Creamy Tomato Soup

Best Yet Market out here by me has a sale on its canned tomatoes, one dollar per can, and a great price on basil at the same time. So, a little chill in the air and a thought springs to mind. The market often has a nice variety of rolls, and I could really use a nice bowl of warm soup, with a warm buttered roll… yeah, I think I have a recipe for this.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 1lb cans of diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped basil leaves
  • 1 large Spanish onion chopped
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook until tender. Mix in tomatoes and chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the chicken broth, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking 15 minutes.

Grab your immersion blender and blend the mixture till smooth. Reduce heat to low, and gradually mix in the heavy cream. Pour soup through a strainer before serving. Garnish each serving with a sprig of basil. Toss that roll in the microwave for a second or two, butter it up, and sit down for lunch.

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Spicy Pumpkin and Sweet Potatoe Soup

Its that time of year… pumpkin pickin’ time! Pumpkins populate “punkin’” patches and make spooky faces from door steps and window sills around Halloween, but Sugar Pie pumpkins are the sweet and mellow ones used for cooking—not scary, and 100% tasty. And unlike their jack-o’-lantern brethren, they are thin-skinned for easy peeling. The sugar pumpkin is a small 3 to 8 pound range squash that has a wide range of cooking applications, but in this recipie… that firey jack-o-latern will meet his spicy match.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin
  • 4 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

In a mortar or spice grinder, grind coriander, cumin, oregano, fennel, red pepper, salt and peppercorns into a coarse powder. Blend in garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil to form a paste.

Wash pumpkin, and cut into 2-inch wide wedges, scraping away seeds. Peel potatoes and cut each potato lengthwise into 6 wedges. Smear the pumpkin and the potatoes with the spice paste and place in a baking dish.

Roast in preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes, until tender and just beginning to blacken at the thinnest points.

Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, cook the onion in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent.

Chop pumpkin and potatoes into smaller chunks and add this with the chicken broth into the pot. Using an immersion blender puree the soup until smooth. Be sure to scrape the roasted spice paste off the baking dish and include it in the puree. It may be necessary to deglaze the dish with a little chicken broth.

Heat this thoroughly and then serve with toasted french bread slices. Make this vegan friendly by using a flavorful vegetable stock.

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Smoky Pumpkin Soup

It’s just starting to be pumpkin season here and the huge orange gourds are sprouting at all the local markets. So, let’s grab one and make a little heart warming pumpkin soup. This is a wonderful addition to anyone’s repertoire of soups. This recipe is one of the simple ones. Pumpkin soups are a blank canvas on which you can paint with a wide variety of spices, but this one will have just three. The warming part of this soup comes from a liberal dose of smoky paprika.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • About two cups of diced pumpkin
  • 4 cup of water
  • ½ onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream, or half and half

Start by melting the butter in your soup pot and sauté the onions. Deglaze the pot with the water to bring up those tasty bits. Then, pour in the rest of the water and add the pumpkin and spices. Let this boil until the pumpkin softens up. Then, using our indispensible magic wand (immersion blender) blend the mixture very smooth. Then turn to a simmer and add the cream. Let this all blend together and serve it hot.

Smoky Pumpkin Soup

Smoky Pumpkin Soup

Vegitarian Lentil Soup 01

A friend of mine stopped over yesterday; because her water wasn’t working right she came over to soak some lentils, quinoa, and rice. It got me thinking that I haven’t made lentil soup in a while. Now that the fall weather is approaching, I feel more ‘soup days’ approaching. I like nice thick hearty soups on cool day and lentil soup is one of the very few soups that I make which is vegetarian friendly.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups rinsed and drained French Lentils
  • 3 med sized carrots
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Boquet garni

  • 1 Tablespoon dried tarragon
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Few sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorn balls

Peel and cut carrots diagonally about 1/4 inch thick. Peel and mince garlic. Chop onion and tomatoes. Add oil to large pot over medium heat. Sauté onions and carrots until they start to brown a little. Add tomatoes, paprika. Stir and cook covered for a few minutes. Then add water, Worcestershire sauce, lentils, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil.

While soup heats to a boil, you can prepare your seasoning packet! Double two layers of cheese cloth large enough to contain herbs. Place 2 bay leaves, black peppercorn balls and sprigs of fresh herbs in the center of the cloth and tie up. Add herb packet to pot and cook covered for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until lentils are tender.

