Saturday, June 26, 2010

Green Pea and Mint Soup

Some of my favorites lilies!

This week our peas were finally ready - it seemed like a long wait to make this Green Pea and Mint Soup! Souper Mom came to help shell the peas and make this exquisite soup. It was introduced centuries ago by the Roman legionaries in Shrosphire, England. This is a rich green velvet soup that gets its sweetness from the fresh peas and is enhanced by the fragrance of fresh mint.

Green Pea and Mint Soup

The Soup Bible - Debra Mayhew
Souper Mom/Souper Sarah

Perfect partners, peas and mint capture the flavors of summer!

Serves 4

4 tablespoons butter
4 scallions, chopped
3 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
2 2/1 cups vegetables stock
2 large sprigs of fresh mint
2 ½ cups milk
a pinch of sugar (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
small sprigs of fresh mint to garnish
light cream, to serve

1 – Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the chopped scallions and cook slowly over low heat until they are soft but not brown.

2 – Stir the peas into the pan. Add the stock and mint and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes if you using fresh peas (15 minutes if you are using frozen peas) until they are tender. Remove about 2 tablespoons of the pears, and reserve them to use for a garnish.

3 – Pour the soup into a food processor or blender. Add the milk and puree until smooth. Season to taste, adding a pinch of sugar, if liked. Leave to cool, then chill lightly in the refrigerator.

4 – Pour the soup into bowls. Swirl a little cream into each bowl. Garnish with the mint and the reserved peas, and serve.

Beautiful pea vines

Our basket is almost full

Mom knows how to get the work done!

Chopped shallots

Melt butter

Soup ingredients

Simmering peas

Puree until smooth

Serve with a swirl of cream, garnish with mint
and the reserved peas

Mom and I talked about the different pea recipes in our book and decided to make the mint one. I must confess that I did not read all the instructions carefully and failed to notice that this soup should be served chilled. We served it hot and with homemade croutons. The next day, we served it chilled. Although, the hot soup had the same rich flavor, the chilled soup was heavenly! Thank you Mom for all your help – it is always more fun when we make soup together!!

Garrett Memorial Chapel
Keuka Lake

We took the day off on our 25th Anniversary and traveled to this chapel on Bluff Point, Keuka Lake (a trip to Alaska in August). It is known as the “Little Chapel on the Mount”. Evelyn and Paul Garrett, who founded and ran Garrett and Company from 1902 until 1940 (among the largest wine producers in the world), erected it in 1931 as a memorial to their son, Charles Williams Garrett who died of tuberculosis. The chapel has gained recognition on the National and New York State Register of Historic Places. It is in a beautiful setting on the bluff with the view of Keuka Lake, it is very inspirational! The chapel is used for meditation, has a waiting list for weddings, and they hold seasonal church services.

The thought for the week - "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform" - Paul Garrett
Happy souping until we meet again!
Souper Sarah

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Potato Leek Soup

They have only just begun!

We are skyping again with our family in LA, this time it is with Souper Mario making Julia Child’s Potato Leek Soup. Here is the bio that Mario wrote for the blog - "I am an early childhood education researcher from Los Angeles. I grew to love cooking by watching my mother cook and I have honed my skills by watching too much of the Food Network shows and Top Chef. Almost a year ago, I began reading Julie and Julia and the first recipe mentioned is the potato and leek soup. This is a very simple recipe that can warm you up on a cold day. I have used a few different variations to finish off this soup and my favorite is to stir in some cream and then sprinkle on some diced chives. Mmmmmmmm.”

Potato Leek Soup

Julia Child
Souper Mario/Souper Sarah

This simple soup smells good and taste good, with the leeks as the essential flavoring agent making it a culinary masterpiece!

Serve 6-8

3-4 cups of diced peeled potatoes (1lb.)
3 cups thinly sliced leeks, including the tender greens
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons heavy cream or 3 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons minced chives or parsley

1 – Simmer vegetables, salt and water together, partially covered for 40-50 minutes in a 3-4 quart saucepan.

2 – Mash the vegetables into the soup with a fork or pass through a food mill. I used my hand blender, although Julia does not like the texture of soup pureed in a blender.

3 - Season with salt and pepper – white pepper tastes great with this soup. You can stop at this point.

4 – When ready to serve, bring soup back to simmering. Then turn off the heat, stir in the cream or butter and top with chopped chives or parsley.

Soup ingredients

Leeks, potatoes, and chives

Simmering soup

Pureeing soup

Serving hot soup with chives in LA

Serving soup at the farm

Souper Mario and Dave
Enjoying their soup

This soup is so yummy! The leeks give this classic soup a milder, earthier flavor and the heavy cream gives it a rich finishing touch. Mario is a great cook and I always have a fantastic time, when visiting, cooking with him (he has all the good recipes!). Thank you Mario, it was wonderful cooking with you again, even if it is by skyping.

Happy Birthday Mary!!!

The thought for the week - It takes two to speak the truth - one to speak - one another to hear. Thoreau

Happy souping until we meet again!
Souper Sarah

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nettle Soup

Best time of the year!

The Marathon Garden Club and some friends were here for an Herbal Walk in Nature presented by my friend, Renee Lobdell. She is an Associate Polarity Practitioner, Reiki Master and has had training in Kinesiology and Iridology. She uses herbal healing as a part of her healthy living regiment. While we were drinking nettle and red raspberry tea, Renee gave us the healing properties of several herbs* that grow right in our back yard. We discussed which books** to use for identification and how to make teas, oils, and vinegars from the herbs. She talked about the different ways of drying and storing the herbs. We walked in the fields identifying the herbs that we had learned about and picked some for our salad. The soup for our luncheon was Nettle Soup (one of the herbs that we had learned about) and our salad. You have to try this soup to believe the hearty country flavor. It is an easy soup to make once you have located the nettles and we have several places that they grow here. I would never have imagined that it would have such a gourmet flavor, it leaves you wanting more!

Nettle Soup

The Soup Bible/ Debra Mayhew
Souper Sarah

This is a country-style soup which is a tasty variation of the classic Irish potato soup. Use wild nettles if you can find them, or a washed head of round lettuce if you prefer.

Serves 4

½ cup of butter
3 cups of sliced onions
3 cups potatoes, cut into chunks
3 cups chicken stock
1 oz wild nettle leaves
A small bunch of chives, snipped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Evan’s Farmhouse Creamery Crème Fraiche, to serve

1 – Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the sliced onions, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes until just soft. Add the potatoes to the saucepan with chicken stock, cover, and cook for 25 minutes longer. ­­­

2 – Wearing latex gloves, remove the nettle leaves from their stems. Rinse the leaves under cold running water and then dry on paper towels. Add to the sauce pan and cook for 5 minutes longer.

3 – Ladle the soup into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Return to a clean saucepan and season well. Stir in the chives and serve with a swirl of crème fraiche and sprinkling of pepper.

COOK’S TIP – If you prefer, cut the vegetables finely and leave the soup chunky rather than pureeing it.

Healing Herbs - Renee Lobdell

Looking for salad herbs

Lemon Balm - Melissa Officinalis

Making lemon balm sun tea

Sliced onions

Chicken Stock

Simmer for 25 minutes

Nettles in the field

Basket of nettles

Drying nettle leaves

Weighing nettle leaves

Add nettle leaves to soup and cook for 5 minutes

Simmer soup after blending in the food processor

Serve hot with creme fraiche and chives

Herbal salad

Renee made it fun and exciting learning about the healing powers of herbs that we live with every day. A gathering of friends, a new understanding of herbs and a healthy lunch – What a lovely way to spend time connecting with one another and nature! Thank you, Renee, I so appreciate your herbal expertise and your friendship.

*Burdock: First year – use Leaf & Root, Second year – use the stalk (peal and cook in stew or soup) Burdock is high in Iron, it pulls pain, helps sore/stiff muscles, good for gout, arthritis, uric acid build-up, cleans the blood, good for high cholesterol, good for the lymph system.
· Leaf: use the whole leaf in teas, foot bath, or as a wrap around an injured body part
· Root: dry and grind for capsules, steep root and add the water to a bath to pull pain, watch out for bugs, dry in a 200 degree oven until dry.
· Flowers: use in oils to pull pain
· Seeds: can be used for prostate and female organs as a cleanser/balancer

*Nettles: Will sting until dry. Very high in serotonin, draws your attention, nervine, goes right to the brain, high oxygen source – the sting wakes up the area and forces circulation to that area. Good for strains, sprains. Loves a challenge! Do not pick once they have gone to the little green grape-like berries.

**Suggested List of Books:
Smithsonian Handbooks ~ Herbs; Leslie Bremness
Peterson Field Guides (2 separtate books): Medicinal Plants & Herbs
Edible Wild Plants
Identifying & Harvesting Edible & Medicinal Plants; Steve Brill & Evelyn Dean
Web Site -

The thought for the week - "Explore gentler; more natural remedies" - Body & Soul

Happing souping until we meet again!
Souper Sarah

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fast Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Beautiful Irises

Only here for a short time!

Souper Mona is here to make Fast Chicken Dumpling Soup. I cherish the unconditional friendship that Mona and I have had for so many years. She is a retired Groton school teacher, past president of Groton Rotary, and has been in charge of the Rotary Student Exchange program, both locally and at the district level. She is always donating her time to worthy causes. She has brought Nellie Hall (Will’s sister) to see the farm and enjoy our soup. Eric took Nellie and Sammy (our dog) on a tour of the farm, while Mona and I cooked this nutritious soup. It is an easy soup to prepare with simple ingredients. The dumplings were so effortless to make and the parsley gave them a special flavor that made it a pleasing combination. You can serve this hearty soup as your main dish and make everyone happy!

Fast Chicken Dumpling Soup
Souper Mona/Souper Sarah

This is an easy soup made with a flavorful rotisserie chicken plus a tasty enhancement of parsley dumplings.

Serves 6-8

1 rotisserie chicken
1 whole unpeeled onion
2 cups chicken broth
4 tablespoon parsley
4 ribs rough chopped celery
½ # Carrots (small baby)
2 envelops chicken bouillon
1 small chopped onion
6 small chopped potatoes
sea/kosher salt
black pepper
1 cup water (can be more or less)

1 – Put the first 7 ingredients in a stock pot; simmer until chicken comes off bones easily. Take out the chicken and debone. Discard the whole onion.

2 – Add 1 small chopped onion and 6 small chopped potatoes to the broth. Bring to a boil and boil until potatoes are soft. Season to taste.

3 – Add chicken back to the stock pot.

4 – Bring to a boil and add dumplings one tablespoon at a time (Bisquick and milk – follow directions on the package)

5 – To serve soup, place a dumpling along with soup in a warm bowl.

Eric taking Nellie and Sammy
on a farm tour with "Teddy" our RTV

Carrots in simmering soup

Mona cutting parsley

Making dumplings

Dropping dumplings in soup

Serve with a dumpling and soup in warm bowl

Nellie, our guest of honor

Souper Mona ready to try her soup

Cannoli – Sicilian pastry desserts

Mona thanks for the fine recipe and this soup was excellent with those dumplings. Your mother would be proud of us! My mother told me that my Aunt Pearl use to put dumplings in her bean soup and it tasted so great. I’m in for dumplings now!! Mona we always have so much fun when we are together, thanks for being such a worthy souper.

Will & Mona - April 2009 - Virginia Beach

This Memorial Day we are thinking of our friend Will, who was taken from us on July 9, 2009 in a 2 car accident. God must have had a plan for this special friend! We miss you Will.

The thought for the week - "Everyday is a gift from God" - Mona Forney

Happy souping until we meet again!

Souper Sarah