Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Weekend Cooking: Guest-Hosting (and Hurricane / Storm Watching)

Aloha Weekend Cooking Participants. I hope you are all doing well. I am guest-hosting this week again as Beth Fish Reads continues her travels. I planned on making and posting a Eric Ripert dessert recipe and combining my Weekend Cooking and I Heart Cooking Clubs efforts, but between my new job and prepping for the impending Hurricane Lane (poised to strike Oahu sometime tonight), real life got in the way. So once again, I bring you a few foodie links I found interesting this week for this pre-scheduled (in case I lose power tonight) post, as I sit here Friday afternoon, waiting and watching. 

Hope you join in the Weekend Cooking fun by linking up a food-related post. Directions are at the bottom of the post.

I will confess to intensely disliking pumpkin spice anything--including the original pumpkin-spiced dish, pumpkin pie, but I found this article from Cooking Light about the history behind the phenomenon of pumpkin-spiced EVERYTHING to be pretty interesting.
How Did Pumpkin Spice Become So Popular? And Why Do We Hate to Love It So Much?

Are you a fan of all the pumpkin-spiced food out there, or a foe? 

Stacey Ballis is a favorite foodie fiction author of mine and I also like the creative recipes she posts for Extra Crispy. (I totally will be making her Stuffing Butter again for Thanksgiving this  year.) I am completely drawn to this Eggplant Parmedict--her mash-up of Eggplant Parm and Eggs Benedict. I could happily devour this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Photo by Stacey Ballis

Do you ever stand in front of the chile peppers at Whole Foods or the farmers market and try to remember which ones are mild, versus the fire-engine hot ones? I do.;-) Your Guide to the 10 Chile Peppers Most Likely to Show Up in a Recipe from MyRecipes is a helpful article I pinned to my Cooking Tips, Tricks, Ideas board.

Cathy Scola/ Getty Images

Finally in case I lose my electricity tonight and can't link my post up for a bit, I'll mention it here. A book review of a mystery-thriller and food-wise, since eggs were mentioned in the book, I tried the Ziploc bag method of omelets for a tasty Thyme-Mushroom Omelet. A little science in the kitchen can be fun and although I don't think I would boil my eggs in plastic bags often, it turned out well and would be great if cooking for a crowd. Here's the link to the recipe and review post.

Well my friends, I am setting this post up to go and hopefully will not lose power or lose it for long. (The Friday 2:00 PM update is Hurricane Lane is now down to a Category 1 and we hope it goes down more and turns to the west before it gets close. And the Friday 5:00 PM update has Lane downgraded to a tropical storm but since we still have heavy rains and wind gusts in the forecast, I'll leave this as scheduled in case the power still goes out.) I'll get around to comment on your posts once I am able. (Note: If you are a Souper Sundays participant, it may be on hold for this week based on what happens.)
Link Up Note: I use a different link-up than Beth Fish Reads and it is a picture link. I think it is fairly easy to use, but if you have any trouble or questions, please let me know.

Please leave a comment after linking. Mahalo!

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

An Inconceivable Roundup of Creative & Delicious Dishes for Food 'n Flix's May Pick: "The Princess Bride"

Inconceivable! There was no way I could choose one of my very favorite movies as the May Food 'n Flix film pick (if you missed the announcement post--it's here) and not be blown away with what my Food 'n Flix friends did with this not-so-foodie choice. It turns out The Princess Bride has made a lot of people happy in its 30 years of existence, and it turns out that it can inspire some pretty awesome food creations too.

Here's the roundup of the fabulous dishes everyone made! I had a blast reading and drooling over all of the posts and it would be inconceivable (You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means) if you didn't find this collection of dishes equally wonderful. So bypass the Fire Swap and stop storming the castle, and let's take a look!

Our first entry in was from Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm who found this non-foodie film fairly full of food inspiration and ended up making a tasty sandwich of Grilled Cheese with Apple. She said, "As you can see, there was absolutely no shortage of food/recipe ideas. I decided to make a sandwich and fill it with cheese and apples since these three things were seen more than once in the movie. Oh, and because I love grilled cheese sandwiches and knew the crunchy sweetness of an apple would add another layer of flavor to this classic dish."

