Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup

Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup

Remember how I mentioned a while back that I hadn’t really been in a cooking kind of mood? Unfortunately, that went on for quite a while. I’m only just starting to get back into it. I think part of it is the change of seasons (it’s finally starting to feel a little bit like fall here in SoCal). So many bloggers seem to be most inspired by summer produce. But me? I prefer the produce that comes with the cooler temps. When I see stacks of beautiful squashes, pears, apples, it makes me want to get into the kitchen and prepare something warm and comforting.

I decided I want to make a soup for dinner at least once a week throughout the fall and winter. It’s a meal that everybody loves, it can usually be made ahead of time and warmed up (essential for busy evenings after the kids come home from school), and, since it’s just as easy to make a big pot as a small pot, I can have leftovers for lunch for several days after.

I made this Beet, Fennel & Apple soup for dinner Monday night. I made a double recipe, and the hardest part was peeling the beets, which really isn’t all that hard to do. There’s just a little sautéeing, and then you throw everything else into the pot and simmer. A quick purée at the end, and you’re done!

Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup

With so many girls in the house, you just know that a pink soup went over very well!

Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 fennel bulb, diced (save fronds for garnish, or another use, if desired)

1 yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Coarse sea salt

3 medium beets, peeled and roughly chopped

2 small apples, peeled and roughly chopped (I used Fuji apples)

6 cups vegetable or chicken broth

Freshly ground black pepper

Fennel fronds or chopped chives for garnish, if desired

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, garlic, and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a bout 10 minutes. You want the vegetables to be softened, but not browned.

2. Add the beets, apples, and broth to the pot. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered until the beets and apples are completely soft, about 30 to 35 minutes.

3. Blend the soup, either in a blender or in the pot with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings

From It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow & Julia Turshen

(If it seems like I’ve been cooking from this book a lot—3 out of the last 5 post contain recipes from it—it’s because I have been cooking from it a lot! I really like this book, and all the recipes I’ve made from it have been wonderful.)

Summer Pistou

Summer Pistou

I was a little unsure about serving this for dinner last night. A stew? During the summer? When it was in the mid-80s inside my house? (Buying a house with no central air is something I will NEVER do again!!)

But with all the colorful vegetables inside the stew, and the herb-y pesto served on top of the stew, this really did taste like summer. I served it with some olive bread on the side, which (despite the fact that I recently posted an easy recipe for it) I bought. Because although we still need to eat, when the weather’s like that I just want to cook as little as possible.

Summer Pistou

For the stew:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 cup chopped red or yellow bell pepper

2 cups green beans cut into 2-inch pieces

1 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water

4 cups chopped yellow summer squash

1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 (15 ounce) cans red or white beans, undrained

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the almond-herb pesto:

1 cup toasted almonds

1 cup packed fresh basil

2 cups packed fresh parsley

2 cloves garlic

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 to 3 tablespoon water, optional

Make the stew:

In a large soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and bell peppers, and cook for about 3 minutes. And the green beans and broth (or water) and simmer until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Add the yellow squash, tomatoes, and beans. Return to a simmer and cook until all of the vegetables are tender.

Make the Pesto:

Combine the almonds, basil, parsley, garlic, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth. Add water if you would like a thinner consistency.

Serve the stew topped with a dollop of the pesto.

6 to 8 servings

From Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health

Black Bean Soup with Cumin, Chiles, and Lime

This is a great recipe for a weeknight soup – not too many ingredients, quick to make, and absolutely delicious!

Black Bean Soup with Cumin, Chiles, and Lime
A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, Jack Bishop

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 small jalapeno, stemmed and minced (I used a large jalapeno, seeded)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer (I used Coors)
1 cup cold water
3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Sour cream or plain yogurt for garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and jalapeno and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the chili powder, cumin, and a generous amount of salt, and cook until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour the beer and water into the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until the alcohol aroma fades, about 5 minutes.

Add the beans and bring the soup back to a boil. Simmer until the soup thickens and the flavors blend, about 10 minutes.

Remove 2 cups of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the lime juice and adjust the seasonings, adding salt to taste. The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several days. Warm over low heat. Serve, garnishing the bowls with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

4 to 6 servings

Cauliflower Soup with Parsley

This soup got a “WOW!” reaction from Chaim. It really was that good! Even the kids loved it. I can’t wait to make this again!

I pureed all of it since I wanted a creamy soup.

Cauliflower Soup with Parsley
Vegan Italiano, Donna Klein

1 large head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cored and cut into 1/2-inch florets
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste (I used about 1/8 teaspoon)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Bring a medium stockpot filled with salted water to a boil over high heat. add the cauliflower and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Place the oil in the stockpot and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, 1 m minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cauliflower; cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, salt, and black pepper; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. transfer about two-thirds of the soup to a food processor fitted with a knife blade, or to a blender (I used an immersion blender right in the pot). Process until smooth and pureed. Return mixture to the pot and stir in the parsley. Cook over low heat until heated through. Serve hot.

6 servings

Grilled Vegetable Panini & Tomato Soup

These sandwiches were really good, and I liked that the vegetables were cooked right on the panini grill. I wanted to use rosemary bread instead of the olive bread, but the store was out of it when I went so I used a baguette instead.

Grilled Vegetable Panini

Balsamic vinaigrette (bottled or homemade)
1 Japanese eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
1 yellow onion, sliced into 1/4-inch rings
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 slices olive bread (I used a baguette)
2 roasted red peppers (I made my own, but you can use bottled – just pat dry)
4 slices provolone cheese

Place eggplant and zucchini in a plastic bag with enough balsamic vinaigrette to coat the vegetables. seal and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat panini grill. Brush olive oil on both sides of onions, season with salt and pepper and place on the grill. remove eggplant and zucchini from marinade (discard remaining marinade) and place onto the grill as well. Close the lid and grill the vegetables for 3-4 minutes until cooked through.
Brush olive oil on the outer sides of each bread slice. On the bottom bread slices (oil side down) spread a layer of hummus. Top with slices of eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, onion, cheese, and the top bread slices (oil side up).

Grill 3-4 minutes until cheese is melted and golden grill marls appear.

Serve immediately.

2 servings

This is a fantastic recipe for tomato soup! It has to be started ahead of time, but once the tomatoes and garlic is roasted it comes together in no time.

I let the tomatoes roast overnight, and I roasted the garlic in the morning, then put them in the fridge until I was ready to make the soup. (I did not make the garlic chips, but would if I was serving to company.)

Oven-Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup
Bobby Flay,

Oven Roasted Tomatoes:
4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Place the tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Combine the garlic and olive oil and brush the tomatoes with it. then season with the salt and pepper. Roast until dried and soft, about 8 hours.

Garlic Chips
1 cup olive oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced paper thin

heat oil in a medium skillet until the oil starts to simmer. Add the garlic and cook until the slices begin to brown and curl. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Tomato Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups canned plum tomatoes (I used 1 15-ounce can, drained)
6 roasted garlic cloves
Oven Roasted Tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and white pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke and saute the onions until golden. Add the wine, raise the heat to high, and reduce until almost dry. Add the stock, canned tomatoes, roasted garlic and roasted tomatoes and reduce by one-quarter.

Puree the mixture in a food processor (I used an immersion blender) and return to the pot. Add the thyme, honey and salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with garlic chips.

8 servings