Tag Archives: soup

Hélène’s All-White Salad + Leek and Potato Soup

Helene's All-White Salad

I am running a day late for French Fridays with Dorie because we have a sick girl in the house.  I had to pick my daughter up from school early yesterday; it seems she has a cold.  My poor little girl is so congested!  Unfortunately my husband and I are not feeling optimistic about our own health, but so far neither one of us is ready to admit we have the cold too.

We will be discussing two FFWD recipes today:  Hélène’s All-White Salad and Leek and Potato Soup (a make-up from the early days).  Let’s start with the salad!

Hélène’s All-White Salad

When Dorie’s friend Hélène opened up a restaurant, she created a bunch of “color-themed” salads.  The all-white salad was Dorie’s favorite.  It contains celery, apples, mushrooms, and Napa cabbage, tossed with a yogurt-based vinaigrette.

All-White Salad

This one had mixed results in my house.  I thought it was fine, and would eat it if it were given to me, but I probably won’t make it again.  My daughter doesn’t usually eat salads, but I gave her some as an experiment.  She picked out all the apples.  My husband declared after one bite, “I won’t be eating this one again”!

I think I would have liked this one better with a different type of apple.  The Granny Smiths were too tart for my taste.  Also, my dressing was a little bitter.

Leek and Potato Soup

The Leek and Potato Soup fared better.  The French Fridays group made this one early on and it had received mixed reviews.  I read some of the old entries to figure out what people didn’t like about it, and how I could make sure it was a success for us.  Very helpful!

Leek & Potato Soup with Bacon

I didn’t change much.  The main issue is that Dorie tends to like thinner soups.  Leek and Potato seems like it should be a bit heartier, so I reduced the liquid by 2 cups (I used 3 cups broth & 2 cups milk vs. the 4 cups/3 cups called for).  Also, I didn’t have whole milk, so I used half 1% milk and half heavy cream.  The cream definitely added a nice richness to the soup!

Leek & Potato Soup

This soup can be served chunky or smooth, with any number of toppings.  I chose smooth, blending it with my immersion blender and leaving it slightly chunky.  For dinner the first night, I topped it with Gruyère cheese and bacon.  Everything tastes better with bacon!  For lunch the next day, I just used Gruyère and chopped parsley.

I am so glad I had the wisdom of the Dorista’s who made this before me!  We enjoyed the soup and I would definitely make it again with my changes.

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This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie, and online group cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.  We don’t share recipes, but I encourage you to get this wonderful book!

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Simple Party Soups + Baked Apple

It’s another two-fer French Friday today!  I made two French Fridays with Dorie recipes this week:  Christine’s Simple Party Soups and Baked Apples Filled with Fruits and Nuts.

Simple Broccoli Soup

Christine’s Simple Party Soups are a trio of simple vegetable soups: asparagus, broccoli, and red pepper.  The technique is the same for each soup.  Simply simmer the vegetables in chicken broth until tender, then puree and season with salt and pepper.  Serve the soups with a dollop of flavored whipped cream and you are good to go!

Rather than trying to tackle all three soups, I chose to make just the broccoli soup.   As advertised, it was very simple to make.  The cream was flavored with curry powder, which I felt added a very nice flavor.

I served the soup with grilled cheese sandwiches for a simple weeknight meal.  We liked the soup, but probably not enough for me to make it again.

Baked Apple with Fruit & Nuts

Some of you may recognize this apple from my previous photo challenge!

Simple was the theme of the week.  Baked Apples Filled with Fruits and Nuts are an easy-to-make dessert, perfect for a cold night.

The apples are filled with the cook’s choice of dried fruits and nuts mixed with honey.  Add a little butter and some apple juice for moistness and you are ready to bake.

Apples out of the oven

Fresh from the oven!

These baked apples can be served with any number of creamy topping, such as heavy cream, yogurt, or vanilla ice cream.  I decided to try the unwhipped cream, which was very nice with it.

I like this one better than my husband did.  He thought it seemed more like a snack than a dessert.  These would be great with vanilla ice cream!

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Chestnut-Pear Soup

Chestnut-Pear Soup

I have to admit, I wasn’t very excited about this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe.  The few times I have tried chestnuts I didn’t really care for them and the idea of them pureed in a soup just didn’t appeal to me.  But, that’s part of the fun of FFWD: trying recipes we would not otherwise try!

Chestnut-Pear Soup begins with the saute of a generous amount of onions, leeks, and celery.  Next, pears and roasted chestnuts simmer in broth until the chestnuts are soft enough to be mashed with a spoon.  Finally, the whole thing is blended until smooth, then served with a drizzle of crème fraîche.

Soup

I was pleasantly surprised!  We liked the hint of sweetness from the pears against the savory flavor of the vegetables.  I am not sure I will make this again as we prefer brothier, meatier soups, but this was a fun one to try.

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Orange-Scented Lentil Soup

Daylight Savings Time.  We all know we set our clocks ahead one hour this past weekend.  It has been a rough transition for my family.  I have been having trouble falling asleep, my daughter has been having trouble staying asleep, and we all have yet to wake up on time this week.