Next up was Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla who made some delectable, Sicilian-flavored Razor Clams ala Vizinni. She said, "While this isn't a foodie movie per se, I found tons of inspiration! Given that I'm picking up my half-lamb share from a farmer friend this week, I considered a nice MLT! It, according to Miracle Max, rivals true love. ... I even drove out to an Asian market in hopes of finding some (shrieking!) eel. But they only had pre-cooked eel - in a can - and the sauce was not gluten-free. Boo. So, I settled on fresh razor clams in honor of the repartee between Vizzini and Westley. Razor clams for razor sharp wit. Get it?"

Evelyne of CulturEatz made these gorgeous Sitting Pretty Buttercups on Sand Tarts, saying "Sand and sugar were stuck in my brain after I saw the movie. How many recipe do you know that come from the concept of sand? This eventually blossomed into sand tarts, all topped with a buttercup in honor of the Princess Bride herself!" And, ...there one was scene that got stuck in my head for inspiration…a weird one. Buttercup gets swallowed up in quicksand and gets rescued by Westley. I am 100% certain they filmed it with sugar. The way the ‘sand’ stuck to the actor’s face when they got out of it…it was sugar."

Debra of Eliot's Eats is another big fan of the movie and plans to introduce a group of her coworkers--who have never seen it?! (Inconceivable!). She said, "I decided to go with an inspired recipe from Buttercup’s name. I present Princess Buttercup’s Butter Cups with a powdered sugar sprinkle (or is it iocane powder?) and flowers. ... These are sweet cakes so go easy on the iocane powder." Who wouldn't want one of these pretty and butter-filled pound cakes--any icocane powder poisoning would be totally worth it! 

Kimberly of Coffee & Casseroles found her first dish not working out as planned but regrouped with the tasty and comforting Beef Soup she made for her mother. She said, "I have to confess something. My recipe didn't work. And I did not have a back up plan. I had said in another post, I'd be back that week with this, but my recipe failed and I wasn't sure I was going to do this at all. And if you've been following this for any length of time, you know I like to think outside the box as much as I can. What I ended up doing, was going with the obvious. I ended up making a soup. My inspiration scene being where Inigo is drunk and falls face first into his soup/stew. And it used more than half the ingredients from my notes."

Next was Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures who made clever and decadent candy with her Anybody Want a Peanut Buttercup? treats. She said, "One of the classic lines from the movie is when Fezzik and Inigo are rhyming in the beginning. Vezzini says "stop it, I mean it" to which Fezzik replies "Anybody want a peanut?" ... Then, obviously, our heroine is named Buttercup, so the clear recipe choice is Peanut Butter Cups! Plus, also, we know that chocolate makes miracle pills go down easier (a movie AND book reference (though in the book the chocolate only “makes them look a lot better”)."

Our Food n Flix founder, Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen made an appealing concoction (thank goodness someone made a drink!) with her Fire Swamp Fireball Cocktails. She said, "I went a little outside the box and pulled inspiration from a scene where Westley and Buttercup "escape" through the Fire Swamp, a dangerous detour in which they have to maneuver their way through R.O.U.S.'s (rodents of unusual size), lightening sand, and flame spurts (aka fire balls). While they are technically called flame spurts, I've always referred to them as fire balls, so I made a cocktail featuring two different fire balls—the candy and the cinnamon whiskey. I used cream soda, thinking it would make the drink look a little murky (swampy), but it didn't really do that as much as I'd have liked (though the candy does let off a bit of red murk as it sits). Maybe a splash of cream would lend the right effect. And a little bit of sweetness from the addition of Licor 43, as a nod to the love between Buttercup and Westley."

Finally here at Kahakai Kitchen for my contribution to the party, I give you Miracle Max's Wonder Pills: Dark Chocolate-Coated Peanut Butter Energy Balls. I had my dish in my head from the beginning, mainly due to my love for Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) and his wife Valerie (Carol Kane) {I'm not a witch. I'm your wife!"} and from a pamphlet in my Buttercup Edition of the DVD entitled "Fezzik's Guide to Florin." There was an ad for Miracle Max's 'Wonder Pill' that proclaims "Death is no excuse!" I knew I wanted to make an energy ball with healthy ingredients and coated in dark chocolate because, "the chocolate coating makes it go down easier" and I used peanut butter as a base in a nod to Fezzik's peanut rhyme. 

