Soup – Mixed Greens Blog Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest Thu, 14 Sep 2017 22:20:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Julia’s French Onion Soup With a PNW Accent Tue, 13 Jan 2015 10:21:39 +0000 We love Julia Child because she relishes making hoity-toity French food, but brings it down to earth. Pun intended. When she drops a chicken on the floor or licks her fingers we know she’s one of us. Fr Onion soup 19

I’ve made her French onion soup for years and while she’s specific about process, ingredients are straightforward. As she said, “Onion soup is simply a large quantity of sliced onions slowly cooked and browned in butter, then simmered in beef bouillon.”

Not a refined soup, it’s meant to be full of oniony character, chunky and rustic, kind of like Julia herself. Caramelized, softened onion imbued with the subtle flavors of bay, sage and thyme, toasted bread and melted cheese on top – comfort food in a bowl.  This soup is of winter’s landscape. Onions, lots of them, a stock of your choice, beef, chicken or vegetable, and but of course a smidge of wine. Use onions from nearby, a locally/regionally produced cheese, and make your own stock if possible.  Another mostly local meal.Fr Onion soup 29

Plus, French Onion Soup is a great way to have a party meal, any meal, that’s easy on the pocketbook. The cheese topping is potentially pricey, though you need very little, and onions and elbow grease for chopping come pretty cheap.  After that just time is required to let it all simmer into a pièce de résistance.

Onions, Aliums, are full of anti-oxidants. *Check out links and info at end of this piece for more about the Allium’s nutritive benefits.

I use Julia Child’s recipe from The French Chef Cookbook (a rumpled little paperback I’ve had forever) and I feel free to adjust it as needed. It calls for a cup of red or white wine. I’ve often used red which ‘colors’ the soup. For that reason I use white wine if I have it. Taste is great either way.

The work for this soup comes at the very beginning when, with tissues nearby, you roll up your sleeves and peel and chop a big pile of onions, a mountain of onions when you’ve finished chopping five or six of them. They diminish in volume significantly during cooking. This recipe makes 4 – 6 servings.

I’m always grateful to have fresh herbs in the garden, especially mid-winter. Bay and rosemary are thriving in spite of recent cold snap, thyme and sage are sad looking, but new growth is coming even now and I foraged enough for this soup. More about Herbs and Herb gardens coming soon.

Fr Onion soup 22

Julia Child’s French Onion Soup Recipe

Repost from January, 2009. I made this soup yesterday, 1/12/15, and with homemade stock it took a chunk of time. Using stock made ahead or store-bought this would come together fairly quickly. And I must say, it’s a soup worth the effort. !!!

Ingredients & Directions:

Melt 3 T butter with 1 T olive oil in 4-quart pot/ Add sliced onions and stir to coat/ Cover pan and cook slowly for 15 or 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent/ Remove lid, turn the heat up to medium and stir in 1 t salt and ½ t sugar/ Stir together and sauté another 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Onions will gradually turn golden brown/ Lower heat, add 3 T flour and a bit more butter if needed/ Cook together for two minutes/ Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of hot beef, chicken or vegetable stock along with 1 C red or white wine, 1 bay leaf, ½ t sage, salt & pepper to taste/ Stir with a whisk to blend everything and then add remaining 7 cups of stock (which could be diluted with water)/ Simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

That’s it. OK to make it a day ahead of time. Like many soups it gets better after sitting a few hours or a day.

To serve: Ladle into a bowl and enjoy as is, or give it a French accent: nearly fill oven-proof soup bowls with the hot soup, place a toasted slice or two of bread, preferably French, on top of each and top that with a handful of grated cheese. Gruyere is traditional perfection. Place bowls on a cookie or baking sheet under a broiler for two or three minutes. Watch carefully while cheese melts. Remove from oven and serve with more bread, a green salad or fruit and a sip of wine.

