A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘soup’

Farm Box Recipe of the Week: Cabbage & White Bean Soup

In Food, Recipes on November 16, 2011 at 9:33 am

I’m going to try to post my favorite recipe each week that uses ingredients from our CSA farm box. Several of my friends and I have a friendly competition going on who can best use the ingredients in our weekly haul. Sometimes, like this week when one is faced with a head of cabbage, things get challenging. In the past I’ve deployed the cabbage in kimchi and roasted tomatillo slaw

But this week, my friend Katie—another CSA junkie—shared this great Basque recipe for Cabbage and White Bean Soup from Gourmet, circa 2004. It is pure smoky, bacon-y goodness. I spent a total of $6.16 on ham hocks at Huntington Meats in the Original Farmers Market, and I had everything else on hand, including a bag of Rancho Gordo Yellow Indian Woman Beans. My husband was kind of bummed out when he heard we were having soup for dinner, until he laid eyes on the ham hocks. Ladies, let me tell you, there’s nothing like a ham hock to spark a little excitement on a Tuesday night…

Cabbage & White Bean Soup

1 cup dried white beans such as Great Northern, navy, or cannellini (7 oz), picked over and rinsed

1 whole clove

1 medium onion, peeled and left whole

2 1/2 lb smoked ham hocks

3 qt water

6 fresh parsley sprigs

1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf

1 fresh thyme sprig

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 lb yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold (3 to 4 medium)

1 lb cabbage, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (6 cups)

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

Thickly sliced bread, grilled (optional)

Soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches at room temperature at least 8 hours. Drain in a colander.

Stick clove into onion. Bring ham hocks and 3 quarts water to a boil in a wide 6- to 7-quart heavy pot, skimming off any froth, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Add beans, onion, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, and garlic and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until beans are almost tender, 40 to 50 minutes.

When beans are almost done, peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add potatoes and cabbage to beans, then simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove ham hocks. When ham hocks are cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones, then cut meat into bite-size pieces. Stir into soup with salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaf and onion. Serve with grilled bread.

Zucchini Soup

In Food, Recipes on October 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Los Angeles can’t decide if it’s autumn or summer—this past week has seen everything from torrential downpour to 90-degree weather. The farmers markets are clearly in the summer camp. We’re still getting tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries and corn. Even peaches! I had quite a bit of zucchini left over from my CSA farm bag this week and remembered a soup I used to make from a recipe I pulled from the San Francisco Chronicle over a decade ago. It is quite simply delicious—the perfect amount of tangy-savory with a little hit of cinnamon sweet. I hope you enjoy, too, whether it’s rain or shine.

Zucchini Soup

1 lb zucchini, chopped in large pieces

2 cups of low sodium chicken stock

2/3 cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon olive oil

2/3 cup lowfat buttermilk

Salt, to taste

Garnish with chopped cilantro (optional)

In a pot, bring zucchini and chicken stock to boil. Allow to simmer, covered, for 6-8 minutes, or until zucchini is soft. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, sauté onion, cumin and cinnamon in  olive oil until onions are soft. In a blender, puree zucchini and stock with onions. Return to pot and stir in buttermilk. Garnish with cilantro






Soup + Wine = Sublime

In Drink, Food on March 10, 2011 at 8:48 pm

On Friday night while we waited for the grill to heat up for our main course, my husband and I sat down to start with a bowl of Moroccan Carrot Soup scented with toasted cumin and a spicy and fragrant glass of 2008 Breggo Gewurztraminer. I’m just in love with this wine, and love how well it plays with spice and the slight sweetness of the carrots and allspice. You would think it might be hard to get worked up over soup, especially one that is this simple to make. And really, when it comes to wine pairing, is soup the first thing that comes to mind? This duo makes the case. Convincingly.

Happy Halloween!

In Baby Love, Food on October 31, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Happy Halloween! Tiny G is getting his “friends” ready—the creatively named Doggie, Pumpkin and Baby Witch—to take to a friend’s birthday party later this afternoon. He’s excited that there could be cupcakes on offer. I’m excited because this friend’s father makes the best damn chili around. Post-party we’ll dress up Tiny G in his skeleton costume to embark on his first real trick-or-treating adventure, and then I’ll put on a pot of my dad’s pasta e fagioli to enjoy while passing out candy and hoping that Mr Foodinista won’t notice that a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups has gone missing…

Update 11/1/10: Greg’s chili, below. See what I’m talking about?

