Cooking with seasonal produce is one of the best ways to eat in an environmentally friendly way because it reduces transportation emissions (trucks, ships, planes, oh my!) and other energy emissions by supporting smaller, local farms and minimizing use of energy-intensive greenhouses. The best side effect? Seasonal produce is always fresher, and it usually has fewer pesky pesticides, which, together, makes your fruits and veggies tastier and more nutritious! If you have no idea what produce is in season, shopping at your local farmers’ market is an easy way to find out. Most of the farmers sell what they’ve just harvested, so it’s usually all in season.
Winter in the New York brings wonderfully delicious vegetables like cabbage, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli that, conveniently, make delightful hot soups. Coupled with late summer and early fall produce (such as onion and garlic) that survives well in the winter, winter veggies can be made into the perfect soup to warm you up on those cold nights spent in front of the fireplace (or more likely the radiator for us students). Soups will also be great for lunch time once your usual trek to class begins to result in frozen fingers and brains.
In general, soups are easy and efficient to make. The majority of the cooking time and energy is spent prepping, so while the final product is simmering, you can start writing the header for your essay, or just kick off your procrastination.
Christine Johnson writes about Urban Green Foods for Big Girls Small Kitchen. She is a senior at NYU passionate about urban and community agriculture, sustainability and cooking delicious, responsible meals!
Winter Quarter Survival Soup
For this recipe, it will be helpful to finish all of the slicing and dicing beforehand. The broth will soak up the added flavors of the veggies, and the onions, garlic and pepper give a slightly spicy kick. But it’s the splash of eggnog that gives this soup a subtle Christmas-y backdrop that will make every bite that much more satisfying. For the dairy-free out there, olive oil can replace butter and soy nog can replace eggnog!
1 ½ tablespoons butter
¼ cup diced onions
1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 splash olive oil
2 cups coarsely shredded cabbage
¼ cup chopped carrots
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 small potato, coarsely chopped
5 broccoli or cauliflower florets (chose one or both!)
1 clove of garlic, smashed (not chopped)
A splash of eggnog
In a medium sized pot, melt the butter on low heat. Once the butter is completely melted, add the onions. Raise the heat to medium-low and let the onions saute until they are slightly golden. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir until it has blended with the butter and lightly coated the onions. Continue to saute for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add a splash of olive oil just to get the pot going again. Add carrots and cauliflower. Stir with the onions for about 30 seconds. Pour in the vegetable broth and stir until everything is evenly covered. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, and then quickly add the potatoes and cauliflower. Lower the heat, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic clove. Simmer for 7 – 10 more minutes (covered) depending on how soft you want the vegetables. Turn off the heat, but keep pot on the same burner. Add the splash of eggnog. Stir. Cover and let sit for a few minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!