Category Archives: Soup

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.

Roasted pepper soup

roasted pepper soup

Tonight’s dinner is a mash-up between this recipe and  a recipe from Alice Waters’s The Art of Simple Food, with a little twist borrowed from Deborah Madison.  It serves 4.  You will want to lick the bowl.  You may also want to garnish this soup with chopped green onions and homemade croutons that you make by heating butter and garlic in a cast-iron skillet and tossing chunks of crusty bread in.  Coat everything well and then pop the skillet in the oven for 10-15 minutes while the peppers are roasting. Continue reading

A good sign

If you walk into a tiny Asian restaurant and find this on your table, it’s a good sign, because it means that there will be soup.

Pho Dac Biet from Dong Ky, Uptown, Chicago

The broth is fragrant and beautiful on its own, and great for a stuffed-up head, but don’t be shy about making it spicy.

Customers at Dong Ky

And always remember to Enjoy Your Life.

Strawberry Bubble Tea from Dong Ky

All food from Dong Ky, Uptown, Chicago, Illinois.  Total bill for Pho Dac Biet and Strawberry Bubble Tea = $8.15.  This is why I live in cities.

A bowl of health – broccoli soup with garlic, chile, and ginger

A bowl of health

I swear I am not becoming a vegetarian.  This weekend I attended a party devoted to drinking beer and eating foods full of bacon and beer – bacon-wrapped-artichokes, bacon mac & cheese, moist chocolate cake made with stout, etc.  Until the day I die, I will want to rip into rare steak, or tear a roasted chicken apart with my hands, and eat funky stews with oxtail and goats.  Let’s talk for a moment about chicken livers cooked with shallots and then mashed up and spread on small pieces of toast.

But I don’t need or want to eat meat every day.  I pay a premium for meat that was raised with care and kindness and devour it with joy, and the rest of the time I eat vegetables and fruits and nuts and grains and cheese.  Lots of cheese.   And in the dead of winter, when everything sucks, and my shoulders hurt from hunching them against the cold, and I dread the first step outside and the way that first breath will tear into my asthmatic lungs like a fist made of knives, the more I turn to that guru of great vegetarian cooking, Deborah Madison. I know with her recipes I won’t get scurvy and that there will be lots of bright colors and happy textures and flavors on my plate.

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