Posts Tagged ‘City Provisions’

Summer soup: It’s a hit

July 7, 2011

Last night’s Summer Soup & Bread Spectacular was just that. Spectacular weather, spectacular turnout, spectacular, delicious, colorful, cold soups.

Thanks so very much to Nightwood, City Provisions, Big Star, Swim Cafe, Milk & Honey, Celestial Kitchens, Tre Kronor, Mana Food Bar, Guerrilla Smiles Catering, Inspiration Kitchens, Graham Elliot, and the lovely Anastasia for all their contributions. Thanks as well to Bonnie Tawse, Sheila Sachs, Laura Park, and Sarah Dandelles for doing ladle duty. And to Michael Slaboch for DJing (and soup wrangling). And to La Farine for so much delicious bread.

And of course, many, many thanks to all who came out to show their support. We shattered all previous S&B fundraising records last night, generating a whopping $2684 on behalf of the Garfield Park Conservatory. That won’t buy them a new roof, but it might buy a couple panes of glass, right? At least a half-dozen Conservatory staff were in attendance and they were very grateful for such a joyful end to what has been just an all-around terrible week.

 

Summer soup update

July 4, 2011

Wednesday’s soup schedule is coming together — and, ooooh, it’s going to be good.

On the docket, soups from:

Big Star
Swim Cafe
Inspiration Kitchens
Milk & Honey
Celestial Kitchens
City Provisions
Guerilla Smiles Catering

… and more are still coming in

ETA: like Tre Kronor, with chilled blueberry soup!

Bread graciously donated, as ever, by La Farine Bakery.

With DJ Michael Slaboch, of the Numero Group and, now, the Hideout.

No crock pots will be harmed in the making of this Soup & Bread. We’re dishing up COLD SOUP ONLY.

All proceeds benefit the Garfield Park Conservatory.

That’s this Wednesday, July 6, from 5:30-8 pm at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. No cover; kids (with grownups) are welcome.

Sweetness.

Sincerely yours, Soup & Bread

March 25, 2011

People talk a lot about “community building,” but in the case of Soup & Bread, I think what we’re up to could better be called “community revealing.” Building implies a master plan — a certain top-down intentionality. But on soup nights like the one this past Wednesday what happens in the back room of the Hideout is nothing more structured than the spontaneous illumination of pre-existing relationships whose true detail had been perhaps in shadow until the light of soup was shone upon them.

In that room there was a gardener who ran the program at the school where the parents’ children grew peppers. She was working on a new project with the editor, who was friendly with the social worker, who knew my friend the mom, who brought her friend the musician, who brought bread to donate to the table. The writer was working on a project with the editor, who lived up the street from the gardener, and used to work with the other writer, who was pals with the restaurateur, who had hired the bartender (the other bartender) to paint his shop. And, well, you get the gist. It was all very six-degrees-of-soup-separation.

It feels silly sometimes, writing about soup week after week.  Doubly so lately, because when not trying to find new ways to describe something that’s both very simple and yet, like all good communities, can be much more than the sum of its parts, I’m finishing up work on the new edition of the Soup & Bread Cookbook. A girl can only handle so many labored soup metaphors in a day.

But nights like this one make it not seem so silly after all. I often don’t get to experience Soup & Bread in the moment: there are drinks to be made, and ladles to be washed, and bread to be cut, and when it’s all over I just sit there and think, “Did that just really happen?” (My consistently terrible photo documentation doesn’t help, though I take some pride in being responsible for possibly the blurriest photos on the internet.) But this was really something, and even I could see that.

To a backdrop of tunes spun by Sound Opinions producers Robin Linn and Jason Saldanha, we had a densely complicated oden from Mike Sula, who came in disguise, and Elizabeth Gomez (above), who was in Japan most of last month and flew home from Tokyo the day after the earthquake. We had refreshing tomato, basil, and white bean soup from Laura Fox and her mother, Monica. Laura’s been helping me wrangle recipes for the cookbook for the last few months, and without her I would be lost. And we had a hearty white bean and smoked sausage soup from James Sapytka, who is a standup guy and friends with our equally standup, if elusive, door guy Al.

We had savory roasted onion soup from Sarah Steedman, and roasted beet soup from Cleetus Friedman, above in the apron — beet soup that had the ability to send a seven-year-old boy back for thirds. (A million thanks also to Cleetus for the sandwich, which I desperately needed later on.) We had ramen from Hugh Amano, next to Cleetus, whose support of Soup & Bread is only equalled by his superlative soup-making skills.

And we had not one but two soups — a tangy Pakistani chicken soup and a zesty Haitian “Independence Day” soup full of butternut squash — brought by the ladies from the Marjorie Kovler Center for Treatment of Survivors of Torture at the Heartland Alliance, the beneficiary of this weeks’ soup donations. We (by which I mean “you”) raised $570 on their behalf, and as staffer Mary Black wrote me later, “Most of the clients who come to Kovler are political asylum applicants who live without work authorization or access to government subsidies (such as a Link card) until they are granted asylum — this can take years! So having access to healthy food is primary, as you can imagine. $570 is a tremendous help!”

