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Sarah Lawrence

Tomato Soup, Onion Style

Soup is easily one of my favorite foods. Two superstars : tomato soup and french onion soup, for sure! With my pantry and cupboards lacking veg broth, I figured it might be worth a try to make Tomato soup, onion style.... (go ahead and let PSY's "Gangnam Style" be the soundtrack for this post if you must! Anyway, it couldn't be easier to make (& you can even dance while you do it!) Start with equal parts diced tomato and sliced onion. In a large pot, heat a tbsp of veg butter or your favorite mild oil. Add onion and cook over gentle heat until onions are golden and fragrant. For me and my pot, this took about 20 minutes. Add the tomato and an equal amount of water... I used 4 cups tomato, 4 cups onion and 4 cups water. Simmer until tomato has broken down. Then puree with an immersion blender or cool and puree in your Vitamix or regular blender. If the soup is too thick, just add a bit more water to get it where you want. The thickness makes it versatile though, so don't instantly go for the water. Consider using it as a sauce for red lentils (stir in a bit of coconut milk and curry powder). As a soup goes, it has the rich oniony base and robust tomato goodness. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add torn basil for a treat. Throw in cooked rice for a hearty bowl (like I did for lunch). image Enjoy!

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creativecalligraphy

Smoky Black Bean Soup (gluten free vegan)

From me to you on an icy NH day.  This soup can be made in your crockpot too if you don't want to mind the stove.  Soak your beans overnight or using the quick method (or cheat and use 3-4 big cans(I'm guessing) of black beans, drained and rinsed) and then put everything into the old faithful to simmer away all day.  You will be richly rewarded no matter which way you do it.  Top with diced raw tomato, pepper, avocado, tomatillo, scallions cilantro and salsa.  If you want to indulge, add a spoonful of tofutti sour cream and a sprinkle of daiya shredded cheddar! The smoky flavor comes from the cumin and smoked paprika.  If you want to go all out with the smoky rich flavor you can char your onions on a grill before adding them to the pot.  I find that the spices and the chipotle in adobo do the trick, but you can take it as far as you'd like! A tip or two:
  • To stretch this soup you can also make a pot of rice and serve a ladle of soup with a bowl of rice and the chopped veggies of your choice. 
  • Leftovers can be frozen in small amounts and added to a pot of minestrone or tomato soup to make a savory base.
 
