Ridiculously simple curry sweet potato soup (gf + v)

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The weather here in the Bay Area has been so gloomy that I’ve been having to remind myself it’s almost June! Well, nothing goes goes better with cold gray weather than hot soup, so here is a recent one I came up with that is incredibly flavorful and so easy to make (in this one-pot recipe, the boiling water becomes the basis for the broth so you don’t have to waste water while California is plagued with a drought!). The curry gives it a little bit of heat and the coconut milk adds a light creaminess. Makes about 4 servings.

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Veggie miso ramen with roasted eggplant

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More soup here, inspired by the continued cold weather! Ramen is a traditional Japanese noodle soup that has been enjoying quite a renaissance lately in the Bay Area (there seems to be a new ramen joint popping up every week here), so naturally I had to join in the fun. Ramen is traditionally prepared with wheat flour noodles, but rice noodles are a cheap, easy and perfectly tasty gluten-free substitute. A rich broth is poured over the noodles, and then all sorts of fun toppings can be added. My version (which makes no pretense of being a traditional ramen) uses a simple veggie-miso broth, with fresh gailan (Chinese broccoli) greens and tofu for protein, and is topped with scallions and caramelized roasted eggplant slices. This is a perfect one-bowl dinner that’s fun to prepare, delicious, makes a nice presentation, and is super-healthy! Serves 4.

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Un-chicken soup

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There’s a reason they call it Jewish penicillin….a bowl of homemade chicken soup just might be the most comforting, soothing, healing food ever invented. But, my fellow-non-chicken-eaters, do not despair! I have made it my mission to come up with an un-chicken version that is just as delicious and comforting, and I am sharing it with you today. Complete with a light yet rich broth (with just the right amount of oil on top, and a nice golden color), a bit of hearty brown rice (not showing up in the photos because it was hiding at the bottom of the bowl), and packed with all of my favorite classic chicken-soup veggies (the ones I would sneak into the kitchen to pluck out of the stockpot: onion, carrots, celery, zucchini and parsnip). So whether you’re trying to get over a cold, or just want some classic Jewish comfort food on a cold winter night, give this a try.

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Veggie miso noodle soup for a rainy winter night

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Winter is here in San Francisco…it’s pitch black by 5pm and we’re in the middle of a week of non-stop (but much needed) rain. My husband has a cold. So it is definitely the right time to curl up with a hot bowl (or three) of this comforting soup! Start with a flavorful miso broth, add lots of veggies (including fresh carrot and zucchini, daikon radish which has a wonderful mellow flavor when cooked, sweet corn and snap peas) and some nice starchy rice noodles…what’s not to love? Serves 2 hungry people as a one-bowl meal.

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Easy roasted winter squash soup

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As promised, a recipe for your leftovers from my last post, roasted winter squash. This silky, comforting soup whips up super-fast and is the perfect bowl of soup to curl up with on a chilly fall day, or to serve with a festive meal. The caramelized onion, thyme, paprika and cinnamon  flavors from the squash mingle beautifully in this soup, and the addition of coconut milk gives it a wonderful rich flavor. If you don’t have a stick blender (a super handy kitchen tool!) then puree in a blender. Serves 3-4, more like 2 if you’re having seconds!

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Easy gazpacho for an unseasonably warm day

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We got a nice little bit of Indian summer in the Bay Area this past weekend, after several chilly days that felt like early winter (well, winter in SF anyway). So instead of the hot dinner I’d planned on making, I decided to celebrate what might be summer’s last hurrah with the classic summery cold soup: gazpacho. There are so many variations on this theme out there: some thicken it with bread crumbs, others use lots of garlic and hot spice, but I wanted to go for something fresh and flavorful yet mellow in this recipe. This version lets the perfect  tomato essence shine through, complemented by the clean crunchiness of cucumber and red bell pepper, with a hint of cilantro and purple onion for a nice little bite. The sweet paprika adds a little je ne sais quoi, pulling all the flavors together. Makes 4 servings as a first course, serves 2 if it’s your main dish.

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A simple white bean stew – healthy comfort food

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Not sure why I seem to be on a white bean kick at the moment, but hopefully you’re not sick of them yet! My husband has been asking me to dust off the slow cooker (received it as a gift from my mother-in-law – so useful!) and make a hearty soup, so this weekend it finally happened. This comforting, starchy, nostalgic-tasting soup is loosely inspired by cholent, a traditional Jewish Sabbath stew that has a very interesting multicultural history (read about it here)…minus the meat/eggs. Super easy to put together, and even more so if you have a slow cooker – you can just throw all the ingredients in, set it and go to sleep…and then wake up to the wonderful smell of delicious hot soup! (Yes, soup for breakfast works for me!) Makes a nice large batch, easily enough for 6-8 people, just cut recipe in half or freeze the leftovers for later.

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