Open Monday through Saturday 7:00 am to 9:00 pm • Sunday 8:00 am to 9:00 pm

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

French Toast Casserole and today's specials

Panino specials are the TCB - turkey, cranberry & brie and the Apple Alexander - Granny Smith apple, honey and brie grilled on a ciabatta sub roll.

We have three soups, all of which are vegan. Veggie Chili, 16 Bean and African Peanut.

A number of people have expressed interest in the whole French toast "casserole" idea (which is really just a sweet version of our Strata), so this a little primer in how to make breakfast for 2-200 and be able to sit down and eat with your guests.

You make it the day before and just pop it in the oven about an hour before you want to eat. Brilliant, no? The following "recipe" will easily feed 8 hungry people. By adjusting proportions and pan sizes it is not much more difficult to feed 40 than it is to feed 4, which makes this a great idea for weekend guests, post-slumber party breakfast or a brunch. It also holds and reheats well.















French Toast Casserole
1 loaf bread, torn or cut into large "croutons", stale is preferred (any bread will do but an egg bread like challah or brioche is nice, as is cinnamon raisin or other "flavored" bread)
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 - 1 cup light brown sugar (use 1/2 c. if you plan to serve maple syrup. 1 cup will make caramel and is especially nice if you decide to add nuts and fruit)
12 eggs
2 cups milk or half and half
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (pinches of ginger and/or cloves would be nice too)
Optional: walnuts, pecans, diced apple, banana

Place melted butter in a 9x13 baking dish and sprinkle with brown sugar. Stir and distribute the butter/sugar mixture evenly. Sprinkle with nuts and/or fruit is desired.

Add bread to the pan. Slightly over-full is fine.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and spices. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and cover with plastic wrap. Don't worry if some of the bread is above the egg line, it will will wick up and saturate the bread. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Remove baking dish from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and bake 35-45 minutes until the top is browned and the custard has set (you can insert a fork in the center and pull bread aside to check). Let cool for about ten minutes before serving as hot sugar burns!

When you serve make sure to spoon all the way to the bottom and serve so that the caramel (nut, fruit) side becomes the top.

Savory version
Omit light brown sugar. Use any bread or combination of breads. Toss sauteed/steamed veggies, diced ham, browned sausage, etc. in with the bread cubes and press into buttered pan. Cover bread/veggie mixture with grated cheese. Whisk egg mixture omitting vanilla and spices and adding salt and pepper. Pour over bread. Let sit in refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight. Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes until the top is browned and the custard has set (you can insert a fork in the center and pull bread aside to check). Let cool for about ten minutes. Makes eight large servings. Serve with a salad for a great brunch meal.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'd really like to hear from you

Panino specials are the TCB - turkey, cranberry & brie and the Torpedo - our spicy Italian sausage "Rocket".

We have three soups, all of which are vegan incidentally. Veggie Chili, 16 Bean and African Peanut.

Have we had a soup or sandwich in the past that you'd like to see again? Does a great little deli "back home" have a sandwich special you miss? Did your Grandma have a special cookie recipe you'd be willing to share? Seriously, we are in this business for you and we take very seriously suggestions and requests made by customers.

PS: Hey Delip, the Cauliflower Pistacio Soup is coming on Wednesday!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!!!!

The house was rockin' yesterday! The first real spring-like Friday brought people out in droves! The weather widget informs me that today will be a bit cooler and it may rain, so....... If the morning starts off bright, get over here and to the market before the showers start.

I'll be down at the Baltimore Child Abuse Center (am I the only one that thinks that was a very unfortunate choice of words?!) Block Party on 23rd Street between Maryland and Charles celebrating the completion of their building project. Rumor has it there will be an appearance by some Ravens.

We have Raspberry Cream Stuffed French Toast and a Greek Strata with spinach, roasted red peppers, shallots & feta. If the baking mojo is with me, we'll also have Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins (special request of a special customer).

We have the Torpedo - spicy Italian sausage version of the Rocket, the new Vegetarian Rocket and the Apple Alexander - Granny Smith apples, brie and honey grilled on a ciabatta sub roll.

For soup we have African Peanut Soup (vegan), Caramelized Onion and Portobello Soup (vegetarian).

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Veggie Rockets are flying out of here!

