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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

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Archive for Soups

TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Grains As A Soup Garnish

When we have leftover cooked grains—barley, bulgur, kasha, quinoa, rice, etc.—we start using them the next morning in breakfast omelets. By the time lunch comes, we’re ready to make grain salad.

If we don’t have enough for a salad, we add the grains to soup. They can make quite a handsome garnish, and most grains go with any type of soup.

In the photo, Brazilian steakhouse chain Texas de Brazil topped a mound of rice with a shrimp garnish.

But you can use the grain plain, with a simple sprinkling of green herbs or something equally colorful (halved cherry tomato, sliced jalapeño or bell pepper).

Or, take the occasion to use up leftover proteins to top the grain: bacon, fish, seafood, poultry, steak. It’s a great way to repurpose small bits of leftovers you can’t do much else with.

Vegetarians can substitute a cube of grilled tofu, a cherry tomato, olive or leftover steamed vegetables.

And, you can use leftover beans and pulses (chickpeas, lentils, peas) instead of the grains.

Whatever you choose, a sprig of green—shredded basil (called chiffonade) or a small basil leaf, rosemary or parsley sprig, cilantro, chives, chopped green onions (scallions) or microgreens–is the final crown on what started out as a conventional bowl of soup.

 

lobster-bisque-rice-garnish-texasdebrazil-230

Turn rice into a base for even more garnishes. First mound the grain in the center of the bowl, then carefully pour the soup around it. Photo courtesy Texas de Brazil.

 
It’s a nice change from croutons.

Here are 20+ more ways to garnish soup.

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Pork Ramen Soup

ramen-soup-ws-230

Get out your slow cooker and create this
delicious Japanese comfort food. Photo
courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

 

While many Americans think of ramen soup as one of the cheapest ways to feed oneself comfort food, in Japan the finest Japanese ramen soups take considerable culinary skill and many hours to create. Ramen is hearty enough to be a proper main course with some vegetable sides; but you can also use it as a soup course.

The Williams Sonoma cookbook, “Quick Slow Cooking,” offers a simplified, yet still delicious, version that uses plenty of succulent braised pork. Another key to a glorious dish is high-quality, fresh ramen noodles, available at Asian markets. If you can’t find them, use fresh thin Chinese egg noodles or fresh linguine. If you can’t get any fresh pasta, you can default to packaged ramen noodles.

Another point of differentiation from packaged ramen soups: yummy toppings. These can include baby corn, baby spinach, bean sprouts, boiled egg, kamaboko*, kimchi, nori (the dried seaweed used to make sushi rolls), sliced braised pork, sliced green onions or deep-fried green onions, soft-boiled eggs, toasted sesame seeds and wakame seaweed.

When you make your own soup, you can customize the toppings as you wish, and offer other diners the option to customize their own bowls of soup. This recipe specifies green onions and soft boiled eggs, but you can switch them out or add other toppings.

 
This recipe uses a slow cooker. For more inspiring slow cooker recipes, check out Quick Slow Cooking by Kim Laidlaw.

RECIPE: HOMEMADE PORK RAMEN SOUP

Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 3 pounds (1.5 kg) boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3 equal pieces
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2-inch (5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups/64 ounces (2 l) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 leek, white and green parts, halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces (125 g) cremini or button mushrooms, brushed clean and coarsely chopped
  • Low-sodium soy sauce for seasoning
  • Sesame or chile oil for seasoning
  • 1-1/2 pounds (750 g) fresh ramen noodles
  • Topping: 8 soft-boiled eggs
  • Topping: 4 green onions, white and pale green parts, finely chopped
  •  
    *Kamaboko is a type of surimi, a Japanese processed seafood product of which crab stick is another variety. To make surimi, white fish are pureed and mixed with flavor and color. Kamaboko is formed into a half moon-shaped loaf and the outside is colored pink over a white center.