Orange-Scented Lentil Soup

One major positive to switching to Daylight Savings Time is I now have natural light at dinner time.  Which means I have natural light for taking pictures of my dinner!  I felt so uninspired during the long, dark winter that I hardly felt like taking any photos for French Fridays with Dorie, and would even postpone making something because of not wanting to take the pictures.  Now I can find my inspiration again!

For this week’s recipe I did indeed take advantage of that natural light.  We made Orange-Scented Lentil Soup.  It is a basic lentil soup flavored with a strip of orange peel, peppercorns, coriander seeds, a clove, and fresh ginger.  After the lentils are tender, everything (including the orange peel!) is pureed.  Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt.

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This was OK, but we didn’t love it.  The orange peel gave the soup a slightly bitter  taste.  It’s possible the piece I used was bigger than what the recipe recommended, but next time I would remove the peel before pureeing the soup.  I liked the ginger and other seasonings.  The yogurt provided a nice contrast to the flavors.

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Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup

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Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup was a perfect recipe for this busy week.  It was quick and easy to make, light on calories, and quite delicious!

Sauteed onions are simmered in chicken broth, along with peas and romaine lettuce.  When everything is tender, the soup is pureed and served.  The “cheating” part of the title refers to the fact that frozen peas are used rather than fresh.

I served our soup with a dollop of sour cream and a garnish of chopped bacon.  The sour cream sank pretty quickly, so it didn’t make the photo very pretty.  In fact, I wasn’t feeling very inspired when I took the photos of this soup. Some days you just want to get the photos done quickly and get to eating!

Just because I wasn’t inspired for my photo doesn’t mean the soup wasn’t good!  It was light and fresh tasting and my husband and I both enjoyed it.  My daughter gave it one bite and decided that was enough.  I will definitely be making this one again.

This post is part of French Fridays with Dorie, where we are cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

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Fall Harvest Feast

A few weeks ago I made a wonderful meal with the last of our garden veggies. I love cooking with vegetables I grew and harvested myself. There is something very satisfying about enjoying the fruits of your labor. Plus, home-grown vegetables taste so much better!

I had a couple pounds of San Marzano tomatoes, several summer squash, and a bunch of potatoes. We had enjoyed most of the tomatoes in various pasta sauces and I wanted something different. I found a delicious-sounding tomato soup recipe on Epicurious. My Mom had given me a potato-zucchini casserole recipe that I wanted to try, so I decided to pair the two.

Roasted Tomato Soup with homemade croutons.

What a wonderful dinner! The soup was so flavorful and delicious. The casserole was fairly rich, so it went nicely with the lighter soup. It’s kind of like scalloped potatoes with a zucchini gratin on top. What a great way to enjoy the final harvest!

Cheesy Potatoes and Zucchini

The recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlic can be found on Epicurious, so I will not share it here.  FYI: I followed the suggestion of many of the reviewers and only used half the amount of chicken broth called for in the recipe.

I hope all of my U.S. readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Potato-Zucchini Bake

Print Recipe

  • 3 medium potatoes (I used red), peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 3 medium zucchini, or other summer squash, sliced
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter a 10×6-inch baking dish.  Layer the potato slices with 1 cup of the cheese in the baking dish.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan.  Remove from the heat, then blend in the flour, salt, and pepper.  Stir in the milk.  Return the saucepan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens slightly and begins to boil.

Pour the sauce over the potato slices.  Cover and bake for 45 – 50 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and uncover.  Layer the zucchini slices and the remaining cheese over the potatoes.  Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and combine it with the bread crumbs.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the zucchini and bake, uncovered, for an additional 40 minutes.

Serves 6

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Spur-of-the-Moment Vegetable Soup + Spice-Poached Pears

Happy Friday!  It’s been a busy week, but I finally have some time to sit down and share some of my cooking with you.  This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is really  more of a template than a recipe.  It’s called Spur-of-the Moment Soup, aka Stone Soup and although Dorie gives specific instructions for her carrot version, in the introduction she gives us permission to use whatever vegetables we have on hand or feel like using.

In the spirit of the recipe I decided to use this opportunity to clear some leftover random vegetables out of the fridge.  I replaced the pound of carrots with broccolette (I did dice up one carrot) and the small potato with a large sweet potato.  The recipe tells us we can puree the soup or not.  I chose not to with the vegetables I used, but I am sure a puree would be delicious with other veggies.

I love that this recipe gives us a template for making a soup out of whatever vegetables we want.  I am sure I will turn to this recipe whenever I feel the need to use up leftovers.  The resulting soup is hearty, healthy, and delicious.

I also finally made the Spice-Poached Apples or Pears from a few weeks ago.  I used Bosc pears and followed the recipe exactly.  The result was a light and tasty dessert that we all enjoyed.

