Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bowl of Comfort/Onion Soup

A Bowl of Comfort

Onion Soup
Serves 6
This is a vegetarian version of the old classic onion soup. With its rich flavor and sweetness of the onions you will not miss the beef at all. Serve with homemade croutons* and optional grated Swiss cheese for the complete experience.

5 cups thinly sliced onions
3 cloves garlic minced
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 quart of vegetable stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and pepper

Grated Swiss cheese for topping optional

Cook onions and garlic in a large pot in melted butter until the onions are completely cooked through, but not brown. This could take up to 20 minutes. Stir in the mustard and thyme. Mix well. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes. Serve in a large bowl. Top with croutons and grated cheese.

*Croutons can be made by cutting bread in 1-inch cubes. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on oil sprayed baking sheet in oven on 325F for 15 minutes.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Black Bean Soup

It was cold today. Began to snow around 2 pm and felt even colder. It was a perfect day to hang out and warm my bones near the fire eating Black Bean soup. This is one of my favorite soups because you can make it a meal by adding some salsa, jack cheese or sour cream and serve it with corn chips or corn tortilla. This recipe can double up and you can freeze some for the next snowy, gray day.

Black Bean Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 6-8

2 cups black beans*
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
8-10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, chopped
2 tomatoes, skinned, seeds removed and diced
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ cup cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add onions through red pepper and sauté 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add beans*, vegetable stock, chipotle and tomatoes bring to a boil. Turn heat to simmer and cook for 2 hours, stirring now and then adding water if the soup gets to thick. You can leave it like this or blend ½ of the soup for a thicker consistency. Add cilantro. Serve hot with optional toppings of sour cream and salsa.

*Place black beans on a cookie sheet and pick through to remove any stones or broken beans. Rinse with cold water Option one, place in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let sit for one hour. Option two, soak beans in cold water overnight.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cold Days Hot Soup

Snowy Icy Day in Chapel Hill means Hot Soup is on the menu.
This has become a favorite in my house.

Mushroom Barley Soup
by Penny Rich
1/2 cup pearl barley

¼ dry porcini mushrooms, rehydrated*
1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

4 cups vegetable broth

3 Tablespoons soy sauce
4 Tablespoons Dry Sherry
2 cups water

2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium pan, bring 2 cups of water and the 1/2 cup of barley to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until soft. Add the carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and porcini mushrooms cook 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, soy sauce, sherry any extra mushroom liquor, water, and fresh thyme. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked barley and cook for 30 minutes.
Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
*To rehydrate dry mushroom – place in a Pyrex measuring cup and cover with water. Micro on high for 1 minute. Let sit for 5 minutes. Strain liquid through a coffee filter to remove sand, save the mushroom liquor. Wash mushroom to remove sand.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hot Days - Cold Soups

Fellow Council Member Jim Ward reminded me about an article I wrote in August 2007 featuring Cold Summer Soups. It's been so hot here in North Carolina, that it is worth sharing again. Enjoy.

Soups are not just for warming up diners when the weather turns brisk, they can also soothe the palate on a scorching summer day. Chilled soups hit the spot when it’s hot and are especially easy if you are entertaining, because you make the soup ahead, cover it, and refrigerate. It is the perfect summer party appetizer, and can be served in many fashions such as in funky glasses, or champagne glasses, as well as small bowls. You can even bring your soup to the pool in a cooler for a light dinner. Chilled soup is tasty, refreshing, and easy to prepare and serve.
Cold potato leek soup, or vichyssoise, made its first appearance on an American menu at New York’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel sometime in the early 1900s. The hotel’s chef, Louis Diat, was originally from Vichy, France.
One version if the story is that Diat, planned to serve a classic, warm potato leek soup for a party celebrating the opening of the hotel’s roof garden. At the last minute, he discovered the soup had not been heated. He added cream and chives, in an attempt to salvage the first course, and vichyssoise was born.
No one actually knows if this is a true story, however, there’s no denying that for many years vichyssoise was the cold soup of choice for most Americans. During the 1960s and ‘70s it was a standard summer menu item in finer restaurants. Today, vichyssoise is just the tip of the cold-soup iceberg.
Try some of my favorite chilled soups or create your own. It’s always best to use locally grown organic vegetables so get out there and visit the Farmers Market to see what is in season.

