Indian-spiced Roasted Carrot Soup with Spiced Kale Chips

By Libbie Summers

Challenge: Carrots and Kale. 
Challenge Accepted: An Indian-inspired Roasted Carrot Soup with Spiced Kale Chips. This creamy soup is packed with smooth flavor and the kale chips…well, they aren’t your average kale chip so they make the perfect garnish!
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Indian-spiced Roasted Carrot Soup with Spiced Kale Chips
serves 4

What you need: 
For Kale Chips:
4 stalks kale, washed and thoroughly dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon nut butter (I used almond)
1 teaspoon oil (I used a garlic olive oil)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch sea salt

For Soup:
1 pound carrots, washed and sliced into 1/4″ rounds
1/2 onion, quartered and broken into pieces
5 cloves garlic, left in skins and lightly smashed
small sliver of jalapeno
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used a garlic olive oil)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
Juice of one lime
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (can sub 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger)
3 cups vegetable stock, hot
Flake sea salt

What to do: 
1. Make Kale Chips: Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet tray with foil. Place kale in the middle of the sheet tray. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients until smooth. Spoon mixture over kale and massage into kale with your hands, coating every piece evenly. Separate the coated kale pieces on the sheet tray and bake until crisp (about 10-12 minutes). Set aside.
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2. Start Soup: Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet tray with foil. Add carrots, onions, garlic, jalapeno, olive oil, garam masala and a heavy pinch of salt. Toss to coat. Spread mixture out over the tray, separating all the pieces. Roast just until carrots can be pierced with a fork (about 20-25 minutes). Remove from oven and remove skins from garlic and place garlic back on tray.
3. Finish Soup: Add the roasted vegetable mixture to a blender along with the coconut milk and stock. Place lid on blender and cover with a towel. Process until smooth. Salt to taste.
To Serve: Divide soup between bowls, drizzle with olive oil (optional) and garnish with spiced kale chips.
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Vegan Mushroom Nut Paté

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Photography by Teresa Earnest

A rich DELICIOUS vegan paté that will make any meat lover a plant based believer.
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Mushroom Nut Paté
makes about 1 1/2 cups

What you need: 
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
Flake sea salt or Kosher salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup roasted cashews
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Nut based crackers for serving

What to do:
In a large sauté pan over medium heat add the coconut oil and heat until melted. Stir in onions, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring, just until onions are translucent. Using a slotted spoon, remove cooked onions and garlic to a bowl leaving the coconut oil in the pan. Add mushrooms into the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from heat.

Add the cashews to a food processor and process until finely ground. Add in mushrooms, onion mixture, garlic and parsley. Process until smooth. Serve with crackers.

 

A Very Cherry Birthday Party

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by Candace Brower and Anthony Lunsmann
Photography by Cedric Smith

When one of the coolest chicks in the land (I’m talking about you Autumn Van Gunten) is turning 40 and her even cooler boyfriend (Yep, that’s you Cedric Smith) asks you to cater a little surprise dinner party for her and her closest friends, you scream HELL YES!

Inspired by the juicy ruby colored fruit of the season, I used cherries to inform the table and the menu spectacle for this very special event.

The result, like Autumn, a total cherry bomb!!!

The menu on a chalkboard made of a vintage vanity mirror
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Greens, roses, fresh cherries and vintage milk glass ran down the middle of the farm tables as a centerpiece. 
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The birthday girl, Autumn, in blue and feeling happy surrounded by her dearest friends including her best friend who flew in from Ohio for the surprise! 
Me…explaining the menu and looking tired! 🙂 
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First Course (sat on the table for guests to pour themselves):
Southern Peanut Soup 

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Second Course:
Salad of Pea Shoots, Avocado and Watermelon

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Tablescape Ingredients: Fresh rosemary, eucalyptus, fresh cherries, pink roses, garden greens, vintage glassware, mix of flatware, torn french fabric napkins, mix and match plates, vintage milk glass, glass cloches and burlap. 
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Main Course:
Slow Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Fried Potatoes, Cherry Salsa, Handmade Charred Tortillas
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Happy 40th Birthday Autumn!

Wild Arugula Salad with Garlic Croutons, Shaved Parmesan, and Caramelized Lemon

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong for Savannah Magazine
Hosted at Grove Point Plantation
Assisted by David Dempsey, Candace Brower, Anthony Lunnsman

I could just eat a bowl of the croutons with dressing, but adding greens makes me feel better about myself. My go to summer salad.

Wild Arugula Salad with Garlic Croutons, Shaved Parmesan, and Caramelized Lemon
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 large piece of ciabatta with crust
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
Flake sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 lemon
6 ounces arugula (preferably wild, about 10 cups packed)
3 ounces aged Parmesan cheese, shaved into strips with vegetable peeler

 

Make Croutons:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Rub crust of bread with garlic clove and tear bread into medium-sized chunks. Place bread on baking sheet and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and a heavy sprinkle of salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer and bake until golden and crisp (about 10 minutes). Cool and set aside.

Caramelize Lemon:
Cut lemon in half and place flesh side down in a skillet over high heat. Cook until caramelized on the bottom.

Make Salad:
In a large mixing bowl, add arugula. Toss with juice from lemon and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 of the croutons and 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese and toss.

To Serve:
Transfer the salad to individual bowls or a serving bowl and add remaining Parmesan cheese and croutons over top.

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Sweet Pea Soup

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong for Savannah Magazine
Hosted at Grove Point Plantation
Assisted by David Dempsey, Candace Brower, Anthony Lunnsman
Benefiting The Fresh Air Home

When the spring peas make an appearance, my go to dish to make is this soup. Really, there is no soup easier, more beautiful and more delicious. The strawberry garnish is everything!

Sweet Pea Soup
Serves 6

What you need:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 leeks (white and light green parts), roughly chopped
1 sweet yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 cups chicken stock
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen peas
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
Flake sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Pea shoots for garnish (optional)
Sliced strawberries for garnish (optional)
Chopped chives for garnish (optional)

What to do:
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, add butter, leeks and onion. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent and leeks are tender (about 5-10 minutes). Add the chicken stock, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the peas and honey, then cook for 3 minutes, until the peas are tender. Remove from heat and add the mint. Salt and pepper to taste.

Working in batches, place 1 cup of the soup in a blender, place the lid on top and puree on low speed. With the blender still running, open the vent hole in the lid and slowly add more soup until the blender is three-quarters full. Pour the soup into a large bowl and repeat until all the soup is pureed.

Just before serving, warm soup over low heat and stir in yogurt. Spoon the soup into bowls and garnish with pea shoots, sliced strawberries and chopped chives.

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Grove Point dinner by Libbie Summers, Spring, Strawberries

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