Italian Wedding Soup

This is the most amazing soup! I have wanted to try it forever and am so happy that I finally did! The Barefoot Contessa rarely disappoints! I love that you bake the meatballs and by the time they are baked, the soup is done! I used the little star shaped pasta that is so festive! I am not sure a photo would give this soup justice but I assure you, everyone will love it!
For the meatballs:
¾ pound ground chicken
½ pound chicken sausage, casings removed-I used two links of mild Italian
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and or basil
¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese-I use all parmesan due to husbands salt concern
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup ¼-inch diced carrots (3 carrots)
¾ cup (¼-inch diced celery (2 stalks)
10 cups homemade chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars **I cook my pasta separately and really like orzo
¼ cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed -One bag of washed spinach from WFds is only 6 oz and seems to be plenty
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1- to 1¼-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don’t have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.


Best Shrimp Bisque

This is a recipe from Bon Appetit It takes some time but is worth it! It is better than the Barefoot Contessa recipe because it has a very smooth and silky texture. It is very elegant! **Note I have just remade Ina’s Shrimp Bisque and find it just as good if not better IF you strain it through a sieve. I use a rubber spatula to push the soup through the strainer-do not get discouraged as it will all go through (patience!) except for about 1/4 cup of mass. We love a floater of sherry on top of the soup after it is served into a bowl!
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp (about 45), peeled, deveined, shells reserved
2 bay leaves, divided
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup long-grain white rice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
Shrimp puree for bisque
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1 bay leaf and 8 cups water. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Strain, discarding solids. DO AHEAD Shrimp stock can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool slightly; chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until just opaque in center, 3-4 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to same pot. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until very soft, about 20 minutes.
Remove pot from heat; add brandy. Return pot to heat and stir until almost evaporated, 2-3 minutes. Add rice and tomato paste; stir for 1 minute. Add shrimp stock, remaining bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and ¼ tsp. cayenne. Simmer uncovered until flavors meld and rice is soft, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve 4 shrimp for garnish and stir remaining shrimp into bisque. Remove parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.
Working in batches, purée bisque in a blender until smooth. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer set over a clean pot. Discard solids in strainer. Stir in cream and reheat bisque over medium heat. Add lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cayenne, if desired.
Mince reserved shrimp and mix with chives in a small bowl. Place 1 heaping tablespoon shrimp mixture in the center of large, shallow soup bowls. Ladle bisque around garnish and serve.

Red Lentil Mulligatawny

A wonderful soup from Madhur Jaffrey, the queen of Indian food. I made a half recipe and served it with puppodums, if you can find them. You could also serve it with naan, and mix a little tamarind or mango chutney with yogurt for a garnish. This recipe was in Saveur.
9 T. unsalted butter, divided
1 t. Aleppo pepper, optional
1/2 t. cumin seeds
1/2 t. coriander seeds
1/2 t. black mustard seeds
2 dried chiles de arbol
1 plum tomato, minced
3 T. minced ginger
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, minced
1/2 jalapeño, minced
1/4 c. flour
1 T. ground coriander
2 t. ground cumin
1 1/2 t. ground turmeric
9 c. chicken or vegetable stock
1 3/4 c. red lentils
3 T. minced cilantro
1 c. canned coconut milk
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
plain yogurt to garnish
fresh cilantro to garnish
Cook 5 T. butter Aleppo pepper, cumin, coriander, mustard, chiles, and tomato in an 8″ skillet over high heat until fragrant. Set sauce aside. Heat remaining butter in a 6 quart saucepan over medium high heat. Add ginger, garlic, onion and jalapeño and cook until browned, about 15 minutes. Add flour, coriander, cumin and turmeric, cook until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add stock and lentils, boil. Skim any scum that surfaces. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, covered, until tender, about 45 minutes. Add cilantro, puree, if you like. Add coconut milk, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve garnished with sauce, yogurt and a little fresh cilantro.

Beer Cheese Soup

This is a delicious soup from a new food network star named Amy Thielen who has a show called The Heartland Table. I have really enjoyed the shows that I have watched and was excited to try it. It did not disappoint! You have to be careful not to boil the soup once the cheese is in as it will curdle.

Beer cheese soup

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
1 to 1 1/2 large carrots, diced (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup small-diced piquillo peppers, or 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock, low-sodium store-bought or homemade
One 12-ounce bottle beer, preferably a mild-flavored blond or pale ale
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
12 ounces aged yellow cheddar (aged at least 2 years), grated
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot sauce
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Mustard oil or extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
Fresh goat cheese, for garnish
Fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, peppers and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until well incorporated, about 5 minutes more.

Add the chicken stock, beer and half-and-half and cook, whisking often, at a very slow simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

Add the cheddar to the soup by the handful, whisking each batch until smooth. Add the Worcestershire, hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, the nutmeg, mustard and lemon juice, and stir to combine.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender (holding a thick towel over the lid to prevent overflow) until very smooth.

Just before serving, reheat the soup until steaming and taste for seasoning, adding salt as necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with a swirl of mustard oil, a dollop of goat cheese and a sprinkle of thyme.

Cheddar Ale Soup

Another great recipe from the Williams Sonoma blog, Taste. This makes a large amount of soup and would be wonderful for a party. I could not find my immersion blender so I cooled the soup a little and pureed it in the blender in batches. I will heat it up to order so that the cheese and cream do not curdle. The flavor is so good!

