Posts from the ‘Soup’ Category

“Efficiency is intelligent laziness.”

-David Dunham

Well hello knife cuts from weeks ago, how have you been? They have been hanging with all the other things I did in school and didn’t post about. Six weeks go by like eating a taco. You’re all like that was the best taco (six weeks) ever, I devoured that taco (culinary information) so quickly, and savored every second of that spicy meat (class), did I just eat (take) four (20+) tacos (quizzes, tests, and practicals) that fast (that fast)?

We took one field trip down the road to a Filipino supermarket, made hollandaise, mayonnaise, an impromptu soup in 20 minutes with no meat or broth, made hollandaise, grilled salmon, had half an hour to mess around with plating non- edible food, had trussing demos, chicken butchering, squid, sole, and salmon filleting demos, made gazpacho with only brunoise cuts (which is even less satisfying when you are going to throw it all in a blender), had stock, roux, and bisque, and mother sauce demos, made a roux, oh and all the while sanitation was boring the hell out of me. A whole book of Serv Safe, and the most important thing I learned is wash your hands. Seriously, it’s the answer to most of the secrets of the universe. Oh, and terrorists are one of the saboteurs that will try and jack up your food. Terrorists, people.

Lobster Bisque

It’s a new feeling for me to look forward to going anywhere everyday. Every day. I get fidgety. Not here. The first six weeks was a lot of introduction, but also a chance for me to find out little details about things. It’s weird being in a class with people who don’t know who Anthony Bourdaine or Thomas Keller are, but then I never filleted a fish. We all have different knowledge, which I love most of the time (except for some venison butchering that came up once too much, there is a creep limit, buy a book, or google it). Of course there are a tiny few poky people, and what I like to call culinairheads, but for the most part we have a really great class. Being at the top of my class with people who are friends is pretty great too. It’s so nice to be able to talk about food and food nerd-related things, and not have to worry when you have to stop (at least I hope so).

week 2

I need to hustle more, and with zero knife skill practicing at home (I know, I know), I need to make cuts way faster. I do have less waste with my cuts. Yay me. My hand torture, I mean made mayo and hollandaise, is tops, but I look forward to you food processor mayo, my wrist does too.

week 2

This is just a fraction of the last six weeks, but just imagine the other parts being just as positive and smile inducing. Monday I start Culinary II, and no sanitation. Did I mention no sanitation?

This has been the extent of cooking since I have started school. Chicken scampi farfalle. While delicious, I miss cooking for real.

All in all it’s been a marvelous six weeks filled with pasta, fried rice, sandwiches, and breakfast for dinner. I did finally get to cook this weekend. That will have to hold me for six more weeks 🙂


What’s In The House

Since the holidays are near, and this month has been a bit of a money nightmare, (Jim accidentally stepped on my glasses the night before Thanksgiving, resulting in an unexpected chunk of money taking a leave of absence from our bank account), I haven’t been able to splurge on ingredients. I don’t compromise on quality when I need to spend less, I just opt for some fish instead of a more expensive cut of meat, 3 days of drinking instead of 5. I’ve made a magic dessert with some Cream of Wheat before. No matter what’s in the house, I will make the best of it. No Ramen in this house. Anymore.

But some good does come out of spending less on groceries.  I smoke less, drink less, eat healthier, and realize what a luxury meat is. I appreciate how blessed I am to have food, and great food at that. The next two meals are about making something wonderful with a little less. Oh, and if roasted cauliflower isn’t already one of your best food friends, be prepared for a new half of a necklace.

It was Jim’s birthday, and we were low on money, so going out was not an option that night. I hate when I can’t go all out for his birthday dinner, but we usually have a week of celebrating, so don’t feel too bad for him. We opted for wine and snuggling, which meant I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen away from the birthday boy. I grabbed all the veggies I had, a dwindling package of bacon, and a carton of broth. I was determined to make something to make him smile, and soup always has that effect on people. I put on my chopping hat, and got to work.

Vegetable Soup (with a little bacon, of course!)

