Friday, August 3, 2012

Raiding the Pantry Part II - Soup

I am going to go ahead and move forward with the assumption that most people making an average income have certain weeks where they know they really shouldn't be spending money. It's during these weeks that one has to become inventive and really explore the possibilities of what remains in the pantry, fridge and freezer.

This was my week. It's funny because it's the first week of August as well. August always reminds me that fall is soon to come, even though here in Texas we have had 13 days in the 100s. Regardless, I took inventory of the food I had left for the week and determined that I should go ahead and make a soup. I have never made soup before, so I was a little nervous as to how it would turn out. I must say, quite a success and a lot easier than I thought.

I had about a cup of frozen corn in my freezer and a zucchini I had bought from the local food market that needed to be used up. I did some research online for good soup recipes and decided to go ahead and wing it from the information I gathered.

I boiled the corn according to the package directions. As I was doing this I sauteed garlic, onion and about 3/4 of a zucchini. Many of the recipes I read used vegetable broth. I had vegetable bouillon cubes , and in the spur of the moment decided that instead of using another pot and more water to make the "veggie broth" I would just through the cube into the boiling water cooking the corn.

Once the corn was cooked I added the corn and the liquid to the sauteed mixture (garlic, onion and zucchini - I added pepper in as well). I let that simmer on low-medium heat for about 20-30 minutes. Once the mixture looked pretty well cooked through I scooped out the main ingredients and put them into a food processor. I decided not to include all of the liquid that was leftover because I desired a creamier textured soup. I pureed the cooked vegetables for about a minute or two and VOILA, I created my first batch of soup. This soup, as easy as it was had flavors of sweet and savory. I added a swirl of siracha to give it a kick and decided that soup was a good dish to cook no matter what the season. I imagine the soup would have been just as tasty cold, but I decided to eat it warm the next day and was still completely satisfied with my creation.

It would be nice to have someone else's opinion on the taste and texture, but that's part of the reason I am writing about my food experiences. I have discovered a passion for cooking and for food, if I can give some kind of inspiration for someone to either re-create the same dish or make something of their own than great, hopefully someone else can become just as passionate.

I have mentioned before that I don't really use measurements. So far this philosophy hasn't let me down... it sure didn't with this soup. I can give an estimate for those people that rely on recipes, but as I say: be creative and don't worry so much about the recipe, but more about the flavors (and textures) you want to achieve.

Vegan Corn & Zucchini Soup

  • 1 tablespoon of oil (olive or grapeseed)
  • apprx. 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 3/4 - 1 whole zucchini
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 white onion sliced (or chopped)
  • Pepper and salt to taste
Cook the frozen corn in water according to package directions. (If you have veggie or chicken broth instead of cubes, go ahead and cook the corn in that - why not?)
While the corn is cooking, sautee the garlic and onion in the olive oil. Add the zucchini till it is almost cooked through. Add the corn and liquid to the sautee pan. Cover and cook for approximately 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and scoop mixture into a food processor (depending on how creamy or liquidly you want your soup, leave or add remaining liquid).
Process the mixture until desired texture. (whether you want it kind of chunky, or smooth).

Enjoy soup hot or cold! I also put a swirl of siracha, for a little kick. Relish the options you have with this dish. So many ingredients can be used and there are so many different ways to create it.

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