So, Nintendo posted this recipe a while ago on Twitter for Twilight Princess’ HD rerelease, and I decided to give this a try. Besides being a recipe from a video game, this combines two of my favorite flavors – pumpkin and goat cheese. The resulting soup is pretty damn awesome, and definitely a thing I would recommend making. (This version leaves out the fish, but tbh, I’m pretty okay with that, as I’m really not sure what that would’ve done to this.) (I also held back the celery in my version, as I’m not that big of a fan of it.)

Yeto’s Pumpkin and Cheese Soup
Makes a lot. That’s two containers’ worth of soup up there.

Ingredients

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 qt vegetable stock
  • 29 oz pumpkin puree
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • .25 c milk plus .25 c heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled (I used closer to 5, last of the TJ’s chevre I mentioned in the previous post)
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • dash sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

In a large pot (dutch oven, or just a bigass covered pot), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion and carrots, and saute for about five minutes, and then add your minced garlic, and saute another five minutes, until fragrant and the vegetables are soft.

Pour in your quart of vegetable stock, and bring it to a boil, stirring the soup here and there. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, and keep simmering for another ten minutes, still stirring here and there. Add in the pumpkin and cinnamon, stir well to combine, and bring back to a simmer, simmering another fifteen minutes.

If you have an immersion blender (seriously, those things are a godsends for recipes like this), just stick it in the pot and blend until you’ve got a nice smooth soup. If you don’t, stick it in a blender or food processor in batches, and do the same.  Keep the heat of the soup on low.

Stir in the milk/whipping cream combo, evaporated milk, goat cheese, and brown sugar, slowly, until the goat cheese and brown sugar has melted into the soup. Season with a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper, taste it, and then sit down for a long ass gaming marathon with your nice hearty bowl of soup.

 

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This recipe comes from Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s Preserving the Japanese Way, and is a variant on a recipe from an earlier cookbook of hers. I added my own twists to the recipe, and the end result is pretty damn good. I need to follow my own advice from earlier in this blog for poaching eggs, though – I tried rushing it here, and ended up with an egg blob. ^^;

Country Miso and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 2.5 c dashi
  • 1 medium daikon (about .25 lbs), scrubbed
  • 1 medium carrot, scrubbed
  • 2-3 spring onions (negi if you have them)
  • 1.5 T awase miso paste (blend of red and white miso)
  • lemon (or yuzu if you can find it you lucky bastard) zest
  • poached egg to top (if you’re so inclined)
  • (I also added some fried tofu chunks)

Take your daikon and carrot, and make sure they’ve been scrubbed (they won’t need to be peeled unless there are blemishes, or they’re too tough). Half the carrot lengthwise, and then slice into thin half-moons, and set aside. Take your daikon, halve it lengthwise, and then halve those halfs (so that you wind up with quarters), and slice into thin wedges. Take the spring onions, cut the white and pale green parts into thin slices (save the tops for garnish), and then toss with the daikon pieces.

Warm your dashi (if you didn’t make it right before starting the soup, that’s what I usually do), until it comes to a gentle simmer. Then, add your carrot slices, and cook for three minutes over medium heat. Add the daikon and spring onions right after, cooking for another three minutes.

Nancy recommends thinning the miso paste with a small bit of the broth at this point separately, but I just whisked the miso right into the broth. Remove from heat, and add the spring onion tops and lemon zest to the broth. I also added in fried tofu at this point. If you’re so inclined, add a poached egg to top it all off, and enjoy the amazing flavor combinations!

This? This is amazing. Especially if you live near a high concentration of Asian groceries and can find a bunch of these ingredients for cheap, and salmon goes on sale for the right price. A nice Thai riff on the classic salmon chowder, and makes the apartment smell amazing. 

