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Summertime Soup with Baby Squash, Peppers & Tomatoes – Thickened with Humus

It’s summertime and cooking should be easy. It’s mid May, and if you’re not in Arizona you probably think it’s spring. But I’m in Phoenix and it will be 104 today – so it’s summer. I’m not defining the seasons based on how I feel about the weather, I’m basing them on how the weather makes me feel. When my steering wheel burns my hands if I park in the sun it’s summer.

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There are people who want hot food at every meal. They want a hot lunch and might even whine a little if they don’t get one. I’d rather have a wonderfully executed sandwich than a heaping pile of warm cafeteria steam-table feed. I do, however, like a nice bowl of soup if it’s not too heavy, and if it doesn’t make me stand in front of a hot stove for more than 15 minutes.

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Hummus was the inspiration for my summer soup aha moment. It was lunchtime, and I was going to make a meal for two people. I had a little less than a cup of hummus in the refrigerator. Without bread or crackers it wasn’t enough to make a meal. I looked into the refrigerator five or six times and was underwhelmed by my options. Baby squash, endive, a few mini bell peppers, some basil, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and a half a portion of rice noodles.

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Could I make vegetable soup without stock (and without the time or inclination to make stock)? What If I used the hummus? It just might work. I sautéed the peppers, then added the baby squash to the pan just long enough to get a few brown bits.

I cut the endive into ribbons and put them in the bottom of each soup bowl. I topped them with the rice noodles and the just-cooked squash and peppers.

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Then I deglazed the pan with a couple of tablespoons of sherry. After most of the sherry evaporated I added the halved cherry tomatoes and the basil. After a few minutes, when the tomatoes were soft, I added 3 cups of water and the hummus. I also added a little salt and pepper. I whisked the mixture to incorporate the hummus and let it come to a boil. After a couple of minutes I transferred the mixture to the bowls.

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I let the hot liquid sit on top of the other ingredients for three to four minutes. This re-heated the squash and softened the noodles.

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Then I stirred it up and ate my Quick Summer Vegetable Soup.

In about 15 minutes I made lunch for two with one pan, one knife, and one cutting board . This gave me time to eat at a leisurely pace. Since it was soup I had to sit down to eat. It wasn’t exactly Downton Abbey, but it was civilized in a dressed down sort of way.

Maybe that’s the point of a hot lunch. It requires a bit of a sit-down-and-eat. You have to slow down, use utensils, and attend to the (hopefully enjoyable) business of eating.

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