Saturday, December 31, 2005

Spiced Peach Soup

adapted from


• 2 14 oz. cans of sliced peaches in juice. 
(or 2 lbs of ripe fresh peaches would be even better)
• 1 6-inch thin strip of orange zest
• 1 1/2 cups orange juice
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1/2 cup plain yogurt
• 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
• cayenne pepper to taste

Garnish: Spoonful of yogurt swirled in each serving

To make the soup:
1. Mix the peaches, orange zest, orange juice, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, till the fruit is very soft.
2. Purée the entire contents in a blender, skins and all. Stir in the yoghurt. Stir in the balsamic vinegar.
3. Then add a light sprinkle of cayenne & then taste. Keep adding the cayenne until you get the desired kick. :)
4. If you plan to serve it cold, chill in the refrigerator for several hours.
When ready to serve, add more orange juice, if you like, to achieve your preferred consistency. Swirl a spoonful of yogurt into each portion as a garnish.

Mexican Tomato Soup


• 2 Tbs Butter
• 1/4 cup chopped shallots
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
• 1 tsp ground coriander
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
• 1/2  tsp dried oregano
• 3 lbs tomatoes, chopped
• 1 Tbs tomato paste
• 1 Tbs honey
• 4 cups of vegetable stock
• hot sauce

tortilla chips, hot sauce (our favorite is Melinda's Habanero Hot Sauce), and cheddar cheese
To make the soup:
In a heavy saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat.
Cook shallots, garlic, and jalapenos until soft, about 6 minutes.
Stir in remaining ingredients except stock and simmer 10 minutes.
Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. 
Run through a blender. Season to taste with hot sauce.
Add toppings!

Gujarati Pepper and Black-Eyed Pea Soup

(Sukha Lobbia ka Soop)
Serve hot as a first course to 4-6 people.

Extraordinary as a first course, and pure vegetarian. Visually arresting with those white beans and red bits of pepper and tomato recumbent in a dark brown broth--tart, creamy, and smoky, fragrant with cumin and mustard and, if you can find it, a dash of asafoetida. And all that tamarind--totally stimulating to the palate.

• 1 cup dried black-eyed peas
• soaking water
• 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
• 1-3 hot green chilies (to your taste), seeded, cored, and minced
• 1 large tomato (or 4 small canned ones), peeled, seeded, and chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 5 cups water
• 1 large red pepper

• 2 Tablespoons tamarind paste

Roast the following ingredients separately:
• 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 12 fresh curry leaves** (this is the most important ingredient)
• 2 Tablespoons chickpea flour
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida**
• 1 cup water

To make the soup:
1. Soak the beans for several hours or overnight in lots of water. Drain and rinse.
Put into a heavy pot with the ginger, chilies, tomato, turmeric, salt, and water.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, seal with aluminum foil, and top with the lid.
Let cook for an hour or two.

2. While the soup is cooking, roast the red pepper under the broiler, turning to char the skin on every side.
Place in a plastic bag and let the skin steam off for 5-10 minutes.
Remove from the bag, peel away the skin, and reserve.

3. When ready to finish the soup, unseal the soup pot and check that the beans are tender.
Cut the roasted pepper into cubes and add to the soup.

Then Heat the oil in a wok or small saucepan over medium high heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and cover the pot while they sizzle.Turn the heat to low and stir in the curry leaves, the chickpea flour, the paprika, and the asafoetida.
Stir for a minute or two, then whisk in the cup of water and stir into the rest of the soup.
Stir in the tamarind, tasting to get the right amount of sourness.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes or more.

5. Ladle into small bowls and serve immediately.

**the noted ingredients are essential to this soup and are most easily found in an ethnic Indian grocer.  If you are in Pittsburgh, there is a very helpful store on Craig Street beside Luca Restaurant. Kohli's Indian Imports - 319 S Craig St, Pittsburgh, 15213 - (412) 621-1800

Monday, December 12, 2005

Spicy Tomato Soup with Cheddar Tortilla Strips

Spicy Tomato Soup with Cheddar Tortilla Strips

Adapted from this great soup cookbook: A Good Day for Soup by Jeannette Ferrary and Louise Fiszer. San Francisco: Chronicle, 1996.

Spicy Tomato Soup
•  2 T. butter
•  1/4 c. chopped shallots
•  2 cloves garlic
•  2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
•  1 t. ground coriander
•  1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
•  1/2 tsp. dried oregano
•  3 lbs. tomatoes, seeded and chopped
•  1 T. tomato paste
•  1 T. honey
•  4 c. water stock
•  2 cubes of Knorr vegetarian bullion
•  Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Tortilla Strips
•  4 large flour tortillas
•  1 c. grated cheddar cheese

Top with
•   Fresh squeezed lime juice
•   hot sauce (our favorite is Melinda's Habanero Hot Sauce)

To make Tomato Soup:
1. Sautee shallots, garlic, and peppers in oil over low heat until translucent.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients except stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add vegetable stock and increase heat to medium. Bring to a boil. Then simmer for about 20 minutes.
4. Puree the soup with an immersion blender then strain through a colander.

To make the tortilla strips:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut the tortillas into 3/4 inch strips with a pair of scissors. Lay them on a baking sheet and top with shredded cheddar cheese.
3. Bake until the cheese is melted. Allow to cool.

To serve:
1. Place a few of the tortilla strips in the bottom of a bowl. Ladle the soup over the strips. Top with a squirt of lime juice.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Year 13 - 2005

Year 13 - 2005

We had a great time at the 2005 big Soup Party. 135 people, $480 raised for the GPCFB. We did not kick any of the pots of soup this year, but there was not much left of any of them. There was not a consensus on the best soup of the evening. The crowd was divided evenly between all 4 soups. The fire pit on the back deck and the singing around the piano were highlights of the evening. Jeff Freedman won most original bowl with his hand carved log of maple bowl with matching spoon, Glenn Greene won a prize for the largest spoon used, Laura and Casey Sokol drove down from Toronto, Canada and received the award for the furthest distance traveled and we gave an honorable mention to Jackie Goldblume for her wonderful reindeer-pig bowl.