. Seriously Soupy: January 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Soup Review: Sausage-and-Kale Soup by Martha Stewart

                      Martha Stewart's Sausage-and-Kale Soup                         

Seriously Soupy's Sausage-and-Kale Soup

After this weeks lentil and apricot soup I had a heaping amount of leftover kale that I still wanted to make good use of. I discovered this sausage-and-kale soup from Martha Stewart's publication Everyday that would not only use the kale, but utilize other ingredients (onions, potatoes, red pepper flakes, olive oil) that I already had on hand. I loved how the recipe used a minimal amount of ingredients, as well as had a quick prep and cooking time that resulted in a hearty, yet spicy soup that was ready in less than an hour! While I was preparing it I thought it was odd that it did not require any salt or pepper (something I would never think twice about not adding), but the soup (and its combination of flavors) worked really well on its own, which didn't require any extra condiments. While enjoying this soup, I discovered (once again) that some simple ideas (making the soup a bit spicy with sausage and kale) can create a different taste combination by simply using ingredients in a new way. This nice kick, along with some simple ingredients can also easily be modified if you don't like sausage by adding another type of meat or made vegetarian by adding seitan, tofu, beans, or pasta, etc. Check out this spicy Martha creation and let me know what you think:

Sausage-and-Kale Soup
Recipe by Martha Stewart from Everyday

Try serving this hearty soup as the main course of a light meal.
15 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

  Soup cooking with broth, potatoes, onions
Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 5 waxy potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch kale (12 ounces), stemmed and shredded
  • 12 ounces smoked chicken sausage, cut into 1/2-inch half moons


  1. In a large pot (6 to 8 quarts), heat oil over medium. Add onion and cook until soft, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add potatoes and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. In a blender, puree half the soup. Return to pot; add kale and sausage. Simmer until kale is wilted, 10 to 15 minutes.

P.S. The only thing I modified was to hand blend the ingredients in the pot, as opposed to taking out half of the soup and pureeing it in a blender. I also ended up adding a little bit of water (about 1 cup), since I didn't feel like the consistency was soupy enough, at least for my standards.:)

Have you tried any Martha Stewart soup recipes?

Seriously Soupy Serena

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Soup Recipe Exchange

Recipes, recipes, and even more recipes. I love the excitement of brainstorming and trying to develop new concepts and recipes for the site, but I also love reading and discovering what other bloggers, chefs, and foodies are creating. Here are some recipes that caught my eye and inspired me this week:
  • Spinach Sweet Pea Soup with Mint Cream. This is a soup that I would love to eat, but probably never would have thought to create on my own. There is nothing too intricate about its preparation or ingredients, but the combination of them (spinach, petite peas, onions, and cream), along with a separate recipe for mint cream seems like the perfect healthy winter soup. Developed by the Culturistas —Lady D and Lady Lay, the recipe seems super easy and a great way to get a good dose of your daily veggies while also being diverse enough that it can easily be transformed into a cold soup in the summer. I am very excited to try this soup, along with the mint cream, which I'm sure will be an unexpected but nice finish to this unique soupy.
  • Roman Egg Drop Soup. Developed by the Eceletic cook, Roman Egg Drop Soup or Stracciatella is a traditional Italian soup that has been a part of her life since her childhood in the 70s. Before she delves into the recipe, she tells the story of how this soup was an inspirational part of her childhood in a section of Canada called Park Extension. The detailed story depicts how she ate at her neighbors house that taught her to "cherish good, simple food." She also notes that this soup is the "heart of Italian cooking," that involves the use of minimal ingredients (eggs, Parmesan cheese, pepper, nutmeg, and broth) and preparation that can easily be re-created in your home.
  • Tortellini Sausage Soup. Blogger, Edenut Creates recently announced that she would be making a soups for several weeks during the winter. Already up to week six, she has recently created a filing and keyword-simple soup out of tortellini, sausage, and various veggies (carrots and zucchini). She also lists some substitutions such as sausage for chickpeas or sausage for ground meat, based on your preferences and/or dietary restrictions. It also seems like a great way to some more use out of leftover tortellini and give it a second life as a soup.
What are some exciting soup recipes that you saw this week?
Seriously Soupy Serena

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lentil Apricot Soup with Roasted Kale

