August 18, 2017

Persian Yogurt Cucumber Soup

Posted in Soups at 8:09 am by Sheila OConnell


  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried rose petals, crushed (optional)
  • 2 cups 2 percent plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and finely diced (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Ground sumac, for garnish (optional)


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 10 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover the rose petals with cold water and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain the petals and squeeze dry.

Step 3

In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt with the ice water. Stir in the raisins, cucumber, mint, dill, chives, walnuts and rose petals and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until very cold, about 1 hour. Serve the soup in shallow bowls, sprinkled with sumac.





February 17, 2017

Pumpkin curry soup

Posted in Soups, Vegetables at 3:37 pm by Sheila OConnell

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
2 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 cups pumpkin puree (canned, or I guess you could use fresh if you really have nothing else to do with your time that day)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (sometimes I use 2 cups of each)
1 14-oz can coconut milk, stirred or whisked in a bowl until mostly smooth
Optional: a cup or two of cooked chopped chicken, if you have it around and want some extra protein

Garnishing options:
toasted pumpkin seeds
cilantro leaves
fresh lime juice
sour cream

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook until tender, about 4 or 5 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in curry, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and season with salt and pepper.

Stir in pumpkin puree and brown sugar.  Whisk in stock and bring to boil.  (If you are adding cooked chicken you can do it now.)  Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.  Add coconut milk and cook over low heat until warmed through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve in bowls and garnish with any or all of the above garnishing options.



November 19, 2015

Black bean soup

Posted in Soups, Vegetables at 11:22 am by Sheila OConnell

The title is misleading because there are so many other things in this soup besides black beans. I created this by merging two different recipes. You could leave out just about any of the ingredients – except the black beans!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium size onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large or two small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups broth; can use chicken broth or vegetable broth (I like to use 2 cups of each kind)
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp brandy or sherry, or 1/4 cup wine
salt and pepper (I use about 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
half of a fresh lime
sour cream (optional)
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

In a large pot, saute diced onion in olive oil for about 3 minutes, then add minced garlic for about 30 seconds. Add diced sweet potato and toss in the oil. Add broth, bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until sweet potatoes are almost soft. Add beans, tomatoes, alcohol, salt, pepper and cumin and simmer until sweet potatoes are completely soft, about another 8 minutes. Puree the soup (CAREFULLY – IT’S HOT) in a couple of batches in a blender. I use a large bowl to put the first batch in while I puree the second batch, then dump all back into the pot. You don’t have to puree it completely, just to however smooth you might like it.  Turn heat on low and add the corn and red pepper flakes. Simmer 1 – 2 minutes or so until and all is heated. Squeeze in the juice from half a lime and stir.

Serve in bowls and let people add their own chopped fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.

August 12, 2013

Minestrone stew

Posted in Soups, Vegetables at 6:50 pm by Sheila OConnell

Nutrient-dense and delicious!

2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups chicken broth
2 cans diced tomatoes with oregano, basil and garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
Can add other vegs too if you like, perhaps corn, green beans and red pepper strips.
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup whole wheat orzo or elbows
1 tsp basil
3/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp. red wine or 1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, saute onion, celery and carrot for 5 minutes in olive oil.
Add everything else except spinach and Parmesan, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer gently for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add spinach leaves and cook for a couple of minutes until tender.
Ladle into bowls and serve with Parmesan cheese.



December 30, 2012

Seafood chowder

Posted in Fish, Soups at 9:03 pm by Sheila OConnell

2 cans chicken broth
1 med onion, chopped
2-3 med potatoes (diced)
1/3 lb scallops
3/4 lb white fish (cod, haddock, etc)
1/3 lb cooked shrimp
1/2 lb crab (I like the imitation)
1 small lobster (optional)
1 small light cream
Butter, flour
I suggest you skip the lobster
If shrimp needs to be cooked, wash and devein then steam for 2-3 minutes
Rinse fish, scallops, etc
Cook onion and potatoes in broth 10-15 minutes
Add fish and scallops cook 5 minutes.
Add rest of seafood, cook on low or shut off
In separate pan melt 2 tlbs butter and add 1 tbls flour.
Mix well, then add 1 cup cream, cook on low heat till thickened. Add slowly to chowder.
Heat to serve.
Posted by Dad / Sophie

June 15, 2011

Broccoli-Potato Soup with Fresh Herbs

Posted in Soups at 5:48 pm by Sheila OConnell

This was in the cookbook that Jeff got me for Christmas. Dad, don’t lose faith in the vegans until you’ve given this a try. I halved the recipe and got three nice-sized bowls out of it. I didn’t have fresh mint or tarragon, but used a little extra dill and was happy.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • several pinches freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 cups vegetable stock, or 4 cups veggie plus 2 water
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli (including the stalks–chop them into thin slices and the tops into small florets)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion in the olive oil for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, tarragon, pepper, and salt, and cook for another minute. Pour in the stock and add the potatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and let soup simmer for 15 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for 15 more minutes.
Blend about one-third of the soup. (Use an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and then mix back in.) It’s nice to keep it chunky with lots of whole potato pieces. Add the fresh dill and mint, then let the soup sit for about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.
Posted by Sophie

March 3, 2010

Ham and Bean Soup

Posted in Soups at 8:40 pm by Sheila OConnell

I made up this recipe and experimented a few times until I got it the way I like it.  I like using canned beans because I don’t feel like planning ahead to soak dried beans overnight.  That’s too much of a commitment.


   One clove garlic, minced

   1 onion, chopped

   2 tbsp olive oil

   32 oz low sodium chicken broth

   2 cups peeled diced potatoes

   ½ can petite diced tomatoes

   2 cans white beans

   ¼ lb cooked ham, diced

   Baby spinach leaves, a couple of handfuls

   2 tbsp light cream


Drain liquid from tomatoes into blender. Add half a can of beans and puree.  (Or just mash beans with tomato juice in a bowl.) Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until soft. Add chicken broth, potatoes and half a can of tomatoes. Bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer until potatoes are soft.  Add ham, beans and bean puree and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add a couple of big handfuls of spinach and the light cream.  Simmer a few minutes until spinach wilts. 

You can change the proportions of this any way you want, throw in other vegetables, don’t use cream, etc., and  it will still be good.  You can usually find a thick slice of ham pre-packaged in the grocery store, or ask the deli counter for ¼ lb of ham sliced thick.

Posted by Mom