I don’t stop making soup once the weather warms up; I still need my bowls of goodness once every week or two for dinner (on the deck now with a chilly-willy white wine, growing greens, and candles) and for effortless, healthful lunches. I love best sous and hub Dave to roast a whole chicken on the grill and make a stunning salad as much as the next woman and I’m forever your person for homemade soft serve coffee ice cream or pistachio gelato, too. But woman can’t live on grilled meat and ice cream and that’s where it’s handy to have a vegetable-heavy whole meal chicken or other soup in your back pocket. And I like to invent things — Steven Raichlen –my favorite grill guy after Dave– would surely disagree with me, but grilling gets a little same old, same old. Soup is ever-changing. It might be unfair, but it’s how it is for me.Continue reading
Chicken-Vegetable Wild Rice Soup
You don’t have to be ill to make chicken soup, but if by chance you are, this week’s Chicken-Vegetable Wild Rice Soup would certainly encourage healing or at least comfort until you were well once more. I’m grateful to be healthy currently (THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Hope you are, too.) and have not been in dire need of chicken soup for medicinal purposes. I was, however, looking for a veggie-heavy broth featuring whole grains or beans and lean poultry or fish to fortify us for playing pinochle. A pinochle lunch, so to speak. So what’s a pinochle lunch? It’s a simple, healthful meal we prepare to eat together before we play cards most of the afternoon. I mean, we need stamina, energy, and awareness — not stupor from food that sits like a box of rocks in our bellies. The four of us, and we meet once or twice per month, must have our wits about us as we are pinochle newbies and hence have trouble remembering things like a 10 is higher than a king. How could that be?? Who made these rules?? There is also usually a little wine at this meal, you see. Great for digestion and singing a little ditty or two but questionable in its help for our memories, which are sorely needed for pinochle.Continue reading
FRIDAY FISH: Fish and Chickpea Chowder
Looking for St. Patrick’s Day Ideas? Just click on “St. Patrick’s Day” in the categories section at right to find my favorites including Salmon on Caraway Cabbage, Irish Soda Bread with Potato Soup, Salmon on Colcannon, Colcannon Soup, Traditional Kerry Apple Cake, and more.
Living in land-locked Colorado, we might not expect Front Range cooks to spend a whole lot of kitchen time on fish. Sure we can bring home a few trout now and again — under 16 inches and no more than four at a time — and there are, of course, some other fish in our state. Sometimes we even order online or great fishing friends gift us a few fillets after a lucky trip. Overall, though, we’re mostly limited to buying our dinner fish at the nearest grocery, warehouse, or specialty-food store. It turns out, the warehouse buy is not such a bad deal. The prices aren’t too awfully difficult and you might as well buy frozen fish from the frozen department. It’s less expensive, often flash-frozen at sea, and most likely the fish behind the counter in the grocery seafood department was once frozen, too. For real savings and ease, I buy a bag of frozen, individually cryovaced fillets now and again, most recently mahi mahi –in Hawaiian, it means strong-strong — that came in under $30 for three pounds.
If you’re a regular reader, you might have read about the fish fajitas I made last week and yes, you guessed it, they’re mahi-mahi. Ready for FRIDAY FISH soup this week, I popped out two more 8-ounce fillets to make an herby and creamy chowder with a nice hint of tomato and an itty-bitty kick. Filling and healthy with chickpeas instead of the typical chowder potatoes, this vegetable-laden, high fiber, high protein stew comes together quickly and might take the place of clam chowder in your foreseeable future. Crusty bread? Butter? Cold oaky Chardonnay? Yes, please do!Continue reading
Peasy-Easy Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
Of course it’s holiday time. And while we’re busy with festivities, trying to get cookies baked, attempting to find or wrap gifts, spreading words of good cheer, going to concerts, figuring out if we’re naughty or nice (I know what I am) and maybe even decorating the house, we still have to eat. Magazines, newspapers, tv shows, and social media feeds are full of cheeseballs topped with red and green peppers, hard-looking painted sugar cookies (not my style), and awesome instructions for making the perfect Christmas day roast beef, should you be able to afford one. But right now we’re still wondering, “What’s for dinner?” If you’re anything like me, you feel like a very rich woman indeed when a slow cooker is bubbling away all day in the kitchen promising dinner minus the 5pm shuffle to the fridge and the eye-roll glance into the pantry to see what you can come up with. Dinner’s a done deal. You could have skied or shopped all day because come 6 o’clock, there’s nothing left to do but grab a bowl, get a spoon, and pour the wine. And if you love spit pea soup, but never make it, my simple version’s the one for you. There’s a tish of prep before you dump — an unfortunate cooking expression if ever there was one — everything in the pot and push the start button, but I promise it’s not much and offers greatly increased taste. So don’t skip it, ok?Continue reading
Easy Coconut-Ginger Butternut Squash Soup
I’m definitely too old for restaurant work, but I very occasionally do a small volunteer catering job if a friend sweetly asks. My caveats are 1. It’s during the day (unless you just want delivery of soup or stew when you’re in personal need) and for a worthy cause. My bedtime is 9pm, you see. 2. The menu is short and sweet since I have to do all of the cooking. My feet simply aren’t what they used to be. 3. The event isn’t for 100+ people. Commercial kitchen, I’m not. 4. I pick my own help. I’m all about having fun whenever I can. This week, one of those perfect jobs arrived that just about fit all of my requirements. A nearly vegetarian soup, salad, dessert lunch menu was on deck for 35 heads of local Colorado Springs non-profits, which means cook for 40. You never know when a plate will fall off a counter, a guest might bring along a friend, or someone’s starving and eats double. Best husband and sous, Dave, along with good friend/caterer Patti came along to help make it all possible as these things can’t be done alone. Huge thanks to Dave for being the master of the commercial dishwasher and to Patti who decorated the tables with vases of flowers from her own gardens. Both of them made salad, served soup, and kept everyone full and happy.Continue reading
Sour Cream of Asparagus Soup with Tarragon
Every year or two, there’s a new version of cold asparagus soup in my kitchen. Recently, when asparagus was on sale for a song (what else is $1.49 a pound these days?), I made it twice in one week and decided it was high time to update the recipe for the summer of 2022. I know soup seems cold weather-ish sort of food, but truly it’s not. If you skip around the blog, you’ll see soup in beaucoup variations because to cook seasonally (or even if you don’t), is to find ingredients just perfect for soups and stews summer, fall, winter, and spring. And occasionally a pot of cold weather bean soup or beef stew calls your name about mid-July when grilling is feeling a tish tiresome or a chilly wind and rain hits town. At that point, you give in and stir up all the warm goodness you can in a great big pot.
