Monthly Archives: July 2017

Zucchini-basil soup

It’s funny the things we self-taught home cooks take as gospel. Leek tops, for instance. How many times have I read a recipe that says, “1 leek, white and light green parts only?” That great dark green headdress gets lopped off first thing, and then what? Occasionally someone suggests saving the greens for the stockpot, but otherwise they go unmentioned and unused. This has led to more than one of my friends believing that leek greens are inedible.

So let it be known: The green parts are edible! Leek tops are just as flavorful and useful as the bulbs. They’re a bit more fibrous, but that’s easy to get around by cooking them long enough. And they’ve got the same delicate, almost sugary onion flavor as the bulbs.

If you’ve got allium issues, look to leek greens–like scallion tops and chives, they are low in FODMAPs. But unlike scallions and chives, they’re sturdy enough to saute or sweat, which makes them an easy substitute for onions or leek bulbs in a lot of dishes. Anywhere you’d start with a saute of aromatics–perhaps a mirepoix, or just a simple onion base–leek tops can provide. The flavor is milder than onions, and the greens mellow to a muted green color when cooked. For soups and stews, particularly, I find them indispensable.

Take this soup. I had zucchini that needed using, and this Serious Eats recipe on my mind. The recipe calls for one large leek, and I knew the green tops would work just as well as the white bottoms. So I sliced up the greens from one splendidly headdressed leek, and cooked them low and slow in a covered pan with some olive oil until they softened and turned jammy. Add some zucchini, fresh basil, water, and seasonings, simmer for a while, blend, and voila–a simple, summery soup that comes together surprisingly fast.

zucchini basil soup 1

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Parsley, cabbage, and carrot salad

Meet my new favorite summer potluck dish. It might look like just a simple salad. But I’ve yet to bring it to a party where it doesn’t quickly disappear. Oh, and it happens to be vegan (if you use vegan sugar), gluten-free, and low-FODMAP. How’s that for a crowd-pleaser?

Here’s the thing about bringing salad to a cookout. When you’ve got lots of burgers and hot dogs and chips and salsa, you need something fresh and veggie-packed for balance. For me, traditional coleslaw is too mayonnaise-y to be refreshing. Lettuce salads get soggy after sitting for a while. And one can only eat so many baby carrots in one’s life. This, friends, is the answer.

The first time I made this salad, it was totally improvised. I grabbed what looked good at the grocery store–a bunch of parsley, a bunch of scallions, a carrot, and a head of red cabbage. As it turns out, that combination of vegetables, combined with a sweet and lightly spiced vinaigrette, was exactly what my friends were craving. Folks were piling salad on plates and eating it with their fingers.

parsley carrot cabbage salad 1

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