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Collard Green Machine

3 May

What’s that there? That is a huuuuuge bag of collard greens. Sometimes I’m not sure who it is that eats this many vegetables, but then I remember… oh right. Me. That’s why everyone thinks I’m a vegetarian, even though I’m not. Either way, I had a huge bag of collard greens and it’s my week for soup, so I decided to make a kind of summery version of the persian lentil soup…. summery-er because it doesn’t have lentils, I guess? Basically I like tumeric and cumin. Either way, I ended up with this glowing bowl of health:

That’s right. It’s literally glowing it’s so healthy. Although I am currently in the library and my classmates are telling me that it smells to ‘indian’ to eat in the study room. Jerks. I think they’re just jealous of my ‘weird-ass soups’ (and ten points for those who know the drama that that phrase came out of…). So here goes:

Collard Green Machine Soup

  • saute 4-6 cloves of garlic and one large yellow onion in olive oil, sprinkling generously with tumeric and with a little bit of cumin, keeping covered until the onion is nice and soft
  • start filling up the pot with collard greens, then cook covered on low while they wilt, adding more until you’re done with your ginormous bag of collard greens
  • once all the greens are in and wilted, add one can of drained kidney beans (for protein!) and a box of chicken broth (I know, I’m getting lazy… it’s finals!)
  • Simmer about 10-15 minutes, blend and serve – dollop of greek yogurt optional, and delicious (if still smelly) warm or cold

Peach Soup

8 Sep

Apologies for the delayed post, soupies! As many of you know it’s birthday week at the blog (mine was yesterday, but you can still catch Mary’s on Friday if you want to say, send over an immersion blender or something… hint hint!) and I had dinner out instead of dutifully staying in front of the soup pot, but no worries! A day late is not a dollar short at Monday’s Soup, and we have a delicious peach soup for your enjoyment.

This dinner (don’t worry, I’m sharing…. although I did eat that entire missing hunk of delicious delicious homemade lemon poppy seed birthday cake last night) uses a lot of the ingredients my mom got from a local farm over the weekend, but in a little bit of an unexpected way. I’m not sure how I feel about having a sweet soup as the main course for dinner, but I think the cardamon and black pepper keep it from being a smoothie and I made a big salad of fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, parsley and red peppers as a side. Add a little birthday cake at the end and you have a pretty sweet end of summer sampler.


  • Peel and roughly chop 8 ripe peaches and place in pot with two cups of orange juice, several shakes of cardamon (or four cardamon seeds), 3-4 cloves, one stick of cinnamon, about one inch of fresh ginger thickly sliced, the juice of one lime and 1/4 cup of honey. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for about ten minutes
  • Let cool down for a little while, then blend, taking out the cinnamon stick, clove seeds and ginger
  • Add one to two cups of plain yogurt and season with black pepper
  • Cool in the refrigerator or freezer and serve!

Alayna’s “So Long NYC” note/ Summer corn soup

28 Jul

If you’ve been anywhere around Mary in the past six to eight months, you’ve probably heard that I’m throwing the most successful going away campaign ever in the history of the universe. It started off gently (and in January or February) with invitations like, “hey, I really want to see the Frick before I go…. want to do it this weekend?” And then moved on to the, “but I want to do one last happy hour at Boat Basin before I leave!”

Now I have accumalated a kind of ridiculous number of going away events in the past two weeks… going away drinks, going away party…

… going away dinner, going away beach trip…

… going away soup night…

… going away cocktails after soup night

And (tonight! because I’m a slacker who hasn’t posted until now!) going away pottery night. I’m not even actually going away until Saturday, and then Mary’s coming with me (don’t worry kids, I’ll send her back eventually!). But I will say, the going away soup was pretty stellar. Zizi even posed for a going away cat with soup photo.

It almost makes up for having to leave, but worry not, soupers… soup’s still on come next Monday!

Thaaaaaat’s right Soup Lads and Ladles, fret not, Monday’s Soup will continue every Monday. Alayna and I will alternate weeks. We’ll bring in new soup friends to help us. My new soup friend works here. I’m bragging, I know. Alayna will bring in new soup insights from Washington, D.C. What do folks on the Hill like to eat? I have no idea, not yet anyway, but soon we’ll all know as Monday’s Soup travels to the United States capital! Oh, dear lord, this reminds me of a song…

(Sing to the tune of School House Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill.”)

Boy: Woof! You sure gotta climb a lot of steps to get to this Capitol Building here in Washington. But I wonder who that sad little bowl is?

I’m just a bowl.
Yes, I’m only a a bowl.
And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it’s a long, long journey
To the capital city.
It’s a long, long wait
While the soup is sitting on the stove,
But I know I’ll be a bowl of soup someday
At least I hope and pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bowl.

Boy: Gee, Bowl, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage.

Bowl: Well I got this far. When I started, I wasn’t even a bowl, I was just an idea. Some folks back home decided they wanted a bowl of soup, so they called their local Congressman and he said, “You’re right, there oughta be soup.” Then he sat down and molded me out and introduced me to Congress. And I became a bowl, and I’ll remain a bowl until they decide to make me a bowl of soup.

