Category: Soups & Sides for Every Season

Spiked Gazpacho with Crab

Spiked Gazpacho with Crab

It’s a drink, it’s an appetizer, a first course, a meal, or all of the above. Definitely cool and summer stunning in chilled, heavy on-the-rocks glasses with a crostini side-car, this Spiked Gazpacho with Crab would eat happily out of small bowls, coffee cups, wine glasses, or … …

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Quick Salmon-Irish Cheddar Chowder for St. Patrick’s Day

Quick Salmon-Irish Cheddar Chowder for St. Patrick’s Day

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A little Irish music to set you up for a bit of cooking: click here.  And, in the Irish, as they say, “La fheile padraig!”  

I’ve been making Salmon Chowder for a good long while; there’s a really easy and light version in my soup cookbook, SOUPS & SIDES FOR EVERY SEASON.  If by chance you’ve made it, you’ll know it’s perfect spring or summertime fare for the day after you’ve grilled a big piece of salmon and don’t know what to do with the leftovers.  Likewise it’s for fall or winter if you’ve roasted a side of salmon for company and only used the big fat inner slices for the dinner table, leaving the skinny ends smelling up the fridge.  This year, though, I was into something a little different…

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            Late summer, 2014 in Dunsmore East, Ireland (the port for Waterford)

The Irish, along with my fair Scots, have some of the best salmon in the world, but more often make a mixed fish and seafood chowder such as Donal Skehan’s Howth Head Seafood Chowder.

Continue reading “Quick Salmon-Irish Cheddar Chowder for St. Patrick’s Day”

Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Yellow Pepper Salsa

Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Yellow Pepper Salsa

DSC05479-2This black eyed pea soup appeared one noon when I just wanted something real to eat…something warm and filling, but not fattening.  Contrary to common opinions or the instructions on the package, black eyed peas do not have to soak, nor do they take two hours to cook.   Took about an hour cooking time plus prep.   Perfect for a lucky New Year’s Day when you’re too tired to cook much.  Or hungover and in need of healthy, filling food.  Want corn bread?  I include my favorite recipe at the bottom of the post. Don’t forget to dunk.

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Cook the Book — Last Week — Tomato-Carrot Soup with Feta

Cook the Book — Last Week — Tomato-Carrot Soup with Feta

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(Above:  Soup is easily vegan without the feta garnish.)

This is the last week I’ll  feature a recipe from my new book, Soups & Sides for Every Season (click HERE to order).   Make the recipe, photograph it, email the pic to me:  soupsandsides@gmail.com.   If yours is the first email with a recipe photo I receive, I’ll mail you a book!  Don’t forget to include your snail mail address in the email as well as any adjustments you made to the recipe.  Now get “cooking!”  I can’t wait to hear from you.

My first for-real book signing is Saturday, July 19 (11am – 1 pm) at Aspen Kitchens and Design Studio here in Colorado Springs:  5134 North Nevada Ave. Colorado Springs, 80918 –University Village Complex. I’ll have a few books with me, but you still have time to buy one and bring it!  There may even be some soup or something else to taste.  Come see!  Next up is Shouse Appliances at Academy and Austin Bluffs; date tba.  There’ll be some cooking going on at Shouse, of course.

Soup Book-Cover final

Continue reading “Cook the Book — Last Week — Tomato-Carrot Soup with Feta”

Cook the Book — Two More Weeks — Grilled Peaches or Figs with Cheese, Honey, Thyme, and Black Pepper

Cook the Book — Two More Weeks — Grilled Peaches or Figs with Cheese, Honey, Thyme, and Black Pepper

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For the next two weeks, I’ll at some time during each week feature one recipe from my new book, Soups & Sides for Every Season (click HERE to order).   Make the recipe, photograph it, email the pic to me:  soupsandsides@gmail.com.   If yours is the first email with a recipe photo I receive, I’ll mail you a book!  Don’t forget to include your snail mail address in the email as well as any adjustments you made to the recipe.  Now get “cooking!”  I can’t wait to hear from you.

My first for-real book signing is Saturday, July 19 (11am – 1 pm) at Aspen Kitchens and Design Studio here in Colorado Springs:  5134 North Nevada Ave. Colorado Springs, 80918 –University Village Complex. I’ll have a few books with me, but you still have time to buy one and bring it!  There may even be some soup or something else to taste.  Come see!

