Tag Archives: soup

Sometimes, in the depths of (a Canadian) winter

12 Feb

Sometimes, in the depths of winter, you get tired and feel lethargic. Food tastes a little off, like it has frostbite. Sometimes, food isn’t the only one with frostbite.

Sometimes, you can’t find fresh fruit anymore that doesn’t come from the Southern hemisphere (damn them!), and you miss the bustle of the local market.

Sometimes, you feel like hibernating, like a bear, in a cave somewhere. Before crawling in, you want to gain 5 pounds a week. You plan to gain that weight expressly through potatoes and bread.

Sometimes, you lose the will to jog, which means you lose the endorphin rush, which means you eat chocolate, and you don’t even like chocolate. What’s up with that?

Sometimes, you wonder why your father and grandfather emigrated from fairer isles to this godforsaken land. No, seriously.

Sometimes, you feel utterly uninspired: you can’t think of a single meal you want to cook, a single thing you want to do when you get home from work, or a single blog post topic. Yo can’t be roused to take photographs, even, unless they are on your phone.

In cases such as this, here is a prescription:

  1. In the morning, take two cups of fortifying coffee, not one.
  2. In the evening, rely on canned soups. In every meal. Even if it means making Easy chicken a la king, an entirely wonderful recipe (use peas instead of pepper, and multi-grain bread instead of rice or pastry) instead of the real thing.
  3. Drench things in warming red wine, even if said thing is out-of-season, overpriced asparagus. Because sometimes you just need exorbitantly-priced vegetables steeped in red wine, garlic, and butter in the depths of a Canadian winter.
  4. Rinse. Repeat. Things will get better.

Creamy Chowder on a Chilly Autumn Day

28 Sep

by Amanda Halfpenny

My last guest blog post described a cool refreshing smoothie that I made on a hot day this summer and so I thought it would be highly appropriate if my next post be on a warm autumn dish.  I spent my summer eating mostly salads because I wanted to avoid turning on my stove or my oven in the suffocating heat! Now that fall weather is clearly here to stay, I have found myself fantasizing about warm creamy comfort food. Although other librarians on this blog have already posted their suggestions for yummy soups, in the autumn, you can really never eat too much soup so when I saw this recipe for a Broccoli, Red Pepper, and Cheddar chowder posted on a friend’s Facebook page, I knew I had to try making it myself! Since today was my first autumn day wearing gloves (it was extremely chilly and rainy in New Brunswick today), it was so much fun to make this creamy chowder that succeeded in filling my apartment with a cozy warmth and flavourful smell.

chowder

Broccoli, Red Pepper, and Cheddar Chowder

You might also note in the picture that I am reading (Heat Wave by Richard Castle) while enjoying my meal. With delicious chowder and great reads who cares if the autumn weather outside is chilly? Happy eating and reading!

Check out Amanda’s bio on the Contributors page.

Too much lettuce? Make soup!

18 Sep

by Jill Boruff

Each week we receive a lovely basket of organic veggies from a local farmer. Most of the time, we manage to eat the deliciousness before the next batch arrives the following week. However, in the past two weeks, we received three heads of lettuce–more lettuce then two people can possibly keep up with. I love big green salads, but there are only so many that I can handle in a week. I certainly didn’t want the lettuce to go to waste. A colleague at work had mentioned lettuce soup, so I turned to the Internet, and found the following soup recipe in the New York Times. Though I was a little skeptical at first, the soup turned out to be really good. It is much like a leek and potato soup, but with the taste of lettuce coming through instead of leek (obviously).

If you want to see the original recipe (and much better food photography) check out the original article.

The author says that this is a good way to use up the tough outer leaves of a head of lettuce. I am not sure that I agree. I cut out the extremely tough and woody parts of the lettuce and only threw in a few of the tough outer leaves. They didn’t purée as well, and I am not sure what the soup would have been like if it had been made with all tough leaves.

Also, it doesn’t really matter how well you chop things, as it is all going to get puréed at the end.

lettuce soup

lettuce soup

Lettuce and Potato Soup (adapted from Martha Rose Shulman in the New York Times)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, roughly minced

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and roughly diced

6 cups water

Three long springs of fresh thyme, rinsed (a bay leaf would be nice, too)

Salt to taste

5 ounces or about 4 cups lettuce leaves, washed and coarsely chopped (I think I added a bit more)

Freshly ground pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the potatoes, water, and thyme, and bring to a simmer. Add salt to taste, cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.

2. Stir in the lettuce leaves and continue to simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes. The potatoes should be thoroughly tender and falling apart.

3. Using an immersion blender, or in a blender blend the soup until smooth. Add lots of freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust salt. Enjoy!

Check out Jill’s bio on the Contributors page

The joy of soup

6 Sep

By Jennifer O’Donnell

This summer it’s been one great farmers’ market salad after another – garnished with delicious strawberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches and plums. But amidst all of my salad making, I hadn’t really noticed the vegetables so much.

That changed a few days ago when I started reading Anna Thomas’ Love Soup. I’d been inspired when I heard about her on a blog – specifically, that the recipes for Love Soup had been created when she found herself living with a teeny tiny kitchen for several years while her house was being renovated.

But in this time and teeny space, she continued to entertain her friends with homemade vegetarian food – especially soups.

This resonated with me because my own kitchen right now seems so very small. I rushed out to get Love Soup (from the public library, of course). Anna’s recipes all look wonderful and she speaks so lovingly and passionately about farmers’ markets. The next day, bags in hand, I headed off to get the ingredients for her Basic Light Vegetable Broth and Sweet Corn Soup. Last night, I made the broth (along with an incredibly tasty dinner, but that’s another story). I’d forgotten my shopping list, but with a few minor substitutions, the broth smelled amazing.

And today, I made the Sweet Corn Soup. I couldn’t believe how easy it was! All I had to do today was chop an onion and slice the kernels off the ears of corn. Seriously! Oh, and then I had to sauté the onion while the corn simmered in the broth. The bulk of my ‘cooking time’ was spent sitting, reading, and listening to the rain fall gently outside while the soup cooked. It was a little slice of heaven.

I must admit that for a moment I was rethinking the wisdom of spending so much at the farmers’ market in order to make the broth and soup. After all, I still have student loans and am on a tight budget. “I’m just throwing the veggies out after the broth is made.  It seems like a waste,” I thought. “Maybe next time, I’ll just get less expensive veggies from the grocery store to make the broth…”

But then… I tasted the soup. I had figured it would be good because it had so many fresh ingredients. It seemed too simple: the only things I’d put in the soup today were caramelised onion and corn kernels. Oh, and the broth. But my goodness, I wasn’t expecting such a rich, full-bodied taste! The flavours are blended together in the puree, and yet it seems as though I can detect each of the distinctive flavours of the soup and broth.

True, I’ve only tried two recipes so far, but I can’t help but love Love Soup. I love Anna’s love of farmers’ markets. I love that her recipes are grouped by growing seasons. I love the detail in her recipes. I love that the recipes are all vegetarian (and that 66 of the 100 soup recipes are vegan). I can’t wait to try more. As I pack up the vegetable broth and Sweet Corn Soup to freeze, I can’t help but think what I’ll make tomorrow. I’m thinking Zucchini and Basil Soup.

Hmmm… now to find a way to meet people in my new home town. These wonderful soups should definitely be shared!

Check out Jennifer’s bio on the Contributors page.