There are just three weeks left of Soup & Bread this year, and we’ve got some heavy hitters on the docket. More info to come about next week’s lineup. In the meantime, earnestly, honestly, thank you. Without you we’re nothing.

Sincerely yours,

Soup & Bread

Soup cooks 3/23

March 17, 2011

Oooh, it’s going to be crowded on the soup line this week! In the house:

Chicago Reader food columnist Mike Sula and roller derby queen Elizabeth “Juanna Rumbel” Gomez

City Provisions empire-builder Cleetus Friedman

Food on the Dole writer and chef Hugh Amano

Artist/crafter Sarah Steedman

Former door guy Al’s friend James Sapyta (how’s that for networking?)

Writer and recipe-wrangler extraordinaire Laura Fox — and her mom

And two (and possibly three) soups contributed by volunteers from the Heartland Alliance’s Marjorie Kovler Center. Proceeds from this week’s Soup & Bread benefit the Kovler Center’s efforts to aid survivors of torture from around the world, and help them and their families build new lives in Chicago.

That is a * lot * of soup, folks. And don’t forget the bread, from our friends at La Farine Bakery. Musical entertainment provided by our DJs, Sound Opinions producers Robin Linn and Jason Saldanha.

See you there, then. Come hungry!

Soup and Bread Marathon, 2/3-2/4/10: Part 1

February 9, 2010

Sheila moving merch

I pulled up at Sheila’s around 2 last Wednesday, and after she let me in we just looked at each other and sucked in a shared deep breath.

“You realize our trip starts now,” I said.

Sheila: “Oh, totes.”

The jeep was already awash with the toasty aroma of fresh-baked bread; a trio of technicolor tarts from Rae balanced on the back seat. On top of that we packed in a new batch of Soup and Bread aprons, stacks of signed prints from Paul, Soup and Bread cards, a shoe box full of miscellany, a pile of spanking clean tablecloths, and our own anxious asses.

Off to the Hideout!

Tart!

That night’s Soup and Bread was a joy. For one, we had a ridiculous surfeit of bread, thanks to the combined generosity of bakers at La Farine, Crumb, and the Illinois Institute of Art culinary school. We also had not one but two people keeping things humming in the back room – and I can’t thank Celeste* and Devon enough for their calm organizational genius. And, of course, we had seven ace soup makers, all of whom who all brought their A-game.

In the crocks:

L-R: Andrea, Cleetus, Lorna

Savory — but light! —  lamb-black bean chili from Forkable‘s Andrea Newberry.

Smoky red lentil soup served with dukkah, an Egyptian blend of nuts and spices, from the Kitchn contributor and My Vegetable Blog proprietress Joanna Miller.

A complex and piquant chipotle and cumin black bean soup from Gemma Petrie, the Pro Bono Baker.

A simple but exceedingly flavorful yellow winter vegetable soup from former Vella Cafe co-owner Melissa Yen (although, wait, do Granny Smiths count as a winter veg?).

Rich cream of mushroom soup with leeks and pancetta from the City Provisions team of Cleetus Friedman and Lorna Juett.

Blurry Kent (L) and Rob (R)

A vibrant potato-butternut-leek soup from Roommate impresario Kent Lambert.

Creamy and satisfying zuppa di spinaci e risotto (or, yes, “spinach and rice soup”) with Pecorino and/or Parmesan from Bloodshot Records co-owner Rob Miller.

Donations from this week – a tidy $393 – go to the Franciscan Outreach Association in Wicker Park. And, best of all, this week has been so crazy backwards that almost all the recipes are already up on the blog.

Postsoup cocktails lasted just long enough for me to get anxious about my empty suitcase. I don’t know when everybody else went home, but I was in bed at the almost-vaguely-reasonable hour of 1 AM.

Less than 24 hours later I was scrubbing pots surrounded by nearly naked strippers.

Coming up next: Brooklyn!

* Speaking of Celeste, she’ll be selling tasty pastries and other sweets — as well as Soup & Bread Cookbooks — this Saturday at the free Wine + Sweets + Love tasting at Juicy Wine Co., at 694 N. Milwaukee. It’s from noon to 4 PM. Linzer cookies! Mini chocolate cream pies! Hand-rolled truffles! What more could you want? Other than, you know, free wine?

Cream of Mushroom Soup With Leeks and Pancetta

February 7, 2010


From City Provisions

Makes 9 cups

[Ed: Soooo rich and delicious. It must be the bacon grease.]

What you need

1 cup heavy cream
4 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 pounds crimini sliced
1 1/4 pounds button, sliced
1 1/4 pounds shittake, sliced
4 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, cut into 1/4- inch dice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock
3 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound pancetta, baked and diced

How to make it work

In a cold saute pan, cook pancetta until crispy. Remove bacon and set aside. Add butter to bacon fat.

When butter is melted, cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Stir in leeks, cover, and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with flour, and stir until flour is evenly distributed. Stir in stock, then salt, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme. Bring to boil, stirring often, then add the cream.

Reduce heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes. Garnish with crispy pancetta and fresh thyme leaves.