Posts Tagged ‘soup’

2011-10 lemon poppy loaf 2

We were at a friend’s house this weekend to celebrate Mike’s birthday.  Friend of friend Sam made Avgolemono for everyone.  She graciously allowed me to share her recipe for this lemon egg soup, which was amazingly tangy and silky. A flavorful soup is one that takes time, love and affection. Like raising a child, you have to watch it carefully, give enough to keep it going, and know when it’s time to let go. A poignant analogy as many parents I know have let their chicks out of the nest to join the collective (a.k.a. college). My aunt is probably freaking out right about now as my youngest cousin begins his college career. Boy, do I feel old saying that!

Anyways, on to the soup!

Sam described creating the foundation of the soup with a homemade chicken stock. You can find posts here and here which discuss stock. For this soup, a simple mirepoix and a roasted chicken will suffice. Over a period of 8 hours, the stock should be watched, more water added as needed to extract every bit of chicken flavor from the carcass of a lemon-rosemary roasted bird. Keep the breast meat aside, but everything else can be used for stock. If you don’t have all day to make soup, you’re forgiven, go ahead and use the box or cubes instead. You’ll need 10-12 cups of stock. This will make 8-10 servings, depending how hungry y’all are.

Add shredded breast meat to the stock. Simmer while you work on the next step.

Get 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 10 lemons), less if you’re making less soup.

Separate 6 eggs. Set aside the whites (make a lemon meringue pie or something!). Whisk the yolks then add small amounts of stock from the soup to temper the eggs.

Add the lemon juice to the tempered yolks while whisking.

Turn the temperature down to a bare simmer. Slowly incorporate the yolks into the soup. Adjust the salt if needed.

OPTION: For people who can eat gluten, some cooked orzo may be added to this soup. Sam left it separate from the soup so everyone could choose to add some (or not) to their respective bowls. You can cook the pasta in the stock for 10 minutes before adding the chicken meat as well.

Thanks Sam for sharing your soup!


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Huge cheese pile

Cheese Soup

Cheese Soup (adapted from eggton)

  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 Poblano pepper, seeded
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • chicken broth
  • 6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • chipotle Tabasco sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • crispy bacon

Saute the onion peppers, garlic.  Add the carrot and chicken broth to cover veggies by an inch.

Simmer the veggies until very tender.

Working in small batches, blend the soup until smooth.  I left some chunks in my soup for texture.

Grate the cheese and toss with the flour.  Turn the heat to low.  Add the cheese to the soup, stirring until it melts.

Add a few dashes Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce to taste.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with crispy bacon on top and some warm French bread.

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chop drop soup

This is not so much a recipe as it is a map or method to creating soul satisfying soup in five easy steps.  Let your imagination go wild, with the blessing of your taste buds of course.  Soups are a perfect way to use seasonal veggies that you may find at your local farmers market.  Say there is an unusual squash on the table, ask the grower if it is hard, bitter, sweet, or soft?  Bitter squash is not the best candidate for soups, at least in my view, so I avoid those.  Zucchini is about as bitter as I will go.  Give chop and drop a try!

Step 1

Empty the veggie drawer into the (clean) kitchen sink or counter.  Wash all skin-stay-on veggies.

Step 2

Peel and trim veggies.  Chop into manageable pieces.  Hint: the smaller the dice the hastier it cooks!

Step 3

Drop into a soup pot with a swirl of olive oil, sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Stir.

Step 4

Add liquids.  Choose your favorite stock, broth, bouillon, OXO, Knorr, or even tomato puree, or can of cream of whatever plus milk.

Step 5

Wait.  Poke the veggies to see if they are tender. Heck, you could even taste one or two.

You are ready to eat!

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Crab Chowder

This recipe is for my Hubby.  He loves crab and mushrooms.  He’s been bugging me to make him mushroom soup again.

I saw a big fat can of crab meat at Costco and instantly knew what I would make with it, and for whom.  It is our anniversary after all.

The best part about this recipe is that he loved it, I’m sure you will too.

