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October, 2009

Lettuce Eat Soup

By Dennis Linden

While the competing schedules of today’s busy modern family make it difficult to share a home cooked meal together, it is not impossible with a little planning and can even be fun.

Cookin with the Kids Image
Melissa’s encourages parents to find the time to gather as a family once a week for a dinner that everyone pitches in to prepare. It’s a great way to teach your children some basic cooking skills and, more importantly, cooking with your children will build memories that will remain in your hearts forever.

Each COOKIN’ with the KIDS feature will offer a simple, healthy and delicious recipe that can be prepared by a child or a group of children working together, under the supervision of an adult. Parents should always read through each recipe carefully to decide the division of labor based on age and ability as well as to identify where help might be especially needed
.

October is a time for hardy soup lunches and here’s one with a bit of magic to it that your kids can whip up, under adult supervision, in no time. The magic is turning ordinary butter lettuce into a rich creamy soup. The shelled edamame beans in the recipe replace a well known traditional rendition of this dish that uses shelled sweet peas. The edamame and soy milk are certainly an upgrade nutritionally over the peas and fattening dairy product of the original recipe. However, since the edamame is not as sweet as green peas, a cupful of Perfect Sweet Onions and some mint leaves are needed to literally sweeten the pot. The optional dollop of non-fat sour cream will contribute a creamy richness in taste and texture normally associated with ingredients of a much higher calorie count.

Tearing the lettuce and mint leaves into pieces for steaming and measuring the right amount of edamame beans, broth and soy milk can be accomplished by a child of any age. Use your own judgment and knowledge of your kids’ capabilities when assigning kitchen duties. Erring on the side of safety, we recommend that dicing the onion and running the hot liquid through the food processor is a job best left to the adult in the kitchen to accomplish.

While the family is preparing this dish, it might be a good idea to have a loaf of sliced whole grain artisan bread, wrapped in tin foil, warming in the oven at a relatively low temperature, about 275°-300°. The bread should be toasty warm in about the time as it takes to turn a head of lettuce into hot soup!

Butter Lettuce Soup
(Serves four)
Butter Lettuce Soup
Ingredients
1 large Perfect Sweet Onion, washed, peeled and chopped
2 TBS. butter
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1½ cups soy milk
1 10 oz. package of Melissa’s Shelled Edamame
1 large head Butter Leaf lettuce, rough chop or torn into pieces
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
4 TBS non-fat sour cream (optional garnish)
Salt, pepper to taste

Preparation

What kids can do
:
1. Melt butter in the bottom of the pot which you will use for soup.
2. Add the onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Add chicken stock and soy milk, and then bring to a boil.
4. Add lettuce and edamame, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Take off heat and stir in mint.
6. When ready to serve, spoon a large dollop of sour cream in center of bowls.

What supervising adult should do:
Chop onion. Puree hot mixture in a blender or food processor. Return soup puree to pan, season to taste with salt and pepper, keep warm over low heat until ready to serve. And don’t forget that bread in the oven!