Week seven

February 17, 2010: The night of no vegetarian soups.

I’d like to just take a moment to address the issue, which most of you were pretty gracious about, though a few were a little miffed.

Every week I try to ensure that there will be at least one vegetarian soup on the roster. But, as the cooks are volunteering their time and their ingredients, I don’t feel it’s right to tell them what to make. This is supposed to be fun and fulfilling for cooks and eaters in equal measure!

That said, this week was an anomaly. Two cooks dropped out at the last minute: one I knew was a vegetarian, the other I’m not sure about, but, regardless, I was scrambling to make sure we had enough of *anything* to eat this Wednesday. The vegetarian thing?  It fell through the cracks.

So I am very, very sorry if anyone came to Soup and Bread this week and was disappointed. We certainly don’t want anyone to go away hungry! But I do also feel that the unscripted, roll-the-dice-and-take-your-chances aspect of Soup and Bread menu planning is part of the deal. I mean, it’s free soup. Some weeks we wind with 6 vegetarian soups; other weeks (like this one) even the purest-looking stews have chicken stock hiding beneath their chickpea and lentil trappings. What’s a girl to do?

L-R: Tamiz, Chuck, Andrea, Luke, and Megan

Anyway — as I said, most people were gracious about this weird fluke. And the soup we did have was awesome. On with the recap!

On deck:

Tamiz Haiderali, chef and owner of Treat Restaurant, with a creammmmy goat cheese bisque.

Chicagoist food and drink editor Chuck Sudo, with smoky chicken and sausage gumbo. Sadly, his hoped-for cornbread decided to stick to the pan and stay home.  Sometimes food has a mind of its own.

Lost in the Supermarket‘s dynamic duo of Andrea Deibler and Allison Stout, with their own corn muffins and some seriously beefy chili (though, I thought they were bringing potato-leek soup?).

Writer, designer, and caterer Luke Joyner, who at one point told me he was cooking up some roasted garlic soup, instead whipped up one of our most x-treme soups ever, a dark, funky, turkey-and-stout soup served with pistachios, fresh raspberries, and chocolate chips.  Whoa. He also brought some homemade ciabatta.

And, holding down the end over there, registered dietician and Chicagoist writer Megan Tempest, with a protein-packed Moroccan chickpea and lentil stew. (Check out her nice writeup here.)

I should have recipes for this wild and woolly bunch of soups up soon — and breads too, I promise. I have a major backlog of recipes provided by busy baker Rae Hill that I still need to transcribe. (Did I mention that I’ve also been floored by this damn cold that’s going around?) But, that rockin’ Parmesan bread is first up, I swear.

This week Chef Kraus’s class generously provided 15 loaves (!), a mix of Normandy Apple, Sweet Rustic, and Country Wheat breads. This was a hearty supplement to the baguettes and ciabatta donated by our friends at La Farine Bakery. They don’t have a website, but Here’s a good overview of their outfit from LTH Forum’s happy_stomach, who’s spearheading plans for an all-LTH Soup and Bread night on March 24.

Celeste and Devon also came by with truffles and bacon pralines (!!) left over from Celeste’s Valentine’s Day sale and tasting last weekend at Juicy Wine Company. I couldn’t make it out of bed to attend, but she says there may be another one in the works for next month. We’ll keep you posted. Because, holy cr*p those truffles were good.

Also in the house, Erin Stephens, director of volunteers for Lakeview Pantry, on whose behalf we raised a whopping $551, setting another new Soup and Bread record.  Frankly, folks, it didn’t *seem* that crowded — I can only guess that even the disappointed vegetarians tossed a little somethin’ in the pot. Otherwise where’d all that cash come from? (Seriously, you people rule.)

And, that’s all for this week. Next week: so much vegetarian soup the carnivores will revolt. I promise. And I’ll post that schedule soon.

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