September 02, 2009

Zucchini-spinach soup etc.

Buffy in her traveling crate
On Aug. 15 we set out for a four-day car trip from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest and we've been trying to get settled into our rental house since we arrived. I don't think this was what Buffy had in mind when I asked her if she'd like to go for a ride in the car. It's been a long time since I've written a blog post, and I've got so much to say I could write at least ten. I don't want to bore those who come to this blog for cooking ideas, so I'll try to condense and leave out as much as possible. Scenically, the most surprising part of the trip was through eastern Washington which looked just like New Mexico. When the cascade mountains formed, they cut off the moist air from this half of the state and it became much drier and sunnier than the western part. I've been told if the winter gray is really getting me down in Seattle, a two-hour trip to the eastern part of the state will provide some relief.

Being here still feels more like a vacation to me than "real life" since I no longer have a job, and my husband hasn't started his new one yet, giving us lots of free time. And our whole family is together again which means we see each other often for dinner, parties, etc., and that usually only happens during holidays.

We live near Green Lake, which is surrounded by possibly the most popular walking/running path in Seattle, and have taken advantage of that. Unfortunately I bashed my big toe on a piece of raised sidewalk the other day, and walking for pleasure and exercise has temporarily lost some of its appeal. We're also within walking distance of various shops and restaurants and have sampled some of the local offerings. Restaurant food prices are surprisingly reasonable here considering the high cost of everything else. At the local farmers market last week I saw green beans for $9/pound! I also saw them for $3 and $4 which seems like a lot compared to back home. And the regressive sales tax is a whopping 9 percent, 9.3 in restaurants.

This week we're taking care of our granddaughter full time until her new day care center opens next week. She's napping now and I thought this would be a good time to catch up with the blog. My husband took her to the zoo this morning (I didn't want to do the walk with my wrecked toe) and I used that opportunity to make a soup that I've been wanting to experiment with since before we left Madison.

Before I get to the soup I have to mention some of the food-related places we've visited recently starting with the Theo chocolate factory. We didn't plan enough ahead to get a spot on the factory tour, but we visited the storefront, and holy cacao! All you chocoholics would have been in bliss consciousness. There are displays of all the different chocolates they sell with heaps of samples in front of each one. I bought two bars and a lip balm but I think I may have eaten my weight in chocolate samples. Sorry Theo...

Ginger-sesame bowl
Thai peanut bowl
We ate at Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe twice. The menu is half raw and all vegan, and I ate raw on both visits. The first time I had a ginger sesame bowl and my husband had a Thai peanut bowl (cooked). Both were delicious. The second time I had a raw nacho plate that I mostly didn't like. The flax chips didn't have a taste and the sunflower dip was, um, gritty. The salad and mango chutney were both great but I couldn't eat much of the rest. My husband, however, enjoyed his (cooked) lentil burger.

We've also been to Sidecar - a completely vegan store that supports an animal sanctuary, and a handy little sushi spot called Kisaku. At Kisaku we had delicious edamame and very good vegetable rolls. To our surprise, the rolls came with a complimentary salad and bowl of miso soup. Too bad the soup was made with fish stock, and when I told the waitress we were vegetarian, no offer of veg soup was made. Bummer.

So about the soup I made for today's post.. I was trying to make something similar to the soup we had at a vegan meet-up dinner back in Madison, and while the two main ingredients are the same, the soup tastes very different. My son and I liked it a lot but my granddaughter was not thrilled. To be fair to the soup, I have to add that she wasn't very hungry today, and mostly dumped her food onto the floor, to the delight of the dog. I think she would have liked it more yesterday when she seemed to have the appetite of a young bear. (You can view her reaction below.) I didn't spice the soup up as much as I might have because I was planning to offer some to the babe, but I probably would have added something hot. I have to say that the soup had a very fresh taste exactly like the veggies it was made from.

Zucchini spinach soup
  • 6 cups fresh zucchini, in small cubes
  • small bunch fresh spinach, washed well
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 - 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup) plus zest
  • 1-1/2 cups white kidney or cannelini beans, rinsed well and drained if from a can
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (evaporated cane juice)
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon dried dill weed (to taste)
  • fresh ground pepper to taste (optional)
  1. Saute the zucchini and garlic in the oil in a wok or large pan until the zucchini begins to brown and soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the spinach, and toss to wilt, about 1 minute or less.
  3. Place the vegetables, lemon juice and zest, beans, water or broth, salt*, sugar and dill in blender and blend until very smooth and creamy. (*If you are using broth, blend and taste before adding salt.)
  4. Place blended soup in a pot and heat gently to desired temperature. Grind pepper over the top if desired.


We went blackberry picking along a bike path and now I've got blackberries in the freezer.


  1. That soup sounds fantastic--I love lemon and dill and zucchini :-)

    I hope that you are settling in okay and that you are enjoying being able to spend more time with your family! I am super jealous of your blackberries :-)


  2. Welcome to Seattle! We also live near Greenlake. Isn't it the best? (albeit busy). I was going to suggest you check out Chaco Canyon, but you've already discovered it on your own. If you like Asian food, check out Araya's in the U-District. I'm sure you've discovered there is a farmers market in a different neighborhood every day of the week. Ballard on Sundays is the best, but hit up each one and you'll learn your way around Seattle in no time. Welcome!

  3. Congratulations on the move! Yeah, all of the Pacific northwest, including Oregon below and BC above turns into more of a desert climate in the eastern half. Crazy!

  4. Courtney,
    Lemon and dill makes a lot of things taste good. The blackberries were growing wild, which was nice, but I didn't get as many as I'd like since so many were either too tiny or unripe.

    Thanks for the welcome. Greenlake (close to Wallingford, is a nice place to live. We've been to Wallingford farmers market twice but I agree with you that Ballard is the best!

    The landscape was almost unbelievable. It was gorgeous but unexpected!

  5. I am not bored at all. I really love to read about your daily life. That is a really beautiful landscape. I really hope you will enjoy your new place, the new town, and all the surroundings.
    As for that soup...I think zucchini soup is a fantastic thing and I've never tried it with lemon before. It has a great colour, too.

  6. Well, I think that soup looks delicious, and zucchini is one thing my garden is doing well! We also have a little spinach from replanting it (if the weather is going to act like fall, then spinach, at least, will grow!) (Can't say the same for tomatoes and peppers.)

    Thanks for the baby pics. They are adorable.

  7. Mihl,
    Thanks Mihl, for not being bored! I think this is the first time I've ever made zucchini soup but I'm going to make it again before the farmers market runs out of zucchini.

    Now you know what to do with some of that zucchini. I've heard from others that tomatoes didn't do well this year but I have to say we had very good luck with our cherry tomatoes before we left. And the broccoli was amazing. Believe it or not, I've never been able to grow zucchini so I don't even try anymore.


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