Saute bacon, remove then chop, chop veggies (I used carrots, celery, onion, shallot, garlic, purple cabbage, and potato.) Saute veggies, add stock, season (I used dried marjoram and thyme, fresh Rosemary, and salt and pepper), simmer for 50 minutes. Add a squirt of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Garnish with a sautéed slice of turnip and rutabaga, and a sprig of rosemary, (Add some Rosemary to some olive oil, saute turnip and rutabaga until browned. Add the olive oil to the soup too), and the crisp crumbled bacon.

Biscuits show love. Throw some together while the soup is simmering.

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups (packed) coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush 12 large (1-cup) muffin cups with some of melted butter; reserve remaining butter for brushing on baked biscuits. Using on/off turns, mix next 4 ingredients in processor. Add 1/2 cup cubed chilled butter. Using on/off turns, process until coarse meal forms. Transfer to large bowl. Add cheese; toss to combine. Add buttermilk and stir just to blend (batter will be sticky). Divide among prepared muffin cups, about 1/2 cup for each.

    Bake biscuits until golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Brush tops with remaining melted butter. Cool 5 to 10 minutes, then remove biscuits from pan and transfer to rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

    from Bon Appetit

    Roasted Vegetables with Cheese Omelet

    1-inch florets cauliflower

    2-inch carrots pieces

    olive oil

    salt /pepper

    sprinkle of sugar

    Pre-heat oven to 450*

    Toss veggies with oil, salt, pepper, and sugar. Roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring once.

    Serve with a cheddar cheese/Parmigiano Reggiano omelet.

    Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

    Foodbuzz 24×24: Ebony and Ivory

    This month I participated in a Foodbuzz 24×24 dinner. My black and white dinner proposal was chosen, and I couldn’t be more pleased. I love the food-blogging community aspect to it, and the making-black-food-appealing challenge. Here is a little bit about what they do every month:

    “Showcasing posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, the monthly Foodbuzz 24 highlights unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period. “-from Foodbuzz

    The only thing not black and white was my apron, and my lipstick. The only hitch in making this dinner was broken glasses, and hands full of super glue. It was a classic comedy show the day before this dinner, but good things come to those who wait. And boy did good things come. This was one of the most enjoyable multi-course dinners I have made in a long time.

    After removing super glue from ten fingers, two palms, and nine knuckles, and confirming every potential chance to replace my glasses before dinner the next day was moot because it was Thanksgiving, a second tube of glue was bought, and with glasses mended, all was well. The show, or in this case, the dinner must go on.

    My legally blind self was thankful this year for only frames being broken, and lenses staying intact. And science. The science that made super glue.

    Celery root soup with Oregon black truffle

    Strangely the only celery root at my market stand was a little over 3lbs, which was exactly what I needed. Another sign of good things to come.

    Celery Root Soup

    serves 810

    from David Lebovitz

    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
    sea salt
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
    one large celery root (about 3-pounds, 1.5kg), peeled and cubed
    3 cups (750ml) chicken stock
    3 cups (750ml) water
    1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly-ground white pepper
    scant 1/8 teaspoon chile powder (I used Rancho Gordo)

    1. In a large pot, melt the butter with the olive oil.

    2. Add the leeks and cook for about five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic cloves and season with salt, and continue to cook until the leeks and garlic are soft and translucent. If the pot begins to brown too much on the bottom as they cook, add another pat of butter or pour of olive oil.

    3. Add the celery root and stock. (Or use all water.) Bring to a boil, then reduce to a strong simmer. Cook, with the lid to the pot ajar on top, until the celery root pieces are soft and easily pierced with a paring knife, about forty five minutes.

    4. Add white pepper and chili powder, the purée using a hand mixer, or let the soup cool to room temperature and whiz in a blender until smooth. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. If the soup is too thick, it can be thinned with water or stock.

    To serve, rewarm the soup in a saucepan and ladle into bowls.