By Penny Rich
Serves 6

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 leeks, white and light green parts, roughly chopped
8-10 white boiling potatoes, roughly chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
Fresh chives for garnish

Heat the butter and oil in a large stockpot; add the leeks, and sauté over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, stock, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool for a few minutes and then process with an emersion blender to desired consistency. Add the cream and season to taste. Chill. Serve in a bowl, garnished with chopped chives.

Chilled Beet Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 4

2 pounds beets, roasted, peel removed and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups buttermilk
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh chives and sour cream

Heat oven to 425•F. Peel beets, chop and toss with olive oil. Place on an oil prepared foil covered tray and roast for 15-20 minutes until tender. Remove and cool.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil, add carrots and onion and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar, cover and cook until vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes more. Working in batches, add beets with any roasting liquid, honey, and carrot mixture to blender. Puree. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in buttermilk. Season with salt and pepper. Chill until cold, To serve, ladle into bowls or mugs. Top with chives and sour cream.

Chilled Cucumber Dill Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 2

2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup chilled buttermilk
1/2 cup no fat plain yogurt
2 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill, cut with scissors to fine pieces

In a blender or food processor puree the cucumbers. In a metal bowl whisk the cucumbers with the buttermilk, yogurt, vinegar, oil, and the dill. Salt to taste and chill the soup. Divide the soup between 2 chilled bowls.

Chilled Corn Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 6

6 ears fresh corn, husked*
6 cups vegetable broth
3 shallots, chopped
1 onion, chopped

6 tablespoons crème fraîche
1/4 cup English hothouse cucumber, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Cut each ear of corn crosswise in half. Place corn in heavy large pot. Add the broth, shallots, and onion, bring to boil. Cover, and simmer until corn is very tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer corn to large bowl to cool and reserve the broth.
Cut corn kernels off cobs. Return 4 cups corn kernels to broth. With a hand blender puree soup until very smooth. Strain soup through fine sieve set over large bowl; pressing on solids with back of spoon, discard solids. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate soup until cold.
Ladle soup into 6 bowls. Top each with dollop of crème fraîche. Sprinkle with cucumber and chives and serve.

*Replace with 4 cups frozen corn

Chilled Beer & Avocado Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 4

2 tomatoes
3 avocados
10 ounces beer (not a dark beer)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 garlic clove
Juice of one lemon
1/3 cup half and half
Balsamic vinegar
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil, cut an x on the bottom of the tomatoes and plunge them into the water for about 1 minute. Remove tomatoes to a strainer place inside a bowl with ice and water to stop cooking; peel. Cut in half, squeeze out the seeds and cut into small dice.
Peel the avocados, remove the pit and place the halves in a food processor. Add the lemon juice, garlic, cayenne and the half and half. Purée. Add salt and pepper, pulse to mix. Add the beer and pulse 2-3 times to incorporate it. Pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator.

Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Top with a touch of balsamic vinegar and diced tomatoes.

Chilled Spiced Tomato Soup w/Crab
By Penny Rich
Serves 8

Spice mix
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red bell peppers, chopped
2 fresh fennel bulb, chopped
3 pounds plum tomatoes, diced (about 8 cups)
5 cups vegetable broth

Hot pepper sauce to taste

1 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over
Chopped fresh chives

Toast spice ingredients in heavy skillet such as cast iron, over medium heat until spices darken slightly in color and start to pop, stirring occasionally, about 5-7 minutes. Cool in skillet. Grind finely in spice mill or crush in a mortar and pestle.
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, and carrots. Sauté until vegetables soften slightly, 5-7 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and sauté 3-5 minutes. Add bell peppers, fennel and tomatoes, cook until tomatoes soften and break down, about 10 minutes. Add broth and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Add ground spice mix remove from heat; cover let sit for one hour.

Working with 2 cups at a time, strain the soup over a large bowl with a sieve pressing liquid and some of solids through sieve. Season soup to taste with hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate soup until cold.

Ladle the soup into 8 shallow bowls or fancy glasses. Top with crabmeat and chives.

Mango Cucumber Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 6

2 mangoes, peeled and pitted
2 seedless cucumbers
3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Place 1 mango in the food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse 4-5 times to finely chop, transfer to a mixing bowl. Do the same with one cucumber and add to the bowl. Coarsely chop remaining mango and cucumber and purée with 1/4 cup water until almost smooth. Transfer to the bowl and add onion, lime juice, and 2 cups vegetable stock. Refrigerate till chilled.
Just before serving, stir in cilantro.

Chilled Pineapple Peach Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 8

1 1/2 pounds fresh peaches
2 cups fresh pineapple, diced
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Lime slices
Mint leaves

Peel and remove pits from peaches and puree with the pineapple in a food processor until smooth. Add the juices, yogurt, and wine and blend well. Chill until cold. Garnish with thin slices of lime and the mint leaves.

Chilled Melon Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 4

3 cups honeydew melon, cubed
3 cups cantaloupe, cubed
1/4 cup vodka, divided
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
3/4 cup sliced strawberries

Place honeydew in blender and process until smooth, pour into a bowl. Do the same with the cantaloupe add into a separate bowl. To each bowl of puréed melon, add 2 tablespoons vodka, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons lime juice and stir well. Cover and chill. Place strawberries in blender and process until smooth. Pour into a bowl, cover and chill.
To serve, pour 1/2 cup of cantaloupe mixture into each of 4 individual glasses, pour 1/2 cup of honeydew mixture in center of cantaloupe mixture. Dollop each serving with 2 tablespoons of puréed strawberries and swirl decoratively with a wooden pick.

Blueberry Yogurt Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 4

1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1 pint blueberries
4 tablespoons honey
4 cups orange juice
1 cup plain low fat yogurt

Put the lemon rind, cinnamon, and cloves in a small cheesecloth bag and place in a heavy saucepan. Add all other ingredients except the yogurt and simmer over moderate heat until the blueberries burst. Remove the bag of spices. Puree the mixture in a blender. Cover and chill overnight. Serve in individual bowls with the yogurt heaped in the center of each serving.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Broccoli Ramen Slaw

Every year I have the honor of catering the end of semester lunch for Dr. Marcie Ferris and all her wonderful students. I started making this slaw a couple of years ago knowing that Ramen is a staple in the college students diet. It's been a hit ever since. Best if you make it a day before you are serving it. Gives time for the noodles to soften.

Broccoli Ramen Slaw
By Penny Rich
Serves 12

Large head of Napa Cabbage, shredded
Large bunch of broccoli, cut into small pieces
4-5 scallions, chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 red pepper, diced (optional)
1 package of Ramen Noodles, crushed with a rolling pin to pea sized pieces
¾ cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons seasoned Rice wine vinegar
Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
Flavor packet from the Ramen

Toast almond, sesame seeds and sunflower seed just until light brown.
Mix the slaw ingredients together. Toss in the toasted nuts and the Ramen noodles (uncooked).
Mix the dressing, pour over the slaw. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours or over night. Serve room temperature.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Day Collard Greens and Black Eyed Pea Soup

Collard Greens and Black Eyed Pea Soup
by Penny Rich
Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 bunch of collards, ribs removed and chopped
Salt and Pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon oregano, chopped
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups fat-free vegetable broth
1 cup cooked black eyed peas
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a soup pot and add onion. Cook 4-5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, cook for 5-6 minutes more. While the vegetables are cooking wash and chop collards; add to vegetables. Add seasoning, herbs, and vegetable stock; bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for 30 minutes or until the collards wilt. Add the black eyed peas, adjust salt and pepper and cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, add the vinegar. Serve with crusty bread and a hearty red wine. Happy New Year.

Per serving - about 205 Calories, 1g Fat, 13g Protein, 11g Fiber