I've updated by roasted butternut squash soup recipe by adding a unique winter spice blend. This blend has everything from orange peel and candied ginger to pink peppercorns and cinnamon sticks. The roasted quash with its delicate yet subtly sweet flavor is the perfect vehicle to bring out this array of spices (and flavors!) And making it was an absolute cinch.Read More
Salads and Soups
Fresh avocados are the perfect addition to brighten up this warming tortilla soup. The creamy avocado flesh contrasts the crisp, baked tortilla strips, and the cool avocado balances the heat from the chilies. This soup is one of my fall favorites and the avocado livens it up!
Growing up, this green super-fruit was not in my family’s produce rotation. When I moved to Los Angeles for college, I was constantly confronted with all things avocado—from guacamole to California rolls. My love for avocados flourished during my tenure in Los Angeles. I even developed one of my favorite go-to dishes: sliced avocado with a sprinkle of creole seasoning, drizzle of olive oil and squirt of lemon juice.
Avocado trees can't tolerate freezing temperatures, so avocados are not as readily available in NYC as they are in southern California. But when they are in abundance, I partake.
Sliced avocado complements the southwest flavors in this tortilla soup, so it's time to get cooking!
2 tablespoons olive oil + additional for tortilla strips 1 medium onion, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 chipotle chili en adobo sauce, finely chopped 1 tablespoon chili powder 2 teaspoons salt 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 1 cup corn kernels 1 small tomato, diced 2 medium avocados 2 limes 4 flour tortillas (OK to substitute with tortilla chips) 2 medium avocados 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
Optional Garnishes: Cheddar cheese sour cream
To prepare the baked tortilla strips, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (alternatively, you can use tortilla chips). Stack 4 small flour tortillas and cut them crosswise into ½ inch strips. Place tortilla strips in a rimmed baking sheet. Toss them with enough olive oil to lightly coat them, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a single layer for 5 minutes. Turn the strips over and bake an additional 3-5 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. (Be careful not to burn them--like I did the first time I made them!) Set the tortilla strips aside while you prepare the rest of the soup.
To prepare the soup, heat the two tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic and chipotle chili and saute in the oil for about 5 minutes, until the onions soften. Add the chili powder and salt. Cook an additional three minutes. Add the chicken broth and increase the temperature to high to bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the corn and cook for five more minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
Stir in the cooked, shredded chicken (if using), diced tomato and chopped cilantro. Squeeze in lime juice from the two limes and stir.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with baked tortilla strips (or chips), sliced avocado, shredded cheese and sour cream.
Nothing says cozy to me like a warm bowl of soup made with autumnal squash. I strayed from my traditional pumpkin soup since I didn't have any fresh pumpkins on hand--just a butternut squash and an acorn squash. Since acorn squash isn't very sweet (or orange for that matter), I also threw in a few small carrots and an apple for good measure.
This recipe uses coconut milk instead of cream. I converted to coconut milk in my squash soups after hosting a fall dinner party last year for friends, many of whom don't consume dairy. I made two pumpkin soups--one that was vegan and dairy free and one that wasn't. The vegan one was by far superior, and I've been using coconut milk ever since.
I've tried this recipe with boxed or canned squash, and I highly recommend roasting fresh squash. By roasting the squash, you get a wonderfully nutty flavor that imparts an elegant complexity to the soup. Also, I'll include what I used in this soup, but with any soup, be open to free styling. You don't have to follow the recipe exactly. If you like your soups thin, you'll want to add a little more water. If you like them thick, a little less water. As a Louisiana girl who's no stranger to spicy food, I love the kick from the curry powder and cayenne pepper, but maybe you'll want to tone those flavors down. Make this soup your own!
Roasted Acorn and Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
One butternut squash, quartered
One acorn squash, quartered
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 small carrots, roughly chopped
One small apple peeled, cored and chopped
One can of coconut milk
2 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon curry powder
4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
Roasted Pumpkin seeds, to garnish (optional)
A note about garnishes: Here's your chance to really go wild. Try topping it with roasted walnuts, crumbled chèvre, sautéed shrimp or crispy bacon. I also used pumpernickel croutons which were an excellent vehicle to soak up this soup with, made from my botched pumpernickel bread making this weekend.
