Posts Tagged ‘Cleetus Friedman’

Roasted Beet Soup With Smoked Trout and Sour Cream

March 27, 2011

From Cleetus Friedman

Cleetus, the owner of City Provisions deli in Ravenswood,  is so awesome he not only brought this stunning soup, which had the magical power to send a seven-year-old boy back for THIRDS, he also brought me a turkey sandwich. Which I desperately needed later on that night. Here’s what he has to say about his soup:  “I grew up, like most kids, disliking beets.  When I started committing to cooking seasonally, I ran into the dreaded beet season.  This made me start working with them and having more fun with them.  These days, beet soup is not only one of my favorites, but something that will convert those like I was into beet lovers, too.  Although I like to garnish this soup with smoked trout and sour cream, you can use yogurt or croutons as well.”

Ingredients

¼ pound red beets (about 3 medium)
¼ pound golden beets
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 leek, chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 cups water
1 small bay leaf
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 fresh parsley sprig
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sour cream

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350° F. Wrap beets in foil and roast until tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour. Cool. Peel beets. Cut 1/4 of 1 beet into 1/4-inch cubes; reserve for garnish. Cut remaining beets into 1/2-inch pieces.

Melt butter with oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leek, onion, and celery and cook until beginning to brown, stirring frequently, about 13 minutes. Stir in ginger, allspice, white pepper, and ½ inch beet pieces. Cook until vegetables begin to stick to bottom of pot, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Add 2 cups water, bay leaf, thyme sprig, and parsley sprig. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes.

Strain soup through a chinois.

Cool soup slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender with cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made one day ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and refrigerate.)

Garnish with sour cream and shredded smoked trout, if you like.

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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?

Soup cooks 2/3/10

January 30, 2010

Bloggers descend on Soup and Bread next week. Stepping up to the crock pots:

Andrea Newberry, of Forkable

Pro Bono Baker Gemma Petrie

Joanna Miller, of My Vegetable Blog (and, also, coordinator of that smash bake sale for Haiti last week)

Along with:

Roommate‘s Kent Lambert

Former Vella Cafe co-owner Melissa Yen — who now has, natch, a blog

Bloodshot Records chief soup officer Rob Miller

and Cleetus Friedman, the brains behind City Provisions.

Feel. The. Power.

Donations from this week’s soup benefit Franciscan Outreach, in Wicker Park. Come out, won’t you?