Posts Tagged ‘soup’


Jimmy and I had our inaugural holiday together: Thanksgiving. As a non-US native, I was a little hesitant about the Thanksgiving tradition. When I arrived in the US 16 years ago, I had never seen a full-grown turkey, and suddenly seeing what looked like an overgrown chicken on a table top was shocking, even a little vulgar. However, with it came everything that I could and liked to eat – a rarity for a then-picky eater like me: mashed potatoes, green beans, pecan pie and delicious, almost other-worldly stuffing.

Since then, Thanksgiving has become more to me than a dinner to which I look forward. It’s the cultural holiday all Americans share, the one day that families break bread and come together to be thankful. In a country where people have SO much, it has always felt right to have a holiday where you start the evening devoted to going around a table and saying that you’re grateful for what you have. Christmas has a special magic to it,  but Thanksgiving spurs that warm Christmas spirit. Thank you for all that we have; let’s share the wealth and keep on giving.

To start the holidays with a fresh, almost cleansing start, here’s a recipe of bright red beet soup.

The recipe below was adapted from The Food Network here. IMG_3320

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound white mushrooms, trimmed, wiped clean, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 medium beets
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut across into 1/4-inch rounds
1 very small or 1/2 large celery root (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 pounds mashing potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 small white cabbage (about 3/4 pound), cored and shredded
3 large cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and very finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium bunch dill, fronds only, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Coarsely chopped dill
Sour cream
Boiled potatoes, optional

In a tall narrow stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes.

Add the beets, carrots, parsnip, celery root, 8 cups water, and the mushroom soaking liquid. bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, cabbage, garlic, and, if using, the beet greens. Dissolve the tomato paste in 1/2 cup of the liquid and stir back into soup. Return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the reconstituted mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the dill, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Pass bowls of chopped dill and sour cream at the table.




-two tbsp olive oil
– two chopped onions
– three chopped carrots
– 1.5 pounds of chopped butternut squash (I’m lazy and get precut at the supermarket)
– two chopped potatoes
– three cloves of chopped garlic
– four cups of chicken stock
– one tsp cumin
– one tsp coriander
– one tsp chipotle pepper
– two cups of water

Saute the onions in olive oil for five minutes, then add all other ingredients in a dutch oven. Bring to a low medium  heat and cover for 50 minutes. When you uncover the dutch oven, it should be at a rolling boil. Turn off the heat then use an immersion blender to blend all the ingredients to the consistency you want it. Serve with a  nice toasted sourdough bread.

Learning how to drive is hard. That’s what two years in Michigan has taught me. I am usually someone who’s proud of being up for a new challenge, particularly if it comes with a positive consequence. Learning how to cook (via blog) has turned out to be fruitful; we eat well on a nightly basis and I no longer poke at my plate excited about ordering take out the next night. Picking up running a couple of times a week has developed nice calves. Learning calligraphy gave me nice wedding invitations. But driving? I can see the boons of learning it in the distance: freedom, not having to walk to town, shopping at the mall without waiting for Jimmy to be in the mood to wait for me like an unhappy steed. Driving has its obvious benefits.

Yesterday, however, I sat in the driver’s seat, frozen in the middle of a not-so-busy but not-so-deserted street, caught in the middle of a botched up parallel parking job. I started sweating. I saw the not-so-distant future before me: a giant streak across the side of the blue Nissan next to me and our 12-year-old Honda Accord. My heart beat so loudly I could barely hear Jimmy’s instruction to turn the wheel right, no, the other right. “HELP ME!!!” I screamed at him, turning the wheel violently from one side to the next. “HELP ME!!!” I turned to tug at his shirt collar, started hyperventilating as I saw a car approach ours in the rear view mirror, and I burst into tears.

In retrospect, the situation was pretty silly, not one that merited a panic attack that I definitely had at 2:30 in the afternoon with the car in a 45 degree angle from the street. Yet there is the issue with sore subjects, isn’t it? They’re never as bad as you make them out to be, yet in the moment, they become the flame in the coal oven that you feel like you’re being fed into. Right now the witch doing the pushing is abstract, and perhaps there’s the real issue. I can’t tell what I’m fearing most. Perhaps it’s just the driver’s test – and once I’ve passed the thing the breath will come, the flame will die to embers, and I’ll be kicking off to push the accelerate.


So for tonight’s dinner, I present ramen: something easy, soothing to soul, and full of goodies.  I took this recipe, but cut the vegetable broth to 4 cups, and added four cups of water.