Soup, Glorious Soup!

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I love soup.  I know I’ve mentioned this before–like every January, but January seems to be a good time for soup.  At least in the Northern Hemisphere.  Of course, I’m one of those weird-can-eat-soup-any-day-of-the-year people so I don’t necessarily need cold weather to indulge, just a spoon.  This is very handy when one is experiencing an unseasonably warm “winter” in NYC and one loves soup so much.

The other day I had some amazing wonton soup from Ginger’s in Midtown (for anyone in, around or visiting NYC).  It was so delicious.  The broth was seasoned perfectly and adorned not only with wontons so fresh they were practically falling apart, but also spinach which added an extra layer of goodness.  The irony of it all, is that I rarely get wonton soup–I almost always get egg drop but on a whim I went with the wonton and here I am at 7:30am wondering what time Ginger’s opens and if I can work it into today’s schedule.  Now, if that doesn’t speak volumes as to how good this soup is, nothing but tasting it will!

It did remind me that it’s been awhile since I’ve posted about soup.  In looking back at some older posts, I realized that I owe you an up date on my Kaliflower Soup, which I am determined to get juuuuuust right and I think I may have finally solved the “too much” kale debacle (hint: baby kale!).  There is another soup from a health store on the Upper East Side that I’d also like to try my hand at: it’s a veggie soup with yellow lentils, so it has a creamy rather than brothy base that accompanies most veggie soups.  The result is an extra-hearty veggie soup that could easily be a meal all on its own!  I also promised April an actual Roasted Asparagus soup recipe other than Jaime’s vague instructions…

I guess I need to get cooking!

But before I go, I thought I’d leave you with some links to earlier soup posts, in case you’re in the mood to do a bit of cooking on your own and needed some inspiration (and before you argue, stew is a soup and who cares what you call it, it has Guinness so just try not to shovel it in too fast and burn your mouth!):

Bon appetito!

shiner soup

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Giving Thanks

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Since mid-August, I feel like my crazy life has been one big trip.

That is not a complaint in any way, shape, or form–just a statement of fact, as for the most part all the trips were amazingly wonderful.  But there is something to be said for being at home with the pupcicle and doing something for the first time in a long time, which was breathe.

There was no thinking about work or planning the next trip or cleaning or planning of ET posts.  I gave myself permission to have a day all about doing what I wanted to do, which was a whole lot of cooking, yelling at stupid ^&*&$%*@&(%) football games, a Harry Potter movie marathon, and snuggling with the Princess Pupcicle, who was happy to oblige.

It was completely opposite to my amazing Thanksgiving last year in Florida.  Nor was it the Thanksgiving I thought I would be having (aka in Texas with the Fam), but it was truly what I needed–so for that I am exceptionally grateful.

I got to geek out with my roasted pumpkin soup by roasting the seeds and adding them to the top.

IMG_2858

And took the time to make mini pumpkin pies with fresh whipped cream (thanks April–Lucille makes it soooooo easy!).  I loved how they turned out–perhaps not Food Magazine worthy, but you can tell they were made with love….AND A LOT OF TIME ROLLING DOUGH!  Poor Addy, she thought she was getting cookies (perhaps a task for this weekend!).

This +

THIS +

that =

THAT =

YUMMY!

YUMMY!

Happy Thanksgiving–even if it wasn’t what you thought it would or should be, I hope that in the end you had a great day!  Gobble-gobble!

January Recap!

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What the hell happened to January?  How is it already February 1st?? (btw, Happy Birthday James!)

Oh, yeah…I got a new job.  Great for bank accounts and pesky things like paying rent and bills, bad for blogging!  Well, not bad–I just need to figure out a better blog strategy!

We took a very brief trip to Portugal and made some soup.  C’mon is there anything better when it’s cold and nasty outside?  And thanks to this Polar Vortex, it’s been really cold and really nasty!

I neither perfected my Kaliflower soup nor found the secret to unlocking the deliciousness of Jaime’s asparagus soup, but I will continue my efforts and when I know, you’ll know…you know?

