Sunday, September 23, 2018

This Week's CSA Box: Soup's On!

Whoo hoo!  The temps are moderating and that means it is officially soup season.  Anyone who knows me at all, however, knows that I serve my family soup year-round.  It's one of the easiest ways to use up bits and pieces of leftover veggies and s-t-r-e-t-c-h those food dollars.  So, although my family indulges in bowls chock full of health-infused goodness every week, I recognize that for most of you, the cool temperatures signify the arrival of the cook's clarion call of "Soup's On!"

Here's What We Got: 

kale - 2 bags 
tomatoes - 5
spaghetti squash - 1 medium 
corn - 6 ears
green apples - a nice batch - yum!
baking potatoes - 2 large 
sweet potatoes - 2 large 
purple daikon radishes - a nice bunch 
yellow onion - 1 large 
yellow peppers - 2 
cucumber - 1 
baby buttercup squash - 1 medium 
yellow summer squash - 1 

A note on the tomatoes:  A couple were a little under-ripe.  If you get tomatoes that aren't quite ripe, no worries!  Just set them in a sunny window for a couple of days.  They will naturally finish ripening.  If you have yellow tomatoes, check them to see if they are actually ripe and ready to eat!  Some tomatoes are actually supposed to be yellow!  These are wonderfully sweet tomatoes and are lower in acidity than the traditional yellow version.  There are also naturally green, purple, and mottled varieties of heirloom tomatoes. 

What to do with it: 


Let's deal with that bunch of purple daikon radishes first.  For those of you unfamiliar with this amazingly beautiful vegetable, back in May I devoted an entire post to reviewing its glories.  I give you recipe ideas and dish on all the benefits of eating it.  DON'T throw away those leaves!  They are edible and really delicious!  Here's a link to the post. 


Butternut and Apple Harvest Soup:  I  LOVE the velvety richness of squash soup!  This version is blended until smooth and has a base of chicken stock.  I'll just substitute vegetable broth.  I know the recipe calls for butternut squash.  But, the buttercup is a very appropriate substitute.  It uses onion, squash, potatoes, and apples from the box. 

Summer vegetable black bean soup:  Black bean soup is a staple in our house.  I made this today in the pressure cooker.  (For my recommendation on the best pressure cooker to buy, scroll to the bottom of this post.)  The recipe uses the yellow summer squash, 1 pepper, onion, tomato, and corn from the box.  

CORN TIP:  Here's a quick and easy way to prep the corn for the black bean soup.  Don't shuck it!  Put it in the microwave and cook on "high" for 3 minutes for 1 ear of corn.  Let it cool a few minutes and then shuck it.  The kernels will be perfectly cooked and come off the ear easily.  Use a sharp knife to remove the corn kernels for the soup.  

Slow Cooker Zucchini Soup:  This recipe calls for sausage.  But, I have my meat-free sausage that I found on clearance at Kroger a few weeks ago!  Yay!  It will be the perfect substitution for our no-meat household.   This soup uses zucchini and tomatoes from the box - although I will add more veggies.  When you click on the post, check out a few of the over 400 reviews for suggestions of ingredient substitutions that other folks have made. 


Chunky Vegetarian Vegetable Soup

When you have a variety of veggies on hand, a great big batch of thick and hearty vegetable soup is always a good idea! Both of these soups are from the Allrecipes website.  They use several of the vegetables from this week's box. 

Recommended Products: 

(This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase I will be compensated.)  

Vegetable Broth:

 This product is the ONLY vegetable broth cube that I recommend!!  If you are trying to cut sodium, and who isn't these days, then this is the best product that I have found. It tastes amazing and is just  140 mg. of sodium per serving.  Do NOT get the full sodium version!  It contains nearly 1000 mg of sodium per serving!  Most bullion or broth cubes are simply flavored salt. 

Pressure Cookers:  

 I have had some reader questions about pressure cooking.  I use my cooker multiple times every single week.  The convenience is amazing!  It's quick, easy, and food tastes fantastic!  This is not your Grandma's pressure cooker. 

Here is my personal recommendation and favorite! 

Let me preface this by saying that I do not own an Instant Pot. My sister does though and she brought it along on her last visit.  We used it every day.  So, I have seen and used this unit.  The buttons are seriously easy to read and understand.  It has multiple power functions.  You can simmer, slow cook, steam, pressure cook, or make rice or yogurt all with the push of a button!  The interior is all stainless steel.  There are no non-stick surfaces to worry about and no chemicals, chipping, or peeling.  The 8 quart is the perfect size for a large family.  But, the 6 quart will do nicely for 2 - 4 people.  This unit is also the best cost value!

You can find well-researched advice on models, options, pros, and cons at Best Reviews.  This website has a huge data base of products and services.  It's easy to navigate and free to access.    Here's a link to their pressure cooker page:

Happy cooking and enjoy the cooler weather and the colors of autumn!  

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