. Seriously Soupy: February 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

Shrimp Bisque

Shrimp Bisque - Seriously Soupy

One of my soupy goals for 2011 is to make a Lobster Bisque, a creamy and delicious soup that I have enjoyed for years at restaurants but never attempted because it seemed too difficult. After making soups for over a year, I don't think any soup is impossible anymore (even though some can still seem challenging) and decided to try a variation of a Lobster Bisque by using some shrimp that I had at home. Still hoping to make Lobster Bisque in a few weeks, this Shrimp Bisque included carrots, leeks, celery, onions, sweet potatoes, chives, garlic, non-fat, thick Greek yogurt (I didn't have heavy cream), and some delicious lobster stock from Brooklyn Bouillon that really enhanced the flavors and actually made the soup pretty healthy (as opposed to the rich cream and butter used in most bisques). The addition of parsley, dill, and red pepper flakes also give the soup a nice kick in this delicious and comforting creamy-fish soup.

Rue of celery, stock, onions, garlic and leeks

Shrimp Bisque
3 cups of water
3 stalks of celery, chopped up
1 sweet potato, chopped up
Dab of butter - use your discretion
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, peeled and minced
Lobster stock 
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 can of tomato paste
1 leek, cut up (white part only)
3 carrots, cut up
1/4 teaspoon of dried dill
1 bunch of fresh parsley - about a handful
1 pound of shrimp
1/3 cup of flour
1/2 cup of Greek yogurt such as Fage 
1 lemon, squeezed
1 chive, cut up
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste

Cut up the chives, onions, garlic, leeks and celery. Add butter to a deep pan and let melt. Add the chives, onions, garlic, leeks, celery and stock. Let soften and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, dill, red pepper flakes, parsley, water and cut up the carrots and sweet potatoes and add them to the pot. Add the yogurt and flour, stirring periodically and add more water (if necessary). Add the shrimp and lemon and let cook for another 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper, mix and taste. Add the soup to a blender and mix. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Soup Tour of Lower Manhattan

When I started Seriously Soupy in October 2009, I would have never imagined all the amazing opportunities that a little soup blog would bring me. Working on the website has not only opened up my palate to new ingredients and recipes but I have had the opportunity to teach about soups, host soup events, start the Brooklyn Soup Swap, and now host a soup tour! Through the unique tour company Explorecation.com, I will be taking fellow soup lovers on a delicious Soup Tour of Lower Manhattan covering ethic cuisine in Chinatown, Little Italy and then the East Village. Part historical lesson about these and tasting tour, the walking food journey will take us to the Marco Polo Noodle Shop at 94 Baxter Street for some dumplings or hand-pulled noodles then off to Da Nico Menu at 164 Mulberry St Little Italy for some classic Minestrone or Pasta Fagioli and finally ending our tour at Katz's Deli for some Matzo Ball Soup or Split Pea Soup. Hope you can join me!

Soup Tour Details:
When: March 5th from 1:00-3:30pm

Price: FREE!

What Is Not Included?
The cost of the food and your transportation to and from the tour. 

Sign up on Explorecation.com

Friday, February 25, 2011

Part 3: Soup Swap Recipes

Soups ready to be eaten
Dave Miss and Naomi of Cantaloupe Alone enjoying some soup
Hannah and Sebastian of the tour company Explorecation.com
A giant ladle! (Thank you, Rachael)
As the final post in this three-part entry about the Brooklyn Soup Swap, I am excited to share Sheena's Vegetable Coconut Milk Soup and a Chilled Melon Soup with Stilton Cookies by Chris Ellmann  (perhaps this means warmer and lighter soups are to come?). As with the other soup recipes, please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to be included on the email list for future swaps. (I can be reached at seriouslysoupy@gmail.com). Also, in case you missed it: be sure to check out part one and part two of the delicious soup recipes shared at the swap!

Chilled Melon Soup by Chris Ellmann
Chris Ellmann dishing out his Chilled Melon Soup 
Chilled Melon Soup with Stilton Cookies by Chris Ellmann (Inspired by Larry Kolar)
4 cantaloupes
juice of 2 blood oranges
juice and zest of 1 lime
8 oz sour cream
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/3 pound prosciutto
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
5 sprigs fresh mint

Slice half the prosciutto into thin strips, lay them across an ovenproof wire rack. Bake at 350F until crispy, about 8 minutes.

Get the freshest melons you can find.  Slice them, discard seeds.  In batches, blend all the remaining ingredients except the mint until smooth.  Pour into a big pot.  Bruise the mint leaves.  Add to the pot.
Refrigerate at least six hours, adjust seasonings as needed.

Stilton Cookies
100g butter (cold, cut into small pieces)
100g stilton (or some other blue cheese)
100g flour

In a food processor, mix butter and cheese.  Add the flour and process until smooth.
Roll the immensely sticky dough into a log an inch or so thick, wrap in plastic, leave in the fridge an hour to harden up.

Cut dough into disks maybe 1/4 inch thick.

Bake at 350 about 12 minutes, or until nicely golden brown.  Flipping the cookies halfway through the baking was a bother, but made for prettier cookies.

Serve chilled soup topped with crispy prosciutto and with a cookie or three.