 Lentil Apricot Soup with Roasted Kale

Lentil soup has been done before and that is by no means a bad thing! I love this savory and complex bean-soup, but I have made it zillions of times (yes, zillions) with the same-old recipe (carrots, lentils, celery, spinach, and various spices) that I know so well I could even make in my sleep. Not that I don't love that comforting and super simple combination, but I wanted to mix things up a bit and try a new variation on this classic little soupy. Assessing my inventory, I had some dried apricots that I thought would be a nice pairing for its complex sweet and tart-like taste and I have never cooked with apricots before, so why not now? I also thought kale would be a good choice and opted to roast it to add a rich and garlicly taste, along with some standard items (carrots, celery, onions, and spices) to complete the soup. I had NO idea how this was going to taste, or even if this medley was going to work, but when creating your own soups you have to stick to your gut (even when other people aka Lonnie Feldman are telling you it's a weird idea) and I couldn't have been happier with the result. I was actually a little surprised at how well the flavors blended—slightly sweet, a little kick from the cumin and bay leaves, and a hearty texture. As a reached for my second bowl (It was THAT good), I realized that the only thing that changed was the addition of two ingredients (roasted kale and apricots), but this significantly altered the soup and has me re-thinking ways to prepare lentil soup, and not-so-much about the traditional way that I used to clutch onto. It's good to remember that with soups you can have one main ingredient (lentils), but vary it up in many different ways (kale, apricots, and maybe beets for next time?) that creates a new twist on an old fav. This soup definitely reminded me of this simple concept and one that I think will really expand my (and your) soupy recipe portfolio. Check out this twist on the lentil soup and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

Lentil Apricot Soup with Roasted Kale
1 bag of dry lentils
3-4 cups of water
1 yellow onion, chopped up
1/2 of a garlic clove, chopped up
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3-4 stalks of kale
1/2 bag of dried apricots, cut up into small squares
bunch of baby carrots (10 or so), cut up into small squares
1 stalk of celery, chopped up
8-10 bay leaves
pinch of sea salt
pinch of pepper
pinch of cumin

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (for the kale). Meanwhile, fill a pot with approximately 3-4 cups of water and let boil. While that is boiling, chop up the onions and garlic and add it to the pot, along with the bay leaves. Cover the pot and start the kale prep. Pull 2-3 stalks of kale off the bunch and place them on a piece of aluminum foil or a baking sheet/pan. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper to the kale, cover and let cook in the oven for 15 minutes (or until soft) checking on it periodically.  Rinse off the lentils and add them to the pot, along with the celery, carrots, cumin, salt, and pepper and let cook for 20 minutes. While cooking, cut up the apricots it teeny tiny squares. This part took a little longer than I anticipated and I probably could have had even smaller apricot segments, but you'll know when you can't chop no longer.:) Add the kale to the pot and cut it into smaller segments (if necessary), but do be careful, it will be hot! Let cook for another 15-20 minutes, making sure to watch your water (adding more, if necessary) and tasting the soup to see if anything else needs to be added. Lower flame, pour into a bowl, and enjoy!

How do you make your lentil soup?
Seriously Soupy Serena

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Garnishing with Citrus

Garnishing with citrus. Maybe not that first idea that would come to mind when finishing off a soup, but one that actually has numerous possibilities to enhance a soup and I'm not just talking about making your soup look pretty. The citrus family—oranges, limes, lemons, etc make up a group of acidic fruits that can be squeezed directly into a soup in order to balance certain ingredients and flavors in your soup, as well as solely for decorative purposes. I found a very detailed tutorial from TLC Cooking as featured on How Stuff Works about Citrus Garnishes. I tried the citrus peel, garnish loop and the scored citrus slices. Check out how they came out and the step-by-step tutorial from TLC Cooking:

Reprinted from How to Garnish by the Editors of Easy Home Cooking Magazine as featured on TLC Cooking:

Candied Citrus Peel 

To candy citrus peel garnishes:
  • Wash fruit; dry thoroughly. Cut strips of peel from fruit with vegetable peeler.
  • Place the strips of peel on cutting board. If necessary, scrape cut side of peel with paring knife to remove white membrane.
  • Cut peel into very thin strips. 
  • Combine equal amounts of sugar and water in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Boil 3 minutes. You will need about 1-1/2 cups each of granulated sugar and water for each piece of whole fruit. 
  • Carefully add strips of peel to boiling mixture.
  • Reduce heat to low. Simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until peel turns completely translucent. 
  • Place wire strainer or sieve over bowl. Spoon strips of peel into strainer or sieve; drain thoroughly. 
  • Add additional sugar to a re-sealable plastic food storage bag. Add strips of peel; seal bag. Shake until strips are evenly coated with sugar. Remove strips from bag; place on waxed paper to dry thoroughly.  
  • Garnish as desired.

Citrus Knots

To tie citrus knot garnishes:  
  • Wash citrus fruit; dry thoroughly. Cut strips of peel from fruit with vegetable peeler. 
  • Place the strips of peel on cutting board. If necessary, scrape cut side of peel with paring knife to remove white membrane. 
  • Cut strips into 3-1/2 X 1/8-inch pieces. 
  • Tie each piece into a knot. 
  • Garnish as desired.

 Citrus Loop
 To make citrus loop garnishes:  
  • Wash citrus fruit; dry thoroughly. Place fruit on cutting board; cut crosswise into thin slices with utility knife. 
  • Cut each slice in half crosswise. 
  • Carefully cut each half slice between peel and fruit with paring knife to loosen peel from fruit, cutting about three-fourths around the inside of the peel. (Fruit should remain attached to about one-fourth of the length of the peel.) 
  • Holding free end of peel, carefully curl it under, tucking it up against attached part of peel. 
  • Garnish as desired.
Scored Citrus Slices

 To score citrus slice garnishes: 
  • Wash citrus fruit; dry thoroughly. Cut a shallow groove into the peel with citrus stripper or tip of grapefruit spoon, cutting lengthwise from stem end to other end. 
  • Continue to cut grooves about 1/4 inch apart until completely around fruit.     
  • Place fruit on cutting board; thinly slice crosswise with paring knife.
  • Garnish as desired. 
* I did not have a citrus stripper or tip of grapefruit spoon, so I attempted to do my best with a small knife. This resulted in a thicker and a bit messier model than the TLC one.

Soups that Work with Citrus Garnishes
  • Black Bean Soup
  • Corn Soup
  • Tortilla Soup
  • Avocado Soup
  • Pumpkin Soup
  • Coconut Soup
  • Chicken Rice Soup
  • Lemon Orzo Soup
  • Fish-based soup
  • Carrot Soup
  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Apple Soup

    What type of citrus garnishes have you used and on what type of soup?
    Seriously Soupy Serena

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mayan Sweet Potato Soup

Mayan Sweet Potato Soup by Jessica Lacher-Feldman
photo by Thomas Little

Mayan Sweet Potato Soup
A soup inspired by my little babe is really sweet and the fact that it is a sweet potato soup is quite appropriate. Personally, I love a good sweet potato soup, and having created a sweeter one for the holidays with my Sweet Potato/Cranberry Soup I really enjoyed reading about this recent recipe submission that paired sweet potatoes with numerous spices. Created by Jessica Lacher-Feldman, the soup includes cumin, chili powder, and tabasco (to name a few key ingredients) that gives the soup a nice kick, which pairs nicely with the sweetness in the potatoes. The soup was also prepared with similar cooking mantra to myself–"cooking by taste and eye, adjusting as you go. So, when preparing this soup be aware that the measurements are rough estimates and can modified based on your preferences (less spice, more sweet, etc). Check out Jessica's sweet potato recipe with a kick: 
Mayan Sweet Potato Soup
Guest Blogger: Jessica Lacher-Feldman

water, enough to cover everything completely
1.5 quart cartons of Pacific organic chicken broth
5-6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large or two medium onions, chopped up
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped up
1 raw chili pepper (I used an anaheim), remove seeds and chop
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of tabasco
2 tablespoons of agave nectar or sweetener to taste (optional - my sweet potatoes were kind of old)
2 tablespoons of cumin, to taste
a teaspoon of hot Mexican chili powder, to taste
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper 

In a dutch oven or heavy pot, add the oil, sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic. Season with generous amounts of cumin and chili powder, along with pepper. Sautee and add a little water to the sweet potatoes, which will give the onions a little color.  Add the chili and let cook for five minutes or so. Add more water and chicken stock and bring to a low boil, reduce and simmer until tender.  Blend until smooth (I used a potato masher first, then the hand blender) taste and re-season with salt, tabasco, and pepper.  Add a touch of sweetener if soup has lost it's sweetness (not really necessary but it was for mine).

Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, crushed tortilla chips, cilantro, or whatever you like.

What are some other ways to prepare sweet potato as a soup?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Soup Review—Silky Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Crisps by Dave Lieberman

Generally, when speaking about cauliflower people either admire or loathe this white plant-looking vegetable with a strange name. Cauliflower? What does that mean, exactly? Personally, I've eaten a stalk or two in my day and am somewhat indifferent to it. I know, I know pretty lame response, but really I could take it or leave. However, I think a lot of the "take it" part comes from how it is prepared and knowing that it contains a heaping dose of vitamin C (for those of us who care about that sort of thing). When cooked and seasoned properly, cauliflower can take on a hearty and complex taste that can be a complement to any meal. For this weeks review, I decided to test this unique vegetable, but following a cauliflower soup recipe. I found one that was featured on Good Deal with Dave Lieberman, a program that showcases affordable and quick-prep meals. And easy it was! In less than 30 minutes I had a creamy cauliflower soup that used minimal ingredients and  didn't even use any cream (which is mainly why I choose this one), so it's possible to make this soup every day, perhaps with your own adjustment (or two)? I did make a slight adjustment, I added leeks since they were around, and I didn't make the parmesan crisps, simply because I didn't see it until the end...Oops!!! I ended up sprinkling some parmesan cheese and chives on top of the soup as a garnish, but I did include that part in the directions, if you would like to test that out for yourself.