We have the Torpedo - spicy Italian sausage version of the Rocket, the new Vegetarian Rocket (which sadly still has no name, but already has a following....), the Bandaloop - sweet cured ham, saga cheese and spicy honey mustard grilled on french sandwich bread and the Apple Alexander - Granny Smith apples, brie and honey grilled on a ciabatta sub roll.

For soup we have Mulligatawny - an Indian-spiced chicken soup and Caramelized Onion and Portobello Soup (vegetarian). Michael has started a pot of African Peanut Soup (vegan) but it probably won't be done until early afternoon.

Baltimore Child Abuse Center, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to helping victims of child sexual abuse in Baltimore City and working to end child sexual abuse throughout Maryland, is celebrating the completion of their building renovations by throwing a block party celebration Saturday, March 28 from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please join us in supporting BCAC, we'll be there with lemonade and iced tea.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We have the Torpedo - spicy Italian sausage version of the Rocket, the new Vegetarian Rocket (which sadly still has no name....), the Bandaloop - sweet cured ham, saga cheese and spicy honey mustard grilled on french sandwich bread and the Apple Alexander - Granny Smith apples, brie and honey grilled on a ciabatta sub roll.

For soup we have Mulligatawny - an Indian-spiced chicken soup, Caramelized Onion and Portobello Soup (vegetarian) was begun. We also have my French Green Lentil with Coconut Milk soup (vegan). Like I said yesterday, don't let the name put you off - this is good stuff!

It's a good day to call ahead and get a nice hot lunch to go! Don't forget you can also use fetchfood.com, pay online and just duck in to pick it up. No waiting in line!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The sweet smell of my tears

We have the Bandaloop - sweet cured ham, saga cheese and spicy honey mustard grilled on french sandwich bread and the Apple Alexander - Granny Smith apples, brie and honey grilled on a ciabatta sub roll.

A veritable mountain of finely sliced onions, simmered gently for hours is how the Caramelized Onion and Portobello Soup (vegetarian) was begun. We also have my French Green Lentil with Coconut Milk soup (vegan). Like I said yesterday, don't let the name put you off - this is good stuff!

Michael et al will be making more of the meatless meatballs for the no meat Rocket. Won't someone please step-up and name this damn sandwich for me?!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jitterbug Perfume - the Saga

Today's soup is Green Lentil with Coconut Milk (vegan). Last time I made this soup it flew out of here. People were coming back to buy quarts. Which is to say, don't let the name fool you - this stuff is not your typical, homely lentil soup. We also have a bit of Corn Cheddar Chowder (not veg) and Gypsy Soup (vegan) still available.

The Veggie Meatball Rocket is also still on the menu and today we are adding The Bandaloop - sweet cured ham, saga blue and honey mustard grilled on french sandwich bread.

According the Wikipedia "The sagas (from Icelandic saga, plural sögur), are stories about ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history, about early Viking voyages, about migration to Iceland, and of feuds between Icelandic families. They were written in the Old Norse language, mainly in Iceland." As anyone who has tasted our yogurt knows, Michael's maternal line is from Iceland and we have a soft spot for all things Icelandic.

This is not that saga.

This is a creamy brie-like cheese with a blue vein. The sharp tang of bleu is swaddled in the fatty full mouth feel of a soft rind cheese like brie or camembert. And the first time I tasted saga it blew my mind. I have a notoriously bad memory, but I remember every detail of that meal. I was sitting upstairs at Bandaloops on South Charles Street (which I am sorry to report is no longer in business) with my friend Clarrisa. The sandwich, which I believe they called the Kudra, was ham and brie served on a croissant with the most fabulous champagne mustard. Later, I tried to get the mustard recipe but the chef wouldn't share.

And Jitterbug Perfume, Bandaloops and Kudra? The first Tom Robbins book I ever read (and my favorite), the mystical "doctors" and the female main character. If you haven't read it, do. It is a great fun, hopeful, sexy romp of a book which makes great summer beach reading.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday specials

The pastry case includes Walnut Raspberry and Rosemary Cheddar Scones. We also have the Habanero Chip Frittata.

Soups today are Gypsy - a sweet potato/tomato based vegetable soup (vegetarian) and Cheddar Corn Chowder (not vegetarian).

