Chilled Pea and Basil Soup

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This month’s Kosher Connection link-up features chilled soups.  It’s June, and the weather is heating up. Always happy to have a cool treat.

I love challenges like this. I never really make cold soup. I do love a good gazpacho every so often, but chilled soups don’t really happen in this kitchen. If I made hot chicken soup every week in the summer, nobody would complain. We’re just a warm soup kind of family and a little heat doesn’t usually stop me. Myself excluded that is. I’m not in to warm soups on a hot day.

This challenge got me thinking about different flavors that I love. I wasn’t going to do a gazpacho. That’s been done. I have several friends that love chilled fruit soups, but that’s just not me.  I thought about the various herbs that I have growing on my deck and then looked to the beautiful early summer veggies I’ve been seeing at the farmer’s markets. I knew I had to focus on some seasonal vegetables and herbs. At the market today, I came upon some beautiful peas. Yum! These English peas were amazing and so sweet. I then turned to my favorite herb  – my basil plant. I had to turn these two in to soup.

I began by sauteeing up some shallots and garlic in a bit of butter and olive oil. I then added the peas and the chopped basil. After they cook for a few minutes, I added in some vegetable broth and let the soup cook a bit.

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Once the peas were sufficiently cooked, I pureed the soup with my immersion blender and added some Greek yogurt to the soup.

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I removed the soup from the heat and then began to cool it down. If you’d like, you can transfer the soup to a bowl and then sit it over a larger bowl of ice for a quick chill down.

I served the soup chilled with some additional Greek yogurt stirred in. Love the flavor. The sweetness of the peas combined with the basil really work well together. Will definitely make this again.

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Chilled Pea and Basil Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Summer Soups
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • ¾ pound English peas (or use frozen petite peas)
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp. Greek yogurt or sour cream (plus extra for garnishing)
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat up the butter and olive oil in a medium-size pot.
  2. Add in the garlic and shallot and saute until soft.
  3. Stir in the salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in the peas and the basil. Saute or a minute or two.
  5. Add in the vegetable broth.
  6. Let the mixture come to a boil. Cover the pot and turn down the heat.
  7. Cook for about 7 minutes.
  8. After about 7 minutes, the peas should be cooked enough.
  9. Use a standard blender or an immersion blender to puree the soup.
  10. Stir in some Greek yogurt.
  11. Taste the soup a bit. Add additional salt and pepper as needed.
  12. Serve the soup garnished with additional basil and yogurt.
  13. Enjoy!

 

Don’t forget to check out some of the other great cold soups as part of the Kosher Connection link-up!

 


Pasta and Veggies with Cashew Cream Sauce

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Sometimes I make something and I wonder why I rarely or never make it. This dinner was one of those situations. It was that good and that easy.

As I do every day, I ask my husband what he thinks would be good for dinner the following night. He mentioned to me that he had a craving for some sort of pasta with a cream sauce. I knew I didn’t really want a heavy and rich cream sauce. Between the butter and heavy cream, I wasn’t ready for a stomachache.

I had one of those light bulb moments. Yosef from This American Bite recently had me drooling over his cashew based Mac and Cheese dish. In the past, I have been successful with various cashew based dishes. Cashews somehow add a wonderful nutty creaminess to a dish and can mimic what dairy and cheese can do. What if I made this Alfredo like sauce out of cashews? I had plenty of leftover cashews from when I made the candied nuts the other day.

I am so glad that I remembered about the cashews. It was so easy to make and I think I may even like using them more than a dairy based cream sauce.  The family couldn’t even tell the difference that there was no cheese or cream in the dish. Will definitely be making this again.



Pasta and Veggies with Cashew Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup cashews
water
1 pound pasta (I used medium shells), cooked to al dente (reserve 1 cup cooking water)
1 cup vegetable broth
5 cloves garlic
juice of one lemon
2 tsp. basil, dried
2 tsp. thyme, dried
2 tsp. oregano, dried
2 tsp. sage, dried
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 cup peas
red pepper flakes (optional)
additional salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Start out by soaking the cashews in a bowl of water. Let it soak for at least 4-5 hours. I left my bowl in the fridge while I went to work.

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Rinse and drain the cashews.

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, process the cashews with the vegetable broth, 3 cloves of the garlic, lemon juice and spices. Everything should be completely pureed.

cashew cream

Heat up the olive oil in a large saute pan.  saute the onions and 2 cloves of chopped garlic for a few minutes, until soft.

Add in the sliced mushrooms and peas, and any other veggies you may like. Cook for another few minutes.

Turn the flame to medium and add in the cream sauce. Let the sauce warm for a couple of minutes.

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Add in the cooked pasta. Slowly add in the reserved pasta water until you reach your desired consistency.

Serve and Enjoy!

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Pasta with Smoked Salmon in a Light Cream Sauce

Does one have to like lox to be Jewish? I like sable. Isn’t that enough? When I was a kid, I was a picky eater as far as my family goes. My parents cooked for a pretty varied palate. My palate has thankfully expanded, but I still don’t like lox. The smell, the texture, and the taste all bother me. When J wants a agel with lox – he knows enough to eat it at the bagel store or while I am at the gym. Both of my kids like it enough. J loves it. When I head back to the midwest for a family visit – I have to bring back smelly packages to my parents. You can’t get the good east coast stuff in Minnesota. It’s a rough life, you know?


J went and picked up a small package of smoked salmon at TJ’s one Sunday morning. It was most definitely intended to be a special breakfast treat for him. Instead, I decided to play with it. Turn it in to some semblance of dinner. Can’t remember the restaurant, but J used to love this one place that served the pasta with a cream sauce and smoked salmon. I decided to surprise him with a nice dinner treat.


Pasta with Smoked Salmon in a Light Cream Sauce
Ingredients:


1/2 a box of thin spaghetti
butter
olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
handful of cremini mushrooms, chopped
zest from half of a lemon
salt
pepper, freshly ground
juice from half of a lemon

1/4 cup half and half

4 oz. smoked salmon, chopped
parmesean cheese
frozen peas  – a handful or two
2 tbsp. dill, chopped

Instructions:
Cook the pasta until al dente. Do not overcook.  Set it aside.

In a large pan, heat up some olive oil and butter.  Toss in the onions and garlic. Cook it a bit. 

Add the mushrooms. Saute a few minutes.  Now add the cream and the lemon zest and juice. Add some salt and pepper. I would also recommend some red pepper flakes at this points.

Throw in the dill and the peas.  When you are almost ready to serve, toss in the chopped smoked salmon. You don’t want to over cook that. Now toss in the pasta.  Mix it up a bit. Shred in some parmesean cheese.  Dinner is ready! Enjoy!

Cooking with my Dad: Vegetable Samosas

I grew up in a family of foodies. My ideas about food and how to cook it are definitely shaped by my parents. I often find myself calling them to run recipe ideas by them, in addition to the standard needed parenting advice. When I come home to my kitchen, I miss my parents looking over my shoulder telling me how something needs to be cooked or how to accomplish the task better.

I was overjoyed by the opportunity to cook with my father on a recent trip back home. He is an excellant father and an excellent cook. I was still curious to see how it would play out as he is a bit possessive of his kitchen. Originally I thought I would do some sort of traditional Minnesota dish like hotdish that has never seen the light of my parent’s kitchen or mine, but instead we chose to cook something that we knew we would enjoy eating.

We chose to do a slight adaptation to Bonnie Stern’s samosa recipe from her Heartsmart Cooking series. It’s is an ode to my parent’s cooking roots, as they took cooking lessons at her cooking school in Toronto back in the day. Below is the recipe as we prepared it.

Vegetable Samosas

2 potatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots or 8 baby carrots, diced
2 tbsp. chopped ginger
1 red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup of peas

1 cup of hummus, (the recipe called for chickpeas, which we didn’t have)
1 scallion, chopped
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. of garam masala
2 tsp. curry
1 tsp. fenugreek
Egg Roll or Wonton Skins
2 tbsp. oil for brushing
Preheat oven to 375.

Begin by sauteeing the potato/onion/carrot mixture in olive oil. Sautee for around 10 minutes. After about 8 minutes, add in the ginger and the other spices. Saute a couple more minutes.


Add in the peas and the hummus, stir a bit. Add in the chopped scallions. Add in the water. Let everything cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

On a baking sheet lined with buttered/greased parchment paper, lay out the wonton/egg roll skins. Put 1-2 tablespoons into center of square and then fold into a triangular pocket. Seal the edges with water.


Brush the triangles with olive oil.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until browned. Enjoy!

They were yummy! I will definitely make this again. I think I prefer these to the fried version that I have at the Indian restaurants.I will add some garlic to it next time.
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