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Late Summer Vegetable Soup with Peppery Croutons

Summer is the longest season in Central Texas. Lucky for us, that means we can still find some of summer’s vegetable bounty at our local farmers market in October.

This soup is a great way to make the most out of your late summer vegetables. Feel free to add in some diced tomatoes, leafy greens or your favorite protein.

Late Summer Vegetable Soup with Peppery Croutons  

8 Servings

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3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 carrot, diced

3 teaspoons fresh thyme

2 teaspoons fresh oregano

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 cup fresh green beans, cut into bite size pieces

1 zucchini, cut into bite size pieces

1 yellow squash, cut into bite size pieces

1 ear of fresh corn, kernels removed

6 cups vegetable or chicken broth

pinch of cayenne pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

 

Heat the oil in a 6 quart stockpot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the shallots, red bell pepper, garlic and carrot. Saute for 4 minutes. Next, add the herbs and season with salt. Finally, add in the green beans, zucchini, squash and corn. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Season again with salt and a pinch of cayenne. Finally, add in the broth. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes and serve with peppery croutons and Parmesan cheese.

 

Croutons

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

3 cups 1/2-inch cubes crust-less sourdough bread (about 8 ounces)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt

1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper

 

Heat the butter in pan over medium heat until bubbly. Add the bread and cook until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Remove and immediately sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve atop vegetable soup.

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Cooking with Seasonal Produce: Bok Choy

Whether the weather in Central Texas is indicating it or not, the Fall season is officially here. It’s the season when we start thinking about pumpkins and heartier holiday dishes like chili, apple pie, and pot roast. We always look forward to this time of year. Our culinary artist within comes alive with the anticipation of creating new recipes and dishes and sharing them with our friends and family.

Have you ever thought about why some dishes are more popular during the current season? Why do we always have pumpkin pie in the Fall or tomato salad in Summer? It is because of the seasonality of produce. Eating vegetables and fruits that are “in season” have so many benefits:

  • You get a broader variety of foods in your diet.
  • You save money (seasonal produce is less expensive).
  • You get the best tasting, healthiest food available because they are picked when ripe and travel a shorter distance to get to you, the customer.
  • You end up supporting local, more sustainable farmers ( Downtown Waco Farmers Market ).

How do we know what is really “in season” in our area? The local farmers market is a great resource! The produce offered by these local farmers is all seasonal. We make a point to go every week and see what is available, and even chat with the vendors to see what they will have in the following weeks. (Another great resource: Seasonal Food Guide )

Last week we picked up some fresh Bok Choy from The Home Grown Farm. This Chinese vegetable, which is a cross between romaine lettuce and cabbage, is very versatile. Serve it raw in salads, add it to soup, or just saute and serve as a side dish, which is what we did! What’s great about Bok Choy is you can use the whole vegetable. Talk about getting your money’s worth.

Sauteed Bok Choy

Serves 4

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½ cup water
1 ½ teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
2 teaspoons avocado or extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
1 lb. bok choy
pinch of coarse sea salt
Sesame Seeds, optional for garnish

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk water and tamari in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan over high heat.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook just until they begin to sizzle, tilting the pan so the aromatics and the oil get a little bath, all in all just about 30 seconds.
  4. Immediately add the greens along with pinch of salt to the pan and stir to coat greens with garlic and ginger.
  5. Add the reserved soy sauce mixture and cook just until the greens begin to wilt, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately.