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 Beet And Nori Soup with a Touch of Licorice 
 
The following recipe addresses the special diet considerations for: dairy-free, gluten-free, low fat, vegan, vegetarian, anti-cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases.

Serves 3 persons - approx. 4 cups (1 L)
Beets can really shine at the dinner table. They just need a bit of help. The heat of an oven helps mellow their taste bringing out their natural sweetness and helps make them soft. A blender and some olive oil and the spices do the rest, letting the beets shine at the dinner table and providing your palate with a silky smooth sensation upon ingestion. The beets are rich in vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and related color pigments, fibre, and betaine, which will do wonder for your liver. Just lovely eh?

The soup can served hot or cold and will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Try serving it with pieces of poached salmon or other root vegetables, they make good company. The soup also complements boiled brown rice or whole grains beautifully. And a few tablespoons of homemade yogurt as a topping won't hurt either. The touch of licorice comes from the star anise, which has a similar taste to licorice root. Only it is slightly mellower than the root.

  • 1 lb (1/2 kg) whole beets
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 sheets of nori
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1-1-1/2 cups (2-3 dl) of boiling water
  • 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs shiro miso
  • 3 star anise, roasted and ground finely
  • 1 tsp cumin, roasted and ground finely
  • 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek seeds, roasted and ground finely
  • unrefined cider or brown rice vinegar to taste
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


Cooking Instructions
1) Place the beets in a suitable pan, add enough water to cover the bottom, and bake in a 475° F (250° C) for 1 1/2 hours until tender. You should be able to pierce the beets easily with at fork. Immediately plunge the hot beets into a large bowl of cold water and leave them there for 10 minutes or so, until they're sufficiently chilled to be handled with your bare hands. Peel the skin of the beets - you should be able to pull or rub it off using your fingers only - and chop them roughly.
2) Toast the nori sheets very shortly over an open flame if you have a gas stove. Otherwise, use a very warm hotplate. Gently hold one half of the nori sheet against the hotplate for a few seconds until it starts wilting and the color changes to a greenish yellow. Do the same with the other half of the sheets. Roast all of the sheets in this manner and rip them into large shreds. If you have an induction stove or a microwave, then you're in trouble.
3) Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds inside using a small knife or a fork. Save the seeds and discard the pod itself, unless you can use it in another recipe.
4) Combine beets, toasted nori, vanilla seeds, boiling water, extra virgin olive oil, shiro miso, and the roasted spices in a blender and process into a thick, velvety soup. Perfect the taste using a few teaspoonfuls of good vinegar, a bit of Tabasco sauce, sea salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. If the soup is too thick, add a bit more boiling water. If you want the soup to be even more velvety and creamy, add a bit more extra virgin olive oil.


Note: Measurements are provided in both U.S. and European/metric units.

 
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