Posts Tagged ‘Numero Group’

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.



A Very Special Summer Soup & Bread

July 1, 2011

[This and all photos courtesy Garfield Park Conservatory.]

As you’ve likely heard by now, the Garfield Park Conservatory — 105 years old, and one of the largest and most beautiful conservatories in the country, if not the world — was devastated by the June 30 storm that downed trees, cut power, and hammered the city of Chicago with golf-ball-sized chunks of hail.

The conservatory’s website reports:

The Garfield Park Conservatory sustained catastrophic damage in last night’s hailstorm, shattering approximately half of the glass panes in the roofs of the historic Fern Room, Show House, and nine propagation greenhouses. The glass panes in the Desert House also sustained significant damage. The pathways, ponds and plants in the Fern Room, Show House, Desert House and propagation houses are covered with broken glass, and shards of glass hang dangerously from the roofs. Until the roofs are repaired, rain will cause the ponds to overflow, and direct sunlight will destroy and kill the plants that have been so carefully and lovingly conserved for so many years.

Conditions right now are too dangerous for Conservatory staff to go in and care for the plants — which include a huge range of succulents, tropicals, cacti, and ferns as well as a rare double coconut palm that’s possibly the largest of its kind anywhere outside the rainforest. There is glass everywhere: on the floor, in the trees, in the ponds, embedded in bark and leaves and buds. It is, a friend on staff told me, so disastrous on so many levels — structural, horticultural, financial — they’re still trying to sort it all out.

What is known is that thanks to this nasty act of Mother Nature, the facility will likely be closed for months. And it’s going to take a whole lot of money to get it up and running again. So, clearly, the situation calls for some soup. And maybe some bread.

This Wednesday, July 6, from 5:30 – 8, come join us at the Hideout for a Very Special Summer Soup & Bread to benefit an institution that’s one of the few things in Chicago that I, at least, believe is an unqualified public good.

Because the Conservatory isn’t just an architectural treasure — though it is that, designed by Jens Jensen, the MAN of Chicago landscape architecture, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And it’s not just an oddly successful tourist attraction, drawing visitors who might otherwise never venture beyond the Bean to the uncharted west side with the twinkly lures of Dale Chihuly glass — though that’s of course great too.

The Conservatory’s also home to the propagation greenhouses (above) that nurture plants for parks across the city – and allow community gardeners and nonprofits to colonize a bit of their bench space for their own heirloom tomatos. It teaches beekeeping and worm composting and provides a home for the U. of I. Extension’s master gardener program (which I was a part of in 2007).

It teaches the littlest kids how to nurture a sunflower seed in a Dixie cup. It provides professional development opportunities for teachers interested in botany and ecology. It wrangles rowdy thousands of field-tripping CPS students every year. It reaches out to west-side community groups to help develop their own green spaces and gardens. It hosts a farmers’ market. And, like just about every public programming outfit anywhere, it’s already operating on the slimmest of shoestring budgets.

In other words, it is an irreplaceable community resource, one I’ve been lucky enough to volunteer at and learn from over the years.

OK. Sure. Realistically, the money we raise at Soup & Bread might repair four panes of glass. But it’s the least we can do. And it will be fun! We miss you! It’s been lonely around there this spring, and we’ve got a brand new patio and everything.

So please come out Wednesday and join the Hideout, Swim Cafe, and all the other soup cooks I have yet to round up, in showing our support. We’ll be serving COLD SOUP ONLY, with bread donated by our friends at La Farine Bakery, and tunes spun by Numero Group‘s Michael Slaboch.

Oh — and if you can’t make it on Wednesday, you can donate directly to the Conservatory via their website. Every little bit helps. Want more gory details? See this FOX News Chicago report for the full monty: Garfield Park Conservatory Closed Due to Hailstorm Damage:

ETA: Parts of the Conservatory–the undamaged parts–reopened today (Sunday) so go on out and show them some love. Also, the Fern Room turtles have been sighted and seem to be doing fine. (Shells. They’re handy!) Here they are (above) having a meeting to assess the damage to their pond.

Spicy Vegan Tortilla Soup

January 24, 2010

From Michael Slaboch

[Ed: Michael posted a prettier photo of his (very tasty) soup on his own blog, here. Gotta love a vegan soup with optional cheese.]


2 tablespons canola oil
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped and finely diced
2 cloves garlic. minced
2 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
3 fresh tomatoes or 1 cup diced canned tomatoes with juice
4 cup cold water
juice from 1 fresh squeezed lime
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
fresh cilantro, chopped
fresh tortilla chips, crushed
grated monterey jack cheese
kosher salt


Heat the canola oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the red and green peppers, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, and chili powder for 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent, stirring often. Add the jalapeno and tomatoes; continue stirring for one minute. Add the fresh lime juice and cold water.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Add the black beans and corn and return the soup to a boil. Remove the soup from the heat, put crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl, stir in the cilantro and cheese (if desired), and season with kosher salt.