If you haven’t had a chance to look at the book yet, it’s a soft covered paperback, 174 pages, and was a more than two-year effort that included a wonderful team:  Patricia Miller, editor; Amanda Weber, designer; Daniel Craig, artist; and Drew Robinson, CS, sommelier.  I had a dedicated team of testers and they’re all listed in the acknowledgment section. Continue reading “Cook the Book — Two More Weeks — Grilled Peaches or Figs with Cheese, Honey, Thyme, and Black Pepper”

Cook the Book — Three More Weeks!  + Alyce’s Blueberry Muffins

Cook the Book — Three More Weeks! + Alyce’s Blueberry Muffins


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For the next three weeks, I’ll at some time during each week feature one recipe from my new book, Soups & Sides for Every Season (click HERE to order).   Make the recipe, photograph it, email the pic to me:  soupsandsides@gmail.com.   If yours is the first email with a recipe photo I receive, I’ll mail you a book!  Don’t forget to include your snail mail address in the email as well as any adjustments you made to the recipe.  Now get “cooking!”  I can’t wait to hear from you.

If you haven’t had a chance to look at the book yet, it’s a soft covered paperback, 174 pages, and was a more than two-year effort that included a wonderful team:  Patricia Miller, editor; Amanda Weber, designer; Daniel Craig, artist; and Drew Robinson, CS, sommelier.  I had a dedicated team of testers and they’re all listed in the acknowledgment section.

The book itself is divided into seven chapters:  one soup chapter for each season, and then one each for Breads and Spreads, Salads and Fast Sides, and, saving the last for best, Desserts.  Today’s recipe comes from the Breads and Spreads chapter and is an original blueberry muffin recipe that was developed literally at the last minute before publication when the recipe planned just didn’t work out.  It was a mad scramble to work out another muffin recipe and to test it at altitude, at sea level, and in between.  Great thanks to Mary Ellen Harm (Boston), who tested and reported back via Facebook, Continue reading “Cook the Book — Three More Weeks! + Alyce’s Blueberry Muffins”

Cook the Book!  Next Four Weeks–A Free Book Each Week

Cook the Book! Next Four Weeks–A Free Book Each Week

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   First Up:  Spicy Cucumber with Feta and there’s no cooking involved!  Happy summer soups!  Thanks for all of your lovely support during this last week.  You’re helping make my dream come true.  You’re wonderful!

For the next four weeks, I’ll at some time during each week feature one recipe from my new book, Soups & Sides for Every Season (click HERE to order).   Make the recipe, photograph it, email the pic to me:  soupsandsides@gmail.com.   If yours is the first email with a recipe photo I receive, I’ll mail you a book!  Don’t forget to include your snail mail address in the email as well as any adjustments you made to the recipe.    As my own stash of books is still on the way from the printer, be patient if you don’t get your book immediately; it could take just a little while.  Now get “cooking!”  I can’t wait to hear from you.

Soup Book-Cover finalSPICY CUCUMBER WITH FETA

When cucumbers are plentiful, cheap, and the weather is sultry, it’s time to make cucumber-yogurt soup.  Lebanese to start with (Kh’yaaf B’lubban) and very like the Indian Kheera Raita, Americans have made this creamy, cooling dish their own.  Perfect to eat as a cold first course or for a light meal, it’s ready in the time it takes to whir a few things through the food processor. This is also a great soup to personalize.  A bit more hot sauce? Add avocado?  Top with smoked salmon? A bit of cumin? Chopped scallions or tomatoes as a garnish?  However you make this, you’ll want it again and again.  My own version holds some heat (skip Sriracha—a Thai hot sauce– if you don’t like heat) and includes some salty feta and chopped red bell pepper on top.  I first encountered some of the flavors from this soup in Melissa Clark’s fabulous Greek Goddess Dip (NYT, “A Good Appetite,” 2/10/10), which utilizes some of the same ingredients in a perfect herbaceous dip for fresh vegetables.  When I began to test cucumber soups for this book, I again and again returned to the combination of herbs Melissa uses in her dip.

If you don’t have a food processor, simply chop up the vegetables as finely as possible, whisk together the yogurt and buttermilk, and mix up all of the ingredients using a spoon or large spatula.

