Gazpacho

  • 8 thick slices of French or Italian bread, cubed
  • 2 1/2-3 pounds very ripe tomatoes
  • 1 English (seedless) cucumber
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 bell peppers, red, orange or yellow
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3+ T red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 1-2 c tomato juice
  • kosher salt
  • extra-virgin olive oil

Chop up all the vegetables into a large dice, about 1″. Place in a large bowl along with the bread, minced garlic, and tomato juice. Drizzle with olive oil and add a generous amount of kosher salt. Allow to sit for 2 hours mixing every half hour.

Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender with the vinegar. Blend in more tomato juice to loosen the mixture, if needed. Remove soup to a large bowl and stir in about 1/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil. Taste for salt and acidity and add more salt or vinegar if needed.

Chill for several hours.

When serving, drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar, and add fresh cracked black pepper to each bowl. Optional garnish: finely diced cucumber, bell pepper, and onion.

Cabbage Roll Stew

  • 2 lbs raw bratwurst, cut into 1″ coins
  • large onion, medium dice 
  • 2 bell peppers, (red, yellow or orange), medium dice
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 T spicy Hungarian paprika
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 C white wine
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 6 C chicken broth, divided, plus more if needed
  • 1 C basmati rice
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 head of a medium cabbage, chopped
  • 1 C chopped flat leaf parsley

Sauté the bratwurst in a cast iron dutch oven in 2 batches until well browned. Remove from pot and set aside. Sauté onion with a little kosher salt over medium heat 2 minutes until softened. Add in garlic and peppers and cook 2 minutes more. Add in paprika, thyme and red pepper flakes and stir until combined. Add in white wine and cook until reduced by half, scraping the fond from bottom of pot with a flat edged wooden spoon.

Meanwhile pour can of tomatoes into a large bowl and with clean hands, crush the tomatoes slowly and carefully so the juice doesn’t spray all over. Add tomatoes and their juices to the pot along with 4 C of chicken broth. Add the sausage back to the stew, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and let cook for 30-45 minutes.

Add in the cabbage and rice and remaining 2 C of chicken broth and cook for 25 minutes more until rice is done. Stir in the red wine vinegar and parsley, and adjust seasoning with salt if needed.

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red chiles (fresno, jalapeño, or serrano), stemmed, and chopped
  • 1 red Thai bird chile, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 lb beef chuck or boneless shin, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 2 quarts vegetable or beef stock
  • 8-12 ounces dried flat udon noodles
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped 
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar 
  • 2-3 teaspoons Chinese chili bean sauce, plus more as needed OR 1 t each of akamiso/doenjang, gochujang, and chile-garlic paste/sambal oelek
  • 3 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons water (opt.)
  • 5 baby bok choy or equal amount of other tender cabbage or hearty lettuce, sliced into 1 inch ribbons
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • small handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and onions and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes, and then stir in the ginger, garlic and chiles and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Meanwhile, season the beef cubes with kosher salt and the 5 spice powder. Add the beef and stir-fry until it begins to brown, and then pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the meat is very tender, 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the udon according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside 

Add the carrots to the simmering soup, cover, and cook until crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Whisk together the sugar, chile bean sauce and soy sauce in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved and stir it into the soup. While stirring, pour the cornstarch slurry into the soup and cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir the cabbage into the broth 1-2 minutes before serving, or if using lettuce, add directly before service.

Just before serving, divide the noodles between 2 bowls and ladle the hot soup over each bowl. Garnish with scallions, cilantro and sriracha. Recipe adapted from Ching’s Classic Beef Noodle Soup by Ching-He Huang.

Kimchi Udon Soup

  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut in bite-size pieces OR
  • 1 package silken tofu, cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 1 medium onion, sliced very thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1″ piece of ginger, minced
  • 1/4 C mirin
  • 1 1/2 C napa kimchi, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C kimchi juices
  • 6-8 C dashi
  • 3 T soya sauce
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 T doenjang or red miso
  • 1 C shelled edamame
  • 2 bunches of udon noodles

Garnishes:

  • 4 scallions sliced on a bias
  • strips of roasted nori
  • sesame seeds

Season the chicken pieces with kosher salt, garlic and ginger powder. Brown over medium-high heat in a large soup pot. Once cooked, remove from the pot and add in the onion slices and a little more oil if needed. Cook until softened and add in the fresh garlic and ginger. Cook a couple minutes more and then deglaze with the mirin and add in the kimchi, kimchi juices, dashi, soya sauce, doenjang, and sesame oil and chicken. Bring a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add in the edamame and boil for 10 more minutes and then add in the udon. Boil until the noodles are just al dente and serve, garnishing with the scallions, strips of nori and seame seeds.

