Tag Archives: Ghee

Recipe: Quick and Easy Zuchinni Soup

Zucchini Soup

These Spring days in Seattle inspire me to eat soup. We have small doses of sunshine, then evenings of rain and a chilly wind. The problem is that I don’t like buying canned soup or pre-made soup.

Why? Well, I have my Grandmother to thank. I spent a lot of time with her after she had Triple By-pass Heart surgery. No, soup was not to blame, but it became very clear that she needed to change her eating habits and avoid Sodium (her cupboards were full of canned soup). Most mass produced soup is loaded with Sodium, whether Organic or not.  I know there are low-Sodium options out there now. But, another reason why I want to make my own soup is because I want to know what all the ingredients are. Often soup labels simply say “spices” without listing what they are, not to mention some preservatives that I cannot pronounce. Okay, getting off my podium and moving onto the recipe…

Quick and Easy Zucchini Soup

This soup takes 20-30 minutes to make from start to finish – literally serving it up to eat. Most soups made from scratch take at least an hour or longer for the flavors to blend together.  That is why this recipe was created. I love soup, but don’t always have 2 hours to wait for it to be yummy. The best thing about it is that you can create a vegan version and simply add Olive Oil when you serve it up, or use Ghee as a vegetarian option or good old Chicken or Turkey Stock.

Ingredients:

– 4 Small or 2 Medium Zucchini (Enough to yield 4 cups Finely Grated)

– 6 Cups Water

– 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme

– 1 Teaspoon Salt

– One clove Garlic

– 2 Table Spoons Ghee /Butter/Poultry Stock/Poultry Drippings (the yummy goop you get at the bottom of a baking dish from Chicken or Turkey)

Fill soup pot with water, add Salt and Thyme and turn the burner onto a High temperature. Finely grate Zucchini and add to the pot, cut Garlic clove in half (if you want to fish it out and avoid eating it) or dice it up fine. Once the water warms up, add your choice of fat (Ghee/Butter/etc). Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a Medium temperature for about 10 minutes. Soup is ready as soon as the Zucchini looks less bright green in color. Add additional salt to taste – this will vary depending on what else you serve with it. Serve with some cheese bread, or home made crackers sprinkled on top.

Zucchini Soup with rice and home made mini crackers!

This soup is very flexible – you can add more things to it depending on what you have on hand. We’ve enjoyed adding about a cup of left over rice, some True Cod or Turkey and diced Carrots.

Let me know how you like it or what modifications you create!

p.s. Our 2-year-old loves this soup, but our 4-year-old refuses to eat any kind of soup.

Classic Cookie Cutter Crackers

My 2-year-old assistant cutting out crackers.

My kids and I love crackers.  They are super easy to make, and a fun way to use cookie cutters.  We’ve modified a recipe from my mom many times – from using butter to Ghee to Olive Oil. You can use regular refined flour for a classic, buttery taste.  Or you can use a whole grain flour. I have found that a 50/50 ratio of whole grain and refined flour makes for a better texture and taste. The whole grain flours tend to create a heavy, hard cracker with a dense taste.  At our house, we tend to use a mixture of Refined Spelt Flour and Sprouted Whole Grain Spelt flour. Also, if you want to add some herbs or spices to the crackers, a refined flour provides an open canvass without the distracting flavor of the whole grain.

In honor of Valentine’s Day next week, we made some cute heart shaped crackers.

If you want to use Olive Oil, just scroll past this first recipe and find it below. And, if you’d like to know how to make Ghee, the recipe is here. Now, onto the recipes!

Classic Cracker Recipe

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Flour, plus 1/2 cup for rolling surface
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 3 Table Spoons Ghee (or Butter)
  • 1/2 Cup Water

– Mix dry ingredients

– Add Ghee and with your hands, blend together with the flour mixture until it starts to look a little bit like corn meal.

– Add water and mix with a spatula until a ball starts to form, then use your hands to knead in the remaining flour.

– Break the dough ball in half, and set aside one half.

– On a flour surface, roll out the dough, flipping it over and adding flour as needed to prevent sticking to your rolling pin.  Once the dough is flattened out to less than 1/8 inch thick (or thicker depending on your taste), you’re ready to use the cookie cutters!