 
[caption id="attachment_303" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Smoky Black Bean Soup"]Smoky Black Bean Soup[/caption]   Smoky Black Bean Soup 3 cups dry black beans (about 1 lb), soaked overnight 1 Tbsp olive oil 6 celery stalks 6 carrots 6 cloves garlic 2 large onions 10 cups water + 6 Tbsp broth powder or use your favorite broth in place of the water/powder 1 piece of dried kombu (optional) 2 Tbsp ground cumin 2 Tbsp smoked paprika 1 chipotle with 1 tsp adobo sauce or 2 tsp chipotle powder (more or less to suit your taste) Salt and Pepper to taste Pick over your dry beans and pull out any debris or pesky pebbles. Place the beans in a big soup pot, cover with a few inches of water and soak them overnight. If you’re short on time, bring your bean pot to a boil for 10 minutes then shut it off and let the beans soak for an hour at least before continuing.  Drain the soaked beans and discard the soaking water. While your beans are in the colander draining let’s work on the base of the soup. Working in batches using your food processor or your big kitchen knife, get the celery, carrots, garlic and onion to a mince.  I do each veg separately because my food processor is on the small side.  Plus, for whatever reason, I like sautéing my onions before the rest of the veg, so it makes sense in my mind to keep the veggies separate at this point. Heat your oil in the soup pot over medium heat.  Saute the onion until it is softened and golden. Stir in the spices along with the chipotle and adobo and let them go for a few minutes with the onions until everything is smelling amazing!  Add in the other minced veg, stir and cook for another minute.  We are looking to build that incredible glaze on the bottom of the pan really; that caramelized layer adds a lot of flavor and we want it to work for us!  The veg will cook along with the beans, so don’t worry about them.  Just stir them so nothing burns. Add the soaked beans, kombu, water and broth powder.  Kombu is a variety of seaweed which improves the digestibility of beans.  You can remove it when the beans are cooked or incorporate it into the soup.  Increase the heat and bring everything to a boil for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat so we’re just at a slow simmer, cover the pot and leave it for about 90 minutes.  We aren’t cooking the beans to a soft oblivion today, we’re aiming for a bit of bite.  Pull out the kombu if you can find it, otherwise it will be blended into the soup yielding a little nutrition and a pinch of salty flavor (1 piece of kombu in this size pot will barely be noticeable if you puree it in). At this point, turn off the heat and let the soup cool for a few minutes.  We will be pureeing the mixture to yield a smooth bean soup.  If you’d rather not, then stop here, taste and adjust your seasoning before serving.  In my house, we like this soup mostly smooth with some whole black beans and then toppings of diced raw tomato, scallions, avocado, salsa, etc.  So once the soup has cooled a bit I reserve about 2 cups of cooked black beans in a bowl and then I ladle the rest in batches into the Vitamix blender and puree it.    This requires one big bowl on the side of the blender to hold the puree while I work through the non-pureed soup from the pot.  Then I put the pureed soup back into the pot, toss in the reserved beans and stir.  If the soup is too thick for your tastes go ahead and thin it with water or broth until you get a consistency you like.  If I need to heat it to serving temp, now’s the time.  Otherwise it is ready to be put in the fridge or freezer for a later meal.  The great part about this soup is that unlike dairy based soups this freezes really well and doesn’t break.  The flavor improves on day 2 and 3.  I tend to go mild on the chipotle favoring the addition of salsa or chiles by each soup eater.  It’s easier for me and my husband to make our bowls spicier rather than asking our kids to take the heat!

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creativecalligraphy

Black Beans with Fresh Tomatillo Green Pepper Sauce

With fresh ingredients on hand a quick dinner is easy.  For this one I had cooked black beans, tomatillo, garlic, onion, tomato and herbs.  Start to finish, 10 minutes.  The most labor intensive bit is chopping the onion and getting it sauteed.  If you have leftover guacamole it's an easy add on; leftover rice is equally nice, but don't be ashamed of scooping these tasty beans out of the bowl with a piece of bread or even a few baked tortilla chips.  Can't go wrong.  The great news in this meal is that you control the heat of the spices and the level of sodium.  Have fun cooking!
[caption id="attachment_265" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Black Beans with Tomatillo and Green Pepper Sauce"]Black Beans with Tomatillo and Green Pepper Sauce[/caption]   Quick Black Beans with Fresh Tomatillo and Green Pepper Sauce Beans 2 cups cooked black beans, leftover homemade beans are best, but canned are quick and easy 1 onion, diced and sauteed until golden and sweet ½ tsp ground chipotle pepper Sauce 4 fresh tomatillos 2 cloves garlic, peeled 1 handful cilantro ½ of a lime, juiced 1 squirt saracha (to taste) 1 green pepper, seeds removed To prep the black beans:  Combine your sautéed onions and black beans in a sauce pan (or in the pan you sautéed your onions).  Sprinkle chipotle over top and stir.  Warm through. To prep the Tomatillo and Green Pepper Sauce:  Add everything into your Vitamix or food processor. Whiz until you have a sauce that is pretty well pureed… this takes about 10 seconds when I use the Vitamix.  The sauce isn’t totally liquid but isn’t chunky like salsa. [caption id="attachment_267" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Tomatillo Green Pepper Sauce"]Tomatillo Green Pepper Sauce[/caption] [caption id="attachment_266" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Tomatillos"]Tomatillos[/caption] Note: If tomatillos are new to you there are only a few things you really need to know.  First, when buying tomatillos you’re looking for plump, firm produce that fills the papery skins.  Second, the papery skin is basically stuck to the fruit underneath it.  You need to peel the skin off and then wash the fruit in cool water to remove the tacky film.  No other peeling is necessary.  Tomatillos are great raw, boiled and roasted.  You really can’t go wrong!

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