     

    Preparation

    1. SEASON the pork with salt. Place a large sauté pan or the stove top–safe insert of a slow cooker on the stove top over medium-high heat. Add the oil and warm until hot. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, add the pork pieces and sear them on the first side without moving them until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the pieces and sear on the second side until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

    2. POUR off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the insert or sauté pan and return the insert to medium-high heat. Add the yellow onion and sear, without stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and 1 cup (250 ml) of the broth. Deglaze the sauté pan or insert, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the insert bottom; then let simmer for 1 minute. If using a sauté pan…

    3. TRANSFER the contents of the pan to the insert of a slow cooker. Add the leek, mushrooms and the remaining 7 cups (1.75 l) of broth; stir to combine. Cover and cook on the low setting for 8 hours. The pork should be very tender and the broth should be fragrant.

     

    quick-slow-cooking-ws-230

    Make complex-flavored dishes in your slow cooker. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    4. TRANSFER the pork to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, break the pork into bite-size chunks, removing and discarding any large pieces of fat. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the solids. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard any fat from the surface of the broth. Return the pork and broth to the slow cooker and season to taste with soy sauce and sesame or chile oil. Cover and cook on the low heat setting for about 30 minutes to warm through.

    5. COOK the ramen noodles according to the package directions. Put the eggs into boiling water and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water, let cool until they can be handled and peel them. Cut each in half lengthwise.

    6. TO SERVE: Divide the noodles evenly among individual bowls. Ladle the broth and pork over the noodles, dividing them evenly, then sprinkle with the green onions. Top each bowl with two soft-boiled egg halves and serve immediately.
     
    THE HISTORY OF RAMEN

    Ramen is a dish of noodles in meat broth—chicken or pork—that originated in China. It differs from native Japanese noodle soup dishes, in that until ramen appeared, Japanese broth was based on either vegetables or seafood.

    The type of noodles and toppings used in ramen also came from China. It is believed that “ramen” is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word “lamian,” meaning “hand-pulled noodles” (as opposed to noodles that are sliced with a knife).

    While some ramen dishes began to appear in Japan in the late 1600s, they didn’t become widespread until the Meiji Era (1868 through 1912), when Japan moved from being an isolated feudal society to a modern nation. Foreign relations and the introduction of meat-based American and European cuisines led to increased production of meat, and played a large role in the growing popularity of ramen. Almost every locality or prefecture in Japan created its own variation of the dish, served at restaurants.

    The growth of ramen dishes continued after World War II, but was still a special occasion that required going out.

    In 1958, instant noodles were invented by Momofuku Ando, founder and chairman of Nissin Foods. Named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century in a Japanese poll, instant ramen allowed anyone to make this dish simply by adding boiling water. Exported, these ramen soup packages soon became a pop culture sensation across the globe.

    Soup recipes and methods of preparation are closely-guarded secrets in many restaurants. Beyond regional variations, innovative Japanese chefs continue to push the boundaries of ramen cuisine. Curry ramen, invented in the Hokkaido region, became a national favorite, as has ramen based on the Chinese dish of shrimp in chili sauce. Non-Japanese ingredients such as black pepper and butter have found their way into recipes.

    Check out this article, which details the different type of ramen by region.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bone Broth

    Suddenly, everyone is talking about bone broth. Rich in nutrition, nourishing for body and soul, bone broth has long been used by cultures throughout the world for millennia, to sip straight or as cooking stock.

    Yes, bone broth is an alternative to stock, a flavorful liquid made by slowly simmering chicken or turkey bones, cartilage and tendons (with some bits of meat). The difference is that while stock can be made in three or four hours, bone broth is simmered for 24 hours or more, extracting the maximum amount of nutrition from the bones.

    Bone broth can be made from any type of animal bones, including fish. But Pacific Foods uses only the bones from organically raised, pastured or grass-fed animals. It is seasoned with onions, rosemary and apple cider vinegar.