What an amazing virtual film and food party we had! It was the greatest thing in the world--except for a nice MLT–mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky, I love that. (Yes, I could do this for hours!

Thank you to everyone who joined in this month. As usual, my only wish is that I could have sampled all of your amazing creations!

If you missed this month's Food 'N Flix event but you like food, films, and foodie films, consider joining us in June, when Evelyne of CulturEatz will be hosting with the foreign film, Volver.

Happy June! 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Memories of My Mom's Chicken Barley Soup for a Mother's Day Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

It's Mother's Day and I'm in Oregon. This is the second Mother's Day without my mom and with the day being so close to when she passed away, I confess to timing my visit to be able to hang out with my family thinking that it might be easier than last year. And it has been--we've laughed, we've been sad, my sisters and I took flowers to the cemetery for my mom and dad, we've eaten a bunch, and we are all going to my sister's place to celebrate the day. Two of my nieces are pregnant, another has a baby I haven't met yet and a preschooler that I haven't seen since since I was here two years ago. Life goes on and as much as I miss my mom, I do know she would be happy that most of us will be together today. 

If your mother is still with you, hug her or call her and tell her you love her today. If you can't, then take some time to think about her and know that my thoughts are with you and that I send you a virtual hug.

Since I didn't make soup this week so I thought I'd bring you my mom's Chicken Barley Soup from a post in February 2009 and another visit to Oregon. My mom loved soup and made it often, chicken barley was her favorite to make and eat. It's a simple, soup but the perfect comfort food from a really great mom.

Chicken Barley Soup
by my Mom, Betty
(Makes 8 servings)

8 cups chicken stock or broth (homemade--like Mom, or use use a good low sodium broth)
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped or grated
1 large yellow onion, chopped finely
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tsp dried parsley 
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 cup pearl barley
1 cup or more cooked chicken breast, cubed

Heat stock to boiling and add vegetables and seasonings. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Stir in barley and cook as package directs (about 45 minutes), stirring occasionally until barley is tender. Add chicken and heat 5 minutes until warmed through. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Notes/Results: As I said in the original post, this soup is delicious healthy and warming, perfect for a winter's lunch in Portland. This soup is chock full of veggies, potatoes, chicken and lots of barley. If you are not a barley fan or like a "brothier" soup, you can reduce the amount of the barley you put in.

We have a couple of delicious dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!

My friend Simona of Briciole shared a Roasted Chicken, Asparagus, and Avocado Salad and said, "The recipe I am sharing is the result of a combination of events: I had leftovers asparagus, besides leftovers from the roast chicken described above and I was by myself. The result was so good that I made the salad again the following day, grateful that the chicken3 had been large enough to provide me leftovers for another salad. If you are vegetarian, substitute the chicken with something that fits your preferences."

Louise of Soup, Soup, Glorious Soup joined in this week with Black Bean Soup with Cashew Cream and Coriander and said, "I've never had black bean soup that I can remember, so I wasn't sure how this soup should really taste. Indeed black beans haven't really been easily available in Australia until this year, but now tinned black beans are available at the supermarket. Master Soup deemed it to be like liquid burritos, and it basically was."

Mahalo to Simona and Louise for joining me this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • you are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms and moms-to-be and mom-like people out there. 

Have a happy, healthy week.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Five Favorite Soups For When You Are Under the Weather for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

I did not make a big pot of soup this week. In truth, this week got the best of me between work projects and an asthma flare up and I spent most of this weekend sleeping. I have been switching between heating up soup from the freezer and shuffling to the kitchen to heat broth and stir in miso, but I have no new recipe to share this week. Not to fear, there are more than 400 soup recipes on this blog and it's also the eighth anniversary of Souper Sundays this month, so this week I bring you a recap of my favorite restorative soups from over the years. These are the soups that I want when I feel blah, or sick, or sad, or tired. A couple are from my meat/poultry-eating days, the rest are vegan or vegetarian, and they are all perfect for whatever ails you and delicious enough to eat when you are feeling fine. 

Today would have been my mom's 85th Birthday and I miss her very much. When I think of comfort food her Chicken Barley Soup, February 2009, always comes to mind.
It's chock full of veggies, potatoes, chicken and lots of barley and it was always made with love.

