Posts Tagged ‘Jill Barron’

Green Curry Butternut Squash Soup

January 22, 2011

From Jill Barron/Mana Food Bar

Serves 8

This soup was a total surprise, both in the bowl and in the mouth. Right off the bat, the color is disconcerting – you read “squash” on a label and the last thing you expect is something a pale pea green. But, there it was. Then,  the unassuming color sets you up to expect something mild. Which it’s not, at all – the spice sneaks up on you, but once it’s announced itself it is a potent blend of flavor. And very delicious.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 large butternut squash, seeded and roasted
1 quart vegetable stock
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt

Green Curry
1 stalk of lemongrass, chopped
1 Serrano chili
1 shallot
5 cloves garlic
2” ginger, peeled and sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped – stems ok
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 can coconut milk.

Puree together in blender till super smooth.


In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute onion in olive oil until soft and fragrant. Scoop out squash and add to pot, along with stock, sugar, and salt. Cook until soft, then add 1 cup green curry. Puree with immersion blender and serve, garnished with a lime wedge.


Soup cooks, Jan. 26

January 20, 2011

Soup & Bread this week (1/19) saw not six but eight stellar soups, and a bounty of bread to boot. Apparently the bakers at La Farine had been experimenting with new recipes, and we reaped the rewards. Pair that with the onset of winter quarter at IIA, and we can now look forward to tasting the homework of Chef Jeanne Kraus’s pastry students each week as well. This week: baguettes.

Providing soup to in which to soak the bread: Robin Linn, with an English onion soup; Rob Miller, with fantastic “free-range” venison chili; Sarah Dandelles, with autumn root vegetable soup inspired by the one served at the Old Town School; Jill Barron, with a stunning green curry butternut squash; Carol Watson, with potato, leek, and roasted garlic; and Paul Wargaski with not one, not two, but THREE soups: a vegan blackeyed pea-and-collard-greens soup inspired by Lawrence Peters’s recipe from the Soup & Bread Cookbook, a vegetarian minestrone, and chicken with alphabet pasta.

Their collective efforts helped us raise $382 for the Irving Park Community Food Pantry. Thanks, everyone!

And now, on to next week. Stepping up to the soup line:

Village‘s Stephen Ucherek

Nate Lepine, from the Violet Hour

Fork and the Road‘s Sharon Bautista and Dimitra Tasiouras

Teacher Paula Ladin

Dancer/author Maggie Kast

and one more still TBD a return visit from Beth and Jody Osmund, of Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm.

PLUS!  Still another smooth DJ, this week the excellent Ms. Carrie Weston.

See you there!

PS: Big thanks to Jessica Reaves, who came to S&B on the 19th and penned this nice piece about us for the Chicago News Cooperative. ETA: HOLY COW IT IS IN THE EFFING NEW YORK TIMES.

Soup cooks, Jan. 19

January 14, 2011

Technical difficulties (#$@$!% camera) have prevented the timely posting of tales from this week’s Soup & Bread, but trust me, it was great. Busy but not mobbed, delicious soups, nice people, only minor reheating issues … the usu. And the sweet bonus of $420 raised for Ravenswood Community Services. We will hopefully have recipes — and photos — for you soon.

In the meantime, let’s look to the future. Cooking next week we’ve got:

Luthier and Tangleweed bassist Paul Wargaski, who last year made an amazingly delicate and pretty Matzo Ball with Braised Fennel soup.

Mana Food Bar chef Jill Barron, who promises Green Curried Butternut Squash soup.

Her Division Street neighbor Carol Watson, proprietor of Milk & Honey, who was saying something about potatoes, roasted garlic, and leeks.

Sarah Dandelles — dog lover, bike and parks advocate, music maven, art teacher, and director of dance/movement education at the Old Town School — who is fine-tuning something vegan and gluten free.

Sound Opinions producer Robin Linn, whose 40 Watt Garlic Soup was one of my favorite surprises last year. Wards off both vampires and the common cold.

And, this just in, a return visit from Bloodshot Records‘ chief executive sausage-maker Rob Miller, toting a pot of Venison Chili.

