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Happy Halloween! It’s officially soup and pumpkin season—so, pumpkin soup.
I don’t know about you, but on the whole, I’m way more into savory pumpkin dishes than sweet. The natural sweetness of the pumpkin is just begging for a little sour/ hot/ salty complement.
Here’s a little riff on a Williams-Sonoma recipe (theirs is Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Puree from the Soup book):
Pumpkin Soup with Chipotle
1 Hokkaido pumpkin (also called Red Kuri or Baby Red Hubbard squash)—you could probably use any similar winter squash, but I’m partial to these
5 or 6 garlic cloves
a few tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water
2 onions, chopped
5 cups broth (chicken or veggie)
Salt and pepper
Chipotle with adobo sauce (canned, located with Mexican grocery items)
First, preheat your oven to 350. Peel the pumpkin and cut into quarters or sixths. Scoop out the squishy middle and the seeds.
On a cookie sheet or roasting pan, brush the pumpkin and garlic cloves with oil, then pour in the water. Roast until soft and golden, 35 plus minutes, until soft and golden.
Meanwhile, saute onions until softened. If you have a stick blender (a soupmaker’s very best friend), combine the onions, pumpkin, and garlic all in your soup pot with the broth. Blend. If you don’t have a stick blender, get one. You’ll love it. In the meantime, use part of the broth to blend up the veggies in your blender, a batch at a time. Then combine with all the broth in the soup pot.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. In individual bowls, garnish with a little teaspoon or so chipotle/ adobo sauce, according to your taste. I never use a full can at once, so I usually freeze the rest of the can to have on hand in the freezer. Love me some chipotle. Squeeze a little lime on top. Yum.
If you have non-spice-loving eaters at your table, just leave the chipotle out. Not that you needed me to tell you that.
Last year at our school’s pumpkin fest, someone made some fantabulous curry pumpkin soup (sounds weird, tastes great) but I never figured out who made it or what recipe they used. ISHR friends, anyone know the whereabouts of said chef or recipe? Or do you have a curried pumpkin recipe? I’d love to try it.
What are you dressing up as? I had hoped to be Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games but realized I just didn’t have the time to devote to making a costume. After all, my little witch and my little green ninja have to come first in the Halloween department. Maybe I’ll have a moment to paint my face, though.
Here’s hoping you have power and water. My prayers go out to those of you who don’t, and I hope all will soon be restored.
Also, in other news, if you live in the Charlotte area, our local chapter of the WNBA (no, it’s not basketball, it’s Women’s National Book Association) is a great place to meet people who love books. We’ve got writers, booksellers, editors, agents, and booklovers of all kinds. Our next meeting is a cookbook event called “A Toast to Cookbooks” at Total Wine on Monday November 12. Details about the event and our organization here. Our last event, a multi-author dinner called Bibliofeast, was way, way fun.
I know you thought I was Johnny One Note with Mr. Mark Bittman. I know, I talk about him ALL. THE. TIME. But I do have other cookbook crushes.
Foster’s Market recipes are not what I’d call weeknight friendly (too many ingredients) but nearly every single one has been a must-repeat. Especially the soups, salads, and cakes. I believe there are a few Foster’s Market books out now, but this is from the first, The Foster’s Market Cookbook.
A few notes on this recipe:
#1 It has a nice kick, but the kids thought it was too spicy, so they wouldn’t touch it past the first bite. I might crank down the spice next time. If I feel like sharing.
#2: As with the other Foster’s Market bean soups, I’ve found that, while excellent, the spices and flavorings can get a little overwhelming. I think I’d lessen amounts on all the spices, the salt, and especially the Worcestershire.
#3. My beans took way, way longer to cook than the recipe calls for.
#4. Obviously, if you want to be strict vegetarian/ vegan, you would use veggie broth for this soup instead of the chicken broth it calls for and sub veggie Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce.
I may have to less-meatify some more Foster’s Market recipes, since they are all so good. What’s the vegetarian answer to chicken salad, ’cause it’s got some awesome versions?
