Category Archives: soups

Lentil soup

We continue to be fighting cold weather and the flu here on the east coast. So my call to action is comfort food for strength. I think a hearty soup is the perfect answer.  I used the ham bone I had in the freezer from Christmas , I embarked on making a lentil soup that uses some of my favorite flavors, such as rosemary, thyme, red chili flakes, garlic and some dry sherry. It’s my mother’s lentil soup kicked up a few times for more flavor. I love adding just a touch of heat to the soup with the red chili flakes, and the sherry is purely for medicinal purposes! Lentils are considered a power food, it helps lower cholesterol, helps lower the risk of heart disease and it’s filled with antioxidants. So fortify your family with this delicious and warming soup.

From by the bay wishing you nourishing food memories!
Maryann

blog lentil soup

Lentil Soup

Serves 4-6


Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups sweet onions finely chopped

2 tablespoons garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 quarts chicken stock

1 ham bone with some meat on bone

1 pound umbrian lentils 

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup dry sherry


Directions

In a stock pot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté the onions until soften. Add garlic and red chili flakes and saute another minute. Add rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Sauté until fragrant about one minute. Add the stock and ham bone.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat , cover and simmer for approximately 1 hour. Remove the ham bone, chop the meat from the bone and add back into the soup along with the lentils, salt and pepper and simmer covered another hour. Add sherry and simmer another ten minutes. Remove from heat and serve. 

blog lentil soup 2

Creamy Cilantro Avocado Soup

blog avocado soup

Creamy Cilantro Avocado Soup

Serves 6

4 Avocados

4 tablespoons scallions, chopped

4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon jalapeno, seeded and chopped

4 cups chicken broth

½ cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Cilantro to garnish

Directions

Halve avocado, remove pit and scoop out the flesh into a food processor using a spoon. Pulse until the avocado is chopped. Next add the scallions, cilantro, jalapeno, lime zest , lime juice and salt . Pulse again. Slowly, add the chicken broth, heavy cream and olive oil pulsing to combine. Remove from processor and place in bowl. Refrigerate the soup for at least two hours. Serve in glasses, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Naughty and Nice Gazpacho

 

I am a big fan of the music of Chris Isaak. When I’m creating recipes in my kitchen by the bay, I’m often rocking and dancing around the kitchen listening to his music. If you are not familiar with Chris Isaak, do yourself a favor and check it out.  Chris has just released a great new album called “Beyond the Sun”- recorded at the famous Sun Studios in Memphis. It’s filled with music originally recorded by Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins to name a few. Last year I had the opportunity to meet Chris. I was so worried about what I could possibly speak to him about- and go figure food was a common interest. Chris is a fan of a certain gazpacho soup – one with a little kick in it. This is my version of that recipe. I happen to love to serve shot glasses of cold soups when entertaining and Christmas is no exception. I renamed my soup after Chris – Naughty and Nice Gazpacho and if you have ever seen him perform you’ll know why this is the perfect name!
 
From by the bay wishing you naughty AND nice food memories!
Maryann

blog gazpacho 2

Naughty and Nice Gazpacho

Serves 6

 

Ingredients:

1 28 ounce can whole fire roasted tomatoes ( if you can’t find fire roasted use canned whole plum tomatoes)

1 large roasted red pepper , from a jar packed in olive oil

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper , seeded and chopped

1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

 

Directions:

Place all the ingredients into food processor and process until pureed. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Blue No More Gazpacho

Last summer I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite rock and roll artists. His music is what I play to dance my way through creating and preparing a meal. So of course, upon meeting him, I was tongue tied. With that,  I fell back to comfortable ground – food. Who knew that would be a topic he enjoyed discussing. Our conversation included a little comparison of recipes and his search for the perfect gazpacho recipe. He shared a few hints and with that I created this recipe. My version already has lots of rave reviews. Here’s hoping he will be blue no more looking for that gazpacho. I’ve added another cold soup recipe to get you through the summer, this one is a cold cucumber soup for the coolest guy I know!

From by the bay wishing you cool food memories!
Maryann
blog gazpacho
 

Blue No More Gazpacho

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 28 ounce can whole fire roasted tomatoes ( if you can’t find fire roasted use canned whole plum tomatoes)
  • 1 large roasted red pepper , from a jar packed in olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper , seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

Directions

Place all the ingredients into food processor and process until pureed. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

blog salsa

Hint: to make a terrific and easy salsa, use the gazpacho recipe without the roasted red peppers!

blog cuke gaz

Cool Cucumber Gazpacho

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 2 medium size cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Directions

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until pureed. Place soup into a glass mason jar and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Enjoying Butternut Squash


 

As the weather becomes cooler, I can’t help myself from buying various pumpkins, gourds, squashes and indian corn. It’s all part of the autumn ritual. I love the vibrant tones of autumn. I’ll haul myself over to the farm stand and start stocking up so that I can decorate indoors and out. I really can’t help myself and usually need a couple of trips back and forth before I think I have enough color around me. But even more important, is to buy some squashes to cook with . My favorite squash is butternut. I love the texture , color and subtle sweetness. Early in my cooking days, I was hesistant to cook butternut squash, because I found it hard to cut. I decided to cut it in half and just roast it with a little olive oil or butter. It saves alot of work and adds great flavor. The first recipe is my favorite butternut squash soup. It’s easy to prepare and rich in taste. The second recipe is my autumn macaroni and cheese with roasted butternut squash. I  like to serve my mac and cheese in small cast iron serving dishes.  These smaller side dishes feel a little more grownup for a dish that appeals to the child in us all. I like to get playful with the ingredients of mac and cheese and one of many favorite versions is this butternut squash which is perfect for fall.

