No Stock Vegetable Soup and Zucchini with Onions and Tumeric
A few months ago, Batya gave us some leftover vegetable soup she had made. It had all kinds of vegetables in it (and I'm not sure if I'm going to remember all of them!): carrots, celery, fennel, butternut squash (I think), onions, and she may have used some fresh dill. She simply mixed the vegetables with water and spices and simmered. No chicken or beef stock. This inspired me to experiment, myself. Chicken and beef stock taste great, but they both contain a good amount of fat. Plus, they make you fleshig. Problem. Boullion cubes for me are out of the question: aside from all kinds of preservatives, most contain a ton of sugar (often disguised with names like dextrose, etc.). Also a problem. Tonight I decided to try my hand at a vegetable soup without stock, Batya-style. If I have to say so myself, it tasted really great! The tricks to making a tasty soup without stock are: 1) Choosing a combination of sweet and savory flavorful vegetables, 2) using the right amount of seasoning, and 3) simmering the soup for a very long time to lock in the flavors.
My mom is a master cook. Growing up, my father had all kinds of health challenges, including a very tempermental gall bladder. I remember when he would have gall bladder attacks and he'd be laid out for the night in so much pain. This was pre-laparoscopic surgery. My mom had to develop dishes using very little or no fat. Boy oh boy, did she rise to the challenge! She developed a whole repertoire of delicious meals fit for a king--a health-conscious king at that! When I started trying my hand at no-fat recipes, I thought of my mom's great methods and took it from there.
Today I was in the mood for zucchini. For a while now I have been cooking up vegetable dishes with onions and tomatoes as a base, then adding zucchini or green beans. Today I wasn't in the mood for tomatoes so I thought I would experiment. This recipe was very simple--saute the onions at a medium heat in water, add the zucchini and cook until medium crispy. The spices? Indian-based: onion powder, salt, cumin, tumeric and a bit of curry. I have to say it was delicious! Like the soup above, the main trick here is slow cooking. Here, since the zucchini is prepared in a pan, the slower you cook it, the better the vegetables caramelize. Yum!
Here are the recipes below:
Easy No Stock Vegetable Soup
1 5-lb bag carrots, peeled and chopped OR 1 small bag baby carrots
6 stalks of celery
1/2 can corn
3 cloves of garlic
1-2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. onion powder
1 large bunch of dill, checked for insects (for more info go to the Orthodox Union or Star-K websites for instructions on how to check herbs, fruits and vegetables for bugs)
Fill a large cooking pot to almost the top with water. Chop all vegetables. Add spices.
Bring soup to a boil on high heat. Turn heat to medium-low and let simmer for several hours. Soup will really be ready in about an hour or less, but for more flavor, let it simmer longer.
3 medium zucchinis
1 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/4 tsp. curry
Spray a medium size frying pan with cooking spray. Chop onions and place in the pan. Turn to medium heat. When onions start to brown, add about 1/4 cup water. Let cook about 5 minutes then add zucchini and spices. Add more water if you need to so the mixture does not dry out and burn. Each time the water will cook down and cause the vegetables to caramelize a little more. Cook until soft but still a bit crispy, about 8 minutes.