I can’t eat soup from a can. Don’t get me wrong – I know there are a lot of decent ones out there that are actually healthy – it’s not like when I was growing up and there was basically one brand everyone used (one having an excess of the daily sodium requirement and shall remain nameless!)
It’s just that I have such strong affection for my mother’s soups as a child (she’d make a killer turkey rice soup every year after Thanksgiving that I long for still). Homemade soups are made with love and care and time. Ready-made canned versions just can’t come close to the comfort factor of their homemade cousins.
And soups made at home are so easy to make! Soup is one of those forgiving dishes – you don’t necessarily have to measure everything out precisely as with baking. You can add a little of this, a little of that – improvising (and tasting) along the way. I kind of liken it to creating a piece of artwork. You never know exactly how it is going to turn out in the end if you change the ingredients or amounts slightly. My mother never measured, and her soups always came out great and always unique.
I was inspired to write Soup Day from my memories of my mom’s cooking and my experiences being a mom myself and cooking with my young son, Jamie. I got him involved in the cooking experience early on –from the time he was a baby I’d park him at the counter where I was making dinner. Now that he is six, he can do a lot more in the kitchen (for ideas on getting kids involved in cooking click here). And he loves to come up with his own recipes to try.
In the story of Soup Day, a mother and daughter spend a winter’s day making a hot, yummy pot of vegetable and pasta soup together. Together they choose the vegetables at the local green market, wash and prepare them, and add them to the pot, creating something special and nutritious in the process. At the end of the story, the recipe for the Snowy Day Soup that they created is featured (to see me demonstrating making this soup, click here).
Cooking can truly enrich a child’s world. There are the more obvious lessons of counting, measuring, and weighing involved. But there is also that wonder and joy of creation – making something out of “nothing”.
I also think cooking can foster a sense of empowerment in children. And if they are involved in the process of cooking, they are more likely to eat their creation! They can say: “Hey! I helped make that!” and own that bowl of soup.
This sense of pride, as well as the bonding that happens through the shared creative experience, are what I find to be the most valuable aspects about cooking with children. It’s the unspoken message of Soup Day, and what I hope it inspires.
Additional downloadable Soup Recipes available here
Just be sure not to add too much salt or seasoning at once – you can always add it later.
Melissa Iwai has illustrated many children’s books, including Toolbox Twins, B Is for Bu
I’ve been trying new recipes, trying to get inspired to cook again. I really lost my cooking mojo after a long period of food sensitivities with my son (thankfully now he can eat anything) and then moving here to Germany, where the groceries are so different. Well, they’re not soooo different, and the quality is great, but it’s sometimes hard to make the recipes I was used to making.
I really liked this soup, and the hubs gave it a thumbs up. I thought the kids would really dig the orange color and slurp it down, but they weren’t into it. I’ll try again with them. The combo of spices works well: obviously ginger but also cumin, ground fennel, cinnamon, allspice, dried mint. I like orange veggies, which are kind of sweet, complemented by savory flavors, and with onion, garlic, and the added citrus hint (lemon juice), this had a really nice complexity.
A few notes: as the recipe states, it is quite a thick soup. I like a thinner soup texture, though, so I think next time I would crank up the spices a little and water it down. I accidentally cranked up some of the spices already, having used the 1/2 tsp measure for a few of them—-I must be getting old, I could’ve sworn it was the 1/4 tsp. Oh well, it didn’t seem to matter. I also used nutmeg instead of allspice because I didn’t have it. The recipe was forgiving. I didn’t measure the lemon, either, and used one lemon and one lime because that was what I had. I don’t know if that’s more citrus that it called for, but since I’m a citrus-lover, it didn’t matter.
You can get the recipe here (along with lots of other Moosewood recipes). Also, if you haven’t discovered the cooking blog 101cookbooks, that’s another great place to go for inspiration. She does some amazing things with vegetables.
