CARROT SOUP WITH BASIL OIL

How Many?

Serves 4

What Do We Need?

2 tablespoons butter
1 bunch basil
1 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
10 carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

How Do We Make It?

  1. In a soup pot over medium high heat, add butter and onions to cook.  Stir the onions often until they are soft, then add the carrots and ginger.  Cook for 2 more minutes, coating vegetables in the butter, and then add the stock.  Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer until carrots are tender, about 35 minutes.

  2. Wash and rip basil and dry well.  Place in a large pot with olive oil and blend with stick blender, or puree oil and basil in a countertop blender.  Heat oil up and simmer for 45 seconds.  Turn off heat and strain oil through fine mesh strainer into a bowl.

  3. Remove the carrot soup from heat and blend with a stick blender - or countertop blender - until completely pureed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Drizzle basil oil on top of each bowl before serving.

DAAL

What Do We Need?

1 cup red lentils (orange lentils will work as well)
3 cups water
3 plum tomatoes
2 teaspoons grapeseed, vegetable, canola or other high-heat oil
1/2 cup white or yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and made into a paste
2 teaspoons of Bengali five spice mix (punch phoron) or: 1/2 teaspoon black (or white) sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, and (if available) 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
1 lemon, juiced (equal to about 2 tablespoons)
8 sprigs cilantro, de-stemmed and chopped

How Do We Make It?

  1. Place 1 cup of the red lentils in a metal sieve and rinse well with cold water. Pour cleaned lentils into a medium sauce pan. Add 3 cups of water. Bring lentils to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the lentils are soft. 

  2. While the lentils are cooking, bring a separate small pot of water to a boil. Score the peel of the tomatoes with a sharp knife (with an adult's help!) in the shape of an "X." Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and blanch for one minute. Remove the tomatoes to a bowl to let cool. Once cool, peel the skin off the tomatoes and cut and discard the tough stem end. Chop, or mash, the tomatoes and set them aside. 

  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic paste and cook for another minute, stirring continuously, making sure the garlic does not burn. Add the Bengali five spice and cook and stir for another 2-3 minutes. Add the bay leaf and turmeric, and stir. 

  4. To the onions and spices, add the cooked lentils along with the lentil cooking water. Add salt. Cook for 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and the tomatoes and cook for 3-5 more minutes. Adjust salt if necessary. Stir in chopped cilantro and remove from heat. Garnish with more cilantro if desired. 

HARVEST LENTIL SOUP WITH WINTER SQUASH

How Many?

Serves 4 

What Do We Need?

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
2 winter squash, peeled and diced (about 4-5 cups)
1 cup green or brown lentils, washed and picked over
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

How Do We Make It?

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Place the squash on a baking sheet tray and drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper on top. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until flesh of the squash is tender. 

  3. Allow the squash to cool after removing from the oven. Meanwhile, in a heavy bottom stock pot, saute onions in olive oil over medium heat until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the lentils, bay leaf, and stock and bring to a boil. 

  4. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Lentils are cooked as soon as they are tender.  Remove the bay leaf, add the roasted squash to the lentils and enjoy! I even like to add a sprinkle of fresh herbs on top, or a bit of shaved parmesan cheese, to make it extra special.

Summer Squash and Herb Soup

How Much?

Serves 4

What Do We Need?

1/2 cup farro
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Stems from 1/2 bunch cilantro
Stems from 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large celery stalks, minced
3 large spring onions, minced (save green stalks for later)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 quart vegetable broth
5 ounces green beans
2 medium (8 ounces) summer squash

How Do We Make It?

  1. Cook farro in 1 cup of water and salt until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Set aside.

  2. Cut stems from the herb bunches (save leaves for pistou). Take two large pieces of cheesecloth and put them on top of each other. Add herb stems, fennel seeds, thyme, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes and tie into a pouch.

  3. Mince celery, the white part of the onions (save green stalks for later use), and garlic. Add olive oil into a large pot and sauté vegetables over medium heat with a good pinch of salt, for about 8 minutes until softened. Add spice pouch, vegetable broth, and 1/2 cup water. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.

  4. While soup is simmering, trim ends of the green beans and cut into 1/4 inch pieces. Cut summer squash into 1/4 inch pieces and chop the onions' green stalks.

  5. Turn off the heat and add the cooked farro and the chopped vegetables into the soup. Taste and add salt if needed. Let stand, covered, for 5-8 minutes until vegetables are tender. Fish out the spice pouch before serving and discard.

  6. Serve soup hot with herb pistou and good bread. You can add cooked cannellini beans or even shredded chicken to make the soup even heartier!

WINTER SQUASH AND CHICKPEA SOUP

How Many?

Serves 4

What Do We Need?

1 medium-sized butternut squash
5 carrots
3 cloves garlic
2 leeks
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup cooked (or canned) chickpeas
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste

How Do We Make It?

  1. Begin by prepping the vegetables: peel and chop the butternut squash into bite-sized pieces, peel and dice the carrots into small pieces, peel and chop garlic, clean and chop leeks.

  2. Heat a heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, garlic, leeks, and carrots.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables turn translucent and start to caramelize.  

  3. Add stock to the hot pan, scraping the bottom with your spatula to release caramelized leeks.  Add the chickpeas, butternut squash, bay leaves, and thyme.  Bring to a simmer and cover for 30-45 minutes. Check and stir every ten minutes to maintain a gentle simmer.

  4. Remove from heat and add soy sauce and lemon juice.  Remove bay leaves and discard. Taste to check seasoning and add more salt and pepper if desired.