    Variations: Celery root has a distinctive flavor, but don’t hesitate to experiment with adding other ingredients. Cubes of pear or apple could be cooked with the cubes of celery root and puréed, a dusting of nutmeg, or some tangy crème fraîche instead of the olive oil are all worthy additions.

    I’m a big fan of chunks of crisp bacon floating around in there, or you can even add a swirl of another root vegetable soup, such as beet or carrot. And if you’re feeling opulent, this soup lends itself very well to shaved truffles scattered over the top.

    *I added two red pears along with the celery root, 1/4 cup of cream, and 2 tbls. of sour cream at the end of cooking. This soup could be a meal itself.  So full of flavor. A soup that makes you smile.

    At under $6 this apple wine was a perfect dinner companion. Not too tart, or sweet. Very mellow.

    Black bean-stuffed eggs with Hawaiian black salt

    Black Bean-Stuffed Eggs


    Black beans, canned or soaked and cooked


    Sour Cream

    Salt and Pepper

    Pinch of Cayenne

    Garnish with radish, and black-eyed pea

    Black Salt (optional)

    Cover eggs in cold water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Rinse in cold water. Peel, halve, and reserve yolk for another use. (sprinkle on a salad,  throw in a breakfast hash, or put on a roast beef sandwich)

    Smash black beans with desired amount of mayo, and sour cream. Add cayenne, salt (only a pinch if using the black salt), and pepper. Stuff eggs, add garnish. Sprinkle salt on plate.

    Cheese log with black tie sesame seeds

    Sesame Cheese Log

    1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened, but still cool

    1/2 shredded mozzarella

    1/2 cup mild goat cheese, I used Drunken Goat cheese

    1 tbls. Dijon, or garlic mustard

    1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

    Salt and Pepper

    Sesame seeds

    Crackers, or bread for serving

    Mix all ingredients with mixer. Pour sesame seeds onto a piece of plastic wrap (use enough to cover log well), and flatten into a square, about the length you would like your cheese log.  Scoop cheese onto the sesame seeds. Start to roll in seeds, and form into log using plastic wrap. When shaped well, and covered in seeds, wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with crackers.

    *You can use any cheese you like!


    Baby turnip and apple salad

    Baby Turnip and Apple Salad

    6 baby turnips, sliced thinly

    1/2 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced

    juice of half a lemon

    drizzle of olive oil

    white pepper


    Slice turnip and apple. Toss with remaining ingredients.

    *This was a great palate cleanser.

    Taking a break before the main course

    After a little jazz, and a peak at Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis playing in the living room, I was back in the kitchen to the crab that was calling my name.

    Said crab, calling my name

    Cauliflower and Crab Ravioli

    serves 2 or 4 as part of a multi-course meal


      1. 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
      2. 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
      3. 2 garlic cloves, minced
      4. 1 small head of cauliflower (1 pound), cut into 1-inch florets
      5. 2 tablespoons water
      6. 1 cup heavy cream
      7. 1/2 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
      8. Salt and freshly ground white pepper
      9. 8 round won-ton wrappers
      10. 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


    1. Bring a large skillet of water to a boil. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter in 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Add the minced garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower florets and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, just until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the water, cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 4 minutes.
    2. Add the heavy cream and simmer until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Add the crab meat and stir gently to heat through. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
    3. Add salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the boiling water and cook the pasta sheets until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Lightly drizzle the sheets with olive oil and, using 2 large spoons, toss lightly to coat.
    4. Place 1 won ton wrapper on each plate. Spoon the creamed crab and cauliflower onto the pasta sheets and sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese. Cover with the remaining pasta sheets and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Serve right away.

    from Food and Wine

    *This recipe originally used homemade pasta. I sadly do not have a pasta maker, so I compromised with won-ton wrappers. I always get great results this way, but by all means go for the homemade pasta if you can. This is a great free-form ravioli. It also says it serves eight. Not happening in my house.

    Cauliflower and crab ravioli

    One of the "mother" bites

    Dessert was highlighted by my new favorite thing: butterscotch powder.


