Archive for January, 2004

Amenian Lentil Soup with Apricots

The Soup Lady is always looking for something unusual to do with a lentil. Heaven knows I’ve done all the ususal things. This little bean lends itself very well to becoming the vehicle for carrying odd mixtures of flavors and this recipe is no exception. Doesn’t it just cry out to be served with a dollop of cool plain yogurt on top?
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Armenian Lentil Soup with Apricots
The Ingredients:
Part 1:

1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
3 cup peeled, cubed eggplant
1 cup diced green pepper
6 clv garlic, minced
Part 2:
6 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cup lentils
1 1/2 cup chopped tomato
4 oz dried apricots
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tbl paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt
Finish with:
3 tbl parsley
1 tbl mint
The Process:
Saute Part 1 in olive oil until lightly browned.
Add Part 2.
Simmer until lentils are tender.
Adjust seasonings to your taste and Garnish.
found at Food Down Under
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Buffalo Chicken Wings

What could be closer to heaven on earth that a heaping platter of those little fireballs known as Buffalo Chicken Wings. You may have noticed the the Soup Lady did not recommend serving these at your SuperBowl party because that would be the end of any kind of TV watching for me – I’d spend the time staring at these delightful little snacks and then later at the pile of bones to be sure that I got every little bit of meat from them.

A plea to all restaurants, bars and take-out places in America: Please do not skimp on the celery when someone places an order of wings. And don’t try palming off carrot sticks either. All you need is three things: wings, celery and blue cheese dressing to cut the fire on your lips. Also, make sure to serve the wings crispy. No one wants to take a bite and find themselves pulling away with a mouthful of stretchy skin.

To ensure that they are served just so, try making them yourself. They are not that hard, don’t take up too much time, and you can adjust the heat of the firey sauce to suit the crybabies in your social circle. This recipe comes from that good-time gal, Martha Stewart who is becoming well known for licking her fingers and washing it all down with a slug from a beer bottle (which she actually did on the episode of her TV show that features this recipe.)

The Soup Lady likes this sauce because it produces the correct effect: the burning is on your lips and in your mouth, but does not iritate any other part of your digestive system.

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Buffalo Chicken Wings (Serves 2 to 4 )
photo from marthastewart.com
2 quarts canola oil or Crisco
3 1/2 pounds chicken wings,
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup Frank’s RedHot Sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1. Heat 4 inches of oil in a deep fryer or medium stockpot over high heat until a deep fryer thermometer registers 400°. Line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. Add half of the wing pieces to hot oil, and fry until dark golden brown, 15 to 25 minutes. Transfer to prepared baking sheets to drain.

2. While wings are cooking, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add hot sauce, Tabasco, and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until hot. Lower heat, and keep warm until ready to use.

3. When the first batch of wings is finished cooking, transfer to an airtight container. Add half the sauce, and cover tightly. Shake container to fully coat wings. Repeat with remaining wings and sauce. Serve immediately with blue-cheese dressing and celery sticks on the side.

Blue-Cheese Dressing
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1/4 lemon, or to taste
salt and black pepper
In a small bowl, stir to combine all ingredients.

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Martha’s guest cook recommended frying the chicken wings plain and then covering them with the hot sauce, which the Soup Lady agrees with. He dipped the wings straight into the blue cheese dressing, which I do not agree with. Here is the proper sequence:

1. Eat wing.
2. Exclaim: “Hooboy! That is really hot!”
3. Pick up celery stick while stinging sensation in lips increases.
4. Dip celery stick into blue cheese dressing.
5. Consume celery with dressing and notice immediate relief hotsauce-induced distress.
6. Repeat steps 1 – 5.

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Super Bowl Soup

or Get A Grip. Nobody Wants Soup on Super Bowl Sunday

The Soup Lady understands that there is a time and a place for everything and soup is not the snack food of choice for the Super Bowl crowd. It is what it is. I accept it and move on.

Pity the poor fools who would advise you to make chili. Or get this: 15 Suggestions for a Healthy Super Bowl Party. The Soup Lady couldn’t care less about football, but even I know better than to tell someone to “order a pizza without the cheese” or to invite them over and then crank up the treadmill so they can exercise while watching the game:

No, the Soup Lady recommends that you follow these simple rules to feed your SuperBowl Guests.