Vegetable Coconut Milk Soup by Sheena
Vegetable Coconut Milk Soup by Sheena
1 onion, peeled and chopped up
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
drizzle of olive oil
Various vegetables (Sheena used broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and carrots)
1-2 sweet potatoes, cut up
pre-cooked beans
1 can of coconut milk
half a lime lime or lemon juice
bunch of fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Saute an onion (any type) and a couple cloves of garlic minced in some olive oil in the pot.  When the onion gets translucent add some vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, pepper, carrot).  Cook for a little with the onions till tender then add 4 cups of broth (any stock, though vegetable or chicken broth taste best), and bring to a boil.  Once boiling add 1-2 potatoes (any variety...sweet potatoes are really yummy in the soup) that have been diced and boil for 10 minutes.  Add some beans (precooked), a can of coconut milk, some lime or lemon juice (a tablespoon or so of the juice or half a lime), and cut up some fresh cilantro. Let soup simmer for a few minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste. And enjoy!  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Part 2: Soup Swap Recipes

Warming up the soups
Soups - ready for eating

Since there were 7 soups at the soup swap I decided to pace out the recipes and pictures among 3 posts so that these delicious recipes wouldn't get lost in one post. For part two, we have a delicious Mushroom and Barley with Greens Soup by Naomi of Cantaloupe Alone, a Spinach, Roasted Cauliflower and Ginger Soup topped with Fried Shallots by Dave Miss and a traditional Potato and Bacon Soup created by Aaron Levine (that is a recipe from Martha, a family friend). Sorry for the lack of pictures for each soup - it was difficult to stuff my face with soup, bread and cheese and take pictures - but I think you can get an idea of how delicious each soup is by these delicious recipes. Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the recipes or if you would like to be included on the email list for future swaps. (I can be reached at seriouslysoupy@gmail.com).

Mushroom and Barley with Greens Soup by Naomi of Cantaloupe Alone
Soup #1

Mushroom and Barley with Greens Soup by Naomi of Cantaloupe Alone
Makes 2 quarts
1.5 lbs mushrooms (I used oyster and white)
2 tblsp oil, divided
2 medium leeks, white and light green part only, cut in half and sliced
3 cloves garlic sliced thin
(Remember the movie Goodfellas, when they're cooking in jail during, slicing garlic with a razor blade? Channel that scene while slicing the garlic)
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
2 tsp white wine
1/2 cup barley
1 tsp dark miso paste (Naomi used barley miso)
1 tblsp soy sauce
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 big handful italian parsley, stems removed, chopped
2 big handfuls of baby spinach, chopped
salt to taste

Slice half the mushrooms 1/8 inch thick and saute in a large stock pot with 1 tblsp oil and a pinch of salt. Cook until browned well. Remove from pot and set aside. Quarter the remaining mushrooms and add to the pot with leeks, garlic remaining 1 tblsp oil and pinch of salt. Cook until mushrooms are browned. Add stock, wine, barley, miso paste, and soy sauce, stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cook for 40-50 minutes or until barley is tender. Add reserved sliced mushrooms, cayenne pepper, spinach and parsley to the soup. Stir and turn off heat. Adjust flavor by adding more salt, white wine, or oil as needed.

Stock Recipes from Naomi of Cantaloupe Alone:
Vegetable broth 
Beef/lamb bone stock 

Soup Tip: Naomi make stock with stock. When she makes new stock she starts with a container from the last batch, which she then keeps frozen.

Spinach, Roasted Cauliflower and Ginger Soup topped with Fried Shallots by Dave Miss
Soup #2
Spinach, Roasted Cauliflower and Ginger Soup topped with Fried Shallots by Dave Miss
Makes 5 quarts of soup, or enough for a large dinner party with enough to be frozen for another day.

4 quarts of chicken stock
1 head of cauliflower
10-15 cloves garlic
4-5 small bunches of fresh spinach (about 1lb per bunch)
1 lb of frozen chopped spinach

6 large shallots
10-16 oz of frying oil (safflower, canola, peanut, grape seed)

6 red onions
1 large ginger root (6oz)
1 stick of butter
1 chipotle pepper (la Morena)
punch of Tony Chachere's Seasoning
sea salt
olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 550º.

Put chicken stock in large 8 quart pot and bring up to boil.

Chop up head of cauliflower, getting rid of all green leafy parts and cut up florets into small wedges. Basically cutting small florets so that they have at least one flat side.  Take main stem and chop into chunks.  Add 5-7 garlic cloves. Put into large bowl. In large bowl, drizzle olive oil over cauliflower/garlic and toss until it's all covered.  Liberally sprinkle sea salt over and toss again.

On a parchment lined, or non stick baking sheet, put cauliflower/garlic spreading out and turning cauliflower so flat side is on the sheet. On the top rack in the oven, roast for 25 min or until edges are brown on cauliflower.  Alternatively for the garlic, you can also take one whole head of garlic, cut the top off, put in small piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, wrap up and roast for an hour at 450º.  Pop those suckers out when they're done, or just eat them straight or on toast.

While oven is roasting the cauliflower your chicken stock will be boiling. Turn down slightly to med high heat.

In large 12" non reactive pan add 2 tbls salted butter.  When it's stopped bubbling add chopped red onions that have been cut in half and then into pinky thick slivers.  Saute on med-high heat for 10 min or so.  While the red onions are cooking down, using a spoon, peel ginger and mince. Take 1/2 and add to onions, stirring in so to coat. Cook for another 5 min or so and watch that onions don't burn.  Add pat of butter if necessary.

Roasted veggies should be ready at this point so remove from oven.  They are crazy hot so be careful where you put them.  Due to lack of counter and stove space, I used my fire escape.  Yea Winter!  While that's cooling, wash and de-stem the spinach.

Now it all gets thrown together!

First up, it's the onions and ginger.  Chuck it into the chicken broth and turn up the heat. Next it's the roasted cauliflower/garlic. Chuck it into the broth.  Give it a good stir and cover to get the whole shebang back to a boil.

While it's coming back up to a boil, saute in a small pan the rest of your ginger and garlic, either with butter or olive oil.  This only needs a few minutes to get the ginger soft and garlic soft.  We still want the bite of the rawness of both.

Now, it's time for the spinach.

With a big wooden spoon, push handfuls of spinach into boiling broth.  After last of spinach is submerged and wilted, about 2 min, turn down heat.  Using a hand blender (the best thing ever! Get one if you don't have one, but if you're reading a soup blog, you have two, so lend one to the uninitiated), get to blending.  You can also do this in a blender, which will make the whole thing very very smooth.  I like this soup with tiny chunks and then blend.

While blending add remaining ginger and garlic.  This addition is to brighten and sharpen the taste so you can add little bits and taste as you're going to see how much bite you like.  Add chopped up chipotle pepper.  Blend and blend some more.  Keep tasting.

Now we used salted butter, so we are going to be judicious to season with the Tony Chachere's (New Orleans spicy salt) to taste.  If you like it less spicy, sea salt and white pepper will do.

You'll notice that the soup is pretty smooth and that the amazing green color of the spinach is getting grayer.  This is where the frozen spinach comes in.  The blending part, after the spinach goes in, should be pretty quick, so if you add the frozen spinach, it will halt the cooking of the fresh spinach, so as close to the addition of the regular spinach you can add it, the brighter green the soup will be.  Lightly blend in the chopped spinach.  Turn the heat way down.

Using 1" of oil in a pan, get the temp up to 350º. Use a thermometer for god's sakes!  Don't burn down your house.  Turn heat down if you need another few min to chop shallots into rounds about 1/8" thick.  Drop in shallots so that only one layer is across the top of the oil.  They will fry better if not crowded, but at this point we're ready to eat, so do your best.
The temp will drop when you put the shallots in, so turn the heat back up.  Pull them out and drain them on a brown paper bag.  Put them all in a big bowl when they are done and toss lightly with sea salt.

As Dave stated throughout the swap; this soup is merely a conveyance for fried shallots. They are worth eating on everything.  So make more than you need, because who wants to bust out some grease when all you want is a salty, sweet onion. (FYI: This soup is also great on sandwiches.)

Soup should be warm, dish it up and plunk down more fried shallots than you think you want.  Enjoy!

Aaron Levine, Rachael Mamane and friend at the swap

Creamy Potato and Bacon Soup by Aaron Levine
Soup #3
Creamy Potato and Bacon Soup by Aaron Levine
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices thick slab bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 medium yukon gold potato, cut into 1 inch chunks and peeled
1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
4 oz low fat plain Greek yogurt
salt/pepper to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in 4 qt pot over medium heat.  Add bacon, cook until fat renders but before bacon is crispy, 3-5 minutes.  Add thyme, garlic and sliced onions, cook 5-7 minutes.  Reduce heat to low-medium, cook additional 15-20 minutes until onions are soft and golden-brown.  Add potatoes, chicken stock, bring to boil cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Off the heat, add yogurt.  Run through food processor or food mill.  Add salt pepper to taste.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Soup Swap Part 1: Fava Bean Pesto Soup with Prosciutto Wrapped Croutons

Swappers enjoying soup, bread, cheese and treats at the Brooklyn Soup Swap
This past weekend I hosted the First Annual Brooklyn Soup Swap at Rachael Mamane's loft (this is also the location of her Bonhomie Supper Club) where over 20 supers came out to enjoy a delicious afternoon of drinking wine, eating cheese, bread, crackers, cheddar jalapeno biscuits, fig treats, and devouring the main attraction: the soups. There were 7 very different soups including a chilled melon soup with a blue cheese cookie, a mushroom and barley with greens soup, a cauliflower soup with fried beetroot and chive oil, a roasted cauliflower soup with spinach and fried shallots, a vegetable coconut soup, a creamy potato and bacon soup, and a fava bean and pesto soup that I brought. By then end of the swap we were all stuffed and took home cartons of each others soup to enjoy at home. Since there are so many amazing soups, I'll be posting more pictures and the recipes from the swappers on Wednesday and Friday and my own recipe in this post.

Bread and olive oil
Delicious cheese, crackers and olives
Soup bowls for the swap
Warming up the soups
Cartons to take home the soups
A delicious soup, this one took quite a long time to prepare and cook (the fava beans took over four hours to soften) that also involved making homemade pesto and croutons then wrapping them prosciutto. Having never cooked fava beans, I found that the beans need something and that by adding pesto enhanced the flavors and really gave the soup a nice a hearty feel. The croutons themselves were  a simple cheese, basil, and olive oil mixture that was then wrapped in prosciutto (can be omitted). I hope you enjoy this one and I can't wait to share the rest of the soups from the swap. I am currently planning the next one for the end of March and thinking a soup and sandwich swap - please email at seriouslysoupy@gmail.com to be included on the list.

Fava Bean Pesto Soup with Prosciutto Wrapped Croutons
6-8 cups of water
1 package of dry fava beans, soaked
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
6 white potatoes, 
2 chives, chopped up
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 leeks, chopped - white part only
2 celery ribs, chopped up
bunch of fresh basil
tablespoon of rosemary 
tablespoon of dill 
2-3 bay leaves 

Mashing up the homemade pesto
Homemade Pesto:
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 package of fresh basil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
drizzle of olive oil

Prosciutto Wrapped Croutons:
1 loaf of crusty bread
drizzle of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced and peeled 
1 tablespoon of dried basil 
1/2 package of prosciutto

Soak fava beans (overnight, if possible) or until soft. Pour water into a pot and put on a medium flame. Chop up the onions and garlic and place into the pot. When the water comes to a boil add the fava beans, chives, basil, dill, bay leaves, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cover and let cook for two hours - checking on it periodically. Cut up the leeks, potatoes and celery and place them into the pot. Cover and prepare the pesto.

Prepare the pesto: Start by pouring the pine nuts into a bowl, along with some parmesan cheese. Chop up the garlic and basil and drizzle some olive oil - coating the nuts and basil. Place in a food processor or blender until the mixture becomes a paste. Add the pesto to the soup and stir. Cover and let cook for another hour. 

Prepare the croutons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut up the crusty bread into small squares on a baking tray. In a small bowl mix the olive oil, basil, garlic powder and cheese. Using a cooking brush, coat the pieces of bread. Place in the oven and cook for five minutes (or until golden brown) on each side. Turn off oven and let cool. Cut the prosciutto into small stripes and wrap around the croutons until finished. Set aside.

Check on the soup. Taste (you may need some more salt and pepper) and serve with a prosciutto wrapped crouton.

Seriously Soupy Serena

Friday, February 18, 2011

Behind the Soupy Scenes

Some ingredients for the Fava Bean Pesto Soup
As I am prepping for the soup swap I wanted to share some 'behind the scenes' pictures of the prep work. I finally decided on a soup (no less than this morning) with a Fava Bean Pesto Soup with Pesto Croutons Wrapped in Prosciutto. Having never worked with fava beans before I am really excited to test out this combination in a soup as well as make my own pesto. The recipe will be posted on Monday as well as the recipes from the swappers. Hope you can join us at the swap!

Fava beans
Fava Bean Pesto Soup in the works
Delicious homemade pesto

Soup Recipes from the California Milk Advisory Board

California Skinny Sweet Pea Soup - Image Credit: The California Milk Advisory Board
 "Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living.  For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish."
Louis P. De Gouy, 'The Soup Book' (1949)

The beauty of soups is that there are so many ingredients that you can add to make it sweet or spicy or creamy or rich - depending on your preferences. Something as simple as fresh herbs can really enhance a soup as well as a dairy product like cheese, milk or butter. I recently learned more about adding dairy to soups (as well as some delicious new recipes) from the California Milk Advisory Board. A subsidiary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the California Milk Advisory Board provides "advertising, public relations, research, and retail and food service promotional programs on behalf of California dairy products and the states 1,750+ plus farms (many of which are still family-owned and operated).

The advisory board also emphasizes family cooking like creating soups - including the three recipes listed below, tips to cooking with dairy and some freezing tips to get started. Enjoy the soups and relish in the beauty of simple and good eating.

Information Provided by the California Milk Advisory Board
Tips for cooking soups with dairy:   
· Adjust the consistency of a soup with milk or broth before you adjust the seasoning – that way you won’t have to season twice.
· Cook soups in a heavy-bottomed pot so they don’t burn on the bottom.
· Heat bowls for hot soups and chill them for cold soups.
· To bring out their sweetness, sauté aromatics, like onions, leeks and garlic, in a little Real California butter before adding milk or broth.

Tips for freezing and reheating soups:
· Turn Souper Sundays into Leftover Lunches by making soups in a large batch and freezing the extra in small containers that are convenient to thaw for a grab-and-go lunch or quick meal.
· Many dairy-based soups will freeze well, but may appear curdled when thawed.  If so, just whisk the soup or puree in a blender before serving.
· Reheating optional: Many hot soups are just a delicious cold – especially creamy Real California Milk or potato-based soups.  Chilled soups may require a slightly higher level of seasoning, so be sure to taste and re-season as necessary.

The Recipes - Provided by the California Milk Advisory Board

California Skinny Sweet Pea Soup
3 cups Real California 1% milk
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup peeled and diced russet potato
6 scallions, whites only, sliced thin
12 large fresh mint leaves
4 cups shelled fresh or frozen sweet peas
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup non-fat Real California sour cream or Greek-style yogurt

In a saucepan, bring milk and broth to a simmer and add potatoes. Cook, partially covered, about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add scallions and mint leaves; simmer for 5 minutes. Add peas and cook about 5 minutes or until peas are tender but still bright green. (If using frozen peas, cook 2-3 minutes or just until peas are soft.) Cool soup quickly in a larger pot of ice water to retain its color. Purée in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Just before serving, heat soup over low heat and season with salt and white pepper. (To serve soup cold, place pot with blended soup in a larger pot of ice water and stir until cold, or place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.) Ladle into bowls and garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream or yogurt.

Makes 8 one-cup servings
Nutrition Information Per Serving: 131 calories; 2 g fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 143 mg sodium; 21 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 9 g protein

Tip: Freeze soup in plastic containers or zip-closure bags; thaw in refrigerator and serve cold or heat over low heat, whisking until smooth.

