Cream of Zucchini Soup

Cream of Zucchini Soup 5

Allow me to tell you the tale of my kitchen.

When we first moved here with the boyfriend, it was more out of convenience than because of the apartment itself. That being said, the location is probably unbeatable. The apartment, on the other hand, is a shoe box. It is all of 40m2 (a little over 400ft2).

The kitchen is practically non-existent. We literally had to move the fridge and the pantry into the living room to even have any working surfaces to speak of.

So it all comes down to this: Working in my miniature down town, old town, rough part of town kitchen is usually a display of culinary virtuosity. Balancing, dodging, fitting things in the most unlikely places (think tetris), endlessly reorganizing the fridge, freezer and pantry, kitty cats trying to get in on the action… It’s exhausting. It also leaves the entire apartment looking as if a bomb had just gone off. Or as if a herd of rhinos had stampeded by. Or as if the biggest football hooligans ever had come here for their after party.

I guess you get the picture.

Why am I telling you this? Well, because Christmas is rolling around faster than anticipated (takes me by surprise every time 😉 ), and Christmas means overfilled kitchens, and overfilled kitchens is not a good thing when you hardly have a kitchen to start with.

So today’s recipe is simple, and the pictures are few and terrible. I apologize. I do. There simply is no more space to take nice pictures with interesting perspectives (all those close-ups are to avoid intruding produce and dishware from making an appearance). You’ll have to bear with me until the holiday season is over (which won’t be until January 6th in Barcelona) and things have gone back to normal.

I can promise you, though, that this little unassuming soup is a thing of beauty. It’s one of the first recipes I ever came up with, and it has been tried and tested to no end. It works, and it’s good. And it’s comforting and warming and – hold on to your pants – healthy!

So go ahead and give it a try.

P.S.: If you like creamy soups, don’t miss out on our Gorgonzola Soup!

Cream of Zucchini Soup 4

Cream of Zucchini Soup

Servings: 5 to 6

Prep time: 15 minutes prep time, 20 minutes cooking time

You will need:

  • 3 medium or 2 large zucchini, peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced, optional
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 12 La Vache qui rit light cheese wedges (about 200gr)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cream of Zucchini Soup 1

If using onion, start by lightly browning it in a pan with some olive oil. When it becomes translucent, add the zucchini and give it a good toss. Again, this step is optional, and the soup will taste great whether you add onion or not.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken or vegetable stock to a boil, then throw in the zucchini (and onion). Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes, but really depending on how big you made your zucchini pieces.

Cream of Zucchini Soup 2

When the zucchini is tender, stir in the cheese wedges until almost completely melted.

Purée.

Cream of Zucchini Soup 3

Stir in the herbs, then taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 3

I prefer to make this soup ahead, as some resting time really allows the flavors to blend. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor, but hey, it’s up to you.

Eat up as it is, or serve with crusty bread or croutons.

Enjoy! 🙂

Clara

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Feta and Herb Sweet Potatoes

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 5

Short and sweet is the motto for today. Thanksgiving is around the corner, fall is slowly sputtering out, and the Christmas lights of downtown Barcelona are already shining merrily through my bedroom window. The frantic pre-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas activity is wearing me down and driving me up the walls at the same time, but holiday season is on, and I love it.

So, short and sweet it is. Today’s recipe would be amazing as a lighter Thanksgiving side dish, or as a fall-themed dish for any day of the week, really. And trust me when I say, it’s good. It’s very, very good, and even half way healthy.

And I may or may not have eaten the whole tray all by myself.

Do yourself a favor, and make this. It comes together amazingly fast, and the oven does half the work anyway. Did I mention it´s good?

Let’s get the show on the road.

For another feta cheese recipe, check out these Feta Bites. You’ll thank me later 🙂

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 6

Feta and Herb Sweet Potatoes

(Adapted from the incoparable William Sonoma)

Servings: 2 large or 3 small

Prep time: 45 minutes, 30 minutes of which are baking time

You will need:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • olive oil to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 100 gr feta cheese, crumbled
  • about 1/3 to 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons dried herbs, preferably thyme or herbes de provence, but really any Mediterranean herb you have at hand
  • juice of 1 lemon

First off, wash and peel your sweet potatoes and slice them into 1/2 inch thick pieces. You can cut them thinner if you like, but you’ll have to adjust the baking time accordingly.

Arrange the sweet potato slice in a singly layer on a baking-paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle (or drown, if your from the Mediterranean) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the baking sheet with aluminium foil and bake on high for 20 minutes.

Remove and discard the aluminium foil.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 3

Up to this point, we’ve prepared your average ol’ baked sweet potato. Now let’s take this puppy over the top.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 2

Sprinkle the dish with your herbs of choice (thyme really does make the best addition, but I’ve used plenty of other herbs and they all yield delicious results) and the crumbled feta cheese, making sure all your slice get some of the fun. Now, you can sprinkle the pine nuts on top whole, or can crumble them up a bit with a pestle and mortar, as I like to, since it allows for better distributing, and helps blend the flavors a bit more.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 1

Once you’ve finished all your sprinkling, place the baking sheet back in the oven for another 8 or 10 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown nicely, or until you can’t resist the smell wafting through your kitchen any longer.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 4

Drizzle the lemon juice over everything, and serve. And eat.

Enjoy!

Clara

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 7