Tag Archives: community center classes

Soup’s On!

When it’s damp & cold like today all I want is a big bowl of hot soup. The great thing about soup is you can throw all the ingredients in a crockpot overnight or while you’re at work. Here are 3 of my faves, all vegan, low-fat and high-fiber. 

Kale & Yam Soup, above, and Parsnip-Celery Soup, below (my photo).

The Parsnip Celery Soup will be featured in my upcoming community education classes, “Healthful Holiday Dishes”, being offered at both Inver Grove Heights Community Center and Robbinsdale Middle School, Sat Nov 3 11.30am and Wed Nov 7 6.30pm, respectively. Register now! (I’ll post links and lesson plan later today.)

PARSNIP & CELERY SOUP. Vegan, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly. Made this last spring for St Patrick’s Day and it’s a winner. Incredibly comforting and kid-friendly. I didn’t find a recipe that was perfect (ie dairy-free) after looking online for 5 minutes, so I combined two similar recipes for Parsnip Soup w/ Leeks & Parsley and Celery & Parsnip Soup with Green Onion & Dill Matzo Balls. I wanted to combine celery & parsnip b/c one has starch and the other has fiber, and parsnips have more complex carbs than potatoes. They’re also naturally very sweet.  I also wanted to stretch parsnips which shrink when cooked.

These recipes follow a basic formula for making pureed soup: saute, boil, puree. That’s why I know I can combine them. To customize, I’m skipping the leeks and matzo balls — so it’s a gluten-free soup — and retaining the parsley coulis. I substitute olive oil for butter and skip the cream. You don’t miss the cream at all.

KALE & YAM SOUP. Vegan, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly. A thick green pureed soup with, count ‘em, 2 Super Foods in a bowl. A nice hot immune-system booster (vs cold smoothies). Flavored with sage & caramelized onions, this is from the “Love Soup” cookbook. I certainly Love that book. The author recommends Japanese yams which are particularly sweet & fragrant, but regular are fine, too. The extreme green-ness may put off some picky people but some clients adore this. It makes you feel healthy and fills you up.

Posole soup with plenty of crunchy garnishes is a hearty Meal in a Bowl (photo from a website).

MEXICAN POSOLE WITH HOMINY & BEANS. Vegan, Gluten-free, fairly Paleo-friendly. Posole is a terrific pepper-based soup/stew with hominy, to which I’m adding beans for protein. Medium spicy. Absolutely life-giving on a wet day. Unlike the 2 pureed soups above, it’s full of texture and bright spices. It’s traditionally made with pork (so good!) but this vegan version is great IMO. Ground guajillo pepper is the main flavoring agent. You can find this in cellophane pkgs along with other spices, herbs & whole dried peppers in a Hispanic grocery/deli, or the Hispanic aisle of a big inner-city regular grocery or Asian grocery. Little Hispanic grocery stores are found in a lot of Mpls & St Paul neighborhoods and are fun to explore. For example, you’ll find cheap RIPE avocadoes that you can actually eat right away!

About pureeing soup: you’ll need a blender or a food processor. I love my immersion blender cuz it’s one less thing to wash, and having to keep depressing the button strengthens my grip. Ha ha.


Cooking Classes at The Grove: Kale. It’s What’s for Dinner.

I will be offering a couple more cooking classes this winter at Inver Grove Hts Community Center (south east suburb). I taught some this past fall (see previous posts from Oct). We’re going to be focusing on Kale and possibly Quinoa. I’m always advocating for the leafy green veggies like kale, collard greens, turnip green, beet greens, et al. Check out my Delivered Dish of the Week menu archives: I’ve served up dozens of dishes with these greens this past year, and more are coming!

Clockwise from top: "Dino" Lacinato kale, collard greens, turnip greens, red radishes in center. Photo by Brad Dahlgaard 2009.

These sturdy greens, many in the cabbage (cruciferous) family, are much more nutritious than salad greens, which are mostly water. There’s so much you can do to incorporate these versatile and super-nutritious greens into easy dishes & soups, and, to enjoy all by themselves.

For instance, see my recipe for Super Green Split Pea Soup (scroll down a few entries). Another really nice one is Kale & Yam pureed soup which I got from the “Love Soup” cookbook and made for DDoW clients in November.

I love to pair kale/collards with yam aka sweet potatoes — the sweetness and starch of yam complements the greens. And, you get 2 superfoods in one dish. The upcoming Mafe Stew for DDoW is a good example.

The cooking class students will make 4 different Kale dishes in one session, such as raw in salad, braised with beans, and also baked kale ‘chips’. Kale is also used in fruit & veg smoothies, and no, they don’t taste like pureed salad!

The Grove has a big community room with a kitchen, mostly used by IGH’s senior center programs. The downside is this kitchen lacks a stove!  It does have an oven. I’ll be bringing a large electric wok and probably a hot plate to cook the kale.