I also believe that next week we’ll be reaping the bounty of the first homework assignments in Chef Jeanne Kraus’s baking class at the Illinois Institute of Art Culinary School, to supplement the bread contributed by the generous bakers at La Farine.

All donations raised on the 19th go to the Irving Park Community Food Pantry.

And, that’s it. Short and sweet. See you next week!

ETA: Forgot to mention the other bonus next week — DJ Peter Margasak. Thanks P!

One-stop holiday shopping

December 6, 2010

Welcome shoppers!

We spent a hectic — but very encouraging — two days at the Renegade Holiday Sale this weekend. We saw a lot of familiar faces and got to know a great many more. And, just as exciting, we got to roll out a bunch of new Soup & Bread merchandise.

We’ve been busy all fall collecting recipes from our 2010 Soup & Bread cooks — but rather than compile them as a cookbook, we decided to change things up a bit this year. Instead, we ran off a set of recipe cards, 24 in all, bundled into four separate packets of five soups and one bread — a vegetarian pack, a vegan pack, a meaty pack, and a variety pack. They’re printed on nice heavy card stock and decorated with some of Paul Dolan‘s illustrations from last year’s cookbook. We got them back from the printer on Friday and they made their debut at the Renegade fair this past weekend. We’ll be selling them again, at $5 a pop, at the Hideout Holiday Sale on Tuesday, December 14 and 21, from 6-9 PM at … der, the Hideout.

But those 24 recipe cards are just the beginning. As part of our new Soupscription series, we’re planning on rolling out six new cards every month for all of 2011. There’s more info over on the Soupscription page, but we’ve already got recipes in the pipeline for January from chefs Paul Kahan (Blackbird, Avec, Publican, Big Star) and Jill Barron (Mana Food Bar), as well as some other Soup & Bread stalwarts, including my uncle Roger. Enroll now and for $60 you’ll get one of the original packs mentioned above, plus a new pack of recipes for five soups and one bread in the mail through November 2011, for a total of 60 soups and 12 breads. Each pack also comes with blank card, so you can create your own recipes as well. The button over there on the right takes you to our PayPal account, or sign up in person at the Hideout sale and we’ll hit you with a $10 discount.

AND, if you’re going to start collecting recipe cards, where better to put them than a handcrafted recipe box? We asked our friend Devon Bergman, who’s an ace cabinetmaker, if she wanted to throw together some boxes for us to sell. When we got a look at them earlier this week we were floored. They are so very beautiful — the photos don’t do them justice. Each box is handmade from repurposed wine crates and other salvaged wood and hardware. The one above has handles made from parts of an old piano she found in the alley.

This one has handles made from Champagne corks. The lid, which (obviously) you can’t see, is inlaid with part of a (bronze? copper?) soap mold. It reads, backwards, “Superfatted.” And, frankly, if someone doesn’t buy it soon it’s going home with me.

This one’s from Devon’s “farmhouse rustic” line, with the cute tin “4” on the lid and the seal from a dairy affixed to the front. The alley piano makes a return appearance here as well; piano hammers sanded as smooth as satin serve as the handles.

Here’s a better look at the boxes in action. Seven of them sold over the weekend (they’re $75 each, but they are so worth it) and we’ve got seven left in stock, though I believe Devon is putting the finishing touches on a few more. We will have them all at the Hideout on the 14th and the 21st, but we probably won’t be selling them through the website. If you’re interested in one and can’t make it out to the Hideout, drop me a line and we’ll try and set something up.

And, of course, we still have some of last year’s cookbooks left ($20) — though not very many! — as well as Soup & Bread aprons ($15) and an assortment of Alana Bailey’s awesome silkscreens of Paul’s illustrations from last year ($10).  As ever, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of all of this stuff goes to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. If there’s a soup fan in your life, you could do worse.

Soup and Bread 2011 starts January 5 and runs Wednesdays through mid-April at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. Soup’s on at 5:30 and served till 7:30 or we run out, whichever comes first. There’s never a cover and kids are always welcome.

Lentil-Pasilla Chile Soup

January 31, 2010

From Jill Barron

Serves ?