    The Bone Broth is available in six delicious flavors:

  • Organic Bone Broth Chicken
  • Organic Bone Broth Chicken with Ginger
  • Organic Bone Broth Chicken with Lemongrass
  • Organic Bone Broth Chicken Original
  • Organic Bone Broth Turkey
  • Organic Bone Broth Turkey with Rosemary, Sage & Thyme
  •    

    chicken-lemongrass-bone-broth-pacificoraganics-230

    A quick hot drink as well as a cooking ingredient, Pacific’s Bone Broth comes in six varieties. Photo courtesy Pacific Foods.

     
    On a cold winter day like today, it more than hits the spot. And it’s a great base for leftovers: We variously added leftover barley, chicken, pasta, rice, shrimp and veggies to turn a cup of bone broth into a light meal.
     
    Sold in eight-ounce cartons, it is a hearty drink to sip it by the cup. Pour from the carton and enjoy instead of coffee or tea.

    Want to cook with it? It’s also sold in 32-ounce cartons. You can cook beans and legumes, pasta, rice and other grains in it for added protein and flavor, or use it as a base for soup. You can garnish plane bone broth with a splash of basil oil or chili oil.
     
    Why bone broth? Why now?

    According to a 2014 study by NDP Group, more than seven out of 10 consumers are looking to add more protein to their diets. With high protein, low calories and a myriad of reported wellness benefits, it’s in demand by health enthusiasts, Paleo diet practitioners and CrossFit-ers, many of whom have taken up the practice of making bone broth from scratch. (Want to make your own? Here’s a recipe. Note that we have seen comments that cage-raised chickens tend to produce stock that doesn’t gel as well. So try to find bones from organic or free-range poultry.)

     

    bone_broth-chicken-veg-wholesomeness.com.au-230

    Turn bone broth into a meal by adding proteins and vegetables. Photo courtesy Wholesomeness.com.au. Here’s their recipe for beef bone broth.

     

    THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BONE BROTH

    Rich in amino acids and minerals and fat-free, the broth delivers 9 grams of protein per cup for only 355-40 calories. While the actual recipe simmers for days, you can enjoy this snack or first course in little more than 30 seconds.

    nourishing for both your body and your soul. If you’re fighting off a cold or the flu, homemade bone broth is excellent for speeding healing and recuperation from illness.

  • Digestion. The gelatin in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid that attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, thus supporting proper digestion
  • Pain. Bone broth contains chondroitin sulfates and glucosamine—the components of joint pain pills—plus other compounds from the boiled down cartilage. They reduce joint pain and inflammation. The amino acids in bone broth—arginine, glycine and proline—also have anti-inflammatory effects
  • Bone Health. Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium and other nutrients that help with healthy bone formation.
  •  

    THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BROTH, BONE BROTH, STOCK & MORE

    If you’re wondering how bone broth fits into the broth pantheon that includes aspic, bouillon, consomme and stock, here’s the scoop:

    Broth. Broth is typically made with meat and can contain a small amount of bones. It is typically simmered for a far shorter period of time—45 minutes to 2 hours. The result is very light in flavor and thin in texture, although rich in protein.

    Aspic. Aspic is jellied broth made from meat or fish stock. It is refrigerated, where it becomes solid, like gelatin; then is cubed and used as a relish for meat, fish or vegetable dishes. Or, it is used as a filler mold that holds meat, fish or vegetables.

    Bouillon. Bouillon is a clear, thin broth made typically by simmering chicken or beef in water with seasonings. It can be consumed in this state, or used as a base for other dishes, sauces, etc. Bouillon can be made from mixed sources, e.g. chicken and vegetables. Bouillon (not to be confused with bouillon cubes) is a stock that is strained, and then served as a clear soup. It can be enhanced with other flavors—for example, sherry, herbs and spices—and this is the key difference between bouillon and plain broth.

