Maitake Hot and Sour Soup
By Ming Tsai

Monday, August 9, 2010
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hot and sour soup

In ancient times, maitake mushrooms were considered both precious and rare. (In fact, shoguns once traded them pound for pound with silver.) These days, they're considered a precious source of vitamins B1, B2, and D, as well as vegetable fiber and polysaccharides. Health benefits aside, maitakes have an amazing taste. The rich, woodsy flavor and the firm, meaty texture of the flesh make them the stand-out ingredient of any dish — including today’s dish! This is no ordinary hot and sour soup, as it uses the tart citrus of blood oranges. Let's get cooking!

Serves 4

5 slices ginger
2 onions, sliced
1 bunch scallions sliced thinly, separate white and green
4 ribs of celery sliced on bias
1 large head maitake, florets broken off and stem julienned
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 blood oranges, juiced
Juice of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons naturally brewed soy sauce
3 quarts chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Canola oil

In a stockpot over medium-high heat coated lightly with oil, sauté the ginger, onions, scallion whites, and celery, then season. Add the maitake stems and sauté for 3 minutes. Season with white pepper, add orange juice, lemon juice, naturally brewed soy sauce, and chicken stock, and check for flavor. Add maitake florets, simmer, and reduce by 20%. Serve in large bowls garnished with scallion greens.

Drink pairing suggestion
Mas de la Dame Rose du Mas 2007
Provence, France

Taste: Subtle flavors of fresh berries and fennel with a flowery finish

Aroma: Fresh strawberries, peaches and roses

—Pairs nicely with barbecue, pesto pasta, salads, fish and grilled meat
—50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Cinsault
—Certified organic (Agriculture Biologique) by Qualite France

Chef Ming Tsai is the host and executive producer of public television series Simply Ming. Each week, Simply Ming brings mouthwatering recipes inspired by the combination of East and West into homes across the US.

Clam Chowder
By Annie Copps

Thursday, November 4, 2010
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bowl of chowder

I'm a New Englander through and through and ergo, I enjoy clam chowder. But with apologies to my mother, I'm offerng my own recipe for this comfort food classic. This recipe includes all the traditional ingredients of true New England clam chowder: It's rich and thick without being glunky because we've all had that bad bowl of glue.

7 pounds cherrystone clams, well-scrubbed and rinsed
3 cups water
4 strips bacon, finely chopped
1 medium Spanish onion, diced small
2 tablespoons flour
3 large red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup heavy cream

In a large soup pot over high heat, add clams to 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and cook just until clams open, about 10 minutes. Remove clams from broth and set aside. (Discard any clams that don't open.) Strain broth through a sieve lined with a coffee filter and set aside.

Clean your soup pot; then over medium-high heat, sauté bacon until it's browned and fat is rendered. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat.

Add diced onion to the pot and sautê until translucent. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute, being careful not to brown. Whisk in reserved clam broth. Add potatoes and thyme, and simmer 10 minutes.

Remove clams from shells, reserving liquid, and chop roughly. Strain liquid; then add clams and liquid to the pot. Stir in parsley and cream and cook just long enough to heat clams through, about 3 minutes.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Maha's Lentil Soup By Annie Copps

Monday, March 28, 2011
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sliced irish soda bread

My sister-in-law is a great cook and from a family of great cooks including her mother, three sisters, and sister-in-law. Every meal she has ever prepared for me, mostly traditional foods from her native Syria, is a feast for the senses—she is an instinctive cook and an artist by training and my personal favorite, her lentil soup is my favorite.

Yield: 8 servings

4 medium onions, finely chopped
½ cup olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dry coriander
1 pound dry lentils, rinsed and picked through
2 to 3 tablespoons cumin
Kosher or sea salt
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ pound vermicelli or angel hair pasta, broken into 1-inch pieces
2 fresh lemons
Serve with fried pita chips or unseasoned croutons

This is a traditional soup from Syria and Lebanon adas hisem (which translates to "unripe grapes/lentils") it is both vegetarian and vegan, and surprisingly hearty. Start with lots of chopped onions in a healthy amount of olive oil. Then add carrots and lots of garlic. Once the vegetables are softened, stir in some fragrant dried coriander and bright and lemony cumin, as well as dried lentils and enough water to cover the mix by a few inches. Once the lentils have cooked, add a bunch of Swiss chard and toasted vermicelli noodles that have been broken into bits—they cook up and add a creamy flavor and texture. Ladle into serving bowls and give the soup a healthy squeeze of lemon and you are good to GO.

In a large soup pot over medium high heat, saute onions until translucent.

Add garlic and carrots and cook 2 to 3 minutes.

Add coriander, stir well to coat the vegetables, and cook about 2 minutes or until very fragrant.

Add lentils and stir well to coat.

Add enough water to cover the ingredients by 3 inches (about 8 cups). Stir in cumin.

Cook about 30 minutes or until lentils are al dente (softened, but not completely cooked).

Season with salt (about 1 tablespoon).

Add Swiss chard and cook about 10 minutes.

Remove 1 cup of broth and whisk in flour, then whisk back into soup pot.

In a saute pan over medium high heat, saute pasta until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add pasta to soup mixture and cook about 8 minutes more. Ladle into soup bowls and squeeze about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice over the top.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Creamy Parsnip and Potato Chowder With Parsnip Croutons By Annie Copps

Thursday, March 10, 2011
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Creamy Parsnip and Potato Chowder with Parsnip Croutons

I fully understand that it is potentially blasphemous for me, as a proud New Englander, to suggest chowder be made without seafood. But this really lovely recipe for a parsnip chowder—it does have potatoes—does that count?

Okay even though no clams or other seafood ar ein this recipe, but I really love this chowder—it is too thick and rich to be a soup. That richness comes from potatoes and parsnips and just a bit of cream, so all this deliciousness doesn't come with a health advisory!

