Turnip + Kale Bean Soup

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The perils of winter and its shortened days.  The cozy warm fire beckons one inside.  The cold crisp air, although intoxicating to some even in its sharpness, acts to deter even the most beloved of activities.  Farmers markets are forgone for the ease and convenience of the grocery store.  As shamefully hard as it is to admit, I don’t know the last time I stepped foot at the farmers market.  Whole Foods on the other hand, has become a frequented location.

On these bitter cold days, when all I seem to want is to warm my bones, and baths have become a nightly ritual, soup seems the best choice for dinner.  Soup made of hearty ingredients.  Soup that has one dreaming of spring and warmer days.

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This soup requires a “bouquet garni”, or a bundle of herbs tied together with string and used to prepare soup, stock, and various stews. The bouquet is cooked with the other ingredients, but is removed before serving.  If it were spring, or even summer or fall for that matter, I would walk barefoot out the doors of our home, to the garden and wander along the beds, choosing an assortment of fresh herbs.  However, with winter at hand, I was at the mercy of the grocery store.

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Turnip + Kale Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bouguet garni (with a sprig each of sage, oregano, rosemay, and tarragon)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 lb turnips, chopped
  • 6 cups water (or vegetable broth if you prefer, but the herbs bring enough flavor on their own)
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans (I much prefer to use dried beans and cook flavor into them myself, however, I did not have any one hand, nor did the store), drained and rinsed
  • 2 large handfuls of kale, chopped
  •  juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbs parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Gently heat oil in a large stock pot adding the onions and sauté until they begin to color and soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, bay leaves, and bouquet garni and cook for another minute or so, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the turnips and cook for just a moment (like 30 seconds) adding the water to the pot.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until the turnips are soft but not breaking down.  Add the beans and kale and cook until they are heated through. Remove from heat as well as remove the herbs and bay leaves.  Add the lemon juice and parsley and stir to combine.

Serve immediately and enjoy.

Vegan Pumpkin Soup

With October came the cold. As if the earth awoke and realized fall had not yet descended.

I have fantasies of the changing seasons.  Fantasies based upon expectations.  Of excitement for what is to come.  Of being curled up before a bonfire. Of nights spent before the fireplace. Of crisp morning air. Of walking in the woods and the crunch of leaves underfoot. But there is always a bit of adjustment. The first cold is too cold. It is a shock. My body and soul call out involuntarily for the warm rays of the sun. My dreams belie my heart.  It is too sudden.  I am not ready for change.  I don’t welcome it.  I am not ready.  I am never ready.

The house feels cold. Aggressively cold. Not the cold of my dreams. Not the cold that is soothed by warm blankets, a fire, and the company of loved ones. No, this cold creeps into your bones. The constant longing for a bath. I know it will soon pass. I will get used to the cold. It won’t seem like much a month from now. Layers will continue to pile on my skin and seem as if my they in fact have become my skin. It will feel foreign to think of summer days and the sun’s rays baking upon my exposed skin.

So, for now, as all I seek is warmth and comfort from the constant chill, I will make soup. Soup will not cure the chill.  But it will do.  Because that is all that can be expected of it.

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Vegan Pumpkin Soup

Serves 6 as appetizers or an accompaniment

*of note, this soup has a kick…adjust according to taste

  • 1 medium pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2-1 Tbs + another 2 Tbs organic, cold pressed olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs ginger root, minced
  • 1 tsp turmeric root, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (homemade preferably)
  • 1 tsp orange peel
  • 1 Tbs orange juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2c coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 4oo.  Slice the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds etc.   Place on a baking sheet and cook until the flesh is soft and the skin begins to wrinkle.  Roughly an hour.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Combine the ground ginger, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Whisk in enough olive oil and mix with the pumpkin seeds to coat.  Toss onto a baking sheet and cook until toasted.  Don’t forget them!  Allow to cool while you continue with the soup.

Gently heat the remaining 2 Tbs olive oil in a soup pot.  Add the onion and cook over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until tender.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Now add the ginger, turmeric, cardamom, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, bay leaf, salt and pepper (just a dash of both…to taste later).  Continue to cook until the spices meld.  Just a couple of minutes.  Add the cooked pumpkin (removing skins first…they should peel off easily).  Stir to combine.

Add the vegetable broth, orange peel and orange juice.  Bring to a boil.  Then simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from heat and remove the bay leaf.  Using an immersion blender, blend the soup.  Once smooth, add the coconut milk and stir to combine.  Taste for salt and pepper if need be.

Serve the soup with the toasted pumpkin seeds on top.

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