Crab Chowder

Serves 4 lunch portions with bread and side salad

  • mirepoix (carrot, celery, spring onion)
  • garlic
  • 8 oz. ( big handful) cremini mushrooms
  • 1 jar (about 8 oz.) clam juice (or use vegetable stock)
  • bay leaf
  • fresh thyme leaves (3 – 4 springs)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups lump crab meat
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • parsley (garnish)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Clean the crab meat of any trace pieces of shell, keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Separate the white and light green part of the spring onion from the darker green tops.  Set aside the dark green tops chopped up.

Dice the mirepoix and garlic.  Clean the mushrooms with a damp towel, remove the woody end of the stalk, dice.

Heat a soup pot with a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter.  Sauté the mirepoix until soft.  Add the garlic and mushrooms,  let them brown slightly.  Add the bay leaf and thyme, salt and pepper.  Pour the clam juice in the pot and scrape up any brown bits.  Add another part water (1 cup) or more to cover the vegetables so they are submerged.  Bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat to add the cream.  Start with 1/2 cup, you can add more if you like a richer chowder.  Make a slurry of cornstarch and water, add it with the cream.  Return to medium-low heat and stir.

When you are ready to eat, add the crab meat and spring onion tops to the pot and heat through, do not let the soup boil.  Taste for salt and pepper, add more if you wish.

Garnish each serving with chopped parsley.

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Pes fish Pescado a caught fish

This was one of the first strange things I learned in Spanish from my Hubby.  Apparently you cannot make “pes” soup because that would require you to make it in the river or other body of water that fish is swimming in.  A “pes” is as free as Willy.

So, to make the soup you have to catch that fish first.

Caldo de Pescado

  • 1/2 lb firm white fish fillets (tilapia, bass, catfish) per person
  • 2-3 cups stock (any flavor)
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes (or use 3 – 4 fresh tomatoes)
  • bay leaf
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup frozen vegetable mix (lima beans, carrot, peas)
  • (optional) hot peppers, sliced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • lime wedges for serving

Sauté the onion and garlic in a soup pot.  Add stock and water, bay leaf, tomatoes, vegetables, peppers and rice.  Bring to a rapid boil.  Reduce to medium for 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning.  Add the fish fillets and cook until done, about 5 minutes.  Serve with lime wedges.

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Short on time and resources?  Take one package of Udon Noodle Soup and add diced cooked chicken.


Split between two bowls for a quick lunch.

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At the request of Big Brother, we made noodle soup together for dinner.  He stirred the garlic and noodles (dry pasta) in olive oil while I peeled and chopped the vegetables.

Tomato Noodle Soup (Caldo con Fideo)

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2/3 cup dry pasta broken in small pieces (angel hair) [fideo]
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 white potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • half a bunch of swiss chard, thick stalks removed, shred the leaves
  • chicken stock
  • 1/2 small can of tomato paste
  • fresh thyme
  • chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Sauté the garlic, onion, and pasta in the olive oil until it begins to turn golden but not burnt.  Add chicken stock and water, about 2 cups of each ( I just fill up the small stock pot used for soups).  Add salt and pepper, thyme, tomato paste, celery, carrot, and potato.  Bring to a slow boil and reduce to medium-high for about 10 minutes or until the potato pieces are almost fork-tender.  Add the swiss chard and remove from heat. Serve garnished with fresh parsley.

Pizza Toasts

To use up the remaining half of the tomato paste, I made “pizza” under the broiler using leftover French bread.

  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 4 slices French bread
  • olive oil
  • Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • pinch of oregano

Turn on the broiler to low.  Drizzle olive oil on one side of the bread slices.  Toast under the broiler until crisp.  Spread the tomato paste on the bread, top with the cheeses and oregano.  Return to the broiler until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.

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Apart from the bacon garnish, this soup was prepared 100% vegan.  I’m not a vegan but sometimes have dairy issues, this is a warm comforting dish made without dairy, meat or MSG.

Start by making a vegetable stock with any leftover bits of veggies you have hanging around, if you have been paying attention you will have a small store of frozen end-of-veg ready for this occasion.  Add a garlic clove and pinch of salt, then barely cover the vegetables with water in a pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Cut the dark green tops off 2 – 3 leeks (use the greens in the stock).  Clean and finely slice the white ends of the leeks.  Slice a spring onion.  Crush and mince a garlic clove.  Dice 2 – 3 yellow potatoes.

