Summer Squash Soup

As we come closer to the end of summer, I’ve started thinking a lot more about how to preserve some fresh produce so we can enjoy summer’s wonderful bounty well into the fall and winter.

Of course there’s canning, but I’m not pretending to be a canning expert just yet, and we honestly just don’t have all the right tools yet for mass canning. So I’ve been focusing on what produce is freezer-friendly and taking advantage of the space in the large freezer out in garage. So far I’ve frozen a ton of zucchini, 8 batches of pesto, 2 gallon bags of kale, 2 quarts of raspberries, a couple bags of garlic scapes, a few serrano peppers, and, of course, this squash soup.

We had two yellow squash from our CSA and on top of all the zucchini, I just didn’t think we’d get to eating them anytime soon. And why would we need to? Why not save them? So I made a big batch of this Yellow Summer Squash Soup; we had a bit for dinner, but I froze the majority of it. Now, we will be able to pull it out sometime in the winter for a warm, fresh-tasting soup!

img_8288.jpg


Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. yellow summer squash (I used 2 medium squash.)
2 T. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 1/4″ in. lemon slices, seeds removed
1/4 c. flour
6 c. chicken broth (low-sodium)
1 t. salt
1/4 t. white pepper
dash of ground nutmeg
Heavy cream (I did this “to taste”, but about 3/4 c.)
Shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish, optional (but recommend)
Parsley, for garnish, optional (but recommend)

Directions:

1. Wash squash and chop into rough 1″ pieces. Roughly chop onions.
2. In a large pot, sautéed onions and lemon in butter until onions are translucent. (Note: I used way too much lemon the first time I made this. Less is more in this case. Only use max. two 1/4″ slices of lemon.)
3. Gradually sprinkle the flour into pot, stirring until completely absorbed. Gradually add chicken broth. Add summer squash, salt, and white pepper.
4. Simmer for 1 hour.
5. Let soup cool slightly, then puree using a blender, food processor, or (my favorite) an immersion blender. (P.S. If you don’t have one of these in your kitchen, I highly recommend getting one!)
6. Put pureed soup back into the pot. On low heat, slowly whisk in heavy cream. I did this “to taste” since the recipe I was following seemed to accidentally omit the amount in the ingredients and I didn’t notice it until I was home. I probably used anywhere from a 1/2 to 1 cup of cream. Just keep tasting until you get to a desired sweetness/creaminess. I wouldn’t do more than 1 cup.
7. Cook on low heat until hot – shouldn’t take too long. Do not let soup boil.
8. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese and parsley to serve. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Gazpacho Soup

This gazpacho soup is one of my favorite summer-time meals! My parents always made it during these hot and humid summer months when I was growing up. Not only are the ingredients in peak season and oh-so fresh, but it is a great meal to throw together when the last thing you wanted to do is cook with a hot oven or stove.

Our family actually made a few different types cold soups in the summers, including cantaloupe soup (a Dad speciality/favorite). Many people I talk to have never had or tried a cold soup and I’m here to say I encourage you to try them! It may seem like a weird concept at first, but trust me. When it’s a 90 degree summer day and you want to eat nothing but frozen popsicles, a yummy cold soup (again, no cooking or heating required!) might be exactly what you’re looking for.

IMG_8170.JPG


Ingredients:

2 c. V8 juice (low sodium)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. olive oil
2-4 T. vinegar
1 medium cucumber (about 1 1/4 c.), diced (small)
1 small green pepper (about 1/2 c.) , diced (small)
1 medium onion (about 1/2 c.), diced (small)
6 ripe tomatoes (I used tomatoes on-the-vine.)
pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the V8 juice, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. Set aside.
2. Dice the cucumbers, green pepper, and onions. Add to V8 mixture.
3. Blanch the tomatoes, remove skins, and chop. (Remove large sections of seeds if tomatoes are overly “juicy”.)
4. Add tomatoes to mixture and combine. Pepper to taste.
5. Cover and place bowl in the refrigerator. Let it sit for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

Creamy Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing

Right before we went on our road trip a few weeks ago, I got a huge bunch of amazing-smelling cilantro from our CSA box. Yummy! Cilantro is one of those herbs/flavors that I just can not pass up, so there was no way I was going to give it away or (even worse) let it go bad! We were leaving only a few days later so I had to find a quick and easy use for all this cilantro, and on top of that, I didn’t have much to work with since we were trying to clear out the fridge as much as possible before leaving.
So glad Culinary Hill was there to save the day! I found this recipe for a really easy salad dressing – full of yummy cilantro flavor, but also something I could make and freeze for later. I was a little worried about how well it would freeze, but it turned out great! I just pulled it out of the freezer when we go back from our trip and let it defrost in the fridge. We’ve had quite a few delicious salads with this one since then – highly recommended!
FullSizeRender 45.jpg

Ingredients:

1 c. packed cilantro leaves (remove stems)
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 3.)
2 T. lime juice (from 1 lime)
1/8 t. salt (I used sea salt)
1/4 c. olive oil (I probably ended up using more than this, I just went by look/consistency.)
Directions:
1. Using a food processor, combine all the ingredients expect the olive oil and blend until smooth.
2. With the food processor is still running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until smooth again. This took a little more time (and oil) than I thought so don’t worry if it’s looking a little thick for a m
3. Chill before using or do what I did and put it straight in the freezer for later use. (I wouldn’t recommend leaving it in there too long though, maybe 2-4 weeks at most.)
(Recipe via Culinary Hill. Culinary Hill is one of my favorite food blog to follow – you should too!)