Tag Archives: soup

Saimin with glass noodles and grilled veggies…

Our adventures on the Big Island- Hawai’i this past week falls somewhere between magical and breathtaking.  We hiked to volcanoes, across black lava flow, bathed in the sun on empty palmed beaches, and felt the mist of waterfalls on our faces.  We also ate without regret.  We ate at local fare restaurants and shopped at farmer’s markets. Beyond the plethora of fruit and veggies we found locally made goat cheese, local beer, and of course seafood.  Hawai’i understandably has a mission to grow and eat locally and minimize consumption of imported goods, you appreciate the effort of getting goods to these islands when standing on their shores, they are geographically truly remote.  With the diversity of micro-climates they grow very successfully and with bounty, and the markets leave you wanting for little.

One meal stands out in particular. It happened to fall on the last day of our vacation. As we headed to the airport with that little pang in our stomachs-already missing our vacation-we found comfort in this rustic little restaurant called The Red Water Café, in Waimea.  My husband had the local catch sandwich and I had the saimin. Saimin is a traditional Hawaiian soup that finds its base and roots in Asia. Full of eclectic flavor, yet hearty and comforting at the same time. Another perk, The Red Water Café makes all their broth from scratch,  and they use local, organic produce.  Take that.  So here is my effort to recreate this soup. This attempt was mostly a selfish effort to help our little family soothe the island withdraw, and ease back into mainland reality. Enjoy this little piece of island heaven.

Saimin with glass noodles and grilled veggies…

marinate (at least 1 hour):

½ package organic, firm tofu, cubed (keep separate)

½ Kobacha squash, cut in half through the equator, then cut into thin moons (really any hard squash you have works fine or even sweet potatoes/yams)

8-10 crimini mushrooms, quartered


Soy sauce to cover the goods

Then about 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Then cook on grill either indoor or outdoor until nice grill marks appear and the squash tenderizes.

make broth:

8-10 cups vegetable broth (homemade if you can)

2 tbs miso paste

1 large clove garlic, shredded (microplane)

1 tbs fresh ginger, shredded (microplane)

2 tbs soy sauce

let simmer on low heat to bring out all the flavors

then add:

1 package of Asian glass noodles, hydrate per the package instructions first, rinse, then add to broth.

1 organic bok choy, roughly chopped

2 heaping handfuls of bean sprouts

marinated and grilled squash and mushrooms

marinated tofu

Let simmer to infuse all flavors.  Then add salt and more shredded ginger to taste.  At this point I used a specialty smoked sea salt for an extra dimension of flavor.  Williams and Sonoma sells one that is pretty nice.

Serve with a spoon and chopsticks.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!


Roasted sunchoke soup with feta croutons…

All that I have wanted to eat for the past two weeks is soup. Soup, soup, soup.  The temperature has been in the teens, and there is about a foot plus of snow on our balcony right now…with more to come!  When I saw sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) at the market, their warm, earthy flavor just made sense.  They are a slow to grow tuber, not actually related to the artichoke at all (which is a thistle), but rather are related to the sunflower. They are usually harvested in the late fall or early winter.  Sunchokes have the texture of a potato, with a thin, edible skin, and have a subtle artichoke essence that you can both smell and taste.  When you roast them, the skin caramelizes and creates a nice depth of flavor in the soup.  If you want something easy and hearty and rich for dinner to warm your belly, give this soup a try. These homely little tubers will steal your heart.

Roasted sunchoke soup with feta croutons…


7-10 small sunchokes, roasted

2 small cloves garlic, roasted

1 shallot, minced

2 cups vegetable broth

touch of cream

salt and pepper

olive oil


French bread

truffle infused olive oil

feta cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse and scrub sunchokes clean. Cover both sunchokes and garlic in olive oil and place in the oven. Cook until fork tender. Allow to cool. Dice sunchokes. In a pan over medium heat, cook shallot until translucent.  Add garlic and sunchokes.  Then place sunchoke/shallot mixture in the blender with broth.  Puree.  Add cream, salt, and pepper to taste.