Strain the veggies from the stock.

In a second pot, melt a spoonful of coconut oil.  Begin with the leek and onion, stirring to coat each slice.  When they are translucent add the garlic.  Cook until everything gets a hint of brown but be careful not to burn them.  Add the potatoes and stock.  Add a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp white pepper.  Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft.

Blend the soup to a smooth texture.  If you prefer some chunks of potato in the soup then blend half to 2/3rds of the soup.  Return the soup to the pot and keep warm until ready to eat.  Garnish with chives and bacon (isn’t there vegan bacon?)

Makes 4 servings.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Farm stand  in North Austin

Every Wednesday Angel Valley Farms sells organically grown produce in north Austin.  I don’t make it out the mini market every week, but I happened to be on the way back from a morning appointment when I realized it was Wednesday.  Almost 10am.  The farmers open at 10 sharp and if there’s something special, like golden beets, you have to get there early if you have any hopes in snagging the prize veg of the day.  With three yellow bunches left, I grabbed one.  Before I could decide if I needed more for this recipe I was conjuring, a short thin woman appeared behind me “…You know I think I take both of these…” My mouth was open to speak but nothing could come fast enough.  At least I had one bunch.  I also took a bunch of carrots which looked juicy and tender, most importantly, fresh!

The latecomers will have to make do with purple beets.

I peeled these little blondies after a short trip in boiling water.  My first borscht was starting out lovely.  I wasn’t even worried about my lack of fresh dill, even though most recipes I’ve seen call for it or pickles.  No dill? There’s a patch for that: chives.

Here is what you will need for my twist on borscht:

  • 1 bunch (4 – 6) yellow beets
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 – 3 medium parsnip
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 large yellow onion (or half a small one)
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional and to taste)
  • salt to taste
  • sour cream (garnish)
  • chives, chopped (garnish)

Boil a small amount of water for the beets.  Cut the stems 1/4 inch from the top of the bulb and trim the root end.  Boil for a couple of minutes to soften the rough outer skin.  Discard the water and set the beets aside to cool enough to handle.   Bring the stock and water up to a simmer the empty pot.

Peel the beets, carrot, and parsnip.  Dice.  Dice the onion.  Add everything to the simmering liquid and cook until tender.

Strain the vegetables and reserve the broth.  Put the cooked vegetables in a blender or food processor.  Pureé.  Add broth as needed to end up with a silky smooth soup.  Adjust for salt (and sugar) and blend again.

Pour the soup back in the pot over low heat for a few minutes as you stir in the fresh lemon juice.

To serve, ladle into four bowls and top each with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of chives.


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On occasion I like to write about the nooks and crannies around town, places I’ve lived, or traveled to. This category, Nites Out, is a special section for eating outside of my own kitchen! Search for Nites Out to find more places to dine…

Tân Tân was the original name of this Vietnamese Noodle restaurant when Hubby and I were dating.  We would meet here for lunch quite often (this was pre-children. You know, back when you actually had money for lunch?).  Well the new name Tân Mý did not mean a new owner, thankfully.  The same older gentleman, and his family, continue to run this small phở hotspot.

If you are in the mood for a good phở, the Tân Mý is the place to go.  I will warn you that this is a very small restaurant and your noodle slurping will not go unnoticed by the patrons sitting next to you.  And I mean right next to you.  At the same table.  For this reason alone it’s a good idea to get there early.

I love the jasmine tea.  I always order it, even if it’s the middle of summer.  Today I tried the Egg Noodle BBQ Pork soup, it delivered big time.  A small bowl is plenty for the famished diner, and this will cost you less than 7 bucks.  If you don’t like pork (and I could not understand why – pork fat rules, but this is incredibly lean… anywho) there are plenty of other options to indulge in.  Beyond phở  the menu includes fried noodle dishes, the lemongrass ones are awesome, and I’m sure they’re all delicious. I just realized they have desserts on the menu too.  I’m always stuffed, so there’s never any room for sweets afterwards.  Maybe next time…

Wonton Soup - Tan My

We’ve tried other phở places and this one stands above the rest.  If you are in Austin, find them here.


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