Thursday, March 22, 2018

Ina Garten's Parmesan & Pea Risotto

I adore risotto--it's creamy, comforting, and there is something about standing at the stove stirring it, ladling in broth and watching it transform from the hard grains of rice to something delicious. some people find the stirring tedious but I like to take the time to think, or listen to music or an audio book and just wind down and wait for the deliciousness to happen.

I was looking for an Ina Garten risotto to make (I've made her Butternut Squash Risotto and her Chive Risotto Cakes and enjoyed both recipes) and wanted something simple so when I saw "Easy Parmesan Risotto" I was all in. It was only later as I was headed to make it when I saw that the 'easy' part was that it bakes in the oven. That's just not risotto to me, so I used the same basic ingredients but made it on my stove top, audiobook on, wooden stirring spoon in hand. My changes are in red below.

Easy Parmesan Risotto
Adapted from How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten via 
(Serves 4 to 6)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade (I used vegan chicken  stock)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced (I used 2 Tbsp)
(I added 1 Tbsp dried parsley)
2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste (I used a scant 1 tsp sea salt)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
(I garnished with chopped fresh chives)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Add the peas and stir until heated through. Serve hot.

Stove top: Heat the stock in a small saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the white wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice  Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. 

Continue to add the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Remove risotto from the heat and stir in the peas, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve hot, garnished with fresh chives and more freshly ground black pepper.

Notes/Results: Sometimes simple is best and in this case, the Parmesan and peas are perfect in the creamy rice for a simple weeknight comfort food dinner. I think you get a superior texture in stove top risotto but if you don't like the stirring, I am sure than Ina's oven version has it own merits. Do watch the salt--since you are using broth that may be salted and Parmesan that it salty. I cut it back by half--an that was using a low-sodium mock chicken stock. I enjoyed this with a glass of the white wine that I used in it and would happily make it again.

Linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is "Ina in Italy"--where we are cooking up Ina's many tasty Italian recipes. 


Sunday, March 18, 2018

White Cheddar and Chive Potato Soup: Creamy Comfort for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

Before I had my little medical adventure and was out most of the month of January, I received a couple of cookbooks to review. I feel bad that I am just getting around to them  now. One is Everyday Vegetarian: A Delicious Guide to Creating More Than 150 Meatless Dishes by The Editors of Cooking Light. I love Cooking Light recipes as they are generally healthier eating choices, but they have great flavor and I tagged quite a few recipes from the book to make including; Indian Chopped Salad, Fried Egg and Crunchy Breadcrumb Salad, Nor-Cal Veggie Sandwiches with Hazelnut Butter, Avocado-Egg Salad Sandwiches with Pickled Celery, One-Pot Green Curry Stew with Potatoes and Cauliflower, Stir-Fried Chinese Egg Noodles, Mock Cham Noodle Bowl, Brown Rice Bowl with Miso, Poached Egg, and Kale-Radish Slaw, Bulgur-Pepper Patties, Peppered White Bean, Kale, and Egg Stack, Vegetarian Benedicts with Thyme Sabayon, and Super Savory Wild Rice Pilaf.

This week though, I felt in need of soupy comfort and was drawn to the White Cheddar and Chive Potato Soup. Potato Soup is a favorite of mine and they one sounded creamy and delicious. I didn't make a lot of changes to the recipe, just doubling up on the broth for a looser soup and upping the garlic a bit by using my homemade garlic broth.

Cooking Light says, "This luscious creamy potato soup uses just one pan, making it ideal for fast weeknight comfort food and even faster cleanup. We love the look and tang of sharp white cheddar in this soup."

White Cheddar and Chive Potato Soup
Everyday Vegetarian by The Editors of Cooking Light
(Serves 4)

1 Tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups chopped Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 lb)
1 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 1/2 cups organic, low-sodium vegetable broth (I used 3 cups homemade garlic stock)
3/8 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper, or to taste
2 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
freshly ground black pepper
minced fresh chives

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan, swirl to coat. Add the shallots and garlic; saute 1 1/2 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk.

