I say poissons. She says poison

San Francisco is the home of cioppino, but Chicago's Burhops has the best recipe.

 As I mentioned in an earlier post, I went to San Francisco recently and it was a real soupalooza experience. Everywhere I turned there was soup … including a few places that specialized in nothing but soup!

Of course, you can’t go to the “city by the bay” without sampling cioppino, a fish stew that originated in the North Beach section of San Francisco. The story goes it was made by the fisherman right on the boat. They would chop up the catch of the day and turn it into soup. Talk about fresh!

Soup woes: A cautionary tale

It’s been a dicey few weeks here at Soupalooza. Burned beef. Exploding eggplants. Sticky stovetops. Messes galore!
A few observations about cooking when tired:
  1. Soup needs liquid. Yes, that seems pretty obvious, but I couldn’t , for the life of me, understand why I was burning the beef in the Vegetable Beef Soup I was making until I realized I forgot to add the water!
  2. When blending hot soup, make sure to hang on to the top of the blender (with a dishcloth firmly in hand). Know what happens when you don’t? You  might be scraping Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup from the ceiling.

Swiss Chard Redux

OK, so every time I make this soup, it turns out differently. But it is delicious each and every time.

Here’s my question for you, fellow soup savants:  Why is it when you  remake a tried and true soup recipe, the end results can turn out so differently?

I know. I know. We soup lovers like to make soup because, well, because it’s a little more free flowing than, say, baking puff pastry.  Add a little here. Adjust. Toss in some more water. A splash of lemon , a pinch more salt …

In the Soup with Picasso

Picasso's "Le Soupe" is currently part of "The Steins Collect" exhibit.

Once I started thinking about soup, I started seeing soup everywhere.

Even in an art museum.

On a recent trip, I decided to take in “The Steins Collect,”  an exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It’s an amazing landmark collection of the holdings of Gertrude Stein and her two brothers.  The Steins were great patrons of the Parisian Avant-Garde and collected Picasso, Matisse and Cezanne, to name just a few.

Green Beans, Marmite and Hangovers … Oh, my!

Green beans and Marmite? Really? Yes, really!

When my friend and yoga teacher Catriona first mentioned green bean soup with Marmite, I have to admit I balked.

First of all, there’s no real need to make soup out of green beans.  After all,  why mush up something that’s meant to be served with a bit of snap? (My favorite is to blanche green beans and then saute them in butter with shallots, chopped hazelnuts and rosemary. Amazing!)

As to the Marmite, I really didn’t know exactly what it was, but it didn’t sound good.

A Vichyssoise Virgin

Vichyssoise is easy and elegant. It doesn't get better than that! Oh, and it's French. Sort of.

How is it possible to reach middle-age without ever eating vichyssoise?

I know I’m dating myself, but vichyssoise always reminds me of that old Bob Newhart shtick where he pretends he’s a nerdy Pfc.clerk typist in World War II, who was ordered to do phony one-way phone conversations to throw off the eavesdropping Germans.

“Blanke, the cook, is working out rather well, sir,” Newhart says into a phone. “Well one problem is his vichyssoise tastes a little too much like potato soup. Oh, it’s supposed to taste like potato soup …”