The cheese topping is the opportunity for a Pacific Northwest touch (or skip the cheese entirely).  Julia suggests Parmesan and/or Gruyere which are local if you live in France. If there’s a locally made cheese that you like, try it. I used Mt. Townsend’s Trailhead with a little parm mixed in; Beecher’s jack or cheddar would be good; Sea Breeze’s Vache de Vashon or their Alpine goat cheese; Port Madison’s Goat Farm & Dairy is a source of excellent local cheese available at Farmers Markets most weekends. Goat cheese would be something to try.  Goat Cheese and onios are delicious together in a tart – it ought to translate to this soup as well.  If anyone out there tries it, let me know.

Fr Onion soup 36

Alliums’ Health Benefits:

Onion a day keeps doctor away?

*Many onions are chock full of anti-cancer chemicals. However, certain varieties are particularly high in these compounds as well as more effective in inhibiting liver and colon cancer cell growth.         According to a new study by Cornell University food scientists, led by Rui Hai Liu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of food science, shallots, Western Yellow, pungent yellow and Northern Red onions are higher in anti-cancer chemicals than other varieties tested. Furthermore, Liu found that shallots and Western Yellow and pungent yellow onion varieties are particularly effective against liver cancer cells, while pungent yellow and Western Yellow varieties have the greatest effect on colon cancer cells.

“Our study of 10 onion varieties and shallots clearly shows that onions and shallots have potent antioxidant and antiproliferation activities and that the more total phenolic and flavonoid content an onion has, the stronger its antioxidant activity and protective effect,” says Liu.

Onions are Beneficial to Health, Vegetarianism & Vegetarian Nutrition

]]> 4
Turkey Soup Anytime Fri, 28 Nov 2014 19:00:45 +0000

If you saved the turkey bones from Thanksgiving, you have everything you need to make a fabulous turkey soup. But those of us who were a guests at the table of family or friends, don’t despair. Homemade turkey soup is so easy to make, I cook a big steaming pot every couple of weeks throughout the winter. You could buy a whole turkey and start over again but an uncooked leg and a thigh or two, some store-bought broth or stock from the freezer and fresh, seasonal vegetables is much easier. I know people who feel compelled to cook a turkey once a year regardless of whether they’re hosting Thanksgiving and I get it. Nothing beats a good turkey sandwich the day after. But there’s no need to go there just for soup.

My turkey soup is even faster when I use a pressure cooker. I have scary memories of the pressure cooker my mother used and I was afraid the whole lid might blow off like a volcano at any moment. I can assure you this isn’t the case with modern cookers that have several safety valves to allow excess pressure to be released. You use considerably less liquid, cooking time is much faster, vitamins and minerals aren’t leached away in the cooking and there’s the added benefit of killing microorganisms in the very high water temperature. Granted, they aren’t inexpensive to buy but you’ll be saving energy and time while adding nutrition. I can cook a pot of broth in 30 minutes and some pressure cookers are even faster. You may want to consider adding one to your Christmas list. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, this recipe will work equally as well in a slow-cooker or just a big soup pot on the stovetop.

Homemade Turkey Soup Recipe

Ingredients for broth: 1 uncooked whole turkey leg or large turkey thigh/ 4 cups chicken or turkey broth plus a cup or two of cold water (you’ll need extra water if you aren’t using a pressure cooker due to evaporation while cooking/ 1/2 large onion, peeled/ 2 large carrots, quartered/ 2 stalks of celery, cut in half/ several sprigs of thyme/ 1 bay leaf/ 1 T black peppercorns/ a couple of leeks, halved, if you have them.

Directions: Put turkey leg or thigh in pressure cooker/ Cover with broth and water/ Add vegetables, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns/ Tighten down lid and cook on high heat until pressure gauge reaches the high mark/ Turn down temperature but maintain the same amount of high pressure — this takes a little experimenting, on my stove it works on low-medium/ Cook for 30 minutes from the time the cooker reaches high pressure/ Remove from heat and let the pressure release naturally — this takes about 20 minutes/ Open the lid/ Strain off the vegetables and seasonings and remove turkey leg/ Take meat off the bone and return it to the pot with the broth, discarding bones and skin.