Elephants' Cure Chicken Soup by Scott Weaver, executive chef, Elephants Delicatessen, January 2010. This soup from a popular Portland, Oregon deli says that it contains, "a rich and spicy broth that's loaded with ginger, garlic, lemon grass and serrano chiles, a potent blend of ingredients that have known curative powers." I will attest to it clearing out my sinuses when I made it. ;-)

Ginger-Lemongrass Miso Soup from The Candle Cafe Cookbook by Joy Pierson & Bart Potenza, March 2010. There is a simplicity of ingredients in this soup but the ginger and lemongrass add a flavor punch and a bowl leaves you feeling refreshed and renewed.

Garlic Soup with Chickpeas and Harissa, from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, July 2013. A delicious and immune-boosting soup full of alliums like shallots and garlic, with some ginger and spicy pepper paste, to clear out those sinus passages, and it's satisfying to boot.

Ginger Tofu Soup from Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health, October 2012. This takes the place of chicken soup when you want a veg-friendly, no-meat restorative cure-all for a stuffed up head. There is enough powerful ginger and garlic to clear the sinuses and the rice and tofu add substance. It's also incredibly quick and easy to make, good for when the last thing you feel like doing is spending time cooking.

There you have it--five favorites from over the years. Any of these soups should have you feeling better soon. What's your favorite restorative soup to make or eat?
We have some good friends in the Souper Sundays kitchen who shared some delicious dishes last week--let's have a look!

Melynda of Our Sunday Cafe shares two dishes this week. First is her Pan Roasted Butternut Squash Collard Greens and Potato Chowder. She says, "I had not cooked with collard greens before, and their peppery flavor is a pleasant surprise. But using greens in a soup like this is such an easy way to get more vegetables on the table and into your family. Which is always a good thing! This is not a sweet butternut squash soup, as most are. Instead, it is savory, warming and very good for you."

Next Melynda shared this Red Beet Salad with Cranberry Maple Vinaigrette and said, "With autumn here and the holidays looming (in a good way!) this salad was a natural to put together, and the taste, let me tell you it is wonderful. Maple, beet, and feta might seem like a mismatched trio, but in truth, they play very well together."

Judee from Gluten free A-Z Blog made her Grandmother's Healthy Green Sorrel Soup and said, "Sorrel is a leafy green that looks similar to spinach but has a powerful lemony flavor. It can be cooked and eaten like spinach or made into a soup. Either way, sorrel is tangy and delicious. This recipe for homemade sorrel soup, or "Schav" as my Russian grandmother called it, is a simple family recipe that my grandmother made in the old country." 

Join me in Welcoming Ali of Fix Me a Little Lunch to the Souper Sundays kitchen. She joins us this week with "Magic" Chicken Orzo Soup inspired by a J.D. Robb book, saying "Peabody and Dallas stop for soup in between interviews of murder suspects and Dallas calls the soup “magic” – it’s just how good it is. ... Since soup is one of my favorite foods, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my “magic” soup is and decided it would be chicken noodle soup of some sort. ... I decided I was going to poach some chicken breasts, with both skin and bone still on and in, and magic up some stock. Combined with a lot of garlic, a little bit of green chili, and orzo, I think this soup could make even Eve Dallas come back for seconds."

Debbie of The Friday Friends shared Paella Soup and says, "It had all the ingredients of Paella, but in soup form. I have to be honest---I did not buy saffron.  I've spent a lot of money on ingredients that I only need a tsp of,  and had no qualms about doing so ...  but I just couldn't do it for the saffron.  So, I Googled it and found out there is really no substitute spice for saffron.  I did find one mixture that comes close: turmeric and paprika. ... This soup is filled with chicken and sausage and shrimp. A really good main dish soup!"

Mahalo to everyone who joined in this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • you are welcome to add the wonderful Souper Sundays logo (created by Ivy at Kopiaste) to your post and/or blog (optional).

 Have a happy, healthy week!

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Night Ringing" by Laura Foley: Poetry and a Cappuccino for Friday

I freely admit that most poetry intimidates me. I feel bad if I don't get it. But some times, and some poetry touches the heart and is good for the soul (and for a Friday). On today's TLC Book Tour stop, I am reviewing Night Ringing, a book of soul-filling poetry by Laura Foley, accompanied by a creamy soy cappuccino inspired by my reading. 