1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 small Russet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup light cream or whole milk, as needed
Fresh lemon juice Pinch sugar

Set aside 1 large or 2 small parsnips for the "croutons." Coarsely chop the remaining parsnips.

Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and sautê until tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chopped parsnips, potato, thyme, coriander, and salt and pepper to taste. Sautê, stirring a few times, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the wine or vermouth, bring to a boil and reduce by half, about 4 minutes. Add the stock, cover partway, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the parsnips and potatoes are tender enough to mash easily against the side of the pot with a large spoon, about 40 minutes.

Let the soup cool, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes (this makes it a little safer to blend). Filling a blender no more than two-thirds full, puree the soup in batches. Rinse out the soup pot and return the pureed soup to it. The soup may be made ahead up to this point and kept refrigerated (well-covered) for up to 2 days.

Meanwhile, make the parsnip “croutons:" cut the reserved parsnip(s) into 1/4-inch dice. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the diced parsnips. Season with salt and pepper and a large pinch of sugar. Sautê, stirring and shaking the pan often, until the parsnips are nicely browned. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Set aside until ready to serve. The croutons may also be made ahead and refrigerated in a single layer for up to 1 day.

To serve, gently reheat the soup, adding the cream or milk until you achieve the consistency you're after. Taste for salt and pepper. Just before serving, add a squeeze or fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon), to taste. Ladle into soup bowl, garnish with parsnip "croutons" and remaining fresh thyme.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Chicken Noodle Soup By Annie Copps

Thursday, March 3, 2011
1 Comments   1 comments.

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chicken noodle soup

It's almost universal: our appeal for chicken soup. I don't have any hard evidence that it cures anything, but I do know it's what I turn to when I've had a rough day.

Just about every culture has their version of chicken noodle soup which is a simple saute of onions, carrots, and celery, chicken stock and pasta. Once you get the basics, noodle around yourself using different shapes of pasta, or stir in some spinach or kale, or try grating some ginger, lemongrass, and some chile flakes for an Asian twist that open any stuffed nose or go Greek and whisk in a beaten egg and some lemon juice. Either way, make some chicken noodle soup.

Yield: 6 servings

1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock, home made or low-sodium store bought
2 ounces angel hair pasta cooked al dente
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

In a large soup or sauce pot, heat oil over medium heat.

Cook carrots, celery, and garlic 3 to 5 minutes, being careful not to brown the garlic.

Add stock and raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer 5 minutes.

Add noodles and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Variations on Chicken Soup
Noodle around with different pasta shapes: little ones love pastina or alphabet shaped pasta (no need to pre-cook); try cooked egg noodles for richer flavor; or flavored pastas such as tomato or spinach.

For an Asian twist add 2 tablespoons grated ginger, 1 stalk lemongrass (smash the stalk to release some of its flavor), and a few pinches of dried red pepper flakes when you are sautéing the other vegetables. (Remove the lemongrass before serving.) This may not cure a cold, but it will certainly open your nasal passages and offer some relief—oh, and it tastes great.

Go Greek and make avgolemono soup. Substitute 1 cup cooked rice for the pasta and whisk together 2 eggs and the juice of one lemon. Add one cup of hot broth to the egg and lemon, whisk well, then whisk back the mixture back into the larger pot—do not boil again.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)


annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Molly's French Onion Soup By Annie Copps

Monday, February 21, 2011
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french onion soup

Ooh la la have I got a winter warmer that will beckon you in from the cold: French Onion Soup! A classic bowl of oniony goodness that will fill you up,  warm you up, and delight you.

Forewarned is fore-armed... you are going to have to slice 3 pounds of onions. If just the thought makes you want to cry, you can use a food processor to get through the pile you'll be using. That being said, it may seem that you have far too many onions, but don't worry they'll cook down to about one-quarter of their original volume.

So, in a wide soup pot, melt butter and slowly cook down Mount Onion until they become soft and start to turn deep blonde in color&151;it's important that they not brown.

Stir in some flour and cook that for a bit, then add some wine, then beef (or chicken) stock, a sprig each of thyme and parsley and a bay leaf and simmer away for about a half hour.

Now, let's get serious. Ladle into bowls, lay toasted bread slices on top then grate some Gruyere cheese and until the cheese gets all melty, gooey, and glorious.

Yield: 6 servings

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 to 3 1/2 pounds of yellow onions (about 6 large; larger onions means less peeling), thinly sliced
kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons flour
1 cup dry white wine
8 cups homemade beef or chicken stock or low-sodium store bought
1 sprig parsley
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf tied together in a bundle
1 baguette, cut into ½[[[.5]]-inch rounds 1 ½ cups (about 6 ounces)
Shredded Gruyere cheese

In a large, wide soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook the onions gently, stirring frequently, until they are very soft and have begun to turn a deep blonde, about 40 minutes (it is important they do not brown or cook too long).

Stir in flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Pour in wine and increase heat to medium-high, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any caramelized juices.

Cook until liquid is almost completely reduced. Add broth.

Tie herbs together with string or inside a piece of cheesecloth. Add herb bundle and bring to a simmer.

Season lightly with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, the onions should be soft but not falling apart.

The soup may be made ahead up until this point and held for several hours or even a few days before serving.

To serve
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put baguette slices on an oven rack, and toast lightly, 7 to10 minutes. Set aside.

Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.

Set six ovenproof soup crocks on a heavy baking sheet, and ladle hot soup into crocks. Float the toasts on the soup and top each with a handful (about 1/4 cup) of Gruyere.

Bake until the cheese is melted, bubbly and just barely golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

Serve immediately when the cheese is gooey and the crock is very hot.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)


annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

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