Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup

There was this little café near the river. We used to walk there hand in hand.  We visited often. There were freshly picked flowers on the table and room for about 30. At night, candles flickered and glowed.

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Their menu was concise and ever changing with the season. But the one constant was their focus on surprising (and tasty) soups.

It was there where our creative minds, which constantly bounce with ideas, found comfort and groundedness as we sat peacefully over two bowls of steamy soup.

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I think about that space in time often…

how there always seemed to be just one perfect table by the window waiting for us…

how the café’s size was intimate but its energy expansive….

and how the dining space was full of soft chatter and the tantalizing aroma of complex simmering soups.

While the café still remains by the river and ideas continue to fill up our heads, physically we’ve moved on.  But this week, my mind took me back there, to snowy Vermont.  And with those thoughts came cravings for soup. Flavorful spicy soup made with whole foods.

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So I pulled out this little gem of a recipe from Cookie + Kate and cooked it with love.

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This week, I hope you’ll take time to enjoy a quiet night with this simple soup with spicy notes… inspired by a little café called That’s Life Soup.

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Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup
{adapted from a recipe from Cookie + Kate, original recipe from Local Bounty: Vegan Seasonal Recipes}
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Ingredients
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch collard greens, ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips
  • 3/4 cup unsalted peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste, or 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • Hot sauce, like sriracha (AKA rooster sauce)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish
Directions
  1. In a medium stock pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
  2. In a medium-sized, heat-safe mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and tomato paste, then transfer 1 to 2 cups of the hot stock to the bowl. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, then pour the peanut mixture back into the soup and mix well.Peanut Soup-7
  3. Stir in the collard greens and season the soup with hot sauce to taste. Simmer for about 15 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often.
  4. Serve over cooked brown rice if you’d like, and top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.
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Until we simmer with spice again,
a+h

Homemade Creamy Butternut Squash, Apple and Sage Soup

It started.  The snow.  As I write this, it’s gently falling outside of our window.  If this was North Carolina I would give a pleasant little squeal of “Ooh pretty! Snow day!”. But this is Vermont so instead I shiver and sigh, “Here we go. Buckle up.”

Ever since we formally announced our move, its seems like all conversations with friends and family have turned to snow.  “Brrrr… don’t forget to layer” “I hope you like to ski.” “We’ll visit in the summer, ok?”  “Hope you have four-wheel drive.”

You people have given me a complex and today the impending day has come, the first sign of flakes, and all I can seem to think of is soup.  So I yelled upstairs to the kitchen, “Babe!!! We need soup recipes.”  To which he replies, “Don’t worry. I got you.”  So today, we’re turning on the heat and letting loose on our first soup recipe:
Creamy Butternut Squash, Apple and Sage soup.

Mise en place. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Simple ingredients. Ultimate taste.

Ingredients – base:

  • (3) small to medium apples, cored and chopped
  • (1) large yellow onion, chopped
  • (1) 3 pound butternut squash, cored and chopped into quarters as seen below
  • (1) pint of organic heavy cream
  • (1) clove of garlic, minced
  • (1) medium carrot, diced
  • (2) medium white or yellow potatoes, diced
  • (4) tablespoons of olive oil
  • (1/4) cup of white wine
  • (8) cups of water

First, let’s get our squash ready to roast:

1.  Preheat your oven at 375 degrees.

2.  Never broken down a squash before?  Here’s a crash course.

Peel a squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

First, you peel.

How to cut a squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Then you begin little by little cutting it down.

How to cut a squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Then you quarter. (Please excuse my apple core...I got busted snacking "on the job")

How to core a squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

And finally you scoop the core and finish chopping into quarters.

Quartered squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Voila. You have broken down a squash. Bravo.

3.  Add (3) tablespoons of olive oil to your squash and mix well by hand.

4.  Pour your squash onto an ungreased sheet pan.

5.  Liberally salt & pepper and place in the oven.

Roasted squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Did you know salt and pepper brings out the natural essence of your ingredients?

6. Roast for 40 minutes.  After 20 minutes, turn over your squash pieces and rotate your pan 180 degrees to help cook evenly and continue roasting for 20 minutes.

Roasting squash. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

In she goes... on to the next.

7. Meanwhile, in a large pot, add olive oil, carrots, and garlic.

Saute onions and carrots. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

So it begins...

8. Saute on medium to medium-high until you start obtaining a little color on  your onions.

9. Once onions begin displaying color, add your potatoes and apples.  Saute for (3) minutes.

Saute Potatoes, Onions And Carrots - Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

We're cookin now!

10. Next, add white wine to deglaze your pot.  Simmer for (6) minutes.

11. After simmer, add 6 cups of cold water, keep your heat on medium and cover.  Continue simmer for 20 minutes.

12.  Once your squash is done roasting to deliciousness in the oven, add to your pot.  After you add the squash add another (2) cups of water and turn your heat up to medium-high. Remove from stove.

Add squash into soup. Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Moving right along...

Ingredients – spice goodness

  • (1/2) teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • (2) teaspoons of ground nutmeg
  • (1/4) teaspoon of ground allspice
  • (1/4) teaspoon of red pepper flake
  • (1/4) teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • (3) tablespoons of fresh sage, chiffonade
  • salt to taste (normally 1 – 2 teaspoons)

13.  Next, time to add your spices.  Add your cinnamon, salt to taste, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, red pepper flakes, black pepper, sage,and  heavy cream.

14. Return to stove for 20 minutes on medium to medium-high, stirring consistently.

15.  Want a thicker soup?  Add a little roux (1/2 butter, 1/2 flour) .
We added about (3) tbsp to our soup approximately three minutes before our soup was done. 
(Hint:  We keep ours in our fridge and just scrap out by fork as need.)

16. Spoon it out.  Add a little fresh shaved Parmigiano Reggiano if you please.  Slurp up, warm up, and enjoy. 
(We paired ours with fresh multi-grain Red Hen bread. Delish!)

Homeade Butternut And Apple Squash Soup

Comfort. At its finest.

Until we eat again,

A + H