    Stock. Stock is typically made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat that adheres to the bones. The bones are often roasted before simmering, which improves the flavor. Stock is typically simmered for a longer time than broth, 3 to 4 hours. The result is rich in minerals and gelatin and more flavor than broth, extracted from the longer cooking time.

    Consommé. Consommé is a clear liquid made by clarifying stock for a more elegant presentation. Typically, egg whites are added to the stock; the cloudy particles in the stock attach themselves to the egg whites and rise to the surface, where they are skimmed off. The word means “consumed” or “finished” in French, indicating a more finished soup than a stock or a broth. In classic French cuisine, a bowl of consommé was often served at the beginning of a meal.

    Bone broth. Like stock, bone broth is typically is made with bones and the small amount of meat adhering to them. As with stock, bones are typically roasted first to improve the flavor of the broth. The key difference is that bone broth is simmered for a much longer time, 24 hours or more. This long cooking time helps to extract the maximum amount of minerals and other nutrients from the bones.

      

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    RECIPE: Tunisian Chickpea Soup (Leblebi)

    This recipe came to us from our friends at Rancho Gordo, a great purveyor of heirloom beans.

    In Tunisia, chickpea soup is a street food, served as a hearty breakfast to men on their way to work. But you can garnish it and serve it at any meal.

    Middle Eastern cookbook author Aglaia Kremezi’s advises:

    “Leblebi is yet another ingenious combination of legumes and all kinds of readily available vegetables, herbs, and spices that create an irresistibly satisfying dish. Slowly cooking the chickpeas in the oven, inside a clay pot, as Paula Wolfert suggests, makes a wonderfully flavored, silky base. But precooked frozen chickpeas, simmered briefly with garlic in their broth, will make excellent leblebi, flavored with homemade h’rous and sprinkled with Aegean herb and hot pepper mix.”

    Take a look at Aglaia Kremezi’s Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts.

    RECIPE: TUNISIAN CHICKPEA SOUP (LEBLEBI)

    A note about the chickpeas: Don’t use them from a can, as easy as it is. Cooking them from scratch makes a huge difference. You can make them ahead of time, refrigerate, and reheat them when you want to serve your soup.

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

       

    tunisian-chickpea-soup-leblebi-MediterraneanVegetarianFeasts-abrams-230r-r

    Eat more beans and legumes for the new year. They’re high quality, inexpensive protein. Photo courtesy Stewart, Tabori and Chang.

  • ½ pound (225 g) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight in water to cover with a pinch of baking soda added
  • 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth or water, plus more as needed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Toppings Per Person

  • 1 poached egg*
  • ½ cup (about 50 g) cubed day-old, whole-wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon harissa, thinned with some water
  • 1 sun-dried tomato, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and drained
  • Diced roasted red or green bell peppers (optional)
  • 1 pinch of ground cumin
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 to 5 black olives, preferably Kalamata
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • Good, fruity olive oil
  • 1 lemon wedge
  •  
    *If you don’t like runny poached eggs, substitute chopped or sliced hard-boiled eggs.

     

    Mediterranean-Vegetarian-Feasts-230

    More ways to eat the better-for-you Mediterranean diet. Photo courtesy Stewart, Tabori and Chang.

     

    GARNISHES

    Let people customize their soup garnishes. Select a variety from the following, and place them in ramekins or small bowls:

  • Canned tuna fish, flaked
  • Coarse sea salt or flaked salt
  • Croutons/crostini
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • Green and red bell peppers, chopped
  • Lemon wedges
  • Pickled turnips
  • Preserved lemons, sliced
  • Scallions, thinly sliced
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 225°F (110°C). Drain the soaked chickpeas and place them in a clay casserole with a lid (a Dutch oven will work, too). Add the broth, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste, and extra broth as needed to cover the chickpeas by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, and place in the oven for at least 3 hours, until the chickpeas are soft and silky. (Note from Rancho Gordo: “Our chickpeas are so fresh, it may not take anywhere near this long to cook. Check frequently after about an hour.”)

