Friday, July 04, 2008

Drink your veggies

Captain's Log, Supplemental

One of the best ideas I’ve gotten from French Women Don’t Get Fat is the concept of vegetable soup. I’ve loved this so much that I wanted to share it with you guys.

Apparently the author’s family used to eat soup quite often, at least five times a week. I’ve always known it’s a good diet food because it has large volume but low calories and high fiber.

I like cooked veggies over raw, so eating my veggies in soup is more appealing to me.

She gives a few recipes for vegetable soup the way her mother made it—you start with typically 2 potatoes, 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves, leeks, carrots, celery, thyme, parsley, and a couple bay leaves.

You sauté these in 4 tablespoons of butter to lighten the “aggressive” aromas of fresh vegetables. The author’s mother would also throw in any kinds of vegetables she happened to have in the garden—cabbage, turnips, tomatoes, etc. I’ve used kale, chard, fennel, napa cabbage, and radicchio in my soups.

Different veggies add different flavors, and I’m starting to realize some “strong” veggies make the soup rather “strong” tasting. So I use less kale, but I’m able to use more cabbage since that flavor is “lighter.”

You add water (I added chicken broth) and cook it until the vegetables are tender. I use a pressure cooker, 15 minutes with the cap slowly rocking.

Then you process the veggies in a food mill or blender and add broth until it’s the consistency you want. I like my soup thick, so I only add as much water to cover the veggies when I cook them and use all the broth when I puree the soup.

The soup is very tasty and it tastes different each time you make it depending on what you put in it. Also, the way I figure it, it’s about 1-1/2 to 2 cups of veggies in just one cup of soup.

But the trick is that she gives ideas for dressing the soup up each time you eat it so that it tastes different each time. Here are some things I’ve added to a cup of soup:

--A dollop of sour cream
--Half a fried sausage, cut up into small pieces
--Shredded cheese (I’m partial to Gruyere, Captain Caffeine likes cheddar)
--Sliced onions sautéed in one tablespoon butter
--Fresh herbs (thyme, or rosemary, or basil)
--Brioche bread croutons (great way to get rid of my last few stale slices, I just brushed with olive oil, cut into cubes, and toasted in the toaster oven)
--Cooked chopped broccoli or cauliflower
--Toasted nuts
--Diced avocado
--A squirt of lemon juice

Pretty much, the sky’s the limit.

I’ve loved this because it makes the soup interesting each time rather than the same boring thing. It’s also much easier to bully Captain Caffeine into drinking a small cup of soup than making a salad.

I feel so healthy! And I’m totally enjoying my soups!

I know this isn’t something everyone would do, but this totally works for me. I can eat a cup of soup for lunch and feel satisfied as well as satisfaction that I’m eating healthily.

Do you have any other ideas for what I could add to my soup?

4 comments :

  1. A teaspoon of Pesto! I have a wonderful 2 bean soup that calls for a teaspoon of Pesto on the top as you serve it. It is wonderful!

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  2. We love soups. Especially now during the rainy season when it is cool and damp. A cup of soup warms you clear to your soul. Like the idea of puree-ing the veggies. I usually ust cook it down, but that would certainly speed up the process. Crumbled bacon is also a great topping.
    Blessings from Costa Rica

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  3. I love that book. Haven't tried the soup, but will now. Weight Watchers has a soup recipe that is great also, and then there is the Cabbage Soup diet.

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  4. Beans are a great addition to soups. Not only does it give you protein and fiber, but they have a lot of great vitamins and minerals. I've been doing a lot of soup, too, and the fun part has been experimenting with new kinds of beans and pastas.

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