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cold kale summer squash soup

Friday, 14 Aug 2009
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Though kale is usually a winter plant, I've been seeing it very frequently at the farmer's market this summer-- maybe it's due to all that rain New York had in June.  I first heard of kale a few years ago in an article about super foods and decided we needed to be eating it.   So, I went out and bought some and then got totally intimidated and had no idea what to do with it.  It's a pretty leaf-- dark and mysterious--  but looked more like a decorative plant than something edible.  Turns out my reticence was pretty silly-- it is delicious, so good for you, and easy to cook.

Summer squash doesn't have these problems.  It is so ubiquitous that the challenge in these late days of summer is how to give it some mystery.  I'm not looking to make a rockstar out of a librarian; I just want a sexy librarian.  But then what do you do with a sexy librarian when it is so hot and humid that all you want is to eat ice? Well, I made a cold soup packed with flavor.  El Burrito is training hardcore right now and he needed more than frozen water for fuel, so I found a couple of lighthearted friends (cilantro and lime) for my bookworm zucchini, and they all ended up doing a cumbia with the kale.

Both kale and summer squash are packed with nutrients-- vitamins, fiber, calcium, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, among others.  This soup is very light and refreshing-- low calorie with a super low glycemic load, so pair it up with some whole-wheat bread for a more complete starter.  If you prefer a heartier soup, you could invite a potato to the dance or stir in some cream.

cold kale summer squash soup

1 bunch of black kale, well rinsed and chopped into thin strips
4 medium summer squash, grated (I used zucchini & crookneck squash)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 leek, well rinsed and thinly sliced
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 liter broth (chicken or vegetable)
juice of 2 limes
a bit of olive oil
sea salt
black pepper


First, the leek.  Chop off the green part, and either save it to use later (for example, for some stock) or toss it. Cut a line lengthwise down the leek, about halfway deep into the leek.  Remove the outer layer and then rinse the rest.  Cleaning it this way should remove any dirt that's inside. Chop the leek thinly.  

Heat a bit of oil in a pot over medium-low heat.  Add the chopped leek, and cook until it's translucent.  Add the minced garlic.  After about a minute, add the chopped kale. Saute for a few minutes until wilted.  Add the chicken broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil.  Add the grated squash.  I used a food processor to grate the squash, but you could also just roughly chop it into small pieces to allow for quick cooking.  Return to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for a couple of minutes.  Turn of heat.

Blend the soup.  I use an immersion blender because it's fast and less messy, but you could, of course, use a mixer.  Let cool, preferably overnight.  If it's not so hot that you are melting, you can also serve this soup hot.  

Just prior to serving, add the chopped cilantro and blend again using your immersion blender until it is well incorporated.  Squeeze the two limes directly into the soup.  Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

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Hungry Burro - cold kale summer squash soup

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