Archive for November, 2003

Thanksgiving has been over for three days now. If you’re still looking for recipes to use up your left-overs, you may be on dangerous ground by now. Throw them away and make some fresh soup. This one has an unexpected complexity: it’s has a sweet, rich flavor with a nice bite provided by the horseradish.

Acorn Squash Soup with Horseradish and Apples
3 acorn squash
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 tablespoon horseradish , divided
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 Granny Smith apples
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsleyleaves
1. Heat oven to 450°. Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and place, cut side down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes.
2. Combine chicken broth, apple cider, 1 teaspoon horseradish, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Scoop squash flesh out of skins, and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add 1 cup hot stock mixture, and puree until smooth. Stir squash mixture into pan with remaining stock, and keep soup warm.
3. Peel and core apples, and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Transfer to a small bowl, add lemon juice and remaining 2 teaspoons horseradish, and toss to combine. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add apple mixture, and sauté until golden brown. Serve soup garnished with sautéed apple mixture and chopped parsley.

Read Full Post »

Well, it’s the day before Thanksgiving and the Soup Lady is in a tizzy trying to get all the last minute details together for the holiday meal tomorrow. I hope you all have a nice pot of soup going so that you can stop and nourish yourselves. Come back and see me on Friday when you are all looking at the ugly carcass of a 16 pound bird and wondering what to do with it. There are plenty of places you can go to find a traditional turkey bone soup recipe , but look at the dilly (sorry!) that arrived in the Soup Lady’s mailbag. How could one not adore a soup that calls for pickle juice in the ingredients? Deborah Diemand writes:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Dear Soup Lady,
I thought I would share one of my favorite soup recipes, which I got from a wonderful old lady from Savannah GA, since, sadly, deceased at a great age. Her name was Ruth Poggenpohl. Don’t know where she got it from – some ante-bellum grandmother perhaps. She was a genius at simple, delicious, but unusual foods.
Very simple, and a little piece of heaven. We generally pick the better meat scraps off the carcass when the stock is done and toss them in with the veggies. As you can tell from the vague instructions, you can do whatever you like.
signed, Deborah Diemand

Turkey carcass
Potatoes, onions, carrots, celery
1 can tomato soup
3-4 dill pickles, diced
4 tbsp pickle juice
sour cream

Make stock from turkey carcass, leaving in small bits of meat. Dice veggies and cook in a small amount of water and a bit of butter. Add veg to the trained stock along with the tomato soup. 5 minutes before serving add pickles and juice. Serve with a blob of sour cream on top.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Soup Lady’s Free Advice for Thanksgiving :

For the cook
: Don’t worry too much about what you are serving to your guests. They will eat it anyway. If it’s burned, scrape the black part off. If it’s undercooked, throw it back in for a while – they will have plenty of other stuff to eat while it finishes. If you forgot something that you planned to have on your menu, don’t sweat it – no one will know unless you tell them. Don’t compare your dinner with Aunt Sally who has been hostessing the family event for 35 years, or with your cousin’s new wife who had theirs catered by Jean-Luc last year – this dinner is yours and yours alone. If what you offer comes from the heart, that is all anyone can ask for. Accept all help for assistance in the kitchen. Be sure sure that you follow the rules of basic sanitation and good hygeine.

For the guests: Don’t show up empty-handed. Ask before hand what you can bring to contribute to the meal. If the hostess politely declines to tell you, bring something anyway – a sweet for dessert, a bag of gournet coffe beans or a fancy canister of tea, or a pineapple wrapped in a new dishtowel. Eat from the selection of dishes that are on the menu. If you are on a diet, work with what you have. If you have special medical needs for your food, then you know what you can and cannot have. Don’t make a big deal about how the food that is offered does not fit your food plan. Offer to help. Try to stay out of the way during the last-minute preparations -help is most appreciated after the meal during the clean-up. If you can’t bear the idea of spending the time after the holiday meal with your hands in the sink and up to your elbows in suds, take out the kitchen gabage; keep the small kids busy; ofer to take the dog for a walk.