Karen MacPherson's syndicatedChildren's Corner column this week alerted me to an important occasion: the 50th birthday of Frances, star of the classic picture book series by Russell Hoban. (I strongly recommend reading Karen's column - always good and this one is chock full of interesting facts about Frances and how she came to be. Also, if you haven't read the Frances books, it's time to get to the library. Or better yet, go buy them.)
I first met Frances, the strong-willed, persnickety, song-writing, problem-solving badger, when I was a strong-willed, persnickety child myself. Although song-writing and problem-solving weren't my strengths so much, it's still small wonder that I identified with the young badger. The challenges Frances faces are universal ones of early childhood, and she confronts them with a quirky intelligence and creativity that I found both inspiring and reassuring.
To celebrate this important event, I broke out some homemade bread and jam and my copy of Bread and Jam for Frances, my favoritest Frances book of all. Everything was delicious, and the dog enjoyed our read-aloud very much.
Possibly what she liked best was that I shared my bread and jam with her.
Anyway, I noticed something while I was reading the book: one spread seemed kind of familiar to me. And then I realized why.
For those of you who just tuned in for the week, the Buzz Girls are talking about their favorite soups to make as the weather turns colder and the skies get a little gray.
So you may be asking yourself, what does soup have to do with writing and reading YA fiction?
1) A girl's gotta eat. 2) Soup is easy to make and so much better homemade! 3) It's fun to let a pot of soup simmer while you're finishing a chapter or two, and then your dinner's ready when you are.
So, my family loves chowder. Out here in the Northwest, we make all sorts - from the traditional clam to salmon or halibut. Here's a really basic recipe inspired by my dad's famous clam chowder recipe. You can add shrimp, crab, halibut, lobster, mussels, or anything else to make it a fantastic Christmas Eve dinner, like my family does each year.
Dad’s Clam Chowder
2 slices bacon or turkey bacon diced (optional) 1 T. olive oil 1 T. butter ½ medium yellow or white onion, diced 2 stalks celery, diced 1 clove garlic, minced 2 T. flour 1 can clams + their juice About 2 c. stock or water 3 large potatoes, diced (you can leave peels on if you like it more rustic.) ½ t. dried thyme ½ C. half & half or milk Salt and pepper to taste ¼ C. parsley, chopped 1 T. butter (optional)
Optional - brown bacon (or turkey bacon + a little olive oil) over medium heat until all fat is rendered. Remove the bacon bits from the pan and set aside. Add olive oil and butter to pan, sauté the onions until translucent, then add the celery and garlic to cook until almost done. Add flour to pan and cook until flour is absorbed and a little golden.
Drain clam juice and add to pan, setting aside clams. Add potatoes and thyme to the pot, along with enough stock or water to nearly cover. Lower heat and cook until the potatoes are almost done. Add the half & half and the clams to the pot and cook until everything is heated through and potatoes are tender*. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley and the pat of butter.
*Note that this makes a thinner style soup, so if you’d like to thicken, you can make a “slurry” by mixing in a cup 2 T. milk to 1 T. cornstarch or flour, add it to the soup, and cook the soup until thickened. You can also thicken it by adding a few tablespoons of mashed potato flakes, like my dad does sometimes.
**Also, you can easily forget the seafood and/or bacon altogether and make it a veggie-potato soup. You can even probably make it vegan - Tera knows about that kind of stuff...
Enjoy and stay warm ~
Heather www.heatherdavisbooks.com The Clearing - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Never Cry Werewolf - HarperTeen Wherever You go - Harcourt Fall 2011
Once again, a recipe from 101cookbooks. I think this was the first recipe I made of hers, and it’s a favorite. Now that we have access to corn tortillas again (through mex-al.de), I can make it as much as I want.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to confess that I add chicken to this vegetarian soup (usually braised breast meat) and use chicken broth rather than the vegetable broth the recipe calls for.
I highly recommend adding some of the suggested fixin’s (goat cheese, lime, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado)—the lime especially.
The most popular part of this recipe is definitely the tortilla strips. That blurry motion you see in the photo is due to little hands grabbing strips while I photographed them.
