Kitchen Sink Soup

Mmmm. Sounds good, eh? Bear with me. In the Winter months, the body craves warmth. I like to call the soups I make “kitchen sink” soups, because they are essentially made with everything (veggies) left in my kitchen, save for the sink.

The ingredients I used will be different than those I use for this same “recipe” next week, because I’m bound to have different vegetables hanging around leftover from the work week.

This past Sunday I made a blended soup of carrots, red pepper, kabocha squash, dill, parsley, onion and garlic. The verdict: never can go wrong. Whatever the combination of vegetables is, you’re always going to end up with an earthy, warm and oh-so-comforting result.

P.S. No fat. No salt. Only goodness all around.

This week’s recipe happened to be filled with everything Winter skin could possibly crave for: Vitamin C, beta-carotene and Vitamin A. This fiber-rich soup also does wonders for digestion.

 

Blended Carrot & Kabocha Squash Soup

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Ingredients:

6 medium-sized carrots

2 red bell peppers

1 white onion

2 cups kobacha squash, chopped

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1 tsp pepper

4-6 cups water

handful of chopped parsley

handful of chopped dill

salt, to taste (optional)

Serves: 4

Directions:

Chop everything in even-sized pieces so they cook at the same rate. For the red pepper, make sure to remove the seeds, and for the garlic, just crush it.

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Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the temperature to medium-low so it simmers for another 20-30 minutes.

Check the tenderness of the veggies with a fork—should be soft and easy to poke through.

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While the soup is still hot, add the handful of chopped herbs (parsley and dill), and then put mixture into refrigerator to cool. Letting it set and cool allows for the flavors to marry with one another and develop a deeper taste. Also, if using a blender, nothing good every came out of blending blazin’ liquids…trust me.

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Once cool, remove a few big scoops full of the veggies so you can add it back to the blended mixture for some texture.

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Blend away, making sure to add the liquid part of the soup slowly into the cooked veggies so you can control how thick/thin the soup becomes.

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When finished blending, combine the mixture with the reserved chunks back into the cooking pot and warm up for eating.

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Guiltless and a perfect way to keep warm in the Autumn/Winter months.

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Sprinkle with a bit of salt as you see fit, but try to enjoy it in its purest form, appreciating the tastes of the veggies and herbs.

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Bon appetit!

xo Aylin

Ginja Ninja!

I’ve acquired a new habit.

It’s a good one, I swear!  For the past few weeks, I’ve been taking a daily swig of ginger+lemon+garlic juice at my favorite bar…juice bar, that is.  A little goes a long way with ginger and garlic as far as I’m concerned–one shot in and I’m set.

I’m only after this little concoction for its health benefits, and the taste has turned into a wake-up call my body clock craves.

Consider ginger and garlic your body’s resident ninjas, ready and able to bust out their darts, sparks, knives, daggers, and swords to any unwelcome cold as it creeps up unsolicited from behind. Here are some of their benefits:

  • Ginger (raw)*: reduces pain and inflammation, relieves heartburn, reduces symptoms of morning sickness (nausea, vomiting and cold-sweating), eliminates gastrointestinal distress, boosts immune system…
  • Garlic (raw)*: has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-cancerous properties, promotes lower blood pressure and a healthy cardiovascular system, reduces inflammation, improves metabolism of iron…

* Less is more! Over-consuming either ginger or garlic in its raw form can backfire and have detrimental effects. These are highly medicinal foods, so be smart and don’t overdo it!

Yes, my friends, ginger and garlic will make you glow! Just go easy on the garlic, eh? When it comes to garlic, there truly is a fine line between glowing the glowiest of glows and, well, smelling like a 12 hr flight out of India.

And while no chaser is necessary, the shot stings a bit going down and the garlic leaves the subtlest of aftertastes, so I usually follow the shot with a simple green juice.

I’m a regular at The Juice Press in NYC. It’s located on 1st and Houston and has perhaps the best pressed juices in the city.   Scratch that–it definitely has the best pressed juices in the city. Everything is made on site and the friendly staff uses the Norwalk press, which retains the juice’s enzymatic and nutritional integrity that is usually compromised by your everyday juicer. Today I got “H” which is called the “simple green”.

This was the first time I had this flavor. If you can’t read it, the ingredients are cucumber, celery, kale, aloe, lemon, blue green algae, and 1/10 tablespoon mineral rich sea salt. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. I like my green juices to have a bit more depth and roundness–this one was light and neutral and I could definitely taste the aloe and sea salt. I probably wouldn’t get it again for $8 if seeking to tantalize my taste buds.  The blue green aloe, kale and aloe are ingredients that do the glow some good, so in the name of all things glow-worthy, I’d reconsider. I wish it had a bit more character, though.

My favorite juice from The Juice Press is “The Meal”, which is made with spinach, cucumber, celery, carrot, apple, and spirulina.

Ah, spirulina. I personally consider “superfoods” shrug-worthy. One, I find them all just too complicated to sort through; two, they seem to always come in dried form–if we can agree a fresh apple is intuitively healthier than a dried apple, wouldn’t this same rule apply to a fresh goji berry and its dried counterpart?; and three, I like to keep things simple, and adding powders, dried berries, and concentrated liquids to my food is something for which I frankly have neither time nor care. If my workout routine were a bit more rigorous, though, I’d probably explore some protein-rich options in the realm of superfoods (I admit, a part of me is tempted to jump on the bandwagon and construct a massive superfood smoothie thicker than Ben & Jerry’s Triple Caramel Chunk ice cream, but I’ll pass…for now).

So even though I’m not a spirulina connoisseur, I can sense it is what makes “The Meal” so damn delicious. There’s an earthiness to it that plays well with the hint of sweetness from the apple. They say spirulina is full of omegas and phytonutrients, but again, I’m not countin’. All I can say is “KAPOW!!”

xoxo