Real California Curried Carrot Soup

1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 cups Real California 1% milk
Zest of 3 limes, removed in large strips with vegetable peeler
4 tablespoons Real California butter
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons white rice
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Chicken stock or milk, as needed
1/2 cup non-fat Real California sour cream or Greek-style yogurt
Heat oven to 400°F. In a roasting pan, toss carrots with vegetable oil. Roast in the oven about 30 minutes or until carrots start to brown slightly around the edges. While carrots are roasting, heat milk with lime zest over low heat just until hot; remove from heat and cover until needed. Before using, strain to remove lime zest.

In a heavy soup pot or casserole, heat butter and curry powder until curry begins to sizzle. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until onion is soft. Add roasted carrots, strained milk and rice; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes or until carrots and rice are completely soft and falling apart. Purée in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Return soup to pot, heat gently and adjust to desired consistency with stock or milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream or yogurt.

Makes 8 one-cup servings
Nutrition Information Per Serving: 246 calories; 10 g fat; 33 mg cholesterol; 343 mg sodium; 28 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 11 g protein

Sweet and Sour Corn Soup with Glazed Red Peppers

1 tablespoon Real California butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 can (14 oz.) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Glazed Red Peppers (recipe below)

 In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes or until onion is soft. Add sugar; cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes or until onion browns. Add 3 cups corn, broth and pepper; bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. In 2 batches, process soup in food processor for 2 minutes. Return soup to saucepan; add remaining 1 cup corn kernels and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Glazed Red Peppers.

Makes 4 one-cup servings
Nutrition Information Per Serving: 241 calories; 8 g fat; 15 mg cholesterol; 58 mg sodium; 40 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 8 g protein

Glazed Red Peppers
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Real California butter
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

In a small saucepan, simmer pepper in 1/3 cup water over medium heat about 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain; add butter, vinegar and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Makes about 3/4 cup

Tip: Freeze soup in plastic containers or zip-closure bags; thaw in refrigerator and reheat over low heat, whisking until smooth.

What soups do you make with dairy?
Seriously Soupy Serena

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

White Bean Chicken Chili

White Bean Chicken Chili - Seriously Soupy
This past weekend turned out to be the weekend of minor injuries. A changing table fell on my foot (ouch!), a blade cut my finger as I was making icing for my daughter's b-day (double ouch!) and then the worst one of them all: I rubbed my eyes after cutting a HOT Jalapeño pepper - causing the worst burning sensation (mental note: when cutting peppers don't rub your eyes immediately after!). Once the water washed the pepper out of my eyes and I stopped cursing the soup I was ready to continue and make this white chili. Obviously you know that I added hot peppers, but I also added some red pepper flakes, green peppers, zucchini, chicken breasts and some flavorings (dill, bay leaves, rosemary, etc) for a light, but tasty alternative to a traditional chili. When it was all said and done, the soup actually needed more spice – but I wouldn’t have been able to tell by the way it burned by eyes. Enjoy, but prepare with caution!

White Bean Chicken Chili
3-4 cups of water
4 chicken breasts, washed and cut into quarters

2 cups of dry white beans
1 zucchini, cut up
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut up
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3-4 bay leaves
Bunch of fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon of dill
1/4 teaspoon of rosemary1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
1/2 Jalapeño pepper
1 green pepper, cut up

salt and pepper


Soak white beans for 2-3 hour or until soft. Add water to a pot on a low heat. Cut up the onions and garlic and add them to the pot, along with the chili powder, sage, dill, rosemary and bay leaves. Cover and let boil. Add the white beans and cover, cooking for about an hour and a half or so. Add the zucchini, chicken breasts, Jalapeño pepper, green pepper and cover. Let cook for another 30 minutes. Taste with salt and pepper and serve.

How have you made your white chicken chili?
Seriously Soupy Serena

Monday, February 14, 2011

Brooklyn Soup Swap

Does your soup rock? - (Image Credit:nonfamous.com)
Since late last year I have been trying to make this blog more dimensional and community-focused by having soup parties, teaching soup classes, and having a soon-to-be soup tour. In correlation with Brooklyn Bouillon, I am now adding soup swap to the growing list of events. Held on February 19th from 3pm to 5pm, the soup swap will take place in Brooklyn (details in this eventbrite) where participants are asked to bring a favorite soup of their choice that can feed up to 15-20 people. If you can't cook a soup (but still love soup), you can also attend. Simply bring something that goes with soup like cheese, bread, a beverage, or a dessert. The event is 100% free and all swappers will be able to bring home 2-3 soups that they tried at the party. Not only that but this fun and casual event will be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon - learning about soup recipes and meeting new people.

If you are in the NY metro area I would love it if you could join us. I'm hoping this will be a monthly soup meet-up where participants can create soups based on a theme such as chilled soups, bean-only soups, orange soups, noodle-only soups, meat soups, international soups, etc.

For more information and to RSVP, please visit eventbrite.

To learn more about Brooklyn Soup Swap, please visit meetup.com/Brooklyn-Soup-Swap

For any questions, please email seriouslysoupy@gmail.com


Valentine's Day Soup Recipes

Happy Valentine's Day -(Image Credit: wallpapergate.com)
Since it is Valentine's Day I instantly thought of making a chocolate soup - actually a chocolate hazelnut soup with lemon cake croutons. The problem was it turned out to be a watery mess and more of a hot chocolate than a soup. Luckily, there tons of inspirational soup recipes out there whose ideas I decided to include a rundown soup post that includes everything from tomato soup (said to be an aphrodisiac), oyster stew (another aphrodisiac) and an amazing, but light chocolate soup. Enjoy and Happy Valentine's Day!