I make asparagus soup (hot or cold depending on the month) nearly anytime because we have Fed Ex asparagus January – December. And while asparagus is an early spring favorite vegetable in most areas, it has yet to arrive in full force in Colorado yards, though it also grows wild according to one faithful local reader… My second-year plants are beautifully ferny, but no stalks yet I’m sad to say. Next year in Jerusalem.Continue reading
Tuscan Chicken Stew (Revisited)
It might seem an odd thing to blog hot soup on the 31st of May, but let’s remember I live in Colorado where we had a foot of snow a week ago, enjoyed a temperature of 40 degrees F when I drank my morning coffee this morning, and are still peering out to see if the thermometer has risen above 60 F this afternoon. (It has not.) The sun is lovely; I’ll give you that. The wind, however, is once more a ________. Let’s just say we call her Mariah and let it go at that. But we Rocky Mountain folk are a long way from the cold food weeks of the year when it’s salad, chilled soup, or sandwich time unless we’re grilling or ordering takeout. That means it’s still hot soup weather for me. (Truth in blogging, you know I’ll make soup anytime.) My Tuscan Chicken Stew Revisited, featured this week, is from my now 8-year old soup book, but somehow never made it on to the blog and needs to be here — if only because it’s a steady visitor in my kitchen and is a delicious easy-fast meal. Over the years of making it for us for dinner, ferrying pots to sick friends, or stirring up a double or triple batch for families experiencing homelessness in our city, it’s morphed in more than one sweet direction. Still often the filling, whole-meal chicken minestrone sort of soup, I’ve sometimes added Italian sausage and other times skipped meat entirely, tipping in extra beans and some tiny pasta at the end. Additional vegetables find their way in when available and it’s not unheard of to see a few croutons perching on top if bread needs using. After Thanksgiving, it’s been made bass-ackwards with leftover shredded turkey stirred in at the end. I’ve even made it with ground chicken, one of my favorite unsung ingredient heroes.Continue reading
Creamy Pumpkin-Peanut Soup
Every once in a while, it’s time to cook up an old recipe on the blog, take new photos, and tweak the dish up to today’s standard. That’s exactly what happened the other day with the blog’s very first pumpkin soup from way back in November, 2009. With my book club meeting in my living room last Thursday, I thought I’d move away from the same-old, same-old cheese and whatever….and make a soup I could serve in coffee mugs along with the glass of wine we enjoy. Change = good. I looked at the not few pumpkin soups I’ve blogged and settled on the simple, but fun 12-year-old version that is finished off with peanuts and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. As I sometimes will, I tried making it right from the original recipe, which is so old it’s not even printable. While good, it needed perking up, thickening, and expanding. I was amazed, though, to see how readable the recipe was even then. That’s not to say it didn’t need editing and redoing. It did.Continue reading
From one year to the next, I keep a few cans of my favorite Libby’s 100% pumpkin in the pantry. Thanks to my father-in-law, Gene Morgan (who spent years in grocery management), I know that “old” pumpkin makes for better pumpkin pies. I see no difference in pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, or pumpkin martinis but pie — oh yes. The pie filling is darker, feels richer-thicker though still silky, and sports a deeper flavor profile with the aged cans. This year, I’m very glad I kept those few and a couple more because when I put in an order for pumpkin, my King Sooper’s app indicated zero, nada, zip, nil, nought, nothing, though it allowed as there were a few cans of the organic variety left. I don’t like those for pie (ewww), but I’ll take them in a pinch for baked goods and so tapped the icon. When I went to pick up my groceries, I didn’t even get the organic cans. Yikes. What was the story? Should I be grabbing a few pie pumpkins out of the produce section and getting out the roasting pan? Consider a Thanksgiving featuring sweet potato pie? While I have nothing against sweet potato pie as my parents were both southerners, I like pumpkin pie so much better. What’s a baker to do?Continue reading
Cauliflower-White Bean Soup with Pancetta
You might — or might not — know that around my own house I’m known as “The Soup Queen.” I’m proud of my moniker and after all these years of souping, I choose to believe I deserve it. I can make a fancy-schmancy soup, having bought every single ingredient for it at a certain expense (Let’s say a gorgeous seafood stew for Christmas Eve, for instance), but there’s also the very good chance I’ll look in the refrigerator and pantry to come up with dinner based on what just happens to be lying around looking sad and sorry. Folks who know me have probably had a pot or bowl of soup left on their doorstep at some time or another — maybe when they weren’t feeling up to snuff or when I had more soup than my freezer would hold. Others have shown up for a dinner party only to find two big pots of soup on the stove and a big basket of bread on the counter along with several bottles of my favorite wines. My friend Jean, who gets a little soup every week lately as she’s recovering from a back injury, likes to say, “Please keep me on your soup list!” It makes a woman feel good.Continue reading