Archive for the ‘soup’ Category

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes


We’ve had snow here in Seattle. Some areas have been harder hit than our house, but in the Seattle area even a couple of inches of snow is enough to bring the city to a standstill.

Luckily, before the snow hit, I fortified our home with supplies to get us through the storm (though we are running tragically low on Rum) including plenty of options for soup. To me, nothing tastes better on a cold, snowy night than a steaming hot bowl of soup.

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog about this particular soup, but after I posted the photo above a friend asked for the recipe. Since it had turned out so tasty I thought why not share it. However, since I hadn’t planned a post, the iPhone photo above is the only photo I have, no process photos. The steps are fairly straightforward though.

I served the soup with foccacia bread that I had dotted with kalamata olives. The salty tang was nice with the soup but any bread will do in a snow storm.

Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
If you are not a fan of tomatoes, feel free to leave them out. Same goes for the red pepper flakes, add a little or as much heat as your mouth can stand.
  • 1 butternut squash
  • olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning mix
  • 1-2 teaspoons (or more) red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Roasted Vegetables
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • ½ onion
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. While the oven preheats, peel the butternut squash and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Toss the cubes with the olive oil, herbs, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and place them in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender and brown around the edges.
  3. While the squash cooks, cut the cauliflower into small florets. Toss them, along with the tomatoes, with the olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and place them in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
  4. Once the squash is done cooking remove it from the oven and place the pan with the cauliflower into the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring once during the cooking.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large pot, combine the cooked squash with the chicken broth and bring just to a boil. Using an immersion blender (or working in batches in a regular blender) puree the soup. Stir in the vinegar and check for seasoning adding salt and pepper as desired.
  6. To serve, divide the cauliflower and tomato mixture between the bowls. Ladle the butternut squash soup around the cauliflower. Enjoy.


Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

White Bean and Sage Soup

It has become painfully (pardon the pun) obvious to me that at the moment, my ankles and knees are just not up to doing triathlons. I wish that this had occurred to me sooner. That I had stopped trying so that I could avoid re-injuring myself over and over, but sometimes I guess I’m slow (or maybe stubborn).

With this realization, I have re-embraced swimming. It was always my favorite of the three sports anyway. I had been swimming at the local community pool. For my occasional swims it made sense to be on a pay as you go $5 a swim type plan, but I never really enjoyed that pool. I hated swimming inside in the middle of summer and it seemed like the pool was always closed at times when I wanted to be swimming. Plus, I have never been a fan of community locker rooms.

A couple of months ago I finally took the plunge and joined a swim club that is just a half-mile from our house. For as often as I wanted to be swimming (3-4 times a week) the private club was just a few dollars more a month.

I cannot begin to describe just how much I love it. I mean, for one thing, they have an adult-only locker room with private showers. That alone is worth the few extra dollars a month. My favorite thing about the club, however, is that they have an outdoor pool that they keep heated to 80 degrees year round. It’s a funny experience to make a run from the heated indoors so that you can jump in the pool to warm up.

I’m usually a morning swimmer, but on occasion it is just impossible for me to get out of bed early for a swim. Yesterday was one of those days. Instead, I waited for my husband to get home (since we share a car) and then went for a late afternoon swim. Of course a late afternoon swim at this time of year in Seattle means the sun has gone down.

Surrounded by darkness, I hopped into the fog-covered pool. I put my headphones on and suddenly, even though I was sharing the pool with a swim team, I was transported to my own underwater space. Save for a few shadows, I was alone with my music and my thoughts.

Tired and hungry, it was eventually time to go. I came home to a house redolent with sage and garlic and was quite pleased to remember that I had left a pot of soup simmering on the stove. Simple yet delicious, it brought me back to reality and filled me up at the same time.



White Bean and Sage Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
Simple and inexpensive, this soup requires very little hands on time. Make it a meal by adding a simple salad and some crusty bread.
  • 1 pound navy beans, picked through and rinsed (no need to soak)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 6-8 ounce salt pork
  • 2 sprig fresh sage, wrapped in a cheesecloth sachet
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a stockpot. Do not add salt as the salt pork will add a lot of saltiness to the soup. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 3-4 hours or until beans are tender.
  2. Using tongs, remove and discard sage sachet and cheese rind. Move salt pork to a cutting board and cut the meaty portion of the piece into small pieces. Discard the fat. Add the meat back to the soup.
  3. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if desired.


Monday, October 25th, 2010

Broccoli, Corn and Cheddar Soup

I, unfortunately, continue to be under the weather. I’ve had two trips to the doctor, a host of medications and I still continue to be unable to breathe easily. Everything seems like such an effort. I’m even getting winded doing laundry.

Since I am feeling so wimpy, I, once again, decided to make a big pot of soup that we could make at least a couple of meals out of. A check of the fridge produced two ears of corn (that had seen better days) a bit of broccoli and some cheese. I decided to make a riff on a corn and potato chowder that I cook for clients on occasion.

Here’s the ingredients.

I started by dicing the bacon and then cooking it over medium heat until it was cooked crisp.


I removed the cooked bacon and all but about a tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan.

I returned the pan to the heat, added a bit of butter and then stirred in the onion.

Once the onion was translucent and soft I added the garlic and the flour to the pan and cooked it, stirring often for a couple of minutes to make a roux.

I added the broth, stirring to make sure that I didn’t get any lumps and then added the corn and broccoli to the pan.

I brought the soup to a boil, then turned it down to simmer until the broccoli was soft and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

I added the cheese to the soup a handful at a time and then stirred in a wee bit of cream and the crispy bacon.

This warm, cheesy soup sure did hit the spot (and even though it had broccoli in it, the husband liked it). Hopefully I’ll be up to cooking something more substantial in the coming days, but until then, try this tasty soup.



serves 4-6

If fresh corn if unavailable feel free to substitute frozen corn. This recipe makes use of both the florets of the broccoli as well as the often discarded stem.

6 slices bacon, diced
1 onion chopped
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
3-4 clove garlic, minced
4 cup chicken stock
2 ears corn, kernels removed (or 1 1/2 cup frozen corn)
1 large broccoli, head cut into small florets, stem peeled and chopped
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 – 1 cup cream

Cook bacon in a stock pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp.  Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

Add butter and onion to fat in pan and cook, stirring, until onion is softened. Add garlic and flour and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Whisk in broth and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and corn and simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in cheese a handful at a time. Add cream and bacon and return to a simmer. Taste for seasoning and enjoy.

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Beans and Greens Soup

Lately I’ve been in the mood for soup. Maybe it’s because of the change of seasons (fall is, after all, the season of soup) but I think it’s more likely because I’ve been a little under the weather for a coupe of weeks. A bowl of soup can be a big bowl of comfort, warming you up and making you feel better from the inside out.

This soup could really not have been much easier. Throw some stuff in a pot. Cook for a couple hours. Throw some more stuff in the same pot. Cook for another hour or so. Eat.


I used purple and white carrots but that’s just because that is what I had in my crisper, orange carrots will work just fine. Same goes for the leeks, I could have used plain-ole onions but I was completely out of those, so leeks instead. Here’s the lineup.

To start, I threw the beans and a ham hock in a stock pot with a bunch of water. It’s a myth that beans need to be soaked overnight (they just take a little longer to cook if you don’t soak them).

I added a generous dose of salt to the pot after about an hour and let it continue to simmer for another hour or so (I kind of lost track of time after being sucked in to a movie). Once the beans were soft I dumped in everything else and let this simmer for another hour.

Once the collard greens were tender I took the ham hock out of the pot, let it cool for a while (until It was cool enough to handle) and then set to picking all the tasty goodness from the bones. I pulled all the meat from the hock, shredded it and then discarded the fat, gristle, bones and what not.

That shredded meat went back in the pot just to heat through and then It was time to eat. I decided to top the soup with a bit of pesto from the freezer (I had mixed herb pesto, but any pesto would work) and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. The pesto adds a nice bit of brightness to the flavor of the soup so I highly recommend this addition.



Served with a nice bit of crusty bread, this was a wonderful fall dinner. Warm, delicious and exactly what my beat-down body was craving.


serves 6-8 as a main dish

This makes a ton of soup but it freezes well. Ham hocks and dried beans are very inexpensive ingredients so this soup is easy on the pocketbook.

1 pound dried white beans
1 smocked ham hock (may be sold as a ham shank)
10 cups water
4 leeks or 2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch collard greens, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cans diced tomatoes with juice
pesto (optional, but highly recommended)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large pot combine the beans, ham hock and water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for two hours, or until the beans are tender adding a generous amount (a tablespoon or so) of salt about one hour into the cooking time.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and continue to simmer for another hour.

Remove the ham hock from the pot and let cool. Once it is cool enough to handle separate the meat from the bones and any large pieces of fat, then shred the meat. Return the shredded meat to the pot and heat through.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with Parmesan and pesto (if using).