Chocolate Soup for Two - (Image Credit: Sprinkle Bakes)
 1. Chocolate Soup for Two - There is no denying this is the perfect soup for Valentine's Day. The ultimate sweet treat, this low-fat chocolate soup by Sprinkle Bakes includes Ghiradelli semisweet baking chips (but can use many types of chocolates), skim milk, fat free half and half, vanilla extract, cream cheese and marshmellow cream to complete this velvety V-Day soup.

Spiced Berry Soup with Caramelized Peaches and Toasted Almonds - (Image Credit: Planet Green)
2. Spiced Berry Soup with Caramelized Peaches and Toasted Almonds -  For those of you that don't like chocolate (who are you?) or maybe want something lighter this V-Day, check out this delicious berry soup by Emeril. Using blackberries, blueberries, or mulberries, peach juice, honey, goat milk, toasted slivered almonds and subtle flavorings of cinnamon, honey, nutmeg and vanilla extract, this soup is a rich treat that is packed with antioxidants. The caramelized white peaches is also a delicious topper to the soup that is made from port, sugar and cardamom.

3.  Roasted Apple Love Soup - A cute name for a delicious-sounding soup. This soup actually uses tomatoes (despite its name) that is said have "aphrodisiac powers." It can be served hot or cold and includes some basic ingredients (garlic, onions, olive oil, and cherry tomatoes) that would make a nice starter for any Valentine's feast. 

Tomato Pesto Soup - Seriously Soupy
4. Tomato Pesto Soup - Keeping with the tomato soup theme,  I included my light tomato pesto soup. Using homemade pesto and a colorful mix of heirloom tomatoes, this simple (but tasty soup) would also be a great light pasta sauce or a light sauce for a fish dish you might be serving up.

Oyster Stew by "Deja Vu" Cook
5. Oyster Stew - Oysters are supposedly an aphrodisiac that are said to increase ones sexual desire. Somewhat psychological this isn't proven but always shows up as a dish of choice on Valentine's Day. Although I can't say either way, the idea of its hidden powers is enough to feature this oyster stew, by Kathleen of "DejaVu" Cook, in this Soupy rundown. 

What soups are you making this Valentine's Day?
Seriously Soupy Serena

Friday, February 11, 2011

SmartBran™ Curried Squash Soup

SmartBran™ Curried Squash Soup
I recently learned more about Nature's Path and their line of cereals and products at The Cooking Experience a few weeks ago. A family-owned company, I've been a fan of their healthy cereals and was excited to learn that they also featured recipes on their site such as this Curried Squash Soup by Lorna Sass, the award-winning cookbook author of Whole Grains, Every Day, Every Way and Whole Grains for Busy People. A simple recipe, this soup makes soup making easy by using frozen vegetables (though I prefer fresh - when possible), curry powder, cilantro, and the fiber-rich SmartBran™cereal. Never having made my soups with cereal I'm interested to see how this recipe comes together and adds a new dimension to my soup making.
SmartBran™ Curried Squash Soup
Yield: Serves 6
  • 1 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 4 tsp. Madras-style (mild) curry powder
  • 2 pkg. (12-oz. each) frozen, pureed, unseasoned squash
  • 4 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 c. SmartBran™ cereal
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbs. finely chopped cilantro, for garnish 
  1. In a 3-quart, heavy soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add curry powder and stir for 10 seconds. Immediately set both blocks of frozen squash and into pot.
  3. Pour in broth and add SmartBran™. Bring mixture to a boil.
  4. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Stir well, breaking up any blocks of squash.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until all squash is defrosted and all SmartBran™ cereal has dissolved and thickened soup, about 2 more minutes.
  6. Ladle into soup plates. Garnish each portion generously with cilantro. 
Have you ever used cereal in your soups?

Seriously Soupy Serena

Eats + Apps Event: When Food Meets Technology

Kelly Senyei Demonstrating the Gourmet Live app - (Photo Credit: nicoalaryjr)
Amy Cao Demonstrating the Foodspotting app - (Photo Credit: nicoalaryjr)
The experience of eating and enjoying food is not done in private or even just with a group of friends anymore. Thanks to the huge growth of innovative websites, and now apps, dining, food, and how we share information is done quicker and spread among billions of our (new) friends. I recently had the opportunity to learn more about this unique correlation at the Eats + Apps event held at 4food, a tech savvy burger joint in NYC. Produced and hosted by The Noble Rot, Danielle Gould of Food+Tech Connect, and Emily Cavalier of Mouth of the Border, the event as a part of Social Media Week, gave attendees the opportunity to learn more about the featured apps, eat some delicious food and network among their food/tech-loving companions. 

Producers of the eats + apps event - Photo credit (Waisum Tam)
As a soup maker, I was interested in learning how these apps could enhance both Seriously Soupy and how I cook. Both are equally important (brand and food), I discovered that websites are more dimensional that one would think where users can build communities and share common food interests and passions. As I learn more about the tech world, here are some exciting apps and websites that I am excited to use to enhance my soup making and beyond.