I’m just a bowl.
Yes, I’m only a a bowl.
And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it’s a long, long journey
To the capital city.
It’s a long, long wait
While the soup is sitting on the stove,
But I know I’ll be a bowl of soup someday
At least I hope and pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bowl.

Boy: Listen to those congressmen arguing! Is all that discussion and debate about you?

Bowl: Yeah, I’m one of the lucky ones. Most bowls never even get this far. I hope they decide to eat me favourably, otherwise I may die.

Boy: Die?

Bowl: Yeah, die in committee. Oooh, but it looks like I’m gonna live! Now I go to the House of Representatives, and they vote on me.

Boy: If they vote yes, what happens?

Bowl: Then I go to the Senate and the whole thing starts all over again.

Boy: Oh no!

Bowl: Oh yes!

I’m just a bowl.
Yes, I’m only a a bowl.
And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it’s a long, long journey
To the capital city.
It’s a long, long wait
While the soup is sitting on the stove,
But I know I’ll be a bowl of soup someday
At least I hope and pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bowl.

Boy: You mean even if the whole Congress says you should be a bowl of soup , the president can still say no?

Bowl: Yes, that’s called a veto. If the President vetoes me, I have to go back to Congress and they vote on me again, and by that time you’re so old…

Boy: By that time it’s very unlikely that you’ll become a bowl of soup. It’s not easy to become a bowl of soup, is it?

Bowl: No!

But how I hope and I pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bowl.

Congressman: He laddled you, bowl! Now you’re a bowl of soup!

Bowl: Oh yes!!!

Summer Corn, Zucchini and Mint Soup

For Broth:

  • Cut the kernels off six ears of sweet corn and set aside
  • Cover the six cobs, a pound of carrots, one yellow onion (quartered) and some salt and pepper with ample water and simmer for about an hour
  • Drain into a bowl and let cool

For Soup:

  • Saute six cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • When translucent, add one white onion, chopped, and cook covered until onion is soft
  • Add four large zucchini, thinly chopped and cover until about halfway cooked through
  • Add in reserved corn and cover again
  • When corn and zucchini are mostly cooked, add in a generous handful of chopped mint
  • When veggies are cooked through, add in corn broth, the juice of two lemons and blend
  • Serve warm or cold with a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream

Vichysoisse Soup

6 Jul

Looks like a tranquil and serene dinner right? It sure was. Until I got back home to my apartment the next evening, opened my refrigerator and remembered that I have tubs upon plastic tubs of CSA vegetables that are just piling up. Radishes, carrots, cucumbers, scapes, green onions, dandelion greens, etc. etc. etc. I could tell a panic was rising. I started to write down all of the vegetables on a list as to somehow calm my nerves. Yes, listing calms my nerves. But as I kept discovering pockets of new vegetables I had stored away from my last CSA pick up, potatoes on top the fridge, blueberries behind the box of basil, that’s when I had a little freak out.

Maybe it was the heat.

CSA-Freak Out. I know there are others like me. Gavin said this is for fun, just don’t use them if you don’t want them. But if you’re like me that’s not an option. The idea guilt riddles my bones. And then it’s one of those things where I realize I don’t have any time to actually cook or preserve this food until Thursday late night, which is also my next CSA pick up date. I mean, I could just not pick up my vegetables next week. But that feels like failure.

I remember reading a feminist essay way back in the undergrad days about a woman wanting a “A Wife.” She essentially meant a traditional homemaker. I feel that. As I work towards… honestly just trying to be good– trying to know where my food comes from and what it is, trying to minimize my environmental impact, trying to enjoy the art of cooking– I’m increasingly realizing the time factor this all takes.

But the thing is the more you learn about food culture and the process involved the harder it is to go back, to unconsciously eat a Subway sandwich and forget about what you know and don’t know about that sandwich (not that there is anything wrong with Subway, it’s just the idea of not knowing everything you are about to put in your mouth). With knowledge there is power… and obligation. And a lot of damn work.

Vichysoisse Soup

  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced potatoes
  • 2 1/3 cups chicken stock
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/8 cups heavy whipping cream
  1. Gently sweat the chopped leeks and the chopped onion in butter or margarine until soft, about 8 minutes. Do NOT let them brown.
  2. Add potatoes and stock to the saucepan. Salt and pepper to taste; do not overdo them! Bring to the boil, and simmer very gently for 30 minutes.
  3. Puree in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Cool. Gently stir in the cream before serving.

Peach Gazpacho

1 Sep

As you may have noticed, Mary and I have been on opposite vacation schedules for most of August. It’s been hard, but mostly we’ve survived by doing this thing called ‘hanging out with our other friends’. Last week, those friends were Jenny and Larisa , two lovely ladies I know from my pottery studio.

Making friends in New York is a strange thing, especially if, like me, you take a little while to warm up to people. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not because New Yorkers are unfriendly. They’re extremely friendly… as long as your not blocking a major thoroughfare on the sidewalk or in any way making a line take longer than it should (no, it is not an appropriate time to grill the barista on their knowledge of indie bands at 9am when there’s a line at the coffee bar, annoying hipster dude who obviously does not understand the importance of that iced coffee to my life right now).

The biggest roadblock to friendships here seems to be one of scheduling. With old friends, it’s okay to call them up at 9pm to make plans for the evening. With new friends, there’s pressure to come up with something cool or interesting. What if you have nothing to talk about or they hate seeing movies (note to potential new friends: I kind of hate seeing movies because the theater is always cold and you can’t talk without getting shushed) or you bring them to a party that’s really lame? Will that doom your relationship? At least with dating you can save yourself with the virtue of a good night kiss!

But that’s part of the reason I love my pottery friends. For the past year and a half, every week we’re at the studio at least once, talking about pots or glazes or how something should be put together so it won’t crack or our jobs or our families or that TV show. It’s friendship, middle school style, where you’re not really doing anything but hanging out. Plus, they think my jokes are funny. And so, in honor of pottery, some (vegan!) peach gazpacho with a side of asparagus!

Peach Gazpacho

  • Roughly chop 5-6 ripe peaches, 5 ripe tomatoes, 2 red peppers, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 small red onion and a large handful of mint.
  • Blend and chill until cold (use the tomato water to start off the blender), adding salt and pepper to taste.

Bonus Asparagus:

  • Chop up 3 cloves of garlic and sauté
  • Cut one packet/bunch of asparagus into bite-sized pieces and add to pot, along with a handful of chopped baby portabella mushrooms
  • Cook covered until the asparagus is bright green and serve (butter optional)

Friendly Fennel

25 Aug

People often ask me how I come up with recipes for the soup blog. Honestly, it’s a hodgepodge. Sometimes Mary will send me something she wants to try (that’s how we discovered kale! And porcini mushrooms!), sometimes it’s something I ate in a restaurant (watermelon mint), and sometimes its opening my fridge and saying, “well, I have x, y, and z and am too lazy to go to the store (hello too many bbqs leading to a veggie detox). Although I follow recipes more closely when I’m working with a new ingredient (hey, fish sauce can be scary), they never make it through the cooking process untouched. This week, as Mary is still out of town, my sister agreed to soup with me and had an extra fennel bulb (who doesn’t?). She reeeeally wanted a cold soup that our mother makes (which I’m pretty sure I’ve never had).

This was her response to me asking for the recipe:


hi alayna-

i will bring a fennel bulb and an onion tomorrow for cold fennel soup! other ingredients are chicken broth, lemon juice, and cream.


your sister

…. And you wonder where I get it from

Friendly Fennel

  • Chop 1.5 medium sized yellow onions (or one small) and sauté in olive oil
  • And the 3 bulbs of fennel (only the white parts) roughly chopped, but small enough to cook quickly, and cover
  • Add five medium-small red potatoes (you can skip this step if serving as an appetizer, but I like the weight it gives the soup if you’re having it as a full meal)
  • Once the fennel and potatoes are cooked through, add room temperature vegetable broth, the juice of 1.5 lemons and salt and pepper to taste
  • Blend and let sit in the fridge (or freezer) until cold


      • This soup is also delicious warm (as long as it’s not too hot out)
      • I think it would be even more delicious if you added leeks with the onions
      • For some reason I made a LOT more soup this week than normal… for a normal sized recipe, just use 2 fennel bulbs and 3 potatoes, one lemon

More happy soupers!

Watermelon Wonder

19 Aug

Ah summer, when you get up and have a slow breakfast, purposefully wait for your coffee to get cold before you take your first sip, lounge around reading, go to the beach, nap when you get tired and eat only what is cold, refreshing, or astonishingly easy to make.

As ‘grown-ups’, we never quite re-capture that summer feeling, but I got to come pretty close this past week while on vacation. I tagged along with my mom and her lovely friend Marlene to Cape Cod before heading down to Texas to see my good friend Mo. I saw seals at the beach, ate a lobster the size of my head, and enjoyed the best snow cone of my life standing in a steaming hot parking lot in a swimsuit in the middle of Austin.

And of course, there was soup. My mom happened to bring four of the five ingredients necessary for a soup I’ve been wanting to make, and the last, mint, was growing in the yard of our beach house. It couldn’t have been more perfect or better after a long day at the beach. And so I present, the Watermelon Wonder… don’t be weirded out by the garlic, it keeps the soup from tasting like juice (although you can still drink it out of a cup if you’re lazy and/or hot):

  • Chop the red parts of half a very ripe, large, seedless watermelon into chunks and to half a very ripe cantaloupe, de-seeding it first
  • Also chop one large cucumber
  • Dice two cloves of garlic and large handful of mint

  • Blend all of these things in a blender (HINT: start with watermelon at the bottom of the blender with a LITTLE bit of water and things will get liquid fast, then just reserve some for the next batch)

  • Salt and pepper to taste and let sit in the refrigerator for an hour before eating.
VOILA!… happy soupers!

And happy snow-coners!