    Poppyseed and Mascarpone mini-tart

    Poppyseed and Mascarpone Mini-Tart


    Poppyseed Filling:
    1 1/2 cups milk
    1 cup ground poppyseed, (I skipped the grinding, but recommend it)
    1 tablespoon flour
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    1 teaspoon butter

    1 tbls. butterscotch powder

    Pre-baked tarts.

    Use your favorite tart, or pie dough. Bake at *350 for about 18 minutes for 2-inch tarts. If you have access to good quality store-bought tart shells, these will work too.

    Heat milk and when it boils add sugar, flour, butterscotch powder, and poppyseed, stirring vigorously. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Add butter, and then vanilla. Cool filling before adding to crust.

    * This makes enough for 10, 2-inch tarts.

    When filling is still warm, add 1 8-ounce container of mascarpone, and blend thoroughly. Fill tarts, and serve, or chill until ready to serve.

    The poppyseed filling, minus the butterscotch powder is from It is a kolache filling.

    The Periodic Table

    You can’t mess with perfection, but you can add bacon to it. One of my favorite food peeps from Quickies on the Dinner Table made this , and it took all but 24 hours for me to grab some chickpeas from my cupboard, and put the old soup pot on the stove.  And then I made it again. I threw in a few more veggies I needed to use up, but in no means does this soup suffer in its original version. I just made a big brother version of my food sister’s smooth beauty of a soup.

    Chickpea Lentil Garlic Soup

    4 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

    10  cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped

    2 shallots, chopped

    1 carrot, chopped

    1 stalk of celery, chopped

    1 can of chickpeas, rinsed

    1/2 cup green lentils

    1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced

    pinch of dried oregano,dried marjoram, dried basil, and dried thyme (of course use fresh if you have it)

    3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

    Salt and Pepper

    chopped parsley


    After sauteing bacon, remove bacon, and add shallot, carrot, and celery, season with salt, and saute until softened. Adding olive oil if needed. Add garlic, and rosemary during last two minutes of sauteing.

    Add herbs, and chickpeas. Saute for a minute.

    Add broth. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add lentils and saute for 20 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

    Serve with bacon, chopped parsley, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

    Although I am a proponent of eating at the table, we end up eating off of a little step stool, sitting on the floor, more often than I’d like to admit. But unlike the stereotype, no bonding, or conversation is lost. Promise.

    Some meals are meant to be eaten a little bit closer. This one is a prime candidate. Abandon the table, and grab a pillow and/or blanket, and cuddle up with some soup.

    Bliss From a Black Bean

    koan:\ KOH-ahn \  , noun;

    A nonsensical or paradoxical question to a student for which an answer is demanded, the stress of meditation on the question often being illuminating.

    While enjoying some reading in the wonderful foodblogging world I have noticed  some people holding  animosity towards using recipes to cook. This boggles.

    You know you have a blog, right? That you print recipes on.

    Yes it’s great you can sous vide everything, but where do you think you learned to do that from? A recipe. Yes it’s a technique, but it is part of a whole.

    I don’t always cook from recipes. It depends on my mood, and like most, when I do, I make it my own, unless it doesn’t need me messing with the work that went into it to make it, well, a recipe.

    Some may purely cook from recipes, and so what? Not everybody has the, confidence, skill, creativity, or the devotion to invent a new cookie.

    Recipes do more for us then give us strict instruction. There are no recipe police. I promise no one is watching. Take out that raw onion. Foods go together. Some don’t. Do you know what is helpful to some people to know what gels? Recipes.

    I appreciate the effort someone takes to make and test a recipe. There is not enough time in our lives to try every combination and measurement of foods. If we all do our part, we can enjoy the better ones and  we all don’t have to try putting bacon and grapefruit together. Recipes are especially important to me with foods from other countries besides my own. I do not know every condiment that exists, but I love when I find out about a new one, which is usually through a recipe. Oh, and how I love when traditional recipes are different in every family. No two paellas are the same, and I don’t think I could ever stop trying a new chili recipe.

