May 2, 2014 § 116 Comments
I began my seasonal hunt for fava beans when I came across this hot yogurt and fava bean soup recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi. The first sighting of fava beans is always a sign warmer weather is upon us. And indeed it is. We have had 80°F temperatures for the past two days. Seattle does not have extreme weather. We don’t have sweltering heat in the summer or freezing temperatures in the winter. I have heard our fine city referred to as a best kept secret because of the mild temperatures and tolerable seasons. And with that, and a little rain (ok, a lot) comes an abundance of farm fresh foods.
I have this personal tradition of preparing a spring soup every year at the start of spring. This is my way to welcome in the season and all its glory. This year I decided on a heavily ladened herb soup. The fava beans in this soup are pureed with the yogurt and long-grain rice until smooth and creamy, which really is a wonderful base. However, a base sometimes needs something on top and after adding fresh herbs, hazelnuts, spring garlic and asparagus tips the soup becomes unforgettable.
I hope I’m not too late for Fiesta Friday #14. I could really use a party today. And with Saucy and Johnny hosting, no way was I going to miss this one. It’s still gin o’clock right? Ok, where is the blackberry gin fizz?
I n g r e d i e n t s
- 2 cups of shelled fava beans (from about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of unshelled fava beans)
- 1/4 cup long-grain rice
- 1- 3/4 cup greek yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed into paste
- 1 large egg
- 4 cups of vegetable stock
- fresh herbs for garnish, such as, tarragon, dill, chives, chive flowers, mint, cilantro, roughly chopped
- grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- toasted and chopped nuts for garnish, I used hazelnuts
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling over finished soup
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
M e t h o d
For the fava beans:
Prepare an ice water bath. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the shelled fava beans and cook for a minute or two. Drain. Immediately transfer the beans to the ice water bath. Remove the skins by gently pushing your fingers against the sides of the bean (the favas should easily slide out). Place into a bowl. Set aside.
Heat the vegetable stock in a large soup pot. Add the rice, bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add half of the fava beans. Season with salt and pepper, and using a hand blender, blend until completely smooth.
In a separate heat-proof bowl, whisk together the yogurt, crushed garlic, and egg. Add a ladleful of the hot soup and whisk together. Continue adding the hot soup slowly, until you’ve mixed about half of the soup into the egg mixture, do this slowly so the yogurt doesn’t split due to differences in temperature. Pour the tempered yogurt back into the pot with the remaining soup.
Place the soup on medium heat until warmed through. Make sure it doesn’t boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle the soup into four shallow bowls. Evenly scatter the remaining fava beans on top. Garnish with fresh herbs, lemon zest, sprinkling of chopped nuts, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon.
June 24, 2013 § 42 Comments
I am always delighted when mid June rolls around and I stumble upon the first harvest of Walla Walla Sweet Onions. Walla Walla is a county in southeastern Washington and is known for it’s sweet onions. These are a very pleasant mild onion which easily can be eaten raw on salads and sandwiches.
A cool rainy day always triggers my soup craving so I set out to make a light soup. I was toying with the idea of french onion soup when I spotted the Walla Walla Sweet Onions. I purchased four sweet onions, the most ripe juicy strawberries I have ever tasted and headed home.
I have a little cook book titled “Fresh” by John Bishop which features wonderful seasonal recipes made with local foods (Pacific Northwest). I found today’s soup recipe along with an herbed cheddar cheese biscuits. I struggle as a baker. I can usually bake a good simple quick bread, but if I have to knead or rise the dough, I fail. The recipe specifically said to “turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 10 times”. I figured, “how can I fail?”.
biscuits served with butter and sun dried tomato pesto
The biscuits would have made my mom proud. The soup was naturally sweet, creamy and keeping the spices at a minimum allowed the flavor of the onions to come through. While the soup is simmering, prepare the biscuits.
h e r b e d c h e d d a r c h e e s e b i s c u i t s
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add butter and work into the flour mixture with your fingers until the dough has the consistency of cornmeal. Stir in thyme and rosemary. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Place cheese, yogurt and milk in a small bowl and stir to combine. Pour the yogurt mixture into the well and combine lightly until the dough forms a ball. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 10 times.
Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1 inch. Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out 12 biscuits. Arrange biscuits 2 inches apart on the baking sheet and bake in the top third of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to a cooling rack.
s w e e t o n i o n s o u p
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 6 cups sweet onions, thinly sliced and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups stock, vegetable or chicken
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh spring onions, sliced
Melt butter in a stockpot on medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in flour and cook for 5 minutes. Deglaze the pot with wine.
Add stock, salt, pepper and increase heat to medium high. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Ladle soup into warm bowls and sprinkle with freshly sliced spring onions.
May 16, 2013 § 20 Comments
Last week I was profoundly inspired while reading a beautiful post in My French Heaven. Stephane’s Simple Crème d’asperge was magnificent! I loved her minimal ingredients and simplistic method of cooking asparagus soup. I happened to have asparagus in my refrigerator and decided right then and there we were going to have her soup. Her recipe was indeed wonderful. We loved every silky spoonful!
Next trip to the market I was awe struck at the sight of a mountain of asparagus! I had to buy some more. I picked out a nice bunch and then noticed the price per pound. I do not think I have ever seen asparagus so modestly priced. Do you think I bought too many? Obviously we are having a very productive asparagus growing season here in Washington state. Our temperatures have been warming up for several weeks topping out at 80° for a couple of days. This week the rain is falling and it has cooled off to a comfortable 65°…perfect!
This soup recipe is very different from Stephane’s. Her soup was so smooth and much lighter. And the nutmeg added such a nice subtle flavor. Using a blender rather than straining gave this soup a heartier consistency. I added a drizzle of lemon dressing to give it some zing.
- 2 large bunches of asparagus, remove tough lower stem, cut into pieces
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 quart of vegetable broth
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped fine
In a heavy soup pot heat butter over medium high heat and cook the onion until soft. Add the potatoes, asparagus, salt, pepper and stir to coat well. Pour the vegetable broth in and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and slow boil until potatoes are tender. Blend the soup to desired consistency.
L e m o n y D r i z z l e D r e s s i n g
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- a pinch of salt
Mix all three ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a fork. Drizzle on top of individual servings.
Serves 4, with leftovers.
March 21, 2013 § 3 Comments
According to the calendar it is spring. However, you wouldn’t know it according to the weather. It has been very blustery and rainy here in Seattle. Still wearing the down coat.
I have a cookbook I have been in love with for six years. I use this book over and over again. I feel it is the cookbook my mom would have wrote for me. Although my mom’s cooking was very american, this book is very european. The recipes are very simple and the outcome is truly comforting.
Here is the book:
Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros
Since spring is here our markets are full of beautiful green vegetables. Every imaginable leafy green, green scallions, english peas, snow peas, asparagus, the list goes on! I stroll around the vegetable area wanting to bag it all up and figure out what I am going to do with it once I get it home. I admit, I do shop like that often. But, today, I remembered a soup recipe from Apples for Jam. It seemed like it would be a perfect cold, blustery spring day meal. This was probably the sixth time I made this soup. It is so clean, nourishing and fresh. Before discovering this recipe, I never imagined putting lettuce in my soup! Oh, and here is a comment I heard at the dinner table tonight, “I have been waiting for this soup all my life! Whenever I have wanted vegetable soup, this is what I imagined!
Here it is,
green vegetable soup with egg and lemon
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 scallions, green and white parts, chopped
- a couple leafy celery stalks, chopped
- 4 small zucchini, cut into squares
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into squares
- 2/3 cup fresh shelled peas
- 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce (romaine or butter)
- 1 1/2 cups watercress tips
- 6 cups water
- 2 1/3 cups shredded baby spinach leaves
- 2 eggs
- juice of one lemon
- grated parmesan cheese, to serve
Heat olive oil in large heavy stockpot. Gently sauté scallions and celery until soft, add zucchini, potatoes, peas, and half of the lettuce and watercress.
Add 6 cups water, salt well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for 30 minutes, making sure the potatoes are soft. Add the remaining lettuce and watercress and spinach and cook for a few more minutes.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl, add lemon juice and continue to whisk. Add a couple of ladlefuls of hot broth from the soup to the eggs to acclimatize them.
Remove the soup from heat and add the egg mixture to the soup. Continue to mix while putting the soup back on the lowest possible heat for just a few minutes, allowing the egg to cook without scrambling them. Taste for salt.
Serve warm with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese.