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Soups & Stews

Comfort Food

Hearty Taro Soup

March 4, 2015

In Panama, we call it “Otoe” (pronounced oh-toe-y), or Taro Root. It is the root of the lovely “elephant ear” plants that grow in my back yard.  What I love especially about Taro is that it cooks up super creamy, much more so than a potato, and it’s full of nutrients.

Taro can replace potatoes in any soup or main dish, even mashed. This soup here is high is healthy carbs and excellent on a day when you exercise, plus it’s  extra comforting if you’re coming in from the cold or snow.

For this very hearty soup, I simply made a stock out of Beef Tail (but I would prefer Ox Tail).

To start broth:
Simmer meat & bones for about 10 minutes in water.
Now discard this water and heat again in fresh water.

When your new, fresher water is piping hot & boiling away, transfer liquid abd all to a crock pot and let simmer on high for about 2 hours. You want the meat to really soften and the bones to flavor the stock.

After a few hours, to the hot broth, add:
1/2 Cup Sliced, Italian sausage or Chorizzo.
1/2 Cup dry white beans (any kind). If using canned beans, add at the end so they won’t be too mushy.
3 Medium Taro Roots, about the size of a medium potato, diced

3 Teeth chopped garlic
1 Chopped onion
2 Sliced carrots
1 Stick celery, cut
Fresh Rosemary, about 1 tsp., minced
Fresh Cilantro, about 1 tbsp., chopped
1/2 Tsp. Sriracha (or any hot pepper, for a little zing.)

When the meat is falling off the bone, pull these out, cool, then pull the meat and reintroduce to the pot.

My Daily Kitchen

Arugula Soup-One soup fits all!

February 27, 2015

Trying to find a dish that will meet the dietary restrictions of all your guests can be a challenge. So here is something I created in My Daily Kitchen that will suit all. And I mean all. Diebetic or Low-Carb; Gluten- or Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian and even Vegans will be happy. And for the meat eaters… read on.

Personally, I think of Arugula as the “steak of lettuces.” It’s peppery, like Nasturtium, but the flavor is broader and hearty, like meat. When I am eating vegetarian or vegan, I sometimes miss the substance of — horrors — a great steak, something pungent and powerful and, well, “meaty.”  For me, Arugula seems to fit the bill and fill the void.

I lack for nothing after a beautiful salad of fresh Arugula covered with lovely, shaved Parmesian cheese. So I wondered, “What would happen if I made it into a soup?”  Well, what happened, for me, was magic.  Let’s go!

Arugula Soup

In a medium to large saucepan, place:
6 medium (not large)  potatoes, diced and unpeeled
1 medium onion, loosely chopped
1/2 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 sprig parsley
1 tooth garlic
2 cups water
1 flavor cube vegetable stock, any type of your choice (non-vegans can use chicken stock)

Simmer in the pot until all the vegetables are soft to a prodding fork, about 20 minutes, because you are going to puree this in a bit.

Into the saucepan, add:

4 large handfuls (about 6 cups) of fresh, uncut, Arugula
2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground pepper
Salt to taste

Using a hand blender, (or transferring all the mixture to a traditional blender), puree the entire mixture until Arugula is still discernable, but mostly integrated.

Garnish with an Arugula leaf, or parsley.

For an added element of comfort, I personally love dipping cold, buttered bread into hot soup. (I use Good Earth oil spread, which comes close to my idea of creamy butter.) I love the combination of the cool, creamy buttery spread melting into the bread now warmed and moistened from the dipping. However, if you are grain- or gluten-free, skip this part!