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Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

Borscht

Amid the medal count predictions, fears of terrorist attacks, and complaints of no hot water (or even finished rooms) from the media hotels, you may have missed this fact from Sochi: Olympic officials estimated that 70,000 gallons of borscht (beet soup) will be served during the 2014 Winter Games.

The Monitor’s reporter at the Games, Mark Sappenfield, asked me via Twitter if I was planning to do a Russia-inspired food blog post. (Go follow Mark, @sappenfieldm, you’ll get his honest impressions from Sochi as he reports on his seventh Olympics and encounters things like a $100 laundry fee for a load that would fill half a basket.)

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Sweet potato chili

chili1

Winter cooking is all about root vegetables, cutting back a bit on meat, and making big pots of soups and stews to serve up by the bowlfuls to friends or freeze for another day when I don’t feel like cooking from scratch.

When this sweet potato chili came across the transom from Family Circle, I was intrigued. It’s a slow cooker recipe, too. I don’t have a fancy slow cooker. I have a 1970s orange-yellow slow cooker with a missing knob. It’s nothing like the squat, chrome-trimmed counterparts of today’s slow cookers, but I like the Danish modern style of my simple cooker, despite its major flaw.

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Squash coconut curry soup

squah soup

I wanted to host some friends to watch “Sound of Music Live!” on NBC with Carrie Underwood so I sent out an enticing e-mail promising hearty soup, bread, and freshly baked cookies. Somehow I managed to convince three friends to show up.

About five minutes into the production, the soup was stealing the show. “This is melt-in-your-mouth good,” said Christy. “Can you give me the recipe?”

Rebecca, who had arrived announcing she had already had dinner, had two bowlfuls.

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Mexican corn and bean soup

Mexican corn and bean soup

While spices warm up holiday desserts in a delightful way, I love cinnamon accents in savory dishes such as this Mexican corn and bean soup.

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We finally have tender yellow green leaves on the trees. The witches fingers of bare branches are all wearing tiny bows of color and from a distance the lilac trees look like poofed up bichon frisés after a spin at the doggie salon.

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About this time of year I’m missing seeing more of the sun’s face. Although I was delighted to notice last night at 5 p.m. that the night sky, instead of being an inky black, was more of a dark cerulean blue. Longer days are slowly creeping back.

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After another swim across Walden Pond a couple of weekends ago followed by plates of breakfast burritos at a local diner, my friend Kristi insisted that we stop by a local farm stand on our way back into town. She even started waving a 20 dollar bill saying she’d buy us vegetables.

Reluctantly Jenna, Lisa, and I agreed that we’d pull over for just five minutes. I don’t know what our problem was. The minute we stepped into the farm stand we started running around exclaiming over the color of the green cucumbers and purple eggplants and the towering pile of corn. Pretty soon I had assembled a still life of sorts on a rustic wooden counter and the lady running the farm stand got so excited she started bringing me veggies to add to my picture like these cute yellow cucumbers I had never seen before.

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Celery pear soup

The first words I heard this morning were “…  2 inches of snow followed by sleet followed by freezing rain.”

A wintry mix. Again. We are only one boot into January and we’ve already been walloped with two blizzards and now rainwater is flooding icy sidewalks and curbsides. But I haven’t succumbed to the winter blues – yet. I mean, at least the weather outside is interesting even if it has been a bit frightful lately.

Last week my commute to work in the blizzard looked like this:

And this:

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There is something about October that says slow down: two-hour naps should follow two-hour walks in the arboretum; spending a few hours to finish a book should pass without guilt. Think Dave Brubeck’s “Indian Summer.”  This is about the pace that October should feel – kind of relaxed and bouncy, lightly mellow, and warm. The other day I rearranged my living room so I could lie on the sofa in golden autumn light and watch the shadows of changing leaf patterns silently tattoo across the floor. That’s all I did for a half hour.

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It is easy to take the tomato for granted in late summer. A stroll around Copley’s Farmer’s Market, or any farmer’s market, shows an abundance of these beautiful round shapes, their skins taut and from juices who’ve had the luxury ripening in the fresh air of an open field instead of a hothouse. But these jewels are fleeting. Eat them while you can.

I was at the farmer’s market last Friday, a few blocks from the Monitor. I had met my mom and my brother there for lunch. Mom had taken a bus up from the Cape with a group that was listening to a performance of Trinity Chapel‘s organ (not to miss, if you are ever in Boston). My brother’s office overlooks Copley Square from his shiny office tower in the John Hancock building. It was easy for him to swoop down and join us for a sandwich among the smells of ripe vegetables and the sounds of a guitar and saxophone jazz duet.

Mom spotted a gazpacho recipe pinned to a basket of tomatoes in one of the stalls. I didn’t waste any time in loading up my own bag with the ingredients (parsley, peppers, heirloom tomatoes, yellow onion). I had been wanting to try making a batch of gazpacho since I spotted the Rowdy Chowgirl’s recipe, a new pal from the International Food Blogger’s Conference.


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