When I used to live in Washington, DC there was a little bar I loved frequenting which served, among other delicious items, tater tots, grilled cheese and even homemade tomato soup – all the best childhood comfort foods, just a bit upgraded. At some point in the restaurant’s history it changed over the menu to tapas (small Spanish-style plates), and the tater tots and grilled cheeses were a thing of the past. Sigh.
I love updating comfort foods, like my Sweet Potato Mac n Cheese and Shakshuka Pizza among other dishes. There is something so exciting about taking a bite that is both new and also brings back fond memories.
So on a cold November day a few weeks ago when my friend’s son requested soup for lunch, I knew right away I wanted to make something a 3 year old would enjoy as much as I would: creamy, healthy tomato soup with just a spoonful of playful alphabet letters, a throwback to childhood classics. Everyone enjoyed the tomato soup that day, including my 1 year old daughter, the 3 year old Jonah and me and the husband.
Make sure not to add the alphabet pasta until you serve otherwise the pasta will absorb too much of the soup and it will have a mushy, non-soup-like consistency.
2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 ½-2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Salt and pepper
½ cup alphabet or other small pasta
½ cup heavy cream (optional)
Add butter or oil to a medium pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent.
Add crushed tomatoes and stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat after 10 minutes to low.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta around 6 minutes or according to directions. Drain pasta and drizzle with a tiny amount of olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking. Set aside until ready to serve.
If you want the soup to be a smoother consistency, you can puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. If not, you can leave soup as is.
If making the soup dairy, add heavy cream before serving.
Add a heaping tablespoon of pasta to each bowl. Sprinkle chopped chives on top and serve.
The weather is starting to take a turn, and it’s debatable whether it’s for better or worse. There is a definite bright side, and it’s not the skies: it’s soup season. Right when you’ve started unrolling your blankets, and reminiscing about fire places, that’s the time to stick a pot on the stove top.
I think everyone has a memory of tomato soup warming them up from the inside out. Tomato soup is one of those comfort food classics, that like coke, doesn’t need a new formula.
Tomato soup + me + spoon = happy.
That’s why I took the liberty with this recipe to not reinvent the wheel that’s been rolling smoothly; instead I played with it just a touch. While making this soup I couldn’t help but think about matbucha, the tomato based salad Jews have been drowning their challah in for generations throughout the Middle East. Its acidic touch of lemon and hint of cumin is what makes the salad so popular among noshers of all ages.
I added some lemon juice and spices similar to the ones found in matbucha, and some sweet peppers to give it a touch of unexpected flavor that’ll warm you up like an Indian summer.
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 medium purple onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 hot pepper, diced (optional)
1 ½ Tbsp sugar
5 plum tomatoes, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
3 cups of tomato juice
3 cups of boiling water
Salt and white pepper to taste
1/2 cup of cooked wild rice
Toast cumin and paprika in large pot on medium heat until fragrant, about three minutes.
Add olive oil and lemon juice to the pot and cook for one minute. Once they are hot, stir in the onion, garlic, and hot pepper if you are using it.
Let your onion mix cook for about 6 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
Mix in your sugar, tomatoes, and sweet peppers. Let them cook for about 6 minutes. They should be done when the tomatoes and peppers have softened slightly.
Add tomato juice and water to the pot. Bring soup to a slow boil. Lower the heat to medium and let it cook uncovered for 40 minutes.
Fill bowls with a few spoonfuls of rice and then ladle soup over it.
Before there was a baby or bills there were lots of vacations and other more frivolous ways that the husband and I spent our time and money.
One Summer before we were married we went to Vail for a beautiful, outdoors-centric long weekend. I expected great hiking and scenic mountain views, but I didn’t expect such an exciting food scene: outdoor farmers markets, gourmet mountainside dinners and jalapenos roasted before my eyes, among other highlights.
But the absolute culinary highlight from our time in Vail was a Sunday evening dinner at Kelly Liken, from acclaimed chef Kelly Liken. Little did we know, the restaurant throws its menu out the window on Sundays and cooks a completely new menu based on whatever is fresh at the farmers market that morning. I don’t remember everything we ate, but I do remember that it was outstanding.As our appetizer that evening we ordered a roasted beet soup that was unlike anything I had ever tasted before. I was so enamored with the soup that the husband, in true Jewish New Yorker form, asked the waiter if he could get the recipe for us to take home.