    You can make the soup up to this point and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When you are ready to serve…

    2. REHEAT the chickpeas in their liquid while you poach the eggs. You should have one egg for each bowl of soup.

    3. POACH the eggs with this method from Paula Wolfert: Fill a bowl with ice water. In a pan of boiling water, add the eggs, still in their shells. Cover with the lid and turn off the heat. After 6 minutes, slip the eggs into the ice water to cool. Once they are cool, peel them carefully.

    4. PLACE a few cubes of bread in the bottom of a bowl and cover with some of the chickpeas and their cooking liquid. Set an egg on top and cut it so that the yolk runs. Drizzle some harissa over the top, add sun-dried tomato and roasted pepper (if using), and sprinkle with the cumin and black pepper. Top with olives and capers. Drizzle good, fruity olive oil on top and squeeze the lemon wedge over the soup. Repeat for each serving.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Try A New Soup & The History Of Soup

    It’s well below freezing in much of the country today: a good day to focus on soup.

    Every culture makes soup. It’s easy, filling and nutritious, and can be inexpensive. In much of the world it’s eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    January is National Soup Month. Rather than fall back on your favorites today, discover something new. Start with our delicious Soup Glossary, featuring many different types of soups.

    Then, check out our soup garnishes: ways to add flavor and excitement to your soup.

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF SOUP

    Mankind is up to 200,000 years old. For the majority of our existence, we have had no soup.

    The earliest humans had no cookware—nothing to boil water (or anything else) in. Boiling was not easy to do until the invention of waterproof containers, probably pouches made of clay or animal skin, about 9,000 years ago. One of the first types of soups can dates to about 6,000 B.C.E.—some 8,000 years ago.

    Our word soup comes from French soupe, which derived from Vulgar Latin suppa, from the post-classical Latin verb suppare, to soak. This indicated bread soaked in broth, or a liquid poured onto a piece of bread. The bread added heft to the meal.

       

    Choabani

    Since its beginnings, soup was a poor man’s
    dinner. The name of the meal evolved to
    souper, than supper. Red lentil soup from
    Chobani | Soho.

     

    reggiano-soup-230

    Soup gets its name from “sop,” the piece of bread regularly added to sop up the soup. Photo courtesy ParmigianoReggiano.com.

     

    In Germanic languages, the word sop referred to a piece of bread used to soak up soup or stew. The word entered the English language in the seventeenth century exactly as that: soup pored over “sops” of bread or toast (which evolved into croutons). Prior to then, soups were called broth or pottage. The bread or toast served as an alternative to using a spoon.

    Today’s soup croutons evolved from sops.

    While the rich enjoyed elaborate soups, basic soup was a poor man’s dinner. Until recent times, the evening meal was the lighter of the two meals of the day; a soup or sop would be a typical evening dish. The name of the meal evolved to souper, than supper.

    It began to be fashionable to serve the liquid broth without the sop (bread), and in the early eighteenth century, soup became a first course.
     

    EATING VS. DRINKING SOUP

    Since it’s a liquid, why do we “eat” soup rather than “drink” soup?

    Because it’s served in a dish. If you consume it from a mug or cup, then you can be deemed to be drinking your soup.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Homemade Tomato Soup With Grilled Cheese Croutons

    From McCormick, here’s a lighter version of the classic combination of tomato soup with grilled cheese. Instead of a sandwich, the grilled cheese is miniaturized into a crisp crouton. A bowlful of the soup will warm you up on a chilly day, and the croutons will make you smile with delight.

    We had fresh basil on hand, so used it instead of dried. We loved the extra punch of basil flavor. To convert dried to fresh herbs, or vice versa, use this ratio: One tablespoon of fresh herb equals one teaspoon of dried herbs.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE TOMATO SOUP WITH GRILLED CHEESE CROUTONS

    Ingredients For 8 One-Cup Servings

    For The Tomato Soup

  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) no salt added crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon basil leaves
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-1/2 cups fat free half-and-half (we used regular)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
  •    

    Tomato_Soup_Grilled_Cheese_Croutons_mccormick-230r

    The croutons are miniature grilled cheese sandwiches! Photo courtesy McCormick.com.

