Category: Soup

Cream of Broccoli and Cashew Soup

   86 Comments

Cream of Broccoli and Cashew Soup // My New Roots
 
Have you ever convinced yourself that something is delicious so you can actually handle eating it? Let me count out a few of my least favourite-tasting healthy things that I consume with disdain: spirulina, chlorella, most sea vegetables, flax seed oil, and wheatgrass juice. I have also been like this with broccoli, probably my entire life. Especially after studying nutrition and learning just how incredibly good this veggie is for us, I’ve really forced myself to eat more of it, regardless of how yucky it tastes to me.

The challenge lives on. Although I have found suitable homes for most of the aforementioned foods in smoothies (thank goodness for smoothies), broccoli just doesn’t work all that well blended up with banana. Call me crazy.

My first introduction to broccoli was cream of broccoli soup, of the canned variety: salty white mire with infinitesimal flecks of green, which I suppose was supposed to make whoever is eating feel a little healthier. But the broccoli? Is it even in there? All I remember is a hot bowl of thick, sulfur-flavoured cream, and the only indication of broccoli being the putrid fart-y stench. My five-year-old self was put off to say the least, and broccoli quickly made it to the top of my ick list.

Although I’ve made it a habit to cover up the taste of broccoli more often than letting its true flavour shine through, this soup is different. First of all, it’s mostly broccoli. And it’s scrumptious. It doesn’t hide underneath crazy cheese sauce or dressing because it doesn’t need to! It’s earthy and delightful. It’s shockingly green and decidedly not fart-y because the broccoli isn’t overcooked. It’s rich and creamy with a hint of spice that you can dial up or down depending on whom you’re cooking for.

I used cashews to deliver that unctuous richness, and nutritional yeast to mimic the cheese-y taste of dairy. Not only does this really take the soup to a whole other level, swirling that velvety cream through the bowl of green creates a beguilingly beautiful result. I mean, just look at it. This is satisfying and stick-to-your-ribs kind of fare, which is perfect as the autumn wind begins to blow. I am proud of this soup. It marks a grown-up kind of shift in my palette and my diet. A soup to celebrate not just health, but deliciousness.

broccolisoup3
 
How to make Broccoli not a bummer
Brassica vegetables! Repulsing children since the beginning of time!

Okay, why do kids hate this group of veggies so darn much? Even adults tend to shy away from them in many cases. I believe sulfur is to blame – that uber-healthy, yet stinky and gas-producing compound naturally found in broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and the like.

There is a very important trick to remember when cooking these beauties up, and that is to not cook them very much at all! Broccoli contains good amounts of chlorophyll, the “life blood” of plants, which actually helps counteract the sulfuric taste, smell and wind-making properties. Chlorophyll, however, is very sensitive to heat and once it’s gone, that rotten egg scent which would otherwise be neutralized, will likely spoil all hope of your munchkins munching the veg. Five minutes is all it takes to lightly cook most brassicas, while maintaining their high levels of chlorophyll and vitamin C. This will also reduce gas, and that makes everyone happy.

Steaming is the healthiest way to enjoy broccoli, especially if you consume the steaming water as well. In this case of this soup, the water in which the broccoli is cooked, gets blended up into the final dish, making this a mineral-rich soup where very little nutrition is lost.

If you are going to cook the stems of broccoli (waste not want not!), steam them 2-3 minutes before adding the florets, as they take a little longer. Remember that the broccoli leaves are completely edible as well and loaded with nutrients.

broccolisoup2

 

 

By the way, thank you all SO much for an absolutely fabulous time in Amsterdam! The cooking classes, lectures, cookbook event, and Restaurant De Kas dinner were tons of fun for me and I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. I have plenty of beautiful photos so stay tuned to Facebook where I will share them very soon!

With gratitude and broccoli,
Sarah B

Show me your soup on Instagram: #MNRbroccolisoup

Gold Rush Soup & Chickpea Croutons

   161 Comments

goldrush1

Wowzers ya’ll! I was seriously astounded by the response from the last post – I had no idea that my “everyday meal” would cause such a stir and ignite so much inspiration! I am thrilled to hear your feedback about the Abundance Bowl and to learn that you are all pretty pumped about healthy, simple meals. Gosh, I should post about that stuff more often. Oh wait! That is exactly what I am going to do today.