It’s really handy to have a stick blender for soups. How did I get by without one before? The converter I have to use for the stick blender is shared with my sewing machine, way down our long hallway, so there’s lots of running back and forth for two of my favorite activities (sewing and soup-making).
If you like 101 cookbooks, you might want to know that she has a new book coming out and has offered, in advance of publication, a downloadable mini-sampler book on her website. Cool!
I’m currently reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and sort of missing my garden back in North Carolina. Not that I was a very successful vegetable grower. I guess I’ll have to try some tomatoes on the balkon and of course visit our many nearby farmer’s markets.
In the whole food vein, loved this post by Holly Ramer of stitch/craft—about her family covering the South Beach Food and Wine Festival. There’s a picture of her young son interviewing Jamie Oliver. Holly’s got some other great stuff on her blog, including quite a few tutorials. I especially like the gifts she makes, in particular children’s book-related gifts like those here.
For many years I was afraid to make chicken soup. It wasn’t something we had a lot when I was a child (and when we did, I think it came in a can and it always involved noodles), and as I began cooking for myself soup-making itself was slightly intimidating. I mean, homemade soup? It’s an entire meal, not just one dish of a whole. What if I screwed it up? That’s a whole meal destroyed (or multiple meals when you take into account a whole pot of soup).
For years I avoided chicken soup, instead using my soup pot for boiling artichokes and upping my multivitamin dosage to deal with the evil that is the cold. When a sore throat had me down, I just microwave some chicken broth – a little protein without the work. Bland as hell, but it did the job.
Then a couple of years ago a friend scheduled a tonsillectomy, and in preparation had a bunch of us over to make soup she could freeze for her post surgery meals. By this point I’d mastered tomato soup (just add wine…and then more wine…that’s right, get in touch with your inner Julia Child) and a cream of asparagus. My soup paralysis was over, but my repertoire was still small. Besides she was going to be on pain killers, how much could she actually taste? I dutifully copied down my recipes with exact measurements and hauled my soup pot and produce over to her house.
When I arrived another friend was already there with her own hodgepodge of veggies and a package of chicken. We began to chop. For ever cup I carefully measured, she would drop in a handful of this or that into her pot. Potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots: in they went. And when I asked what she was making?
It was the first time I’d ever actually seen someone make it from start to finish. Soup making is rarely a short process – you want to let is thicken or cook down – so we spent the day watching movies and drinking wine while we chopped, sautéed, stirred and packaged. I learned that day that the key ingredient to chicken soup – good chicken soup – was time. Oh, and chicken. Everything else is up to you.
She wrote down the recipe for me, but it was more a list of possible ingredients and suggestions than instructions. Still, this was enough. Chicken Soup had been demystified and made accessible.
And with these ingredients, made very tasty.
About year, and many batches of soup later, I had a friend come over to deal with a laptop emergency. As he was trying to de-worm my computer I was cooking, and it’s only right to feed your computer tech, I dished up a bowl of soup and sliced up some crusty bread.
“How did you get my grandmother’s chicken soup recipe?” he asked.*
Your Grandmother’s (Or Your Mother’s, Or Your Aunt Minnie’s, Or Your Next Door Neighbor’s) Chicken Soup Recipe
(Remember: these are all more like guidelines anyway.)
1 onion - diced
1-2 Leeks - halved and sliced
3-4 carrots – halved and hopped
3-4 celery (ribs) stalks – thinly sliced
1 clove garlic – diced
1 package (3-4) chicken thighs (or breasts)
1-2 containers chicken or vegetable broth (containers should be 28 to 32 ounces)
3-4 small potatoes of your choice – cut into 1 in. chunks (I leave the peel on)
It’s been an exciting few weeks for “Just One More Book!”. We’re thrilled to have been included in the following publications:
Microsoft Home Magazine (articles, tips and tools for better living)
Parksville Qualicum News
Salt Lake City Tribune (Family Briefs)
Horn Book (thanks to Betsy Bird of A Fuse #8 Production!!)