     

    For The Grilled Cheese Croutons

  • 1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 6 very thin bread slices
  • 3 ounces reduced fat Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  •  

    Tomato_Soup_Grilled_Cheese_Croutons_close-230

    A close-up. Don’t you want a bowl right now? Photo courtesy McCormick.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the tomato soup: Place the crushed tomatoes, stock, roasted red peppers, sugar, basil, garlic powder and onion powder in a blender. Cover and blend on high speed until smooth.

    2. POUR into a large saucepan. Add the bay leaf. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half and Parmesan cheese; simmer until heated through. Season with pepper. Remove the bay leaf before serving. Meanwhile…

    3. MAKE the Grilled Cheese Croutons. Mix the mayonnaise and thyme in a small bowl until well blended. Spread 1 side of each bread slice with the mayonnaise mixture. Prepare 3 cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise side out on the bread.

    4. SPRAY a large skillet with no stick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Place the sandwiches in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Cool slightly, then cut each sandwich into 9 croutons. Top each bowl of soup with 3 croutons.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPES: Sun Dried Tomato Soup & Cream Of Tomato Soup

    sundried-tomato-soup-bellasunluciFB-230

    Make tomato soup with sundried tomatoes.
    Photo courtesy Bella Sun Luci.

     

    Winter tomatoes lack the deep flavor of summer tomatoes, but you can enhance that flavor with canned tomato purée or sundried tomatoes.

    This tomato soup recipe uses both. It’s both comfort food and holiday food, with vivid red and green colors. If you prefer a creamy soup, we’ve got Sundried Tomato Cream Soup, below.

    This recipe is courtesy Bella Sun Luci, sundried tomatoes grown in sunny California.

    RECIPE: SUN DRIED TOMATO SOUP

    Ingredients For 4 Servings (1 Quart)

  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes, julienne cut
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium size celery ribs (you can save the leaves for garnish)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: 8 fresh basil leaves
  • Optional garnish: crème fraîche, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Preparation

    1. CUT the carrot, celery, onion and garlic into very small pieces. Simmer them in the vegetable stock until very soft, about 15 minutes.

    2. ADD the rest of the ingredients, except the olive oil and the fresh basil. Simmer for 15 more minutes, then use an immersion blender or a food processor to purée with the olive oil (with a food processor, take care that the hot liquid doesn’t shoot out of the top). Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

    3. SERVE hot, garnished with the fresh basil leaves and optional crème fraîche/sour cream/Greek yogurt.

     

    RECIPE: SUN DRIED TOMATO CREAM SOUP

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • ¾ cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 2 cups whipping cream of heavy cream (see the difference below)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Garnish: fresh basil for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the drained tomatoes with 1 cup of tomato juice in blender or food processor; purée to a smooth consistency.

    2. COMBINE the purée and the remaining cup of tomato juice in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.

    3. COOK over low heat until thoroughly heated. Do not boil; it can curdle the cream.

     

    sundried-tomato-cream-soup-bellasunluci-230

    Cream of sundried tomato soup. Photo courtesy Bella Sun Luci.

     
     
    HEAVY CREAM VS. WHIPPING CREAM: THE DIFFERENCE

    These are similar, but not exactly the same.

  • Heavy cream contains 36% or more milk fat (butterfat).
  • Whipping cream has 30% milk fat (butterfat).
  •  
    Because of the higher fat content, heavy cream will whip better and hold its shape longer than whipping cream. Therefore, it makes a difference with pastry fillings, piping, dessert toppings and other applications.

    Whipping cream will still whip well, but it loses its body more quickly. In a recipe like soup, the stiffness doesn’t make a difference.
     
