Potato Leek Soup or Vichyssoise

November 10th, 2010 / comments 5

I stopped to visit my friend Don on my way home from voting and found him in the midst of putting the vegetable garden to bed for the winter. He said that it had been a great summer for everything except peppers.

Pt Stock Pot c egbert 02 Potato Leek Soup or Vichyssoise

He gave me several, freshly pulled, leeks and a handful of fragrant flat leaf parsley. When I got home, I made a cozy dinner in less time than it would take to pick up a pizza. It was cold enough to have a fire in the wood stove and I wanted a steamy bowl of comfort food as I watched the election returns.

Leaks have a long and colorful history. Aristotle credited the clear voices of partridges to their diet of leeks. Perhaps it was the partridges that inspired the Roman Emperor Nero to eat leeks everyday in an effort make his voice stronger. Romans brought leeks to Britain where they, the leeks not the Romans, still flourish because they thrive in the cold and damp. According to Welsh legend, St. David ordered every soldier to wear a leek on his helmet in the battle against the Saxon invaders.

The prospect of watching the outcome of a battle, (the election), and the leeks from Don’s garden inspired me to make a pot creamy potato leek soup. Here’s how I did it: … read more

Ten Step Curried Summer Squash Soup

September 27th, 2010 / comments 3

Our friends Annie and Andre came to spend the weekend and our fridge was overflowing with vegetables.

curry flowers c egbert Ten Step Curried Summer Squash Soup

I used my ten step plan to make a pot of Curried Summer Squash Soup that chased the chill and absorbed some of the squash overload. Here’s how I did it: … read more

Soup in Ten Steps

September 25th, 2010 / comments 4

In April every radish is a treasure, in May the appearance of spinach seedlings brings joy, in June it is delightful to create a salad of tender greens, in July the garden and the kitchen are in harmony, in August tomatoes and squash are overflowing, in September, apples, pears and plums appear along with school buses, and the CSA share that seemed modest in the spring is overwhelming.

veg bounty c egbert Soup in Ten Steps

Cucumbers and parsley are turning to slime in the bottom of the fridge, tomatoes are being passed back and forth between friends like fruitcake in December, zucchini and yellow squash are nearly the size of canoes and there is a bunch of rainbow chard lurking around every corner.

Whether you call it Vegetable Overload, Squash Surplus, Garden Glut, or CSA Bounty, it is imperative to have a strategy to survive this delightful dilemma. I suggest soup. Call it Empty the Refrigerator Soup, Wilted Vegetable Soup or Garden Delight Soup but don’t delay, it’s time to start chopping, sauteing, simmering, serving and storing soup.

I have a ten-step game plan that I follow whenever I make soup. The steps are the same whether I’m making a simple, pureed broccoli soup or a hearty vegetable soup. I adjust ingredients, quantities and proportions according to the contents of my fridge, my pantry, and also include vegetables that have been left in my unlocked car by generous friends. Here’s my soup game plan:

  1. Heat oil in stockpot
  2. Saute aromatic vegetables in oil in the stockpot until tender but not browned
  3. Add meat and cook until browned
  4. Add herbs and spices
  5. Add liquid
  6. Add vegetables and simmer until tender
  7. Puree (if desired)
  8. Add additional liquid to thin soup to desired consistency
  9. Adjust seasoning
  10. Serve with appropriate garnish

The oil can be butter, olive oil, grape seed oil, vegetable oil coconut or any combination, and should just coat the bottom of the pot. Onions, leeks, garlic, scallions, shallots, carrots and celery are all aromatic vegetables and any combination will work. Meat is optional, it may be ground, or cut in small pieces or one large piece that is be sliced when the soup is served. The liquid for Step 5 can be water, broth, or stock or a combination but, because it will be simmered to cook the vegetables and meat, it should not be a dairy product. The liquid in Step 8 can include cream, milk, sour cream, yogurt, or coconut milk. In Step 9, adjusting seasoning may mean adding a bit more salt or pepper or other more exotic flavors like a bit of bourbon, orange zest, lime juice, hot sauce, etc. Garnishes may be as simple as a thin slice of lemon or as luxurious as a chunk of lobster. Raw fish or shellfish can be added for the last five minutes of Step 6. Refrigerate or freeze leftover soup for another day.

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Carota – Carrot in Italy #2 – Tomato Carrot Soup

March 18th, 2010 / Comments 0

Although it has been sunny and warm, Saturday was a cold rainy day and the sea was white with rolling waves.

carrot tomato soup 02 Carota   Carrot in Italy #2   Tomato Carrot Soup

I got wet and cold on a short walk and wanted something to eat, something warm and comforting. Soup! I had carrots and tomatoes so I made tomato and carrot soup. Here’s how I did it: ... read more

Chicken Soup with or without Rice

January 13th, 2010 / comments 11

What is it about chicken soup? There is a series of inspirational books titled Chicken Soup for the Soul, John Steinbeck mentioned it in East of Eden, Moshe ben Mainmon, a twelfth century Egyptian physician and philosopher, recognized it as a remedy for cold symptoms and his advice has been supported by evidence from a scientific study done at the University of Nebraska.

redboy 01 c egbert Chicken Soup with or without Rice

My resolution to cook simple food that tastes even better the next day and the first verse of Chicken Soup with Rice, written by Maurice Sendak and set to music by Carole King, inspired me to make my favorite chicken soup.

In January it’s so nice
While slipping on the sliding ice
To sip hot chicken soup with rice
Sipping once, sipping twice
Sipping chicken soup with rice.

Cooking chicken soup can be an all day affair but by beginning with chicken broth and a rotisserie chicken from the market, I had a full flavored, body-and-soul warming soup ready in less than an hour.  Here’s how I did it: … read more

Gilfeather Turnip Soup

October 9th, 2009 / comments 3

My painting of a turnip was featured in the Fall issue of Edible Green Mountains along with an article entitled Edible Traditions – Vermont roots: Gilfeather Turnips.   gilfeather turnip c egbert Gilfeather Turnip SoupInspired by the article and delighted to find locally grown, organic gilfeather turnips at the farmers’ market I decided to try this heirloom vegetable in my version of Turnip Soup. Worried that it would be too ‘turnippy’ I added potato and a bit of sour cream to the pot.

I wanted to serve the soup for dinner and decided to toast some pita and top it with cheese and tomato. I put the pita into the oven, set the timer for four minutes. Unfortunately, the broiler in my new oven is much more robust than the broiler in my old oven.  At the three minute mark, there were flames coming out of the oven vent. I opened the oven, dumped the flaming pita into the sink and filled the kitchen with smoke.

Fire Engine c egbert Gilfeather Turnip SoupTwenty minutes later, the smoke was gone, (no we didn’t need the help of those folks who come in the big red truck), I made toast and dinner was ready and delicious. Here’s how I did it:

… read more

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