Ingredients for soup: Turkey broth and meat from above/ 2 or 3 carrots, chopped / 1 large onion, chopped/ 2 medium potatoes, cubed/ 1 bunch of kale, ribs removed/ 2 T Olive oil/ Salt & pepper to taste/ Grated cheese for top (optional).  Please use whatever vegetables  you have on hand — turnips, leeks, fennel, more herbs, etc. Sometimes I skip the potatoes and add dried pasta instead for turkey noodle soup.

Directions for soup: Heat olive oil in skillet/ Saute onions for a couple of minutes until softened/ Add carrots and potatoes and continue to cook for around 5 minutes/ Add vegetables to broth and turkey meat/ Simmer until potatoes are thoroughly softened about 10-15 minutes/ Add kale/ Place a lid on hot broth and turn off the heat (I don’t like greens overly cooked so I just steam them lightly in the hot broth)/ Salt & pepper to taste.

Like I said, a pressure cooker isn’t necessary, just easier and faster. Here’s a link to my homemade turkey soup made the traditional way on the stovetop and here’s one I made in a slow-cooker.  However or whenever, it’s still one of the most comforting and nourishing meals you can make.

]]> 4
DIY: Cup of Noodle Soup Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:36 +0000 Chicken Noodle Soup

I never know what to eat for lunch. A sandwich feels like too much, a salad not quite enough. Soup is just right but unless I’ve made a pot of homemade, I’m out of luck because I want something fast, easy AND fresh. I’m here to tell you that I’ve found the perfect solution to my lunch dilemma — ramen noodle soup with lots of fresh veggies. And the best part of all – it “cooks” in a mason jar. This is seriously fast food that you can make on the spot as long as you have access to boiling water. Such an easy concept but sadly I can’t take credit for it. I found the idea in the Pantry Suppers section of the new, River Cottage Veg cookbook. Whether you’re a vegetarian or just love vegetables, glance through this book and you’ll want to make every single dish.

Brown Rice Ramen Noodles

Go down the soup aisle in a grocery store and you’re likely to find many packaged versions. Cup o’ Noodles can be very tempting but wouldn’t it be much better to replace the processed “food” with the real thing – fresh vegetables and flavorings?  And who wants to put another styrofoam bowl in the garbage ? Fresh noodles could bring it to a whole other level but if you want this to be readily available, you can buy “cakes” of organic brown rice ramen noodles at Whole Foods. River Cottage Veg suggests flat, thin quick-cooking egg noodles so that’s also an option. I’ve experimented with using half a cake and more vegetables but if you like your soup very noodly, use a whole cake, breaking it in two to fit more easily in the jar. I used a wide-mouth quart size canning jar to cook my soup in. A lid is essential and the jar must be heatproof or it could break when filled with boiling water.

Noodle Soup Cooked in a Jar

DIY Vegetarian Cup 0f Noodles

Ingredients: 1 cake of quick-cooking noodles such as brown rice ramen noodles/ 1/4 cube of vegetarian bouillon, I like the Rapunzel brand, vegan with sea salt/ 1 small carrot, grated/ 1 green onion thinly sliced/ thinly sliced greens – I used savoy cabbage and spinach/ 1/2 t freshly grated ginger/ 1/2 garlic clove, grated/1 t soy sauce/ Juice of one small lime/ 1/4 t sriracha sauce (optional)/ Chopped fresh chives for garnish, if you have some.

Directions: Put all ingredients, except soy sauce and lime juice in a wide-mouth heatproof jar, layering it so that the ingredients that need more cooking (the noodles) are at the bottom of the jar/ Pour boiling water in just to cover ingredients. Press everything down to make sure it’s covered/ Cover with lid and let it “cook” for about 10 minutes or until the noodles are tender/ Remove lid, add soy sauce and lime juice, stir, then eat it immediately right out of the jar or pour into a bowl. Why not make it the night before and stick it in the microwave? First of all, I don’t own a microwave and secondly, the noodles will continue to absorb liquid and become mushy pretty quickly. Best to dig right in.

