Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Tale of Two Soups

I hosted another book club at my house on Thursday. For this book club, we also serve supper. I love to cook for people, as do most food bloggers, BUT, I had just hosted a different book club on Wednesday night (see post below), and I have a job, so I didn't have much time to make a full meal.

I decided on soup and salad. I could make the soup the night before, or early in the morning before work. Soup always tastes better the next day anyway.

It's always been a dream of mine to own a soup restaurant. Nothing but soups and breads. And desserts. (and I would be so popular that I wouldn't have a menu, I would just make 3-4 different soups that I wanted to each day and that would be the soup my customers would get) And there would be books, so people could eat soup and read a book.
Oh, well, this is what we did at book club on Thursday!!!

I made clam chowder and chicken my two big red pots. (please disregard the old 1980's stove :~)
I "made" the soups, but I opened a bag of Caesar Salad and a loaf of French bread. And I opened a couple of bottles of wine.
It was the perfect evening....soup, salad, wine, books.... and chocolate cake!

If I'm giving credit where credit is due...this "Clam Chowder" recipe comes from an "Original" Friday Friend, Barbara Brown.
Besides being a great cook, Barb has a great sense of humor and a good attitude. She once said, of dieting, "it's been so much fun to find good recipes to make on this diet."

I've never used the words "fun" and "diet" in the same sentence. Maybe that's why she's "fit" and I'm not.

On to the soups....
I will say one thing about both of these soups....they are REALLY GOOD!!!

Heavenly Clam Chowder (that's the name Barb gave me)
(and this is how she wrote the recipe for me)

Cut 5 slices bacon into 1-inch pieces and cook in the soup kettle till limp.....about 5 minutes.
Add 1 large chopped onion and 1 cup chopped celery and cook until onion is limp...about 10 minutes.
Add 3-4 potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch chunks, 1/4 cup parsley, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1 quart chicken broth.
Cover and and cook until potatoes are tender...about 30 minutes.
Stir in 2 10oz cans of minced clams with liquid.
Stir in 1 quart of milk and cook until soup is hot, but not boiling.
Blend 5-6 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup water until smooth and add to the soup.
Continue cooking until soup boils and thickens.
Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Things I did differently
I used only 1/2 onion
I used half and half instead of milk
I used "new" potatoes and left the skin on
I used 3 cans of minced clams with juice
I used more than a quart of chicken broth/stock

I don't usually pat myself on the back too much, but this was really a great soup.


Do you have recipes that look like this in your kitchen notebook?

Or are you one who always writes on a nice recipe card? I love recipe cards, but I don't always have them ready when someone is giving up their treasured recipe, so I grab what I can. I have thought often of typing them all so they look the same and putting them into a more organized notebook...but I never have gotten around to it.
My oldest son....YES, my son, gets my cookbooks when I die. (he's the only one who calls me and asks serious questions such as: how do you cook artichokes? How do you make pepper steak? My youngest one will call and ask what they should have for dinner. I make suggestions and he'll say, nope, uh not that. LOL )
Anyway, I digress. My oldest son will have fun deciphering all my recipes written on funny scraps of paper.

My friend and Pastor Gayle, gave me this recipe for turkey soup. It's sooo good. I made it into chicken soup tho. For the most part, they are interchangeable, aren't they?

Turkey Soup (really good!!)

1) Saute` green onion, green pepper and red pepper in olive oil
2) 1 lb turkey meat
3) 4-6 red potatoes
4) 1 quart of chicken broth
5) Add 1/2 bag frozen corn, salt, pepper and a bay leaf
6) simmer until potatoes are tender
7) and some half and half and heat
8) serve

so, those are the instructions on the orange sheet of paper...I did this:
I used rotisserie chicken from the deli
I left my potato skins on again
I used more than a quart of stock


The good thing about soups, is that you can really put your own signature on them. You can add things you like, take away things you don't.
And if you make a really good soup....people remember it for a long time. Or they remember the experience....soup is very hospitable....a casual, great tasting, great time, experience on your tongue!!

And then, if you throw in a glass of wine and a book.... ah, life is good!


Karen said...

I love your idea for a soup restaurant... that's a great idea! I want to open a restaurant called "Saturday Night". I'd be open only on Saturdays from 4-10pm. I would make the same thing for everybody dining that night. It would be so popular that people will call months ahead to make reservations. I'd have to be the cook, dishwasher, server, and busboy because who could I hire that would only want to work 6 hours a week? LOL These soups look really good. LOVE clam chowder! My mom wrote some recipes for me on scraps of paper and I'm so glad because when I come across them it's like she's here with me.

Debinhawaii said...

I'll come to your restaurant! Both soups look creamy and good. I'm glad to have you back at Souper Sunday! Just got the round-up posted.



Michele said...

My parents still have that exact stove! :)

I think soup and salad makes a near perfect meal. We have several soup only restaurants near here. I love them for a quick lunch at work.

My kitchen notebook is an absolute disaster. I normally take one day a month to sit down, figure out all of my shorthand and scribbles and transfer them to files on my computer.

You didn't say which book that your book club was reading. I'm curious. :)

Sandra said...

What a geat idea! Because our book club is new, we haven't had a "meal" meeting yet. I think I'll do this next time I have it at my house.

I just read an interesting book, Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair by Crazy Aunt Purl (she knits). I can't tell you her real name because I've forgotten and I've loaned the book out. I expected it to be amusing in a shallow way. But, she actually managed to mix alot of wisdom with her humor. I found it really a very interesting read.

She even has knitting instructions in the back, as well as book club questions.

Jo said...

Mmmmmm soup! I always love your soup recipes. I would totally visit your soup restaurant! *hugs*

giblaut said...

Just skipping through your blog, and I thought you'd like to know there's a soup restaurant like that in Charlottesville, Virginia--Revolutionary Soups.

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