Kitchen Meditation >> Summer Squash Soup

It's that time of year. You know the time. When all of your hard garden work pays off ALL AT ONCE. You thought you wanted summer squash, but did you think that you would want to eat like 6 of them in a sitting? I actually didn't even plant summer squash, but we got a heap of them in our CSA box last week, and they needed a home, and quick. Enter, this fantastic soup recipe from the incomparable Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks fame. I even feel a little silly posting about such an awesome chef and blogger on this here ole' humble internet space of mine, but just in case you have not run into her site yet, then GO.  She comes up with the most inventive, tasty, healthy, whole foods based recipes that I have ever seen. Almost everything I have made of hers has come out great, and several of her recipes have become staples at our house ever since I got her newest cookbook (a year old now) Super Natural Every Day. I hadn't made this particular recipe since last summer (probably the last time I had a mound of squash that needed eating), and I forgot how good it really is. Plus, then there were leftovers for lunch today, so double score!

The recipe features summer squash (duh), but it's rounded out with some potato which gives it a bit more body, and curry and coconut milk. There's also plenty of onion and garlic here, which in my opinion, you can never go wrong with. Don't be afraid of the tofu "croutons." They're SO good, and they add protein to make this a super-filling meal. But if you don't love tofu you can totally skip it and just add regular bread croutons, or even have none at all. Serve with some crusty bread and you're done! Aside from a bunch of chopping, this recipe is super easy and requires not a lot of time or special skillz.

Here's the recipe with my notes/tips in blue.

Summer Squash Soup with Curry and Tofu Croutons (from Super Natural Every Day)

8 oz. extra firm tofu
1 tbsp. thai red curry paste (I used green)
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 large shallots, chopped
1.5 pounds (about 5 medium) yellow squash or zucchini, sliced in half then cut into 3/4" chunks (really any summer squash is fine, mine were green AND yellow, I'm not even sure what they were)
12 oz potatoes, unpeeled and diced into tiny cubes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 C. lightly flavored vegetable broth or water (I used low sodium chicken broth)
1 14oz can coconut milk (I used light to lessen the saturated fat content)

1> Season the tofu with a pinch of salt, toss with olive oil, then brown in a large, heavy skillet for about 5 minutes - until browned on one side. Toss gently and continue to cook until browned on all sides. Set aside. (The more golden and crispy they are, the better. But, careful! Tofu is sneaky and goes from being perfect to burnt in like 30 seconds. Be sure not to have the heat any higher than medium.)

2> Mash the curry paste with the oil until well blended. Heat the curry-oil in a large heavy pot until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the shallots and a dash of salt and sauté until the shallots are tender. (Make sure you have EVERYTHING chopped and ready to go when you start heating the oil, as you'll add things very quickly and won't have time to chop.)

3> Stir in squash and potatoes and cook until squash begins to get tender. Stir in the garlic, then add the broth & coconut milk. Bring just to a boil, then simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.

4> Here you have a choice. You can leave it chunky, or you can puree it with an immersion blender. I personally love pureed soups that I can sop it up with bread, so I puree mine. This is also why I used green curry, so when you blend it you don't get a "red + yellow/green = brown" pile of gross looking mush. Although it tastes totally fine if do decide to puree it anyway). 

5> Taste and adjust salt or curry paste if needed. Serve each bowl topped with tofu croutons. (I have found that I have to add A LOT more curry paste to taste how I like it - a tablespoon or more. Maybe it's the brand I use, I don't know, but don't be afraid to add to your heart's content). 

Eating healthy, whole foods is one way that I honor my body and spirit, and it feels so good to put something homecooked into your belly. I used to HATE cooking, but I now love the rhythmic chopping and dicing, the stirring and sauteing. It's like it's own little kitchen meditation. :)

Bon appetit! I hope if you try this that you like it!

shanti >> sondra


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