Watch for “Just One More Book!” in the June edition of Canadian Living Magazine.
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There is not much that I like better than chocolate chip cookies...
Well, unless it is homemade soup when it is chilly out - like it is in February. I love soup. I try to have some homemade soup on hand throughout the winter.
The content of this week's concoction was decided by me being terribly lazy and scrounging from what was at hand. The first ingredient being dried 'gourmet mushrooms' (they come in large containers from Costco. About a half dozen of 'gourmet' varieties.) Here they are reconstituted, looking yummy and ready to chop.
Sauteed some crushed garlic and a shallot in butter, then added the mushrooms. Thickened with a bit of flour and then added the juice of a lemon.
I had a pot of very savory home-made chicken stock heating up at the same time.
When it was near boiling I added a couple of well-beaten eggs (generally one uses just the yolk, but I have *lots* of eggs. And don't mind the entire egg included if thoroughly beaten.)
Added the mushrooms and spiked with a bit of red pepper and parsley. SO good.
The only thing that can make this better is to eat with crusty bread (in this case, a Artisan's Rosemary Round. MmmmMmmmm....)
So many kinds of soups, so few cold, wintry months... Well, maybe I take that back. There are more than enough wintry months, but thank goodness for comfort foods.
I'm on a soup testing jag. It seems to go well with the obsession of a rough draft. I don't have to do anything but open a can and it fills me up for hours. Plus, I can be creative in what I sprinkle on top of or stir into the soup. (Nearly every soup can be garnished with chunks of ripe avocado. Yum, yum.)
Progresso Vegetable Classics Lentil (a favorite for a long time. I don't like thin lentil soup, and this isn't. It isn't too onion-y either, a prime fault of some brands. I do like the local Lebanese place's lentil soup the best though, if I'm not too lazy to drive there.)
Panera's Vegetarian Creamy Tomato soup is delicious, especially with their cheesy croutons, but I see from their nutrition info that it's really not good for me. (I guess creamy should have been the tip-off.)
an entry on BOOYAH! What is booyah? I’m glad you asked.
BOOYAH is a thick mixed stew that demonstrates how American ethnic food can include dishes that would be completely alien in recipe or usage to past generations. Groups of Belgian American Walloons settled around Door County (Green Bay), Wisconsin, in the 1850s, bringing with them a dish of clear bouillon served with rice. The hen of that had been boiled to obtain the bouillon made another meal the next day. Sometime in the 1930s, men took over the dish and turned it into a thick soup full of boned chicken meat and vegetables (and often served with saltines) at the annual Belgian American kermis harvest festival. The pots became larger, the men used a canoe paddle to stir the soup, and “booyah” became the name of the event as well as the central dish.
By the 1980s, booyah was served at church fund-raisers, at a midsummer ethnic festival for visitors, and on Green Bay Packer football weekends. Secret recipes and “booyah kings” have been added to make booyah male-bonding ritual like those surrounding barbecue, chili con carne, burgoo, and Brunswick stew – the latter two soup-stews being highly similar to booyah.
It is possible that booyah has features of other Belgian soups, such as hochepot. It often happens that American ethnic dishes begin to accumulate features of several old-country dishes. It also may be that booyah is not descended from Belgian bouillon at all. Around Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Polish Americans believe that “bouja” is an old Polish soup, and men make it as much as Belgian Americans do in Door County, Wisconsin, but flavored with pickling spices. An early published recipe (1940) describes “boolyaw” as a French Canadian dish from the hunting camps of Michigan. A more recent Wisconsin cookbook called it an old German recipe. The dish has gone from a thin soup made by women at home to a thick stew made by men for communal events. An Italian American might mistake booyah for minestrone, yet Belgian Americans in Wisconsin believe it is named for Godfrey of Bouillon, a leader of the First Crusade. The fruit tarts served for desert at booyah feasts are made by women as much as they were in Eastern Belgium in the early nineteenth century.
Mark H. Zanger, author of The American History Cookbook