Advice about children: have a kids’ table and seat your litittle guests together there, but do it in a positive way, not as if you are telling them they are not fit to sit at the big table. If you don’t have a lot of space for an extra table, spread out a plastic tablecloth somewhere out of the way and let them have an indoor ‘picnic’. They will try to get themselves to the big table, but pleasantly redirect them. In the long run, they will talk about the kids’ table for years to come and be happy that they sat at one. Let them provide decorations. If they made turkeys out of brown paper bags, let that be the centerpiece. Use the placecards they made and let them wear feathers and pilgrim caps during the meal. Take them to a party store and let them pick out a tissue paper turkey or a foil garland to string around. Don’t get worked up over food stains on their clothing or spilled plates of food – it’s going to happen so just relax. You can clean it later.

Advice about seniors: Listen to your uncle’s same old stories – again. So what if you heard them before? Let the old ladies help with the dishes. I know you want to give them a break after all the years that they stood on their feet feeding you, but maybe they like doing dishes. Let them. Repeat what you just said as many times as it takes in case they didn’t quite catch all the words. Let them hold the babies, but don’t expect them to babysit.

General advice: Turn off the TV. Use your good manners. Be nice to everybody. Remember what you are thankful for.

Read Full Post »

Cranberry Soup

And so as we prepare to go out to the stores armed with a list of items to get for the traditional Thanks giving meal on Thursday, why not take advantage of the glut of produce in the stores now and pick up a few extra packages of cranberries? After you make your sauces, relishes and breads, try some soup. And when you’re done with that, make a nice cake.

1 cup cranberries
5 carrots, large, peeled, sliced
4 cups water
1 cup milk, scalded
2 tablespoons butter
seasonings to taste

Put all ingredients in a stock pot. Boil together for about 20 minutes. Drain off liquid into a saucepan. Remove from heat and carefully puree the mixture in batches or use a hand held immersion blender. Bring back to a boil, and serve.

8 oz. fresh cranberries beans
6 cups water
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
3 oz. fresh cranberries
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup half and half
2 tbsp. fresh mixed herbs, finely chopped ( parsley & chives)
1 large bay leaf
1 large clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
Bring water to a boil in a deep pan. Add beans, onion, celery sticks, cranberries, potatoes, herbs, bay leaf, garlic, salt and black pepper. Boil for 15 minutes until frothy. Remove froth with a spoon and discard. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours until smooth. Put in blender for a smoother soup. Serve immediately hot with buttered hot rye bread.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
2 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cranberries, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Grease 9-inch springform pan. Line bottom with waxed paper; grease and flour paper.
2. Beat butter and 1 cup sugar in mixer bowl until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Add orange juice and peel. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to beaten mixture alternately with milk.
4. Chop 1/2 cup cranberries and stir into batter. Pour batte into prepared pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining cranberries and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake 40 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
5. Cool pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Serve warm with Orange Whipped Cream. Makes 10 servings.

Orange Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur
Beat cream and sugar in chilled mixer bowl with chilled beaters until stiff. Beat in liqueur. Makes 2 cups.
recipe from The Cranberry Lady. Hey! Why didn’t I think of that?

Read Full Post »

It’s all about the bird this week, my friends. The unspoken secret that many of us carry around is that we don’t really care for turkey. For those that fall into that camp, Thanksgiving is the only time that they must face the beastly bird. Or do they? Our old friend, Howie – he of the Famous Tomato Vegetable Soup, comes to the rescue and gives us two versions of seafood chowder – a white one to one to suit the purists who insist that a white base is the only proper vehicle for fish, and a red one for those who are advanturous and want zip to their chowder. Give up the turkey and start your own holiday tradition – oh, wait – didn’t the Pilgrims have fish on their harvest table, too? Then we’re right in style here with Howie’s Smoked Trout and Crab Chowder
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Dear Soup Lady,
It’s me, Howie, again. I’m going to attempt to document this recipe from memory since:
1) My old PC is beyond hope (and I know it’s on there!)
2) There is little chance of finding it elsewhere.
3) I may become senile someday and the recipe will go over to Disneyland with me! So here goes:

Part one: Good rainbow trout.
If you can catch one and filet it, best you can get! If you have a favorite fish monger and can get fresh rainbow trout, secondbest you can get. If you can’t get trout (of any sort), get something similar as long as it isfresh! If you have one of those rangetop smokers, GOOD! If you have a BBQ and know how to smoke fish on it, GOOD! If you have neither and no one else will smoke the fish for you, BAD! Smoke the fish. Type of wood… Well, some people swear on alder or cherry. Me, I like hickory or mesquite. To each is/her own.

