Category Archives: Comfort Food

Winter Vegetable Chowder

Hello!  Happy New Year!

I finally have a little time to both cook and write about cooking after a busy semester and producing a short film.  So back to it, yes?

Winter Vegetable Chowder

The cookbook is Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen, and the soup of the day is Winter Vegetable Chowder.I should probably make more recipes from this cookbook, because every one I have made has been a winner, but then when I open the cookbook I’m like “Oh, that’s your favorite soup, you should make that one” and I just keep repeating old favorites.  Part of this is because many of the recipes are time-consuming and involve a lot of peeling and chopping, and it takes a few times through to have them become second nature.  But the time spent makes a huge batch of delicious soup that is tasty and substantial enough to be the main course at a dinner party, and the techniques you pick up serve you in making other soups. Continue reading


Requiem for a soup

I’m a soup-making fiend!

This morning I made mushroom soup, also by adapting one of Anne-Catherine Bley’s recipes, to take to a brunch party along with the leftovers of the carrot-ginger soup.  These recipes are more of a method where you start with onions or shallots cooking in olive oil, add a vegetable you like and some broth or water, cook until tender, puree, and serve – sometimes you add the creamy substance (coconut milk) during the simmer, sometimes you stir it in at the end (cream or milk).  Her squash and/or pumpkin soups are served with a crisp piece of bacon to use as an edible stirrer.  If you can make one, you can make them all.  Cauliflower leek?  Broccoli puree?  Tomato ginger?  You’ll be seeing a lot of them in this space in coming weeks because they are so simple, cheap, and satisfyingly rich-but-healthy.  Keep reading for recipe and sad story.

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Mushroom soup with chicken

Years ago I had a subletter named Rula.  I remember two things about Rula.

  1. She had a cat who never, ever, ever came out of her bedroom because it was terrified of my cat.  Whatever my cat did to her cat that first day when we both went to work was terrible, swift, and decisive.
  2. This soup recipe.

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Carrot & coconut soup

If anyone’s still reading, this soup is pretty good.  It comes from the fabulous Anne-Catherine Bley, proprietor of Le Bar A Soupes in Paris.  I added about 1/3 cup of grated ginger, 3 cloves of garlic, and a pinch of curry powder to the mixture.  That was a good choice.

Habas alla Catalana (Bean and sausage stew with mint)

Like cassoulet, but much cheaper and faster to make

It’s still chilly out, but the sun is shining. I want winter food, but I also want to wear skirts without tights even if I get goosebumps.   This recipe combines fresh springtime flavors like lamb and mint with a hearty bean stew in a tomato base.  It’s adapted from Joyce Goldstein’s Mediterranean the Beautiful Cookbook, which looks to have adjusted in price since last we cooked a recipe from it.  Go get yourself a copy.

When I say “adapted from” I also mean “simplified.” Joyce soaks the beans overnight and cooks them from scratch.  I crack open two cans of white beans, drain, and rinse them.  Joyce suggests chorizo or butifarra (a sweet lamb sausage).  I used merguez.  Recipe below:

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Winter greens & potato hash

I borrowed this recipe from the lovely Twistie at Manolo for the Big Girl, and she borrowed it from the divine Deborah Madison to whom this blog has become a shrine.

Visual presentation is not the point of this dish – it looks like a science project as you get to the end, but the flavor is amazing.  I wish I had used kale or chard or a sturdier green than spinach – I think with spinach you can probably skip the step where you heat it in the pot with water and just fold it raw into the skillet and let it wilt.  For a cheese, may I recommend crumbled feta?  Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish to something else.  I wonder how it would do with a white fish that has been baked in foil in the oven on a bed of leeks with white wine?  Tomorrow I shall test it out as breakfast food by popping a gently fried egg on top of it and breaking the yolk so everything gets all runny.

Farfalle with ham, sage, and peas

Gordon Ramsay:  That guy can cook.

Today was a good day for eating.  When P. and I rolled out of bed we rolled our way to Dinkel’s.  Custard. Bismarck. You want one.  Their coffee is pretty good, too.

For dinner, we pulled out Gordon Ramsay’s “Cooking for Friends,” a Christmas present that last yielded lemon-feta-basil pasta. I do plan to move beyond the pasta section eventually, but if all the pasta recipes are keepers like the lemon-basil stuff and tonight’s farfalle, I’ll be in no hurry.


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