Coconut Seafood Soup

Over the last few years, I keep coming back to this soup every year for Christmas Eve supper (we do a traditionally seafood meal). It’s the only recipe I’ve made three years (maybe four?) in a row, and has become a favorite of the family.

15774883_10206147884495656_4690807848044684179_oSARAH’S COCONUT SEAFOOD SOUP

1 (14oz) can coconut milk
3 cups chicken stock
zest & juice of one lime
zest & juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 lbs small seafood (e.g. scallops, mussels, shrimp, crab, etc)
2 spring onions, chopped, for garnish

Combine the first five ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer. I usually like to wait until the simmering has softened up the zest and then run the immersion blender quickly through the liquid so that the strands of zest get better incorporated, for texture’s sake.

Add the seafood and simmer until cooked through. Garnish with chopped spring onions to serve.

Mexican Cauliflower “Rice”

A few months ago I embarked on my project to hone the preparation of cauliflower as a substitute for rice. My first effort in this project was the conversion of a favorite Mexican Rice recipe to a cauliflower version. It worked well enough, but since then I have accumulated further expertise in the endeavor, most significantly that keeping the cauliflower raw by any means necessary vastly improves the texture of the dish.

Being in the mood for Mexican food on a recent weekend, I wanted to go back and give this recipe another go with the know-how I have acquired from recent projects.

DSC02393SARAH’S MEXICAN CAULIFLOWER “RICE”

2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoons chili powder spice blend
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 bouillon cube, chicken or beef, crushed
frozen small mixed vegetables (i.e. corn, peas, diced carrots, etc.), optional

2 roma tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
5 cups cauliflower rice
green onions, sliced or snipped
1/2 teaspoon salt

Rice your cauliflower. Fold into a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat oil. Saute onion and garlic until softened. Add chili powder, tomato sauce and bouillon cube. Heat through. Add mixed vegetables, if using. Simmer on low fire until vegetables reach desired tenderness. Allow to cool.

In the meantime, de-seed and dice tomatoes. Combine cauliflower rice with tomatoes, green onions and salt until well-combined. Once the tomato mixture has cooled a bit, stir into the rice. Serve with your favorite Mexican dishes.

Turnip Colcannon

The discovery of turnips has opened a lot of doors for me in terms of low carb recipes. With a carb count similar to cauliflower, but a shape and texture more like a potato, the turnip is an ideal substitution in many cases. It can be spiralized into spaghetti or noodles, it can be chopped into chunks for roasting and stewing, and it can be mashed or whipped as a substitute for mashed potatoes in many recipes.

This recipe, an Irish concoction called Colcannon — basically mashed potatoes with cabbage — is one I have made in the past with potatoes. Substituting turnips turns it into a truly delicious and low-carb dish.

DSC02560SARAH’S TURNIP COLCANNON

2 lbs. turnips
2 tablespoons bacon fat, or 4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 lb. cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
green onions, sliced or snipped

Peel turnips and chop into large chunks. Boil in a large saucepan of water at least 20 to 30 minutes until the turnips are tender.

Meanwhile heat the bacon fat in a medium saucepan that you can cover. If you don’t keep bacon fat, then you can fry up 4 slices of chopped bacon. Once bacon is crisp, or fat is melted, add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Fry in the bacon fat until onion is softened. Add the shredded cabbage, stir and cover. Allow the cabbage to steam/fry with the onion, garlic and bacon fat until the cabbage is soft.

Meanwhile, drain the turnips and mash with the sour cream, salt and pepper. I like to use an immersion blender to get the turnips as smooth as possible. Once turnips are mashed, combine with the cabbage mixture in a casserole dish for heating/serving. Stir in green onions. Colcannon can be served now, or can be kept on low in the oven while other food preparation for the meal catches up. Serve with gravy, au jus, or cream sauce.

Thai Red Curry Cauliflower “Rice”

I was planning to try a new green curry recipe last weekend, and I also happened to have some leftover pumpkin curry in the freezer, so a Thai feast seemed in the works. It occurred to me a rice dish was a logical addition (and, of course, for me this means cauliflower “rice”), and so I took to the Internet to research a flavorful rice dish that is uniquely Thai.

