Summer Squash Soup

Summer Squash Soup topped with Tofu Croutons

This is one of my favorite recipes. This is my modified version of Heidi Swanson’s recipe from Super Natural Every Day. I added more veggies and it’s the perfect dish that incorporates a lot of the vegetables that we get in our CSA boxes in July and August. You can also modify the recipe based on what you have on hand. And consider the tofu croutons optional, however they are pretty good!

Ingredients
8 ounces extra firm tofu cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste (or more if you like)
3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil (recommended) or extra virgin olive oil (plus more for the croutons)
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional, for lovely spice)
3 large shallots, chopped
1 1/2 pounds (about 5 medium) yellow summer squash or zucchini (or combination of both), cut into 3/4 inch chunks
2 carrots, cut a similar size as the potatoes (tiny cubes)
12 ounces potatoes, unpeeled, cut into tiny cubes
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
Corn kernels cut from 2 uncooked cobs of sweet corn
3 cups good quality vegetable broth
1 14 ounce can of coconut milk, or 1 12 ounce can of evaporated milk plus 2 ounces of water
Light or dark brown sugar (optional – if soup needs additional sweetness)
Basil, cut into ribbons (optional garnish)

Directions

Tofu Croutons

Season the tofu with a generous pinch of salt and toss with a small amount of oil.
Cook tofu over medium-high heat (do not stir or toss) for about 5 minutes until pieces are browned on one side.
Toss the tofu gently and continue cooking until the tofu is golden (about 4 to 5 more minutes) and set aside.

Soup

Mash the curry paste into the coconut (or olive) oil until the paste is well incorporated.
Heat the paste in a large heavy pot over medium heat until fragrant (about 1 minute).
Add the optional red pepper flakes to the paste and stir around for about 15 seconds.
Stir in the shallots and a couple pinches of salt and saute until shallots are tender (about 2 minutes).
Stir in the carrots and stir around for about a minute.
Stir in the squash and potatoes and cook until the squash starts to get tender (a few minutes).
Stir in the garlic and the corn.

Add the broth and coconut milk (or evaporated milk plus water).
Bring soup up to a gentle boil and then lower the heat to a low simmer (try not to overcook the vegetables).
Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes).
Towards the end of the 15 minutes taste the soup for sweetness; if you used evaporated milk then you may need to add some of the optional brown sugar to your liking to add desired sweetness.
Once soup is finished cooking taste it for seasoning and add more salt or curry paste if needed (however it’s much better to add extra curry paste in the beginning when you’re able to cook some depth out of the paste).

I like to grind fresh black pepper over my bowl of soup and then top with the basil ribbons and tofu croutons (if using).

The original, unmodified recipe claims it serves 6. My version likely feeds 6 hungry people.

Curried Chicken & Veggie Soup with Couscous

Back in college, I worked as a cook for a guy running shipwreck diving trips around Isle Royale. From him I learned some of the best meals are the ones where you “throw all the ingredients in a pot and let it cook awhile.” This recipe comes from A Good Day for Soup, by Jeannette Ferrary (Chronicle Books). You can adapt the vegetables and seasonings as it suits you. Does well as a vegetarian dish also (use veggie stock). All hail the lazy cooks!

Ingredients
4 tablespoons oil
2 onions – chopped
4 cloves garlic – minced
1 red bell pepper – seeded and diced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 carrots – sliced or chopped
1 small butternut squash – peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
1 parsnip – peeled and sliced
2 zucchini – sliced
1 cinnamon stick (about 1 to 2 inches long)
10 cups chicken stock (veggie if you don’t add meat)
2 pounds chicken meat – cut into bite-size pieces
salt and pepper
12 ounces couscous
1/4 cup fresh cilantro – chopped (for garnishing)

Directions
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, soup-sized pot.
Saute the onions, garlic and bell pepper until soft, about 5 minutes.
Stir in curry, cumin and turmeric, and cook another minute or so.
Add tomatoes and cook until bubbly.
Stir in the rest of the vegetables and cinnamon stick; cook a few more minutes.
Add stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, for 15 minutes.
Add chicken and simmer another 8 minutes.
Remove cinnamon stick and taste the soup to see how much salt and pepper you want to add (if any).

Couscous
Bring 12 to 16 ounces of water to a boil in a pot. More water makes it more fluffy.
Put the couscous in the pot, put a lid on, and turn off the heat.
Let it sit about 5 minutes.

Place the cooked couscous into bowls and ladle the soup over it.
Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Other Information
Serves: 8
This is a good late summer/early autumn soup.

You can put 1 to 2 tablespoons of uncooked couscous in each bowl, and then pour the soup over it. By the time you get it to the table, it will be ready to eat. This is a great way to do leftovers.