Week three

January 22, 2010


*Says David Meyers, Resistance Coffee CEO and deliveryman

Week three of S&B 2010 was our biggest yet, with a roster of soup cooks one blog commenter described as his “dream Soup + Bread line-up.” But never fear, “Chaperone,” it’s just going to get bigger and better from here.

Here’s what was in the crocks:

Vegan sweet-potato, hominy, kale, and black bean soup from the lovely Carol Watson, chef and owner of Milk & Honey Cafe and Cipollina (and the genius behind Milk & Honey’s ridiculously addictive granola).

Savory chili made with pork and beef raised by Beth and Jody Osmund, of Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm — who brought their three adorable boys along for the ride.

A duo of soups — one  classic French onion and the other a smoky black bean — from Chicago Reader editor Alison True and Montessori middle school teacher Rick Mosher, with help from their son George who, in a Soup and Bread first, got an hour of community service credit for slicing all those onions.

A yummy vegan tortilla soup — with optional cheese! — from Numero Group producer and archivist Michael Slaboch, who went so far as to post a little preview on his blog.

And, last but definitely not least, a silken butternut squash soup (also vegan) made with curry and coconut milk from the good people at Lula, delivered by catering manager Suzanne Bachman (sp?).

L-R: Beth (and son), Michael, Rick, and Alison

Now, it’s true that, in general, I have a sort of knee-jerk compulsion to keep things positive here on the blog. And I often find myself running my vocabulary of superlatives into the ground in an effort to say good things about each and every soup. And, it’s true that some soups are just less successful than other soups. (I found out the other day that one of my friends has started to tuck a salt shaker into the pocket of his jacket when he comes out on Wednesdays.) But this week? This week each and every soup was, really and truly, superamazingdelicious.


So, I hope that the cooks send the recipes my way, so I can share them with you. So far this season we’ve had some serious hits in those crock pots, but the recipe-delivery part of the program is barely creaking along. I hate to nag, but, people, PLEASE SEND IN YOUR RECIPES. That’s the part that completes the circle. Plus, if you don’t, next year’s book is just going to be full of recipes from my father.

But I digress.

Bake Sale for Haiti

There was a lot more than just soup going on this week. Baker Rae Hill continued to play with bread recipes, dropping off boxes of black sesame-seed bread, sweet rolls, and a vegan almond-milk bread she dubbed “surprisingly successful.” She also brought along some of her homework from pastry class at school, in the form of vanilla pound cake with chocolate ganache and two versions of devil’s food cake, one with ganache and one with a chocolate butter cream. I’ve been told we can look forward to more treats in the future. And, hopefully, some recipes.

And, finally, just in case we hadn’t had enough sugar, earlier this week Joanna Miller, who runs My Vegetable Blog, organized a very successful bake sale as part of the Hideout’s benefit show for Haiti on Monday night. The benefit generated more than $8000 for Partners in Health, and $700 of that came from the bake sale. In fact, the response from bakers was so overwhelming that Joanna and her partners had a lot left over at the end of the night — so she came back to the H/O on Wednesday and sold off the rest during Soup and Bread. I’m donating the additional $122 she raised that evening to PIH via Intelligentsia’s matching program, which will double the dollar value of all those granola bars and rosemary shortbreads. You should check it out.

Joanna was an avid bingo player back in the summer, and she’s on the schedule to make soup in a few weeks, along with her friends Andrea and Gemma, but I had never met her before Monday night. And — I swear — I had no idea that she was also working on a review of the Soup & Bread Cookbook. Seeing that pop up in my Google alerts yesterday was a surprise of the nicest possible kind.

Also a nice surprise? We raised $390 for the Irving Park Community Food Pantry, a record so far this year, and no small change relative to last year’s events either.

So finally, earnestly, I’d like to just say, again, how gratifying it is to dump out the donations pail at the end of each night and bear witness to your generosity. Between Monday’s show and this week’s S&B it’s almost overwhelming. Times are tough all over, and I don’t think there can be that many closet millionaires lurking in the Hideout’s patron base. (Am I wrong? Call me.) Yet, still, the support has poured in, born through the doors on a river of good will. All I can say is, whether you’re responding to the epic tragedy of an earthquake or the day-to-day hunger of someone just up the road,  you’re all the richest people in the world.

More soon, including video (!) and, hopefully, recipes.

Soup and Bread 1/20/10

January 16, 2010

Next week’s soup lineup!

Milk and Honey (and Cippolina) chef Carol Watson

Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm farmers Beth and Jody Osmund

Chicago Reader editor Alison True

Montessori middle school teacher Rick Mosher

Numero Group archivist and producer Michael Slabach

That’s this coming Wednesday, from 5:30 to 8, at the Hideout. Proceeds from this week’s Soup and Bread benefit the Irving Park Community Food Pantry.

UPDATE: Exciting last-minute addition to the roster: Lula!