Part two:Obtain good lump crabmeat.
If you can catch blueclaw crabs (like the old Marylanders I knew used to do), GREAT! If you can GET fresh blueclaw crabs, EXCELLENT! If you want to order from places like legal seafood, YIPPEE! If you can get decent crabmeat somewhere, OK! If you haveta use the canned, jarred, supermarket stuff, well, so be it.

Part three: Got good ham and/or bacon? Good! I like to crisp good bacon, get rid of the drippings, and put it aside but I also love black forest ham chunks in my chowder. Chunk up some good ham and put that aside or use both! The other option is salt pork but to be honest, I’ve never used it. So if you are familiar with utilizing it for soup, go right ahead….

Part four: Soup pot… large… like 6 quarts… on stove with about, um, 29 ounces of water (I got that from my other recipe. It just sounds right!) Bring to simmer. Add diced potatoes, celery, onions, and if you like mushrooms, have at it. Oh, and garlic.

(Type of each, amounts, etc… wing it! We wanna be able to enjoy the smoked fish taste and the delicate taste of crab so let’s not overpower them with too much garlic and onions. I like elephant garlic for this soup. Maybe a clove or wo diced or crushed.A vadalia onion, which is a sweeter onion, is good for this ecipe as opposed to a sharper onion. Stick with milder types of mushrooms as ell. White, button but not portobello or other “stronger” types. THIS IS DELICATE STUFF!)

You will see in a while that you will be making a decision shortly. Do I want white or red chowder??? At this point, if you know you want red, add diced carrots. If you want white, no further action required at this moment.

Simmer covered for an hour. Add two bottles of clam juice. I use Doxsee and I do not know the size. It’s little bottles. It’s about a cup.

Spices/herbs (regardless of if you are making red or white):
1/4-1/2 tsp. white or black pepper. White seems to be better for white soup. 2 tsps each oregano, parsley, thyme. 1 tsp dill. Cover and simmer for another hour.

Part five: Lowest flame:
Put in the fish in small pieces as well as the crab. Try to be careful with
bones cause no one likes a mouthful of bones when they enjoy soup! And trout tend to have little ones!! (P.S. I have substituted red snapper instead of trout and even added some red pepper flakes for the red version…. OH I’M DYING!!!)

Are you the Manhattan chowder type? Diced tomatoes. A couple of 14.5 oz cans or a large can. I like the Italian diced tomatoes myself. I also like to add hot sauce at this point if making red. Yourchoice on that. A few bay leaves goes well in the red version.

Are you the New England chowder type? Instead of tomatoes, use about 1 1/2 cups of half and half, stir in 1/2 tsp butter, and then stir in 1 p of flour.

It may seem wrong to make the red version with fish and crab but I like it either way. Some people like to add wine to this recipe. I did not care for the combination of half and half and chardonnay, but you may try it to see ow you feel about it. I also have yet to find a red wine that is delicate enough to enhance the red version. Experiment if you desire!

We don’t want to kill the fish, crab or destroy the creaminess if making the white version, so, stir as you add these ingredients, keep the flame low, and allow to slowly simmer for about 10-15 minutes tops. Enough to incorporate the fish/crab into the soup.

That’s it. To the best of my memory. I hope someone out there tries this! It’s much more work then I like to do but it is so worth it!! If you haven’t determined this about me yet, I never add salt while cooking! If you want, try sea salt to your taste. I have added sea salt when I’m eating this and it seems to go well with the theme of fish chowder.

