Squash, Corn and Lemongrass Soup

The Greenhouse Social Club of the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project met once again on the last Thursday of the month for a cooking workshop. Arzeena is the organizer for this workshop and Karen Dar Woon will be the demonstrator for this workshop. Karen is the chef for the community meal at the Gilmore Park Church. The Gilmore Park Church community meal ended end of November and will resume in January. Karen can now concentrate on her own catering business in the month of December which is a very busy month for her. I enjoy Karen’s workshop as she always shares cooking tips with us.

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The star ingredient for this workshop is Squash. Above are a few of the squashes for the workshop. The large white squash is called Blue Magic. The smallest one is Acorn Squash while the remainder two are Japanese Squash or also known as turban squash.

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The first recipe for this workshop is called Squash, corn and Lemongrass Soup. The soup is velvety, light and sweet with a hint of freshness from lemongrass and cilantro. We enjoyed the soup so much that we had second helping of it. The recipe is taken from Gourmet, November 2007 by Lilian Chou.

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh lemongrass stalk, root end trimmed and 1 or 2 outer layers discarded
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 1 3/4 lbs kabocha or butternut squash
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (10 ounces; from 2 to 3 ears)
  • 5 cups water
  • cilantro leaves for garnishing

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Lentil Soup

The South Arm Community Kitchen was in the local newspaper a week and a half ago. The article was published on 30th Oct. The article covered both the South Arm Community Kitchen and the South Arm Cooking Club for seniors.

In this week’s Cooking Club for seniors meet, Hugh shared with us a Lentil Soup recipe. He made this Lentil Soup for his son at home. The Lentil Soup is rich with vitamins and fiber from the vegetables and the lentil is a rich source of protein and fiber too. Karen and Santosh helped Hugh with all the peeling and chopping for this recipe.

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Regional seasonings can change the character of this Lentil Soup. The variations are:

  1. Arabic Lentil Soup: add 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger with other seasonings.
  2. North African Lentil Soup: add 1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads or powder with the onion and 1 (8oz) can whole tomatoes, crushed with the broth.
  3. Persian Lentil Soup: add 2 tablespoons orange juice or 2 teaspoons grated orange peel or lemon peel just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 can lentils, rinse several times, drain and set aside
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1 small turnip or parsnip, if desired, peeled and diced
  • 8 cups beef broth (2 qts) or vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 parsley sprigs, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar

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Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup

The soup which the seniors made in the South Arm Community Kitchen is called Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup. Soup is just great for the colder fall weather. Moreover, most soup can be frozen in small batches for up to 2 months. Reheat the soup on the stove gently and you can have a bowl of hearty soup anytime.

October is the harvest time for cranberries and Richmond is the top producer of cranberries in BC. Cranberry is a superior source of nutrition and vitamins. It is an excellent source of antioxidants which helps to protect against cancer, heart disease and bladder infections. Cranberry juice is also rich in polyphenol content as in red wine which makes it a heart-healthy drink.

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This Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup is a sweet soup with a hint of tanginess from the cranberries. It has a very strong flavour of cinnamon.

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While one team is working on the soup recipe, another team worked on the dessert which is Apple Banana Muffin. I had blogged on the muffin recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 large yam, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 cups low salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional), recommend to change it to 1 teaspoon as the cinnamon flavour is too overpowering
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • parsley for garnish

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Click on Read More for the instructions to make the Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup.

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Cream of Broccoli Soup

Minoo and Tanni teamed up to demonstrate in the Gilmore Park Church community kitchen. Two person demo makes the job lighter and less stressful. This is a good way to encourage participation.

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Minoo made a Cream of Brocolli Soup. The recipe calls for evaporated skim milk which makes this creamy soup low fat. However, Minoo did not have evaporated milk on hand and she replaced it with half and half.

Here are some nutritional facts of broccoli:

  • high in Vitamin C
  • rich in soluble fiber
  • contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties
  • high in Vitamin K

Broccoli can be eaten raw in salad or hor-d’oeuvre. It can be boiled or steamed but boiling reduces the levels of anticancer compounds. Preferred preparation methods which will not reduce the presence of anticancer compounds are steaming, microwaving and stir-frying.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 head broccoli, broken into florets
  • 1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium all purpose potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 12oz can evaporated milk
  • a teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Vermicelli Soup

The Vermicelli Soup is not really a soup but it’s like vermicelli in thick broth. This is great by itself as a vegetarian dish or you may add some meat in it to make it a dish in one pot.

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This vermicelli dish reminded me of the dish my mom used to make for me when I’m sick. The texture of this dish is like ‘mien sien’.

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If you like it to be more soupy, add more chicken broth and water. The vermicelli is like a sponge and by the time we served it, there is no more broth visible.