~ Simple is better. Don’t bother buying football-shaped plastic bowls fom the party store or little toothpicks with the team’s colors on the ends. It really isn’t necessary. In fact, don’t use toothpicks at all unless you want to make a trip to the local emergency room for a punctured palate.
~ No themed menus. Just because the Super bowl is in Texas this year doesn’t mean that you need to fire up the bar-b-que, make guacamole pr expect anyone to say “Howdy, Ma’am.”
~ Make food that doesn’t need utensils and can be easily eaten without tearing your eyes from the TV. Hero sanwiches, pizza, chips, nuts. And keep it coming. Draw the line at Buffalo wings.
~ Put down a drop cloth. Call it “my new area rug.”

That’s it. My advice is not for everybody – it’s geared towards that self-confident and secure minority who don’t feel a pressing need to bludgeon their guests over the head with clever party themes and frilly presentations. Call off the diet and go all out. Serve the traditional high-fat, excessively-salty, dare-I say-it? junk food. That kind of food is self-limiting – no one can really pack away all that much of it and your guests will remember it as a really good time.

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Cabbage Soup for Immunity

Let’s continue with our series of “How To Get Healthy or Stay That Way In The First Place”.

*** Click here for the world’s best Cabbage Soup. ***

Our friends at Value Recipes report that “Cabbage stimulates the immune system and the production of antibodies, and is an excellent remedy for fighting bacterial and viral infection, such as colds and flu.” Did I not tell you that cabbage was the best?

Although I stand by my claim that my mother’s soup is the best, I offer two alternative recipes that illustrate the wide lattitude you have when thinking of cabbage soup to suit your mood. You know that the Soup Lady tires to guide you through life whenever she can, so I will issue a friendly word of warning: no raisins – no brown sugar – no treacly sweetness when dealing with King Cabbage. Whoever thought up that combination deserves to be covered in brown sugar and then stuffed with raisins.

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Cabbage Cooler
from ValueRecipes.com
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
3 medium carrot, washed and sliced
2 sticks of celery, washed and sliced
1 medium leek, washed and sliced thinly
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium cabbage, shredded
1 cup natural yogurt
fresh parsely, to garnish

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the vegetables, except the cabbage, and stir over a low heat for 5-10 minutes.
2. Add the stock and seasoning, cover, and bring to the boil
then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Cook the cabbage in a little water for 5 minutes until slightly softened.
3. Add to the soup with half the yogurt and heat gently. Serve topped with the remainder of the yogurt and garnish with parsley.
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This first soup soup manages to be warm & filling and light & refreshing at the same time. Now we go to the other end of the spectrum and consult the disgusting and almost useless 1997 version of the Joy Of Cooking, who this time surprises us all by getting something right for a change.
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Cabbage Soup with Roquefort Cheese
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add 2 small leeks, chopped (white part only), 2 medium onions and 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic and cook until tender but not browned. Stir in 4 cups of chicken stock, 2 cups of water, 2 large carrots (sliced), 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds. Bring to a boil and then add 2 small potatoes (peeled and diced). Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups of shredded green cabbage and continue simmering for another 15 minutes until the cabbage is wilted, adding enough water to cover. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and 1/4 cup of chopped parsley. Ladle into warmed bowls and sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon of crumbled Roquefort cheese.
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The Soup Lady squirms uncomfortably when the Joy of Cooking produces something good, but I am a big person and I will give credit where credit is due. This one time, they produced something good but don’t get your expectations raised by this single incident. It’s still a lousy resource.

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The Soup Lady is very concerned about your health. So if the chicken soup and the garlic soup didn’t do anything for your cold, then this little beauty makes a promise that it "can prevent phlegm from forming. Stop coughing. Avoid constipation and fat accumulation. " How’s that for simple soup?  Better keep this one under your hat – if word gets out,  the over-the-counter pharmaceutical business might just be over with.

I found this recipe on-line at a site called Value Recipes and the creator is listed as "Value Recipes Editor". The poor guy must be a real cook at heart. Observe: all he has to work with is a single radish and a dried up orange, and yet he is happily ‘cubing’ and ‘mincing’ away.

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Radish Soup With Dried Tangerine Peel

1 radish
3 dried tangerine peel
1 coriander
6 cups water
1. Pare and cube radish.
2. Rinse and mince coriander
3. Bring water to boil.
4. Put all ingredients into water. Turn to low heat, cook until radish is soft. Add salt to taste.

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Those are the complete directions. Now don’t ask me how much ‘3 peel’ is or ‘one coriander’. Is that one corriander seed? Or one tsp.  of dried coriander leaves? I don’t know. Still there’s plenty of additional information there about the ingredients, just nothing that is going to help you make soup:
Dried Tangerine Peel:
* Regulates the digestion. Used for bloating, nausea and vomiting.
* Clears Phlegm.
*Pungent and bitter taste with a warm energy
*They are nearly all water, with some vitamin C, folic acid
Trace minerals, including iron, zinc, silicon, and selenium.
*The chlorine content may actually help in digestion. The spicier radishes can help clear the sinuses and any mucus in the upper airways.

And there we have it. It’s worth a try anyway. It looks like it’s not too much effort even with the cubing and mincing. And it’s possible that it might handle one of those embararasing bloat situations you might find yourself in one day.

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Dragon’s Bowl

The Soup Lady often publishes mail from readers who wish to share their soup recipes. This is the first time that a recipe has been contributed by a fictional character.

This recipe was developed by Abe Cohen, the main character in Dragon, the story of a man who turns his back on Hollywood for a more ‘normal’ life in Arizona. (Author: Trudy W Schuett ) I catagorized this recipe in the Real People/Real Soup section because I figure Abe is at least as real as food brand characters Betty Crocker, Uncle Ben, the Jolly Green Giant or Snap, Crackle and Pop.

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Dragon’s Bowl
2 lb beef stew meat, cut in cubes
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 carrots, sliced
3-4 ribs celery, sliced
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
4 T butter or olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp-1 T whole peppercorns
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp-1 T salt
2 tsp instant beef bouillon
½ cup pearl barley
½ cup white rice
½ cup brown rice
½ cup wild rice
½ cup lentils

Brown beef in butter or oil, add veg and mushrooms, sauté. Add spices and seasonings. Add barley, rices, and lentils, in whatever combination you have on hand, with total volume adding up to about 2 ½ cups. Add 6 cups of water to start, adding more as the soup cooks depending on the consistency desired. We allow a minimum of 2 hours for the soup to simmer—this recipe works well in the crock-pot. Just dump everything in and walk away. It helps to sing as you add the herbs. ;>) Dancing is optional. This recipe also freezes and reheats well in the microwave. We freeze it in individual portions.

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Speaking of brand characters, I hear that Chef Boy-ar-dee is real. But has anyone actually met him? Is he, in fact, the lyricist for the Beefaroni theme song, which for my money, is the very best jingle ever penned for a canned entree. Do you know that if you Google “lyrics to Beefaroni jingle”, you will come up empty handed? I will do you the favor now of printing them here entirely from memory:

We’re having Beefaroni!
It’s beef and macroni!
Beefaroni’s full of meat.
Beefaroni’s fun to eat.
Beefaroni’s really neat.
Hooray! Whee! For Chef Boy-ar-dee!

You’re welcome.

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Bread and Garlic Soup

Did the chicken soup cure what ails you? No? Then maybe we need to pull out the big guns and get serious about Therapeutic Soup. Garlic as an antibiotic – who knew?

“Garlic is the only antibiotic that can actually kill infecting bacteria and at the same time protect the body from the poisons that are causing the infection … Louis Pasteur acknowledged garlic to be as effective as penicillin … Even the blood of garlic eaters can kill bacteria and it is also reported that the vapour from freshly cut garlic can kill bacteria at a distance of 20 cms”

If you follow this soup recipe that calls for 1/4 cup of chopped garlic, the vapor that you’ll be producing will kill your crabgrass, the mold on your bathroom walls and your plans for the evening. You won’t care, though, because you will be totally happy, filled with a satisfying soup and maybe a little healthier, too.

Bread and Garlic Soup
Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add 2 cups chopped onions, 1/4 cup finely chopped garlic, 1 crushed bay leaf, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Season with salt. Saute until slightly caramelized, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in 2 quarts of chicken stock. Bring the liquid up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 40 minutes.

Turn the heat up and whisk in 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 2 cups of diced day old French bread. Continue whisking until the bread has dissolved into the soup, about 10 minutes. With a hand-held blender, puree the soup until smooth. Whisk in 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese . Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into individual soup bowls and serve. Garnish with chopped parsley.

People who are convinced about the health and healing benefits of garlic swear that the most benefit for health and healing comes from raw, crushed garlic. Cooked garlic seems to be somewhat less powerful but still efective. Following this advice, you could garnish the soup with a bit of finely chopped fresh garlic. Let me know how it works out.

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