Autumn is upon us, and what’s better than a soup and sandwich, especially when the day is filled with errands and after-school activities. It was hectic, but no rest for the weary, as the question “What’s for dinner?” confronts me.
To de-stress (and get a laugh) I spontaneously threw a little fun into dinner with my old Halloween cookie cutters. I had to dig way back under other stuff that I don’t see for a year, you know those cabinets. That took longer than it needed to, but it’s a good thing I had soup in the fridge. Ginger Apple Carrot soup is what I made Monday to use up some of the apples I had bought last week due to a strong urge for apples that I couldn’t conquer. Costco had a sale on organic apples in three varieties, so instead of the orchard I went to Costco to pick some apples. Costco was much closer.
I also made apple butter that I will share the recipe for soon. Oh my, the homemade stuff is way different that store bought kind. I still have some apples left. Hmm, apple cake or apple kugel?
Glad I made soup, it came in handy today as I don’t really plan my meals for the week – it’s more about what’s fresh at the farmer’s market, a household request, or what I have in the fridge to cook before it spoils. Soup is easy and good to have on hand when the weather turns. And usually tastes better the next day or two.
I did get a chuckle out of the kids when they saw the pumpkin and ghost shaped sandwiches. Enamored by the novelty of their bright orange-hued food on their plates they dove right in. The kids loved it, we all did.
They did, however, think the witch’s hat was um, too shiny and weird (found that in the garage for drama effect, a girl thing). Something my house full of boys don’t understand.
Cute not-so-spooky sandwiches, with oozing cheese between crunchy buttery bread, paired with hot creamy soup was the comfort food we all needed. The ginger in the soup came through front and center with apple and carrot lingering behind. I use extra ginger to pump up the health factor, and add extra heat to the soup. If you prefer less ginger use half the amount of the fresh ginger.
I also like to use different varieties of apples (hence the tempting Costco sale) for more contrast in flavor, some tart some sweet. If you only have one variety handy don’t go and buy more, just use what you have. It will still be delicious I’m sure.
Here is my good-to-know Pinterest Board with a pin with great info on which apple is for baking, cooking, etc.
This meal is simple to make and easy to enjoy. Soup leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day. I boiled green lentils (that I cooked with garlic while my soup was boiling) and packed it up into thermoses for school lunch with cucumbers on the side.
You can also freeze your leftover soup in an airtight container for another time. It freezes very well.
Soup and sandwich is what’s for dinner (and lunch) … enjoy!
For the sandwich:
1 loaf gluten free, dairy free bread
1 package Daiya cheddar slices
2-3 tablespoons Earth Balance Soy Free Spread, or non dairy spread you choose, as needed
Using Halloween inspired shapes, cut out bread slices, set aside. Save the ends for breadcrumbs at a later use.
The same for the cheddar slices, place a wax paper sheet (from the package) between each cut out slice to prevent sticking. Save remaining to put in the middle of the sandwiches.
Spread some earth balance on both sides of each bread slice.
Heat a large non-stick pan (ceramic coated PFOA free is best to avoid aluminum from conventional non-stick pans as much as you can) set on medium heat with a teaspoon or so of earth balance. When it begins to sizzle place some of the matching cut out sandwich pieces onto the pan. Let it cook until light golden brown, then flip over and place 1 or 2 slices of the matching cut-out cheese slice shapes (with end pieces) onto half of the bread slices. Place the cheese-less bread over the cheese slices and press down gently to adhere. Immediately flip over and press again.
Some of my cheese did not melt completely, but I took it off the pan anyway to prevent the bread from burning. The cheese, however, did continue to melt from the residual heat of the bread.
Although, when I am making more than six sandwiches I do the optional method …
Optional: After both sides of the bread have turned a light golden brown, add the cheese, and immediately cover with the matching bread, before the cheese begins to melt. Then transfer the sandwiches onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees F to melt in the oven.
For the soup:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled, diced
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, grated
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 cups peeled carrots
5 apples, seeded, peeled, chopped (about 4 cups) – I left some unpeeled, and used granny smith and honey crisp varieties
6 cups water
2 tablespoons coconut nectar, or agave nectar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1 granny smith apple, cored, finely diced for garnish, optional
In a soup pot set over medium high heat, add coconut and olive oil. When it begins to sizzle, add onions, stir to coat. Add ginger. Stir. When onions become translucent, add fennel seeds, ground ginger, salt, pepper. Stir to combine well. Reduce heat if onions are turning dark. Add the carrots and apples, stir, add water. Cover halfway with the lid. Let it boil for 20-30 minutes. Then reduce heat to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Off the heat, puree using a hand held immersion blender until preferred texture.
Note: Some like it silky smooth, some like soup chunky – you decide. The immersion blender comes in handy for this sort of thing. And other pureeing, hot or cold, including making a quick smoothie or smoothing out a pudding before serving, without pulling out the big blender. Speaking of blender, never again will I transfer my hot liquids into a blender like some chefs say to do, and am giving fair warning here. It is dangerous, and messy! I did this once and it started to bubble over, spurting out hot liquid onto my skin and on top of that it made a huge mess. I have stuck with easy and quick since!
Serve hot with some diced apple on top.
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