The panini spacials are the TCB - turkey, cranberry and brie and the new Vegetarian Meatball Rocket.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Leprechauns in the cafe...

We have an outrageous number of specials today...

Caramel Apple French Toast Casserole
Cinnamon Rolls
Stir-fry Strata
Habanero Chili Chip Frittata

And the NoMeatball Rocket (a free one to whoever comes up with a better name!), a croquette, much like Mali Kafta, of vegetables, eggs and cheese served up in a hollowed ciabatta sub roll with provolone and marinara sauce. They are delicious!

You need to come by!

By the way, there is a Chocolate Gold Rush Cake in the oven. Bring your sweetie by for coffee and cake.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Where's the beef?

It is not in the new NoMeatball Rocket! We also have the TCB - turkey, cranberry and brie.

Soups are Corn Cheddar Chowder, Split Pea (vegan) and Creamy Tomato Basil.

Have a good Friday!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fair warning

Kasey is making Split Pea Soup (vegan) and there is also Tomato Basil Soup (vegetarian) and Guinness Stout Stew.

For panini specials there is the TCB, turkey, cranberry & brie, and the Apple Alexander.

It's that time of year again. Oh I know, everyone thinks of spring as a time of rebirth and beginnings. But for a few Cafe patrons, spotting the first crocus means saying goodbye to their favorite cookie. It makes a refreshing Iced Latte on the terrace a bitter sweet experience. One day very soon the Molasses Crinkle will take a summer holiday and be replaced with the Snickerdoodle.

Get 'em while you can.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Keys and other ramblings

It is a beautiful morning with the fog laying thick to the ground. I locked myself out of the house this morning, but managed to laugh it off. It was kind of ridiculous. Sitting out on the front stoop, at 7:00 a.m., knitting in the cold damp morning waiting on a cab.

Rumor has it that temps will make it to 60° today. Stop by and enjoy the terrace. Also, there are only a few more days of spring break. Come in and have lunch while it is slow enough for you to linger over coffee and cookies.

We are making a big pot of Tomato Basil Soup (vegetarian) and still have some very hearty Guinness Stout Stew and Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (vegetarian).

For panini specials there is the Virginian, country ham, turkey, havarti & whole seed dijon and Grilled Gouda with fresh thyme, a great comfort food meal paired with the Tomato Basil Soup.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What's that I smell?


Could it be the Guinness Beef Stew? or perhaps the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting?

We also still have the Rubenesque, a sandwich plump with pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing and the Torpedo, spicy Italian sausage, homemade peperonata sauce and aged provolone cheese stuffed into a ciabatta sub roll.

Do you know what pastrami is? Okay, so we all know it is a deli meat. You've probably had some benign version served on a cold cut plate along side of American cheese. If you are very fortunate, you've had it hot and piled high on a sandwich from Attman's. Their President's Special inspired the moment of culinary existentialism that provoked the question "but what is pastrami"?

Come to find out, pastrami is smoked corned beef. That's it. Smoked corned beef. I'd be embarrassed to admit my ignorance, but for the fact that, as far as I can tell, no one else knows either. Everybody, my self included, has some vague notion of it being like corned beef only different. My assumption had been the difference was in the brining.

So the next time you are grumbling about the Cafe not being open on Sundays, get yourself down to East Lombard Street. Make sure you speak up, order a pickle if you want one, sip on a Dr. Brown's Cream Soda and reflect on the elegant marriage of bread and beef that is the deli sandwich.

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun.
And find your shoulder to light on.
To bring you luck, happiness and riches.
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Enjoy a sandwich. It wll not make you baroque.

Today's panini are The Rubenesque - pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing on toasted marbled rye. We also have The Torpedo - spicy Italian sausage, homemade peperonata sauce and aged provolone cheese stuffed into a ciabatta sub roll.

Soup specials are Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (vegetarian), Gyspy Soup (vegan) and Mulligatawny Soup.

I have several specials in the works to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, including an Irish Beef Stew and, barring any unfortunate baking accidents, a Chocolate Stout Cake with Irish Cream Icing.

To the grad students at Hopkins, see you guys at 3:00. Irish Cream au Lait and other goodies are on the menu.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday

Our Staurday morning special is Banana Walnut French Toast Casserole - and it is yummy!