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Chilled Lettuce Soup

Every once in a while a person may end up with too much lettuce. Maybe you planted a couple too many rows in the garden, or your CSA packed too much into your box for the week. Or maybe you asked your husband to run to the store to pick up a head to use for garnish for your catering gig and he came back with three.

Maybe you’ve tried to use it up by making salads (perhaps a delicious chefs salad to use up the leftover crudite and cold cuts from your catering gig) but now it’s just too wilty for more salads. What are you to do?

You may think the only option is the compost bin (that might have been my answer too) but after chucking one too many heads of wilty lettuce I decided to give soup a try.

Here’s the line up:

To start, melt the butter in a stock pot. I used a 3-quart pan but I really should have gone a little bigger (you’ll see why later).

Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and sweat the onion (saute over medium heat so that it does not brown) until it is cooked through and translucent.

Add the lettuce and the broth.

Simmer until the lettuce is soft, about 10 minutes. You’ll need to stir it a few times because the broth will not cover the lettuce at first (and this is why I needed a bigger pan).

Toss in the tarragon and cook for another minute or so.

Remove the pan from the heat and blend it in batches. Seriously, do it in batches. If you fill the blender to full, hot, bright green soup will erupt from the blender all over you and your kitchen.

Leave some of the broth in the pan, if you add it all at first the soup may be too thin at the end.

Pour the soup through a mesh strainer to get rid of the larger solids.

You’ll need to use a spoon to force it through a little.

If the soup is very thick, add some of the reserved broth. Then let the soup cool to room temperature.

Add some cream to taste (I used about 1/4 cup) and pop it in the fridge to cool completely. Once it’s chilled, taste the soup for seasoning (if you season while the soup is warm it will probably be off once the soup is chilled). Ladle the soup into serving dishes and top with a few croutons.



I’ll admit, when this soup was warm, I did not care for it. However, once it cooled it really started to grow on me. Light and sunny, like summer in a bowl. And the color, well it was just the most vivid beautiful green. A great start to a meal or a lovely little side dish. Next time you’ve got wilty greens on your hands, this is a wonderful way to use them up.


L E T T U C E   S O U P
Serves 4-6

While this is a great way to use up green leafy or romaine lettuces, overly bitter greens will probably not be as tasty here.

2 Tablespoon butter
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 head lettuce, chopped
2 cup vegetable stock
2 Tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 – 1/2 cup cream

Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and sweat the onion until it is cooked through and translucent. Add the lettuce and the broth and simmer until the lettuce is soft, about 10 minutes, stirring 3-4 times. Add the tarragon and cook for another minute.Remove the pan from the heat and blend the lettuce in batches, leaving some of the stock in the pan. Force the soup through a mesh strainer to get rid of the larger solids. Add reserved broth to thin the soup if necessary. Let the soup cool to room temperature Add cream to taste and refriderate to cool completely. Once chilled taste for seasoning. Ladle the soup into serving dishes and top with a few croutons.

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Cleaning Out the Fridge

Every once in a while, I get to go out of town. Even though I can’t do the full Lavaman Triathlon (just the swim for me this year), I still get to go to Hawaii (YAY!).

This, of course, means that the fridge needs to be cleaned out before I leave (because I do NOT need to come home to fridge funk).

Everything that looks like it will be funky before I get back has been used in one of two ways.

First, a soup, made from carrots, parsnips, cabbage, potatoes. acorn squash and spinach along with chicken broth, canned tomatoes and some sausage and bacon that I happened to have in the deli drawer. I seasoned the soup with smoked salt, smoked paprika and a few cubes of mixed-herb pesto from the freezer (which really pushed the soup from pretty good to YUM).

Second, mushrooms, cucumber and bell pepper formed a crudite plate to tide us over while the soup cooks.

The leftover soup has been stashed in the freezer for easy meals once while I recuperate from my upcoming surgery (because I can not depend on the husband for tasty dinners every night for six weeks, although he will do his best).

Only thing left in the fridge that might get funky now? A few apples. Hmmm, perhaps an apple crumble for dessert…

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Smoky Potato and Leek Soup

I feel like I haven’t cooked in forever (but really it’s only been about a week). After training this morning I went out with the team for coffee. A couple of people asked what I was going to do today, and with nothing else pressing to do, the only thing I could think of was “cook”.

We met this morning at 8 a.m. and it was only 30 degrees. Even though I eventually worked up a sweat, I ended up chilled to the bone (a weird sensation, to be sweaty and cold at the same time). A nice, steamy bowl of soup sounded like just the ticket for warming up.