From by the bay wishing you the squash filled food memories!
Maryann

blog butternut sq soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6

4 slices of bacon

2 butternut squash, halved and seeded

3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 onion, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

6 cups chicken stock

1 bay leave

Chives, chopped to garnish

Directions

In a skillet cook bacon until crispy. Put aside to cool. Once cool crumble bacon into bits, set aside for later to garnish. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F , on an aluminum lined baking sheet add the butternut squash dotted with 2 tablespoons butter, then season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 45-60 minutes until the squash is tender, depending on the size of the squash. Remove squash from oven and spoon out the pulp from skin. Set aside. In a large soup pot melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter, add onion and sauté until soft about 5 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg and sauté for another minute. Slowly add the chicken broth, bay leaf and roasted butternut squash. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes uncovered. Remove bay leave.  Puree in food processor until very smooth. Stir in ½ cup crème fraiche. Serve soup warm. Garnish with crumbled bacon and chives.

 

blog butternut sq mac and cheese

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese with Crispy Sage Leaves
Serves 4-6

1/2 lb shell pasta

1 small butternut squash, halved and seeded.

1 small onion , sliced thinly

1 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons to fry sage leaves

1 1/2 cups whole milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons for panko topping

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups shredded parmesan cheese

1 cups shredded fontina cheese

½ cup panko bread crumbs

8 sage leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F , on an aluminum lined baking sheet add the butternut squash and the onions. Drizzle with the olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 45-60 minutes until the squash is tender, depending on the size of the squash. Remove squash and onions from oven. Cool and then scoop the flesh of the squash along with the onions into a food processor to puree.  Set aside. Fill a large sauce pan with water and bring to a boil to be used to cook pasta. On medium heat add to a small saute pan the remaining olive oil , when hot add the sage leaves and saute quickly on both sides until crisp. Remove from heat and drain on paper towel, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside. Place milk into a medium sauce pan and heat until it is about to boil. While the milk is heating, in another sauce pan, heat 3 tablespoons butter until melted. Add the flour and mix until smooth. Cook the mixture for about 1-2 minutes until it becomes a golden color. Slowly add the hot milk to the flour mixture whisking continuously. Bring to a boil and then cook for another 10 minutes continuing to whisk until the sauce begins to thicken. When the sauce is ready it should stick to the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in the salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg. Add the shredded parmesan and fontina cheese to the sauce and stir until the cheese has melted. To the cheese sauce add 1 1/2 cups of the roasted butternut squash puree. Place sauce aside. Add pasta to the boiling water  and cook al dente according to package directions and strain through colander. Rinse with cool water. Add the cooked pasta  to the sauce and mix well. Divide pasta between  4  small  8 ounce cast iron serving dishes. In a sauté pan melt remaining butter and add the breadcrumbs and sauté 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and top each dish of pasta with the bread crumbs. Place dishes onto a baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 25 minutes until the sauce starts to bubble. Remove from oven and serve with crispy sage leaves sprinkled on top.

 

Chilled Zucchini Soup with Mint and Roasted Zucchini and Summer Squash Pizza

Walking into my favorite farm stand on the weekends always reminds me of my childhood when I walked along the side my grandmother to pick vegetables and foods to prepare for the next meal. The walk was always filled with a beautiful array of colors and shapes. With produce at it’s glorious peak right now I have the same experience at the local farm stand. This week, I was confronted with an abundance of zucchini and summer squashes in a riot of colors – from sunshine yellow to pale green. I gathered a wide of variety of  squash filling a basket , added some onions , mint and thyme and made my way back to the kitchen to try a few different recipes. I’m sharing here with you the best fruit of my labor.

From by the bay wishing you the sunniest of food memories!

Maryann

 

blog zuchini soup

 

 

Chilled Zucchini Soup with Mint

Serves 6

4-5 medium zucchini sliced in rounds approximately 2 pounds

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small white onion, chopped

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, plus extra for garnish

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ cup fresh mint chopped

1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

additional coarse sea salt to finishing

Directions

In a large pot heat olive oil and sauté the white onion until softened about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, salt and pepper stirring occasionally until the zucchini is softened, about 5 more minutes. Add the broth to the pot, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the zucchini is tender, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Using a food processor puree the zucchini mixture along with the parmesan cheese, pine nuts, mint and lemon juice. Pour into a bowl adding the buttermilk and blend. Cover and place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 3 hours. Adjust seasoning with coarse sea salt. Serve chilled and garnish with toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil.


blog zucchini pizza

 

