simple {garden} vegetable soup

if you’re a vegetable lover like me, there comes a time about once every two weeks or so when you have a collection of them left over in your refrigerator: a quarter of cabbage, half a cauliflower, some carrots, a zucchini or two, a few stalks of celery, mushrooms, maybe some asparagus, a small bunch of parsley….that’s what i found in my produce drawer when i was looking for inspiration tonight for creating a much needed comforting dinner. the decision was easy: it would be just what we needed at the end of a long and coldish day- a pot loaded with lots of good ingredients simmered together long enough to create that familiar flavor only a good vegetable soup can deliver. it is easy to prepare and soothingly delicious, with an ingredient list as fluid as the soup itself- you can use any and all vegetables you have available. i love to add a good sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to round out the flavors just before digging in. oh, joy!

(very flexible) ingredients for 6-8 servings:

  • 4-5 cups good (preferably homemade) vegetable or chicken broth (see recipes here-vegetarian & here-chicken)
  • 1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (for spicy-optional)
  • a small bunch of fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, &/or rosemary)
  • 3-4 leeks, sliced in half, then sliced and washed (soaked in water to remove dirt) or 1 large onion cubed
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes, cubed (or 1 cup stewed tomatoes)
  • 3-4 cups cubed (about the same size vegetables of choice)
  • good parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • {in this case: 1/4 small cabbage, 1/2 small cauliflower, 2 zucchini’s, about 10 asparagus stalks, 3-4 celery stalks, 8-10 crimini mushrooms, leeks, 1 carrot, parsley, ripe roma tomatoes-choose organic if/when possible}
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hearty yogurt soup {ash-e-mast}: the mushroom soup that wasn’t

persian yogurt soup or ash

on making ash~a deliciously comforting and hearty yogurt soup:

the plan is to make a nice and creamy mushroom soup for dinner with the left over mushrooms from the ragout served at my dinner party a few nights ago. i even go as far as chopping the onion and slicing a few mushrooms before my mind begins to wander towards the fragrant bag of dried tarragon my mom recently brought back from her visit home. i briefly consider adding some to my soup before i find myself rummaging through  the refrigerator where i promptly find two nice bunches of cilantro, a bunch of korean chives (how good are those), and some flat leaf parsley. wow, who knew? all i can think of at this point is how badly i want (almost need) to make ash-e-mast (yogurt soup) the way my grandma made it: thick, hearty, fragrant, creamy, and loaded with tarragon. that is how my mind works- i just can’t help myself….can’t seem to stick to the (menu) plan most of the time! at this point, i have no choice but to make ash-e-mast. no spinach? check the freezer just in case. still no spinach. well, then, it’ll have to be a spinach-less ash. i say goodbye to the mushrooms (with just a tiny bit of guilt), and promise to use them soon in some sauce or other. out comes the dutch oven, a few grains of rice, split peas, turmeric. before i know it, i’m surrounded with the overwhelmingly familiar scents of {home}. and oh i miss my grandma so.

preparing ash-e-mast for 6-8:

 

yogurt soup

  • 1/2-1 cup long grain (basmati) rice
  • 1/2 cup slow cooking yellow split peas (lappeh)
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced and fried (see method for making piaz dagh)
  • 2 cups roughly chopped organic cilantro
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions or chives
  • 1 cup roughly chopped organic flat leaf parsley
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup of fresh tarragon leaves (or slightly less dry tarragon)
  • 1-2 cups yogurt (european style) adjust amount to taste
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 4-5 cups good (preferably) home made chicken/beef/or vegetarian stock (chicken stock or broth)
  • 3-4 cups water Continue reading
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