Serves 8

  • 4 English cucumbers unpeeled, sliced in half, seeded (pull a big spoon down the center of each half), and cut into 1” pieces*
  • 4 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh basil and mint
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or a few drops of other hot sauce)
  • Juice of 2 lemons (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Garnish:  1 cup each: feta cheese, crumbled, and finely chopped red bell pepper

Cook’s Note:  If using regular American cucumbers purchased from the grocery store, please peel them before blending to make the soup; they’re often waxed.

Combine all ingredients (except feta and red bell pepper) in the food processor and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill for a few hours in refrigerator if you have the time.   Divide soup between the bowls and top each with a bit of feta cheese and red pepper.

Accompaniments:  This soup is lovely all on its own, but if you have a hungry group you could add some smoked salmon and crackers to the table or even a basket of pita or naan.  If it’s not too hot, bake up a batch of your favorite biscuits early in the morning.

Wine: Sauvignon Blanc is a great go-to wine with feta cheese, and Pinot Grigio would be good as well.  (Drew Robinson, CS)  Note:  Drew expands greatly on this theme in the book itself; I’ve edited it in the interest of space for the blog.

Dessert:  I love the idea of some fresh fruit and a bit of cheese—nothing more.

Sing a new song,

Alyce

Tomato-Carrot Soup

Tomato-Carrot Soup

What is it about soup? I might define it as: A powerful liquid food adaptable to most any food situation or mealtime, including dessert. A comfort food to most people, it is also a food to cure illness and to inspire music and literature. Do you remember the Maurice Sendak song/book “Chicken Soup with Rice?”
If you’re “in the soup,” you’re what? You’re in trouble. If you “soup up” anything, you’re making it more powerful; if you go from “soup to nuts,” you’re going from beginning to end. Nuts have not been the end of a meal at my house ever, but I somewhat vaguely remember my colonial culinary history, where the tablecloth was removed for the dessert course which might be or include unshelled nuts.
Up next in the blog is a simple, yet incredibly tasty soup I made out of on-hand ingredients to preface a meal of steak with oven-browned potatoes accented with burnt onions and roasted asparagus. If your meal is easy and nearly instant, as was this, what a good time to make a first-course soup. Get ready for, “Oh, you made SOUP?!”
Bowls: I served this soup in small, square off-white china bowls made by Mikasa; these bowls could be used with almost any everyday dishes or china and I bought them just for first-course soups. At one time, many china patterns were available with “cream soup” bowls, which were tiny bowls with small handles on each side that typically had matching saucers. Now available mostly in antique or consignment shops, we must buy our china there or improvise. Lotus bowls are mostly too small and the typical bowls that come with dishes today are for cereal, green salad or chili.
Wine: If you’re having a separate wine with a first course, by all means serve an Italian Falanghina or a Spanish Albarino. An un-oaked Chardonnay might be a dog that would hunt here. We made do with a California Petite Syrah we were having with the steak—and loved it, but could imagine a light Italian red as well if you’re an only-red-wine-drinker.
For a soup/ sandwich meal: Grill Swiss, Gouda or Brie on ciabatta.
Bread for first course: This soup is lovely with a salt and pepper and/or parmesan crostini; I include directions.

Tomato-Carrot Soup

  Serves 4 as a first course or 2-3 as a main course

SOUP:

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and minced
  • 4 celery stalks, trimmed and minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped finely
  • 1 15 ounce can tomatoes
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled (garnish)

CROSTINI:

  • 4 slices baguette
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Soup:
In four-quart saucepan, melt butter and add carrots, celery and onion. Sauté five minutes, adding garlic half-way through. Stir in fresh herbs and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with fork or knife. You could food-process the tomatoes beforehand if you’d like. Cook briefly, one-two minutes to marry flavors. Add broth and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer until veggies are tender, 10-15 min. Add extra broth or water if soup becomes too thick. Check seasoning. Ladle into small bowls and pass feta cheese at table. Serve w/ salt and pepper crostini.Crostini:
Drizzle baguette slices lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and/or grated parmesan cheese if desired. Bake at 350 F on a cookie sheet about 10 minutes or until toasted through.

{printable recipe}

Sing a new song,

 

Alyce