Category Archives: soup

Chilled Artichoke Soup Recipe

When you sit down at a dinner party table, part of the  experience of the meal  is shaped by the flow of food and drink as well as the exchange of conversation, or as I like to call it,   “Table Talk.”

Adding something a little different to the scene, whether it is how the table is set, or offering your guests the opportunity to try a new food or cuisine from another country can really get the table talk going.

Can something like artichoke soup do the trick? Absolutely, especially when you serve it chilled,  “shooter style”   and sip it out of  little wobbly glasses.

This past weekend we hosted our supper club at our home, and I served this soup following our salad course. Its bright, crisp flavor, with hints of lemon provided a cleansing break between courses. The wobbly glasses from Crate and Barrel added a little fun, as we watched the soup roll around a little without spilling out.

The soup may be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated, which is always a plus in the process of organizing a dinner party.

Chilled Artichoke Soup

3 large globe artichokes

2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Lemon wedges for garnish

Fill a large stock pot with 2-inches of water. Place a steamer basket over the water and add the artichokes, tip side up to the basket.  Cover, and bring the water to a boil. Cook 30-40 minutes, or until the artichoke leaves may be removed easily. (You may also use a vegetable steamer to cook the artichokes.)

Allow the artichokes to cool slightly, then remove the leaves from the artichokes. Use a spoon to scrape the meat from the artichokes. Reserve the meat, discarding the scraped leaves. Remove the outer thistles from the center of the artichoke and add the heart to the reserved artichoke meat.

Place the artichoke meat,  lemon juice, and chicken broth in  a large saucepan, and bring up to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer 5 minutes. Puree mixture using an immersion blender, or blend in a mixer, and return to pan. Add cream, sour cream, cumin, salt, and pepper to soup, whisking to combine. Chill soup several hours (or 1 day ahead ) in refrigerator.

Makes 8 (4 ounce) servings


Porchetta, Bean, and Kale Stew

A few days ago, I shared my recipe for Porchetta with you.

Today I have a delicious stew recipe for you, which uses some of the leftover pork you may have. The Porchetta is packed with flavor, giving your stew a head start right off the bat. With just a little bit of chopping and simmering, you will have a whole new dish to enjoy. If you are looking for other leftover ideas, try making a Panini sandwich with Porchetta, roasted red peppers, and cheddar cheese; a fantastic combination.

Porchetta, Bean, and Kale Stew

Save your Parmesan cheese rinds! I like to add them to soups and stews. They add a a lot of flavor to the dish during simmer time.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 cup  peeled carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 large bunch kale, stems trimmed, chopped

4 cups chicken broth

1 (14.5 ounce) can tomatoes, chopped

2 (14.5 ounce) cans navy beans, rinsed, drained

1 (3-inch piece) Parmesan cheese rind

3 cups shredded Porchetta

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add Kale, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until kale begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; bring to boil. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings.

Ladle into bowls

4-6 servings



I have a hidden talent that you may not know about me.

If a football game is on TV, I can actually APPEAR to be looking at the screen, but can be THINKING about something totally different in my head; completely detached from what is happening in the game. Some  refer to this as the “football glaze over effect”, but I like to think of it as a gift; “productive thought management”, a little like meditation, where I get to plan and organize my thoughts. I use this time for things like figuring out what my menus for upcoming cooking classes will be, where I want to go on vacation next, and contemplating whether I should join a CSA or just continue to shop the farmer’s market and pick out what I like.

Occasionally, my husband will shout ” Oh my god, did you see that hit?!”

At this point, I snap out of it briefly to reply “~No~”

“But you were looking right at the TV” (my husband will say).

Like I said, it’s a gift.

Though I may not be a football fan, I am all about camaraderie. Whether its sitting on the couch with my husband while he cheers on his Broncos, or with a room full of super bowl party friends, I will be there, and I will help you eat the game day  food!

When we lived in San Francisco, we would get together with friends and make a big pot of Cioppino for super bowl Sunday. This Italian seafood soup gets its amazing flavor by adding the freshest seafood you can find. I am using a combination of halibut, clams, mussels, and crab in this recipe, but remember, you have a lot of flexibility with this tomato based soup. The origin of this dish is taking the “catch of the day” and adding it to your simmering broth. So if grouper is fresh that day, go for it. If you want to add squid, great.

Cioppino is gratifying any day of the week, but especially enjoyable on super bowl Sunday. There are so many chips, dips, and other temptations, it’s kind of nice to finish with a bowl of soup, brimming with seafood. You have to save room for dessert, right? Check out these cute cupcake ideas from Jeanne Benedict !

So how about you…are you ready for some football?

What will you be eating?


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 onion, chopped

3 large shallots, chopped

2 teaspoons salt

4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice

2 cups red wine

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup clam juice

1 bay leaf

1 pound lump crab meat

1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded

1 pound clams, scrubbed clean, grit removed

1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 1/2 pounds firm-fleshed fish such as halibut or grouper, cut into 2-inch pieces

Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, chicken broth, clam juice, and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.

Add the  mussels and clams to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the  mussels and clams  begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp, crab,  and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any  mussels that do not open).

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

6-8 servings