Add the potatoes, milk, broth, salt, and pepper to the pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Mash the potato mixture with a potato masher to the desired consistency. Stir in the cheese until melted. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the sour cream.

Ladle the soup into each of 4 bowls. Top with the remaining sour cream, the freshly ground black pepper, and the minced chives. 

Nutritional Details: (Serving size; 1 cup of soup, 1 Tbsp sour cream, 1 1/2 tsp chives): Calories 263, Fat 9.6 g, (sat 4.2g, mono 2.5g, poly 1.1g), Protein 11g, Carb 34g, Fiber 3g, Sugars 9g 9est. added sugars 0g), Cholesterol 20mg, Iron 1mg, Sodium 562 mg, Calcium 286 mg

Notes/Results: Oh yeah, this is a yummy soup--just like a soup version of good, slightly cheesy mashed potatoes--the ultimate comfort food. The soup in the cookbook's picture looked quite a bit thicker but I like the creamy, yet still brothy texture I got by adding extra liquid. The white cheddar cheese was present without being too gooey-cheesy and the soup is satisfying and tastes decadent without being too rich. I like the one pan factor and it is pretty quick and easy to make. You could make this into a vegan soup by swapping in non-dairy milk, cheese, and sour cream. I would happily make this soup again and I look forward to trying more recipes from the book.

Note: A review copy of Everyday Vegetarian was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Time Inc. Books. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
We have two tasty dishes waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen, let's have a look!

Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen shared Iranian Pearl Barley Soup (Ashe-Jo Jow) and said, "It looks deceptively plain, but it has so much depth and flavour mostly from the fresh herbs.  As well as barley and chickpeas which are visible, there are lots of greens in it such as spinach, dill and coriander and a homegrown leek which came from my own allotment garden plot.  We both loved  this Iranian Pearl Barley Soup that I will definitely make it again."
Here at Kahakai Kitchen I tried Giada's Kale Salsa Verde Bruschetta with Fresh Mozzarella. I made a couple of adjustments to cut some of the oil and sodium and really enjoyed this little open-faced sandwich bites with their colorful appearance and delicious taste. I think even kale-haters would enjoy this one.

Thanks to Shaheen for joining me this week at Souper Sundays!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on the post you link up to be included.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Giada's Kale Salsa Verde Bruschetta with Fresh Mozzarella and 10 Other Favorite "Greens" Recipes

Kale... people tend to love it or hate it. I am in the first camp, but even if you hate kale, you should try Giada De Laurentiis's Kale Salsa Verde spooned onto crisp, toasted ciabatta bread and topped with pieces of fresh burrata or mozzarella and toasted pine nuts. The bruschetta makes a great light lunch or appetizer and is a tasty way to sneak some greens into your day.

I made a few changes to Giada's recipe--mainly reducing the amount of olive oil to reduce the fat and calories. I grabbed the sun-dried tomatoes from the olive bar of my local grocery store where I ciabatta in 'rolls' that I split in half and worked just as well as a full loaf. Although I adore burrata, a small ball of it was $12 and a bigger piece of fresh mozzarella was $7, so that's what I used. My changes are noted in red below. 

Kale Salsa Verde Bruschetta with Fresh Mozzarella
Slightly Adapted from Burrata & Kale Salsa Verde by Giada De Laurentiis,
(Serves 6)

Salsa Verde:
1 1/2 cups chopped Tuscan kale (about 8 large leaves)
1 clove garlic, smashed (I used a really large clove)
3 Tbsp capers, drained and rinsed (I didn't drain and rinse them)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp anchovy paste
kosher salt (see note below)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used 2 Tbsp--see notes below)

1 loaf ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used about 2 Tbsp)
8 oz burrata or fresh mozzarella (about 2 medium balls)
3 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
8 oil-marinated sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