Publisher's Blurb:

“I revel in the genius of simplicity” Laura Foley writes as she gives us in plain-spoken but deeply lyrical moments, poems that explore a life filled with twists and turns and with many transformations. Through it all is a search for a fulfilling personal and sexual identity, a way to be most fully alive in the world. From multicultural love affairs through marriage with a much older man, through raising a family, through grief, to lesbian love affairs, Night Ringing is the portrait of a woman willing to take risks to find her own best way. And she does this with grace and wisdom. As she says: “All my life I’ve been swimming, not drowning.”

Paperback: 108 pages
Publisher: Headmistress Press (January 11, 2016)

My Review:

I am not one for critically reviewing books, I generally just give you my opinion--what I like and what I don't, what moves me, inspires me, makes me smile or brings a tear--and that's what I'll do with  this book of poetry. Night Ringing is a deeply personal and accessible collection of poems about the moments in life, both big and small. Even though the author has led a very different life than mine, I can relate to many of her feelings and many of these poems spoke to my soul. Incident in the Coffee Shop tells of a woman having her usual breakfast and an emotional moment when the waitress asks if everything is OK--only realizing in that moment that she meant the food. I can relate. Other poems capture moments at the doctor's office, the death of a parent, the end and the beginning of relationships, divorce, family secrets and issues, nature and different places. Emotions are expressed in clear tones and simple lines; the poems aren't  complicated and there is nothing to get or not get. It's a moving collection and one to savor. I kept the book by my bed and read a poem or two each morning, skipping around to balance the happy or peaceful emotions with the sad ones. If you enjoy poetry and poems about life, you will likely enjoy it and if you are new to, or intimidated by the thought of poetry, Night Ringing is a gentle place to start appreciating it. 

The first poem in the book, The Turtle, pulled me in with its beauty and simplicity and because I love turtles (honu in the Hawaiian language). Many of the poems in the book go very deep into emotions, happy or sad but this one easily captures the feeling and wonder of a turtle. I share it here, with a picture I took of a resting sea turtle on the beach at the North Shore.


Author Notes: Laura Foley is an internationally published, award-winning poet, author of five collections. She won First Place in the Common Goods Poetry Contest, judged by Garrison Keillor, who read her poem on “A Prairie Home Companion”; and First Place in the National Outermost Poetry Prize, judged by Marge Piercy. Her poetry collections include: Night RingingThe Glass Tree and Joy Street. The Glass Tree won a Foreword Book of the Year Award; Joy Street won the Bisexual-Writer’s Award. Her poems have appeared in The Writer’s Almanac, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pulse Magazine, Lavender Review, The Mom Egg Review, in the British Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology, and many other journals.
A certified Shri Yoga Instructor and creative arts facilitator in hospitals, she is the mother of three grown children and has just become a grandmother. She and her partner Clara Gimenez live among the hills of Vermont with their three big dogs.


Food Inspiration: 

There are a few mentions of food and several of coffee in Night Ringing like an aliigator burger--"Cajun-spiced and barbecued just right," ice cream, Chinese food, lemon chicken, pina coldas, a chocolate cherry, coffee beans, and a coffee shop with a breakfast of OJ, bialy, and eggs, poached easy. 

Since coffee shops were in a few of the poems, rather than make a dish, I took inspiration from My Own Hand, the last poem in the book and had a cappuccino from my favorite local coffee shop, made by one of my favorite baristas. It was definitely a cappuccino kind of day...

I'm linking up this review and recipe to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "Night Ringing" was provided to me by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

 Happy Aloha Friday!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pickle Soup: Barley, Mushroom, and Vegetable Soup for Missing My Mom on Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

"Mother's Day is gonna suck." Is what the guy who owns my neighborhood coffee shop (and satellite office one or two days a week) said to me as he sat down at my table on Friday. Not the message he was giving everyone I'm sure, but he knows I lost my mom this time last year. It's been just a handful of years since he lost his own mom and we occasionally discuss the grief process and the feeling of emptiness that losing your mom brings.