Now, cauliflower rice can be eaten plainly. The simplest preparation is riced cauliflower with some oil, salt and pepper. That’s as close as I would recommend getting to “plain” cauliflower rice. In my humblest opinion, it needs a bit more seasoning to stand on its own as a dish, and so I look for rice dishes that are complex and flavorful when I’m looking to convert a recipe to cauliflower rice. I’ve already done a few cauliflower rice recipes that complement Thai food well, such as Coconut Rice and Cilantro Lime Rice, but I wanted something more intricate this time, something that could stand on its own. I figured, my favorite Thai restaurant has all kinds of entree rice dishes, surely I could find a recipe for something like that to fit the bill

I’ve also found that cooking the cauliflower rice directly (i.e. as part of the dish preparation; warming is okay) is less than ideal, as the rice loses its texture easily and releases extra liquid into the dish. Many of the recipes I found were for fried rice; many did not seem all that much different from Chinese fried rice recipes–maybe one or two extra “Thai” ingredients. They were uninspiring, and they of course involved cooking the rice by frying it. Since I already keep a lot of integral Thai food ingredients in my cupboards (e.g. curry pastes and powders, sriracha, fish sauce, lime juice, peanuts, etc.) I decided to put together a recipe based on Thai dishes and flavor combinations I’ve enjoyed in the past.

DSC02401SARAH’S THAI RED CURRY RICE

8 cups cauliflower rice
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/8 cup lime juice
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/3 cup peanuts, crushed
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or powder
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon salt
green onions

Rice your cauliflower. Fold into a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

In a compact but tall container (I used the plastic measuring vessel that came with my immersion blender), combine curry paste, coconut cream, lime juice, soy sauce and peanut butter. Mix thoroughly into a sauce (I used my immersion blender to do so; works well to overcome the tackiness of the peanut butter).

Meanwhile crush and toast the peanuts in a dry, non-stick skillet. Once the peanuts are lightly toasted, add the coconut (it will toast faster) and stir until coconut is golden brown. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine cauliflower rice, diced tomatoes, salt and green onions. Add the toasted peanuts and coconut. Once all those ingredients are well-distributed throughout the rice, add the peanut sauce and combine. Serve with your favorite Thai curries.

Note that the peanut sauce in this recipe is intended to coat the rice lightly with flavor, not to be a thick sauce to saturate it. The overall texture is a “dry” rice, rather than a soupy or saucy dish.

I was quite pleased with this recipe. And excellent complement to the curries I was making to eat alongside it. Can’t wait to have the leftovers later this week!

Smoked Gouda Brussels Sprouts

I decided to comb through my old saved recipes on Food.com the other day to see if I could find any forgotten gems. Oftentimes I click save on a recipe with great intention and purpose… and then completely forget about it.

A recipe for smoked gouda brussels sprouts caught my eye. With a few tweaks it was easy enough to turn into low carb version. I did use maple syrup in the version I made, since a teaspoon is quite a small amount, but it only really had a subtle effect the taste, so feel free to omit it if super extra low carb is your goal.

DSC02268SARAH’S SMOKED GOUDA BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1 lb fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons butter
3 green onions
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey (optional)
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
4 oz smoked gouda cheese, shredded
1⁄4 cup ground almonds

Preheat the oven to 375. Place the Brussels sprouts and butter in a medium casserole dish. Snip or chop the whites and pale green parts of the onions (reserve the greens for other use) and add them to the dish. Roast the sprouts, stirring a few times, until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, shred the cheese. When the sprouts are adequately roasted, remove casserole dish from the oven. Stir in to the roasted sprouts the sour cream, maple, paprika, salt, pepper and shredded cheese. Sprinkle ground almonds on top to cover. Return to oven and bake until almonds are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Autumnal Mash

Week after week, I’ve been making recipe after recipe for cauliflower “rice” in my effort to hone the culinary use of this low-carb substitution. Many of the recipes were refreshing and light-tasting for these last balmy days before the weather changes definitively for the chilly. But as the first weekend of October ushered in a few days of unmistakable BRRRR, I found myself wanting to revert to an ages old favorite… the mash!