Best regards,

Our friend Howie likes his soup served in a nice tureen.
How about this one, found at Rus-sell.?

Read Full Post »

Celery Soup

The Soup Lady likes a good stalk of celery every once in a while. Here are 5 celery soups that present in very different ways. Don’t be afraid to use a vegetable peeler to strip the strings from older, outer stalks although there are some folks who believe that the strings adds fiber. If you don’t strip them, be sure to finely mince the celery – no one wants to be caught wondering what to do with with a great lump of collected celery string that can’t be chewed.

This is the soup that the conductor Arturo Toscanini customarily had served to him before he conducted. The maestro did not go on to more food before a concert, although the less tense and less dedicated usually want more on a normal evening. This recipe is for one person in need of comfort. Please note that it is not likely that the normal consumer will change into a gifted conductor after dining on this soup.

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons uncooked rice
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the celery and onion and cook over low heat until tender. Add the rice and beef stock; cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Pour into bowl and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with hot toast.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MINESTRA DEL SEDANO (Italian Celery Soup)
For those who have no orchestral engagements or who prefer something a little more hearty, try this version. The core ingredients are the same – it’s still celery and rice – but the experience is totally different.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 bacon slices, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bunches celery, cut in 1/2″ slices
1 qt. hot stock or broth
salt & pepper
1/2 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

celery.jpg Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion and bacon; saute until onion begins to brown. Stir in tomato paste and celery. Cook 5 minutes,stir occasionally. Gradually stir in stock or broth. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir rice into soup/ Simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Pour into tureen or serve in individual bowls; Sprinkle cheese over the top.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
On to another satisfying soup – a simple creation, but rich in texture and flavor.
5 cups minced celery and leaves
2 cups chicken stock
1 slice onion
2 tablespoons. butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cup milk
1 cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Dry sherry, optional

Combine celery, chicken stock and 2 cups boiling water in saucepan; simmer until celery is tender. Saute onion in butter; blend in flour. Stir in milk; cook, stirring, until thick. Add celery mixture and cream; season with salt and pepper. Process in electric blender until smooth or use a hand-held immersion blender. Reheat to serve. Dry sherry, to taste, may be added to each bowl.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Here’s a version of Cream of Celery Soup made with raw foods – no cooking or heating at all. The end result is rich and nourishing.
1 bunch celery, finely chopped
2 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 to 1 tablespoon honey
some chopped parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

Blend all ingredients together until smooth and serve.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I knew we’d get here sooner or later: if you can eat it, you can mix it with beans. Just 3 ingredients produce this plain and simple soup, but you can certainly add tiny cubes of cooked ham or crumbled bacon as a garnish. the Soup Lady likes a bit of green on top as well – maybe some chopped scallions or a bit of parsley.

Soak one pint of navy beans for twenty-four hours, then simmer on the back of the coal range or at the edge of a coal fire over night. Take two stalks of celery, cut it fine, cook it half an hour with the beans, then press celery and beans through a colander. Heat one quart of beef stock, add the puree and cook together for fifteen minutes, stirring constantly.

Read Full Post »

Famous Internet Cookies

Looking for a sure-fire crowd pleaser? How about a little something for the sweet tooth? Do you get lost in the forest of desert ideas? Then follow the Soup Lady’s First Rule for Indecisive Bakers:
When in doubt, pull chocolate out.

This chocolate chip cookie recipe is famous as the centerpiece of one of the internet’s first urban myth’s: the stolen Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe. The story goes that a shopper at the store’s cafe in Dallas was so impressed with the cookie that she asked for the recipe. After many rebuffs, the store reluctantly gave her the recipe, swore her to secrecy and then billed $250.00 to her credit card. In retaliation, the woman vowed to spread the the secret recipe all over the internet. The myth was debunked when N-M posted the store’s real recipe on their own website, and it’s free. But using the recipe posted here will give you something to talk about over the coffee cups.

