Category Archives: Soup

Udon Noodles in Broth with Enoki Mushrooms and Vegetables


A flavorful, satisfying hot, slurping noodle-soup. Best to cook the noodles while prepping all the ingredients so that everything is ready to go since the vegetables cook quickly. The ingredient list and directions may look more daunting than the reality. This is basically a quick stir fry served in a broth with noodles. The jalapeno adds a nice kick.

Serves 2.

-2 bundles udon noodles, cooked
-1 teaspoon grape seed or vegetable oil
-1 heaping teaspoon powdered ginger
-1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly
-1 carrot, sliced
-1/2 red or yellow pepper, sliced in 1 inch pieces
-1 small or 1/2 large jalapeno, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
-1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
-1 small bunch beet greens (or chard), cleaned and chopped into 1 inch pieces
-1 bunch enoki mushrooms, separated (or handful of sliced white mushrooms)
-1 handful green beans, cut into 1/2-1 inch pieces
-1-2 splashes Mirin
-1 quart homemade vegetable stock
-1 Tablespoon Shoyu (or soy sauce)
-1 Tablespoon Ponzu (if you have some on hand)
-salt and pepper
-sprig of fresh basil

1. Boil water in large pot and cook udon noodles according to package directions. Rinse cooked udon thoroughly with cold water and set aside.
2. Separately, boil some water in a kettle and pour hot water into two serving bowls to heat. (optional)
3. Heat oil in large saute pan. When it starts to sizzle slightly, add the powdered ginger and stir it into the oil.
4. Add the chopped onion and carrots and cook over medium heat stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and the carrot is softening.
5. Add the red pepper and saute a couple minutes until starting to soften.
6. Stir in the jalapeno and garlic and cook briefly (30 seconds or so). Add a splash or two of mirin and cook down in a minute or two.
7. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the zucchini, beet greens, mushrooms and beans. Stir in the Shoyu and Ponzu, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked.

8. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding a bit of salt and pepper or additional shoyu if needed.
9. Remove water from serving bowls and dry. Place a portion of noodles in each dish then ladle broth with vegetables over the noodles. Using chopsticks, lightly stir noodles into the broth. Top with fresh basil and serve immediately. Eat noodles and veggies with chopsticks and slurp broth with Asian-style soup spoons.




Tomato Soup with Two Fennels

Tomato soup with fennelMy sister gave me a lovely book called “The Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg, who created a food blog called Orangette awhile back. The book is written in the style of a blog and recipes are included with every chapter. The author seems particularly fond of fennel, and this recipe stood out to me as an interesting twist on tomato soup. I decided to give it a try as I was curious to find out if one can make a decent soup from canned tomatoes as the recipe calls for. Besides…then I could use my new Le Creuset Dutch oven again! (No, I’m not being paid to use their name, although I can see why you might wonder.)

A Homemade LifeMolly mentions in the text of the book that when trying a recipe for the first time, it should be followed exactly and then after that, it’s do-what-you-will. I prescribe to this philosophy as well, except that I’m not capable of living by it. I simply cannot cook from a recipe without making some immediate modifications. I’ve honestly tried, but inevitably, I have something in my fridge I’d like to use up or I just have to add another vegetable or spice or maybe I should try increasing the temperature by another 25 degrees?

Actually, I think the only modification I made here was to use a bit of homemade chicken stock with the water. Also, I canned tomatoes myself this fall, so used four pints of home-canned chopped tomatoes. I really enjoyed the recipe. My boyfriend thought it was “very strange” and wasn’t sure he liked “tomato soup that tastes like licorice.” Still, that didn’t seem to stop him from finishing the bowl. Serve with thick slices of toasted wheat levain with fresh avocado spread like butter. The flavors do meld over time, so enjoy a day or two later as it makes a fair bit. I also saved a pint in the freezer for lunch another day.

Tomato Soup with Two Fennels Recipe

Makes 6-8 servings

3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 medium fennel bulbs (about 1 1/4 pounds), trimmed, quartered from root to stalk, and thinky sliced
4 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
Two 28-oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
3/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
Sugar, to taste
Red wine vinegar, to taste

1. In a large (5-quart) pot or Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion just starts to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently for another minute or so. Add the thyme and fennel seeds and cook until fragrant, stirring, about 2 minutes.
2. Using your hand to hold back the tomatoes, pour the liquid from the tomato cans into the pot. Stir well. Crush the tomatoes in thier cans, using your hands or a potato masher to tear and mash them into small chunks. Add the tomatoes to the pot. Then fill 1 empty tomato can with cold water and pour it in, too. Bring to a boil. Then adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes.
3. The soup is ready when the fennel is very tender and a spoonful of the tomatoey broth tastes like a good, full-bodied soup. (If it hasn’t cooked long enough, i twill taste watery and raw, like tomatoes straight from the can.) Add the salt. Taste and adjust as needed. If the tomatoes need a little sweetness, add a pinch or two of sugar. If the soup tastes a little bland, add a small splash of vinegar. I often add a bit of both. Serve hot.

