Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cream of Broccoli Soup

I am forever on a diet. Which is kind of difficult for a person who loves to cook, to experiment in the kitchen, and who blogs about food (another reason to cook and eat!) But Hubby and I are not getting younger. We know we have to consciously stay healthy, live a healthy lifestyle and choose healthy and nutritious food. Part of that is dieting - saying no-no to bad fats and bad carbs, processed foods, carcinogenic ways of cooking, etc., and choosing healthy, fresh organic and nutritious foods in small portions -- without going hungry...

So, when Ben of What's Cooking? and Ivy of Kopiaste teamed up for Fat Chefs or Skinny Gourmet? a food event featuring diet foods and low calorie foods, I knew I will just have the post to enter. Here it is... the Cream of Broccoli Soup.

The first thing that satisfies us is having a warm bowl of filling and nutritious soup. That is why we almost always have soup in every meal - even in this hot tropical country. Maybe it is just the Chinese in me. We believe soups are nourishing, and healing most specially if we add some Chinese herbs. (I should do more posts abut healing Chinese herbs. Please stay tuned for that!) Soups do not contain much calories. If you begin your meal with nutritious soups, you will likely eat less food later on. And you will still get the adequate nutrition that your body needs.

Vegetable soups are ideal diet foods. Specially broccoli. Broccoli is believed to have anti-cancer properties. It is also high in Vitamin C, A and Calcium. Others says that the longer we cook broccoli, more nutrients are lost to the cooking process. That is why stir-frying is preferred over steaming or blanching (where as much as one third of the nutrients are lost immediately!) However, less nutrients are lost when you cook the broccoli in soup - you get to drink all the liquid anyway. Choose Broccoli that have compact head, with no bruising, uniform green color, not yellowing.

This is also a wonderful way to recycle left-over Broccoli Stir-fry. We had lots of left-over food from Jayce's birthday party. The first one I have to recycle is the Broccoli Stir Fried with Fresh Scallops. I do not know why - cooked broccoli flower gets spoiled easily in this heat. So, I had to do something with it first.

When we came home from the party, I immediately re-heated the broccoli dish. I stir fry it again until the flowers became limp. Then I added some homemade shrimp broth. To learn how to make fresh shrimp broth, please click here. I needed a strong broth to counter the "veggieness" of the broccoli. Shrimp broth seems to be the perfect candidate specially since the broccoli was already flavored with scallops. I then put everything - the broccoli and the broth into the food blender (food processor) until pureed very well (in batches, because my blender could not contain a lot.)

a few slices ginger
1 onion, chopped
4 T garlic, minced
pureed broccoli with shrimp broth
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 C milk

1. Saute ginger in some oil. Add onions and garlic and saute until softened.

2. Add the pureed broccoli and shrimp broth. Add more broth if you want thinner consistency.

3. When the soup boils, season with salt and pepper. (The broccoli is already cooked so we do not have to simmer)

4. Add the milk before turning off the heat. Serve immediately.

Instead of cream, I used fresh milk. (Should this dish then be called Milked Broccoli Soup?) Ideally, skim milk or non-fat milk should be used to make it a truly diet food. But I do not have skim milk in my pantry then.

I have to confess that the kids do not particularly enjoy this soup. For one thing, it's green! and for them, it tastes green. (Is there a 'green' taste???) But Hubby enjoyed it. He likes any kind of vegetable. (Perhaps he just loves anything that tastes green???) And it is indeed quite flavorful since I used fresh shrimp broth as the base. He even said I should cook this more often even if we do not have broccoli left-overs. To which the kids shouted, "Noooooo....!!!"

Oh well, dieting is for adults only anyway... :)


Unknown said...

Thanks Ning for submitting your recipe. This dish is perfect for our event, not only healthy but delicious as well. Don't forget to check out the round up early July. Ivyt

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diet sounds quite awful. I think that healthy eating habit is better. Because you can eat almost everything but you have to balance with your calories.

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