Posts Tagged ‘John McKevitt’

February 9 soup squad

February 13, 2011

Behold, our awesome soup team from this past week. From left to right, Grant from Hull-House, with a terrific split pea soup they donated at the last minute. I wish I had had some Tupperware on hand to take the extra home, because for the first time all soup season, we had LEFTOVER SOUP.

Next to Grant, obscured by hungry soup fiend: Richard Stacewicz, Dan Miller, and Simon Tankard, who come as a set. I haven’t gotten Richard and Dan’s recipes yet, but Simon produced a wonderful New Zealand sweet potato soup.

Next to them, the lovely and talented Kathleen Judge, with a veggie tortilla soup, and Miss Jeanine O’Toole, rescheduled from our snow day, with “Peanuts O’Toole.”

Next to her, Grace Tran and her very tasty vegan roasted root vegetable soup, and next to her, Tim Fister, who brought, with Andrea Lee, a terrific salt cod and chorizo chowder (!) that I’m hoping to get the recipe for soon. And on the end, Jessica Jordan, with a vegan tortilla soup!

Not shown, still one more soup cook, John McKevitt, who got stuck in Madison with car trouble. He’s another refugee from February 2, and I do hope we can get him back on the soup line soon, because I am dying to try his promised Groundhog Day-themed soup.

All in all, a great night of soup. Many thanks to all the cooks, to DJ Bob Weston, and to YOU, for donating a tasty $509 into the kitty. All of it goes to Help Ease Local Poverty, a program of the Jane Addams Hull-House Association.

Soup cooks, Feb. 2

January 26, 2011

I’m getting on a plane ridiculously early Thursday. So let’s just get this part out of the way. Coming up next week!

AV Club Chicago editor Marah Eakin

Massage therapist Deana Burrows

Vanessa Mendicino

John McKevitt

Billions Corporation agent Matt Yaseko

Jeanine O’Toole, of the 1900s and the Golden Horse Ranch Square Dance Band

and our pals at Smoque BBQ

Bread provided by La Farine Bakery and the Illinois Institute of Technology Culinary School — and Groundhog Day -themed music provided by DJ Sarah Gardiner.

All proceeds benefit Benton House, in Bridgeport.

See you there!

Kewaunee Inn Cheddar Cheese and Beer Soup

February 27, 2010

From John McKevitt

Makes 1 gallon

[Ed: Forgot to get a pic of this. Whoops. But, wow — it was so rich and smoooooth! Historically I’ve never been a big cheese soup fan. But I think I’m coming around.  ]


6 ounces unsalted butter
6 ounces minced onions
3 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms
2 ounces rough-cut celery
1 ounce minced fresh garlic
6 ounces all-purpose flour
96 ounces chicken stock
8 ounces dark beer
2 pounds grated cheddar cheese
½ ounce dry mustard
8 ounces heavy cream, hot
Tabasco sauce, as needed
worcestershire sauce, as needed
ground white pepper


In a large soup pot heat the butter over medium heat. Sweat the onions, mushrooms, celery, and garlic until the onions are translucent.

Add the flour and cook to make a blond roux, about 12 to 14 minutes, whisking constantly to work out any lumps. Add the stock gradually, continuing to whisk. Simmer 45 minutes, or until the soup has a good flavor and velvety texture. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. The soup is now ready to finish, or may be refrigerated for later use.

Return the soup to a simmer. Add the beer and the cheese and continue to heat the soup gently until the cheese melts. Do not boil.

Blend the dry mustard with enough water to make a paste. Add the mustard mixture and the cream to the soup and bring the soup back to a simmer. Adjust the consistency with stock as required.

Season the soup with the Tabasco, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper as desired.

Serve in heated bowls or cups with rye croutons.

Week eight

February 26, 2010

L-R:  Jeanelle, John, Ryan, Won, Terri, Laura, and Martin

February 24, 2010: The Night of Problematic Circuitry and Two Parsnip Soups.

I’m tempted to just leave it at that. I mean, doesn’t that say it all?

No? You want the juicy details?

Oh OK, then.

We had a healthy — and hungry — turnout this week, which was a good thing since I apparently forgot how to count and not only lined up seven soup cooks but decided to get in on the soup action myself.

I had some leftover La Farine ciabatta from last week, so on Wednesday morning I set to work on a pot of Gabe McMackin’s pappa al pomodoro soup, which was a big hit in Brooklyn. It’s ridiculously easy. Stale bread + canned tomatoes + stock. Season liberally with garlic, basil, jalapenos (picked from the yard in September and frozen till now), and lots of Parmegiano Reggiano. So good!