winter tomato stew

Turkey, Farro and White Bean Soup

Turkey, farro and cannellini bean soupIt’s post turkey-time, and we all know what that means. Turkey soup! I decided to use up some of the sneakily and steadily growing grain stockpiles in my pantry by adding farro into the mix. What with the cannellini beans in the fridge, the soup practically made itself. Soup is the perfect way to use left-over ingredients from all the Thanksgiving shenanigans. Yet one more thing to give thanks for.

Serves 6-8.
Preparation time: ~20 minutes.
Cooking time: ~30 minutes.

1 cup farro, thoroughly rinsed
2 quarts homemade turkey or chicken stock
1 Tablespoon olive oil
A few dashes cayenne pepper
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, sliced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups cooked cannellini beans (or one 15 oz can, beans rinsed)
1 zucchini sliced or diced
2-3 cups bite-size cooked turkey bits
Leaves of one large sprig of thyme
4 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Freshly chopped chives for garnish

1. Heat olive oil in large sauce pan over medium-high heat along with the cayenne pepper. Add onions and saute about 5 minutes. Add celery and saute another 5 minutes or so, until the onion is translucent and the celery is softening.

2. Add garlic and saute briefly until garlic smells fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Stir in the tomato paste and keep stirring until well integrated with the vegetables.

3. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add farro and reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir in sliced carrots, and add the bay leaf and thyme. If using freshly made cannellini beans, add now as well. (If using canned, wait until step 5.) Add a dash of salt.

4. Cook at low simmer, partially covered 25 minutes, or until farro is cooked through.

5. Remove bay leaf and parsley sprigs. Add zucchini and turkey and heat until zucchini is just cooked and the turkey is warm, about 6 minutes.

6. Add salt if needed, and add generous fresh cracked pepper. Serve with chopped chives along with slices of toasted rye bread.

Turkey with Farro and Cannellini Beans Soup

Herbed White Bean and Sausage Stew

White Bean and Sausage Stew

I decided to try this recipe I found on the NY Times website. It’s a very hearty and comforting stew. The recipe doesn’t require soaking the beans in advance- you can throw the dried beans directly in the mix, and they’re flavored by the vegetables and broth- a nice plus. I made a few modifications, such as using 4 cups homemade chicken stock and 4 cups water (as opposed to 8 cups water) and opted for spicy Italian sausage. I used cannellini beans because I didn’t have Great Northerns on hand. Cannellini beans are a bit larger, so the cooking time was slightly longer than 2 hours. I also threw in some coarsely chopped spinach at the last minute to add a little green to the mix. The suggestion to serve the stew with a splash of olive oil and balsamic  is a great touch. I also added a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese on top, which brought it all together.

Time: ~ 2 1/2 hours (mostly unattended)
Serves 4.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for serving
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, sliced 3/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound dried Great Northern beans, rinsed and picked through
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
2 thyme sprigs
1 large rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, more for serving
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste.

1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.

2. Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot. Cook, stirring, until dark golden, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans, 8 cups water, salt, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the beans are tender, about 2 hours, adding more water if needed to make sure the beans remain submerged.

3. When the beans are tender, return the sausage to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle into warm bowls and serve drizzled with additional vinegar and olive oil [and grated parmesan cheese.]

Original recipe here.

Nourishing Asian Soup for Two

This modified post originated from EcoSalon:

Soba Noodle Soup

I never tire of experimenting with Asian noodle soup. It’s one of my favorite go-to’s for a steamy, healing meal, and it works well when you have leftover vegetables from other recipes that you’re looking to use before they spoil. In fact, it has become a weekly event. I like to vary the noodles, sometimes soba, sometime wide or thin udon. The broth of course is a major component. In this recipe I used homemade chicken stock. Other times, you can basically create the broth through the simmering of vegetables. Or possibly give it a miso spin. Also key is loads of fresh herbs to throw on top- my current favorite is fresh, chopped basil.

This version of soba noodle soup requires very little cooking time. Most of the active time is spent preparing and sauteing the vegetables while bringing water to boil for the noodles and heating the stock. The vegetables don’t need to cook long at all- 3 minutes tops, excepting the onion. Overall time is about 30 minutes.

I often heat two bowls with hot water while preparing so the soup stays hot when serving.

Serves two.