Thai Style Salmon Chowder

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced large
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, outer layers removed and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves (you can get these for super cheap at Asian grocery stores, trust me)
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 1 13 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 lb salmon, skin removed and cut into .5 inch pieces (save the skin)
  • .25 c fish sauce
  • .25 c fresh lime juice

Heat a large pot over high heat. Add the olive oil, and once it starts to shimmer, add your sliced shiitake, and sautee until deeply bronzed (about 7 to 10 minutes). Then, stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant (a minute or so), followed by the tomato, bell pepper, lime leaves, and lemongrass, cooking until the tomatoes release juice and the bell pepper just barely starts to wilt. 

Add in the chicken stock and coconut milk and stir together, bringing to a simmer. Once steadily simmering, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. 

While the soup simmers, heat a small pan with olive oil over medium high heat, add your salmon skin, and cook on each side for about three minutes, until crispy. (Mine didn’t quite work out that way due to the sheer amount, but I tried and got pretty close!  See pics 8 and 9). 

Once your salmon skin is ready, add the salmon chunks, fish sauce, and lime juice in, and cook another minute or two, until the salmon that you can see is cooked. (The residual heat will take care of cooking it the rest of the way.)

Taste and adjust to your tastes, add a bit of salmon skin for garnish to your bowl as you scoop it out, and enjoy your ridiculously good soup. 

This is a good, hearty, stick-to-your-ribs fall soup. It makes a hell of a lot, too, so I’m gonna have plenty of this for leftovers down the line (which is good, because the boyfriend loved it).  The most work you’re gonna put into this is peeling and chopping and dicing and mincing everything up, but once that’s done, you pretty much just throw it in the pot and let it sautee/simmer. 

I didn’t include the peanut garnish from the original recipe, however, this would probably be improved even further by a dollop of peanut butter in the soup. This is pretty damn good as is, though.

Massaman Curry Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 Anaheim chiles (substitute red chile of choice if you don’t like Anaheims), seeded and minced
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 c vegetable stock
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 T massaman curry paste (or more to taste)
  • 2 large leaves kale, torn
  • 2 7 oz packages udon noodles (I used Sanukiya Jumbo Udon noodles)

Take your olive oil, heat it over medium high heat in a large pot, and add your Anaheims, garlic, and ginger, sauteeing until fragrant (about one minute). Add in your carrot and sweet potato, and sautee for another four to five minutes, stirring frequently.

Then, add your vegetable stock, coconut milk, and curry paste, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for a good fifteen to twenty minutes, until your sweet potatoes and carrots in particular are good and fork tender. 

To finish, add in your torn kale and your udon noodles, and stir frequently, simmering until the noodles come apart and thicken slightly, and the kale starts to wilt. And then, enjoy your ridiculously hearty soup!

This is one of the more interesting flavor combinations I’ve ever tried. Caramelized pears and blue cheese makes perfect logical sense to me, but as a cream based soup?? (It works way better than you’d think.)  

I’m not quite sure if I’m feeling it at the moment, but honestly, worst comes to worst I try this again in a while. (Plus, we’re still in pear season at the farmer’s market for a good long while, this will probably be even better come fall.)

Parts of the original recipe are a bit vague/contradicting, so I’ve clarified where I can and honestly just guessed where I can’t. Kevin also recommends crispy prosciutto as a garnish for this, and I’d agree with that – however, this was made for vegetarians on this initial round, so I’ll try that in the future. 

Caramelized Pear and Blue Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T dark brown sugar
  • 6 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch pieces (I used most of a small bag of Asian pears from the farmer’s market)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • .5 t thyme (ideally fresh and chopped, but ground works just fine if you don’t have any)
  • 3 c vegetable stock
  • .5 lbs potato, peeled and diced (I used some small red potatoes)
  • 4 oz crumbled blue cheese (I used a gorgonzola per recipe recommendations)
  • .5 c milk (half and half and heavy whipping cream are also options)
  • sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • (optional: diced crispy proscuitto or bacon or pancetta if making it not vegetarian!)

