Summer’s End Zucchini Corn Soup

It simply cannot be, summer nearly over. I am slightly sad, yet  slightly anxious for the fall foods to start appearing in the markets. I will surely miss soups like this: light, creamy, healthy, and fresh.

This is summer in a bowl.

I can’t remember a soup I have enjoyed so much. I can feel my body thanking me for all the superfoods every time I eat it.

Enjoy summer while you can.

This soup may take little while in the kitchen but it is plenty to eat on all week, hot or cold or room temperature.!

 

Zucchini-Corn Soup

Between the new job and raising a little kitten, it is meals like this I keep returning to, so I can cook less and enjoy time more.

Uni

Uni

 

 

Zucchini Corn Soup

Serves 10
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 25 minutes
Meal type Soup
Misc Pre-preparable
Region Thai
This creamy Thai Zucchini Corn Soup is light, healthy, and refreshing any time of year!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 ears fresh corn (kernels sliced off the cobs)
  • 1 quarter-sized piece of ginger (grated)
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice plus half a lime
  • 6 cups water
  • 10-12 basil leaves
  • 2 large scallions
  • 4 cobs of corn (kernels chopped off the cob)
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5lb zucchini
  • 3/4 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro

Directions

Step 1
In a large saucepan, combine 2 T of lime juice,a half a lime, water,and ginger. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 2
Toss in the basil, turn off the burner. and let it steep for 10 additional minutes. Menawhile toss the chopped scallions into a cold bowl of water and stir around to remove all dirt. Drain and set the scallion pieces aside.
Step 3
Strain the warm stock through a sieve and set aside the aromatics, keeping the liquid broth for the soup.
Step 4
In a wide soup pot melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chopped scallions to the oil and cook until they are wilting, around 5 minutes. Add the chopped zucchini, 2/3 of the fresh corn kernels,1 tsp salt, and enough of the liquid stock to cover the vegetables.
Step 5
Bring the soup to a light boil and lower the temperature to a simmer. Let simmer 15 minutes.
Step 6
Let the soup come to room temperature(around 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to release steam). (This will preserve bright green color of cilantro one you add it in.) Add the cilantro leaves and puree the soup either using an immersion blender or your food processor. Stir in coconut milk and 2 Tablespoons lime juice. Serve warm with a few pieces of fresh corn kernels on top.

Panang Curry Meatballs

It was on off week. This is how my husband, I , and my dog Lucy felt after watching the Downton Abbey season finale online.

lucy

WHAT?! How could ____ be dead?!

Then it was  the sudden real (not television) death of one of our beloved chickens. She had a happy life and to our knowledge did  not seem sick , but death is part of  chicken ownership I suppose.

But on the fourth day of this moping around I knew it was time to get back in the kitchen.

A friend of ours recently invited us over some Panang Chicken. She told me how to make it, and we rushed to the Oriental grocery to explore. I honestly could have spent hours perusing the aisles, and brought home some pickled quail eggs, galangal, panang paste, palm sugar, and frozen chopped lemongrass!  The store carries fresh veggies like bok choy and bean sprouts, and I don’t think I will ever buy any Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese ingredients anywhere but there at Viet Huong Oriental Grocery .

Panang curry paste is a  mixture of dried chilies  ground into a paste that lends flavor without calories and can be stirred into a sauce or liquid. The can will keep in the fridge a few months.

panang curry paste

You can control the spiciness of any dish by how much panang you add.

Enjoy this take on Panang Curry with some broccoli and cauliflower stirred in for your veggies!

 

panaeng meatballs

 Friends, I hope you are looking forward to more posts on starting a garden and urban farming. Spring is just around the corner and our guest bedroom is basically a greenhouse right now!

In health and fitness,

Lydia

Panang Curry Meatballs

Serves 4
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Main Dish
Meatballs served over brown rice in a creamy, fiery panang sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground beef (grassfed)
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 lime (large)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped finely )
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (minced or grated)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons panang paste (red in color)
  • 1 egg (large)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar ((use brown sugar as subsitute))
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups brown rice (cooked)

Directions

Step 1
Mix the ground beef in a bowl with ginger, salt, pepper, chopped red pepper, and 1 egg.
Step 2
Roll the beef into meatballs , approx 2 inch diameter.
Step 3
In a large saucepan(that has a cover), heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Place all the meatballs in the pan. Brown for 5 minutes on each side (do not disturb or move the meatballs around between flipping them).
Step 4
Meanwhile in a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk and panang paste over medium heat and stir until fully combined. (NOTE: Use only 1 tablespoon of panang to keep this dish more mild. You can always add more if you want more heat later.)
Step 5
Pour this liquid into the saucepan with the meatballs and add a 1/2 Cup water. Simmer them 10 minutes on medium high-heat covered.
Step 6
Stir in fish sauce, lime juice, and palm sugar as best you can and simmer another 5 minutes.
Step 7
Serve over cooked brown rice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway

Peanut Chicken Stew

Have you jumped on the peanut train yet? Well, clearly I have because I am posting a second peanut recipe , and I still have another jar to use up. Peanut butter protein balls perhaps next?

