Saturday, April 6, 2013

Happy Surprises: Shrimp, White Bean, and Spaghetti Squash Soup and Kale Apple Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing

What's a blogger to do when she makes an unassuming dinner that ends up being spectacular and devours it without taking a single picture? Does she photograph leftovers (doesn't do them justice)? Does she make the whole dinner again (or is too much of a good thing a bad thing)? Does she write a photo-free blog post (thoroughly boring)?

This is the situation in which I find myself. I made two dishes tonight that came from an unplanned Whole Foods trip and ended up sprawled on the couch texting everyone I knew about my unexpectedly phenomenal meal: Shrimp, White Bean, and Spaghetti Squash Soup and a Kale Apple Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing. Add a nice glass of wine and a chunk of the softest, chewiest sourdough boule I have ever had, and all I could do was lie on the couch basking in my victory.

Although the purpose of The Walking Cookbook is not to invent my own recipes but rather to memorize master recipes that are must-haves in a cook's repertoire, I can't resist sharing my special creations. So what is my solution to not having any pictures of my food? I figure I will share the most beautiful pictures I can find of the ingredients that went into my meal in a lovely photo collage. Enjoy!

Shrimp, White Bean, and Spaghetti Squash Soup
from The Walking Cookbook
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash (3 lb), halved and seeded
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 baby carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh dill
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 box vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 small or one large tomato, skin removed, chopped and juices reserved
  • 1 can cannellini, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 lb uncooked medium shrimp (U 16-20), peeled, deveined, and tails removed 
Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place about 1/2 inch water in a casserole dish and place squash in the water cut side down. Place in the middle rack of the oven for 35 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and scoop out the pulp of the squash. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery seed, bay leaf, rosemary, dill, and salt. Stir together, turn the burner to low heat, and cook until very soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the tomatoes and their juices, vegetable broth, and water. Stir and raise heat to medium. Cover with a lid, leaving a 1/2 inch opening, and bring to a near-boil. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cannellini and cook, uncovered, for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Roughly chop the shrimp (into about 3 pieces each). Turn off the heat on the stove and add the shrimp to the pot. Stir and cover for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the spaghetti squash pulp and stir. Serve the soup hot with fresh bread.


Kale Apple Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing
From The Walking Cookbook
Yield: 4 servings

Salad Ingredients:

  • 4 leaves kale
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 avocado 

Dressing Ingredients:

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt 
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped

Salad Preparation:

  • Wash and dry the kale. Lay flat on a cutting board and trace around the stems with a sharp knife to separate the leaf from the stem. Discard stems, cut kale leaves the long way, then finely chop. Massage the kale for two minutes to increase its tenderness.
  • Cut and core the apple. Slice as thinly as possible, then cut each slice in half to make them bite-sized.
  • Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and skin, and slice thin.
  • Toss the kale, apple, and avocado together in a bowl.
  • Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until the liquids have emulsified. Toss with the salad, beginning with half the dressing and adding more to suit your taste.
Photo Credits:
Spaghetti Squash: steamykitchen.com
Onion/Garlic: itweetfacts.com
Carrots: worldcommunitycookbook.org
Rosemary: t-a-d-a.com
Broth: savvyhousekeeping.com
Tomato: exclusivelyfood.com.au
Cannellini: cathythomascooks.com
Shrimp: shrimpnews.com

Kale: plantsondeck.com
Apple:  healthyeating.sfgate.com
Avocado: splendidtable.org
Lemon: thekitchn.com
Yogurt: womenshealthmag.com
Olive Oil: blog.fairwaymarket.com
Mustard Seed: ameliaisland.com
Shallot: bluestatebbq.wordpress.com
Dill: feastingathome.com

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