Land and sea vegetable soup

This month’s Recipe Redux sponsored by The Professional Palate features the little underdogs of the sea: tiny fishes such as sardines and smelts, as well as sea vegetables, including kelp and seaweed. Initially I made a version of turkey bean burgers on a bed of  rice noodles and wakame, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with how it turned out. It was tasty, but I decided to scrap the whole project and start from scratch. This morning. :)

Here’s one of my favorite soup recipes that I’d normally make as soon as I got back from my evening exercise class. It takes about 30 minutes, and you can let it simmer while you jump in the shower (and your husband watches the stove,) so it’ll be ready when you are. It’s packed with land and sea vegetables, so you get the best of both worlds here. Sea veggies are a good source of minerals including iron, iodine and calcium, and even protein. They’re low in fat and calories, can be eaten dried (nori sprinkled on steamed rice or popcorn,) cooked (with braised vegetables, stews) and in desserts (where agar agar is used as a thickener to make jellys and yokan, a sweet bean dessert.) Check out this website for more information on sea vegetable varieties.

Turkey and Vegetable Seaweed Soup

1 teaspoon oil
1/4 lb. ground turkey
1/4 chopped onion
32 oz. chicken broth
1/4 cup dried wakame, nori, or any seaweed, cut into bite-sized pieces (not the nori used for sushi!)
1 small carrot, chopped
1 cup chopped kale leaves and stems
1 stem celery, chopped
1/2 cup cooked rice or barley
1 tablespoon white miso paste
1 cup hot water

In a medium sized pot, cook turkey in oil until browned, breaking up chunks with wooden spoon. Add onion, sautee 1 minute. Add broth, bring to simmer. Add everything except rice (or barley) and miso paste. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes on low heat.

Add cooked rice or barley, stir and simmer for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Mix miso paste in 1 cup hot water, add to soup and stir well. Serve immediately.

Want to ‘sea’ what other reduxers have been making with the ocean’s bounty? Click on the link below:
http://professionalpalate.squarespace.com/blog/the-recipe-redux-little-fish-cakes.html



Lemon-spiked yogurt floats on a leafy green so you can scoop a little tangy goodness with each spoonful of creamy avocado-leek soup.

This is my first Recipe Redux challenge and for those of you not familiar with this, it is a once-a-month themed cooking challenge in which you redo a recipe to make it healthier (and hopefully tastier!) This month’s theme is “The First Shoots of Spring.”  I was pretty excited to try and come up with something that would be worthy of the challenge, but it was a lot harder that I expected because 1) I’ve lived my entire life in a tropical climate and didn’t know what ‘spring’ foods were, and 2) the local markets didn’t carry pea shoots, garlic scrapes (?) or ramps (??). Although my findings were limited, there were lots of leeks in the markets, so I decided to brighten up a traditional vichyssoise with easy to find ingredients, and which can be made in less than 20 minutes…how’s THAT for a redux? :)

Vichyssoise is made up of potato, leek, heavy cream, and chicken stock. My stomach is sensitive to dairy so I eliminated the heavy cream, increased the potato, and added a ripe avocado, celery, some water, and fresh lemon zest. The taste remained rich and savory, and to add a new dimension, I topped it off with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt (easy on my stomach) with a touch of fresh lemon juice.

Avocados are a great source of fiber and vitamins, including vitamin K (aids in blood clotting,) vitamin E (antioxidant, helps body assimilate vitamin K,) folate (aids in tissue development,) and potassium (helps metabolize carbs and ensures proper function of cells, tissues and organs.) Yogurt contains live bacteria cultures to aid digestion, and the fresh squeeze of lemon juice also helps digestion while providing a bit of vitamin C.

This healthy soup uses fresh ingredients and can be enjoyed warm or cold any time of day. Happy eating!

Potato Leek Avocado Soup
 serves 2
This soup can easily be veganized with vegetable broth and soy yogurt.

1 tablespoon oil
1 cup diced potato
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup diced celery
1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced thinly
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons nonfat greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
lettuce leaves, minced red onion for garnish (optional)

To clean leeks: cut off dark green portion. Slice leek lengthwise from green part to bulb, but not cutting through bulb. Fan out leaves and rinse well under running water. Slice thinly.

Cook potato and garlic in oil on medium heat about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add celery, leek and 1 cup of chicken broth, simmer low for 5 minutes.

Transfer half of mixture to blender and puree.

Transfer half of mixture to a blender with 1 cup of chicken broth and avocado and puree about 30 seconds or until smooth. Return puree to pan and add remaining 1 cup broth and 1 cup of water. Heat until simmering, about 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Turn off heat, stir in lemon zest. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Divide soup between two bowls. Place 1 lettuce leaf (at least 3″ long, 2″ wide) in center of bowl.  Top with 1 tablespoon of yogurt and sprinkle minced red onion for garnish. Can be served warm or cold.

Lemon-spiked yogurt floats on a leafy green so you can scoop a little tangy goodness with each spoonful of creamy avocado-leek soup.

Need a little extra? Try these little appetizers made of sliced cucumber, fresh Parmesan and  raw beets topped with thin slices of leeks. Lots of fresh flavors, sweet and salty combined with crunchy and creamy…this little appetizer has it all!

Easy peasy leeky appetizers!