My husband began calling this Peanut Chicken Stew “crack” stew because neither one of us could walk by the pot without hovering over it, swiping spoonfuls before and after dinner.

It is that good. I have been dreaming about this stew  since we finished it one week ago. This is really special. It makes you feel good, so good, that I made it again today to pair with homemade bread and friends!

peanut chicken stew

When you read the recipe, you are going to jump out of your  chair and proclaim I am crazy for putting together the strange mix of ingredients….I jumped out of my chair the first time I saw peanut butter, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, rotisserie chicken,coconut milk, turmeric, brown rice, fresh herbs and other healing spices mixed together.

The, I tried it because I was curious, and I am  now a peanut-stew-convert.

On another note, I’m sorry I haven’t posted in almost 2 weeks.Life over here has looked like this-

work. cook. eat. sand. repeat. paint. cook. eat .repeat.paint. repeat. clean.repeat. think about starting the garden. paint.

Our dining room is now painted, and we are working on the impossible task of the kitchen, which entails removing 50 year old wallpaper, sanding with my purple swimcap on to protect my  hair , balancing on a 15 foot tall ladder at a 60 degree angle, and finding dust bombs from the sanding on every surface. Today we painted trim. Ick.

I am looking forward to the part where I have a glass of wine and marvel at the newly painted  walls.

Until then, I’ll be eating this peanut stew while the weather is still cold, and  enjoying this cream sauce without the cream from Eating Well. I used it to make a killer healthy macaroni and cheese  last week and in homemade tomato soup.  Alas,  the healthy  mac n’ cheese was downed before I could photograph it. Food blogger photography problems….the subject disappears quickly.

 

To Your Health,

Lydia

Peanut Chicken Stew

Serves 8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Allergy Peanuts
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This peanut chicken stew , filled flavorful ingredients and superfoods, is the perfect cold-weather healthy meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 roasted bell pepper (chopped finely)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1.5 teaspoons grated coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dark chili powder
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 16 oz can plum tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 rib rotiserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Note

You can puree this stew before adding in the coconut milk , peanut butter, and chicken and rice for a smooth and creamy soup.  Then warm it up, stir in the rest of the ingredients, and serve. I prefer the chunky stew though.

Sriracha is a delicious hot sauce, but you can substitute tobasco is you have no sriracha on hand.

 

Directions

Step 1
Saute the onion in the oil on medium-high heat until it is translucent. The add in the spices, garlic,and ginger and saute 2 more minutes.
Step 2
Add the chicken broth, grated carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, sriracha, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium and let it simmer with the top on for at least 45 minutes.
Step 3
Stir in the coconut milk and peanut butter and whisk until combined.
Step 4
Stir in the roasted chicken and cook another 2 -3 minutes on medium high until the chicken is hot. Garnish with fresh chives or cilantro.
Step 5
Serve atop the cooked brown rice in a bowl and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

 

 

 

My Favorite Cool Weather Meal

I ran a marathon a few days ago, and last night  I honestly didn’t even want to stand up to walk to the bathroom, let alone cook. Can someone bring me a bedpan?

I enjoy the aches and groans of my muscles reminding me I ran freakin’ 26.2 miles. Truth be told Saturday November 3rd was an amazing day, the weather was perfect, and I had some gas left in the tank at the finish and great cheerleaders along the course. I had the pleasure of running with some wonderful ladies from C.R.E.W. for part of the race, and they kept me at a steady pace until I jetted off by myself for the last mile!

Marathons. Are. Awesome.

The training is the hard part.

But back to those the -last-thing-I want-to-do-is-cook nights like last night, coincidentally.

Lentil Dal is my absolute favorite recipe for those kind of nights because it is cheap, fast, delicious,  healthy, and vegetarian(though I am sure you could throw in some bacon).

Lentils are not especially exciting, I know.  Until a few years ago I cast a wary on on any menu item involving lentils mostly because I had never been exposed to them much. We were not Indian -food eaters in my family. Yet, last year something in me changed when I realized an ugly, dried up little legume can be transformed into soups and stews and patties and make you feel happy when you eat it with a thick slice of warm bread by the fireplace and a good book.

Dal can be made in so may different ways, but this one is incredibly light and fresh  and  not at all  heavy thanks to the lime juice and coconut milk.