Do the mash... the root vegetable mash!

Do the mash… the root vegetable mash!

Of course, my erstwhile love affair with the mash was in the form of mashed potatoes. Back in the olden days of the 80’s and early 90’s, I was an extremely picky eater with a palate that allowed for the true enjoyment of very few foods. The great culinary theme of my formative years was to take A) some manner of very white starch, and add B) some manner of sauce that did not stray far from the color palate of the starch. I didn’t even like tomato-based spaghetti sauce as a kid. I was a true culinary terror! If I could have eaten macaroni and cheese every day for every meal, I would have done so with glee. Grilled cheese sandwiches would have been a welcome part of the rotation, and for an even bigger change of pace… mashed potatoes and gravy! Even into my high school years when my food preferences had begun to eke toward adventurous (that is, adventurous in comparison to what came before), I still looked forward with delight to mashed potato day in the cafeteria. Our high school cafeteria, being capitalistically crafty, offered the option of buying a whole lunch, or buying items a la carte. I can’t remember a single day I got the whole lunch. In fact, most days I went into the snack bar line to get a soft pretzel or little turkey sandwich. But on mashed potato day, I was in the main line, ordering up a bowl of reconstituted potato with as much near-neon yellow gravy as would fit in the bowl without dripping over on my way to my reclusive seat.

One can never go home again, and nothing proves the concept better than attempting to eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese as an adult, and I imagine cafeteria potato buds and mysterious yellow gravy would be the same. But as my palate has matured, some fundamental favorites have not changed, at least in concept. I still love any meal that includes sauce over starch, it’s just nowadays that sometimes takes the form of Tikka Masala over Basmati. The concept of mashed vegetables is a tricky one, anymore, as conservation of carbs is also an issue in mind. Cauliflower mash is a staple of any low-carb dieter, and it remains probably the lowest carb option when cravings for mash arise. However, I see no need to limit our possibilities in this respect, so this weekend, I did two varieties of mash, one recipe old, and one new.

download (2)SARAH’S MASHED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

1 large or 2 medium butternut squashes
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cream, sour cream or half & half
salt and pepper

Place the squash whole in a large, shallow casserole. Prick the skin several times with a fork. Roast whole in the oven at 350 until flesh is soft. Allow to cool and then peel off the skin, scoop out the flesh, and discard the seeds.

In a medium-sized, deeper casserole dish, mash the squash with butter, cream, salt and pepper. Since squash can be stringy, I like to whip the mixture with my immersion blender until it is silky smooth.

If the squash mixture is somewhat soupy, place back in the oven, uncovered, to keep warm while letting some of the excess liquid evaporate. Check on the mixture often and stir to check consistency. When it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes, serve and enjoy!

Again, I can’t stress this enough: squash flesh tends to be stringy when cooked. Butternut less so than other squashes, but you’ll still have strings. I DO NOT recommend a simple treatment with a potato masher (i.e. the method for lumpy-style mash). If you don’t have an immersion blender, try a food processor. It’s a little more work, but worth the effort to get a silky smooth result.

download (3)SARAH’S GARLIC MASHED RUTABAGA

2 lbs. rutabaga
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 cup cream, sour cream or half & half
salt and pepper

Peel the rutabaga and cut into chunks. Place in a large saucepan or stock pot. Cover with water and boil until tender.

Drain the rutabaga chunks and place in a medium, deep casserole dish with butter, garlic, cream, salt and pepper. Mash or process with an immersion blender until smooth. If necessary, place in the oven to keep warm while other dishes are cooking. Serve with your favorite gravy, sauce or curry.