The other cooks tried a little harder. We had, from left to right:

Jeanelle Hayner‘s parsnip-caraway soup with turkey, caraway, and tarragon meatballs. Jeanelle was worried about how this would turn out — she even sent me a message Wednesday afternoon preemptively apologizing for bringing “frankensoup.” But (once we got it heated up) this was terrific, a judicious balance of sweet (roasted?) parsnips, slightly bitter caraway, and light, mild turkey.

John McKevitt owns the Kewaunee Inn, on the lakefront in beautiful (der) Kewaunee, Wisconsin. His cheddar-beer soup was a strong showing for the flavors so dear to our neighbors to the north. He sent the recipe already so I should have that up soon. Here’s the recipe.

Next up was Ryan Cooper, from First Slice. She brought an awesome vat of VEGAN butternut squash chowder, packed full of kale, red onion, carrots, and Great Northern beans. She’s probably busy this week, getting ready for next week’s Empty Bowls event (where Soup and Bread will have a little table) but hopefully she’ll have a moment to pass along her cooking secrets as well.

Painter and cooking instructor Won Kim couldn’t choose a topping, so he brought along chives, fresh leeks, caramelized red onions, and (of course) bacon as garnish for his rich, creamy potato-leek soup.

Novelist Terri Griffith tapped into her years as a cook in Everett, Washington (PNW represent!), to turn out a hearty, spicy black-eyed pea, kale, and chorizo soup. She’s already got the recipe up on her blog over here, but I’ll have it here it is on the soup site soon as well.

Librarian Laura Scott not only turned out a tomato-basil soup packed with sunny flavor, but she let me borrow her camera to boot. I promise by next week I will have purchased a new camera, because this is getting ridiculous.

And, holding down the other end of the soup line, was Green Earth Institute farm manager Martin Lemos with parsnip soup #2 — this one a rich, thick, nutty puree shot through with maple syrup. Firm it up and frost it, and you’d have a big bowl of parsnip candy. Mmmmmm.

And … that was all, though we also had, of course, more bread from La Farine plus baguettes, three pies, and several boxes of scones courtesy of Rae Hill and Chef Kraus’s baking class. Thanks again to all the cooks for their great contributions, and their patience dealing with the cramped quarters and the power strip that shut off the heat there for a while. With their help — and yours — we raised $493 for First Slice.

See you next week!

Soup cooks 2/24/10

February 19, 2010

We are packing them in next week. This weekend’s to-do list: Buy more crock pots.

Proceeds from next week’s Soup and Bread benefit First Slice, the independent hunger relief organization founded by onetime North Pond chef Mary Ellen Diaz. First Slice provides home-cooked, restaurant-quality meals to about 100 men, women, and children a week; it’s unique in that it is, for the most part, self-funding. Those with means can subscribe to First Slice’s shareholder program. Much like a CSA, a share in First Slice nets the shareholder a hot, high-quality, home-delivered three-course meal each week — but the money from each share also goes to pay for an equal meal for a person who can’t afford it on their own.

I’ve long been a fan of First Slice’s philosophy, which extends the same menu  — the “first slice” of the pie, rather than the crumbs — to shareholders and clients alike.

We’re going to have a Soup and Bread table at Lillstreet Art Center’s Empty Bowls event on March 5,  a terrific fundraiser benefitting First Slice, which also runs a cafe in the Lillstreet building. And, in return, this week, First Slice is bringing soup.

I think Ryan Cooper, from First Slice, said something about corn chowder, but don’t hold me to that.

Also on deck, with Ryan:

Back for a second go-round, Graficionada‘s Jeanelle Hayner. Here’s what she had to say about her Soup and Bread turn last year.

Green Earth Institute farm manager Martin Lemos, of red onion soup fame.

Painter, DJ, and Whole Foods chef/instructor Won Kim.

Librarian and book blogger Laura Scott.

Novelist, Parlor reading series co-director, and 250 Potato Possibilities blogger  Terri Griffith.


John McKevitt, of the International Volunteer Network of Chicago.


That’s all, I think. Unless I decide to try my hand at that pappa al pomodoro soup everyone’s so excited about [see photo]. I do happen to have lot of stale ciabatta lying around….

Come by on February 24 and see for yourself what they come up with. Soup and Bread happens from 5:30 to 8 PM at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. And, you might want to stick around for a while. Later that night: Peter Brotzmann!