[Ed: Jill served this not with green onions, but some potent red onions quick-pickled with peppers, salt, sugar, and white balsamic vinegar. Their tart sweetness made a great counterpoint to the smoky lentils. And, bonus, the entire bowl is vegan and gluten-free.]


2 quarts lentils
2 onions, peeled and diced
3 bay leaves
3 quarts vegetable stock
2 tablespoons black pepper

Wash lentils, place in stock pot, add onion, pepper, and bay leaves. Add veg stock and bring to a boil. Simmer till lentils are soft. While the lentils are cooking, make the pasilla chile sauce to finish the soup with.

Pasilla Sauce:
7 pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
½ cup olive oil
2 ½ pounds tomatillos, paper covers removed, washed well and quartered
1 onion, peeled and sliced
½ cup garlic cloves
2 quarts vegetable stock
2 tablespoons salt

Heat half the olive oil in a cast iron pan and toast chiles, a few at a time, until puffed. Discard chile oil. In a sauce pot, add the rest of the olive oil and saute onions and garlic till soft. Add tomatillos, sweat, then add stock. Cook till soft, then cool and puree smooth. Add to soup and season with salt.

Garnish with sliced green onion.

Week 4

January 29, 2010

Week four was CRAZY. It was Anastasia’s birthday, and she and her friends packed the house with shorties. Soup and Bread’s always been “family friendly,” but this was Off. The. Hook. Luckily I had not one but two helpers on hand — for an hour or so there Sheila wrangled kids and kept them from diving into the crock pots while Rae took charge of keeping the bread baskets filled.

And, speaking of bread …

Not so very long ago — last week, in fact — I awoke in a cold sweat, worried about bread. Last year’s Whole Foods connection had dried up, and I was anxious. Would I need to incorporate as a 501 C-3 to get a bakery to donate? Would we have to spend precious pennies on loaves from D’Amatos? Would I have to start baking myself?

I really shouldn’t have worried. In the last ten days or so, bakers have been coming out of the woodwork for the cause. Rae Hill, aka “the Lone Baker,” has not only been contributing her own recipes (which I’ll be posting soon), but has wangled bread donations out of some of her fellow culinary students at Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. And while she was off leaning on her classmates, I was fielding emails from La Farine Bakery, which recently relocated from Palatine to, conveniently, about a boule’s throw from my apartment, and from Anne Kostroski, who has a small, start-up bread business called Crumb, and whom I believe found out about us from Vera at the Empty Bottle farmer’s market. La Farine donated half a dozen sourdough baguettes and chewy slabs of ciabatta this week, and I’m slated to pick up some more next Wednesday; Anne says she is going to swing by the bar with her own contribution sometime that afternoon as well.

Meanwhile,  Bethann Hester apparently had some extra eggs, so she donated two savory strata, and Cara Tillman (who’s on the soup schedule for March 3), decided to experiment with her grandma’s recipe for yeasted rolls, and brought those along as well. Sadly, they were gone before I even got a bite. In fact, ALL the bread was gone — along with all the soup — by 7:15 or so. Proving my new favorite adage. You can never have too much bread.

L-R: Jill Barron, Paul Wargaski, Jen Mayer

Back over on the soup side of things, we had another stellar line-up. From left to right:

Jill Barron’s vegan lenti-pasilla chili soup with potent pickled onion garnish

Paul Wargaski’s delicate chicken matzoh ball with braised fennel

Kim Bellware’s luscious mushroom tarragon soup

Jen Mayer’s gorgeous Italian wedding soup

Magda Krance’s complex Asian vegetable soup with shrimp

and … lastly…. my red onion soup, made with star anise and red wine, from onions donated by the Green Earth Institute. Frankly, mine could’ve used a little salt. But still, it was pretty good.

Best of all, we set a rather stunning new record in the donations pail. We raised $528  — more than at any Soup and Bread this year or last. I don’t know where these deep pockets are coming from — were the little kids running a lemonade stand outside? — but I ain’t askin. I’ll be sending a check off to the Humboldt Park Social Services Food Pantry soon.

And, that’s all! Got to go to work. (Punk Band! Wooo!)

Stay tuned for recipes and the skinny on next week’s exciting line-up.

Soup cooks 1/27/10

January 22, 2010

Oh my, we have another exciting line-up on deck for next for next week.