Here’s the ingredients:

1/2 onion, chopped
2 leeks (white and light green part only), cut in half then sliced
2 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 Tablespoon flour
4 cup chicken stock (veggie stock would work too)
2 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 kubocha squash, peeled and chopped (while this isn’t really necessary to the dish, I had it left over from the risotto last week, and it did bring a tiny bit of sweetness to the dish)
2 Tablespoon cream (also optional, but it adds a nice touch of creaminess to the soup)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (a last minute addition so it’s not in the picture)

To start I warmed about a teaspoon of olive oil in a 3-quart pot. When it was warm I added the onion, leeks and a sprinkle of salt and cooked until they were softened and translucent. I added the garlic and cooked it for about 30 seconds longer.

I sprinkled on the mustard powder and the flour.

Then stirred it for about a minute to make a roux.

Next I stirred in the chicken broth (making sure to get rid of any lumps) then added the squash and the potatoes.

I brought the mixture to a boil then let it simmer until the potatoes and squash were cooked through, then added the cream. I tasted for seasoning, and it was just missing something. Something like bacon. Sadly, there is no bacon in the house (I do not know how that happened). I realized that smoked paprika might just give the soup the bit of smokiness that I was looking for, so I added some to the mix (along with a hearty helping of fresh ground pepper). It worked (and gave the soup a beautiful tint).

To serve, I topped the soup with a few of the pickled peppers (as well as a bit of the pickling liquid) that I made with my chef group about a month ago.

How was it? Well I was a little worried about this soup as I was tasting it as it cooked. It just didn’t have great flavor. But, the addition of the smoked paprika really turned it into something great. Filled my belly and warmed my bones quite nicely. Delish.

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Carrot and Fennel Soup with Tarragon Cream

This is, quite possibly, the best soup I have ever made. ‘Nuff said.

Here’s the ingredients:

1 bunch carrots, peeled and chopped
2 head fennel, julienned

1 onion, julienned

3 clove garlic (not pictured because I forgot them)

2-3 cups chicken or veggie stock (not pictured because the husband had not returned from the store yet)

1/2 cup cream

1 bunch tarragon, chopped fine

To start I heated the oven to 450 degrees and lined a baking sheet with aluminum foil (the foil isn’t necessary unless you’re lazy like me). Once the oven was heated, I tossed the carrot with a little olive oil, salt and pepper then put them on the sheet in the hot oven to roast for 10 minutes (I just wanted to give them a little head start).

Next I tossed the onion, fennel and garlic with a little more olive oil, salt and pepper, then added them to the pan. I returned this to the oven for another 30 minutes.

While the veggies cooked I added the cream and tarragon to a blender and gave it a whiz for a few seconds. My thought was that this would chop the tarragon, but it didn’t do as good a job as I would have liked. So, when I make this again (notice the when, not if) I will chop the tarragon before adding it to the cream. However, I would still whiz it in the blender for a few seconds because it thickened the cream ever so slightly, which was nice (just don’t let it go for too long or you’ll end up with butter).

Once the veggies were soft I put a few of them into a blender and added just enough broth to cover them (not too much, because you can always add more later it you need too).

I put each batch through a mesh strainer (the fennel was really fibrous, so the texture before straining was not so nice) into a sauce pan for a little reheating. When it was time for dinner I ladled up a little soup and topped it with the tarragon cream.

Best. Soup. Ever. Maybe a little more labor intensive than I like my soup (I did after all have to get out a blender instead of using my stick blender) but totally worth it. I’m going to make this again and again and again …

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Roasted Zucchini Soup

A couple of years ago I spent a week participating in the Farm Culinary 101 program at Quillisascut Farm School in Eastern Washington. The first night that we were there, the chef on staff prepared a delicious meal that started with courgette soup. At the time, I didn’t have a clue what a courgette was, all I knew was that I was eating some of the best soup that I have ever tasted. When I returned home, I looked up courgette to find that it is the British term for zucchini (duh).

I set out to create my own version of this delicious soup. Over the last couple of years I have refined my recipe into the version that I make today. The additional step of roasting the squash seems to be the real key to making this soup really shine.

This summer this recipe has come in especially handy. Two of my three weekly clients have been growing their own vegetables this year. If you’ve ever grown your own zucchini, you know that at some point you are going to be swimming in zucchini (and there is only so much zucchini bread that one person can make). This soup tastes great and freezes nicely (it’s a nice little blast of summer flavors in December or January).