Noodles in a Jar

For a chicken noodle version, here are the ingredients I used but please use what ever you have on hand.

Ingredients for Chicken Noodle soup

From my garden — small broccoli florets, sliced green onion, sliced fresh spinach plus some leftover roasted chicken, fresh ginger! (from Mair Taki at the University Farmers Market), fresh garlic and cilantro. I used about 1 cup very hot chicken broth and 1/4 cup boiling water for my broth and added about 1/4 t curry paste to the liquid before pouring it into the jar.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Next time, another vegetarian variation with mushrooms and miso.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Bring your mason jar with soup ingredients-ready-to-go for lunch to work and you just might start a new healthy and tasty trend.



]]> 1
From Bones to Broth Mon, 30 Dec 2013 01:07:12 +0000 So yeah, this is my waistline right about now. It’s been a good couple of months. I’ve been bad in such delicious ways, but it might be time to reclaim a waistline. Like my husband’s grandmother would say, “I’ve had a good time, but I’ve had it long enough.”

Santa's waitsline

Used to be – was it in Dickens’ novels – they’d send you to bed with just a cup of broth for supper if you’d been bad. If that’s the punishment then I’m in with bad.

Another new year is about to roll in (another beginning, another chance) and several of our favorite meat or vegetable-based broths, featured in past posts, might be wickedly delicious, but they’re also healthy. A cup can help you face a bad cold, or it can be the rich base for a myriad of soups and meals. Build on the finished stock and add dried or fresh mushrooms, cooked barley, rice, dark greens, bits of meat or tofu, leek, carrots, sweet potato, a few seasonings. From bones to broth to bisque, chowder, soup, polenta, risotto . . . here are a few of our stock/broth/soup-making recipes along with a culinary resolution.

  1. Save chicken bones and carcasses in a zip lock bag and freeze until ready to use. Same with beef bones.
  2. Same with the ends of vegetables that get tossed. Collect them and use when making meat or vegetable stock.
  3. Make broth (stock) and/or freeze the extra in 2 or 4-cup containers, or as cubes, as in ice cubes. Use 2 or 3 as needed.

Just this afternoon – when I couldn’t sit still during the Seahawks’ game – I sautéed onion, garlic, celery, sweet and Yukon Gold potatoes, chicken Italian sausage; added 4 cups chicken stock from the freezer, fresh thyme and a bay leaf, a little water, a small end bit of Parmesan and a huge pile of kale. Soup for supper. See what I mean?

Making broth requires about 10 minutes to get it going, and then 2 – 3 hours of quiet simmering and watching the pot. When it’s done strain, let it cool and then remove as much or little fat as you like. This is culinary gold.

May 2014 bring good fortune to your stock pot and your dinner table.

Vegetable or Meat-Based Broth Recipes

Reclaim waistlines. Use the search index on our home page (or this link) for many more soup recipes.

A Bowl of Vegetable Broth                             Vegetable Broth

Invest in Stock, Turkey Stock                        making turkey stock

Turkey Soup Anytime                                     Homemade Turkey Soup

Jerry’s Golden Vegetable Stock                        golden vegetable stock

Slow Cooker Broth Heals All                             dsc3524.jpg

Chicken Stock from Scratch, for Risi e Bisi        Risi Bisi, Rice & Peas

Reclaiming Asparagus Butts for Broth               asparagas-broth-soup

Versatile Vegetable Soup                                vegetable soup

]]> 1
Luscious Squash Soup, or Purée Mon, 04 Nov 2013 01:13:52 +0000 Poppy and I seem to be smitten with squash these days. So be it. It’s in harmony with blazing fall colors, with cool weather, and it is truly luscious in texture and taste.

squash soup 4

This can be a soup or a purée for the Thanksgiving table. You could say the recipe is ‘forgiving’, or you could say ‘accommodating’. Easy to make, and easy to make it your own by adding more or less of what is appealing to you, after the squash, of course, which is the star. Its color and seasonality cannot be denied and it will shine in any bowl, on any table.

squash soup

Squash Soup or Purée Recipe

*There are several ways to make this recipe your own.