This was the first time I ever mashed a rutabaga. Honestly, it behaved very much like a potato. If anything, it’s a little drier and requires a bit more boiling time. But otherwise it is very potato-like. It did not have excess liquid at the end, like butternut and especially cauliflower mash do. I did use sour cream, instead of liquid cream, but I imagine it wouldn’t be really any different than potatoes if you did use half & half. I used a full cup, but adding half the cream would probably also work out okay because the rutabaga is so close to potato in consistency. I’ve gotten in the habit of adding a goodly amount of cream to any mash, simply because cauliflower mash requires it to get a bit more potato-like body. The rutabaga would not need as much, FYI for those looking to limit fat and/or dairy.

The Great Mchicha Experiment

A few years ago, while browsing — perhaps aimlessly — through the annals of my go-to recipe site, Food.com, and I encountered a dish the likes of which I had never seen before… it purported to be a Tanzanian dish for creamed spinach called Mchicha (forgive my ignorance of Tanzanian cuisine… you know how rife Pittsburgh is with Tanzanian restaurants, right?). Based on the ingredient list, I didn’t see how this dish could be anything but an unmitigated revelation of culinary splendor! Creamed spinach and creamed spinach curries are among my favorite side dishes (a little research reveals that true Mchicha uses Amaranth greens, but local substitutions are often the case in recipe conversation from one continent to the next). Not only does this recipe boast spinach in curry spices, but it is creamed by a combination of coconut milk and peanut butter. How can this recipe possibly be anything but unparalleled deliciousness?

270609-spinachI tried this recipe, shortly after I found it a few years ago, and I was underwhelmed.

How could this recipe have failed so disappointingly? The reviews of this recipe on the website were glowing and enthusiastic. The ingredients combine very many of my favorite flavors. What went so wrong with a recipe that seemed in every way so right?

I was reminded of the poor performance of the Mchicha recipe a few days ago. I decided to peruse my catalog of saved recipes on Food.com, looking for that gem of a recipe I might have saved and forgot about years before. I got a few hits of inspiration from this list, but I also stumbled upon the Mchicha recipe and it served as a stark reminder of the delicious potential that went unrealized. It was a few years back, and so I don’t remember exactly what I did in putting this recipe together, but in mulling over the recipe once more I did zero-in on one particular variable that could have led the recipe astray. The recipe calls for curry powder, even proclaiming one should use one’s favorite blend!

89525044The trouble with curry powder is that there are so many blends of so many origins and so many types. Cooking in modern America with published cookbooks and Internet recipes has given us the expectation that we can cook with exactitude. After all, even little known or exotic ingredients can be researched and ordered by mail from specialty vendors. However, many of my favorite cuisines (you know, the spicy ones) have precisely a tradition of inexact-itude. Contemplating what went wrong with this Mchicha recipe, I couldn’t help by be reminded of the time my Kuwaiti friend showed me a cook-book from back home. It was published with a Western audience in mind, featuring colorful pictures and English translations of each recipe. One unmistakable point of authenticity, however, stood out. Nearly every recipe called for “mixed spices.” My friend explained that every household back home has their own particular spice mix, sort of a “house blend” in the same sense that a particular restaurant might have a “house dressing.” The differences in the blends from one household to the other can sometimes be marked enough, he explained, that conflict may arise in a new marriage over whether to use the mixed spices from bride’s childhood home, or the groom’s. I immediately thought of curry powders and curry pastes and the myriad of different types, not only for different styles or regions, but even within the same type (just try to find consistency in Garam Masalas!). Looking at the Mchicha recipe again this weekend, I understood that line item calling for “curry powder” was in fact a call for whatever local “mixed spices” would have been used.

