Archive | December, 2009

Garbanzo Lentil Soup

29 Dec

Meet Toaster. She’s got an eye for trouble and eye for good soup. Alayna is in Florida so I have to do soup solo. I invited my best pal Zach over who pretended at first he wasn’t madly in love with my new feline bestie, until she starting purring all over him and now look at them. All soupin’ in love.

The few times I’ve had to make soups without Alayna they turn out a little Mehhhh but this one is a winner. It’s just spicy enough to be exciting but not over the top. Lentils are good for us too…. Dang, I just did a little research, check this out:

Lentils, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. But this is far from all lentils have to offer. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein-all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up–not out.

Zach! It’s a mighty good thing you ate two bowls of this stuff maybe your shockingly high cholesterol levels will start to decline. What, did you not want me to tell the world about that?

Zach liked this soup so much he wrote a haiku:
I love lentil soup
Because it’s as fun to eat
As it is to poop

Zach, that’s disgusting. But it’s sort of true. You know why? Because lentils are such an excellent source of fiber. Alright soupies, go and clean out your clogged post-Christmas systems with this winner.

Garbanzo Lentil Soup

  • Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add 1 onion & 3 cloves of garlic; sauté until golden, about 13 minutes.
  • Mix in 1 teaspoon of cayenne and 3 dried red peppers chopped and a handful or two of chopped carrots
  • Add 6 cups of chicken broth and 1 bunch of kale
  • Increase heat; bring to boil.
  • Add 1 lb of lentils and 1 14 oz. can of garbanzos beans, 1 package of mushrooms; reduce heat to medium, a twig of thyme and rosemary
  • Cover; simmer until lentils are tender, stirring twice, about 30(ish!) minutes

French Aspargus Cream Soup

22 Dec
One Year Of Soups

We made it. This marks our one year anniversary of Monday’s Soup. Things have changed in both my life and Alayna’s in that year but when you flip back over the months and months of soups everything feels solid and stable and good. Soup steadies us.

There have been a small handful of Mondays when we had to do a soup solo. When I was in Alaska, when Alayna was sick. That said, we never missed a week of making soup completely.

So what have we learned? A lot, actually. Alayna was ahead of me in the kitchen all along, from when we met in France and had those big dinner parties, I’d just drink the champagne in the corner or buy the last minute groceries we had forgotten at the market. We talked about it last night on her couch, my legs crossed with my soup bowl balanced on a pillow on my lap. Alayna said before she only felt comfortable making a handful of soups. This has obviously changed. We also have made friends with a bunch of different vegetables that before, we weren’t totally sure what do with. Kale, parsnips, a giant pumpkin… to name a few.

And what’s next? Ethnic soups. We feel we have gone through the round of vegetable soups, French and American, simple broths, gazpachos, chicken and shrimp and sausage… now it’s time to move into lentils and spices and richer stews. Lets travel to India and Thailand and China and Bhutan. Yes, Bhutan.

What does a year of soup taste like? It tastes like a nice stable routine that grounds you and roots you in a city that can sometimes spin you off. So it’s good. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the truth of the truth? The marrow of Monday’s Soups? Is this:

Soup is good.

P.S. I have a cat now. Toaster. Zizi and Toaster are going to be bestfriends. And I just thought ya’ll should know.

French Aspargus Cream Soup
  • melt about 1/4 stick of butter in your soup pot
  • saute a small yellow onion and the white parts of 5 small (3 large) leeks until translucent and fragrant
  • add your home-made chicken broth* and bring to a simmer
  • add 3-4 thinly sliced (pinky width) red potatoes and four carrots, similarly chopped, and let simmer for about 20 minutes
  • when potatoes and carrots are getting softer, add in a bunch of chopped asparagus… simmer all together for about five minutes, then approximately a cup of heavy cream (more or less to taste) and 3-4 handfuls of spinach
  • turn off heat, stir in spinach and let sit about five minutes before serving with Parmesan cheese on top
Broth
  • de-bone a chicken thoroughly (we used two since both were small)
  • stick the bones in a pot with a few cloves of garlic (4-5), some roughly chopped onions, carrots, celery and herbs (we used oregano, thyme and rosemary) with salt and pepper
  • simmer on low for 2 hours, adding water if necessary
  • strain through a colander or cheese cloth, discarding ‘bits’ and cool in the refrigerator overnight to let fat congeal
  • skim the fat off (it will look yellowy-white not brown) the broth will be kind of gelatinous. that’s okay, it’ll liquefy when it’s warmed up

Chicken Noodle Soup

16 Dec
Gang, holy heck but next week is OUR ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF SOUP. Dang, time flies when you’re spooning ladles and peeling garlic. Can’t believe it only took us 47 soups before we decided to make CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP. 47 soups? Is that how many we made? Golly.
And look at us now. Back in the old days we only sliced up sausages, now we’re de-boning, breaking wish bones (I won) and slaughtering pumpkins… and yet I’m still wearing the same ridiculous glasses that are my Dad’s. Awesome.
Alayna got a dutch oven. She hasn’t really been able to stop talking about it but I understand. It’s cool to come home and see your chicken soaking up flavors in a pot on the stove. Homey. And that chicken tasted good. Even the breast meat which Alayna is weirdly adverse to, she admitted, was tasty.
Chicken Soup for the Soul. Remember that book series? Jeez, they really have a book for everyone. Good thing they have a Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul, and for a second I didn’t know what to get Alayna for Christmas…

