Week nine

Check out those buns! Or, erm, rolls.

Yes, I finally bought a new, better camera. Let’s hope I don’t drop it, lens first, like I have the last two. Because, seriously? My clumsiness is getting expensive.

Those luscious lumps of dough, above, are black sesame-sea salt rolls from Chef Kraus’s Elissa Narrow’s baking class at the Illinois Institute of Art; Rae and I are heading down there tomorrow for an open house and to say THANK YOU to all the students for helping bring bread out of the Soup and Bread shadows. Hopefully I will have more photos.

And, speaking of bread — I have a special place in my heart for delicious things made with stale bread. Apparently Celeste does too, because she decided to break in her brand-new chafing dish with a giant pan of Gruyere-and-caramelized-onion bread pudding (above), made from some leftover bread from a few weeks back. What’s better than food from stale bread? Food from stale bread topped with melted cheese. I’m working on getting the recipe.

Between Chef Kraus and the kind people at La Farine, we were rolling in bread (and rolls) this week, but the sweet side of baking was underrepresented — until Sheila SHOWED UP WITH PIE. Specifically, an apple pie with a crumb topping loaded with cinnamon and sugar. YUM! So good. Recipe on that also coming soon.

And, oh yeah! The soup. Pictured here, from left to right, are this week’s marvelous team of soup cooks:

Chris Carollo, who’s working hard building support to establish a community supported kitchen (or more than one!) in Chicago. He brought savory beef stew that, he admitted, was more labor-intensive than anticipated. You could taste the difference.

Cara Tillman, who brought a smoky pork pozole built on one of the tastiest pork broths I’ve ever encountered in all my soup travels. Not a lick of fat, but so dense with flavor!

Camille Severino, who organizes the annual Jambalaya Fest at Fitzgerald’s, brought a hearty vegetarian minestrone. Sadly, that’s all I can tell you, because before I got a taste it was gone, gone, gone.

And, on the end, representing the crew of Gapers Block‘s Drive-Thru section, editor in chief Andrew Huff and his wife Cinnamon Cooper, whose Everything Cast-Iron Cookbook comes out later this year. Congrats, Cinnamon!

With help from Drive-Thru editor Robyn Nisi and a couple other folks whose names I missed, Andrew and Cinnamon whipped up THREE soups:

Sweet and Sour Tomato Soup with Cabbage and Sausage (!!!)

Roasted Tomato Soup (a reprise from last year)

and West African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup, which is featured in Cinnamon’s book and — Brandy and I agreed — was a deliciously odd texture, sort of like pumpkin pie filling if it was made with peanut butter.

Strangely, it didn’t seem that busy this week, but all the food was GONE by 7 PM. My apologies to anyone who missed out — it’s so hard to gauge how much soup we need, and balance that against how much we can handle! A year later I think we’re still figuring it out.

But, still, even if traffic was slow, we raised $327 for Catholic Charities. So maybe I just wasn’t paying attention and there was actually a mob in the back room. It’s not out of the question.

Check back this weekend for at least some of these recipes. And see you next week!

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