So, I have this technique of making soup that takes major shortcuts in the kitchen – I call it “oven soup”. Why? Because most of the work is done in the oven by roasting the main ingredients together, then throwing them into a blender with hot water or broth and spices. Ta-daa! No need to dirty even a single pot! I like this method because it’s really simple and most of the cooking time is completely unattended. All you need to do is prep the veggies, pop them in a hot oven and walk away until everything is ready to blend. I boil water in the kettle and use a high-quality bullion instead of stock more often than not, to keep things even easier.

I have been making this soup for years now. It’s really easy, inexpensive and features two of my all-time favourite foods: butternut squash and turmeric. Roasting the squash, onions and garlic caramelizes their natural sugars, and deepens the flavours substantially – much tastier than just boiling them! The turmeric adds a peppery citrus flavour that goes really well with the herbs, if you decide to use them.

And then there are the Smoky Chickpea Croutons. These make a stupendous snack on their own, but are also delicious atop this golden soup. Got a salad that needs snazzing up? What about an Abundance Bowl? You can toss these on anything. I’d even suggest keeping a jar near your desk or in the car to grab a handful when those afternoon cravings hit. They are a healthy, high-fiber, protein-rich snack that is way better than anything you’d get out of a vending machine.

goldrush4

Turmeric: The Golden Child
Let’s make a New Years resolution together: eat more turmeric! Why? Because this humble little rhizome is a super food with serious superpowers.

Turmeric is a rhizome that comes from the Curcuma longa plant, with brown skin and shockingly bright orange flesh. It’s this pigment that gives curry powder its distinctive hue, and ballpark mustard that famous yellow glow. Curcumin, the primary ingredient in turmeric that is responsible for its golden colour, has important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties. It protects the liver form toxins and congestion, lowers cholesterol, reduces menstrual pain, and even helps soothe an upset tummy by aiding digestion and ridding the system of gas and distention.

Turmeric also speeds up the healing of wounds, both on the inside and out! To make an effective pain killer and cut healer, simply mix one teaspoon of ground turmeric powder with enough ghee, olive oil or coconut oil to make a paste and spread over the cut. Adding grated ginger to the paste will help decrease pain and increase its ability to heal. Turmeric is wonderful on burns as well, which I know from my days working in a professional kitchen! Mix one teaspoon ground turmeric powder with one teaspoon fresh aloe vera gel, apply to the burnt area and keep open to the air. Reapply as needed.

The flavour of turmeric is relatively mild – warm, slightly bitter and peppery with notes of orange and ginger. I find that it is delicious in everything from savoury stews and dressings, to sweet smoothies and raw desserts! Seriously. The fresh root is much more delicious than the dried version, simply because it has more depth and character. Finding fresh turmeric may be difficult however if you do not live near an ethnic market, but the dried powder is widely available. If possible, get your hands on freshly ground turmeric that hasn’t been sitting on your grocery store’s shelf for months on end.

To store fresh turmeric, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep for one week in the refrigerator. To store dried turmeric, keep powder in a tightly sealed glass container away from heat and light – not right next to the stove for example. This will preserve the flavour and medicinal qualities, which I know you’re interested in now!

goldrush2

 goldrush3


Again, I just want to say a big THANK YOU for your positive feedback. Besides eating more turmeric, another one of my New Year’s resolutions is to connect with you, the readers, more often. I really like hearing what you have to say and appreciate your thoughts, advice and inquiries. As soon as this cookbook is written (I hand it in March 1st!!!), I am going to send out my question to you: What do you want to learn about together? So, in the meantime, give that some thought. I look forward to that day very much.

With a golden turmeric embrace,
Sarah B.

Beet & Black Lentil Borscht + A Book

   150 Comments

borscht1

I have been sitting on such a huge secret and I’ve just gotten the okay to share it…a cookbook is on the way! A real-life, printed, hold-in-your-hands cookbook that can sit in your kitchen and get dog-eared corners and covered in food stains for years to come! Hoorah! Whew, feels good to get that off my shoulders. It’s pretty difficult to have hidden my excitement for this long and have so many of you asking what it is I’ve been up to if I’m not working in restaurants or running courses. Well, there’s your answer. Ever since I signed on to do this project back in the spring, it’s been full-steam ahead, growing food, writing recipes, testing them, photographing, and of course, eating a lot of really yummy things. I am so in love with each and every one of my creations so far and cannot wait to see them all bound up.