But all is not lost!  And as a final tribute to January, I’m going to leave you with a delicious Tomato Basil soup (click the link because allrecipes.com has made it so much easier for both of us!).  It’s a specialty of my friend Tracy, who serves it with the most amazing grilled cheese (think cheese and bacon and avocado and turkey–everything that is right in the world!!).

Why should you make it?

  1. It’s easy to make!
  2. It’s delicious!
  3. It looks like this:

    mmm...mmm...good!

    mmm…mmm…good!

  4. It makes a light enough dinner you can splurge on dessert AND port (c’mon, you knew I was going to reference it somewhere)!
  5. It’s made with Bloody Mary mix and there’s enough left over for brunch 🙂  And if that’s not a great reason to make a soup, I don’t know what is!

Hopefully, you were able to find some warmth, comfort, and a little bit of tasty inspiration this January.  Saude!

Kaliflower Soup, Heavy on the Kale…

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Every jaunt into the kitchen for me is an adventure.  As mentioned before, in honor of Portus Cale, I wanted to make a kale soup, but got distracted with cauliflower soups on Pinterest.  But when I found a recipe by Martha that used collared greens and dill (not a favorite herb of mine), I thought why not use kale and cilantro and, of course, ROAST the cauliflower?!?!

The result?  Good, but not great.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was tasty and I ate it–because well, anything is good with a copious amount of very garlicky toast!–but it wasn’t everything I imagined.

image

The roasted veggies smelled so amazing, they almost went straight into my tummy instead of the soup!

Here’s what I did:  roasted a head of cauliflower, 2 medium onions, and a head of garlic.  While that was roasting, I sauteed a few green onions, 2 diced potatoes, and kale in olive oil, beer, and water.  I added roasted veggies and a large bunch of cilantro.  I pureed, added salt & pepper to taste and then added about a cup of greek yogurt and a squeeze of lemon.  Simple and, like I said, tasty but not O-M-F-G!  And yes, while it rarely happens, I always expect OMFG even on the first try.

So here are the things that I’d like to tweak for next time:

  1. More cauliflower!
  2. Less kale (I forgot, because I don’t often use kale, how in-your-face it is–so a little goes a long way in flavor).
  3. The beer wasn’t bad, but I think a nice buttery California chardonnay would be better.
  4. I need to work on the timing a bit more, like adding the cilantro a bit later.
  5. While I love my immersion blender, I couldn’t get my soup as smooth as I’d like it–next time I won’t be so lazy and will break out the ricer or blender.
  6. More lemon!

Alright, I’ll keep tweaking and get back to you.  In the meantime, I think I might just have another bowl.

With just a dollop of extra love on top...

With just a dollop of extra love on top…

PS–when making garlicky toast in the oven, make sure you keep an eye on it lest it get a little too, uh, crispy.

27 Reasons

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I know you’re thinking 27 reasons to what?  like soup?  like Portual?  do the hokey-pokey?

While all great answers, nope.  It’s 27 reasons to like cauliflower.  It’s probably one of the most underrated veggies out there.  I can count on one hand the number of people in my life that have actually uttered the words “I love cauliflower.” But you should because it’s related to broccoli–and we all know how healthy broccoli is!–and is high in Vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber.  So stop your moaning and groaning, it was King Louis XIV’s favorite and if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for you.

Now you’re probably wondering how I got on the subject of cauliflower and today kids, I thought I would let you into the scary inner workings of my brain (you might want to fasten your seat belts and grab your blankie or teddy):

As you will recall, my last post was Portus Cale and I mentioned at the end that I had an epicurean inspiration, which was…kale!  Don’t panic, we’ll make our way over to cauliflower, I promise! So, Cale = kale…genius, right?!?!? Since January is Soup Month here in the Epicurious kitchen, I thought I would find a kale soup.  A recent post from The Homesick Texan using kale in her chicken posole verde is actually what made me think of it.

