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not pretty but pretty darn yummy!

On Saturday, I was at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market conducting a class for kids at the market. The class came about when I was contacted by a group of ASU students who are in a program planning class. Their assignment was to put on a community event, and they chose to teach kids about the importance of locally grown foods and organize a cooking class. They were so well organized and put together a great event. I want to extend a big congratulations to each of them; KC, Megan, Britany, Daniel, Ryan, Mary, and Jessi.

Plus KC made the most adorable visual aid for her presentation, I just had to include it here!

And the kids who participated were so attentive and excited to participate. Sadly, I didn’t get all of their names committed to memory; but to all of you, including Matthew, Ava, Brenden, Leanna, and Bekah – thanks for coming, and keep on cooking!

We made a roasted vegetable dish and a berry smoothie. Since we didn’t have access to an oven, I roasted a batch of the vegetables ahead of time. At the market, the kids sliced and prepared a second batch of the veggies, and I brought those home to roast and used them to create this soup. When the vegetables are pureed, they go from all their various lovely colors to a drab old brown. Not very appealing in color – but they taste – fantastic! It helped to hold back a few bits of the veggies to dice as garnish and my finished soup would have even been a little brighter if I had remembered to garnish with some cilantro, so be sure and remember for yourself! ┬áThe brioche croutons are a wonderful added flavor – and on their own – they are downright addictive.

Spicy Summer Roasted Vegetable Soup with Brioche Croutons

Roasted Vegetables
2 zucchini squash, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices on a diagonal
2 yellow squash, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices on a diagonal
1 medium eggplant, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
2 red or yellow bell peppers; trimmed, seeded, and opened flat
1 large potato, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
4 large garlic cloves, peels left on
Croutons
1/2 of a brioche loaf or challah
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chili Paste
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon packed fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 whole serrano chiles, stems removed
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup water
Soup
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Roasted Vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant slices in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste, and toss to coat. Lay out vegetable slices on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Place the onions, peppers, potato slices, mushrooms, and garlic cloves in the same bowl; add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss to coat and lay out on a second rimmed baking sheet.

Place both baking sheets in preheated oven for 18 minutes. Remove baking sheets from the oven and turn over vegetables, then return to the oven, switching racks. Roast another 18 minutes or until vegetables are nicely browned and caramelized. Squeeze garlic out of peels and toss all vegetables together. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Croutons: Cut off the crusts and then slice the bread about 3/4-inch thick. Cut the slices into 3/4-inch dice. You should have 3 to 4 cups of croutons.

Place the croutons on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the 350-degree oven, tossing once until they’re nicely browned on all sides.

Chili Paste: Place cilantro, mint, brown sugar, cumin, salt, chiles, garlic, and water in a food processor or blend and puree. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Soup: Remove half of one of the roasted red peppers, 3 potato slices from the roasted vegetables, and dice. Set aside along with 1/4 cup of the canned tomatoes to be used as a garnish for the soup.

Place half of the roasted vegetables in a blender or food processor, add 2 cups of the broth and the canned tomatoes (with their juices) and puree until smooth, and pour into a large soup pot. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and broth, add to the pot, and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently. Stir in the chili paste and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Thin with more broth or water until it is the consistency you like.

Ladle into bowl and garnish with reserved diced vegetables, croutons, and minced cilantro.

Serves 6


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2 comments

1 Marissa { 04.12.10 at 1:23 PM }

I ask what you did this weekend and you don’t even mention this. You are turning into Connor.

2 Linda Hopkins { 04.12.10 at 2:02 PM }

Sorry sweetie – and I’m not going to take the “turning into Connor” as a dig – I love Connor! But, I may be a little distracted with all the dudes in the house installing new carpet! Please forgive!

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