For the salsa verde: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the kale and garlic until roughly chopped. Add the capers, vinegar, Dijon mustard, anchovy paste and 3/8 teaspoon salt and pulse 1 or 2 times more. Add the olive oil and run the processor for 5 seconds. Set aside to let the flavors marry. (In order to have enough liquid to loosen the kale but not have to use all of the oil, I used a trick I use when I make pesto. After washing the kale well, I don't drain it and instead of cutting it, I tear it with my hands as I put it in the food processor. Enough water usually clings to the curled leaves to make the salsa verde smooth, but you can also add a little extra water if needed. I also don't rinse and drain the capers as I like the briny taste. Giada adds 3/8 of a teaspoon of salt but with the anchovy paste, un-drained capers and other ingredients, I found it didn't need much salt and used just a small pinch of sea salt.)

To assemble the bruschetta: Preheat a grill pan over high heat. Drizzle both halves of the bread evenly with the olive oil. (Rather than drizzle all of the oil, I used a little olive oil, brushed on with a pastry brush.) Grill on each side until golden brown and charred in a few spots, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the bread to a cutting board. Spoon the salsa verde evenly over each half of the bread. Tear the burrata over the salsa verde and sprinkle the pine nuts and tomatoes evenly over the tops. Cut each bread half into slices and serve.

Notes/Results: Bright and colorful and lots of delicious flavor,this is a yummy bruschetta that I think even kale-haters will enjoy (if you don't tell them there's kale in it!). ;-) It really tastes like a spinach pesto and any bitterness of the kale is disguised by the other ingredients. I like the pop of acidity and brine from the capers, vinegar and mustard and the garlic and anchovy paste add a depth of flavor. With the creamy cheese, toasty nuts and slightly sweet tomatoes on top, it hits all of the buttons. I didn't miss the extra olive oil I omitted and I think my leftover salsa verde (I only made a couple of the ciabatta rolls into bruschetta) would also be delicious stirred into rice or pasta. I will happily make these again.

In honor of tomorrow being St. Patrick's Day, here are ten of my favorite recipes featuring kale or other greens:

Giada knows her greens and sandwiches, her Grilled Cheese with Spinach is ridiculously good.

Diana Henry's Salmon Hash has a spinach in with the chunks of potato and salmon--so delicious!

I added kale to Diana Henry's buttery Cabbage and Leek Colcannon. A great recipe to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with. 

Heidi Swanson's 5-Minute (Egg) Breakfast Tacos have micro-greens in them. I make these often for a quick breakfast.

Speaking of her talent with greens and eggs, Heidi Swanson's Kale Rice Bowl with Egg and Fried Capers is marvelous. 

Tessa Kiros's Portuguese Purslane Soup is a delicious use of a unique green--I still dream about this soup. ;-)

Mark Bittman's Chinese-Style Peanut Soup with Tofu and Bok Choy is the perfect way to enjoy Asian greens.

One of my favorite Ottolenghi soups was his tasty Swiss Chard-filled Herb, Chard and Feta Soup

You can't do a greens roundup without a green juice recipe and Curtis Stone's Ginger-Apple Green Juice is one of my favorites. 

Finally, I can't leave out Nigel Slater's Pan-Fried Apple and Cheese Salad--served on a bed of spinach. Still one of my all-time favorite salads.

I'm linking this post up at I Heart Cooking Clubs where it this week is our Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge -- Greens!

Because bruschetta is like a mini open-faced sandwich, I'm also linking it up to Souper Sundays, here at Kahakai Kitchen. Each Sunday we feature delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches from friends around the blogosphere--please join in if you have any to share. Here's this week's post and linkup 


Happy Aloha Friday and have a Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "I'll Be Your Blue Sky" by Marisa de los Santos, Served with a Recipe for Dark Chocolate Blueberry Bites

I am very excited to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos. Not only did this book give me a chance to revisit some favorite characters, it inspired some delicious Dark Chocolate Blueberry Bites.

