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

Overnight Zucchini

When magic happens.

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On a hot day, when you are looking for something light and refreshing, skip cooking your vegetables and eat them raw.

Cooking strips away a lot of the nutrients and enzymes inherent in vegetables. Albeit still healthy, cooked vegetables oftentimes don’t reach the nutritional prowess of their raw counterparts. Indeed, there are some vegetables that can actually be more beneficial when cooked, such as tomatoes and other red vegetables, which have higher levels of the antioxidant lycopene when cooked. This article outlines research surrounding this topic well.

Regardless, eating vegetables raw is sometimes a huge pain—too much chewing, rough texture, etc. A good trick to softening raw vegetables and making them easier and more enjoyable to chew is to marinade them in a flavorful sauce and soak them overnight.

In this recipe, the apple cider vinegar and lemon break down and soften the texture of the zucchini and the olive oil moistens and smoothens. The dill is a pop of freshness!

Overnight Zucchini

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Ingredients:

– 1 large zucchini (or 2 medium)

– 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

– 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

– juice of half a lemon

– 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

– 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, each

– 1/3 cup olive oil

Serves: 1-2

Directions:

As thinly as possible, slice the zucchini, lengthwise.

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Assemble the rest of the ingredients—so few!

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Chop the garlic.

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With a dash of salt, begin to smash the garlic, so it becomes a paste. We don’t want chunks lying around in this dish, since it’s raw.

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Chop the dill.

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Squeeze the lemon.

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And ad the apple cider vinegar.

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Mix.

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Salt and pepper…

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Pour the mixture atop the zucchini.

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Drizzle the olive oil on top.

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Place in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours to let the flavors marry and soften the zucchini.

The next day, serve:

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So fragrant!

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Bon appetit!

xo Aylin

Dill & Red Pepper Scrambled Eggs

Istanbul is cloudy and chilly these days. And that seagull is crazy loud! So are his/her friends–I guess it takes one to know one.

…which meant I had to have something warm for breakfast.

Scrambled eggs, Selam!

This was unbelievably delicious. The distinctly light aroma of fresh dill combined with the spice of red pepper flakes makes these scrambled eggs the best you’ve ever had. It’s a savory alternative to your morning wake-up call.

You could easily add your favorite cheese to this, but I was (1) lacking in cheese and (2) already content with its simplicity.

Eat it alongside smoked salmon or whole grain toast.

You can even drizzle the finished product with honey and give your palette a little sumthin’ sumthin’ extra to discern.  Sweet+salty=potential for perfection.

Dill & Red Pepper Scrambled Eggs

Ingredients:
– 2 eggs
– 1 tbsp butter
– 1 tsp red pepper flakes
– 1/4 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper
– 1 tbsp dill, chopped

Serves 1

Directions:

Heat your skillet to medium heat w/butter.

Add the red pepper flakes to the butter. While it cooks, it releases the flavor of the pepper, making for an aromatic butter that will evenly distribute throughout the eggs.

While that melts, prepare the eggs.

In a small bowl, whisk together with a fork 2 eggs, 1/4 tsp each salt & pepper and chopped dill.

Give the mixture one more ‘lil whisk, then add it to the heated pan.

Mix it slightly so the butter/red pepper flakes are evenly distributed.

To properly cook scrambled eggs you have to pull the outsides toward the center, consistently, allowing for raw material to cook in the newly vacant area.

Like so:

And continue that process until it all clumps up together. You’d better use a wooden spoon or spatula as to not scratch your pan.

I sometimes do things improperly–like using this fork–but yeah. No biggie.

As it forms, keep in mind not to overcook it. You want a little softness to it.

PERFECT.

Now eat it.

I don’t have a picture of this plated, because, well, it never made it to a plate 🙂

xoxo from…

Taksim Square, 2/27/2011