Lentils are a protein-packed legume, fat-free, and each variety has a different taste and cooking time. My personal favorite lentil is the red one, which you can find at nicer grocery stores, and health-food stores. Red lentils cook lightning fast, and become soft and mushy when cooked, whereas the typical brown lentil you see at the grocery store has a longer cooking time and keeps it shape more when cooked. I think you could feasibly use any type for this recipe, but red would be the best.

Turmeric , which I add to my dal, is  a powerful healing spice. It  contains phytochemicals which have been shown to reduce the growth of cancer cells and lessen arthritis symptoms .

Lentils +turmeric+coconut milk+rice+chilly night+sore muscles+laziness=heaven.

This will  warm your body and soul. Enjoy.

Creamy Lentil Dal

Serves 12
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This creamy lentil dal with coconut milk and lime juice will warm your body and soul on a cold night .

Ingredients

  • 3 cups red lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • juice of 2 small limes or 1 large lime
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (diced)
  • 6-8 cups jasmine rice (cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (freshly ground)
  • 1.5 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil

Directions

Step 1
First cook your jasmine rice according to package direcetions, and set aside.
Step 2
Meanwhile, cook your lentils in 3 cups of water and 3 cups stock.Bring to a boil, reduce, heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Step 3
In another pan, saute your onion in coconut oil 5-10 minutes until browned. Toss in garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
Step 4
Stir in all the spices to onion mixture until well combined. Stir in lentils and a bit of stock if needed. Then add in coconut milk.
Step 5
Warm on medium to low heat and stir until well combined. Take off the heat and stir in lime juice.
Add more stock to taster depending how thick or thin you would like it.
Step 6
Serve over jasmine rice with a slice of lime.

 

 

 

Sinless Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

I become a crazed pumpkin-eating person in the Fall. As soon as we have our first cool morning in the south (less than 80 degrees) I am pulling out my cans of pumpkin stashed away from the prior  year in the case of  a worldwide pumpkin shortage, which would be devastating obviously. In less than 2 weeks, I have tried 5 different pumpkin recipes.

First there were the homemade pumpkin cinnamon rolls I so carefully toiled to make for the hubby’s birthday, which were delicious, but just about knocked me over with the sugar content.

Then because  I ” had to make something for all the work people ” , pumpkin toffee cookies with caramel drizzle . The caramel was a disaster, so I left it off, and it was still delicious.

Then there was pumpkin oatmeal on a cool Fall morning, topped with delicious walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Then pumpkin hummus, which I definitely recommend you make if you are tired of plain ‘ole hummus. I will share the recipe soon.

 

And then, there were these beauties.Pumpkin Spiced Milkshakes with Vegan Whipped Cream

 

 

 

What makes this milkshake completely different from other milkshakes is what you put on top, which is an utterly delicious non-dairy whipped cream, which is actually good for you.I don’t lie.

It looks just like regular whipped cream :super rich, same amount of calories, but uses a much healthier alternative,  coconut milk.

I am not going to preach to you too much about the benefits of coconut fat to your health, but let’s just say it is a superfood. The high fat, though scary to some, has been shown to reverse memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients, and the oil is said to have wonderful health properties. You can read more here if you are not convinced. I have been trying to use more coconut oil and coconut milk and less dairy overall because, well, it seems I am becoming intolerant to dairy. In the past few months I have discovered my sinuses become terrible the day after I eat cheese, ice cream , whey protein or lots of milk and my skin becomes covered in a thick layer of oil on my face.This makes me so very sad, but also has forced me to explore healthier and different options. Being the stubborn human that I am,  I still made this milkshake with regular ole ice cream because I have been trying to deny I am lactose intolerant, but wanted to explore a non-dairy topping alternative. Baby steps. Next time, maybe I will make the whole thing non-dairy!

This milkshake beats those calorie-laden, nutritionally- starved ones at  fast food joints in both taste, healthiness, and time. It takes a total of about 1 minute to make. Take that McDonald’s McFlurries.

By the time you drive and back  there you can have a pumpkin milkshake in your belly.

 

Pumpkin Milkshakes for two

2.5 cups of Light Vanilla Ice Cream or non-dairy vanilla ice cream

1/4 to 1/2 Cup of Skim milk or Soymilk or Almond Milk

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1 can full-fat coconut milk

1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup

 

Place your can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, 10 minutes before making milkshakes, place a deep, medium-sized metal bowl in your freezer.

Pull out your can coconut milk, flip it over, and open it from the bottom.

Pour off the liquid and either trash the liquid or save it for yummy  oatmeal later. All you need is that thick, fatty stuff!

Scoop the thick stuff into your chilled metal bowl and quickly whip it until the cream forms peaks, drizzling in a tiny bit of maple syrup if you want to sweeten it slightly (optional)!

In a blender, combine all the ingredients except the coconut milk whipped cream and blend until well-combined.

Pour into a glass, and top with your coconut cream and sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy!