Tag Archive | Soup

Cioppino – A Fish-lover’s paradise!

This was the featured dish after a one week labor strike I had with the kitchen.

I had heard that distance makes the heart grow fonder, and after a marathon of cooking & baking since November, I knew the only way I could stay so in love with my kitchen and cooking was to step away. I needed a vacation. A stay-away-from-the-kitchen vacation. A we-are-only-eating-out-or-I-refuse-to-ever-open-a-cupboard-again vacation.

And boy did it work. After a week of instant breakfast (cereal, toast), cheese & crackers (where I don’t even have to slice the cheese), eating take-out or at restaurants, I longed for the taste of something homemade. Something that wasn’t sitting under a heat-lamp to keep warm; something that was made just for my meal, something that wasn’t doused with calories & fat. I craved a meal made from love, with love, and for love. 

Then Christmas morning rolled around and I found that my HoneyBee (Blake, that was my nickname for him waaaaay before your song)  had honored me, our relationship, and our love by giving me a KitchenAid mixer (eeek!!!!!).  Maybe he saw how big of a mess I became when I had to use 3 different electric tools to mix dough; maybe he was scared that my labor strike would be the end of his high-end meals;  or maybe he noticed that this cooking adventure wasn’t just a phase & that I’ve grown from a novice to an experienced cook in a mere 6 months. Whatever the reason, he loves me & my cooking, and wants them both to stay 🙂

With my new toy in the kitchen, the labor strike ended in a flash and my first dish was inspired from a wonderful broth & stew we had for our anniversary dinner in August – Cioppino. After our Dungeness Crab feast on Christmas Eve, I had a few crabs left that needed to be eaten pronto. After searching for an authentic San Francisco version with Dungeness Crab, I ended up combing two recipes that formed into one spectacular dish.

Why do I call it spectacular, you ask? Because Mr. Honeybee told me so! He was so excited that he told me it was the best dish I ever made! EVER!! I was blushing at the table, let me tell ya!   The broth turned out to be the most amazing broth I’ve ever had, most likely due to letting it develop for 3 hours before adding in the fish and serving. I highly recommend making this dish if you are a fish lover, love a good soup for a couple of nights, and don’t mind starting the broth ahead of time.


  • 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1  onions, chopped
  • 2  cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 1 red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1  (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1  (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 (8-ounce) bottle clam broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2-3 cooked Dungeness crabs, about 2 pounds each
  • 3/4 lb. Manila clams, scrubbed (or 1 dozen Littleneck clams)
  • 1 lb. firm, white-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut, (I used Steelhead; you can use salmon too), skinned and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined (I used frozen shrimp)
  • 1 lb. mussels, scrubbed
  • 3/4 pound sea scallops, halved vertically if large


Over medium-low heat melt butter in a large stockpot, add onions, garlic, peppers and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, over moderately high heat until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute longer. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices and cook over moderately high heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the clam broth, chicken broth, water and spices; season lightly with salt and generously with pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower temp and simmer over low-moderate heat until the broth is reduced and developed, about 40 minutes to 3 hours. The more time it has the better the broth will taste.

Meanwhile, shell the crab if whole and remove the meat. Add the crabs and clams to the pot. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the clams begin to open, about 5 minutes.  Add the fish, shrimp, mussels and scallops to the pot, pushing them into the broth.

Stir occasionally until the clams and mussels are fully open and the fish, shrimp and scallops are cooked through, about 8 minutes longer.

Ladle the cioppino into deep bowls and serve with some crusty French bread for dipping in the broth. If you have leftovers, be sure to remove the clam & mussel shells from the stew prior to storing in the refrigerator.

Be prepared to be amazed!


Fall Foods recipe #4: Creamy Leek & Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower is one of those pesky vegetables that people avoid. Yet, they have wonderful advantages when added to your diet. This recipe will turn any hater into a lover very quickly. Check out this nutritional breakdown of cooked cauliflower.


The good:This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid and Manganese. Mildly anti-inflammatory

The bad: A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.
Caloric Ratio Pyramid

64% 16% 20%
Carbs Fats Proteins

Fats & Fatty Acids

Amounts Per Selected Serving – 1/2 cup of chopped pieces
Total Fat   0.3g
Saturated Fat  0.0g
Monounsaturated Fat  0.0g
Polyunsaturated Fat  0.1g
Total Omega-3 fatty acids  104mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids   31.0mg
Amounts Per Selected Serving                     %DV
Vitamin A                                      7.4 IU     0%
Vitamin C                                   27.5mg     46%
Vitamin D                                         ~
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)        0.0mg       0%
Vitamin K                                    8.6mcg    11%
Thiamin                                      0.0mg       2%
Riboflavin                                    0.0mg       2%
Niacin                                          0.3mg      1%
Vitamin B6                                   0.1mg      5%
Folate                                        27.3mcg     7%
Vitamin B12                                 0.0mcg     0%
Pantothenic Acid                           0.3mg      3%
Choline                                       24.2mg
Betaine                                         0.1mg

Creamy Leek & Cauliflower Soup

Serves: 6

Total time: 35 min

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed
  • 4 cups chopped cauliflower florets (from 1 medium head)
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk, divided
  • 2 cups water (you can substitute with chicken broth for extra flavor)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until very soft, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, 2 cups milk, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is soft, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl. When the cauliflower is soft, remove the bay leaf and stir in the milk mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the soup has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in cheese and lemon juice.

* you may want to season your individual serving with something spicy, like cayenne pepper or extra pepper, to add some more dimension to the flavor.

* for a nice texture and a salty contrast to the dairy, I cooked up a few slices of bacon and chopped them into small bits, sprinkling them on top.

Nutritional info for this prepared recipe, from Eating Well:

Per serving: 186 calories; 11 g fat ( 5 g sat , 3 g mono ); 27 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 10 g protein; 2 g fiber; 488 mg sodium; 198 mg potassium.

Vitamin C (45% daily value)

Calcium (27% dv),

Vitamin A (15% dv).

Fall Foods recipe #2: Apple, Carrot, Sweet Potato & Ginger soup

Today is the first day of rain we’ve seen for a couple of months. That’s a pretty big deal in Oregon!

What better way to celebrate a day inside than with homemade soup?

I stocked up on apples and carrots at the farm last week, and found a sweet potato hanging around my onions in the pantry. Then as I went through my fridge, I couldn’t miss the 3 leeks I bought at the farm as well. They had other uses before this soup came to mind; for a leek and cauliflower soup. But they could work in this recipe, too.

The results of all these fresh pieces of fall produce came together, with a little help from chicken stock (my substitute for veggie stock), ginger and nutmeg, to  produce a sweet & spicy lunch treat. I really liked it!

It has a consistency of baby food, which is a new texture for me, but I think it would have to puree in the blender. Otherwise, the apples would turn to mush against all the other nice chunks of veggies.

Apple, Carrot, Sweet potato and Ginger soup

Serves 4

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated    (I didn’t have fresh ginger, so I used 1/8 tsp of dried ginger spice)
  • 3 small apples, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cups sliced, peeled carrots (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion, leek, dash of salt, and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add ginger and garlic and cook for one minute, until fragrant.  Add apples, sweet potato and carrots and cook for 3 minutes more.

Turn flame to medium-high and add in broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce flame to low and simmer, uncovered,  until apples, sweet potato, and carrots are softened, about 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.

Blend the soup in batches in a blender.  Be sure not to fill the blender more than halfway full or hot soup will explode everywhere.  Also, when blending hot liquids in a blender, leave the blender lid slightly ajar to let some of the steam escape.

Once all the soup is blended, return to the pot.  You can add more vegetable broth if you prefer a thinner consistency.  Taste, and add a dash of fresh ground nutmeg, as well as salt and pepper to taste.  Remember a lot of heat will come from the ginger, so you probably won’t need to add pepper.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and another dash of nutmeg to taste for a creamy, sweet & spicy treat. I bet a nice piece of garlic bread would be great to scrape the bowl with. Yum-o.

Adapted from this recipe.