So, I got on Pinterest and started looking for soups with kale or other greens in it for a bit of inspiration.  BUT, all I could think about once my Cale/kale genius started to wane is that I have a lovely head of cauliflower in the fridge and how nice it would be to make a cauliflower soup….so I started researching that as well.  But of course, as one does when one is on Pinterest, I got sidetracked and found this great article on Buzzfeed about new and exciting ways to cook using cauliflower (helllllllo, pizza!) and thought I would share it whilst I was creating in the kitchen. Click on the pic below to magically be taken to the wonderful world of cooking with cauliflower!  Enjoy!

enhanced-buzz-17907-1389288677-0

Pumpkin: Not Just for Drinking…

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I was introduced to pumpkin soup when I lived in Australia.  It was intriguing and, honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect because, well, pumpkins were for carving and lattes.  It arrived with a dollop of sour cream and chives and I was hooked from the moment I tasted my first bite.

Until that point in time, every soup I had eaten was either veggie soup or something cheese based (like broccoli and cheese).  So to eat something creamy, but not cheesy was crazy!  And at that crucial moment in time, I realized WE WERE USING PUMPKINS ALL WRONG!!!!

At the time, it never entered my brain that I would want to make it.  Oh no no no…it was probably too hard.  I mean, it was pureed.  And who knows what kind of weird spices were involved.  Nope, I was just happy to eat my pumpkin soup out.  Until, of course, Jaime came along and introduced me to roasting (of course, we have to roast them!).

A note about pumpkins and this soup.  I use baking (aka smaller) pumpkins, but I also make this a lot with acorn or butternut squash.  They’re all in the same family–just mix and match with what you find at the store!

Pumpkin Soup

  • 2 pounds pumpkin/squash, seeded, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 head of garlic, top sliced off of head
  • Olive oil (I don’t have an amount–eyeball it!)
  • 6 cups of veggie stock
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • course sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • stuff for garnishing

Preheat oven to 500F.  In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, carrots, and onions.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mix well to ensure all pieces are coated with olive oil.  Place on a baking sheet and spread evenly.  Place head of garlic also on baking sheet (I like to put it in the center!), drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes.  In a large stockpot, bring veggie stock to a boil.  Carefully add roasted veggies, except garlic.  Remove garlic cloves from skin by squeezing gently at the bottom (careful it’s hot!).  Add to the stock pot.  Once everything has been added, puree soup.  I use an emulsion blender (best soup puree-ing device ever!), but you can carefully use a blender (small batches–no more than 1/2 blender full, leave the cap off, but cover with a towel and blend slowly…otherwise, you risk exploding hot soup over you and your kitchen!) or food processor.  Once soup is pureed, add cream and nutmeg.  Taste and adjust spices.  Serve with a garnish you can be traditional and go with sour cream and chives, but I usually don’t have either on hand and use greek yogurt and cilantro, which in my humble opinion is tastier!  You can also go uber-simple and used freshly ground pepper as a garnish, but the sour cream or yogurt give it some nice tang and adds an extra layer of yummy.  Or you could be uber-fancy and serve it in  a pumpkin!

Those of you who know me, know that I don't have the patience for this!  I found it on the Food Channel Culinary Center website http://www.foodchannel.com/articles/article/culinary-center-to-open-at-midwest-theme-park/

Those of you who know me, know that I don’t have the patience for this! I found it on the Food Channel Culinary Center website http://www.foodchannel.com

However you like it, you’re gonna love it!

Soup is Simple, Stupid…

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Before you yell at me, the title was a quote from a chef at a wine bistro at which I used to work. The chef had a way with food and was the polar opposite with people.  Definitely a bear of a man.  He always only ever wore a black t-shirt, cargo shorts, and vans.  But man, could he create.  I once ate his chicken truffle lasagna every single night for a month.  My eyes still roll back in my head thinking about it…

BUT! that’s not why we’re here (and he never shared that recipe…dammit! probably out of fear that I’d turn into a chicken truffle lasagna!)…we’re here for soup.  Jaime made the best soups–his piece de resistance on his soup line-up was definitely his asparagus soup.

soup is simple, stupid.  you season and roast your vegetables, you put them in stock, puree, add cream and more seasoning and done.  even you should be able to handle that.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jaime.  I went home and tried it and, holy crap, who knew  roasting could make it that much more amazing!!!!!!!!!!