    SUN DRIED VS. SUN-DRIED VS. SUNDRIED VS. OVEN-DRIED: THE DIFFERENCE

    Any of the three spellings of sun dried is correct. What’s more important is the meaning: sun dried tomatoes are dried naturally in the sun, over the course of 4–10 days. They are usually pre-treated with salt or sulfur dioxide to improve quality.

    The drying process gives them a long shelf life, since most of the moisture, on which bacteria thrive and cause decay, is removed. They can also be preserved in olive oil or other vegetable oil.

    Another technique to dehydrate tomatoes for preservation is oven drying. This is done at the lowest heat setting for 1-3 hours. If you have a bumper crop of tomatoes, or there’s a big sale on tomatoes, you can use this technique to create homemade dried tomatoes.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Japanese Chicken Noodle Soup

    Today is National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day, honoring a series of books that have been warming hearts for twenty years with their inspirational stories.

    While some might use the day to feed the soul, we’re doing some traditional feeding with a twist on chicken noodle soup: Japanese chicken soup from Haru restaurant in New York City.

    Udon is a thick wheat flour noodle of Japanese cuisine, typically served in hot chicken broth.

    RECIPE: CHICKEN UDON SOUP: JAPANESE CHICKEN
    NOODLE SOUP

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 5-1/2 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 8 ounces boneless chicken breast, cut into slivers
  • 4 medium-sized shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 scallions, julienned into two-inch pieces
  • 4 handfuls baby or regular spinach, stems discarded
  • 1 package dried or frozen udon noodles
  • 1 tablespoon hot sesame oil
  •  

    clear-chicken-broth-haru-230

    The Japanese version of chicken noodle soup. Photo courtesy Haru Restaurant | NYC.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the stock, soy sauce and mirin in a medium saucepan over high heat, and bring to boil. Lower the heat and add the chicken and mushrooms. Simmer 4-5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. In the meantime…

    2. BOIL the noodles per package instructions. Drain and split evenly between four bowls. Ladle the hot broth, chicken and vegetables into each bowl.

    3. DRIZZLE some in sesame oil and garnish with scallions. Serve immediately.

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: Easy Gumbo Recipe With Swanson’s

    Gumbo is a Creole soup from Louisiana, thickened with okra pods. “Gumbo” is an African word for okra.

    Okra came to America with the slave trade and was introduced to the Southern white population by African cooks. As with all recipes, there are regional variations and different styles of gumbo.

    You can toil for many hours to make your gumbo, or you can make this one quickly to celebrate National Gumbo Day, October 12th.

    Made with Swanson Louisana Cajun Flavor Infused Broth, it delivers the taste of New Orleans when combined with your chicken, sausage and vegetables.

    Prep time is 25 minutes, total time is 1 hour, 25 minutes. Serve it at your next get-together.

    RECIPE: EASY CAJUN GUMBO

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 pound fresh andouille sausage links*, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 extra large onion, diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  •    

    gumbo-with-andouille-sausage-swanson-230

    It’s gumbo time! Photo
    courtesy Swanson.

  • 1 carton (32 ounces) Swanson Louisana Cajun Flavor Infused Broth
  • 8 ounces (1/2 of a 16-ounce package) sliced frozen okra (or fresh if you can find it—about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • Optional: hot chile sauce to your desired level of heat
  •  
    Serve With

  • Hot cooked rice (traditional) or other grain
  •  
    *To save time, you can substitute 1 package (12 ounces) fully-cooked andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, for the fresh sausage. Then, skip Step 1 below, and stir the cooked sausage in with the broth in Step 3.

     

    swanson-louisiana-cajun-broth-230

    A great starter to make easy gumbo. Photo
    courtesy Swanson.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT 2 tablespoons oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the sausage from the saucepan and drain on paper towels. Do not pour off the drippings from the saucepan.

