Happy Autumn everyone! I know it may be a little early for a lot of you, but last week in Alaska we had our first freeze, the leaves are changing color, and the air is crisp and cold for a good portion of the day. Shorts and t-shirts are behind us; jacket season has arrived. I’ve been cooking some recipes from the “Appetite for Reduction” cookbook, trying to decide if I want to purchase it for my very own. My current copy is on loan from the public library. I always seem to forget that libraries have cookbooks too and I can try them out before I purchase them. Since it’s autumn, it’s definitely time for soups (although I think EVERY time is time for soups). The original recipe had some baked tempeh crumbled into the soup, but I didn’t have tempeh at home that day so I used TVP. If you’re not a strict vegetarian you can always use sausage chunks or ground sausage to flavor the soup, in which case I would probably use the sausage grease to sauté the onions and garlic rather than olive oil. Also, if you’re a vegetarian and you have a favorite veggie sausage, this might be a fun moment to add that into your dinner. This was a really mild soup, not really spicy or herby enough for me. However the red pepper flakes did give it a nice bite at the end, so it wasn’t a total loss, and the soup itself was pretty simple to make.
I hope all of you enjoying the last bits of summer in your areas will have an extra sip of mojito for me. In the meantime I’ve supplied a couple extra photos in this blog post of fall at our house for your looking pleasure. The night after we took this photo of having dinner on the lawn, we had our first freeze. I think “Seize the Day” definitely applies.
Caldo Verde Soup
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and black pepper, to taste
5 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 bunch chard, stems removed and chopped, leaves shredded
1/2 cup TVP
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onions, garlic, and swiss chard stems in the oil till soft.
- Add the caraway seeds, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Stir and cook 2 minutes more.
- Add the potatoes. Stir well and cook a couple minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook 20 minutes or till potatoes are soft.
- Turn off the heat and let it cool 5 minutes. Then use a potato masher to mash up the mixture to your favorite consistency.
- Add the TVP and the chard leaves and turn the heat on to a simmer again. Simmer till the chard is soft and the TVP has rehydrated itself, around 5 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning and serve hot.