Roasted Zucchini and Summer Squash Pizza

Serves Six

 

1 small zucchini

1/2 small summer squash

1/2 medium vidalia onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

6 tablespoons ricotta

2 slices prosciutto

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

4 sprigs thyme 

pizza dough for one 14″ pizza ( home made or store bought)

additional coarse sea salt

semolina flour to roll pizza dough

Directions

Preheat over to 400F. On a lined baking sheet add zucchini and squash sliced into 1/4″ rounds. Next add the onions thinly sliced. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt an pepper. Place in oven to roast until vegetables begin to brown, approximately 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. When ready to made the pizza preheat oven to 500F. Divide the pizza dough into two portions. Spread some semolina flour on a clean surface to roll dough and also a little on top. Using a rolling pin,  roll each portion into a rectangle approximately 15″ by 5 ” . Bake each pizza in the center of a pizza pan. Divide the toppings on to each rectangle first the roasted squash and onions, then little bits of ricotta cheese, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, thyme leaves removed from sprigs and finally tear the prosciutto into pieces and add to the top. Bake in the oven until crisp approximately 15 minutes. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and serve.

Corn Soup with Basil Oil

blog corn field

 This is a very special time of year, when all the farm produce is bursting with flavor at the farm stands and local markets. My very favorite is corn. Growing up most of my summer corn eating was from the cob. Nothing wrong with that , it’s delicious . I thought I would a pick a few of the recipes I developed with either left over corn on the cob or using corn a little differently. There are so many great recipes for corn here are just a few. I plan to write a second blog later this month to cover a few more. Go out and buy some corn today and start cooking.

 

Wishing you the “corniest” of food memories!

Maryann

 

blog corn soup

Corn Soup with Basil Oil

Serves 4

6 medium size ears fresh corn

4 cups chicken broth

4 cups vegetable broth

½ cup white wine

½ cup half and half

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ cup fresh basil

1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt

¼ cup olive oil

Directions

In a large pot add both chicken and vegetable broth, along with white wine and corn. Cover pot and bring broth to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove corn from broth and let cool. Slice the kernels off the cob. Using a food processor puree kernels along with 4 cups of stock in two patches. Strain the puree into a bowl, squeezing out all the corn liquid. Throw the kernel mash away. To the soup add half and half, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon fine sea salt. Chill soup for at least 4 hours before serving. Right before serving, place basil leaves into a boiling pot of water for a few seconds, strain and place in ice water to cool. Puree the basil along with oil and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Drizzle on top of soup the green basil oil right before serving.

The ABC’s – Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

This aromatic, velvety, orange colored soup is a perfectly satisfying lunch or dinner along with your favorite salad or it could be a great starter to a special meal. Either way, you’ll want to try this flavorful soup made with sweet potatoes, carrots and red lentils. Not only is this soup delicious it’s packed with vitamins such as A, B and C. How good is that?From by the bay, wishing you aromatic food memories!
Maryann
blog sweet potato lentil soup
Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup
Serves 6
Ingredients
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
3/4 cup red lentils
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced in rings
4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 lime
optional: creme fraiche
Directions
In a stock pot add all ingredients except cilantro and lime. Bring to a boil , reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer until the potatoes and lentils are cooked about 20 to 30 minutes.
Let cool, then puree in a food processor with the juice of the lime and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Reheat to serve . Add a teaspoon of creme fraiche and a few cilantro leaves as garnish and serve.
*Note : I suggest vegetable stock , but you can also use chicken stock.

Potato Soup with Small Dumplings

There is nothing better on a blustery cold day then a warm bowl of soup. I have fond memories of my grandmother taking out her dutch oven on such days and making this soup from the staples she always had in her pantry. Her original recipe didn’t include the bacon. I happened to have some bacon leftover in the fridge and decided to use it. You could just as easily not use the bacon and just throw all the ingredients for the soup into the pot and simmer away, making this about as easy as any soup you could make. If you are feeling up for it by all means take the extra steps to fry the bacon and saute your onions and celery, the results were delicious. What really makes this potato soup so magnficent to eat, is not the bacon, it’s the dumplings you simmer into the soup at the end. Again, these are no fail dumplings just stir and drop into the hot soup to simmer into yummy small white balls soaked with the flavor of the soup. It’s the perfect comfort food to warm you from the harsh cold of winter.From by the bay wishing you warm potato food memories!
Maryann
blog potato soup
 
Potato Soup with Small Dumplings
Serves 6
Ingredients for soup
4 ounces thick bacon, chopped
6 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
5 cups water
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3-4 cloves
optional: chopped parsley for garnish
Ingredients for drop dumplings
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Directions
In a Dutch oven cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon with slotted spoon onto paper towel and set aside. In the bacon fat saute the celery and onion until softened. Add the potatoes, water, salt, pepper and cloves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove the cloves out of the soup. With a potato masher, puree most of the vegetables.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick for your preference you can add some water and continue to simmer. To make the dumplings, combine the egg, water, salt and flour mixing until smooth. Drop by teaspoonfuls into the boiling soup. Cover and simmer until the dumplings are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and crisp bacon pieces.