Splendor in the Glass: Gazpacho

In Food on August 4, 2010 at 9:27 pm

I’m pretty much an acid freak. My favorite wines are high-acid rieslings, I’ve been known to sip aged balsamic like it’s single malt, and I live for unsweetened lemonade. Oh yeah, and I have a big Spanish crush on José Andres. So I was fated to fall in love with the man’s Cold Andalucian Gazpacho. My sister and I made up another huge batch last night and, lord help us, had two bowls each. During the week I don’t bother with the bread crumbs, but if you have the extra time, they’re a delicious addition. This recipe is completely guilt-free, easy and with huge flavor payoff. You’ll want to make this as many times this month as possible with the ripest tomatoes available. José’s recipe calls for ripe plum tomatoes, but I’ve been using heirlooms from the green market. And, because you really are going to make this again and again, look for a rich oloroso like Sandeman 20-Year-Old Royal Rich Old Oloroso. It’s worth the $23/500ml.

Andalucian Cold Tomato Soup

From José Made in Spain

Serves 6-8

For the soup:
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup Oloroso sherry
¾ cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil

For the garnish:
2 1 inch-thick slices rustic bread
¼ cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
½ cucumber, diced
½ green bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Sea salt to taste

To make the soup, combine the cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, sherry, olive oil and 2 cups of water in a food processor or blender. Puree the ingredients until everything is well blended into a thick pink liquid. Pour the gazpacho through a medium-hole strainer into a pitcher. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

For the garnish: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and toss in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Set the croutons aside to cool.

To serve, pour the chilled soup into cups or bowls. Top with croutons, cucumbers and peppers. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

The Spanish Affair

In Drink, Fashion, Food, Recipes on July 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I fell hard for Spanish cuisine four years ago when I tagged along on my then-boyfriend’s business trip to Barcelona. While Mr. Foodinista talked bandwidth with the Spaniards, I wandered the streets of El Born, popping into tapas bars and museums, falling in love with the smoky, sweet, sultry flavors—to say nothing of the people, who break at 11 am each day for a coupe of cava. I don’t know why we don’t cook Spanish more often. But last night—because I had snagged the last four bottles of the ’98 Lopez Heredia rosé from my local wine shop and knew exactly with whom to share them—we rolled out the alfombra roja. (That’s red carpet in Spanish, a language I don’t habla but one that is highly google-able.)

I wish I’d taken more pics last night—of HJ’s gorgeous graphic-print dress, of Booth’s flamenco-inspired Louboutins, Dudley’s palest lavender linen shirt or Anne’s hot pink Vivier sandals. But most of all of the food! Particularly of Adam’s homemade churros—dusted in cinnamon sugar—that are to die for. Here are the few pics I did manage to snap and the menu.

Bellota Iberico Lomo + Mahon Cow’s Milk Cheese (above)

Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Spanish Chorizo

Marcona Almonds

Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Barcino Cava

Andalucian Gazpacho

Mixed Lettuces with Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Valdeon Blue Cheese and Sherry Vinaigrette

Fideos with Mussels, Clams and Shrimp (from Mario Batali’s Spain: A Culinary Road Trip)

1998 Lopez Heredia Rosado

Adam’s Churros & Spiced Hot Chocolate

And best of all? Check back tomorrow to find out what ranks as the very best hostess gift I’ve ever received. Ever. Thank you, HJ & Bill!!!

Friends and Pho

In Food, Media, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on May 19, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Is there any better way to spend a lunch hour than slurping pho with a favorite friend? Today, my friend Lizzie (author of awesome new blog, Tomboy Style) and I hit Pho Cafe on Sunset for some steaming bowls of Vietnames pho—beef soup with rice noodles, basil, lime, bean sprouts and peppers. I like to get the #13 with free-range chicken instead of beef, and a side of Silver Lake hipsters in requisite knit caps on a sunny LA day:

Pho Cafe also serves a mean iced coffee with condensed milk.

Perfect fare for discussing our home office routines, namely what Lizzie listens to while she works. For the inside scoop, head on over to Herman Miller’s LIFEWORK blog, which today features Lizzie’s home office and play list. Rock out.

Photo by Lizzie Garrett Mettler

Spinach and Green Garlic Soup

In Drink, Food on April 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I’m married to a man who doesn’t like soup. Correction: I’m married to a man who says he doesn’t like soup, but each time we have soup for dinner he says, “I don’t usually like soup, but this is delicious.” (Similarly a friend is married to a man who “doesn’t like lamb,” but is always surprised by how good it is when served to him.) The latest in the grand slams of soup is this insane Spinach and Green Garlic Soup, a recipe I cribbed from my talented colleague Molly Wizenberg of Orangette.

Earlier this week I found some green garlic at farmer’s market, though it wasn’t quite so young and petite as to have those pretty pink stripes (ideally green garlic should be closer to the size of a scallion). So what is green garlic? It’s garlic that’s harvested super young before the cloves start to form. The flavor is milder with less of that bitter bite. As you can see, the green garlic I grabbed was a little more mature, but still far more subtle and sweet than mature garlic.

When I sliced into it, I could see the cloves starting to take shape. Beautiful. Isn’t that wild?