Place the quartered acorn squash and butternut squash on a lined baking sheet. You can leave the pulp and seeds in tact. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and bake in an oven at 375 F for about one hour. The squash should be lightly browned and have a few brown spots. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, remove the stringy pulp and seeds with a spoon. Scoop the remaining flesh out and reserve in a bowl.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Heat over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and saute them until they soften, about five minutes. Add the carrots and sauté an additional five minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for three minutes.
Add the chopped apples, squash, coconut milk (reserve a couple of tablespoons to use as a garnish), maple syrup, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cayenne powder, curry, fresh thyme & vegetable stock. Increase the heat to high. Once the soup begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer on low, covered, for about 15 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprigs. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup**, or transfer the soup to a blender. Blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning by tasting the soup to see if it needs anything else. If the flavors aren't there yet, add a little more salt. Or maybe you want to add a little more curry powder. If it's too thick, add a little water to thin it out. This is the most important step--be bold in making sure your soup is flavorful.
Transfer the soup to bowls and garnish with coconut milk, fresh thyme, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, or any other toppings you fancy. Serve immediately.
**I purchased an immersion blender after accidentally pouring piping hot soup on myself instead of in the blender. Be very careful!
This salad is the perfect way to use any leftover corn that you may have from a summer barbecue. I added grape tomatoes, quinoa, feta, spinach and sauteed shrimp and tossed it in a simple homemade vinaigrette of olive oil and red wine vinegar. This was so simple and packed with nutrients, fiber and protein.
I love adding quinoa to salads. It adds protein, fiber and is a great choice for if you are trying to incorporate more whole grains into your diet. It's also light enough so that I don't feel bogged down the way even brown rice and wheat pasta make me feel. The grape tomatoes add a refreshing burst of flavor, and the corn adds a sweet crunch. If you are lucky enough to use leftover roasted corn from a barbecue, all the better! You'll also get that nice smoky, barbecue flavor.
I decided to add sauteed shrimp at the last minute since I found some in my freezer. But, this salad would be perfectly delicious without them, or really whatever protein you would like to add--from chicken, steak or tofu--even avocado would be a nice touch.
Here's to summer and all of the lovely fresh produce--enjoy!
Summer Salad with Corn and Shrimp recipe
- 2 large ears of corn
- 1 cup, uncooked quinoa
- 1 package of baby spinach (5 ounces)
- 1 pint of grape tomatoes
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta
- 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- paprika, to season shrimp
- 1/4 cup olive oil + more to coat skillet
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Roast or boil the corn until cooked. Once cooled, use a pairing knife to scrape off the corn. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the quinoa according to the instructions. Season with salt and pepper.
- Combine the spinach, tomatoes, feta, corn and quinoa in large salad bowl.
- Heat a skillet to medium and add enough olive oil to coat the skillet.
- Sprinkle the shrimp with a generous amount of paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook, turning over, until done on each side (1-2 minutes).
- Remove shrimp from the skillet and toss with the salad.
- Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking the 3 tablespoons of olive oil with red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately.
I picked up some beautiful strawberries at the market yesterday, and I knew I wanted to eat them fresh so I settled on adding them to a salad. I didn't have much time to make my lunch this morning, so I wanted to do something easy that I could literally throw together. Strawberry caprese salad is as easy to make as putting the ingredients into a bowl and tossing them with a vinaigrette. I made a balsamic vinaigrette, but the strawberry-poppyseed vinaigrette would work well too! If you want to watch me make it, head on over to SnapChat ;) (@FoodieInNewYork).
The sweetness of the strawberries is balanced by the acidity from the tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar, making this salad a perfect balance of flavors. Make sure to add a pinch of salt to your vinaigrette--the salt really helps meld the flavors and bring out the fresh flavor of the juicy, ripe tomatoes.
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Add the halved strawberries, tomatoes, mozzarella, and chopped basil to a large bowl.
- Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Pour into salad bowl and toss.
- Serve immediately.