Publisher's Blurb:

The New York Times bestselling author revisits the characters from her beloved novels Love Walked In and Belong to Me in this captivating, beautifully written drama involving family, friendship, secrets, sacrifice, courage, and true love for fans of Jojo Moyes, Elin Hilderbrand, and Nancy Thayer.

On the weekend of her wedding, Clare Hobbes meets an elderly woman named Edith Herron. During the course of a single conversation, Edith gives Clare the courage to do what she should have done months earlier: break off her engagement to her charming—yet overly possessive—fiancé.

Three weeks later, Clare learns that Edith has died—and has given her another gift. Nestled in crepe myrtle and hydrangea and perched at the marshy edge of a bay in a small seaside town in Delaware, Blue Sky House now belongs to Clare. Though the former guest house has been empty for years, Clare feels a deep connection to Edith inside its walls, which are decorated with old photographs taken by Edith and her beloved husband, Joseph.

Exploring the house, Clare finds two mysterious ledgers hidden beneath the kitchen sink. Edith, it seems, was no ordinary woman—and Blue Sky House no ordinary place. With the help of her mother, Viviana, her surrogate mother, Cornelia Brown, and her former boyfriend and best friend, Dev Tremain, Clare begins to piece together the story of Blue Sky House—a decades-old mystery more complex and tangled than she could have imagined. As she peels back the layers of Edith’s life, Clare discovers a story of dark secrets, passionate love, heartbreaking sacrifice, and incredible courage. She also makes startling discoveries about herself: where she’s come from, where she’s going, and what—and who—she loves.

Shifting between the 1950s and the present and told in the alternating voices of Edith and Clare, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is vintage Marisa de los Santos—an emotionally evocative novel that probes the deepest recesses of the human heart and illuminates the tender connections that bind our lives.

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (March 6, 2018)

My Review:

I have been a fan of Marisa de los Santos's books since stumbling across Love Walked In and Belong to Me several years ago. The eclectic group of characters that somehow came together as a large, strange, extended family--by birth and by choice, captured my heart. de los Santos writes characters that are not perfect but are immensely likable and memorable, so when I found out that I'll Be Your Blue Sky would give me a chance to spend time with some of my favorites from those two books, I was excited to sign on to this book tour. You don't need to have read the first two books to love and appreciate this one (and I say that as someone who usually insists on reading series or related books 'in order') but I heartily recommend them and I think it makes reading I'll Be Your Blue Sky all the better.

In this book the story is focused on Clare, who was eleven in Love Walked In and is now in her twenties and about to marry Zach, but is having second (and third and fourth) thoughts and in fact, is spending the day before her wedding compiling a mental list of ten reasons why she should marry him. That she gets stuck at nine and that the reasons range from how he cooks eggs to how he doesn't tailgate, make it pretty clear that this marriage would be a mistake, but it takes a stranger to prompt Clare to call off the wedding. That stranger is Edith, an elderly woman staying at the resort where Clare's wedding will take place. In addition to saving her from a huge mistake, Edith dies soon after their conversation and unexpectedly leaves Clare a house on the Delaware coast--"a place to breathe easily" and feel safe--something Edith sees she needs. Finding two hidden ledgers at the house and wanting to know more about the mysterious Edith and Blue Sky House, Clare begins to investigate. 

The story unfolds through Clare and Edith's points of view, Edith's past in the 1950s and Clare's experiences in present day. de los Santos weaves both time and perspective pretty seamlessly and I found myself equally caught up in both stories. There are secrets and twists, some a bit more obvious than others but still a few surprises. There are tougher subjects covered--primarily domestic violence and abusive relationships, but there are plenty of lighter moments with family and love and humor--especially between Clare and Dev, her longtime friend and former boyfriend. Warm and witty, I'll Be Your Blue Sky is the kind of book you want to curl up with or crawl into and spend time with the characters. I was sorry to turn the last page and it made me want to go back and reread the first two books. If you enjoy great and lovable characters, women's fiction, contemporary fiction, romance, or any and all of the above, you will enjoy this one.