The cookies pictured here were made by Brian Kane who says “these are maybe the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had.” They were were dispatched to our ancillary test kitchen at Worcester Polytechnical Institute for taste-testing by a panel of volunteers from the second floor of Sanford Reilly Hall. Test results: the cookies were declared superfantastic. The panel of judges recommends placing the cookies in the microwave for a few seconds before consuming.

Famous Internet Cookies served on Stangl’s Country Garden pattern
4 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups flour
5 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 ounces Hershey chocolate bar — grated
24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.

Blend the oatmeal by putting it in a food processor one cup at a time
and pulsing until the oatmeal is broken up into a finer flour-like

In a large bowl or mixer, cream the butter and both sugars until
smooth. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix well. Mix in flour, oatmeal, salt,
baking soda, and baking powder. Add the grated chocolate and mix well.
Add chocolate chips and nuts.

Roll the dough into golf-ball sized balls and place a couple of inches
apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes per batch.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Country Garden is one of the more intricate patterns produced by Stangl. Introduced in 1956 and in production well into the 1970s, you think there would be more of it around, but it’s pretty hard to find. I guess people are still hanging onto their original sets. When they’re ready to let it go, The Soup Lady will be waiting to snap it up.Click here for a close-up of Country Garden. This peice was originally a tidbit tray. Note the hole drilled in the center where a handle would have been screwed in.

Read Full Post »

X – Cookies

The holidays are soon upon us and the gracious houseguests among you will be looking to contribute to your host’s holiday table. This is not always an easy task due to the difficulties of transporting some of your best creations. Many is the time The Soup Lady has driven at break-neck speed to get to Uncle Joe’s house before the Jello mold comes undone. Unfortunatley, high-speed driving, while good for the Jello, is bad for the crockpot full of soup. Two-words: upholstery cleaner.

Why not go with elegant baked goods? Let everyone else argue about who gets to bring the pumpkin pie – you can bring these elegant cookies. The recipe for these fancy figgies comes to us courtesy of Bridget Kane. These cookies taste as good as they look. They are a complex blend of preserved fruits and are sure to cause a sensation on the dessert buffet. And sensation is what were going for, isn’t it?

X – Cookies displayed on a Stangl Blueberry Relish Dish
4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold butter — cut into 12 pieces
4 large eggs
12 ounces dried figs
1/2 cup unblanched almonds — toasted and chopped
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup candied orange peel — diced
2 ounces semisweet chocolate — chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg — beaten
confectioner’s sugar

For the dough: Put flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse just to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse 15-20
times to cut in the butter. Add the 4 eggs and pulse until the dough forms a ball. Remove the dough and knead briefly on a lightly floured work surface until it is smooth. Shape the dough into a log, wrap with plastic and set aside.

For the filling: Remove stems from dried figs and dice. The figs should be soft and moist. If they are too dry, plump them in boiling water for five minutes before dicing. Put the figs and the rest of the filling ingredients in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape out of the bowl onto the work surface , knead to blend, and shape into a log. Cut the log into 12 pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350 and place racks so that oven is divided into thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll each piece on a floured work surface until you form a 12-inch-long rope of dough. Use a rolling pin to flatten out into a rectangle 3 inches wide by 12 inches long. Run a knife under the dough to make sure it is not too stuck to the work surface. Brush the dough with the beaten egg. Roll a piece of filling into a 12-inch rope and place in the middle of the dough. Pull the dough up around the filling, making a seam, and roll the filled dough into a cylinder, lengthening it a bit until it is about 15 inches long. Cut the filled cylinder into 5 3-inch lengths. Repeat with the other pieces of dough and filling.

Take a cut piece of filled dough and place it seam-side down on the work surface. Make a 1-inch cut in each end and separate the ends to make the cookies into the shape of an X. Repeat with all the pieces. Transfer to the baking sheets and bake for 15-20 minutes until they are a light golden color. Transfer to racks to cool. Dust with confectioner’s sugar once completely cooled.
Yield: “5 dozen”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Blueberry is one of the most popular patterns for Stangl collectors. Click here for a close-up of The Soup Lady’s relish dish in this pattern.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »