers in the 19th century. It was also widely eaten in the colonial period, having been brought to New England as part of the English food tradition of the early settlers.

dsc_0009

Many cookbooks contain a recipe or two, and pea soup is especially popular in the Northeast, the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. It does however play a role in the light-hearted tradition of serving green-colored foods on St. Patrick’s Day. For example, a 1919 Boston Globe article suggests a suitable menu for “A St. Patrick’s Day Dinner” leading off with “Cream of Green Pea Soup (American Style),” and continuing with codfish croquettes with green pea sauce, lettuce salad, pistachio ice cream, and “green decorated cake.”

While there are many different ways to make split pea soup, a standard recipe will call for dried green split peas, vegetables like onions, carrots and celery, herbs that may include garlic, thyme, bay leaves, parsley and marjoram, ham hocks, bacon or sausage, and salt and pepper.  The peas should be simmered in water with the vegetables, herbs and ham hocks or other meat until they are soft, between 1 and 2 hours if the peas were not soaked, and 40 minutes to an hour if the peas were soaked. At this point the split pea soup can be pureed if desired and seasoned with salt and pepper. Split pea soup should be served when very hot to avoid lumping. Common accompaniments for split pea soup include ham or sausage and warm bread.

Sources:
1.  About Split Pea Soup.  Retrieved April 20, 2014.
2.  Pea Soup.  Retrieved April 20, 2014
3.  Peas Photo.  Retrieved April 20, 2014
 
 Ingredients:
8-10 Cups of Beef Broth
1 Cup of Cut up Ham
1  1/2 Cup of Cut up Carrots
1- 1  1/2 Cup of Cut up Potatoes
1/2 Cup of Celery (optional)
1/2 Cup of Onions (I used purple and leeks for this recipe, but any kind will do)
1/4 Cup of Fresh Parsley
1 Cup of Half and Half  
1 Package of Dried Green Peas
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Croutons and Fried Dried Onions to Garnish
 
How to make split pea soup:

1.  Prepare your beef brooth, or buy store made one…up to you.  I have step by step instructions for the chicken broth if you need help, just substitute the meat.   Click here for step by step instructions.

P1190637

 

2.  Take out your pack of dried green split peas, I used the whole pack and did a quick soaking method listed on the package.   This means adding water about 2 inches higher then peas and letting it boil for 15 minutes.  Then without draining the water, letting it stand for additional hour to soften up.

DSC_0105

DSC_0107

3.  Wash and cut up your carrots.  I used about 1 1/2 cups of cut up baby carrots.

DSC_0097

4.  Then cube your potatoes to make about 1 1/2 cups, you can also put more or less…to adjust to your taste or eliminate altogether.  I used two potatoes for my soup.

DSC_0100

5.  Cut up your onions.  I had some purple onions this time, but any white or yellow onions will do.  I also had some leeks left over and cut them up as well.

DSC_0112

DSC_0133

6.  You can also add other ingredients to this soup like celery, broccoli or other veggies.  I also chopped some left over parsley for this version.

DSC_0127

7.  Then slightly fry your onions.  You don’t really have to do it…but since I used leeks and purple onions they are better slightly cooked.  If you are using regular vidalia or sweet onions…you can skip this step.

DSC_0138

8.  Cut up your ham.  Most original split pea soup recipes are made with ham, it just really makes this soup tastes so much better.  Any time of ham will do.  I had some thin slices of black forest ham cut up, and it worked really well.  I also like to slightly fry the ham a little bit before adding it to soup, but you don’t have to…this is totally optional.

DSC_0130

DSC_0132

9.  Take out your soaked split peas and drain all the water.  My peas were still a little hard, that is because I was in the rush and didn’t let it soak for the whole hour.  The soup still turned out to be really good, but if you have more time…definitely let it soak a little more or even overnight.

DSC_0142

10.  I cooked my soup in my Crock Pot, but it you don’t have it you can just totally do it in regular pot.  In this case I will give you both instructions…and choose which ever method you prefer.

a.  If you are using crock pot, simply add all your ingredients including peas in a crock pot and pour about 8-10 cups of your beef broth on top of it.  If you want it thicker texture of your soup use less broth…but keep in mind the soup will thicken up dramatically on the next day because the peas will absorb more broth.  To cook it simply set up your crock pot on a Soup Setting and cook it for 40 minutes.

b.  If you are doing the regular pot method, then add your peas first to your hot broth, let it simmer for 20-30 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and cook for additional 20 minutes or until your potatoes and carrots are cooked.

DSC_0141

11.  As I mentioned earlier you can also vary the ingredients you put inside your soup.  This version below was done with white onions, celery, cubed canadian bacon and with chicken based stock.

P1140872

P1140873

12.  Once your soup is cooked there also different methods you can use how to serve it.  In the version below…I used immersion blender to blend the soup first then added some half and half to make it creamy and mixed it all up.  I served it with store bought crispy salty fried onions, bread croutons and fresh basil.  You can also serve this soup plain as it it without blending it or adding cream.

DSC_0212

13.  This version of  soup was garnished with bread croutons, cut up ham and some parmesan cheese and garnished with fresh parsley.

P1160010

14.  On the photo below I served it with crispy fried onions, diced up scallions, cut up ham and bread sticks.

P1160133

I hope you will enjoy this recipe, also please feel free to share your versions of this soup.

Love,

Natalie

“Vichyssoise” – French Potato and Leek Soup

P1150754

Potato-and-Leek-Soup-6

Leek and Potato Soup is such a classic dish that we all imagine it has always been there.  Whether as a velvety puree of potato, leek, onion and cream or as a broth with a medley of component veggies in it make it a favorite.  Where did it originate? It is claimed as a national dish by both Wales and Ireland and is recommended for consumption on their respective Saints’ days.  The Scottish have their own version titled Tattie-and-Leekie and then again there is the vichyssoise version that is linked with Vichy in France.

Leeks are the original “superfood”, high in not only fiber but also heart protecting substances such as flavonoids and polyphenols, which help to prevent our blood vessels from damage, and folate, a B vitamin that also supports our cardiovascular system.  The fancy name  ”Vichyssoise” which you would think originated in France,  but strangely enough invented on American soil.  Credit for this (usually) cold soup is given to a Frenchman, Louis Diat, who was a chef at the Ritz-Carlton in New Your City during the first half of the 20th century.  He has been quoted as saying he was inspired in his invention by childhood memories of adding cold milk to his soup to cool it on hot summer days.  He named his soup after Vichy, a town famous for its spa, which was located close to Diat’s boyhood home.

French-Soup-Author

In this recipe we are going to do it’s “French” version from chef Louis Diat.  Vichyssoise is a thick soup made of puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock. It is traditionally served cold but can be eaten hot.

Sources: 
1.  Diat, Louis (Chef, Ritz-Carlton Hotel/New York City).  http://cookbkjj.com/bookhtml/001164.html.  Retrieved on June 18, 2013
2.  History of Leek and Potato Soup – where it was invented?  http://www.wikireferenda.com/food/history-leek-and-potato-soup-where-was-it-invented.  Retrieved on June 18, 2013

 

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

10 Cups of Chicken Bullion
4-5 Medium Potatoes
2 Leeks
1 Cup of Heavy Cream (or Half and Half)
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1 Cup of Ham
1/4 Cup of  Sprouts
1 Table Spoon of Dried Parsley 
 
How to make Vichyssoise Soup:
 
1.  Prepare your chicken bullion, if you need a little help and instructions how to do it click here.  I prefer to use fresh bullion, but you can substitute for store bought chicken broth, or make it using chicken broth cubes.
 
P1190637
 
 
 2.  Wash your leeks, trim the ends and most of the top green part of the leeks and chop them.  I still leave a little though, so our soup will turn nice green color.
 
Potato-and-Leek-Soup-1
 
3.  Wash, peel and cut up your potatoes.  Measure 1 cup of your Heavy Cream or Half and Half.
 
Potato-and-Leek-Soup-2
 
 
4.  Now you are ready to Saute your leeks until almost ready.  You will know they are ready because they will start changing color to green-transparent.
 
Potato-and-Leek-Soup-3
 
5.  Add your cut up potatoes.  While most recipes suggest simply boiling potatoes in the chicken broth I like to add them to the pan for about 10 minutes so they absorb the flavors of the onions.
6.  Your potatoes will not be fully cooked, but don’t worry… because now you will add them to your chicken broth and let them finish cooking until ready.  Add your Salt, Pepper and any Herbs you like to taste.
 
Potato-and-Leek-Soup-12
 
7.  When your broth is ready and potatoes are fully cooked which should take about 15-20 minutes, you are ready add your heavy cream to your soup.  Mix it in well and then using your immersion blender, puree everything right in the pot.   I have tried doing this before with regular blender and it was a big mess and very slow process.  Now I always use my Cuisineart blender for these kind of jobs.  Here is the link for it in our shop if you would like for info.
 
8.  Once your soup is ready, pour in on the plate and serve it with pieces of ham, alpha sprouts and sprinkle with extra parsley.  Enjoy!
 
Love,
451C4ACF5DBE383B5B17C2D9D97F000D
 
Potato-and-Leek-Soup-5
 
"Vichyssoise" - French Potato and Leek Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
“Vichyssoise” – French Potato and Leek Soup. Chicken broth base with vegetables, ham and alpha sprouts.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: French
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 10 Cups of Chicken Bullion
  • 4-5 Medium Potatoes
  • 2 Leeks
  • 1 Cup of Heavy Cream (or Half and Half)
  • 1 Cup of Ham
  • ¼ Cup of Sprouts
  • 1 Table Spoon of Dried Parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
Instructions
  1. Prepare your chicken bullion. If you don’t have it, you can substitute for store bought chicken broth, or make it using chicken broth cubes.
  2. Wash your leeks, trim the ends and most of the top green part of the leeks and chop them.
  3. Wash, peel and cut up your potatoes. Measure 1 cup of your Heavy Cream or Half and Half.
  4. Saute your leeks until almost ready. You will know they are ready because they will start changing color to green-transparent.
  5. Add your cut up potatoes. While most recipes suggest simply boiling potatoes in the chicken broth I like to add them to the pan for about 10 minutes so they absorb the flavors of the onions.
  6. Your potatoes will not be fully cooked, but don’t worry… because now you will add them to your chicken broth and let them finish cooking until ready. Add your Salt, Pepper and any Herbs you like to taste.
  7. When broth is ready and potatoes are fully cooked which should take about 15-20 minutes, you are ready add your heavy cream to your soup. Mix it in well and then using your immersion blender, puree everything right in the pot.
  8. Once your soup is ready, pour in on the plate and serve it with pieces of ham, alpha sprouts and sprinkle with extra parsley. Enjoy!
 

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Flavor Shades