I consider myself lucky to have had my mom for as long as I did (she was on her way to  84-years-old when she died). I'm truly fortunate that she was such a wonderful woman and that I had a great relationship with her. And, I miss her so much that sometimes it is like a really hard blow to the chest. Other times it's more of a dull ache, or even sometimes a nagging feeling that something is missing--like around 3:00-4:00 PM everyday when I feel like I have forgotten to do something and realize it is because I used to talk to her almost every day at that time. So yeah, sorry to be a downer, but no getting around it--Mother's Day, this entire month really, is on the suckier side for me and my family this year. 

Do me a favor--if you have your mom, give her a hug or call her to tell her you love her, today and any day that you can. If you lost your mom, even if it was years ago, I share your pain and your loss. Keep yourself busy on this Mother's Day, do something kind for yourself or someone else, and because food and the sharing of food is a form of love, maybe get into the kitchen and make something that reminds you of her. For me that's a big bowl of soup.

So, I wasn't sure if I would do a Souper Sundays post this week. It took me a long while to be able to make soup after my mom passed and even longer to get back to a weekly post about it (Souper Sundays just started back at the end of February). It might sound silly to connect a person so heavily to soup but it is a big link to my mom. I don't make or sit down to a bowl of soup without thinking whether she would like it, on Saturday phone calls she always wanted to know what kind of soup I was making that weekend, and during her last few weeks, it was one of the handful of things she seemed to have success at getting down, and actually enjoyed eating. 

Love Soup by Anna Thomas is a favorite classic cookbook of mine and it had been 'staring at me' from the stacks, wondering I think, why it had been so long since I cooked from it. Without opening the cover, I knew the recipe I had in mind, the Pickle Soup that I have been meaning to make for years now because it sounded so good and unique. For some reason, I am on a pickle kick lately--adding them to everything and just eating them out of the jar--so putting them into a barley, mushroom, and veggie soup sounded perfect. 

When I went to the tabbed recipe, I took a moment to read the story behind it, something I had forgotten about, and realized that the author made this soup for her own mother when she was old and in failing health to tempt her appetite because it was "full of the flavors of her Polish kitchen." The connection between that mother and daughter seemed another reason that this soup called to be made this weekend. I think my mom would have enjoyed it--she was a great fan of barley soups and although not the dill and pickle fanatic that I am, she enjoyed the flavors and as Thomas points out, "...the pickles are one small part of this soup. They melt into the whole, and if you weren't told about them, you wouldn't necessarily know--you'd just love the tangy, dilly flavor of this great soup.

Saturday afternoon found me in the kitchen with some good music, the peaceful zen of chopping veggies, a few smiles, and a few tears. And, in the end, a delicious bowl of soup with a whole lot of love mixed into it. 

Note: I did make some changes to the ingredients--based on what I had on hand (10-minute quick-cooking barley, baby spinach instead of chard, fresh tarragon in place of the fresh parsley I thought I had...) and the method--there were way too many pots for me to wash and so I reduced it to two--one for the soup and one for the mushrooms. Below is the recipe from the book with my changes noted in red.

Pickle Soup
Adapted from Love Soup by Anna Thomas
(Makes 10 Servings)

1/2 cup pearl barley (I used 1 cup quick-cooking pearl barley)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup chopped leeks, white & light green parts (I used 2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz portobello, cremini, or other brown mushrooms, chopped
8 oz Yukon gold potatoes, diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 medium turnip, peeled and diced
1/2 bunch green chard (I used about 3 cups baby spinach)
1 wedge savoy cabbage (I used 1/2 head green cabbage)
1 medium red bell pepper, cored and diced or large roasted pimento from a jar
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used fresh tarragon)
3 cups good vegetable broth (I used 4 cups + 4 cups water)
1 cup finely diced dill pickles, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper 
optional garnishes: (vegan) sour cream, yogurt cheese, or farmer cheese

Rinse the barley, put it in a large soup pot with 8 cups (2 liters) water and 1 teaspoon salt, and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and add the chopped onion. Lower the heat to medium and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the chopped leeks and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until the onion and leeks are soft and beginning to color.

In another skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and stir the garlic in it over high heat for about a minute. Add the mushrooms, a dash of salt, and a pinch of thyme and sauté the mushrooms until their excess liquid cooks away and they are sizzling, about 10 minutes.

Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and turnip to the barley, along with another half a teaspoon of salt. You can add a cup or two of water if it is needed to keep everything submerged. Bring the liquid back to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 more minutes.

While the root vegetables are cooking, wash the chard, remove the tough stems, and chop the leaves coarsely. Shred the wedge of cabbage into 1/2-inch strips. Add the sautéed onion and leeks and the sautéed mushrooms to the soup, deglazing the pans with a bit of water. Stir in the chard, cabbage, bell pepper, dill, parsley, and vegetable broth. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the finely diced pickles and simmer for 10 minutes more.

My method: I used the soup pot to sauté my onions and leeks, then my carrot and celery until softened, then I added my broth, turnip and potatoes and simmered it for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I sautéd my garlic, thyme and mushroom in a separate pan as directed and set aside. I then added my 10-minute barley, red pepper, cabbage, spinach, dill, tarragon and the mushrooms (deglazing the pan) to the soup and cooked it for 10 minutes. Finally, I added in the dill pickles and simmered the soup for 10 more minutes before tasting and adjusting the seasoning. 

Taste the soup, and adjust the seasoning with more salt and some freshly ground pepper. The pickles become milder over time, releasing their acidity into the soup as they cook; your soup will have a more subtle flavor after it simmers a little longer. 

Thomas says, "This is an old-fashioned soup, and tastes great with a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt cheese, or plain white farmer cheese. ... You'll have a big pot of soup--enough for about 10 meal-sized servings. I like to freeze it for another time.

Notes/Results: This soup is a homey, nicely balanced bowl of great flavors and textures. The pickles mellow as the soup sits and cooks so it isn't like you are biting into a sour dill pickle, but it gives the soup a lovely acidity. The dill is prominent but the thyme and the small amount of tarragon I added are there too, adding to the layers. I put in extra barley and of course it absorbs liquid readily, so that with all of the veggies it has a definite stew-like feel. The veggies are a good mix too with the sweeter carrots and red pepper, slightly pungent turnip and cabbage, the earthiness of the mushrooms and the buttery goodness of the Yukon gold potatoes. I had some vegan sour cream in the fridge and I liked the way it added creaminess to the soup when stirred into it. Thomas suggests serving it with pumpernickel or rye bread but I had some dill pickle Kettle Chips that I thought were fun, slightly crushed and sprinkled on top. It's a good thing I like this soup because it makes a lot, so I intend to try freezing some for later. I would make it again. 

It was salads and sandwiches at last week's Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays linkup. Here's a recap of what was shared.

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes got creative with her rotisserie chicken game and says, "Keeping it simple and easy, but upping the game a bit. I decided to grab whatever was either on sale or just caught my fancy at the store and make a salad. The first thing I noticed were organic cucumbers. Perfect. Then right next to them was a package of bright and colorful sweet peppers, also on sale. Bingo. I bought some baby greens and I was good to go. I was already putting together the Chicken, Cucumbers and Sweet Peppers Salad in my head."

Debra of Eliot's Eats brought a salad and a sandwich to share. inspired by the official menu at the Kentucky Derby.  She says, "Since it might be our 50th anniversary before we get to attend the Derby, I decided to make us a special treat inspired by this official menu. All of the dishes were most worthy for duplicating, but I went perhaps the easy route and wanted to make the Black and Blue Salad with the Turkey & Brie Sandwiches.

And... "When I told The Hubs I was trying out a new sandwich, he was as eager as ever to be a taste-tester. When I described what was going into the sandwich, he said, “My, that’s an awful lot of flavors.” After he bit into it, though, he thought he had hit the Daily Double! The apple butter adds just the right amount of sweetness to go with the creamy brie and savory rosemary. I hope you try this!"

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor brought this Farm-Stand Pasta Salad and says, "We had enough leftover that it was a main meal the first night, a pasta salad side dish the next and just enough to go along for lunch at work the next day. It stores well too. We didn’t eat it three days in a row but it stayed very fresh in a sealed container. ... Definitely having this one again! You can vary the ingredients and add more pepper if you are fan or double the tomatoes (which I will do next time) or add steamed broccoli. I guess that’s why it’s called Farmer’s Market Pasta."

Thanks to everyone who linked up!

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.
On your entry post (on your blog):
  • please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • you are welcome to add the wonderful Souper Sundays logo (created by Ivy at Kopiaste) to your post and/or blog (optional). 

Have a happy, healthy week!