Many of you are snickering, especially if you have a food blog.
The thing is, I started this blog for a few reasons, none of which had anything to do with my amazing photography skills. I love to write and I love to cook. I love sharing what I cook—I was always forwarding recipes on to people—now they can all just find them in one place. I like to think my writing is entertaining and the recipes are good—maybe some days more than others, in both cases, but in general I am not too worried about those aspects of my blog.
But yes I know my photography could improve. And I am trying. For example I recently learned that the flash is the major No No of good photography. On the one hand I can see why this is the case, but on the other hand, who knew? So please bear with me as some of my photos are better than others in the upcoming days. The only way to improve is to experiment—but I don’t believe in not sharing a fabulous recipe just because that day I failed at the experimenting. And it is food, folks—and in my house that usually means it is eaten. Which means it is hard to keep experimenting with the same subject matter.
On that note, I have been trying to find some good spots in the house for natural light and I think the photos for this recipe suffered from that. The best picture of this soup the day it was made was the one I took using a flash at the stovetop. Which is not to say, by the way, that it is a great photo, but rather I think the other 2 failed (of which only one is pictured, in the blue bowl). Apparently that is not a great spot for picture taking in this house. I tried a new spot the following night, which is why some of the green in the soup is no longer so bright and fresh looking in the white bowl pictures. This spot works better, but am not certain yet if it is The Spot.
But about the recipe. This is a great way to use that summer squash that is either overflowing your garden or your farmers’ market. It plays off of traditional Mexican calabacitas (summer squash) dishes, but I would call it more Southwestern than truly Mexican. If I did not have kids I would throw several dried or 1-2 canned chipotle peppers into it as I think those flavors especially perk the soup up, but since I have kids I content myself with sprinkling some dried ground chipotle onto my individual bowl. Feel free to play with different cheeses: Velveeta (which I normally avoid) would give it a great texture, and I would try goat cheese for a fancier approach.
I served this soup with another take on that watermelon salad, by the way, this time using lemon juice and French Feta. John and I both agreed that the French Feta was amazing. He preferred the white Balsamic, while I really enjoyed lemon juice.
Southwestern Cheese & Summer Squash Soup
1 T olive oil
1 medium-large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ t Mexican oregano
1 t ground cumin
½ t ancho chile powder
32 oz low sodium chicken broth
4 medium summer squash, sliced into small rounds or cubed, whichever is easier
1 sweet bell pepper, diced
Corn from 2 cobs
1 14 oz can Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes
4 oz can green chile peppers
3 oz shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz shredded
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped cilantro
In a large pot, heat olive oil and sauté the onion until tender. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the sweet bell pepper, summer squash and corn and cook an additional 1 minute.
Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and green chilies. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, or until squash is barely tender. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese; stir until cheeses are melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in cilantro.