The Aspiring Soup Chef!

Creamy Zucchini and Pesto Soup

Posted in Uncategorized by charyness on October 17, 2009
Creamy Zucchini and Basil Pesto Soup!
Creamy Zucchini and Basil Pesto Soup!

This post is 2 days late, but having created such a wonderful, visually appealing art-piece, much to the obscene delight of my inner soup-narcissist, I decided to take a day off to gloat over this soup’s beauty. YES beauty. Now excuse ME for having a sentimental and intimate relationship with my soup. ahem.

Okay seriously now, this soup takes just as good as it looks. No kidding. I over-killed with the zucchinis and given that my mother isn’t really a connoisseur of good food and good presentation, I had to make do with chilling my soup overnight to save it for the next day.

Not bad for a first time! A little uneven and rough as you can see above but I did it! and I am content. (:

Now this recipe is, too, from Murdoch books as is the Creamy Asparagus one (note I say ‘creamy’ and not ‘cream’, indicating my very staunch health-conscious beliefs) but I took the liberty of adding my own portions and reducing, even omitting the more unhealthier ingredients.

Here it goes:

Basil pesto recipe


2 cups fresh Basil Leaves

1/4 cup parmesan reggiano ( i’m poor so i used plain parmesan SUE ME)

1/4 extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 cloves of garlic

a dash of salt/paprika(optional: i didn’t add these but i’ve read in places that you can)


There are many variations of pesto recipes available online, some even using brazil nuts, goodness knows. But these seem to be the standard ingredients so this is the one I’ve used.

And now for the soup!

Fresh Zucchini. Best buy them small, no spots, firm.
Fresh Zucchini. Best buy them small, no spots, firm.

Ingredients

Briefing: One soup pot with lid, soup ladle, measuring cup, 2 medium sized bowls, 1 large bowl, blender, tablespoon(s)

700g Zucchini thinly sliced

2 crushed garlic cloves

700ml chicken stock

2 small red onions finely chopped (diced)

2 tablespoons whipping cream

Black pepper (optional)

Basil pesto

Dried Basil Leaves

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Sliced Zucchini.
Sliced Zucchini.

Preparation:

Briefing: Remove stems from Zucchini, wash one large bowl, tablespoons, measuring cup, 1 soup pot with lid, blender, 1 small pot, soup ladle!

1. Cut a flat surface so your cylindrical zucchini won’t be rolling about like a madman. then chop into thin slices and place in a large bowl. Cut then thinly, so they get cooked thoroughly.

2. Meanwhile, in the small pot, add your chicken or vegetable stock and bring it to a boil, while you dice you onions and crush your garlic with a pestle and mortar

3. Sautee your onions and garlic with Extra Virgin Olive oil on medium heat! Sautee for about 5 mins, or until onions are lightly golden. Time it such that your stock is steadily reaching a boil!

Sautee
Sautee

4. Then add your stock and sliced zucchini the sauteed vegetables! Since the stock should be boiling by now, you’ll get a lovely ‘woosh’ (sorry not Booms) when the stock and sizzling sauteed vegetable are combined. I know I may be a science student but I can’t explain this very well. Oh the embarrassment. Okay, do add your dried basil leaves now, because dried herbs will need a longer time to release their flavour. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of dried basil, and a dash of black pepper (if desired. I am a black pepper fanatic fyi.)

Zucchini and Stock added.
Zucchini and Stock added.

5. Now sit back, relax, facebook, twitter everyone about your zucchini adventures, while leaving this nice mix to simmer with the lid on, after it has reached a boil, for 20mins to half an hour or until the zucchinis are soft.

Left to simmer.
Left to simmer.

6. In a blender, puree the mixture carefully until it is smooth and place it in the large bowl. Do this in batches.

Puree Making.
Puree Making.

7. After entire mixture has been puree-ed, return to the pot and add the Whipping Cream. Okay, the reason for adding the cream separately is because Whipping Cream curdles when boiled. So DO NOT BOIL IT! unless you decide to use heavy cream then good luck to your arteries. I am very health-conscious this way.

8. Stir in the cream till it has evenly been mixed throughout the puree mixture. Then heat again if the mixture has become rather cold.

Garnish and Serve.
Garnish and Serve.

¡VOILA!

Add Basil Pesto to Garnish, or stir in a tablespoon into soup. your preference! The serving suggestion above includes a cherry tomato and zucchini skin drizzled with black pepper. whipping cream was used to make the flower pattern.

Recipe adapted from Murdoch Books, by Charlene Torres-Tan.  (:

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE: I made quite a large batch so I kept the leftovers in the fridge in an air-tight container. The next day after I got back from a long day of  running errands, I found myself rather peckish and decided to raid my fridge and found the leftover soup. Being really lazy, I decided to just drink it cold like Vichyssoise and IT TASTED REALLY GOOD! So do give it a shot (:

Creamy Carrot Soup

Posted in Uncategorized by charyness on October 13, 2009
Creamy Carrot Soup with Homemade Basil pesto

Creamy Carrot Soup with Homemade Basil Pesto

I don’t like the font of this page but my inadequacies with wordpress is the only thing that stopping me from changing it! But I’ll learn in time. Was always a blogger user.

Okay, back to business, I decided to try this recipe I found on 101 cookbooks, which is a really amazing vegetarian cooking site, and THE BEST cooking blog I’ve stumbled upon so far. So pardon me if my blog starts to glean a few ideas here and there from Heidi; I think she’s really amazing, and after going through with this recipe I am in even greater awe of her culinary skills. (:

Yes, this recipe turned out amazing! The link to her site will definitely be added to the sidebar! 😀 THANKS HEIDI FOR SHARING YOUR GREAT CARROT SOUP RECIPE.

I adjusted it a little, to add touches of ME in the recipe, so as to make it more BOOMS. But it is good… still. (if you’re clueless, click on the link. it’s a singaporean thing. ;))

Ingredients:

700g Fresh Carrots cut into 1-inch segments (or julienned, if preferred.)

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 1/2 medium garlic cloves, minced

3 small red onions, chopped
(finely or not, I dont think it really matters)

400ml Chicken Stock

100ml Water

Juice of half a lemon

Pinch of dried Parsley

Black Pepper

5 Pinches of Salt
(I have skinny fingers, so I had to add more pinches okay?!)

Homemade Basil Pesto
(Click on Link for Recipe. I used less oil and cheese. More Basil.)

Preparations:

briefing: Wash carrots, remove leaves, if you bought carrots with leaves, skin them if you so prefer. One large Soup pot with lid, Soup ladle, 3 medium bowls, 1 large bowl, 1 Tablespoon, a a food processor

Ready to for a good washing and choppin'!

Ready to for a good washing and choppin'!

1. Chop lengthwise, or just chop a flat surface so the carrot won’t roll around as you perform  your intricate carrot surgery. Basically, just chop them into pieces that are of just the right thickness, so they get cooked through but not flaccid (if you want a chunkier soup).

Longitudinal cut

2. Heat olive oil in large soup pot on medium heat and IMMEDIATELY add garlic and onions. Saute until Onions are translucent. This should take a few minutes

3. Add chicken stock, carrots, dried parsley and black pepper and bring the mixture of a gentle boil.

In the pot!

In the pot!

4. After gently boiling for a couple of minutes, lower the heat and allow to simmer for 25 minutes. Don’t overcook! The carrot should be tender but NOT flaccid. Broth might start to evaporate, feel free to add more water.

5. With a food processors, blend the batches until smooth to obtain your Puree.

6. Depending on desired consistency, blend for shorter or longer periods of time. I liked mine a little chunkier so I didn’t let it whir about for too long. Yum.

7. In the large bowl, add the puree and stir in the lemon juice and salt pinches. Depending on your preference, you may choose to leave out the salt. My soup tasted wonderfully tangy and sweet and I didn’t bother with much salt.

8. Add basil Pesto on the top for garnishing, or a dash of olive oil.

:D

Serving Suggestion

¡VOILA!

Recipe by Charlene Torres-Tan adapted from original by Heidi Swanson.