On the one hand, understanding the Mchicha recipe in this context opens up the recipe with legitimacy to a lot of creative interpretation (worry not, I won’t be using any household “Polish mixed spices”), but it also opens the recipe to a much wider margin of error. I don’t remember what sort of curry powder I used making this recipe the first time, but it very well could have been the discordant ingredient that collapsed this recipe.

downloadApproaching this recipe anew, I realize I could have researched recipes for Tanzanian curry powders. However, perfecting a new spice blend often takes a bit of trial and error, and given one failed attempt already on this recipe’s track record, I didn’t want to risk anything but a tried-and-true blend. Rather, I recalled that since the time when I made this recipe the first time, I have encountered other varieties of African cuisine. In fact, I went on a different culinary adventure a few years back in effort to master my own versions of some Ethiopian recipes. In doing so, I formulated my own recipe for the Ethiopian spice mix, Berbere. Perhaps, I mused, a nearby African curry powder would make this dish work in a way that whatever curry powder I’d used the last time had fallen flat. I have used my Berbere in many Ethiopian dishes, some of them calling for peanut butter, with great success. At the same time, my interest was piqued by the coconut milk as well. I had just ordered some Thai red curry paste in bulk online, and I couldn’t help thinking that the mix of coconut and peanut butter were such an awesome combination in Thai curries, however far away from Tanzania such cuisine might be. The recipe author even included a chipper parenthetical that one could use one’s favorite curry powder or paste! Perhaps a red curry paste was just what this dish needed for deliciousness.

I couldn’t decide; I wanted to try both. I resolved that the only way to salvage this dish from its prior disappointing conclusion was to try both options. I revisited the recipe and determined that I would halve the spinach, but keep the other ingredients as is (to up the flavor ante) and increase the curry powder/paste to make the difference all the more marked. This weekend I prepared two versions of Mchicha, side-by-side, one with Berbere once with Thai red curry paste.

Two Variants of Mchicha, with Berbere and Thai Red Curry Paste

Two Variants of Mchicha, with Berbere and Thai Red Curry Paste

SARAH’S MCHICHA

2 tablespoons ghee or 2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder (Berbere!) or paste (Thai red curry)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup coconut cream
1 lb spinach, chopped

Melt the butter or ghee in a wide saucepan or skillet. Add the onions and saute until softened. Add the tomato, the spice mix and the salt. Stir and fry until the spices become fragrant. Add the peanut butter; stir until melted into the other ingredients. Add the coconut and the spinach. Heat over medium-low fire until spinach is cooked and sauce has thickened. Serve as a side dish to your favorite curries!

This time I had two dishes of success! I think I may have slightly preferred the version with Thai red curry paste, but the Berbere version was also delicious, just in a different way. I think that intensifying the other ingredients also helped, as I tend to prefer a bolder flavor palate, and this recipe is relatively sparse on ingredients in general (no garlic, even!).

One recipe note: I highly recommend using chopped spinach. I used Trader Joe’s chopped frozen spinach for convenience, but I think last time I used a different frozen spinach. Some packages of frozen spinach are, in fact, whole leaf, and even if those whole leafs are baby leafs, there is something just slimy and unappealing about a cooked whole leaf of spinach. On the other hand, I don’t think pureeing this dish after cooking would be a great idea either; a large part of its aesthetic appeal, I think, are the different colors in everything remaining separate: green of the spinach, red of the tomato, light peanut-y golden brown of the sauce. Using spinach that was chopped from the outset makes the spinach both integrated enough and still distinct enough that the dish works on many levels.

Parmesan Risotto with Cauliflower Rice

One of the staples of my recipe collection is risotto. I don’t always make it according to the “rules” (I often use long-grain instead of arborio rice, don’t hate me!), but slow-cooked skillet rice in a creamy, broth-based, wine-based sauce is perhaps second only to pasta with cheese sauce in my kitchen repertoire. It is a recipe that’s easy to change up, use a different cheese, add some vegetables (or occasionally fruit!), toss in some nuts, try a different spice mix… risotto is endlessly adaptable and delicious, but it sure as heck is not low carb.