If the soup looks too thin, uncover and simmer for a couple more minutes. If it looks too thick, add a touch more water. Serve with good, crusty bread!

french lentil soup

french lentil soup

Simple Mushroom Soup

This is a slightly stripped-down version of my main Cream of Mushroom soup. It has fewer exotic ingredients and no bourbon in this one. I’ve also cut down the amounts to reduce the yield, making this a nice simple soup for two.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/14 cup beef stock
  • 3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 2% milk

In a small saucepan, saute mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Deglaze the pot with some of the stock, then stir in flour to create a thick rue. Once the rue is ready, add the rest of the stock to thin it out. Then gradually add milk. Bring this to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; cook for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

Simple Cream of Mushroom Soup

Simple Cream of Mushroom Soup

Simple Long Island Potato Leek Soup

Here’s a quick, simple, soup made from Long Island potatoes, Long Island Leeks, and, just to add more island flavor, you could substitute 1 cup of duck stock for the chicken broth.

  • 1 pound Long Island potatoes
  • 1 leek
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup chicken broth

In a large heavy saucepan sweat the leeks in the butter with salt and pepper to taste. Covered the pot and turn the heat to low, stir occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are softened but not browned. Add the water, the broth, and the potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Then, the magic happens… grab that immersion blender and get into that pot and purée the soup. Season the soup with salt and fresh ground whole black peppercorns. This is almost as easy to make as boiled potatoes.

Take a moment to click the [like] button, and go make some soup!

Holloween “Blood” Soup

As holloween approaches I thought I would share with you the secret to “blood” soup. A perfect soup course to any holiday par-tay! Impress your friends and gross out the neighbors.

  • 3 pounds plum tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice the tomatoes lengthwise and place them, on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and drizzle them with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast this until the tomatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.

Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and sauté until toasty and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock  and deglaze. Stir in tomatoes, rosemary, thyme and dried crushed red pepper. Bring this to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until soup thickens slightly, about 25 minutes. Then break out your immersion blender.

I can’t say enough nice things about immersion blenders these things are just essential to good soup making. You don’t have to transfer stuff from a hot pot to a cold blender, nope! just blend to a consistency of your choosing right there in the pot. Note well! PLEASE, make sure the blender is fully immersed before you turn it on, and after you turn it off. Trust me, your walls and shirt, especially the really nice white ones, will thank you if you do.

Ladle this out and serve in nice soup bowls. Top with a garnish of fresh chopped basil and accompany with toasted garlic baguette slices.

Butternut Squash w/ Apple Soup

I just got back from being upstate. Its apple season up there, and I got a really good deal on butternut squash, so its soup time.

  • 1 med. butternut squash
  • 3 apples
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • Salt / Pepper
  • chicken broth
  • water
  • 1/4 c. of half and half

Core, peel, and dice the apples, I usually use fresh McIntosh apples. Then peel and seed squash and cut into chunks. Finely dice the onion. Toss the squash, apples, onions, salt and pepper to taste, broth and water in a large heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Let this cook for about half an hour, till the squash gets nice and soft.

Now, I puree soup in the pot using an immersion blender, then bring the soup to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer. Then, add the half and half. Serve hot with fresh bread. Rye bread goes nicely with this soup.

Borsch 1.0

Mmmm Borsch

Beet soup, yeah… nothing beat a sale on beets like beet soup. Now, I know there are a thousand and one variations on borsch, so there is no one right way or wrong way to make it… there’s just your favorite way, then your second favorite way, and then everyone else’s way to make… and none of them tastes like your mother’s.

How did I make mine this weekend?

  • 3 beef neck bones
  • 6 quarts of water
  • Sea salt
  • Red wine
  • 2 pounds of beets grated
  • 1 medium onion diced fine
  • ½ pound kielbasa diced

In a nice stock pot, sprinkle a tablespoon or two, or three of seal salt into the water. Add the neck bones and getting that good and rolling in a boil to extract the flavor of the bones.

While this is heating up, you finely dice a medium onion, and grate two pounds of fresh beets.

At the stock pot, add a little red wine and reduce the heat to a light boil. Let this settle a minute or two then, taking your tongs, carefully remove the bones. Collect a spoonful of the stock liquid and sample. If this is good, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the onion and beets. Let this cook a few minutes, then dice up and toss in the kielbasa and let that simmer away, while you pop a loaf of fresh pumpernickel bread into the oven.

Warm the bread through and ladle out the soup, once all the bowls are served, get the bread an butter to the table and lets eat.