Coconut Curry Crab Chowder with Lentils

  • 1 1/2 C red lentils
  • 16 oz crab meat
  • 1 qt home canned garden tomatoes
  • 3-4 C clam juice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 C plain yoghurt (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 large garlic cloves. smashed
  • 3″ large piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 t cumin seed
  • 1 1/2 t fennel seed
  • 3-4 t very good, fresh Madras curry powder
  • 3/4 C unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 sweet bell peppers (red and yellow) 1″ diced
  • 1 poblano pepper 1″ diced
  • 2 serrano peppers, minced. Seeded if you want to decrease the spiciness
  • 8 0z sugar snap pea pods, ends trimmed and cut in half
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 6 scallions, sliced on a bias
  • garam masala to taste
  • lemon or lime wedges, to serve

In a small food processor, purée the yellow onion, ginger and garlic with just enough water (1-2 t) for it to form a thick, smooth paste. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high with a little oil. Add in the whole cumin and fennel seed and toast until just fragrant. Add in the onion-garlic-ginger paste and cook 1-2 minutes. Add in the curry powder and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes, being careful not to scorch any of the spices.

Grind your toasted coconut in a spice grinder and add to the pot. Add in the tomatoes and clam juice and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the ground coconut is fully hydrated.

Meanwhile, rinse your lentils in several changes of cool water until the water runs clear. Cook for 10 minutes in boiling water with 2 bay leaves. Remove from heat and add 1 t kosher salt to the water and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and add the lentils to your soup pot along with your coconut milk and yoghurt, if using.

Add your carrots and cook for about 12 minutes. Then add the peppers and pea pods and crab. Cook until the vegetables are until just barely tender and still have crunch. Remove the pot from the heat and add in the cilantro and scallions and 1 t or more of the garam masala. Serve with lemon/lime wedges and top with extra toasted coconut if desired.

Serves 6

Beef Paprikash

  • 1 lb stewing beef cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 medium yellow onions, sliced (end to end)
  • 2-3 large red bell peppers OR any assortment of sweet and spicy peppers, thickly sliced. I used 1 sweet red bell pepper, 3 red mexi-bell chillies, 2 red cubanelles chillies and a red anaheim chilli which together provided mild to moderate heat. Add more chillies or red pepper flakes if you like it hotter.
  • 12 oz small mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 1/2 t very good quality sweet Hungarian or Spanish paprika, divided
  • 2 1/2 t very good quality smoked Hungarian or Spanish paprika. divided
  • 3/4 t crushed (but not ground) whole caraway seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 T all purpose flour, divided
  • 4 C beef broth
  • 1/3 C red wine
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 1 quart jarred tomatoes
  • 1/2 C full-fat sour cream at room temperature
  • fresh dill

Toss the beef with 1 1/2 T of flour and 1/2 t each of sweet and smoked paprika. Brown in a large cast iron pot/dutch oven in 2 batches to prevent overcrowding. Remove and deglaze the pot with some of the red wine, adding the liquid to the set-aside beef. Sauté the onions until well browned and then add in the garlic, mushrooms, peppers/chillies and caraway seeds. Cook on medium-high until the mushrooms and peppers start to soften and brown a bit. Remove and set aside. Deglaze with the rest of the red wine and add in the tomato paste and paprika. Cook until the tomato paste thickens up significantly and begins to caramelise and darken. Add in the tomatoes, beef broth and reserved veggies, beef and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook at least an hour or until the beef is very tender. Thicken the sauce with 1-2 T of flour mixed with cold water and then added slowly to the liquid, adding more flour if needed to thicken the sauce. Cook until thickened and then remove from the heat. Whisk in the sour cream. Serve with buttered spätzle or other egg noodles and garnish with fresh dill.

Asparagus Soup

5 spring onions (aka welsh onions) with large white bulbs about the size of a golf ball (not green onions/scallions with their tiny bulbs)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium potato, diced very finely
2 lbs asparagus
1 small bunch Italian parsley, tied up with kitchen twine
8 c water or chicken stock
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C whole milk or evaporated milk
juice of 1 small lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Salted boiling water, for blanching
ice water bath

Sauté the onion, garlic and potato until softened. Prepare the asparagus by snapping off the woody ends and reserving for the stock. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and blanch the top part (non-woody) of the asparagus spears for 3-4 minutes, afterwards plunging immediately into an ice water bath to halt cooking.

Add water or broth to the soup pot as well as the woody asparagus ends and the twined-up parsley. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook on low for about 45 minutes. The liquid should have reduced by about 1/3. Remove the woody asparagus ends and parsley and discard. Add in blanched spears which have been cut into small pieces. Cook until the asparagus is softened and then remove the soup from the heat. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes at which point purée in a blender in batches, adding the sour cream to one of the batches. Add all the soup back into the pot along with the evaporated milk, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm on the lowest setting, being careful not to let it boil or get too hot lest the acid in the lemon juice curdle the cream/milk. If desired, you may also pass the puréed soup through a sieve before returning to the pot and adding the lemon juice, in order to filter out any bits of asparagus stem, onion or potato skin that didn’t blend.

Serve alongside buttered freshly baked bread.