For croutons, cube bread. Cover in truffle oil, salt, and pepper.  Then cover in crumbled feta cheese.  Place in oven at above temperature, and toast. Turning regularly.

Serve soup with ample croutons on top.

I also added a small dollop of crème fraiche with a dash of cumin, it really complimented the earthy notes to this soup.

Stay warm, toast to each other, and share!

Eat Local challenge installment two: Summer squash and corn chowder…

Oh yum. Oh yum.  *Sob* *sob*, *sniff **sniff*.  This is me lamenting the waning of the summer heat and sun, and thus the sweetness of New England corn.  Funny, because in my early New England days, I was rather ambivalent about corn, take it or leave it…mostly just leaving it.  However,  a wise friend from upstate New York frankly told me, “well, you just haven’t had good corn then”…and turns out she was right.  Now, I can’t get enough over the summer, and hustle as much as I can from the local farm stands.  The smell of corn on the grill makes me want to walk around barefoot and soak up the sun with friends around the BBQ.

As part of the Eat Local Challenge I paid homage to New England corn with this soup.  Sweet and smoky, with a little tang of feta, and an essence of thyme…oh yum.

Also, no need for a roux as the starch in the corn thickens the chowder up nicely, so easy and delicious.

Summer squash and corn chowder…

2 yellow squash: George Hall Farm: 12.03 mi

2 ears corn: (blackened on grill for depth of flavor): George Hall Farm: 12.03 mi

2 shallots: George Hall Farm: 12.03 mi

1 small clove garlic: George Hall Farm: 12.03 mi

3 tbs butter: Smyth’s Trinity dairy farm: 27.02 miles

1 cup heavy Cream: The Farmer’s Cow Milk (6 CT family farms)

½ cup milk: The Farmer’s Cow Milk (6 CT family farms)

1 tsp each fresh thyme and oregano: GeoRoots Solar Growth Farm: 16.14 mi

2 oz feta: Beltane farm: 41.11 mi

kosher salt

Cook corn on the grill until lightly blackened, turning regularly. Then shave off kernels with a sharp knife.   On your stove, in a medium pot, over medium, heat melt 2 tbs butter. Add diced yellow squash, shallots, and garlic (you can substitute shallots w/ yellow onion if you cannot find shallots locally).  Season lightly with salt, cook until translucent.  Add 1 corn cob worth of kernels to the squash mixture.  Add fresh thyme and oregano.  Then puree mixture in blender until smooth.  Place pureed mixture back in pot.  Add milk, heavy cream, and rest of butter and mix well.  Add the rest of corn.  Season with salt to taste.  Garnish with feta, thyme and a couple of corn kernels. Serve hot

Eat together, toast to each other, and enjoy!

gazpacho Andaluz…

Honestly until today, I had not tried my hand at making gazpacho since living in Sevilla, and today I kept thinking why, why, why, did I not do this sooner! So many memories came flooding back of summers in Spain.  The white canvas tarps over winding streets, tinto de veranos, tapas by the Río Gaudalquivir, the cool, colorful, (and clanking) tile floors of our apartment, roof top fiestas con mis compis, and of course gazpacho, cool refreshing gazpacho Andaluz. Aye que rico!

Gazpacho is the perfect seasonal dish, cool and refreshing, sweet summer tomatoes balanced with the heat of the garlic and onion. Most importantly, it requires no heat for preparation.  Today was 95 degrees and humid, and we had some stale sourdough and tomatoes, and the gazpacho just called.  I went with what I knew and what I had in the house, and it tasted just like I remember gazpacho in Sevilla. This is not Mc gazpacho either, it is full of flavor and tang (and yes…Mc gazpacho is real…eesh).