I have always been a lover of soups.  They’re warm and hearty and can be very healthy (unless you add 1lb of velveeta, in which case they’re UBER DELICIOUSLY CHEESY!).  Plus they’re great for clearing out whatever vegetables that need to be eaten!

Here are two of my favorites that I’ve written about so far (yeah, TOTALLY cheating here, but they’re great–so definitely worth a revisit!)

  • Guinness Stew (soups/stews…same thing…ish…it’s good, just try it!)
  • Tortilla Soup (and in revisiting this post, I realized that I’ve already told you that I’m a lover of soups, but eh well…)

So, let’s hear it from you: what’s your favorite soup?  Mine?  Hard call because it’s like having to pick a favorite child.  Okay, maybe not that hard.  Then again…

Probably if I have to narrow it to only one, I’d pick Tortilla Soup (but pumpkin and veggie soups are right up there!!).  One type I’m not a fan of?  Gazpacho.  Weird, I know.  But cold soups just don’t do it for me.  They’re just too cold and uncaring (in my humble opinion–I’m sorry if I just stepped on your gazpacho loving toes!).

Although Jaime did make a cantaloupe soup once…

New Directions!

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That’s not a band or a school or something fancy schmancy from GoogleMaps (or whatever might pop into your head).  It’s actually what I want to do with this blog.

Oh sure, when I started out, I wanted to talk about travel and food and drinks and whatever…and that’s not going to change.  What I’m wanting to do is give ET a bit more direction, resulting in more posts (which is one of my New Year’s Resolutions).

I’ll give you a minute to cheer or sob loudly, whichever you prefer.

So what’s the direction?  Well, each month is going to focus on two things:  a place (some I’ve been to and some are still on the To Do list!) and a featured food group (I’m not asking you to pull out your USDA Food Pyramid, I’m just going to focus my recipes a bit more).  Don’t worry, though, there will be plenty of rambling on and on and on and on and…well, you get the idea.

I’ve made my list and I’ve checked it twice, but I’m always open to suggestions–so feel free to comment about some things you’d like to see here–be it certain countries, certain recipes, or even more food and wine pairings. And if you don’t like this new direction, by all means let me know , so I can chuck a U-ie and try something else (I’m easy that way!!).  But please be nice/constructive…because quite honestly, if you’re nasty and mean, I’ll probably just ignore you.

Okay, first up:  January, which is going to feature Soups and Portugal.  Don’t roll your eyes, it’s cold here in New York in January (although not as cold as it is in other parts of the world) and soups are a great (and healthy!) way to warm you on a cold winter night.  Cliche’? Yes, but amazingly tasty!  And no, I’ve never been to Portugal, but I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE me some port (more about that later!), so off I go to do some research!

Adeus!

Chicken Soup for the Soul…and The Sick

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I have been under the weather now for a few days–nothing major, mind you, but everyone here reminds me that “well, something is going around.”  ‘Tis the season, I suppose.  Personally, I’m THE WORST sick person on the planet.  Not whiney or mopey so much as well, bitchy and very picky.  So most everyone I know avoids me like the plague when I’m sick [ha ha–pun intended].  What I love to make when I’m feeling sick is chicken noodle soup (because nothing says your sick like sweating over a hot stove in your jammies with a box of kleenex next to your cookbook!).

