Brothless Soup: The Soup for Summer

Posted by    |  August 20, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Technique

Question: When you’re feeling the need to eat something cleansing, healthy and nourishing, what food comes to mind first? I betcha most of you think of soup.

I spent last week on a canoeing and rock climbing trip with 55 nine- and ten- year olds. It was a great time in a crazy way. Nevertheless, four days of white bread, limited veggies and too much sugar had me yearning for food that is pure and nourishing. More practically, I needed to get my guts moving again.

But it’s 91 freakin’ degrees and 100% humidity here in Chicago! As wonderful as Minestrone sounds- with zucchini, carrots, tomatoes and basil so fresh this time of year- it’s just too darned hot for soup. No problem. I worked this out last spring: it’s called the brothless soup. Read more

The Miracle of Mirepoix

Posted by    |  June 1, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Ingredients, Technique

I’m gonna teach you about something so elementary that it will seem almost silly.  Being in possession of this grand culinary secret will make you feel like a gourmet insider.  It may be what some of you need to leap from recipe slaves to recipe architects. Read more

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Posted by    |  May 2, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

I think the best cookbook title ever is “Happy in the Kitchen.”  The book is by a very interesting chef named “Michel Richard,” who made the amazing leap from being an acclaimed pastry chef to acclaimed savory chef.  This is comparable to Michael Jordan joining the PGA tour.  Michel’s happiness in the kitchen infects the recipes in his book: they are playful, imaginative and spirited.

Happy in the Kitchen contains a simple recipe for a white asparagus soup- well, kind of simple.  Most folks don’t have access to white asparagus, which is expensive even if you do have access to it.  We also don’t have access to quality fresh corn at the same time of year as asparagus.  Finally, his recipe only made a small amount of soup.  So I turned Michel’s idea into something a little less glam and a bit more homey. Read more

Tofu and Vegetable Soup in Miso Broth

Posted by    |  March 9, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

As Chicago warms up to a balmy 40-degrees, the hearty, beefy stews of winter begin to feel like a wool sweater- uncomfortably heavy. But we’re not yet ready to start showing off our pedicures. This is the time when I most crave a dashi-based soup.  It’s light, nourishing and full of flavor.  It’s also still warming. Read more

Dashi Broth (Ichi-ban Dashi)

Posted by    |  March 9, 2010  |  Filed under: Ingredients, Recipes

I can’t help but giggle at the likely reaction most of you will have to the idea of this recipe even as I begin to write it.  This is going to seem like such a stretch for some of you.

“She wants me to make a broth out of seaweed- kelp, no less- and shaved flakes of dried fish!  Blech!  Are you kidding me?!” Read more

Classic French Chicken Stock

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes, Technique

DSC_0185The odds are high that people will make fun of you for making your own chicken stock.  “Don’t you know you can buy that at the store?” “ You really don’t have anything better to do?”  And so on.  Be confident. You’ll have the last laugh. Read more

Minestrone Soup: The Reshoot

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

Adapted from Summer Minestrone with Pesto recipe from Bon Appetit, August 2004

When we lived in Greenwich, we had a regular Sunday night ritual of going to a local pizza place, Bella Nonna, which had a variety of Italian dishes that were very tasty and wonderful, ebullient Italian service.  They made a killer minestrone with vegetables that were never overcooked, pasta that was perfectly al dente and a fresh, vegetal flavor.  When we moved to Chicago, I yearned for that minestrone and spent about 6 months working on it until I got it.  This is a fantastic way to use the bounty of the summer garden. Read more