Thursday, May 19, 2011

Notes from Nikki-Soup It's What's for Dinner

I am so happy to once again be able to share CSA member Nikki Graham's amazing recipes for items included in your share (or from the farmstand). It is a sign that CSA season is just around the corner. In fact, CSA members should be on the look out for an email about a "soft" opening next week and the official start of the season either June 6th or June 8th, depending on your pick up day.

Soup: It's What's for Dinner (and Dessert)

I am so excited to be writing my first recipes of the season! A visit to Inverbrook this past Friday provided all the inspiration I needed to get back into the kitchen, despite our hectic spring schedule. We loaded our market bags with asparagus, spinach, mint, rhubarb, and eggs. I hope you enjoy the following two soup recipes made with our Inverbrook bounty: one savory, and one sweet. We indulged in both on the same night. It was a soup soiree!

Asparagus Soup
3-4 Tbsp good quality, extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 small-medium shallots, sliced
Red pepper flakes to taste
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
4 bunches asparagus, woody ends snapped off and discarded, tops snapped off and reserved, stalks snapped or sliced into 1.5-2 inch pieces
4-6 C chicken or vegetable broth (more if you want a thinner soup, less for a thicker version)
3 large handfuls fresh spinach leaves, washed well
Generous splash of cream or half-and-half (optional)
Shaved parmesan for garnishing (you can also finish each bowl with a drizzle of good quality olive oil or a dollop of creme fraiche)

1. Saute the garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and pepper in olive oil until fragrant.
2. Add the asparagus stalks, and saute until the stalks brighten and the shallots have softened.
3. Add the broth, turn up the heat, and bring to a simmer.
4. Simmer until the asparagus is tender, but still has color (about 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks).
5. Meanwhile, saute the asparagus tops in 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil, and a dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper until just barely tender. Set aside.
6. Turn off the heat, and add in the spinach, stirring to incorporate and wilt.
7. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup.
8. Add in the cream or half-and-half (if using), taste, and adjust the seasoning.
9. Ladle into bowls, topping each bowl with the parmesan (or other aforementioned garnishes), and some of the sauteed asparagus tops.
10. Serve with crusty french bread if desired, and enjoy!

Serves 6-8

Raspberry Rhubarb Soup
(I found this recipe on, and adjusted the amounts to my liking. The ingredients are virtually the same though. I also cooked and prepared the dish a bit differently. My version is below. Here is the link to the original version:

12 oz. fresh raspberries (plus more for garnish), rinsed
8-10 stalks fresh rhubarb, trimmed and sliced
1/2 C raw sugar
1/2 of a vanilla bean, sliced open
4 C water
Mint sprigs for garnish
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

1. Combine the rhubarb, sugar, vanilla bean, and water in a saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer until the rhubarb is very tender.
3. Turn off the heat, and add the raspberries.
4. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.
5. Taste and add more sugar if you wish.
6. Chill the soup for several hours or overnight.
7. Serve in a bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream; a sprig of mint; and a few fresh, whole raspberries.

Serves 6-8

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