Ingredients

  • 100g enoki mushroom
  • 20g dried mushroom
  • 100g vermicelli (made from mung bean)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • finely sliced green onion and carrot for garnishing
  • white pepper
  • sesame oil

Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Pork Liver Soup

This is a small interruption to the Washington DC travel series as Ben is away at Chicago right now. Here is a simple soup recipe which Ben enjoys which I like to share with you.

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It’s Pork Liver Soup. I had a lot of this soup during my confinement as it has lots of ginger in it.

Ingredients

  • big knob of ginger
  • pork liver
  • Chinese cooking wine
  • ground white pepper
  • salt to taste
  • soy sauce to taste
  • sesame oil

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Pork Ball Spinach Soup

When I run out of idea of what to make for dinner, I will scour my freezer for items for emergency use. Chinese meat ball is one of those item. It can be fish ball, pork ball, squid ball or beef ball. You can find all these meat balls in Chinese groceries store.

Almost all kids like meat balls. I will not get objections from Arkensen or Nanzaro when I made this Pork Ball Spinach Soup.

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Making this Pork Ball Spinach Soup is simple. It only has 3 ingredients:

  • a handful of anchovies
  • store bought meatballs
  • a bunch of spinach
  • a dash of white pepper or salt to taste

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I made the soup base by boiling a handful of anchovies for 30 to 45 minutes. Just briefly rinse the anchovies before adding to 4 to 5 cups of waters. These anchovies are from Malaysia. I always ask friends who travel from Malaysia to bring them for me. I cant find the same variety here. Anyone of you know where I can buy this type of anchovies in the Lower Mainland?

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Once, the broth has been flavoured by the anchovies, strain the broth into another pot and discard the anchovies. Add the meatballs and let them boil for another 10 to 15 minutes. Add the spinach and boil for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle the soup with a dash of white pepper and you have a pot of Chinese soup that kids enjoy. You may season the soup with a tiny bit of salt depending on the saltiness of the anchovies.

Kale and White Bean Soup

Minoo shared this Kale and White Bean Soup in the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen. Minoo told us that she got the recipe from a friend who got it from a chef in a restaurant in Stanley Park after trying it out at the restaurant.

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The Kale and White Bean Soup is loaded with fiber and complete with protein. Here are some nutritional values of Kale:

  • Kale is a good source of vitamin C as do all dark green vegetables do. Vitamin C can boost immune system and protect against colds, flu, asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Kale contains vitamin B6 and riboflavin which can protect against heart disease.
  • Kale is a great source of calcium; it is a good alternative source to dairy products for calcium. Calcium is good for healthy bones and teeth.
  • Kale in considered to be one of the most highly nutritious vegetables, with powerful antioxidant properties and is anti-inflammatory.
  • The high fiber content of kale is good for lowering cholesterol, balancing blood sugar levels, preventing constipation and protecting against colon cancer.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dried navy beans or canned ones
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups finely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bacon or prosciutto
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 5 cups water
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoons finely ground pepper
  • 1 lb trimmed and cut into one-inch pieces of kale (remove tough stalks)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

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Chicken Wonton

In the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen, we helped Karen to make few hundreds of wonton for the community meal. Karen decided to serve Chinese dish during the Chinese New Year event. We were told that the community meal crowd applauded when it was announced during the previous meal.

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Karen made the wonton using chicken as some of the people at the community meal do not take pork. Karen used organic chicken broth to make the soup and added bak choy and mushroom to complete the soup.

Ingredients

This is the ingredients for 6 servings.

Ingredients for the wonton:

  • 1/2 lb ground chicken (you may substitute with pork or turkey)
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts (canned or fresh), minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced/grated ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons constarch
  • 1 12oz package wonton wrapper
  • egg white or water for sticking (if wrapper is too dry or has too much flour on it)

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Ingredients for the soup:

  • 1 litre chicken broth
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup bak choy or napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup snap peas or snow peas, trimmed & sliced (optional)

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Roasted Sweet Potato Soup

Minoo kicked start the Caring Place Community Kitchen with two dishes. The first dish is Roasted Sweet Potato soup with orange and ginger. You may make this dish with yam, pumpkin or other winter squashes.

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This Roasted Sweet Potato Soup is a creamy soup flavoured with orange zest and grated ginger. It is best served warm. The creaminess of the soup comes from the sour cream. However, you may substitute the sour cream with a couple tablespoons of peanut butter and it’s equally good.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups peeled, cubed yams or sweet potatoes (about 3 large ones)
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 cups low-fat chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon each grated orange zest and gingerroot
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
  • Chopped, fresh cilantro for garnishing

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