Cheddar and Ale Soup

1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) canola oil

4-6 shallots, thinly sliced

2 yellow waxy potatoes

1 yellow onion

2 ribs celery

2 carrots, peeled

4 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g.) unsalted butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g.) all-purpose flour

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 cups (4 fl. oz./500 ml.) whole milk

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) heavy cream

1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml.) low-sodium chicken broth

1 bottle (12 fl. oz./375 ml.) ale

1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 lb. (500 g.) Cheddar cheese, shredded

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Add the shallots and cook, turning once or twice, until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside

Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch (12-mm.) cubes; chop the onion, celery and carrots. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the potatoes, onion, celery, carrots and garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, until the onion, celery and carrots have softened and the potatoes are almost tender, 7-10 minutes. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour, salt, paprika and cayenne and stir until the flour is lightly browned. Slowly add the milk, scraping up any bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the cream, broth, ale, Worcestershire sauce and mustard, whisking constantly. Raise the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring, to allow the flavors to blend, about 5 minutes; be careful not to let the mixture boil. Add in the cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese has just melted, 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and puree with an immersion blender or puree in batches in a regular blender. Reheat just until steaming. Ladle into warmed bowls, garnish with the crispy shallots and serve at once. Serves 4-6.

Epic weather in Denver

I love to cook and certain inclement weather really sets me off. I love Relish Magazine’s Daily Dish with wonderful recipes. It started raining here on Wednesday night and did not stop until 6 or so on Thursday. The Weather Channel called it biblical! I have lived in CO for 40+ years and have never seen a storm like we experienced. The Daily Dish had three chilis-a tomato lentil, chicken chili with garbanzos and kale and a Texas beef chili.


I made them all! And they are all delicious!! Needless to say, the weather has changed the sun is out the temps are going out of the 50’s to the 80’s so I will tuck them into the freezer for a colder day.

We are hoping for safety for all in Colorado-the power of Mother Nature is unstoppable!

My Mother

My mother did not know how to cook when she got married. She had five daughters in  6 1/2 years and was way too busy to finally become an incredible cook until after we were out of the house. She compiled two great cookbooks, one on desserts and the other on soups. I am so happy to have all of her recipes and make her soups often. I was just visiting and made her Broccoli Soup. Mushroom Soup, Tomato Soup and Gazpacho! She has notes in her recipe book of what pan to use and other modifications she made to the recipe! I love cooking with another person and it is so much fun to share the techniques and final product!

Mom and roses

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Makes 1 quart and doubles easily

1/2 sliced onion

1 sliced shallot

1 t. minced garlic

4 oz. sliced mushrooms (optional)

2 T.  minced parsley

Add and blend in:

1 T. cornstarch

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) chicken broth (I dissolve the cornstarch in a little bit of the stock until smooth and then add)

1 pkg.(10 oz.) chopped broccoli

2 boullion cubes (also optional-I use a vegetable broth cube)

Bring to a boil and simmer 10-15 minutes.

Cool and puree until smooth. Add

1/2-3/4 cup half and half.

Can be served hot or cold.

Mom's soup cookbook

Broccoli Cheese Soup

This recipe comes from a blogger called Cooking Classy. I like this because it doesn’t have a lot of cream in it. In fact, I did not add any cream, just 2% milk.

Broccoli Cheese soup

1/3 c. butter

1 c. yellow onion, diced finely

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 t. thyme

1/3 c. flour

3 cups milk (I used 2%)

2 c. chicken broth

1/2 c. heavy cream (optional)

3 c. finely chopped broccoli pieces (1/2″)

6 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 oz. freshly grated Parmesan, or more to taste

1/2 t. salt and black pepper

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in garlic, thyme and flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Be sure to get the edges of the pan. While whisking, slowly pour in the milk, chicken broth and cream, if using. Cook, stirring frequently until mixture begins to bubble. Reduce heat to medium low and add broccoli pieces and cook for 8 minutes, stirring often. Turn heat off and add in cheese, stir until melted and season with salt and pepper.

Split Pea Soup

This recipe is from my sister, Meg and it is the best pea soup I have ever made! The texture of the soup is perfect! Makes about 3 quarts. If the soup is too thick, add water or sherry to get the right consistency.

Combine, bring to a boil. Cover, simmer 2 hours

Split Pea Soup

2 cups split peas

6 sliced carrots

1 sliced shallot

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 large chopped onion

1 ham bone

1 quart chicken stock

4 cups water

3 T. parsley

1/2 t. each basil, marjoram, oregano, thyme

1/4 t. black pepper

Add more water, if needed. After simmering, add 2 t. salt.

Pasta e Fagioli

This is the most wonderful soup recipe that my mother discovered in a magazine. It makes a lot and freezes well. I plan on serving it for a party soon with baguette, and a salad.

Serves 10 as a first course or 6 as a main course

Pasta e fagioli

3 tablespoons pure olive oil
3 to 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cups (about 14 ounces) dried cranberry, borlotti, cannellini, or other small white beans, soaked overnight in water to cover, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups diced canned plum tomatoes, with juices
8 cups water or chicken broth, or as needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound small shells, ditalini, or other small pasta shape
Extra virgin olive oil for finishing
Grated Parmesan for finishing

1. In a large soup kettle, warm the pure olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it renders its fat and is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the soaked beans, the tomatoes and their juices, the 8 cups water, and 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 hour.

2. To give the soup more body, remove 2 or 3 large spoonfuls of beans and vegetables, place in a food processor or blender, and purée until smooth. Return the purée to the pot. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

3. Although you can cook the pasta directly in the soup, there is a danger of the soup scorching if the beans have been puréed. To avoid this, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, stir well, and cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, add to the soup, and simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.

4. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, and top each serving with a generous swirl of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and a liberal dusting of black pepper. Serve at once.