2 – 3 oz. bundles soba (Japanese buckwheat) noodles
3 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1/2 onion, sliced
1 generous inch ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 – 1 serrano pepper, minced (seeds and all)
6-8 dried shittake mushrooms*
1/2 – 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup spinach leaves, chopped
8-10 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
freshly ground pepper


1. Heat water in large saucepan to boil for noodles. Prepare all vegetables.

2. Meanwhile, in a second saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil. Rinse off dried mushrooms and place in boiling water. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove mushrooms with slotted spoon and slice when cool enough to handle. Return sliced mushrooms to pot, and keep stock at a low simmer. Add 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil to stock.

3. Heat oil in a frying pan or skillet. Saute ginger and half of the minced pepper, about 30 seconds. Add onion and saute until softening and becoming translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add zucchini and saute about 1 minute. Put sauteed vegetables into simmering stock.

4. When water is boiling, cook the soba noodles. (Follow directions for cooking, usually about 3 minutes cooking time.) Once cooked, drain and rinse noodles and set aside.

5. Add spinach leaves and the rest of the minced serrano to stock and turn up heat slightly, cooking briefly (1-3 minutes) while the noodles cook.

6. Serve noodles in two bowls, cover with hot stock and vegetables, topping with freshly ground pepper and generous basil.

* You can use fresh mushrooms instead of dried ones, depending on what you have on hand. Dried mushrooms help add flavor to the stock, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them. If using fresh, slice 4-6 mushrooms and saute about 3-4 minutes in Step 3. (First saute onion for 3-4 minutes, then add the mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the zucchini.)


Quello Che C’e: “Whatever There Is” Asian Noodle Soup

Asian Noodle Soup

The other day I was craving an Asian style soup, so I looked around my fridge to see what I could drum up.  A friend of mine likes to call this approach “quello che c’e” or “whatever there is.” And so, a Quello Che C’e Soup was born. I found some dried shiitake mushrooms in the pantry, so I soaked a few for 15 minutes in boiling hot water and saved the soaking water for the broth. I also had left0ver cooked angel hair pasta with spinach and garlic from the night before, and decided this would work for a noodle component. Normally, I would probably use soba or udon noodles. The radicchio I had was a variety from the farmer’s market that I don’t normally see in the grocery store. Here’s what I did:


4 dried shiitake mushrooms

1/2 onion, sliced

1 carrot, sliced

1 blue potato, cubed

2-3 leaves radicchio or cabbage, sliced

1 scallion, sliced

1 Tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro

1 Tablespoon white miso

2 teaspoons mirin

2 to 3 cups mushroom or vegetable broth.


1. Boil ~4 cups of water in a tea kettle. Pour 2-3 cups boiling water over dried mushrooms in a saucepan, and let sit 10-15 minutes. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon. When mushroom are cool enough, cut into thin slices, and set aside.

2. Put 1 Tablespoon white miso paste into a small bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons boiling water and dissolve the miso. Set aside.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large saucepan or wok over medium high heat. Add onions and saute until nearly softened. Add mirin and continue to saute 1 to 2 minutes or until the onion is starting to caramelize. Add sliced mushrooms and carrots and saute for 1 or 2 more minutes until most of the mirin has been absorbed or evaporated. The carrot need not be completely cooked yet. Set aside.

4. Bring reserved mushroom broth to a light boil. Add potatoes, carrots, onions and mushrooms. When potatoes and carrots are nearly soft, add cabbage.

5. When all the vegetables in the soup are cooked through (it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes total) and the cabbage is just cooked, remove from heat. Stir in the miso.

6. Pour soup into 1 large or 2 small soup bowls. Stir 1 serving of noodles into broth with chopsticks. Top with scallions, cilantro, and fresh cracked pepper.

Serves 1-2.


This soup was based on what I had in my fridge. I normally probably wouldn’t use potato or radicchio, but instead would prefer broccoli, bok choy or spinach for the vegetables. If using bok choy, separate the stems from the leaves, cooking the stems longer along with the carrots, and throwing in the leaves right at the last minute to cook only a minute or two. (The same would go for the spinach- aka. place it in the boiling broth at the very last minute and cook only very briefly.)

If you don’t have any miso available, use vegetable or chicken broth and add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce to the broth when serving.

Use more water if the ratio of water to vegetables doesn’t seem right.


Slammin’ Red Lentil Soup with Indian Spices

Red Lentil Soup

I discovered this Red Lentil Soup recipe on the NY Times website. I love almost any type of lentil soup, but this one is a particular favorite as I’m a big fan of the Indian spices. The author prefers to puree the soup completely. I tend to use an immersion blender and puree 1/3-1/2 of the soup or so, as I like the texture of the lentils and vegetables, but pureeing some of it helps meld the flavors. Experiment to find what you like best.

Here’s the link to the recipe: Red Lentil Soup