This soup is best made when the zucchini are little so the seeds are small and the skin is tender. If, though, your zucchini got away from you and ended up really big, once you have cut them in half you can simply scrape out the seeds, then once the zucchini are roasted, scrape the flesh out of the tough skin and discard the skin.

Here’s the ingredients:

2.5 pounds zucchini (or any other summer squash)
1 Walla Walla Sweet onion (other onions work well here too, but a sweet onion make it extra delicious)
3-4 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock
1/2 cup cream (totally optional but it gives the soup a nice mouth feel)
olive oil
salt and pepper

To start I preheated the oven to 450 degrees. I also lined a sheet pan with aluminum foil (because I’m lazy and it make clean-up a snap). Next I cut the ends off of each of the zucchini and then cut them in half lengthwise. I arranged these on the sheet pan and drizzled them with olive oil and salt and pepper. Then I julienned the onion, spread it over the cut zucchini and drizzled with a bit more olive oil and salt and pepper.

I popped the pan into the oven. Forty minutes later the onions were slightly caramelized and the zucchini were roasted through.

I put the whole mix into a stock pot added the cream and enough stock to almost cover the veggies (you can always add more stock later, and I did, but if you add to much at this point the soup can get too thin).

Next I took the stick blender to it.

Keep going…

And…done. At this point I checked for seasoning and added just a little more stock so the soup was a good consistency.

Yum. A client favorite and a chef favorite. This made a lot of soup, about eight cups in all. I stashed a bunch of the soup in the freezer for quick meals come winter (and had a bit of it for lunch). The roasted sweet onion really makes this soup sing (but it really is good with regular onions too). I can hardly wait for winter when I pop this out of the freezer.

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Purple Carrot Soup with Basil-Pea Cream

Every once in a while, the people packing the CSA box seem to lose track of where they are on the packing list. A couple of boxes ago, this resulted in getting two packs of red raspberries and no red radishes. This week, it resulted in a double helping of purple carrots. Look how pretty.

I decided to use the carrots to make soup. Often times the quantity of veggies included in the box isn’t enough to make soup, but with the double helping I though it would be enough.

Here’s the ingredients for the soup:

2 bunch purple carrots, peeled and chopped
3/4 Walla Walla sweet onion, chopped
1-2 cups chicken stock (veggie stock would work too)
salt and pepper

I started by heating just a little olive oil in a sauce pan. To this I added my onion and let it sweat for about five minutes (sweating cooks the onion through, but doesn’t color the onion at all). Once the onion was cooked, I added the carrot and then added just enough broth to cover the veggies. I let this simmer until the carrots were tender, about 10 minutes.

I blended the soup in a couple of batches until is was very smooth, then I returned it to the pan. At this point I decided the soup was a little thick, so I added more chicken broth until it was the consistency that I wanted.

While the carrot soup was simmering, I decided to make a little cream sauce to further flavor the soup. With a search through the crisper drawer I came up with some English Peas and thought that the green of the peas would contrast nicely with the purple carrot soup. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been making a Pesto Pea Soup for some of my clients, and thought that a take on this soup would be good for the cream.

Here’s the ingredients for the Basil Pea Cream:

1 pound English Peas, shelled (this resulted in roughly one cup of peas)
1/4 Walla Walla sweet onion, chopped
2 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup chicken broth (again, veggie stock would work too)
a bunch of fresh basil
salt and pepper

Basically, the pea cream followed the same steps as the carrot soup, with the addition of the cream to the pan for simmering.

I added the basil to the cream when I put it in the blender.

Once the soup and the cream were both done, I ladled the carrot soup into the bowl and then spooned on a bit of the basil cream (giving it a little swirl for good measure).

How was it. Delish! Both the soup and the basil-pea cream were wonderful on their own, but together they were great. My only disappointment was that I expected the carrot soup to be purpleyer (is that a word?) but the flavor more than made up for it.

Of course the carrot soup could easily be made with orange carrots instead of purple. Or you could get really crazy and make orange carrot soup, purple carrot soup and then the green basil pea cream. That would be really striking.

About Me

I'm a personal chef living happily with her picky-eater (but willing to try anything) husband, neurotic black lab and a red heeler puppy.

I watch way too much TV and enjoy hip-hop more than any reasonable grown-up should.

I'm an avid swimmer and sometime triathlete (whenever I'm not nursing an injury).

Find out more about me here.

About This Blog

I started this blog at a time when my personal chef business was quite slow and I needed to keep my mind busy and my skills sharp. But now, business is booming so I've had to put the blog on the back burner. So, no new recipes for now, but please enjoy my archives.

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