    2. REDUCE the heat to medium-low. Stir the remaining oil and the flour in the saucepan. Cook for 30 minutes or until the flour mixture is dark brown, stirring occasionally.

    3. Stir the onion, celery and pepper in the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the broth, okra, chicken and sausage and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
     
    MORE GUMBO RECIPES

  • A gumbo recipe from Chef Emeril Lagasse
  • A gumbo recipe from Chef David Venable
  •  

    CAJUN VS. CREOLE: THE DIFFERENCE

    Some people think of Creole cuisine as “city food” and Cajun cuisine as “country food.” But to eyeball the dish and tell its provenance, here’s a simple trick:

    Creole cuisine uses tomatoes and Cajun food typically does not. That’s how to distinguish a Cajun gumbo or jambalaya from a Creole gumbo or jambalaya.

    “Creole” referred to people who were born to settlers in French colonial Louisiana, specifically in New Orleans. In the 18th, century Creoles were the descendants of the French and Spanish upper class that ruled the city.

    Cajuns, on the other hand, emigrated from the Acadia region of Canada, which consisted of present-day New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. They settled in the swampy region of Louisiana that is today known as Acadiana; their name, “les Acadians,” became shortened in the vernacular as “Cajun.”

    Enjoy a deeper discussion at LouisianaTravel.com.

     
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SOUP IN OUR SOUP GLOSSARY.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Gazpacho & Beer

    This gazpacho has a surprise ingredient:
    beer! Photo courtesy Frontera Foods.

     

    Here’s a fun idea that can be a soup course, a main course or pass-around party fare, served in small glasses.

    This idea was developed at Frontera Foods, a Chicago-based Mexican foods company headed by Chef Rick Bayless, in partnership with Bohemia Beer. You can serve “beer gazpacho” or turn it into a Martini.

    The tip isn’t just to add beer to gazpacho, but that you can season gazpacho with the addition of prepared salsa.

    The soup can be made ahead and even tastes better when allowed to sit overnight. The recipe makes about 3 quarts.

    To serve gazpacho as a light main course, consider adding:

  • A large salad
  • Crostini, perhaps with olive tapenade
  • Tapas
  • Platters of Spanish sausages, Serrano ham, tortilla Española (Spanish omelet, served at room temperature), Spanish cheeses (look for Cabrales, Idiazabal, Mahon, Manchego and Murcia al Vino), and rustic bread
  • Instead of wine, chilled dry sherry
  •  

    RECIPE: FRONTERA’S SALSA GAZPACHO

    Ingredients For 6-8 Main Course Servings

  • 5 pounds ripe red tomatoes (16 to 20 medium-sized plum or 12 medium-small round)
  • 2 seedless cucumbers, peeled
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 bottle (16 ounces) Frontera Habanero Salsa or substitute
  • 1/2 cup Bohemia beer (or substitute)
  • 2 cups torn (½-inch inch pieces) white bread
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Salt to taste, about 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1½ cups home-style croutons
  •  

    Preparation

    1. CHOP enough of the tomatoes into a ¼-inch dice to a generous 1½ cups. Chop enough of the cucumber into ¼-inch dice to yield a generous 1 cup. Stir in the cilantro. Cover and refrigerate for garnish.

    2. ROUGHLY CHOP the remaining tomatoes and cucumber. Mix with the salsa, beer, bread, olive oil and vinegar. In a blender, purée the mixture in 2 batches until smooth.

    3. TRANSFER to a large bowl. Stir in just enough water to give the soup the consistency of a light cream soup, about ½ to 1 cup. Taste and season with salt. Chill thoroughly.

    4. SERVE: Set out the tomato-cucumber garnish mixture and croutons. Ladle the soup into chilled soup bowls. Pass the garnishes.

     

    spanish-cheeses-artisanal-230

    Serve a green salad and plate of Spanish cheeses after the gazpacho. Photo courtesy Artisanal Cheese.

     

      

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