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Cheese-Topped Onion Soup

We are a house divided when it comes to soup. One of us (me) likes their soup served piping hot, and the other likes his merely warm.  (My daughter is not part of this equation since I always make sure to serve her soup cool enough not to burn her tongue).  I often get accused of serving boiling hot food for dinner, however my husband usually manages to get around the problem by eating his salad first while his soup cools.

So I knew there would be trouble when Dorie recommends that this soup be served “brûlante”, or “burning hot”.  Indeed, the main feedback I got about this recipe is that it was too hot.

“Cheese-Topped Onion Soup” is the quintessential French Onion Soup.  A large amount of onions are slowly caramelized, then the addition of white wine and chicken broth turns it into soup.  The crowning touch is a piece of toasted bread and melted Gruyère cheese sitting atop the soup.

I had a problem getting my onions to turn a “deep caramel color”.  After 3 hours(!) of cooking and giving into the temptation to try to speed things up by turning the heat up, they were only a light tan color.  My husband and I ended up eating dinner after my daughter went to bed because it was running so late.  I’m curious to see if others had the same problem.

Light Tan Onions After 3 Hours of Cooking

I found this soup to be very satisfying to eat, but not to make.  I enjoyed the flavors and especially the cheesy bread on top, but it wasn’t quite worth the nearly 4 hours it took to make.

Digging In

“Cheese-Topped Onion Soup” is this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe.  You can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book
Around My French Table.

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Tortellini Soup

Recently I was in the mood for some tortellini soup.  The few recipes I looked at weren’t quite what I had in mind.  Then I noticed that the back of my Kirkland Signature (Costco’s brand) chicken stock had a recipe for tortellini soup.  It was very close to what I was looking for!

I have made this soup several times now and I’ve made a few tweaks to the original recipe.  This is a great weeknight meal and most of the ingredients can be stored in the pantry or freezer.  Keep them on hand for when you have a little extra spinach to use up!

Tortellini Soup

Print Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • small piece of Parmesan cheese rind (optional, but adds a lot of flavor)
  • 8 or 9 oz. package fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
  • 4 – 6 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional garnishes:  chopped fresh basil leaves or pesto

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium pot.  Add the chopped garlic and stir until softened, being careful not to burn it.

Add the tomatoes with their juices and the chicken broth to the pan.  Add the Parmesan rind, if using.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the tortellini an cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the tortellini is just tender.

Coarsely chop the baby spinach leaves.  Or leave them whole if you are lazy like me.

Remove the Parmesan rind from the pot.  Add the spinach and cook until wilted, just a few minutes.  Stir in grated Parmesan cheese.

Add pepper to taste, and additional salt if needed.

Garnish each serving with additional grated Parmesan and one of the optional garnishes, if using.

Serves 3 – 4

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Bread and Chowder

Bread and Chowder

What a warming, delicious meal for a cold winter’s night!  I’m not generally drawn to chowder recipes, but when I came across Mark Bittman’s “No-Holds-Barred Clam or Fish Chowder” recipe in his How to Cook Everything iPad app, I knew I had to make it.  The March recipes for French Fridays with Dorie were announced last week.  I was so excited to see that this week’s recipe was “Savory Cheese and Chive Bread” because it would be the perfect accompaniment to the chowder.

Warm From the Oven

First the bread…  “Savory Cheese and Chive Bread” is an easy-to-make quick bread.  Dorie recommends several options for the cheese.  I chose cheddar because I thought it would go well with the chowder (I was right!).  I skipped the optional walnuts as I didn’t think the flavor would go with the meal as a whole.  While the bread is essentially a “quick bread”, the end result is much more sophisticated than most “American” quick breads.  The texture is very light and refined, and the crust almost seems flaky and buttery (thanks to all that cheese – there is actually no butter in this recipe).  This bread was right at home next to the chowder, and it would also be delicious as part of a brunch.  The whole family enjoyed the bread.  My husband declared this his favorite FFwD so far (although I think he forgot about the Pancetta Green Beans…).  I enjoyed the leftovers toasted for breakfast.

The chowder was also fantastic!  What makes it over-the-top delicious is the bacon!  I can’t imagine making the low-fat variation and leaving it out.  I made a fish chowder with wild Alaskan cod because I might have been the only one to eat it if I had used clams.  We all enjoyed it with the cod.  I added a few extra potatoes because that is my favorite part of a chowder.

Mark Bittman’s Fish Chowder

(printable recipe)

  • ¼ pound good-quality bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes (about¾ pound)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups fish or chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream, half-and-half or more milk (I used part cream and part milk because that is what I had on hand)
  • 2 cups diced or chunked delicate white fish, like cod
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat until crisp and remove with a slotted spoon.  Lower the heat to medium and cook the onion, potatoes, and thyme in the bacon fat until the onion softens, about 10 minutes.  Add the stock and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add some salt and pepper, then add the milk and cream.  Add the fish and bring barely to a simmer over low heat.  Be careful not to let the soup boil.  Simmer for another 5 minutes or so, until the fish is cooked.  Stir in the bacon and serve, garnishing with the chopped parsley.

Serves 4

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