Author Notes: Marisa de los Santos is a  New York Times bestselling author and award-winning poet with a PhD in literature and creative writing, Marisa de los Santos lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with her family.
Connect with Marisa on Facebook and Twitter.


Food Inspiration:

Although there's not a lot of it, there is food to be found in I'll Be Your Blue Sky--some of it included: green apples in a glass bowl, French toast decorated with edible flowers, a "perfect egg over easy"--striped with sriracha, tomato tart, champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, turkey, pecan pie, The Home Book of French Cookery, bowls of berries and pitchers of juice, mini cinnamon roles and mention of 'undersized hotcakes,' deviled eggs, Butterscotch Krimpets, drop biscuits, jam and butter, bowls of cut fruit, coffee, blueberry-peach pie with lattice crust, sandwiches, scallops on the half-shell with a drop of cocktail sauce, watermelon, falafel, tahini, taboon bread (pita), lox and bagel, gin and tonic, fig newtons and cheddar cheese, apple pie, toast buttered to the edges, donuts, Thai food, blueberries,lobster, banana split, bacon and eggs, a platter of cheeses, prosciutto, and baguette, bowls of blueberries, strawberries, olives, and a big plate of molasses cookies, sour cherry pie, and tea with lemon.

No single food or dish  called out to me as central to the story and characters so I decided to put a few things together--the bowls of fruit, the blueberries mentioned in a few places, and the chocolate-covered strawberries that Dev 'scarfs' with "the happy oblivion of a six-year-old" at Clare's rehearsal dinner. 

If we were closer to the season for good strawberries, I would have dipped some in chocolate, but instead I decided to go with dark chocolate and blueberries which are mentioned in the book, and also a nod to the 'blue' in the book's title. Looking for ways to display the pretty blueberries, I decided to top dark chocolates with them, using a mini-muffin tin and blue and yellow mini cupcake liners.

Dark Chocolate Blueberry Bites
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 12)

1 cup fresh blueberries, washed well and patted dry
5 oz dark chocolate

Place liners into a mini muffin pan, set aside.

Break chocolate into small pieces and melt--either in a microwave safe bowl (or measuring cup) or with a double-boiler on the stove. stirring until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Carefully pour the melted chocolate into the paper liners--filling them about half-way. Sprinkle blueberries into each of the melted chocolate-filled liners. Some of the berries will sink into the chocolate and some will remain on top. Lightly tap and gently shake the pan to remove any air bubbles.

Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden. Remove and place in fridge for another 30 minutes before serving.

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge. With the fresh fruit, chocolates should be consumed within 3 to 4 days. 

Notes/Results: There is just something about the combination of good dark chocolate and berries (strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries) that is especially delicious and the firm bite of the creamy chocolate with the burst of the fresh blueberries, both on top and inside, is really appealing. I used a combination of Lindt dark chocolate in both 70% and 78% cacao--which runs to the bittersweet side of things, but is still creamy and sweet enough for the berries. If I had thought of it before, I might have picked up some dried blueberries at the store and dropped them in the melted chocolate first for a contrast in textures, but otherwise I wouldn't change a thing. These chocolate treats are quick to make (except for the chilling/firming time) and taste great. They also provide lots of antioxidants with the blueberries and dark chocolate, so they make for a relatively healthy treat. ;-) I will happily make them again.

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "I'll Be Your Blue Sky" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Carrot Soup with Chives and Popcorn for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I say it all the time, the soup topping is my favorite part of the soup. That's why with a bunch of delicious-sounding recipes in Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite by Sarah Copeland, I picked the Carrot Soup with Chives and Popcorn to try first. It's sunny color makes it perfect for a cool, breezy day and popcorn makes me happy.

Feast is gorgeous and I feel (almost) guilty that it only cost me a dollar at the library bookstore a few months ago. (And it looks brand new!) I am looking forward to cooking more from it as I have quite a few recipes tagged. 

Feast says, "At the world's greatest restaurants, the soup, no matter how simple it is, is always garnished in a way that makes it seem so much greater than the sum of its parts. And usually, it is. This soup is the perfect example of how easy it can be to do that at home. A simple carrot soup, inspired by a hearty bunch of young carrots from the garden, came together one night in my kitchen right before popcorn and a movie. A few plucky kernels made their way to the top of the soup, along with chives and a drizzle of olive oil, and the memorable little combo stuck. This is now our house carrot soup."

Carrot Soup with Chives and Popcorn
From Feast by Sarah Copeland
(Serves 4 to 6)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic cloves, smashed (I used 3)
1 (1-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, chopped
2 lbs carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 to 5 cups vegetable stock
1 sprig fresh thyme (optional) (I used 3)
sea salt and black pepper
2 cups fresh carrot juice

To serve:
1 to 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
12 cup full fat yogurt
handful popped popcorn
3 to 4 Tbsp chopped/snipped fresh chives

In a large soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the carrots and enough stock to cover them (4 cups for a thicker soup, 5 if you like your soup thinner), and the thyme (if using) and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, cover loosely and reduce the heat to low.

Simmer soup until the carrots are completely tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the thyme sprig and discard. Blend the soup until smooth in a blender (in batches if necessary) or with an immersion blender. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the carrot juice with a wooden spoon. Reheat soup over low if needed to warm through. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with the olive oil. Top each bowl with a dollop of yogurt, pooped popcorn kernels, and a sprinkle of chives. Serve immediately. 

Notes/Results: This is a simple carrot soup with lots of carrot flavor. I used good fresh carrots with their tops still on (the tops are being turned into pesto this week) and cold-packed carrot juice from a local juice producer. I did up the garlic and thyme slightly--I like a lot of flavor, but the carrots are the star--so if you are not a fan, this is not your soup. ;-) The popcorn is a great topping although I would recommend just starting with a couple kernels on top and serving the soup with a bowl of popcorn so everyone can add their own and it remains crunchy. The chives and yogurt are a nice touch too--although you can omit the yogurt or use a non-dairy version to make the soup vegan. Simple to make, pretty to look at and good to eat--I would happily make it again.

We have some tasty dishes waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week, let's have a look!

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor is here with a delicious Chicken Taco Chili and says, "This. Is. So. Good. ... I actually prepared this in the morning while coffee was brewing, it's that easy.  If I had to cook chicken it would obviously take longer but as it happened, I had some handy so I diced it into chunks.You toss it all in one pot to heat. If you wanted a vegetarian version I'm sure you could use tofu as tofu absorbs the flavors of other ingredients."

I am so excited to have my friend Beth Fish Reads share her Tuscan White Bean Soup this week! I have been joining in her Weekend Cooking event for a while now and I am happy to welcome her to Souper Sundays. She says, "The original recipe for this delicious bean soup was written for the slow cooker, so if you don't have a pressure cooker, click the link and follow the directions. I made a few other changes, most notably, I had some chorizos to use up, so I used them instead of pancetta. Also, I didn't feel like chopping the rosemary, so I just dropped the sprigs in whole. I made this in an electric pressure cooker, but you could use a stovetop cooker."

And here at Kahakai Kitchen, I am a big fan of Ina Garten's Crunchy Iceberg Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese that I made to pair with a book review this week. Instead of a wedge of lettuce, a thick slice is covered with the thick and creamy blue cheese dressing and crisp radish, celery and green onion pieces are piled on top, along with chunks of blue cheese. So much flavor and texture and so pretty on the plate too! 

Thanks to everyone who joined me this week at Souper Sundays!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on the post you link up to be included.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!