Archive for the ‘soup’ Category

Sweet Corn Chowder with Shrimp

Monday, September 10th, 2012

With fall on the way, I had the idea of a fresh corn chowder teeming with local sweet corn before it disappears from the markets. I kept it as simple as possible to really let the corn shine. To make a meal out of it, I sauteed some wild Key West shrimp in garlic, finished with a splash of white wine, and served those on top of the chowder for the husband and I. The kids don’t like their foods to mix….so they had their shrimp on the side. If you have less finicky eaters, you could even stir the shrimp into the chowder for the final minutes of cooking. But I’ll give you the chowder recipe straight up and leave those tough decisions up to you.

sweet corn chowder with shrimp

Recipe: Sweet Corn Chowder
Makes 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped small
  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut from cob
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock*
  • 2 cups half and half (or whole milk)
  • optional: 1/2 pound cooked shrimp, smoked paprika to garnish


1. Heat olive oil in soup pan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic just until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add salt, pepper, thyme and potato, and cook, stirring, another minute.

2. Add stock and raise heat to medium high until it begins to boil. Reduce heat, stir in half and half or milk, and let simmer for 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

3. Remove from heat and serve, topping with cooked shrimp if desired, and a dash of smoked paprika.

*If you want to really let the corn flavors shine, check out my friend One Hungry Mama’s corncob stock — brilliant!

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Monday, March 5th, 2012

When she heard I was finally conquering my slow cooker phobia, my friend Jill was quick to share her favorite black bean soup recipe. I made a few substitutions, starting with vegetable broth instead of chicken to make it Meatless Monday-friendly. Instead of the spicy serrano pepper I used a canned chipotle pepper with a bit of the adobo sauce, which gave it just a subtle flavor kick. (In fact, I may serve it with some sliced jalapeƱos for the adults, next time.) And as Jill noted in her instructions to me, don’t skimp on the lime juice, which really brightens the flavors of this soup.

slow cooker black bean soup

Tofu-fearing- and bean-adverse-husband wasn’t wild about it (“needs bacon,” he suggested), but both kids devoured their bowls — which counts as a definite win in my book. We were out of tortilla chips so I toasted some corn tortillas to serve on the side.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2009


  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 chipotle pepper and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (chipotle canned in adobo sauce)
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • sour cream
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)


Rinse beans, place in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak overnight, then drain.

Combine beans, broth, onion, garlic, water, cumin, bay leaves, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 10 hours.

Discard bay leaves. Add lime juice and salt, then serve. Top with sour cream and chopped cilantro.


This post is shared with SoupaPaloozaCome join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset.

Meatless Monday: Carrot Lentil Stew

Monday, January 30th, 2012

February is almost here and we’ve had just a couple of brief flirtations with snow thus far this winter, much to my kindergartener’s dismay. I keep reminding him that we tend to get our biggest snow storms in February, so there’s no need to completely give up hope just yet. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the unexpected bounty of sunny days, running around in the backyard and to the playground. And so quick and warming dinners are still very much in demand, like this hearty lentil stew. I’m sure Rachael Ray would classify this as “stoup,” thicker than soup but not quite a real stew. It hits the spot just fine on a chilly Meatless Monday, whatever you choose to call it.
carrot lentil soup

Recipe: Carrot Lentil Stew
Serves 4


  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 cups water
  • salt and pepper


1. Soak lentils in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain, set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat. Cook onion several minutes, until translucent. Add cumin and cook 1 minute. Add carrots, lentils and water, stir, and bring to a boil on medium high. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 30-40 minutes, until lentils are falling apart. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Note: Red lentils, sadly, lose their color when cooked. So the carrots add an important element of color to what would otherwise be a bit dreary looking. You could swap in cubed, pre-cooked squash or sweet potatoes if you prefer.

Egg Drop Soup (Happy Chinese New Year)

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

My son has been obsessed lately with preparations for the Chinese (Lunar) New Year. They’ve learned songs and made decorations at school and will be having a family potluck next week. To kick things off at home, we made paper lanterns and egg drop soup yesterday. He’s also asked for “uncut noodles” (symbolizing longevity) and fried dumplings or egg rolls.

Eggs — specifically tea eggs — are served to symbolize wealth and prosperity. Check out last year’s post on PBS Kitchen Explorers for more on the food traditions of Chinese New Year and an egg roll recipe. The Williams-Sonoma blog has a traditional three-course menu if you’re feeling more ambitious.

egg drop soup

Recipe: Egg Drop Soup
Adapted from The Kitchn
Serves 2-4


  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 or 2 eggs (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • green onions, sliced


Whisk ginger into broth in a small saucepan. Turn to medium high and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium low, maintaining a gentle simmer, and whisk in miso paste until dissolved.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg(s) and corn starch until smooth. Hold a fork across the bowl and slowly pour the egg mixture through the fork tines into the broth, using your other hand to whisk as you pour. Remove from heat and serve immediately, garnished with green onions.

Makes 4 small appetizer servings, or 2 larger bowls.

Note: I used two eggs which made a very thick soup. If you prefer more broth, just use one.

Cooking with Kids Tips: Little ones can help whisk together the egg and corn starch — older ones can whisk as you pour the egg mixture into the broth. It’s fun to watch the egg turn into little ribbons in the soup. And always let kids add their own garnish — my son doesn’t like extraneous green things, my daughter added some cheese. (And loved it!)


For those of you in the DC/Northern Virginia area, there are two festivals coming up this weekend, the Chinese New Year Festival in Falls Church and the Lunar New Year festival at Fair Oaks Mall.

Are you doing anything with your kids to celebrate? Yes, getting take-out counts.

Meatless with 101 Cookbooks

Monday, April 4th, 2011

One of my favorite natural food websites is the beautiful 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson. Her vegetarian recipes make use of a variety of whole grains — like barley and farro — and are generally simple and straightforward. Perfect for a busy weeknight.

Our St. Patrick’s Day dinner was a little unconventional — split pea soup and Irish soda bread — but easy and particularly enjoyed by the baby. When babies are in the puree phase, soups are a great way to make one meal for the whole family. I pureed all the soup, while Heidi suggests reserving some, pureeing the rest and then combining the two. That probably would have given it more of a soup-like consistency, while mine was a bit thicker. (And tofu-fearing husband notes that he would’ve preferred the soup with bacon…) I added a dollop of whole-milk yogurt to the baby’s helping.

soda bread and split pea soup

The soda bread was adapted from Jennie’s adaptation of Heidi’s recipe — collaboration at its best. I added raisins (1/2 cup). Yes, I know that’s not traditional, but the only bit of Irish I have is my name, so I’m not worried about offending any ancestors. The dense texture of soda bread is great for teething babies to gnaw on.

Find the recipes here:

(Heidi’s new book, Super Natural Every Day, is out soon and I can’t wait to pick it up.)