I was mildly embarrassed at his pushy request, but a few minutes later the waiter came back with the recipe jotted down in pen on a paper napkin. I don’t have that napkin anymore, but I have made the recipe enough times that it is forever engrained in my memory. Not to mention it was a pretty exciting moment to get the recipe for such a special soup straight from the chef. I may have made a few adjustments along the way, but no matter – it still turns out great.
This soup can be served hot or cold, although I prefer it served warm with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt. The soup definitely requires patience since it has many steps to make it. But the result is so delicious it is worth the effort.
6 large beets or 8-10 small-medium beets
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 quart vegetable stock
1/3 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream or greek yogurt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Scrub beets and wipe dry. Wrap each beet in tin foil and close tightly. Roast for at least one hour, or until beets are tender. Allow to cool enough to handle. Peel beets and chop into small pieces.
In a skillet heat olive oil and butter on medium heat. Saute onions and fresh thyme until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add beets and cook another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove thyme.
Pour beet, onion and garlic mixture into a food processor fitted with a blade. Add 1 cup of vegetable broth to food processor. Pulse until completely smooth.
Put beet and onion mixture through a fine mesh sieve or food mill in batches. This will take time. Place beet liquid to pot and add vegetables broth and whisk together. Bring liquid to a simmer on medium heat.
After soup has cooked for 3-5 minutes and is starting to bubble, reduce heat to low-medium. Add heavy creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with sour cream or greek yogurt.
I don’t know about you but I am just thrilled that September is over and we have moved past the chagim and into a new month. Beyond the happiness I feel for the chaos of the holidays being behind us, like many others I am so happy that it is officially fall and that everywhere I look there are pumpkins! While the temperatures where I live in Boston have remained in the 70’s it is still fall and therefore time for soup.
A few years ago, my husband and I went to New Orleans to visit friends. The wife, who is a fantastic cook, is always trying new recipes and she made us a delicious pumpkin soup. It was a fall version of minestrone soup with totally different flavors than I had tasted before. I happily received the recipe from her, and have been experimenting with her version ever since. Anything with pumpkin is a must try and anything that is easily brought as lunch the next day is also a winner, and I promise, this make a great lunch!
For this recipe, I toast the pumpkin seeds with salt and cayenne pepper to top the soup. It adds extra crunch and flavor.
1 19 oz can of chickpeas
4 carrots, cut into 2-3 large chunks
4 medium potatoes, quartered
2 large onion, quartered
salt and pepper
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp (less or more to taste) cayenne pepper
7 oz pumpkin, cut into 6-8 large chunks (peeled and seeds discarded)
4 zucchini, cut into 3-4 large chunks
half a green cabbage, quartered
4-5 stalks celery cut coarsely
7 cups of water
I cup prepared Israeli (pearl) couscous
1 bay leaf
Bring salted water to a boil.
Add the carrots, potatoes and onion, season with salt, pepper, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf. Cook 45 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Add the remaining vegetables and cook for 10 minutes.
Add chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary and remove the bay leaf.
Prepare the couscous according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Place a heap of couscous in a deep dish. Arrange the vegetables on top and ladle the soup around and over the couscous.
I have been on a bit of a vegetarian streak lately and while I have not cut meat out of my diet, I am happily eating a mostly meat-free diet during the week. Which also means I am now on the lookout for tasty, satisfying, vegetarian-friendly main dishes.
It’s also spring and therefore time to include peas, asparagus and other seasonal veggies in our cooking!
These were the thoughts swirling around in my head this weekend when I created this hearty, springtime veggie soup, chock full of white beans, peas, asparagus and bite-sized pasta.
Going gluten free? Leave out the pasta!
Like even more stuff in your soup? Add double the amount of peas, add 1/2 cup of corn or add a large handful of baby kale or spinach.
Don’t like cannelini beans? Swap them out for some chick peas or black eyed peas instead!
In short, you can put your own stamp on this soup so add and subtract away!
3 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 1/2 cups asparagus, cut into small pieces
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini, orzo or small shells
Bring chicken or vegetable stock to simmer in a large pot. Add peas and beans.
Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a separate medium sized pot. Add pasta and cook 8 minutes or until al dente. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add asparagus. Drain pasta and asparagus.
Add pasta and asparagus to soup.Allow to simmer 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.