Melt your butter over medium high heat in a large pot. As soon as it’s melted, add the brown sugar, and cook until the butter and sugar starts to bubble (see pic 1). Add in your pear pieces, and cook until lightly browned and tender (this took about 5 to 7 minutes, should look like pic 2). 

Then, add your onion, and cook until tender, about another three to five minutes. Add in the thyme and garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute) , then add in the broth, milk, and potato. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, until the potato is tender (about ten to fifteen minutes, I went for ten because one of the people I was cooking for had to leave soon). 

If you have a stick blender, take it and puree the soup until you’ve got a nice silky soup. If you don’t, put it in the blender in batches, and puree until smooth.  Turn off your heat, return the soup to the pot, and then take your blue cheese crumbles and stir them in in small batches until melted, tasting after each batch to make sure that the cheese doesn’t overwhelm the sweetness of the caramelized pears too much. Once you’ve got it at the perfect balance for your tastes, add in the sea salt and pepper, give it a last stir, and serve! (The recipe mentions stirring in the milk again here, I chose not to, and it still came out well.) (If you would want to add in the pancetta/prosciutto/bacon, this is where you’d do it.)

I tried this recipe on a whim, as there were some really good plums at the Green City Market last weekend, and this seemed like a neat way to make a soup. I could’ve put yogurt in this, but honestly, I just wanted something sweet, so I’ll save that for next time. The resulting soup made for a great dinner last night, and I think next time, I’m gonna double the recipe so there’s more to be had. And plus? It’s simple, it’s quick, it smells fantastic while it’s cooking, and it can be ready pretty damn quick. 

Chilled Plum Soup
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs plums, halved and pitted
  • 1 c apple juice
  • (1 T ginger, peeled and sliced into chunks, whoops, forgot this)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 T honey (substituted for agave)
  • .25 t sea salt
  • 1 t tarragon leaves
  • (yogurt to serve)

Take all ingredients except yogurt, combine into a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let simmer for twenty minutes, until the plums are good and soft. Then, take a stick blender and run it through the soup and puree until you have a silky smooth soup. Take the soup out of the pot, put it into a bowl, and chill (if you need it ready to go quick, put it straight into the freezer for under a half hour, otherwise, just let it sit in the fridge). Add yogurt and swirl in, if so desired. 

And then? Enjoy your delicious soup!

Looking for a quick, simple meal? The above took a half hour to put together, and, other than the fire roasted tomatoes, I had almost all of it in my pantry already. The remaining ingredients you would need to pick up are mostly cheap. (I don’t know where OP shops that fire roasted tomatoes are so cheap, but the only ones I’ve found out here are an organic brand, and they run about $2.50 a can out here.)

Plus, I used a neat trick I just learned about. Have leftover tomato paste from something else? Take it out of the can, either freeze it in an ice cube tray or in a glass jar (I went with the latter), and when you need to use it again, just take it out of the freezer, let it warm up a bit, and boom, you’re good to go. I froze what remained of my last jar of tomato paste a while ago, so I just let the jar warm up for this, scooped out what I needed, and then tossed the rest back in the freezer. Works like a charm.

Smoky Tomato Soup
Lasts 3.5 meals as a main

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • .5 T smoked paprika
  • .5 t cumin
  • 2 15 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 c vegetable stock
  • .5 t dark brown sugar
  • pepper to taste (if you can get freshly ground pepper, great, but if not, your standard pepper works just fine)

Heat your olive oil in a pot over medium heat, and add your garlic and onion, cooking about five minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Then, add your paprika, cumin, and tomato paste, and stir together and cook for about two minutes, to let the tomato paste caramelize a bit.

Then, add your remaining ingredients (fire roasted tomatoes, vegetable stock, dark brown sugar, pepper), stir to combine, and simmer for ten minutes to heat through. 

And then, no more than fifteen to twenty minutes after you started, you have your soup ready to go! Have some bread on the side to dip in it, or maybe a grilled cheese sandwich too.