Category Archives: soup

Creamy Winter Veg Soup

It’s the week before Christmas, and in light of what happened this past Friday in Connecticut I think everyone is slowing down and enjoying time with their loved ones.  I don’t really talk about politics on this blog, but I will mention that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the grieving families who have lost a loved one.

Whenever I feel melancholy or overwhelmed, I do like a warm bowl of soup.  It’s comforting, and a perfect way to end a cold winter day.  This one is extremely easy, and does not take too much time, or many ingredients to make.  As each of you hurry to get all of your Christmas shopping done, plan your holiday meals, and decorate your homes- also take the time to make some warm soup (such as this one!) and enjoy it with your family and friends.

Also, a note on the new bowls.  We received these as a wedding present (all different colors) from our friends- Ben & Brittany- from Anthropologie, a colorful bowl for a gloomy evening!

Winter Veg Soup

Creamy Winter Veg Soup
Fifth Floor Kitchen Original

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 leeks, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 bulb fennel, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
4-5 turnips, peeled & chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 large potatoes, cooked OR 3 cups mashed potatoes
4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups of water
1/4 cup of parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.  Then add in the onion, sauté them until they are translucent, for about 5 minutes.  Then add in the leeks, bulb fennel, turnips, salt and pepper.  Cook while stirring for about 10 minutes, or until the fennel is soft.  Then add in the potatoes, broth and water, cook for another 15 minutes.

Puree the soup using a blender.  Pour back into the large pot, cook for another 10 minutes, feel free to add more salt or pepper.

Ladle soup into bowl, sprinkle with parsley & enjoy with a slice of fresh bread!

Brazilian Fish & Shrimp Stew

I am very lucky cook, pretty much anything I make, Sam eats.  And about 9 times out of 10 he’ll tell me how great it is.  Then the 1 times out of 10, he’ll swear that was the best thing he’s ever eaten.  See, aren’t I lucky?!?

This was one of those 1 out of 10 meals that we both loved.  It had so much flavor, and it wasn’t too fishy.  This is definitely on the list to re-do!

When I picked up the June/July 2012 issue of Saveur, I noticed it had an article about the cuisine in the Amazon by Neide Rigo (the photos were done by James Oseland).  Since I have never been in this part of the world, I was interested to read about what people ate there.  And the pictures looked so delicious, I had to try at least one of the recipes.

The article focuses on the author’s visit to the Brazilian island of Marajó.  The trip alone took her 2 days from São Paulo: she took a flight, a taxi ride, then a 3-hour ferry ride, a car ride through the jungle, and lastly, a barge.  That was one long trip!

Marajó is the largest island surrounded by freshwater, anywhere in the world.  It’s about as big as Switzerland, and it’s located where the Amazon pours into the Atlantic Ocean.  The advantage to the location is that fishermen can catch saltwater or freshwater fish, it all depends on the time of day and the tides.

The islanders were introduced to beef and diary by the Dutch, French and Portuguese colonizers who brought cattle and African slaves with them in the 17th century.  The current cuisine is a result of 400 years of intermarriage of Europeans, Africans, and native Brazilians.

The afternoon that the author arrived on the island, she was served this delicious soup.  We had eaten the soup just plain, per the recipe below.  Neide’s stew was accompanied by sweet plantains, rice, stewed red beans, pickled chiles, a salad of lettuce and tomatoes, cassava and fresh juices to drink (pineapple, papaya, and white soursop).  If I’m ever near the Amazon, I would love to stop by for a visit, until then, I have this soup to savor!

Brazilian Fish & Shrimp Stew (Moqueca)
Adapted from: Saveur (June/July 2012, Number 148, pg 66)

We used tilapia in this recipe, although catfish and halibut were recommended- feel free to swap for any firm-fleshed white fish.  The soup also has a mixture of peppers, but if you prefer bell peppers use those.  Lastly, I used vegetable broth, but if you have fish stock that would be perfect (probably use about 1 cup).

1 1/2 lb tilapia (or catfish, halibut- or any firm white fish), cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 lb shrimp
6 garlic cloves, minced
juice from 2 limes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups mixed chopped peppers (jalapeños, bell peppers, chili, banana)
2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cup light coconut milk (1 can)
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 cups cooked rice

In a large bowl, mix together the fish, shrimp, 6 cloves of garlic, lime juice, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Set aside.

In a large pot heat up the olive oil, and then add the onion.  Cook until the onion is translucent, for about 5 minutes.  Then add the garlic and peppers, cook for another 3 minutes.  Next, stir in the tomatoes and cook until they are broken down, for about 5 minutes.  Add vegetable broth and coconut milk, bring to a boil.

Finally, drain any liquid from the fish and shrimp mixture, and add into the pot.  Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the fish and shrimp are cooked.  Sprinkle in the basil and cilantro, stir well.  Serve over rice.

Chilled Carrot Soup

Although July has almost passed (how quickly!), we still have August to face here in DC.  August comes in with more heat and humidity, and by its end everyone cannot wait for fall.  I’m sure others also have to deal with this heat- and this soup is perfect for it.

None of us want to stand in the kitchen, so this is a great soup to make over a weekend (less than 30 minutes), and then be able to pull it out for lunch or dinner throughout the week!  If you have an overabundance of tomatoes, feel free to add those it- it’ll change the flavor profile a bit, but it’ll add a great taste!

Need other ideas for cold soups?  Try these: cucumber gazpacho, shrimp gazpacho, or a tomato soup with basil.

Chilled Carrot Soup
Fifth Floor Kitchen original

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, halved
2 lbs carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp curry powder
4 cups water
1 cup almond milk
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a large pot heat olive oil, then add the onion.  Sauté the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Then add in the garlic and carrots, cook for another 5-8 minutes.  Next, stir in the water and curry powder.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer for another 15 minutes.