Oh sure, we all had the canned stuff as a kid.  Some of us (by us, I mean ya’ll) still eat it out of a can.  I’m not judging.  All I’m saying is give my recipe below a try.  It’s pretty simple and who knows maybe standing over a steaming pot will help you sweat it out.  Regardless, the soup is full of vitamins and minerals and before you ix-ney on the garlic or cilantro, know that they both have antiseptic properties and may be the most important ingredients of all.  Originally, I created it for a friend who was really sick and craving chicken noodle soup.  I thought the fresh veggies and cilantro would be a lot healthier and nutrient-providing than the canned stuff.  Turns out, it tastes a lot fresher and more wholesome (I know, I know….duh!).

Of course if you’re a vegetarian, leave out the chicken.  If you’re not eating gluten you can leave out the noodles or find gluten-free noodles, this time in solidarity for a friend going gluten-free, I grabbed rice noodles to use.  Play around with it.  Add more veggies if you’d like–the more, the merrier, and more antioxidant-ier.

Sherry’s Chicken Noodle Soup

HA HA HA...My Kinda Soup!  For the Real Recipe, Keep Reading!

HA HA HA…Kidding…Just Kidding…ish

  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, chunked
  • 4 stalks of celery, chunked
  • 2 chicken breasts cubed
  • 1-2 cups of egg noodles
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 10-12 cups of water
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a large stock pan, heat olive oil and sauté onions and garlic until translucent.  Add chicken and continue sautéing for about 5 minutes.  Add celery and carrots and sauté for 5 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper (freshly ground of both makes the most amazing difference!) and add water.  I suggested 10-12 cups because it depends on how much broth you want.  Obviously if you want to make a lot of soup and want it brothy–add more water.  If not, add less.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for about 10 minutes and then add the noodles.  Like the water, use more or less depending on your noodle ratio preference.  I love noodles so I tend to add way too many, but it’s your soup–do what you want!  Continue boiling for about 6-7 minutes, until noodles are al dente, as you don’t want them to get too soggy.  Turn off the heat and add the cilantro.  Let the soup rest about 5 minutes and viola!  Done. I told you it was simple. Now, serve it in a bowl or cup and get back in bed!

But before you go, there’s one last thing:  they [not sure who they are, but…] say laughter is the best medicine, so I leave you with this.  If you decide to forego my recipe and opt for the canned, please make sure you read the instructions carefully!

Follow Carefully!

Follow Carefully!

Btw, before you think you’ve done lost your mind or taken too many Cold & Flu tablets, I got that from Pinterest. :- P

Soup du Jour

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I love soup.  To me, it’s a bowl of comfort.  Warm and inviting.  Rich and hearty.  Spicy and nourishing.  And yep, like risotto, oysters & cheese, soup gets it’s own tag : )

This is a simple, but amazing recipe given to me by my friend Rebecca, who is a HATER of onions and cilantro and will be the first to tell you I completely ruined her recipe–ha!!!

By the way, this soup is great way to repurpose left over chicken.  And is great in vegetarian form as well–either as is sans chicken or, if you wanted the protein, you could saute silken tofu with onions, garlic, and spices.

Tortilla Soup

  • 1 onion
  • 12 cups chicken (or veggie) stock
  • 4 cups water (this is to cook the chicken initially, so you can leave it out if you’re using left over or canned chicken or making a veggie version)
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp chili blend
  • 1.5 cups corn
  • 1.5 cups tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 small can chopped green chilies
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • tortilla chips (I like to use either the blue ones for a pop of color or the strips)
  • shredded cheddar
  • avocado slices

In a stock pot, saute onions and garlic until translucent. Add the chicken, cooking until chicken is lightly brown on both sides.  Add water to ensure chicken is completely covered (you may need a bit more).  Cook until chicken is done (about 30 or so minutes). Turn heat to low. Pull chicken out of pot and set to the side to cool a bit.  Add stock, spices, corn, tomatoes,  beans, and chilies. Carefully shred the chicken (or dice, which ever you prefer) and add back into the pot.  On low heat, allow soup to cook another 10-15 minutes.  Add the cilantro.  Ladle into bowls and top with tortilla chips, cheese, and avocado.  Provencho!