A little pre-St Patrick's Day special - The Rubenesque - pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and russian dressing on toasted marbled rye. We also have The Torpedo - spicy Italian sausage, homemade peperonata sauce and aged provolone cheese stuffed into a ciabatta sub roll.

Today's soup specials are Gyspy Soup and Mulligatawny Soup.

There is a distinct nip in the air today. After coffee and breakfast at the cafe you might want to check out the Baltimore Heritage Quilters' Guild Biennial Show being held this year at Goucher College. I was an active member of the Guild and chaired the show committee for a number of years. There will be gorgeous quilts as well as fabulous shopping opportunities (you could get your Christmas shopping well under way!).

In the days before we opened the cafe I was an active quilter and designed the guild's 2005 raffle quilt Starry Nights. That is where Ann and I met. If you've been around the cafe on Saturday morning you've probably met Ann (she is usually knitting behind a giant latte). Her's were the third pair of hands that built the cafe. Virtually every weekend for months she showed up ready to clean, paint, haul or whatever was needed. The 2004 raffle quilt, a modern interpretation of the traditional Baltimore Album Quilt, brought us together. So today's salute goes out to BHQG for bringing me a dear friend, my own personal Swiss miss.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A number with a bad rap

Happy Friday the 13th!

Today's soup specials are Gyspy Soup and Mulligatawny Soup.

We also have the Torpedo, our spicy Italian sausage, homemade peperonata sauce and aged provolone cheese stuffed into a ciabatta sub roll.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

But seriously though......

"What's in the Gypsy Soup?," asks a customer.
"Well, first we wait for a band of young, tender gypsies to come through town....."

I know, it's a bit like the two muffins in an oven joke, but around here muffins in the oven are no laughing matter.

Gypsy Soup
(vegan), a moroccan-inspired spiced tomato/sweet potato based vegetable soup and Chicken Vindaloo Stew are the soups today.

The Torpedo is making a much awaited return today - spicy Italian sausage, Michael's homemade peperonata sauce and aged provolone cheese stuffed into a ciabatta sub roll.

Have a good one and see you guys tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How to eat your veggies

Happy Hump Day! And for soup today we have mildly seasoned Chicken Vindaloo Stew, a chicken and potato stew that borrows it spicing from a very popular (and fiery) Indian dish. We also have Pumpkin Black Bean Soup (vegan).

Panini specials are the Apple Alexander, Granny Smith apple, brie and honey and the Virginian, ham, turkey, havarti and whole seed dijon. Both are grilled on a ciabtta sub roll.

CSA Blog Entry 2.0
Aaron, the tall guy with gaming tats, belonged to a CSA last season and was really blown away by the variety and quality of his produce. But more than once during the growing season he was presented with something he had never cooked before and came to me for suggestions.

So I was thinking this blog would be a great place to share recipes, preserving how-to and general inspiration on how to maximize your CSA haul. Step one is planning, so to that end here is One Straw Farm's harvest schedule.

Harvest Chart

Qty June July Aug Sept Oct Nov
Arugula 1 bunch x


x x
Beets 1 bunch x x x x x x
Bok Choy 1 head



x x
Broc /Caulif 1 head



x x
Beans 1 Qt
x x


Cabbage 1 head x x

x x
Chards- 1 bunch x x x x x x
Collards 1 bunch x x x x x x
Cucumbers 3pieces x x x x

Dandelion 1 bunch x

x x x
Eggplant 1-4 pices
x x x

Flowers 1 bunch x x x x x x
Hard Squash 1 piece


x x x
Herbs 1 bunch x x x x x x
Kale 1 bunch x x x x x x
Lettuce l head x x
x x x
Onions 1 Qt x x x x x x
Peppers-Sweet 3 pieces
x x x x
Peppers-Hot 1 pint
x x x x x
Potatoes 1 Qt
x x x x x
Radishes 1 bunch x

x x x
Snap Peas 1 Qt x




Spinach 1 bunch x


x x
Squash- Yellow 2-4 pcs x x x x

Strawberries 1 pint x




Tomatoes-Salad 4-6 pcs

x x x
-Roma 10-12 pcs

x x x
-Heirloom 1-2 pcs

x x

Watermelon 1 piece

x x

Zucchini 2-4 pcs x x x x x

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fresh produce without getting your hands dirty

Good morning. We have some Potato Leek Soup (really, the best I've ever made) and Veggie Chili. I am making a batch of Vindaloo Stew, a spicy chicken stew based on a classic Indian dish and Kasey has started a pot of Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup (vegan).

Today I've starting looking into buying some of our produce from a local and organic source - One Straw Farm. A lot of you probably know Drew and Joan from the Waverly Farmers Market. One of the ways you and your family can enjoy fresh, organic, locally grown veggies is to purchase a share in the OSF Community Supported Agriculture program (know as a CSA). I just heard from Joan that the early sign-up discount has been extended to March 15th, so for a outrageously reasonable price you can get produce from the first week of June to the middle of November!

CSAs are really a win, win situation. By purchasing a share in advance, the farmer is receiving payment ahead of the growing season (a time when they are incurring a lot of their expenses) and the consumer is receiving the very highest quality produce at a substantial savings.

The items vary according to season, but Joan and Drew say that one share will feed a family of four their veggies for a week and maybe even have some left over to share or preserve for winter. And half shares are available!

I've gotten so excited just writing about it I'm going to their website and sign up for my personal half share right now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Forward into the spring

Soups today are Potato Leek Soup and Vegetarian Chili (vegan).

I hope you had the chance to enjoy some of the fabulous weather over the weekend. The Cafe terrace was rockin'! So much so that folks have wiped us clean.....I'm off for the weekly grocery shopping extravaganza.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Short and sweet

Two bad wrists today. Forgive my brevity.

Soups are Potato Leek Soup and Vegetarian Chili (vegan).

Panini are the Calabrese and TCB.

Also made some very yummy Cinnamon Muffins for a special Saturday customer with a sweet tooth.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ahead of the trends or trend setter?

Today's Panino Special is Pesto Calabrese - Pesto, mozzarella, provolone, marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers grilled on a ciabatta sub roll. The TCB (turkey, cranberry & brie) is also available.

Vegetarian Chili (vegan) and Roasted Red Pepper Soup (chicken stock base) are already on the warmer. Another, as yet unknown, soup will be on by the afternoon. I'll try to update this post when it is cooking.

Although I am not a trend setter, I do have a pattern of being ahead of the trends - by say three to five years. Long before the fondue revival of the 90s I hosted a surprise birthday party for my SO upstairs at One World when it was a tiny little place on South Charles Street in Federal Hill. One afternoon I spent several hours first calling, then visiting every second hand store within a thirty mile radius buying fondue pots circa 1970. I still love fondue (and its cousin raclette), and this is the pot that is on my wish list (red please).

The humble grit has been elevated in recent years, as has bacon. In the case of these "ingredient" trends it's how they are being used that is noteworthy. Grits are finding their way onto posh dinner plates and being served much like polenta or risotto. And I'd like to meet the person who headslapped and said "Yes! Bacon and chocolate, of course!" That's one I didn't see coming.

But here, for the first time, I am going to make a prediction. Rising from culinary oblivion, Spoon Bread will soon make an appearance on the most progressive, cutting edge fine dining plate. My guess is that if you were not alive when The Beatles played on the Ed Sullivan Show you don't know what spoon bread is. And if you are not native to the south, you might not know even if you danced naked under the sky at Woodstock.

Spoon Bread is the lovechild of cornbread and egg custard. It is served as a side dish, usually with a pat of butter melting over the top. It is an easy alternative to mashed potatoes or rice and would be a fine breakfast accompanied by eggs and bacon. The recipe from the Natural Bridge Hotel has been handed down to me from my Grandmother Halterman and is, to the best of my knowledge, unchanged. Although now that I'm taking a second look, sauteed mushrooms or a bit of minced red onion and green chilies stirred in before baking would be delicious.

Spoon Bread
from the Natural Bridge Hotel Kitchen

1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
2 cups water
2 cups milk
5 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 stick of butter (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons)

Add water, salt, sugar and butter to a medium size sauce pan and bring to a full boil. Stir in corn meal and remove from heat. Stir in cold milk. In a bowl, add baking powder to eggs and beat well. Stir into corn meal mixture once it has cooled to luke warm (or cooler). Mix well. Pour into a buttered baking dish and bake about 30 minutes at 400°.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Off playing cat & mouse today

Today's Panino Special is Pesto Calabrese - Pesto, mozzarella, provolone, marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers grilled on a ciabatta sub roll. The TCB (turkey, cranberry & brie) is also available.