Okay, so back to Molly’s perfect recipe. It really is incredibly simple—and simply delicious. After sautéing green garlic in olive oil and a little pat of butter, vegetable stock is added and the mixture simmers for a mere 15 minutes. Fresh baby spinach gets sprinkled into the soup and sits for five minutes.

Then purée, add a dollop of crème fraîche and prepare to fall in love. Oh, and if you need a little something on the side, try a glass of 2009 Ponzi Pinot Gris ($17/bottle). Crisp and fruity floral, I love it with this richly flavored spring soup.

Make Your Own Vegetable Stock

In Food, Recipes on March 31, 2010 at 8:21 am

Yesterday I was making a soup that called for vegetable stock, and since I had all the ingredients I thought I’d give it a go. The resulting broth tasted so rich, and I love that it didn’t come out of a can. Active time is about 20 minutes, and then you leave the broth to simmer for an hour and a half. The recipe makes about 3 quarts, so you can freeze it until you’re ready to use.

Vegetable Stock, adapted from The Jimtown Store Cookbook

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large yellow onion, sliced

2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks

4 celery ribs with leaves, cut into 1-inch lengths

3 large garlic cloves, mashed

4 quarts water

1/2 bunch (4 ounces) flat-leaf parsley, stems and leaves

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled

In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Add the water, parsley, salt, peppercorns, fennel seeds, and thyme. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours.

Cool stock, then pour into strainer set over bowl. Press hard on the solids with back of spoon to extract as much of the liquid as possible. You should have about 3 quarts. (If you have much more than this, return to pot and simmer until reduced to 3 quarts.)

Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to one month.

French Onion Soup, Old School Edition

In Food, Recipes on November 9, 2009 at 5:55 pm

french onion soup

Last week over lunch at Café Midi my sister was tempted to order the French onion soup. It isn’t their most winning menu item, so I suggested that instead we try making our own for dinner on Saturday night (taking a page out of Julia Child and a break from the week of pork – more on that later).

soupe a l'oignon

We went to Surfas where we picked up some Gruyère—a cheese so extravagant that I was compelled to rip the $23 price tag off it before my husband came home, only to blurt out a confession moments after he walked in the door because (a) I went to Catholic school and can’t stand the guilt and (b) am the world’s worst liar. Oh and (c) it’s not nice to lie to your husband, for better or for worse, etc!


This soup’s superb complexity comes from a couple hours of slow-cooking onions and simmering. And of course the quality of ingredients. I used vermouth instead of white wine and equal parts veal stock and beef stock for added richness, also picked up at Surfas. I love using vermouth; it gives that nostalgic note that reminds me of my grandmother’s best dishes, which I’m guessing relied heavily on Julia.

veal stock

And then, the best part: that nutty, slightly sweet Gruyere that I could (and did) eat all on its own. Here’s Julia’s recipe. Follow it to the letter of the law and you seriously won’t believe that something this good could come from a home kitchen.

Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child

For 6 to 8 servings [Foodinista’s note: this serves more like 4 as a main course]

The onions for an onion soup need a long, slow cooking in butter and oil, then a long, slow simmering in stock for them to develop the deep, rich flavor which characterizes a perfect brew. You should therefore count on 2 1/2 hours at least from start to finish. Though the preliminary cooking in butter requires some watching, the actual simmering can proceed almost unattended.

1 1/2 pounds or about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions, plus 1 tablespoon grated onion

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon oil [Foodinista note: used olive oil]

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar (helps the onions to brown)

3 tablespoons flour

2 quarts boiling brown stock [Foodinista note: used 1/2 veal stock + 1/2 beef stock]

1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth [Foodinista note: used dry vermouth]

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons cognac

12 to 16 slices French baguette cut 3/4- to 1-inch thick

2 ounces Swiss cheese cut into very thin slivers + 1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese

Cook the sliced onions slowly over low heat with the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed, covered saucepan for 15 minutes.


Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring frequently, until the onions have turned an even, deep, golden brown. Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 3 minutes.

onions flour

Remove from heat, and blend in boiling stock. Add wine or vermouth, and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes or more, skimming occasionally. Correct seasoning. Add cognac, 1 tablespoon grated onions, and 2 ounces cheese slivers.

broth cheese

While soup is simmering, make croutons by placing bread in one layer in a roasting pan and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for about half an hour, until it is thoroughly dried out and lightly browned. Halfway through baking, brush with olive oil. After baking, each piece may be rubbed with garlic.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour soup into ramekins or oven-proof bowls. Float rounds of toasted bread on top, and sprinkle grated cheese over.

french onion soup

Bake for 20 minutes, then for a minute or two under broiler to brown the top lightly. Serve immediately with a glass of red Burgundy. We went with a 2007 Drouhin Côtes-du-Nuits Villages at a relatively cheerful $19.99.

soupe a l'oignon gratinee