My collection of successful cauliflower “rice” recipes continues to grow: Cilantro Lime “Rice,” Cauliflower Jambalaya, Tabbouleh Salad, Vegetable Biryani, Mexican Rice, etc. Is cauliflower “rice” risotto a real possibility? My greatest successes with substituting cauliflower for rice have come with dishes where I keep the cauliflower raw — it stays crispy, doesn’t leak too much water into the dish, doesn’t become slimy. I’ve encountered some cauliflower “rice” risotto recipes online, but they involve cooking the “rice” in the same manner one would with a traditional risotto, and I just can’t imagine that working out okay without facing the same consequences I’ve experienced when cooking cauliflower “rice.” Would it be possible to make the risotto as a sauce, sans cauliflower first, and then add the raw cauliflower at the end?

I set to finding out.

DSC02241SARAH’S CAULIFLOWER “RICE” PARMESAN RISOTTO”

6 cups cauliflower rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
3 bouillon cubes
1/2 cup cream or half & half
2 cups shredded parmesan or other white italian cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Rice your cauliflower. Fold into a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

Heat butter in a skillet. Saute the onion and garlic until softened. Add the white wine and bouillon cubes. Simmer until the cubes are dissolved and wine reduced by half. Add cream, cheese, salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat until cheese is melted. If the cheese gets clumpy as it melts, use an immersion blender to smooth it out. In the end, the cheese sauce should be thick and somewhat tacky, a good layer sticking to the spoon as you stir.

Allow to cool a bit. Still in the cauliflower rice. If you want to heat the rice up a bit, put the entire risotto mixture in a large, shallow casserole and heat uncovered in the oven at low temperature (200 or 250) until heated through. Serve with your favorite Italian meal and enjoy!

This dish actually turned out quite well. It’s not true risotto, of course, but it is a reasonable and tasty substitute.

Paella-style Spanish Yellow “Rice”

In searching for interesting recipes to transform into tasty cauliflower “rice” dishes, I keep running into paella. I gather from the recipes I’ve seen that paella is similar to jambalaya in that it aims at being a one-pot meal, a single plate with rice, delicious spice mixes, vegetables, seafood and meat all together in one harmonious blend of flavors.

This time, however, I wasn’t looking for a one-pot meal, but rather an accompaniment, and all the ingredients in a true Paella would have been overkill. I nosed around online and found some recipes for simpler, Spanish rice that was saffron-based, rather than tomato-based. Comparing simpler yellow rice recipes with paella recipes, I came up with the following for using cauliflower “rice” to make a light and flavorful side dish.

As usual, I divide up the ingredients in stages of preparation to keep the raw ingredients and cooked ingredients separate.

DSC02250SARAH’S PAELLA-STYLE YELLOW “RICE”

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoons oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup white wine
generous pinch saffron

1 tablespoon oil
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup peas, frozen

2 large or 3 small roma tomatoes, chopped, fresh
6 cups cauliflower, riced
salt and pepper, to taste
lemon wedges

Combine the cilantro, lemon juice, oil and garlic cloves from the first segment of the ingredient list. Set aside.

Add the saffron to the white wine in a small bowl or cup. Allow to steep.

From the third ingredient segment, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Saute the onions, garlic and bell peppers until softened. Crush the bouillon cubes. Add to the skillet along with paprika and the saffron wine mix. Simmer for a few minutes and then add the peas. Heat through and then remove from burner and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, combine the cauliflower rice, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Add the cilantro mixture and stir until well-distributed. Once the skillet mixture is cooled off a bit (I like it to be close to room temperature), add it to the rice and stir once again until combined. Garnish with lemon wedges and enjoy!

Spicy Tomato Soup

Looking for something easy, tasty and low-carb that I could make in a large batch to take for lunches at work, I adapted a few soup recipes into the following. I’ve been enjoying it for a few weeks now!

dsc01312SARAH’S SPICY TOMATO SOUP

1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 green onions, chopped
4 cups broth, beef or chicken
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (24oz) jar prepared salsa
2 tablespoons cilantro, or cilantro chutney
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder (the spice mix for making for chili)

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan or stockpot. Simmer on medium low for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Process with an immersion blender for a puree-style tomato soup, or leave as is for a chunky-style soup. Garish with extra cilantro. For a hearty twist, top with shredded cheese and/or sour cream. Enjoy!