Directions: This is pretty standard procedure for making the base of many squash soups. Peel and cut a Butternut squash into large cubes. Any winter squash will do. Place 6 cups of squash, give or take, on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 375 for approximately 30/35 minutes. Should be fork tender.

While squash is roasting sauté 1 finely diced onion, and 1/2 teaspoon finely diced jalapeño pepper on medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add 1 peeled and diced Yukon potato, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup water. Cook covered for 5 minutes. Uncover, stir together and cook until potatoes are tender.

Allow the squash and onion/potato mixtures to cool slightly. Then place all ingredients in a food processor or in a hefty blender (or process in smaller batches). Add 2 1/2 cups milk and process until smooth. This might be about enough milk to make a creamy purée. If so, stop here, or add more liquid as needed. For soup, add at least one more cup of milk (or broth) and process again. Return soup to pan, reheat and add more liquid as needed, possibly 2 – 3 cups, maybe more depending on the squash and personal choice. Adjust salt seasoning, add freshly ground pepper.

Whether it’s a purée or soup, finish this with dollops of sour cream or crème fraiche and a good pinch of ground chipotle pepper or paprika. If you have dried Ancho peppers on hand, grind in a coffee grinder and use as a flavor garnish before serving.

Ancho chili

*Change it. Use vegetable or chicken broth instead of milk. Eliminate the jalapeño and use a small amount of chipotle powder, cumin or curry instead. Use shallot instead of onion. Add garlic. Sauté a cubed apple along with or instead of the potato. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds before serving. Sprinkle soup or purée  with drops of chipotle oil before serving instead of sour cream. Stir 1/2 – 1 teaspoon chipotle powder into 1/4 cup olive oil. Heat and stir until chili powder is mostly dissolved. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, pour seasoned oil through a fine sieve to remove grains of chipotle, perhaps strain again and then pour into a small container for later use. The oil will be spicy and light red. Drizzle or drip on top of each bowl of soup just before serving. More if you can take the heat.

Butternut squashAutumn is a luscious time when you stop and think about it. If we’re lucky we spend at least some time camped out with a book, a movie, wrapped in a sweater, sunsets ablaze, sometimes an enormous moon, candlelight and comfort food. Let the autumnal vibe and some soup feed your soul.

Butternut squash soup


Tomato Love Gone Bad Mon, 07 Oct 2013 00:00:48 +0000 I love tomatoes. I wish I could eat them three times a day, 365 days a year.  Thankfully, I cannot – there ‘s usually a price to pay for such indulgence. And it’s more than that.


As the northern hemisphere moves into dark tomato-less months, eating fresh tomatoes becomes a dilemma. This is a Mixed Greens repost from 2009 focusing on the true cost of winter tomatoes.

I read this article and was reminded of our expectation that we’ll have what we want to eat whenever we want it whatever the cost.  Seasonal? Say what? Yes I love tomatoes, but not more than people. Read this: Politics of the Plate:  The Price of Tomatoes.

My grandmother’s garden in eastern Washington was a haven for a tomato lover. I was small and everything in her garden was big.  Tomato plants loomed as I stood eye-to-eye with many a crimson fruit, my grandmother nearby with a saltshaker in her apron pocket and a paring knife.  Always the apron, the salt and a knife.  She’d pick a few, hand my brother and me each one – we’d lick a spot on the tomato, sprinkle with a dab of salt, take a bite and slurp into the warm deliciousness of a vine-ripened tomato. And then another. Experiences indelibly imbued with an understanding of her love for us and for gardening, her flowers, vegetables, fruit, trees – all things growing.

