Tag 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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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 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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Curly kale and potato soup

Potato and kale soup

Woman cannot live by sandwich and coffee alone.  Tonight it was time for a hearty, plain soup with lots of garlic and curly green kale.  Recipe is adapted from The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters.  The recipe makes 4-6 servings (2 quarts).

  • Remove the tough stems from the leaves of 1 bunch of kale.  Wash, drain well, and coarsely chop it.
  • Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a heavy soup pot.
  • Add 2 onions, sliced very thin.  Cook them over medium heat, stirring occasionally until soft, tender, and slightly browned – about 12 minutes.
  • While the onions are cooking, peel and chop 1 pound of potatoes (Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold) into small chunks.
  • When the onions are cooked, stir in 4 garlic cloves, chopped.  Cook the garlic with the onions for a minute or two, then stir in the potatoes  and kale.  Add a healthy shaking or pinch of salt.
  • Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add 6 cups of chicken broth.  Raise the heat, bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until kale and potatoes are tender.  Taste the soup and add more salt if necessary.
  • Waters suggests garnishing with a little grated parmesan.  I threw in the rind of a hunk of parmesan when I added the broth to give a nutty flavor to the soup, a trick learned from making minestrone.

You can, of course, easily substitute vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian soup, hence the “vegetarian” tag.  White beans could supplement or replace potatoes.  Carnivores, if you wanted to throw some of your leftover holiday ham in here and use the bone to flavor the broth, you would not be wrong.  You could also think about browning some spicy garlic sausage or linguica and adding when you add the kale, but don’t think that you need to do that, because the soup is miraculous on its own.


I grew up in Massachusetts. Where the chowder comes from.

I like to make it with halibut and waxy Yukon Gold potatoes.  I like to make it with clams.  I like Deborah Madison’s recipe for Winter Vegetable Chowder.  I like to make it with salmon, sweet potatoes, and broccoli based on a recipe I cut out of Real Simple one time.

Today I made it with corn, red potatoes, and poblano peppers.

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Word of the day = orange

Tonight I made Anne-Catherine Bley’s recipe for carrot & cilantro soup.  Her soups are all very simple, with fewer than 10 ingredients, centered on fresh vegetables.  I make them often, because $5 or less of beautiful vegetables + water + salt + pepper + some kind of fat (olive oil + milk, yogurt, or a little cream) turn into 4-5 healthy and simple meals that take me back to Paris.  The recipes are forgiving and adaptable – a little more or a little less or a slight substitution is a-ok. It’s only soup.

Recipe after the jump.

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