We're a ways from the Spring Equinox, and here in the bay area (California) it's getting all the way down into the 50s. [Ed. note: Can you smell the sarcasm?] Seriously, we know it's still extremely chilly in other areas of the country, and thought it might be nice to throw a sumptuous soup into the mix.
Rick Bayless says, "There are thick, pureed soups, soups that are like a winter blanket—you just want to wrap yourself in them when it starts snowing outside."
And then there is tortilla soup, sopa Azteca, if you want to be authentic about it. A beautiful broth enriched with chiles, poured over chicken, topped with crunchy tortilla strips and finished with crema. It's not a "winter blanket" soup, it’s more like a light jacket. Still, it'll warm you up.
Not only that, it's very versatile. You can add any combination of ingredients and toppings you prefer. I recently made this for a client's luncheon and prepared all the ingredients and toppings as a "soup bar."
NOTES: If you are unable to find dried pasilla ancho or negro chiles, you can use powdered pasilla or ancho chile, and add ½-1 tablespoon to the pan about halfway through the cooking of the onion. If you're serving vegetarians, have cooked chicken on the side that can be voluntarily added. Black beans and corn are a nice vegetarian substitution.
Adapted from: Laura Davidson, A Beautiful Plate and Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill/Topolobampo
Billie-First day at home.
So. That last week in December. The BF and I overdid it, too. Sweets, breads, so many rich foods, spirits. We understand.
Now that the calendar has been turned over, we're going to reboot our systems with this cleansing broth, which we like to have between meals (I drink a cup for breakfast).
My BF and I have been eating low carb for many years. We try to mix a large variety of vegetables with smaller amounts of protein and no added sugar of any kind (including honey, agave or maple syrup) five or six days a week. The other day(s), we pretty much have whatever we want; on game days we often go for pizza...because it's game day.
I adore anything flavored with ginger, and turmeric gives it such a gorgous shade of yellow. Try to find fresh turmeric at your grocery store or farmers market, if you can. (The first time I made this broth I used powdered turmeric and it was delicious. The next time I found fresh turmeric and it was markedly more intense.)
Although I like this broth plain or with a few baby spinach leaves, it lends itself to add any number of ingredients to make it a more hearty entree. The basic recipe comes from one of my favorite bloggers, Sylvia Fountaine of Feasting at Home. The few changes I made are more suited to my personal taste of preferring broths and soups very, very clear. I strained it first through a strainer and then through cheesecloth not once, but twice.
Enjoy, and Happy New Year!
Adapted from: Feasting at Home
Number of Servings: 6
NOTES: If you are cooking the broth uncovered for any length of time, remember it will reduce (intensifying the flavor and salt). So you will need to add more water, or it may be too salty. Dilute the broth to your taste.
The countdown begins: twenty-seven days until Halloween. The pumpkins have found a rightful place in the house. Pumpkin lights are up and dare I say cinnamon-apple-cider candles are lit and wafting their collective fragrance throughout the house. The boyfriend is asking for caramel apple cheesecake—which is a sure sign that autumn is here (at least inside our house). He does not get as excited as I do for fall to arrive [Ed. Note: Perhaps it's the annual fall reminder of how aged I have become, but I digress], but does enjoy the autumnal foods and cute costumed kids ringing our doorbell on the 31st.
Although this post is not a pumpkin recipe [Ed. Note: Spoiler alert--next week], it's the perfect transitional dish through the end of our regular bay-area Indian summers, when the Oregonian in me is chomping at the bit for crisper "soup, sweater, boot" weather.
In the meantime, enjoy this healthy, flavorful soup.
Adapted from: A Beautiful Plate
Number of servings: 3-4 (makes 4 cups)
Growing up in Portland and Sweet Home, Oregon, we only ate corn in August. Not by choice. It wasn't available in the grocery store or from nearby farms at any other time.
There was a farm about five miles away that offered "U-pick" corn; my siblings and I would fill a laundry basket, weigh it, bring it to my mom, who would then steam it, poke corn holders www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-corn-holders-image85158 (do people still use these?) in the cobs, and serve on the table with a cube of butter and shaker of salt. Corn was the only vegetable that I liked, and since we only could get it during August, it was a real treat that we all looked forward to.
Now, I’m spoiled, and live in an area with farmers markets and grocery stores carrying fresh corn all year round. (That said, I still try to buy it only in late summer because the quality is better. Chalk it up to childhood bias.) I like to make fresh corn in a variety of ways, always off the cob, usually sprinkled with lime and salt.
I streamlined this recipe from Food52, and loved that the corn flavor was so robust, yet the soup itself was very light. It's also vegan, dairy free, gluten free, paleo, Whole30, and comes together in about thirty minutes.
Remember, always try to get the freshest corn possible–the season is almost over!
Adapted from: Food52
Number of servings: 4
L-R: Jacquie, Michael, Janette, and John (missing little sister Julie), celebrating an August birthday.
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the bay area. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.