Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rustic Cabbage Soup. Because the oncologist prescribed an "all-cabbage diet."

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  If you want to maximize flavor and health in one easy meal (and who doesn't?) I implore you to try this soup!!

"Rustic Cabbage Soup"
It's called "Rustic Cabbage Soup" and it will be THE meal I bring to new moms from now on.  Flavorful and hearty - yet SUPER healthy - it's just perfect.  Perfect, perfect, perfect.  Even more perfect for autumn or winter but still in the summertime:  Perfect.

The protein is in *bean* form and that means this soup is great for lowering-cholesterol - and for avoiding meat generally, which is increasingly popular even among non-vegetarians.  Add to that the soup is chalk full of cabbage and you've got yourself a bowl of health.  Cabbage is a cruciferous veggie (like kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc) and as such, it's (at least allegedly) great for cancer prevention.  Now that my husband is practicing oncology full time (read: double time in fellowship) he comes home at night asking me how I can eat healthier because "we'd be screwed if anything happened to you."  So sweet :)  Slightly unnerving...  When I mentioned that cabbage is supposed to be good for cancer prevention, he declared I should be on an "all-cabbage diet."  Probably not realistic, but I promise this soup will get you closer ;)

Anyway here's one great way to get lots of cabbage and still fill up on protein.  And I promise you:  It's truly tasty.  The cabbage and potatoes soak up the briny broth flavor while the beans add substance.  Even my 22 month old gobbled it up - which was fabulous because he got protein, veggies, and starch in one super easy reheatable meal.  I'm sure it freezes well too.  This recipe is a gem.

Rustic Cabbage Soup (makes a full stock pot, can freeze some)

2 tbsp olive oil, plus more as needed
2 large pinches salt, plus pepper to taste
4 large or 8 small cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
1 large yellow onion, chopped bite-sized
1 lb potatoes (your favorite kind) skin on, cut into 1/4 inch(ish) pieces
10 cups of stock (your favorite kind)**
2 cans white (cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 head cabbage (or as much as you can fit in the soup) bite-sized
Parmesan to top (if desired)

** I used "Better than Bouillon" vegetable base.  Although it would be fine to just pick up 5 cans of vegetable broth from the soup section, this stuff (also in the soup section) tastes better and takes up WAY less kitchen space.  It's condensed so you add water (I believe 1 tsp per cup of water; it says on the jar) - to make broth.

  1. Warm the olive oil and salt in a large stock pot.  Add potatoes and cook covered until softened (about 5 minutes covered).  It's okay to open the pot to stir the potatoes or to add more olive oil.
  2. Add the garlic and onion, and saute a bit longer until onion is soft (10 mins?  okay to walk away).
  3. Add the stock and simmer until you are sure that the potatoes and onion are softened to your liking.  For a creamier soup, add the beans with the stock; otherwise, add them with the cabbage just so that they heat through (that's what I do).  Add the cabbage and simmer another few minutes; the cabbage will soften quickly.  
  4. Taste and add salt or other seasonings as desired or needed (I added nothing).  Serve topped with parmesan if desired (I did not).  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Raspberry-Buttermilk Sherbert

This summer I've been on a homemade ice cream kick.  We have the Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Attachment and it's really getting some use.  But while I indulge in ice cream, I can't leave my husband without a heart-healthier frozen treat.  Luckily, there's a wonderful world of sherbert and sorbets out there, providing us healthy opportunities to harvest summer's best fruit in cold, crave-worthy treats.  Here's just one great recipe:

Raspberry-Buttermilk Sherbert

2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups buttermilk*
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
As always, feel free to add Benefiber Powder to any recipe (to lower cholesterol)

Process berries in a food processor until smooth.  If you wish to discard the seeds (not necessary, but probably preferable) run the berry puree through a mesh strainer, like this one.  The puree will likely be too thick to work itself through, so add the buttermilk directly to the strainer and stir it up, then scrape the seeds out of the way and work the liquids down.  Stir in the sugar and vanilla.  Process in your ice cream maker.  Freeze until solid.  Enjoy.

*Buttermilk is a misnomer.  Buttermilk was the name given for milk left over after butter was churned.  It will be either fat free (I used fat free) or have minimal fat.  The calcium content is about the same as milk, and it has additional health benefits (good source of potassium, B12, riboflavin, and phosphorus).

Of course, raspberries are a superfood!  So ignoring the sugar, I actually don't mind giving this to my toddler as a treat!

For a slightly richer treat, substitute part of the buttermilk for heavy cream.  For a slightly more exotic treat, add a dash of salt and serve sprinkled with fresh cracked pepper.