New year, new soups

I was worried. I confess. Will it snow? Will a gas main break? Will people get sick of soup and move on to something else? Waffles, perhaps?

I should just chill. Soup and Bread, season two, kicked off Wednesday evening with gusto, with more cooks on board, and a really nice turnout of both old friends and new faces. Above, Rae Hill digs into a bowl of simple fish soup, which I made from a recipe provided by Kickstarter donor (and my uncle) Roger Simon, whose donation to our cookbook project ensures him a place in the annals of 2010 soup history.

Rae herself, who’s both a second-year culinary student and the resident baker at Bite Cafe, produced a pot of blazing orange sweet potato soup, which tasted amazing … like a sweet potato pie run through a blender with cream and chicken stock. She also brought several warm loaves of  sweetly mild milk bread, which were a particular hit with the more junior attendees. (She made it last  year as well; the recipe’s on page 116 of the book.) And, if that wasn’t enough, she produced a loaf (or two?) of vegan bread … the ingredients for which I promptly forgot even as I was telling myself, “You should really write this down.” She’s developing new vegan bread recipes for work, and plans to test-drive them with us over the next few months, so be sure and let her know what you think. Next week, she may even have comment cards.

Here’s a wide view of what we had on offer. Over on the far end is Rae’s sweet potato concoction; next to it is “La Zahra’s Moroccan Harira Hemda,” which Shana Pearlmutter cooked up in collaboration with her mother-in-law, who recently moved here from Morocco to help care for the newest member of their family, baby Brahim. Here’s a photo. Aren’t they cute?


Next to Shana and La Zahra’s soup is a piquant vegan sweet-and-sour meatball soup from Swim Cafe. Yes, vegan meatballs. Haven’t you ever heard of seitan? And to the right of that is Zach Kaplan‘s winter minestrone, a tasty offering built on a base of pancetta stock and chock full of hearty beans and pasta. Last but so totally not least is Celeste Dolan‘s Thai eggplant and chicken soup, which was allegedly delicious but gone before I got my bowl out. Lucky for me (and you), Celeste wins the promptness prize and I should be posting the recipe shortly the recipe is posted here. She and her partner Devon also turned up with bread whipped up not by the professional baker, but by baking novice Devon — including a caramelized onion bread for which I am rabidly tracking down the recipe, the recipe for which can be found here.  It’s made by kneading onion marmalade (!) into the dough just before baking.

These two also brought cupcakes, modeled below by Sheila and young Henry Hinschliff.

Most importantly, we raised $252 in donations for the food pantry at St. John Berchman’s in Logan Square. Just as a reminder, this year we are aiming to give Soup and Bread monies directly to neighborhood food pantries and soup kitchens; if you know of a worthy organization, please drop me a line and I’ll get them on the list.

Recipes and next week’s schedule coming soon. In the meantime, a few random remaining photos:

Vera snags a cupcake.

Blurry Celeste models her limited-edition S&B apron.

Beckett performs clam puppet theater.

The littlest soup fans ever pose for the camera.

And I try, in vain, not to freak out.

See you next week!

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One Response to “New year, new soups”

  1. Shana Says:

    Just for the record…I was on baby patrol while my amazingly talented mother-in-law, LaZahra whipped up her Harira Hemda. She made that stunning soup in a flash.

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