*My kids LOVE to use cookie cutters. So, at this point I usually place the rolled out dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, set it on the kitchen table and let them cut out the crackers. This works for us to transfer onto a cookie sheet for baking. You can do this or simply pick up your shapes off your rolling surface and place onto a cookie sheet when ready.

–  Place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and poke each cracker with a fork.  This will help reduce the amount of bubbling that occurs during baking.

– Sprinkle with salt and place in the oven.

– Bake crackers for 15 minutes or until lightly golden colored, then remove and transfer the parchment paper onto a cooling rack.

– Repeat for the rest of your dough. I usually get 5 cookie sheets full of crackers from this recipe, but it really yields a variety of crackers depending on your cookie cutter size. You can also ditch the cookie cutters and use a pizza slicer to cut your crackers out quickly.

Enjoy!

Vegan Olive Oil Version

Olive oil is a delicious alternative to butter or Ghee. It creates a lighter flavor cracker. Because of the delicate nature of Olive Oil, you need to bake the crackers at a lower temperature for a little bit longer. I have found the dough to be a bit more tough when rolling out – it gets rubbery.  As a result, I usually cut out shapes, then bake the negative dough result as is without trying to blend it with the other dough.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Water

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees

– Blend dry ingredients.

– Add Olive Oil and Water.

– Blend with a spatula until a ball starts to form, then knead in remaining flour. The dough should have a “play dough” like texture and hold a shape.

– Break dough ball in half.

– On a floured surface, roll out one half of the dough, flipping the dough over and adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.

– Cut out with cookie cutters, and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

– Poke crackers with a fork, and sprinkle with salt.

– Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until slightly golden.

Enjoy!

Tasty Options: You can add any dried herbs in a 1 Teaspoon quantity or more depending on your taste.  We really like using Thyme and Basil. If you’re using spices, remember that with some, a little goes a long way. We’ve found that just a 1/2 Teaspoon of Powdered Onion is plenty for a nice taste that isn’t too overbearing.

Let me know what you discover or like best about this recipe – I love feedback.

Recipe: Ghee – clarified butter

Iris helping make Ghee.

Why Ghee:  Since our little girl can’t handle most animal protein, we’ve been transforming much of our cooking and baking to vegan. We usually use Olive Oil, or just steam and boil foods.  Baking has proved another area for learning – we use applesauce in place of oil or butter. But, there are certain things that you just can’t make without butter. We also strive to eat as little processed foods as possible, so margarine is out of the question. So, we’ve been making Ghee from butter.  To our delight, our little girl is not bothered by it (the process of separating the oil from the milk removes most of the lactose).  And, it is the closest thing to a butter substitute that honors our food philosophy. It works great with baking!

My mom showed me this process, and I like it a lot since it doesn’t mean that I have to stand at the stove and risk burning or ruining it. You can read more about Ghee on Wikipedia here, or via this site that sells Ghee – www.purendianfoods.com (no, I don’t get anything for sharing this link!).

Recipe:

Preheat your oven at 375 degrees

– Place 2 sticks butter (or more if you want) into a baking dish. I like to use a clear glass one so I can see the oil and milk separation.

– Put dish into oven

– Wait 30 minutes, look at the dish, if there is a pool of white a the bottom of the dish, or you can see the yellow oil is clear on the top except for some surface foam, it’s ready. Remove from oven, and let cool enough to handle dish.

– Skim the foam off the surface using a clean spoon.  I usually wipe it off between skimming with a clean napkin or dish cloth.

– Pour into a dish of your choice, something with a lid is preferred if you’ll be storing it.

Take caution toward the bottom of the dish as you might mix in some of the white milk protein. I usually stop pouring when I can see the Ghee is about a quarter inch above the milk protein, and place in the refrigerator. Once it is hardened, you can scoop it out of the bowl and rinse off the milk under cold running water. Then, add to your Ghee dish. Enjoy and use as you would butter!

Cost: A 7.5oz. jar of Ghee at our local Health Food Co-op costs $6.25 – a bit pricey for our budget. For the cost of 2 sticks of butter ($2.85) we get a little over 10 oz. of Ghee. I am certain that if you can find a better deal on butter, or buy non-organic butter, you can make it for even less money.