Archive for the ‘off the menu’ Category

They eat a lot of soup in China.

I spent 10 days eating there in July and saw soup at nearly every meal. But, surprisingly, with all that soup, not once did I see the classic egg drop or anything featuring won ton. Oh, how the Chinese restaurants of the US have deceived us!

Egg drop and won ton are two classic soups, of course, but we ate such a great variety in a short amount of time that we only saw a couple repeats.

Among the soups I saw and ate, the general rule seemed to be: anything goes. Many of the broths were clear liquid, making it easy to see what was floating around under the surface. I saw quartered tomatoes, lots of noodles, mushrooms, lots of various greens, the occasional scrambled egg. (Scrambled, not dropped.)

Although, even thought the collection of ingredients seemed really random, I would be surprised if it was. The Chinese are well-known for concocting perfectly balanced dishes, and I can only imagine that goes for their soup ingredients, too.

Here’s a few sites that offer a great directory of links and other information about Chinese cuisine:

Finally, although vastly unrelated to soup, is something else I tasted in China. Snakes! In Wine! I did drink it, really I did!

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Two things brought me back to the soup blog.

One was Kenen. Kenan said reading this makes him hungry. What better review could you ask for?

The second is this soup I ate over the Fourth of July weekend. This soup was so good, that it stood out amongst all of the rest of the amazing food that I also ate that weekend. Lest you think that’s no big deal, allow me list what passed over my lucky palate that weekend this year:

– a watermelon salad with feta, pickled red onions, toasted pumpkin seeds, and olives (at Sweetwater)
– anise hyssop ice cream (at Marlow & Sons)
– buttery morels on toast (Marlow & Sons)
– awesome guacamole (4th of July party)
– Shackburger (at the Shake Shack)
– cheese fries (Shake Shack)
– chocolate milk shake (Shake Shack)
– key lime pie (Sweetwater)
– an insane chocolate dessert (Sweetwater)
– another insane chocolate dessert (Marlow & Sons)
– red-wine poached cherries over ricotta (cooked at home)
– pesto-flavored pasta with mushroom and garlic scape sauce with garlic scape flowers (cooked at home)
– cheesecake ice cream (cooked at home)
– and this, the second reason for returning to the soup blog:

When the Marlow & Sons waiter described it as a “summer squash soup” I might have stifled a yawn and considered the market salad. How silly of me! I cannot accurately describe just how amazing this soup was, except to say that it was creamy and velvety with hints of squash, perfectly melted Parmesan, and some breadcrumbs and basil floating on top.

It was absolutely perfect.

Want to make it? Try one of these recipes:

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After a morning of walking around Istanbul’s three greatest sights in the slight rain, you can imagine how good it felt to sit down to a bowl of this:

It was not too thin, but not too thick, either, with a very smooth taste. Eventually I squirted in some lemon from the wedge, and that was even delicious. Though the rest of the lunch was tasty, I would have been just as happy with a couple more bowls of this soup.

Lentil soup is one of the best combinations of amazing taste and low price you can find in the food world. While some recipes include various vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, carrots) and herbs (mint is very common, and paprika too), some are no more than lentils, broth, onions, and some kind of oil.

(Note: Although many of these recipes call for a meat stock, I’m going to label it as vegetarian because the switch to vegetable broth is an easy one to make.)

Want to make it yourself? Try one of these recipes:

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While in St. Louis, I always make it a point to support my favorite local micro-brewery, Schlafly. Mostly I do this by simply drinking a few beers, which are usually in my parents’ refrigerator, as their beer of choice. But sometimes I manage to eat at one of their restaurants, so I get to not only enjoy their beer, but their food too.

Over Christmas, my family and an old family friend (the kind you call “aunt” even though she’s not one) went to the Tap Room. And as soon as my eyes fell across the words “Beer Cheese Soup” I knew it was mine.

It was ever so tasty. Cheesy. Beery. Melty. Yummy.

It also gave me an idea for something coming up…

Want to make it? Try one of these:

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You know you’re eating something wonderful when your view is this:

but you don’t even look up from the dish in front of you.

Ryan and I were at the Salish Lodge last weekend, and started a weekend lunch off with their Butternut Squash soup. The chives on top, the hint of nutmeg in the creme fraiche, the perfectly sweet but not too sweet apples…all of it was simply wonderful.

When it showed up again at dinner, we both pumped our fists in the air with delight.

Want to make it? Try one of these:

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