There are several great soup choices today. A Vegetarian Chili (vegan), Roasted Red Pepper Soup (chicken stock base) and the last of my A•B•C Vegetable Soup (vegan).

My house has a guest - Spencer, a rather dandy cat that needed a safe place to stay for a while. It's my day off and, since knitting, chopping, lifting, etc. is off limits to allow my wrists to heal, I'm going to spend it reading and playing with Spenc. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

There's a new (Deputy) Sheriff in town....

Making her soup pot debut today, Kasey is stirring up a cafe classic - Roasted Garlic Red Pepper Soup (chicken stock base). We also have just a bit of Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (and why do we specify "homemade" since every soup is made from scratch?) and the A•B•C Vegetable Soup (vegan).

The Roasted Garlic Red Pepper soup has been around since the very early days. Our version was very much inspired by Once Upon A Tart's Smooth Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Fresh Thyme. This one of my favorite go-to for inspiration cookbooks. The narrative about opening the restaurant and personal comments scattered through out the book make chef owners/cookbook authors Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau feel like old friends and colleagues. I haven't made the pilgrimage yet, but my friend Martin, who lives just around the corner, has brought me goodies to sample.

I did notice a number of them were available both new and used from Amazon sellers for a good price!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Everything but the kitchen sink

This is one of those soups Michael will take one look at and say something like, Is there anything you didn't put in the pot? I am up to my elbows in A•B•C Vegetable Soup. It is a veggie broth and tomato base with all manner of chopped, diced, sliced and minced vegetation (and those cute little alphabet noodles!) We also still have Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup.

I've been thinking about soup a lot recently. It's a real favorite with Cafe customers and it is bitterly cold out there today. But my thoughts have taken more of a philosophical bent.

Soups can be very sublime, have deep complex flavor or highlight one perfect note. Word on the street is the last batch of Tomato Basil Soup was one of my best. That's a good example of a soup that highlights one perfect note - the union of tomato and fresh basil. Michael's Chicken Noodle Soup has a very loyal following and it is sublime. But it's just chicken noodle soup you say? No. Chicken noodle soup is where you toss a chicken in the pot with onions, carrots and celery and let it cook away for the afternoon; take the chicken off the bones, toss in some noodles and call it dinner. Michael starts his soup by roasting vegetables for the stock (mind you, these veggies are throw out later and are replaced with fresh vegetables to be served in the actual soup). Noodles are cooked and held seperately from the soup and added to each bowl as it is served. This keeps the noodles from over cooking and becoming a gummy mess. Did I mention the noodles are tossed with extra virgin olive oil and minced parsley? My point is sublime is often about taking extraordinary care with very ordinary things - it is love shown in the details.

But my Vegetable Soup? I throw everything in but the kitchen sink and hope for the best.

Some of our most popular soups are the easiest ones to make. The Tomato Basil Soup is one example, another is the Pumpkin Black Bean Soup. I'll tell you a little secret. When you see the PBB on the menu it probably means there is a lot of work to be done in the kitchen. It's my fall back easy soup. With every ingredient in your cubbard, a great pot of soup can be had in about 30 minutes. All you have to do is dice an onion and open a few cans.

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup
4 cups vegetable stock (or water and 4 Knorr Vegetable bullion cubes)
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 32 oz. can, pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling, but usually found in the same place)
1 16 oz. can, black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tablespoon curry powder (I like Penzey's Sweet Madras Curry)
2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1 32 oz. can tomatoes, diced or pureed

In a soup pot (6 qt. or larger), saute onions in olive oil unitl tender and lightly colored. Have stock or water and bullion at the ready. Add curry, cumin and cayenne to the onions and saute to toast spices. This will only take a minute, then add stock or bullion water all at once. Add all remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat until hot.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ya Whoooo!

Snow day!

What chases the chill away better than a bowl of Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup or a cafe sandwich and a cup of Tomato Basil Soup?

Panini specials are Apple Alexander, Granny Smith apples, brie and honey and The Virginian, ham, turkey, havarti & whole seed dijon.

Be safe and have a good day.