Spring Into Soup

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Every morning we wake up and ask ourselves two questions: What meteorological madness will Iowa’s capricious weather gods serve up today? And what weather-appropriate food should we eat in order to avoid further angering said gods?
The answer to the first question is as unknowable as the simultaneous position and velocity of an electron. The answer to the second, however, is clear as one of those rare days with little to no cloud cover: soup! Soup is fitting for any weather, warm or cold. We elected to prepare a Creamy Asparagus Spring Soup, a Thai Coconut Carrot Soup, and Bruschetta. They’re all delicious, and if you burn them in your backyard under the open sky, perhaps your offering will appease our cruel weather gods and we will finally be able to hail the new season.

Creamy Spring Asparagus Soup (wholefoodsmarket.com)

serves 4
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (1-pound) bunch asparagus, woody stems snapped off and discarded, spears cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Melt butter in a medium pot over medium low heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, add asparagus and simmer gently until potatoes and asparagus are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat ad set aside to let cool slightly.

Carefully transfer soup to blender in batches and purée until smooth. Return soup to pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, whisk in sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with chives and serve.

NOTE: you may wish to strain the soup after blending to remove fibers.

carrot-coconut soup (bonappetit.com)

Preparation
Ingredient Info:
Thai-style chili sauce is available at Asian markets and in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets.
Instructions
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until carrots are softened, 15–20 minutes. Stir in broth, coconut milk, and 2 Tbsp. chili sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and liquid is slightly reduced, 40–45 minutes.
Let soup cool slightly, then purée in a blender until smooth. Reheat in a clean saucepan, thinning with water to desired consistency; season with salt and pepper.
Divide soup among bowls, drizzle with chili sauce, and top with cilantro.
Do Ahead: Soup can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.
Carrot-Coconut Soup
If you like things extra spicy, pass some chili sauce at the table.
Ingredients
SERVINGS: 4
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
1 pound carrots, peeled, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai-style chili sauce plus more for serving
Fresh cilantro leaves (for serving)

Bruschetta!

serves 4
Ingredients
1 loaf miniature crusty bread
⅓ cup fresh mozzarella
1 clove garlic
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 medium tomatoes
basil
salt
pepper

method
Slice the bread loaf into relatively thin pieces. Broil the bread until golden and crisp, 5 or 6 minutes (watch carefully to avoid burning). Remove the bread from the oven. While the bread is broiling and cooling, cut the tomatoes into small pieces and place in a bowl. Chop the mozzarella into pieces of comparable size. Coarsely chop the basil and add to the tomato mix. Add olive oil until the mixture is uniform but not soupy. Season with salt and pepper. Cut the garlic in half and rub the bread with it. Keep tomato mixture and bread separate until serving. To serve, spoon tomato mixture onto individual pieces of bread; eat while bread is still warm.