Late in the season she canned quart jars of tomatoes that carried all of us through winter. I must have been a teenager when I started helping her with that and continued nearly every summer until she died at the age of one hundred. In my twenties I had my doubts, but wanted to make her happy. What’s up, we can buy these at the store nowadays, I probably thought. Through her nineties she was still game; we preserved her tomatoes and peaches as always. Even then she remained in charge of the canning ritual. Seriously. Impassioned gardener and cook she was – and more.

So eventually I was on my own with this and faced a decision:  how serious was I about canning tomatoes?  Not many in my generation preserved anything at all.  But there was never a real debate – by then it was embedded in my genetic culinary code.

I now have my own versions of tomato preservation. I usually can a few jars, make roasted tomato sauce and freeze it, and dry cherry tomatoes. When in a hurry we cut tomatoes into large chunks, put into zip lock bags and into the freezer. Those tomatoes are at the base of this tomato soup.


In western Washington now, we manage to grow an abundant crop of tomatoes each year in the backyard.  We eat plenty during the summer months, but there are always too many, and in late August and September the preserving begins. Green tomatoes in October end up on a windowsill, maybe they’ll ripen, or become the base for green tomato chutney.

All of this meandering to remind both myself, who is longing for a good fresh tomato, and readers that there are other possibilities for this fruit in winter that don’t require the tasteless off-season variety. And fresh, local, seasonal tomatoes will come around again next summer in all their delicious glory – I’m thinking about 250+ days from now, but who’s counting. Tomato soup using what’s been preserved fits for fall and winter.

tomato-soup-2 tomato-soup-3

A Tomato Soup Recipe

Start with a quart of sauce – already reduced and intensified in flavor; or a couple of quarts,  28 oz. cans from the store; or whole uncooked frozen tomatoes tossed willy-nilly into the freezer in a September rush.

Finely chop half a medium onion and sauté slowly in butter and olive oil (with some bulb fennel finely chopped if you happen to have it); add a couple of minced cloves of garlic (and a finely minced jalapeno if you fancy); cook until onions and garlic are soft and translucent; add fresh thyme or rosemary (a tiny amount) which are in many gardens now, a pinch of dried oregano, basil or dill; curry or cumin would be fine. This wintry soup is open-minded about flavorings. However . . . I remind myself to be cautious. Personally, I want the tomato to prevail. If you feel that way too, go lightly with whatever herbs you choose.

Add the tomatoes, stir together with water or stock to create a desirable consistency, 2 – 4 cups of liquid, or more, depending on preference for thick or thin, an intense or less intense tomato flavor.  (Milk or cream may also be added later on.) Parmesan rind sitting in the fridge? Add it to the mix and remove before blending. Simmer together for fifteen minutes or so – longer to reduce liquid from canned tomatoes.  Allow the soup to cool slightly and using a blending apparatus of your choice blend to a desired consistency. I like some texture, therefore I blend just enough to break up the biggest chunks of tomato into small bits, but you could go all the way to smooth and silky. Return blended soup to the pan, reheat and add a little milk or cream (or not), a dab of sour cream if you choose, croutons or cheesy crackers.

In the meantime you’ve made a grilled cheese sandwich on the side. Right?

]]> 5
Transition to Fall: Harvest Season Soup Mon, 23 Sep 2013 00:00:58 +0000 Minestrone Soup

By the time you read this, summer will be officially over (sniff, sniff). With the changing of the seasons, our taste for salads is quickly turning into a demand for soup. Case in point – last weekend I attended a natural dye workshop on beautiful Lopez Island that I can’t wait to tell you about but it’ll have to wait until next week. First things first. On the second day of the workshop, the caterer promised hot soup for lunch but showed up with tuna salad. Outrage ensued! The disappointment was almost as thick as the fog that was chilling us to the bone.