    I also think some people forget not everybody has unlimited amounts of money to spend on food, and food swag. There are some things in the food world I am sure I am unaware of for the mere fact I could never afford to cook with them on any kind of regular basis. We all can’t roll around in truffles. I would like to, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. Most of the time fish is a luxury. Recipes help in giving you ideas for things like potatoes which are affordable, but you have had three thousand times and need some inspiration for.

    Cooking with recipes has given me the skill to know what I like and don’t like. I would have never thought to put pumpkin and chocolate together, and I am glad I didn’t. It’s gross, but I enjoyed finding out.

    There is also an aesthetic quality to a printed recipe for me. My handwriting is like a twelve-year-old boys. Suffice it to say I print a lot. I like fonts. I like books. I love pictures of food. I like the recipes I cut out of  magazines and organized crazily in 15 three-ring-binders. I cannot hold everything in my brain. Sometimes I am reminded that a grilled ham and cheese exists because I have a recipe for it. Not because I need a recipe for grilled ham and cheese, but because lots of times I decide what I cook by looking through recipes and deciding what I don’t want, and then I see grilled ham and cheese, and it’s so simple it slipped my mind, but it is exactly what I wanted the whole time.

    There is a point to all this bitching! I love black bean soup. Love, love, love. After trying countless recipes, I gave up. I couldn’t find the one. Sometimes something simple is more difficult to conquer than say yeast, which was pleasantly easy for me, but I know lots of people are intimidated by. So I tried again and what resulted was black bean soup Utopia.

    Bliss Black Bean Soup (no recipe used)

    2 15 1/2 o cans black beans, separate 1/2 cup (rinsed as always)

    5 slices of bacon (I used black pepper thick-cut), sliced into 1/2 inch strips

    2 3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth, separate 1/4 cup

    1 bay leaf

    2 celery stalks

    2 carrots

    1/2 large onion

    1 jalapeno seeds removed

    1 green hot pepper (use what ever second pepper you like)

    1/2 tbls. freshly ground cumin

    1/4 tsp. oregano

    1/4 tsp cayenne

    4 garlic cloves

    4 tomatillos





    sour cream

    avocado (optional)

    Render bacon, when crispy remove from pan. Remove all but 1 tbls. of bacon fat.

    Add 1 tbls. of butter, salt, add mire poix, and saute, for a few minutes. Add peppers. Saute until just softened, no color.

    Add garlic, saute 30 seconds.

    Add tomatillos, saute for a few minutes.

    Add spices.

    Add broth.

    Add 1 1/2 cans of beans.

    Bring to a boil. Turn own to a low simmer. Simmer for 50 minutes. Stir often. It will start to thicken. Add extra broth, and reserved beans. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 20 minutes or until you think it tastes good. Minutes won’t hurt this soup.

    When the soup is to your liking, add chopped cilantro a good fresh squeeze of lime, and top with sour cream.

    * I did get an avocado to puree into the soup, but forgot about it. I don’t think it needs it, but would probably taste good for those of you who like the cado.

    Read this!

    Six More Weeks of Soups and Stews

    Even though I own a copy, there are still some books I pick up at used book stores to give as gifts, or use as a replacement in case my copy burns, or is washed away in a flood. Really I just can’t stand the thought of letting such a great book sit lonely on a shelf. I know it’s around other books, but a good book needs a good home. There are few things that make a home cozier than a pot of soup or stew simmering away, while you finish up the day’s tasks, and pop open a bottle of your favorite beer, or wine. Below is one of those books, and a few of my favorite recipes. Pictured to the left is my favorite beef stew. Make a pot of your favorite while the chill is still with us.
    Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads and Stews will get you making bread with your soup in no time. A few soup and stew highlights are: Ragout of Oxtail, Philadelphia Pepper Pot, Chicken Lemon, Southern New England Clam Chowder, Barley Prosciutto, U.S. Senate Bean, Black Bean, and Mrs. London’s Vegetable.