Guests at the Eats + Apps Event - (Photo Credit: nicoalaryjr)
Foodspotting. This site has created quite the buzz in the food world (and beyond) for its innovative way to share pictures and information about what you eat. Amy Cao, Head of Social Media at Foodspotting, described this “positive food site” as a way to put the user in control of their dining experience where the user can locate the best foods around them. They can also take pictures or spot food and earn expert badges for their contributions.

Gourmet Live. A free iPad app, on Gourmet Live users can locate new recipes, check out videos, gorgeous photos, and read articles about relevant and current food-related topics. The app also features a reward program where users
can earn collections such as tips about seasonal cooking or ideas for holiday cooking. Since I am always seeking out soup recipes, I am excited to test out this colorful app for some inspiration and new ideas.

Bread Baking Basics. Soup and bread go hand-in hand so I was really excited to learn more about this new iPad app created by food writer Michael Ruhlman. Through Bread Baking Basics, users can pick any type of bread they want to make (baguette, boule, loaf, etc), the shape, type of flour (whole wheat, sourdough, etc) and how you want to measure ingredients (ounces, grams, or cups) to create your own personalized loaf of bread. Even better is the gorgeous step-by-step pictures where users can select the electronic mixer or by mixing by hand option to create a doughy masterpiece. There is also a reference section with Ruhlman’s notes on technique, ingredients, a discussion of yeast and salt, grains, and various bread baking tools.

Snooth. Another great way to pair soup is with wine. Through Snooth's new iPhone app, users can take a picture of a wine bottle at a store
where users can then view its Snooth ranking, price, and region. The app also allows users locate wine stores in their immediate area as well as browse through a store's inventory, read user reviews, and get directions.

Dinevore. Ever since I've been making my own soups, I've been disappointed by the lack of good soups outside of my kitchen. This seems pretty impossible when living in NYC and most likely its because I am going to the wrong places. Instead of having to guess, I learned how a community-based food website called
Dinevore call actually help me exchange information to learn where the best places are. Through Dinevore, users create lists of restaurants like this amazing soup list where they can follow others that share their tastes – making it easier to figure out where to enjoy your best bowl of soup (or whatever else you are looking for).

Gojee. A new way for users to track their groceries, Gojee uploads a list of what users buy each week when they upload their shopping rewards card to the site. It also gives users a run-down of how much they spend and suggested products and recipes based on what you have purchased. 

What apps have you used for your soup making?

Seriously Soupy Serena

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Soup Recipes for Baby and Toddler

When my daughter was younger and ten million times less fussy about what she ate she loved having a simple bowl of soup like a carrot, lentil, or  sweet potato soup - in addition to her diet of purees and everything puff.  As an addition to purees, soups are great way to introduce your child to new textures, temperatures and flavors, and of course, get them started on their love-affair with soups. 

Wholesome and natural soup recipes, among 200 recipes and purees for baby, are also the focus of the new book The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet by Karin Knight and Tina Ruggiero. Knight and Ruggiero provide simple and delicious recipes - starting with the basic Lovely Little Pasta Soup for a nine-month-old to the Awesome Asparagus Soup for the developing palate of a 17-month-old. Knight and Ruggiero also provide details on how to cook the soups, which ones are best for freezing, and their nutritional facts. In addition to the soups, the book includes the tools that you will need, food items for a healthy pantry, the safest way to freeze baby food and a step-by-step age guide including what solid foods try out. As a premier for wholesome and nutritious foods, this is a great guide to get your little one on the right track towards healthy and flavorful (soup) eating.

Soup Recipes for Baby and Toddler - Soups from The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet

 1. Lovely Little Pasta Soup - Designed for a Nine-Month-Old Baby
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoons uncooked pastina

Stovetop Method: Bring broth to a gentle boil and add pastina. Cook, stirring frequently, 7 or 8 minutes or until pastina is cooked. Serve warm. 

This recipe, covered tightly, will last for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, just add water.
2. Chicken Soup and ABC Pasta - Designed for a 12 to 17-Month-Old Baby
1/4 cup cooked alphabet pasta
1/4 cup mixed or frozen vegetables, carrots, corn, peas or green beans
1/4 cup potatoes
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup cooked chicken

Cook pasta according to package directions. Dice vegetables. Peel, wash, cook, and cut potatoes into small pieces. Combine all ingredients in a mircowave-safe bowl. Mircowave for 90 seconds or until warm.

3. Awesome Asparagus Soup - Designed for a 12 to 17-Month-Old Baby (great for freezing)
11/2 pounds fresh asparagus
3 cans nonfat chicken broth or 4 cups homemade
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped well-washed leeks, white part only (about 2)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 baking potato, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt (to taste)

Stovetop Method: Snap off asparagus tips and save. Place stalks only in saucepan with 3 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce and simmer for 45 minutes. Drain and save broth. Discard the stalks. 

Add oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add onion, leeks, celery, potato, and asparagus tips. Cover and cook for 40 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add a little broth, if needed. When done add lemon juice. Blend in two batches, along with broth. Return the soup to the saucepan, add salt to taste, and reheat. Thin soup to desired consistency by adding additional broth.

To read more soup recipes like Broccoli-Cheddar Soup, Super Quick Cup-of-Noodle Soup and Wonderful White Bean Soup and over 200 recipe ideas, check out http://www.homemadebabyfood.net/.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Brazilian Shrimp Soup

Brazilian Shrimp Soup - Seriously Soupy
I first learned about this quick soup recipe from my run-down about National Soup Month. I loved how easy it seemed - but also how it packed a punch of flavors from the creamy coconut milk and the spicy red-pepper flakes. I didn't have any rice, so that part was omitted but I still found it to be a hearty and satisfying soup that did fine without the starch. The recipe can also include okra - as a traditional addition to the soup. Enjoy!