San Marzano Tomatoes

The first thing I did upon my return wasn’t to start in dyeing bundles of fabric, although I picked up some purple carrots yesterday at the farmers market — the most coveted dye material of the weekend. No, I went out into the garden so see what I could use to make some soup. Between a stop at Hedlin’s Farm stand in La Conner, my garden and the Wallingford farmers market, I had plenty of fixings for a beautiful minestrone and then some. The variety of vegetables is outrageous now and if your freezer isn’t completely packed, you can make some extra soup for the gray days that will undoubtedly come soon enough.

Fresh Cranberry Beans

Due to our unusually perfect summer, many of us have tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes and chard. By adding garlic and onions, you could make an excellent soup and call it good but fresh shelling beans are showing up at the farmers markets. I picked up these lovely cranberry beans to make my minestrone a bit more authentic.

This soup recipe was inspired by the Late Summer Minestrone in a new cookbook called Franny’s Simple Seasonal Italian by Melissa Clark, Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephens. It’s well worth checking out. You’ll find lots of recipes to make with our northwest local, seasonal ingredients.

Minestrone Soup

Harvest Season Minestrone Soup

Ingredients: 8 medium ripe tomatoes, I used a combination including San Marzanos/ 2 medium red onions, chopped/ At least 6 cloves of garlic, minced/ Parmigiano-reggiano cheese rinds – scrape away the waxy residue/ 1 cup fresh cranberry beans, shelled/ 4 cups water/ 6 new potatoes, cut into rounds/ 2 small zucchinis, cut into slices/ 1 bunch swiss chard, stems chopped, leaves chopped/ Big handful green beans, cut into pieces/ Basil leaves/ Olive oil/ Salt & pepper/ Freshly grated parmigiano cheese/ Burrata cheese (optional, but I had some on hand).

Directions: Bring a large pot of water to a boil/ Cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato and blanch in the boiling water for 30 seconds/ Remove from pot, let cool, then peel away the skin and chop coarsely/ In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes/ Add chopped tomatoes and cook about 5 minutes/ Add cheese rind (in cheesecloth if you wish), cranberry beans and water to the pot/ Cook until beans are about halfway cooked, about 20 minutes/ Add potatoes and cook until beans and potatoes are tender/ In a large skillet heat more olive oil and saute chard stems until tender/ Add zucchini and beans, salt well and saute a few minutes, just until tender/ Add chard leaves, salt again and saute until wilted/ Remove the cheese rind from the tomato soup base and add vegetables/ Garnish with fresh basil (or pesto), freshly grated cheese, salt and pepper and if you have it, a big piece of burrata is absolutely divine.

Late Season Tomatoes

You may have noticed that this version of minestrone doesn’t include pasta. If you want to, by all means, add some, but truthfully, I didn’t miss it at all — it’s all about the fresh vegetables and letting them shine for what may be the last time until next summer. A perfect way to ease into our long season of  comfort food.



]]> 4
Party Menu in a Hurry: Seafood Chowder Mon, 20 May 2013 14:27:30 +0000 peony

My brother and I made a double batch of this seafood chowder for twelve of us the other night, with an array of vegetables, leek dip, baguette, cookies and ice cream. When four more showed up there was still plenty. A festive menu that leaves time for the cook to smell the roses before dinner, peonies in this case, and takes an hour to hour and a half to prepare everything. Make the base several hours ahead or the night before, ask your sister to make dessert, do some cleanup as you go, and after dinner you can dance.

This is an encore post from March 2012.  For us this is a good party menu: Annie’s Birthday Dinner – really delicious food, for a bunch of people, in a hurry.