Silky Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Crisps

  • Cook Time: 25 min

  • Level: Easy

  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • *1 leek, cut up (only white part)
*Seriously Soupy's addition


    • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
    • Chopped chives, for garnish


    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    Remove the leaves and thick core from the cauliflower, coarsely chop, and reserve. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the cauliflower is very soft and falling apart, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and, using a hand held immersion blender, puree the soup, or puree in small batches in a blender* and return it to the pot. Add the Parmesan and stir until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

    Meanwhile, make the Parmesan crisps:

    Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the shredded cheese over the foil in 1 even thin layer. Bake about 10 minutes until golden brown and crisps. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Break sheet of crisp cheese into large pieces and garnish each soup bowl with a couple shards and a pinch of fresh chives.

    *When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

    How do you make your cauliflower soup?

    Seriously Soupy Serena

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Soup Recipe Exchange

    As I am learning about the zillions of food websites and blogs out there, I am amazed at the talent and sheer creativity of the writers, chefs, and foodies out there. This includes soup recipes as well, with so many creative takes and new methods that twist the classics, and original creations that make me think about soup in quite a different way. As I am learning more about soup myself it is always good to see (and learn) from other blogs, here are some of the best soup recipes that have inspired me this week:
    • Orange Lentil Soup - What I loved about Phoo-D's lentil soup is how she combined carrots, butternut squash, and orange lentils to create a color-coded and healthy twist on the lentil soup. Inspired by The Daily Spud, this creative soup looks quite delicious and also sounds like a great way for kids to get more veggies, while seemingly eating an innocent lentil soup.
    • Roasted Vegetable Soup with Polenta Croutons - Tartelette recently created this sensational soup that combines various vegetables (cauliflower, turnips, and potatoes), along with garlic, onions, and olive oil. The veggies are then roasted in the oven and blended together into a thick and creamy soup. I love how the soup is topped with polenta croutons for a subtle, yet effective finish. 
    • Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup - Created by Stylish Cuisine, this vegetarian soup is a super healthy meal that combines various seasonings (cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, etc) with chickpeas, spinach, and tomatoes. Sounds amazing to me, and only takes 1 hour or so to prep! 
      What are some soup recipes that have amazed you this week?

      Seriously Soupy Serena

      Wednesday, January 20, 2010

      Lime Shrimp/Jasmine Rice Soup

      I have been wanting to cook with fish, or really any ingredient other than chicken, beans, and veggies. Although I do love those foods, I think I am starting to love them a bit much, as they are making an appearance in virtually every soup that I create. Not saying that I won't go back to them, but it's time to mix things up a bit by using food combinations and ingredients that I would normally stear away from. During my weekly venture to TJ's (Trader Joes) I found some frozen shrimp, which seemed like a fool-proof fish to use in a soup (perfect for my first soupy/fishy venture)! I then scoured the Internet for recipes of what would go well with shrimp. I saw a lot of coconut, chicken broth, lime, and lemongrass being used, which gave me the footing for an idea of how to create my own lemongrass/corn/lime/shrimp soup. Here's what I did:

      1 bag of frozen shrimp (fresh would also be a great option)
      6 cups of Organic Imagine lemongrass and corn broth (I used an entire package)
      2-3 cups of water 
      1 yellow onion, chopped up
      1/2 a clove of garlic, chopped up
      2 cups of Jasmine rice
      1 can of Bamboo shoots
      2 stalks of chives, chopped up
      3-5 limes (I used 5)
      2 tablespoons of lemon juice
      pinch of sea salt (can modified based on your preference)
      pinch of black pepper
      pinch of garlic salt
      pinch of red pepper
      Serves 8

      Bring water to a boil and add the broth. Cut up the onions, garlic, chives, limes, and lemon juice and add them to the boiling water for 20 minutes (or so). At this point I tested the mixture and found it to be very "limey" that was very overpowering. I took out the limes, added more water, the seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic salt, and red peppers) and the shrimp and let that cook for another 10-15 minutes. Add the rice and bamboo shoots, testing out the flavors. I ended up adding more salt and pepper and a little more water (1 cup)-it was still very limey!!! Pour soup into a bowl with some cut up lime segments and enjoy!

      P.S. This soup was certainly an adventure in flavors I have never worked with. I didn't realize what a punch the limes would give, so for next time I would use less (maybe 3?), but using spices (and more water) helped the soup a lot, resulting in a rich and hearty soup that actually took virtually no time to create (1 hour total). It was so yummy and I also loved how the Jasmine rice and shrimp seemed to work perfectly with the flavors of the soup. No longer fearful of using ingredients outside of my comfort zone, I wonder what I will try next? Oxtail, lamb, a medley of fish...maybe not just yet, but these baby steps are surely making this process fun and allowing me to expand my growing soupy catalog.

      What type of shrimp soups have you created?

      Seriously Soupy Serena