Brazilian Shrimp Soup
Recipe from Food and Wine
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup long-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (from one 15-ounce can)
5 cups water
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and cut in half horizontally
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

    1.    In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.
    2.    Add the rice, red-pepper flakes, salt, tomatoes, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook until the rice is almost tender, about 10 minutes.
    3.    Stir the coconut milk into the soup. Bring back to a simmer and then stir in the shrimp. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just done, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the black pepper, lemon juice, and parsley.

Variation Instead of the shrimp, use one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about three), cut crosswise into quarter-inch strips. Cook for the same amount of time.

What soups from Brazil have you made?
 Seriously Soupy Serena

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sweet Potato and Split Pea Soup

Sweet Potato and Split Pea Soup - Seriously Soupy
This winter I have been saying use what you have at home to make soups since virtually any combination of ingredients can be made into a tasty brothy delight. Without wanting to spend money on this weeks soup, I decided to use some yellow split peas I had in my cupboard and two sweet potatoes. I also added in some carrots, onions, garlic and some flavorings (bay leaves, sage, and dill) for a creamy and delicious winter soup. This soup can also be easily modified to use lentils or green split peas instead of the yellow ones or regular potatoes instead of sweet potatoes. Or you might just want to create a simple yellow split pea soup where you don't have to blend the ingredients - whatever combination of ingredients you have, try it out. You'll be amazed at your own Soupy creations.

Sweet Potato and Split Pea Soup
3-5 cups of water, approximately
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut
2 cups of dry split peas, soaked for 2 hours
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2-3 stalks of carrots, chopped up
2-3 bay leaves
 handful of fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon of dill

Soak the beans for 2 hours or until tender. Add 3 cups of water to a pot on a low flame. Cut up the garlic and onions and add them to the pot. Let boil and add the split peas, bay leaves, sage and dill. Cover and let cook for 30 minutes. Cut up the potatoes and the carrots and add them to the pot. Add some salt and pepper and cover for another 30 minutes. Check on the soup periodically, stirring and tasting as you go. After about 45 minutes (or when peas are completely tender), let cook and then turn off the flame. Use a hand blender or place into a blender and puree the soup. Enjoy!


What soup are you making this weekend?

Seriously Soupy Serena

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review of Soup Ladles

Find the best ladle for the ultimate in soup-scooping
Since I've started Soupy I've used the same two ladles to dish out over 100 bowls of soup. One of them I've had for years (maybe from Target) that has followed me from apartment-to-apartment; the other is a recent purchase from the dollar-store for the Soup Party in October - both functional and cheap but I've noticed one isn't that great when it comes to gathering soup on the bottom of a pot and the other is all scratched up. Looking to expand my Soupy accessories, I've been scouring the web for the perfect rounded spoon and here are some that have made my wish-list.
The Portmeirion Botanic Garden Ladle - A ladle with a little flair
1. Portmeirion Botanic Garden Ladle, $50.40 - Handcrafted by artist Susan Williams-Ellis, this $50-dollar ladle is definitely an investment but one that is said to be oven-safe (up to 340 degrees) and dishwasher-safe (not that I have one of those). I love its deep-handle and wide-mouth for the ultimate experience in soup pouring. 

Stainless Steel Ladle from Crate and Barrel
2. Stainless Steel Ladle, $10.95 - Found on Crate and Barrel.com, I really like this simple with polished and professional-looking finish. Ideal for gravy, stews and of course soup, this 18/8 stainless steel ladle is said to be "lightweight, rust-proof, and scratch-resistant." And for $10.95, it's worth putting this ladle up to the test.

All-Clad's Stainless Steel Ladle
3. All-Clad Stainless Steel Ladle, $24.00  - Another stainless steel model but this one is crafted by All-Clad, the maker of professional-quality kitchenware. Featuring a durable and secure grip, I really like this ladle's long handle that can scoop up six ounce bowls of soups and stews.

The simple Martha Stewart Collection Ladle
4. Martha Stewart Collection Ladle, $9.99 - At first glance, I was really into this ladle for its comfortable grip and long handle, which Macy's states makes it easy to get to the bottom of bowls (major problem when you get to the end of a soup). Also at a good-price point, this ladle is dishwasher-safe and comes with a lifetime warranty.

The fancy Grande Baroque Soup Ladle
5. Grande Baroque Soup Ladle with Hollow Wooden Handle, $129 - Definitely for those 'breaking out the good China days,' this fancy-looking ladle was designed under the Grande Baroque line in 1941 to reflect the lavishness of the 16th century. Featuring a three-dimensional pattern of flowers and leaves, this pricey ladle is also not just a pretty face but a functional one too. The hollow handle is great for scooping up soup and matches with the Grand Baroque collection - if you are into that sort of thing.

Profi Plus" Soup Ladle
6. Americas "Profi Plus" Soup Ladle, $20 - Made by Profi Plus, creator of kitchen products this stainless steel ladle is said to be durable and makes soup pouring easy. I like how the heavy Cromargan design seems stable enough to handle the heartiest meat stew.

What ladle would you recommend?

Seriously Soupy Serena