Winter Vegetable Soup

Last Updated on Monday, 31 January 2011 10:26 Written by Flax Monday, 31 January 2011 09:58

Seasonal eating is something that comes to us naturally.  In the spring and summer we want lightly cooked or raw foods while in the winter, we search for something heavier and warming.   Foods that cook for a long time absorb the heat of the cooking time and thus are more warming than lightly cooked foods.

The most common question that I get is “doesn’t long cooking kill all the nutrients?”  The answer to that question is twofold.  First of all, when food is raw or lightly cooked, it does have more nutrients.  On the other hand, it is harder to digest raw or lightly cooked foods.  This means that we aren’t getting any more nutrients from raw foods than from well cooked foods which have less nutritious value but whose nutrients are more easily digested. 

Second of all, I teach seasonal cooking.  This means that we are trying to be in balance with nature and in harmony with the seasons.  When it is cold out we should eat foods that warm us up.  Eating the foods that are in tune with the seasons helps to keep us healthy.  Warm foods warm us, cold foods cool us off.  Eating raw vegetables on a cold winter day is like going outside without a coat and wondering why it is that you are cold.  Foods that cook for long periods are the most warming of foods as they absorb the heat of the cooking fire.  This fuels our internal fire and allows us to produce our own body heat which is what really warms us and helps us to best deal with cold weather. 

While I am providing you with an idea for a soup, please feel free to change the recipe based on whatever vegetables are in the market.  Keep in mind however the well-balanced diet.  That means, a variety of orange, white, and green vegetables.  When you use all three colors, you know that you are getting all of the five flavors as well as the nutrients that your body needs.  A nice bonus is that people will think that your food tastes great-this is because you are truly satisfying their nutritional needs and their own bodies are saying thank you. 

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 cm ginger, grated
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and chopped
  • 2 broccoli stalk, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 4  carrots
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch coriander
  • 1/2 bunch dill (optional)
  • 3 liters water
  • 1/4 cup amaranth or lentils
  • Atlantic grey sea salt
  • pepper 

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the onions, garlic, ginger and leek and saute for 5 minutes on a low flame.  Add the carrot and zucchini and saute for 5 more minutes.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1-3 hours. 

Puree and serve hot.

Enjoy!

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Crock pot Recipe-Split Pea Soup

Last Updated on Monday, 13 December 2010 11:53 Written by Flax Monday, 13 December 2010 11:34

Yay! Winter is here! We are finally cold!

Seasonal cooking calls for soups and stews. The longer you cook a food, the more warming it is, and no soup needs to cook for longer than a split pea soup. I like to do this soup in a crock pot. I throw the peas in first thing in the morning and then forget about them for the rest of the day. They spend all day cooking and I think just the smell of cooking food heats up the house.
There are two ways of making this soup. Either throw everything in right in the beginning, or else add the vegetables 3-4 hours before eating. It depends on your schedule. Both ways work, but, if I’m around throughout the day, I prefer to do the vegetables later in the day-it really doesn’t make a difference though.

Every crock pot is different, I will tell you my method but keep in mind that your crock pot might cook faster or slower than mine. A trick that I use with my crock pot is that I start off with boiling water. This cuts hours off of my crock pots cooking time. When preparing split peas, I find it important to make sure that the peas cook for long enough. Since this is a soup recipe and extra cooking time won’t hurt it, it’s preferable to have it cook for longer rather than to under-cook the peas which can cause indigestion.

Notice that I use an interesting combination of spices in this soup. The spices are part North African and part Germanic. Turmeric and cumin are more North African and Asian while bay leaf and caraway seed are more German in flavor. While it is a strange combination, I find that they work well together. What is interesting for me is the similar and yet different roles these spices play.
Turmeric and bay leaf are very common spices used in foods as they both help with the digestion. They are used when cooking legumes to prevent flatulence and to promote proper digestion.
Turmeric however is a liver cleansing spice that helps with the digestion of fats and oils. Turmeric should be eaten every day, it prevents Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and helps to have healthy skin. It is also a natural anti-viral and anti-biotic and this means that it keeps food as well as our bodies healthy by fighting the pathogens.
Bay leaf while also a digestive aid works more on the lungs. It is a pulmonary antiseptic and an expectorant and is wonderful someone who has a cold or who is congested.
Both caraway and cumin are warming spices, while caraway is more sour and thus works more on the liver, cumin is more pungent in flavor and thus works more on the lungs. All in all, an interesting combination.

Ingredients:

olive oil
1/2 kilo split peas, (better if soaked overnight)
4 liters boiling water
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 carrots, sliced into rounds
1 kohlrabi or turnip, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
salt and pepper

Croutons and hot dog slices for garnish. (Your hot dog slices-your decision if you want meat, chicken or tofu dogs)

To make this dish all at once, put everything except for the olive oil, onion and salt in the crock pot. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, saute the onions for 2 minutes and then add to the crock pot as well. Cook on high for a minimum of eight hours. Add the salt before you serve the soup.
If you are doing the soup in two steps than put 1/2 the water and the peas in a crock pot and cook them on high for around 4 hours. At a convenient point mid-day, saute the onion and add it along with the remaining ingredients. Continue to cook on high for at least 4 more hours.

Garnish with croutons and hot dog slices (big hit with the kids!)

Enjoy!

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