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • roughly chop about 6 cloves of garlic and saute in olive oil
  • add half a large yellow onion and cook on low until translucent
  • add two chopped parsnips and 3-4 carrots, cooking covered until they begin to get soft
  • add some sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano, and about 3 bay leaves. cook more until fragrant (five more minutes). at this point you should put your water on to boil the noodles (two large handfuls of egg noodles)
  • defrost a package of frozen peas, adding them to the pot with broth. DON’T fill all the way, because you’re still adding things
  • put in about two handfuls of shredded chicken. we roasted our own with our awesome brand new dutch oven this weekend, but you can also just debone a rotisserie chicken.
  • once the noodles are done, drain them and put them in the pot as well
  • add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for about five min
Look at baby Zizi cat eat kale chips, that’s a kitty who was raised right!

Green Machine

9 Dec
As promised, our top five BEST soups of all soupie time…. (Uhm, Alayna is insisting instead of “Best” I say “some of our favorites” as if our other precious soups like Roasted Root Soup and Fennel is Fantastic will have their feelings hurt. Alayna is very attached to these little bowls of miracles.)
This is based on nothing but Alayna and my personal opinions and casual soup banter. Honestly, none of the soups we make are that tricky to pull off. Well, slaughtering that pumpkin was sort of intense… but that soup didn’t even make the cut (even though it was delicious). So new soupies, don’t be intimated that these are SOME OF OUR FAVORITE soups, just be inspired to make them. And enjoy them. And share them.
In no particular order:
P.S. Our top five happens to also be really cheap soups to make. Only the West African has meat. We’re talking less than $10 soups here (well, for non-Manhattan residents at least, put us in the $15 range– but still– remember, these are BIG portions)
Tonight’s soup? Not on the top five list of best time soups, but probably on the top five list of healthiest soups. This was sort of one of those, lets just toss in what we have in the fridge in a pot with broth and then put it in the blender soups. Those soups never fail. Well, depending on your fridge.
Either way, it’s a nice during the week meal, especially as the weekends seem to be increasingly filled with holiday sugar madness. So it’s nice to level out the playing field. Okay, soup out buddies.
The Green Machine!

  • roughly chop 6 cloves of garlic and saute with red pepper flakes and herbs de provence
  • add one large roughly chopped yellow onion, 3 small-medium red potatoes, a large carrot, a head of broccoli (with the top part of the stalks), 2-3 large zucchini and two tomatoes and cook covered
  • when potatos and carrot are starting to get soft, add your veggie broth, 1/2 a bag of spinach (or more, whatevs), bring to a simmer
  • blend and serve!

Turkey Soup

1 Dec
After Thanksgiving Detox Soup

Everyone talks about what to eat for Thanksgiving. And I have seen more than one article about what to eat before Thanksgiving. (Egg white omelet, thanks Self.) But do you know what to eat AFTER Thanksgiving?

No? Well you’re in the right place old friend. Alayna’s sister made turkey broth from her leftover carcass. (Recipe below- my favorite line: “break bones into small pieces.” Sounds badass, right?) And I know what you’re thinking, but I’m so full. That’s why this soup is SO great because it’s super light (think Detox Soup). It’s a great light meal for the day after. A perfect after Thanksgiving soup.

Dang. You think, those soupies do it again. Knock your socks off with a spot on soup. I know, I know. We’re so good at this by now– month 11 of soup laboring- scratch that, I mean ladling– that we should probably get a book deal. Any day now, folks…

I bumped into a closet soupie while in my hometown in Jersey, she suggested a good idea for the new comer soupy- to make a top five list of best soups for easy navigation when a first timer wants to make a winner (or an old timer). I know, all the soups are winners, but some are like, big time lottery winners.

Either way, ballots are open. Cast your vote: Best soup.

In the meantime my little pilgrims and native americans, eat up.

The perfect post turkey day light soup without losing the spirit of the holiday:

  • roughly chop about 5 pieces of garlic and saute in olive oil, adding half of a chopped yellow onion when becoming fragrant
  • add a fennel bulb (only the white parts) 4-5 carrots, 4-5 celery sticks, all roughly chopped, and cook covered with a few bay leaves until you can stick a fork through them
  • cover with FRESH TURKEY BROTH* (or any other kind of broth if you don’t have an awesome sister) and bring up the heat, adding a handful of chopped parsley, three heaping handfuls of sugar peas, and your leftover turkey torn into little pieces
  • serve once it’s heated through!

Turkey broth, courtesy of my sister:

  • first, thoroughly clean the meat off the turkey carcass, then break the bones into small pieces and bake them at 400 for about an hour until they look crispy
  • put them in a pot of water with the onions, apples and celery, (adding salt and herbs) and boil for about an hour with the lid on, on low heat
  • pour through a colander to get out the ‘gross stuff’ and refrigerate or freeze for later use!