Gazpacho Andaluz…

soup base:

6-8 ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced

**I actually used a 28 oz can high quality canned tomatoes (San Marzano), with the juice, and a basket of cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market. It saved me from cooking and peeling the tomatoes, plus it is what I had in the kitchen and it turned out great, and actually a little less acidic

¾ large, green bell pepper, diced (save the other ¼ for topping)

1 cup European cucumber, diced with skin on and seeds in

1 large handful of stale bread, torn into small pieces (approx 1 cup)

¼ small red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs white wine vinegar

salt and pepper


hard boiled eggs, chopped, one per serving

bell pepper, diced

cucumber, diced

homemade croutons

anything else you like!

**In Spain the toppings plate usually comes served with jamón Serrano and/or chorizo as well.

For soup base, dice, mince, and peel vegetables.  Put all into a food processor or blender. While processing, add olive oil and vinegar.  Add stale bread.  Blend until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  You can adjust the thickness by adding more bread if you like it really thick, or adding some tomato juice or water to thin it out.  I found that the can of tomatoes with the juice created a nice consistency and I did not need to add any water or bread.  Place mixture in the refrigerator to chill while you make your toppings.

For toppings, cook eggs until hard boiled.  Dice bell pepper and cucumber. For croutons, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Drizzle olive oil in a large bowl with salt, pepper, and herbs of your choice (family, herbalicious goes great here). Roughly tear bread into cubes and toss in olive oil, evenly coating.  Bake at 425 degrees until golden brown.

Serve soup chilled in individual bowls, and toppings in the middle of the table so people can pick what they would like. Drizzle one last dash of olive oil over the top.

Cook together, toast to each other, and enjoy! Olé!

Locro de papas…

Locro de papas, is a traditional, if not ancient, high Andean stew made with as much variation and diversity as the people, languages, and cultures of the Andean mountains.  I’m sure this stew differs from town to town, if not kitchen to kitchen.  The only ingredients that appear to be in all forms of Locro  include: potatoes, salt, and avocado. That is it. So, I decided to use a fortunate primary source in recreating this ultimate comfort food, who indulged in this dish almost daily for close to two years. My husband lived in Ecuador, with an Ecuadorian family, and with an abuela who was a particularly amazing cook. Her specialty: Locro.  She also apparently had a wicked talent for starching underwear, but that is a different story all together.

This experiment with Locro purely relied on the taste and visual memory of my husband. With guidance such as, “a little more creamy”, “a little more salt”, “they served the potatoes whole and not diced like that picture”, and “they always had a cheese and hot chili sauce on the table to add right before you eat”, we were able to more or less recreate Abuelita’s recipe for an authentic Locro.  I did add a couple extras that are not necessarily traditional, yet not unknown to Ecuador: cilantro and lime.  Lime, avocado, and cilantro are my holy trinity so this only made sense to me.

Locro de papas

8 new potatoes, 4 of them cubed, 4 remain whole

3 spring onions, diced

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cracked pepper

6 cups water

½ cup light cream or whole milk

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 tbs butter

Any type of fresh cheese you can find: queso fresco/fresh mozzarella/goat cheese.

ripe avocados (1/4 per bowl)

*optional lime and cilantro

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, melt oil and butter together. Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add the 4 cubed potatoes, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Mix well.  Add water. Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium.  Cook until potatoes are very tender.  Once tender, mash and incorporate potatoes into the broth, leaving chunks is fine.  Stir in milk and add the whole potatoes.  Simmer over low heat until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, approx 30 minutes.

Serve each portion with 1 whole potato. Top with ¼ avocado, a lime wedge, some queso fresco, and cilantro. Serve with a variety of your favorite chili sauces family style at the table.

We did both with cheese…

and without….but always with lime and cilantro…

This is such a fun way to cook, I highly recommend blind cooking with your partner sometime.  Try and recreate a favorite dish from your travels or childhood, purely on memory, and it is amazing how instincts can guide you

My Ecuadorian friends, you know who you are, send me your variations!

Cook together, toast to each other, and share!