Our soup cooks, in no particular order:

Writer and photographer Jen Mayer, of the blog 24 Boxes

Tangleweed bass player and luthier Paul Wargaski

Lyric Opera manager of media relations Magda Krance

Mana Food Bar chef Jill Barron

Freelance writer Kimberly Bellware

… and me, hopefully, doing something with all those red onions from Green Earth Institute.

Money raised at this week’s Soup and Bread will be donated to the Humboldt Park Social Services Food Pantry.

That’s Wednesday, January 27, from 5:30 to 8 at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia in Chicago. Seeya.

Indian-style yellow split-pea soup (vegan)

March 6, 2009


From Jill Barron

1 lb dried yellow split peas, washed
2 spanish onions, diced
7 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1lb ginger root, peeled and chopped fine
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 head of celery, shredded
1 qt vegetable stock
1 Tablespoon cumin, ground
1 T coriander, ground
1 T black pepper, ground
1/4 c olive oil

In a thick bottomed pan, cook onions in olive oil till soft, add ginger and garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook till fragrant; add cumin, coriander, and black pepper and cook 1 minute. Add split peas and stock. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly as the peas tend to settle in bottom of pan and stick. When boiling, turn to simmer. cook till soft, then add salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro relish.

1 (inch?) ginger, peeled and chopped fine
5 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped fine
juice of 1 lime
olive oil to moisten
mix all together, add salt to taste. 

Turning up the heat

March 6, 2009


We’re pulling into the Soup and Bread home stretch — only four nights left! — and the cooks are getting competitive. This week saw our first DESSERT SOUP, a decadent cream of walnut puree infused with Sauvignon Blanc-poached pears courtesy of Jen Moniz (above, right).

Meanwhile, Megan Larmer (center) turned out a complicated ham hock-habanero stew full of plump, chewy cornmeal-plantain dumplings. This woman cooks for a living — and she’s looking for a job.

Also on the market, our favorite chef on the dole, Hugh Amano, brought three loaves of crusty “free-range bread” made by harvesting wild yeasts from the air in his apartment and slooooowly cultivating a sourdough starter. Detailed instructions coming soon.

Back on the soup rack, Nancy Kim — the third member of the Megan-Jen-Nancy cooking club — brought a hefty pot of firey beef chili; Vanessa Mendicino dished up a light pasta e fagiole (and brought with her a friend who said he used to hang out at the Hideout 40 years ago, when the old owners set out their own Italian lunch spread for the Goose Island factory workers who were the bar’s original regulars); and Jill Barron came through with a vegan yellow split pea complete with cilantro relish on the side. “Vegan, but still delicious!” the vegetarian-chef-who’s-not-really-a-vegetarian made sure to write on the tag.

Also this week, we made $164 dollars in donations, bringing the total thus far to $1,343. The new goal? To clear $2K by April first. That doesn’t seem that unreasonable, does it?

Lastly, for your pleasure, here are a few more miscellaneous photos, from this week and weeks gone by — because it’s about the people, not the insides of a bunch of soupy crock pots, right?

Recipes coming soon!

ryan and jessica

happy soup eaters

more soupers

she and LP

back room


The final three, from Gapers Block

March 3, 2009


Drive-Thru editor Robyn Nisi, who helped organize last week’s Gapers Block soup cooks — and then couldn’t join them at the bar that night, sadly — offers up recipes for the soups that did make it to the Hideout over on their site.

Also on Drive-Thru is an effusive appreciation of the Custom House “soup-off,” which took place this Sunday. Top honors were taken by Dean Zanella, formerly of 312 Chicago, who turned out a roasted tomato soup with mussels. 

I liked this bit, re: host Shawn McClain: “He offers an experience with fullness, a commitment to make your time in his house a decidedly memorable one (for both the brain and the palate). And beyond that, he’s fighting the good fight: toward agricultural sustainability, and against hunger and poverty.”

The Custom House publicist never got back to metant pis. We may not have the star power, or matching china, of McClain (though this week we do have the awesome  — and awesomely inky Jill Barron) but I like to think that in our own raggedy, farm-league way we’re working from the same playbook.