Finally, pour all of this into a blender (or food processor), and blend until the consistency is to your liking.  Then pour it back into a pot, add in the almond milk, salt and pepper.  Cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve this warm, or you can keep it in the fridge and serve this chilled.

Heat Wave: Shrimp Gazpacho

I’m not sure where everyone else is living, but here in DC we’ve had a couple of hot days.  The kind of hot that you just want to sit in an air conditioned room, eating and drinking cold foods.  I’ve got just the soup that will keep you cool when the heat wave gets to you!

I’ve mentioned previously that I studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain.  While I was there over the summer, it was hot- so my señora made a gazpacho quite often to cool us down, and fill us up.  Although it wasn’t my favorite at first, I learned to love it and have eaten many bowls every since.  Check out other soups we’ve made that can be eaten cold: cucumber gazpacho, tomato soup with basil, and roasted vegetable soup.

Tomatoes are starting to pop up at the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market, so I’m taking advantage and buying some every week.  It’s really hard to resist all of the beautiful colors, and amazing taste!  The better tomatoes you use (ex: heirloom) the flavor will be more intense!

Need other meal ideas to keep you cool this summer?  Check these out: rum raisin ice cream, colorful slaw, tomatoes with basil & mozzarella, Sam’s summer pasta sauce, and the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market Summer Salad.

Shrimp Gazpacho
Fifth Floor Kitchen original
Serving: 4 large dinner (6 lunch/sides)

If you do have a grill in your home, I would utilize it and grill the veggies rather than roasting them in your oven (won’t get as hot!).  Also, feel free to change the number of each vegetable- if you prefer more corn, add it in, or don’t include it.  This is one of the reasons I love soups, so easy to change them to your taste!

5 tomatoes
3 corn on the cob
3 red bell peppers
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
about 1 lb shrimp, peeled/cooked
2 tbsp chives, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

On a cookie sheet, spread out 3 tomatoes, corn on the cob (husks off) and the red bell peppers.  Once the oven is preheated, put the veggies into the oven for about 30 minutes.  Turn each of the vegetables over onto another side about every 10 minutes.  Once they are done, allow them to cool off.

Once everything has cooled, add the tomatoes to a food processor.  Then cut off an inch off of the point side of the corn, and set it down on a flat surface.  Grasp the stalk end holding it vertically over a cutting board, and carefully slice downward over the cob cutting off the kernels.  Then add the corn from 2 of the cobs into the food processor, add the other corn kernels to a big bowl.  Lastly, chop off the end of the pepper with the stem, and add the pepper to the food processor.  Processes all of the vegetables until they are pureed (to your liking of consistency), then pour everything into the big bowl with the corn kernels.

Chop the remaining 2 tomatoes and add them to the large bowl.

In a medium saucepan, heat up the olive oil.  Then add in the onion, allow it to cook until it is translucent.  Add in the garlic and carrots, cook for another 5 minutes.  Finally, add in the veggie broth, and allow to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Allow the broth mixture to cool, then add it to the food processor.  Puree it until the consistency is smooth.  Add the liquid to the big bowl filled with the other ingredients.  Sprinkle in the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, mix well.  Lastly, add in the shrimp.

Place in the fridge and allow it to cool for at least an hour (although, the colder the better).

Once you’re ready to serve, ladle out the soup into bowls and garnish with chives.

Food Matters Project #13: Asparagus & White Bean Soup

Yes, it’s another Monday and a new Food Matter Project recipe!  Since we were visiting friends in Boston this weekend (check out our Sam Adams Brewery tour), we actually made this soup last week.  It was easy to make and very delicious!

This weeks recipe was chosen by Adrienne, of Adrienneats.  She chose the Roasted Asparagus and White Bean Soup with Parmesan from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out what others did here, scroll down to the comments.

This was a great soup- the beans made it very filling and gave this soup lots of flavor.  Since I was trying to use up some other produce in our fridge, I added extra veggies- so definitely feel free to swap or add more.

I can’t seems to stop buying asparagus at our Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market- this last week I walked away with 3 bunches!  The farmer selling it was wondering what I was going to do with so much (but that’s for another post)!

Remember: when buying asparagus look for firm stalks with purple tinge tips.  The ends of the stems should be fresh and moist.  It should be used soon after buying, but if it needs to stay in the fridge for a couple of days then cut off about 1 inch from the base and set the asparagus bunch upright in a container filled with some water (up to 4 days).

Asparagus and White Bean Soup
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 110)

Mark Bittman suggests puréeing the soup, to make it smoother- if you prefer chunkier soups, feel free to omit this step.  I soaked and cooked dry beans, but canned beans will also work great.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 oz pancetta, chopped
3 carrots, peeled & chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine (recommend: Bogle Chardonnay)
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & chopped
6 cups chicken or veggie stock
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of cooked cannellini beans
1 1/2 cups of cooked navy beans
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 lb asparagus
2 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded

Heat up the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Once the olive oil is warm, add the onion.  Sauté for up to 5 minutes, when the onions become translucent.  Then add the pancetta, sauté until the meat starts to brown.  Add the carrot, garlic and thyme, allow to cook for another 2 minutes.  Then add the white wine, stir to loosen the vegetable and pancetta pieces.

While stirring add the potatoes, stock and water.  Bring the soup to a boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Stir infrequently until the potatoes have cooked (should be soft when you stick a fork into them).

Add in the beans, and cook for another 10-15 minutes.  Season the soup with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Finally, puree about half of the soup in a food processor, mix both halves together.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Meanwhile, put the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Roast for about 15 minutes, or when the asparagus begins to brown.

Pour soup into a bowl, dress it with pieces of asparagus and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.