To try and answer some of the questions to come…the book is going to be seasonally-focused and totally plant-based of course, with some optional animal products thrown in for function or flavour when necessary. It is almost entirely all-new recipes (!!!) with a few favorites from the blog because how could I omit a version of the Life Changing Loaf of Bread? I mean, really. I am also making the recipes gluten-free whenever possible, without the use of complicated combinations of special flours and gums. The recipes use relatively simple and seasonal base ingredients with some special touches thrown in for nutrition, taste, and aesthetics of course. There will be nutritional information in many of the recipes, like I have here on the blog – if the recipe features carrots, I’ll probably talk about beta-carotene. You get the idea. I’ve also tried to keep the equipment requirements relatively low so that everyone can make the recipes. There are a few exceptions, but most of the dishes require little more than a typically outfitted kitchen.

And the question on everybody’s mind: when can we buy the book?! We’re aiming for spring 2015 release and please stay tuned here on the blog for updates. There are no preorders at this time, so don’t go looking for it just yet – I promise to keep you all in the loop! I am just as excited as you are. No wait, more excited.

borscht2

This recipe was one I made the other day after pulling up the last of my beets from the garden. I was going to put it in the book, but decided to share it with you all instead. It’s a very delicious borscht recipe that I’ve gussied up with juniper berries, caraway seeds and Dijon mustard. Heavenly! I also added lentils for extra protein and satisfaction. This is just the kind of meal that makes this mama-to-be very happy.

I remember the first time I ate borscht (and beets for that matter), I was about 12 years old and on another food adventure with my best friend’s mother, Annie, whom I spoke about in this post about sushi. We went to the Future Bakery, a Toronto institution that serves Eastern European fare in a no-fuss kind of way. Annie ordered borscht for me, with a side of toasted sourdough bread. I took one look at the soup and my stomach flipped. How could I possibly eat anything magenta?! This slurry was the exact hue of my Barbie doll’s prom dress. I hesitantly took a spoonful, and although I thought it tasted pretty good, the colour threw me off to the point where I wasn’t able to eat it at all.

I can’t recall when beets came back into my life, but surely it was in a form other borscht. Admittedly, they took some getting used to, as I had grown up on a pretty beige diet. Pink was reserved for candy. After some courageous attempts, I realized just how yummy beets are: rich, earthy, deep. And because they can be juiced, and eaten either cooked or raw, there is a whole world of possibilities to explore within this one little root. Just by slicing a beet in a different manner, you discover an entirely new characteristic. Gosh, they really get me going! And now borscht happens to be one of my favourite ways to enjoy them.

borscht3

My version of borscht is fragrant and full of autumnal goodness. I chose to use juniper berries, a fairly new ingredient to me, to add another dimension of flavour. I really like the piney-ness that they impart – kind of like taking your taste buds on a walk through a coniferous forest after a heavy rain. They are a classic Scandinavian ingredient, so if you can’t find them whenever you live, just omit them. And I will say that although they add delicious flavour to this soup, I didn’t enjoy eating them whole, so I (politely) spat them out (also because pregnant women really aren’t supposed to eat too many of them!).

borscht4

borscht6

I realized something today: this could very well be the last post I write before becoming a mother, and if that is the case, I just want to send out big love to all of you for your support over the past few months. Whether it’s been sending me a caring comment after my cake-tastrophe confession, or joining me in the park for potluck picnicking, I really feel grateful to all of you! Please know that I’ll still be blogging from now on, just a tad lighter perhaps. You can still follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and I just set up a Pinterest account after many requests. Please be patient with me, as I am pretty slow on the uptake with this computer stuff (remember how long it took me to get on Facebook? Sheesh).

And now it’s back to the kitchen for me – I have a cookbook to write!

Be well and make food for each other.
With a (very) full belly,

Sarah B. + sprout