Archive for the ‘soup night’ Category

Admittedly, winter is the prime time for Soup Night: there’s the warmth of the bowl, the warmth of the red wine, the warmth of being inside, the warmth of the general coziness. But in summertime, Soup Nights come with white wine, fruit desserts, bare feet, and soups served cold. It’s just as fun.

As we learned when my dad came to town, the best way we know to honor a guest is to throw a Soup Night for him/her/them.

This time, Ryan’s parents were in town, which automatically signed us up for some of his Ma’s Gazpacho, a longtime favorite in his household.

My brother Rob was in NYC too. He doesn’t have enough kitchen years in him to have a recipe named after him yet — give him time, folks, I’ve no doubt there’ll be one soon — but I couldn’t escape all of those summer memories as a kid of shucking corn with him and my other brothers.

I ended up with a chilled corn recipe, taken from last month’s Gourmet, but doctored heavily. When I did the soup test run the weekend before, the soup was deemed to thin (would slosh easily, wouldn’t feel substantial) for a Soup Night contender. Yet, the more I looked at corn recipes, the less I could shake it’s chilled simplicity.

I decided to experiment. After consulting some food-savvies, I went with a combination of their suggestions: Added a roux, added a potato, added some cream.

Both soups were deemed delicious. Success!

I’ll post the recipes in a minute, but first, here’s a snapshot of the night in numbers:

Soupers: 46

First-time soupers: 26

Pounds of tomatoes gazpachoed: 8

Ears of corn shucked: 25

Featured out-of-town guests: 3

Super secret featured out-of-town guests: 1

Amazing desserts brought: At least six

Soup Nights looked forward to: All to come

Ma’s Gazpacho
Serves 4

1/4 t fresh ground pepper
1/2 small onion, sliced
1 small green pepper, seeded and sliced
3 tomatoes, quartered
1 large cucumber, peeled, sliced and seeded
1 clove garlic
1/2 t dried or fresh basil
1 t salt
2 T olive oil
3 T red wine vinegar
1/2 cup chilled chicken broth*

-Blend until almost smooth. Chill.

*for this Soup Night, we substituted vegetable broth for our lovely vegan friends.

Chilled Corn Soup
Serves 6

3 ears of corn, shucked
1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T butter
4 1/2 c water
Garnish: sour cream and chives. I also recommend: dill!

– Cut kernels from cobs with a sharp knife, then cut cobs into thirds.

– Cook onion and garlic in butter with 1/4 tsp salt in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add corn and cobs, water, and salt and pepper to taste and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.

– Discard cobs, then puree corn mixture in batches in a blender until very smooth. Force soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids.

– Chill until cold, at least 1 hour.

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In these parts, parents visiting usually means “Get everyone together.” Of course, in La Soupe speak, that translates to “Get everyone together and eat soup.”

Dad swooped into NYC for one night this week, so I got the neighborhood crew (+ a few Manhattanite stow-aways) together and welcomed him in the best way we know how: throwing a Soup Night in his honor.


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Well, how do you like that. A whole Soup Night went by, and how many pictures of soup do you think we took? Zero. Right. I am so very sorry about that.

However, I’ve got some photos of people at Soup Night, and if you look closely, you can see that they are clearly eating soup:

Maybe I always say this, but this Soup Night was the best one so far. I’m always amazed at the amount of interest there is when you announce simply that you are throwing a Soup Night party: We’ll cook up a bunch of soup, so come and eat it. You can read the full history of Soup Night, if you’re interested, but it’s safe to say that this is a tradition rooted in sharing simple food with good friends, old and new, and it will (probably, hopefully) never get old.

For this, the first Soup Night of 2008, we cooked up quadruple batches of two kinds of soup: Split Pea with Ham and Cheddar Beer.

I got the idea for the beer cheese soup when I ate it at the Schlafly Tap Room with my family over the holidays, and it turned out to be a little harder to cook than I anticipated. Cooking with cheese was the hard bit. Perhaps I cooked it at too high a temp, or for too long, but the cheese didn’t melt as evenly as I’d have liked. (Anyone cook a cheesy soup before? Leave some tips in the comments, if you’ve got any!) It still tasted good, though, and received good reviews!

Here are some quick stats:

Number of soupers: 30+

Age of youngest souper: 2

Age of oldest souper: Middle-age

Pots of soup made: 4

Time first souper arrived: 5:05 p.m.

Time last souper left (not counting out-of-town, overnight guests): 10:35 p.m.

Cups of shredded cheese in the beer cheese soup: 16

Number of beers in the beer cheese soup: 4

Number of ham hocks in the split pea soup: 6

Quote of the night (that has nothing to do with soup): “Oh don’t worry. It’s not blood, it’s wine!”

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Welcome, Soup Nighters!

Hey, look at that! You made it home with your soup spoon party favor in one piece and you remembered to check it out! Congrats to you, friend.

We’ll get an iSoup v. report up here soon, with pictures, recipes, and…some other goodies we’ll come up. Just you wait!

In the meantime, check out what we’ve got so far. And may the soup be with you.

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