  Mediterranean Seafood Chowder

Plenty of baguette & butter

Raw Vegetables & Leek dip (instead of salad)

 Chocolate Cake & Ice Cream


]]> 2 10 More Favorite Recipes from Mixed Greens Blog Mon, 18 Feb 2013 01:00:24 +0000 Mixed Greens

It’s my turn give you ten of my favorite posts. While Sally chose hers mainly for sentimental reasons, I decided to go for more practical reasons. This is a list of recipes that bring me back to the blog over and over to remind myself how I made something. Don’t ask me why I can remember these recipes especially considering I make them often. Just knowing they’re on the blog whenever I might need them, I no longer add them to my written recipe file and apparently, I don’t need to remember them either.

Homemade Turkey Soup    Homemade Turkey Soup

Okay, I lied. I make this so often that I no longer refer to the recipe, but plenty of other folks do.

Multi-Cultural Tofu Marinade    Marinated Tofu

I use this marinade at least once a week. It takes tofu to a whole new level and is great for fish too.

Winter Squash Gratin   Winter Squash Gratin

My absolute favorite way to eat winter squash. Perfect for a family dinner side-dish.

Duck Confit    Duck Confit

Best dish for a dinner party.

DIY Ricotta Cheese  Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta, creme fraiche, goat cheese — all easy and fun to make in your own kitchen.

Chicken Liver Pate      Pate on Crackers

The most impressive appetizer I make, an essential ingredient in your homemade banh mi too.

Homemade Sriracha Hot Sauce  Sriracha Sauce

If only peppers were in season year-round, I’d make this much more often.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon  Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

My granddaughter Lily loves these — that says it all.

Caesar Salad Dressing Caesar Salad

I think I make the best caesar salad, even if I do say so myself.

Flourless Chocolate Cake  Flourless Chocolate Cake

Practically the only dessert I make and definitely the only cake.

I’ve gotten a little feedback from some of our readers that they come to Mixed Greens mainly to look at the photos — and that’s truly okay with me, I’m honored in fact. But if you do decide to try some of our recipes, Sally’s top ten from last week and mine above would be a good place to begin.

]]> 1
On the Local Table: Fresh Corn Chowder Thu, 06 Sep 2012 08:03:33 +0000 This chowder isn’t tricked up much, it has a little kick, but the familiar taste prevails, in this case fresh corn.

We’ve almost turned the corner seasonally speaking. This meal is full of summer’s sweet corn, yet chowdery and comforting, which we might need as soon as next week. I’m just sayin’.

When the weather turns cool this chowder, using local fresh corn, is the deal. Inspired by a number of recipes, I ended up incorporating zucchini from the garden, a Yukon potato, and a little bacon. Measurements and ingredients are flexible. We thought this chowder exceptionally delicious and made a meal of it with cheese and bread. Use a local cheese and this is another good meal for the sustainable table.

Local corn will be available for another two or three weeks at Farmers Markets. I bought a bunch more last weekend and plan to make a big potful and freeze it for sometime this winter when the essence of summer’s corn will be so appreciated.

Fresh Corn Chowder Recipe

Makes 4 medium servings.

Ingredients: Corn sliced off the cob, about 4 cups worth/ ¼ cup minced onion/ 1 cup finely chopped zucchini/ 1 small Yukon gold potato, chopped/ ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder/ salt & pepper to taste/ 2 or 3 pieces of bacon (or omit)/ 1 C water/ 1 cup heavy cream, half & half, whole milk, (chicken or vegetable stock if you prefer), or a combination. I used half & half with whole milk.

Directions: Dice the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon leaving some drippings in the pan (or use olive oil or butter instead). Add all other ingredients and sauté together for two or three minutes; add water, about a cup, and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Puree about half the mixture in a blender and stir back into the pot. This creates a smooth and slightly chunky texture, not quite creamed corn, thank goodness, but soothing just the same. Add milk or cream and reheat to a simmer when you’re ready to eat. (If you’re freezing the chowder omit the milk or cream until later.) Serve with a spoonful of bacon and chives on top. A piece of Dungeness crab?

corn  24

Fresh Corn Chowder is a repost from September 2008.

]]> 1