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CLASSIC FRENCH ONION SOUP

From a tiny BEACH kitchen:

French Onion Soup is one of my favs to order in a restaurant.  It always seemed to be a treat with a pound of cheese melted down the sides of the crock, and a roll (carbs!) floating in the broth.  It never occurred to me that I could make it better, and lighter, at home.  This recipe changed my mind.

If you have a food processor, use it.  Slicing the onions will take no time at all.  Please don’t pile a bag of shredded low fat cheese on top of this soup.  It won’t do it justice.  Buy a block of Gruyere and shred it yourself.  A small amount of Gruyere melted on top of a thin piece of toasted sourdough or french bread is all you need to experience a fantastic full, rich flavor with less calories.  The bread holds up the cheese so it doesn’t sink to the bottom.

I love wine but wasn’t sure what kind of wine to use in this recipe.  Well, that’s what Google is for.   The drier the wine, the less sugar in it, the less sweet ~ but with more alcohol.  Not to worry, the alcohol evaporates when cooking.  Long story short, want a good flavor?  Put in a good wine: a chardonnay or sauvignon blanc ~ and remember to pour yourself a glass. Slainte!

~Sheryl

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups of beef stock
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1-2 bay leafs
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 slices of toasted French, or crusty,  bread
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Romano cheese

In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 20 minutes. Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the caramelization.

Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil.  Simmer for 2 hours.  Discard the bay leaf.

To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish.  Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately- or the bread will begin to soak up the broth.

Elegant Tomato Soup

From Krisann:

This is a delicious tomato soup.  I have to give credit to my sister Kim for this one.   She served this soup with crostini in small bowls as an appetizer.  The presentation was beautiful!  I served it recently at an appetizer party that I hosted, it was well received.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • medium onion, chopped
  • 2 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes
  • 1 TBLS brown sugar
  • 3 large slice of good sandwich bread (crust removed and torn into 1 inch pieces)
  • Chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chives
  • Focaccia Rolls (or some other type of bread, you will make crostini’s to be served with the soup)
  • Pecorino Romano cheese (shredded)
Pesto Ingredients:
  • basil 1 bunch, about 2 cups(washed and dried)
  • 3 medium size cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan-reggiano or romano cheese
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor.  (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil).  Add the garlic, pulse a few more times.  Slowly add the olive oil an a constant stream while the food processor is on.  Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.  Add the grated cheese and sugar and pulse again until blended.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.  This will make more pesto than you need for this recipe.  You can use the remaining pesto for something else or freeze it.

Heat oil, sauté onion and garlic until tender 5 to 10 minutes,  Add tomatoes and mash with a potato masher.  Stir in sugar and bread; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until bread break down about 5 minutes.  Transfer half to food processor or blender and puree.  Add 1 TBLS oil and puree until smooth 2 to 3 minutes.  Repeat with remaining soup.  Stir in chic broth as much as you think you need (this will effect the consistency).  Add 1-2 TBLS pesto while cooking.

Preheat over to 400. Cut the focaccia rolls into sticks, place on a cookie sheet, spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and shredded pecorino romano cheese.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a cooling rack.

Mix a couple of TBLS of pesto with olive oil (this will make a pesto oil).  Pour the pesto oil into a squeeze bottle.

Serve the soup, with a circular squirt of the pesto oil and a crostini.

Hearty Chicken Soup


From Natalie
: Winter has finally arrived in the northeast and it is time for some hot soup!  My father-in-law had been craving chicken soup so I thought I would indulge him.  I had roasted an 8 pound chicken for a dinner party with my cousin Jean and her boyfriend Doug and had plenty left over for a terrific soup.

Ingredients:

  • I had roasted the chicken topped with Crazy salt, pepper and garlic powder.  After dinner I took all the remaining chicken off the bones, about 1 pound.
  • Minor’s chicken base (I find it at BJ’s Wholesale Club)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (This was also leftover from dinner.  I had cooked this with chicken broth instead of water.)
  • 1 cup raw baby carrots
  • 3 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of white beans
  • 1 package of frozen peas (10 oz. package)
  • 1 cup of Orzo (small pasta)

The directions on the Minor’s chicken base says 1 Tablespoon with 1 quart of boiling water.  I love this base but it is a little salty, so you may want to start light and add more to taste.  I boiled about 3 quarts of water and added about 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of Minor’s chicken base.  Dissolve the base in the water. (The rice, also having been cooked with the chicken base, added even more taste, so I went light on the base.)

Put the chicken and all the vegetables in the pot (as you can see, I used some fresh, some canned and some frozen vegetables.  They all work fine.  The fresh vegetables went into the pot raw.  I did cook the frozen peas and then added them to the pot.)

Add the rice and Orzo (if you are really watching the carbs, you can use just one of these).  I added the Orzo uncooked and it cooked while the soup simmered.

Simmer for about 1 hour.  Serve with warm rolls for a hearty meal. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Soup

From Krisann:

Nothing tastes more like fall than this delicious pumpkin soup.  I inherited this recipe, as I do many of my recipes, from my mother.  We usually enjoy this soup as part of our Thanksgiving dinner.

The recipe is finished with heavy cream, however, I just made it as part of our Beachpeach Celebration Dinner and omitted the heavy cream and the calories.  I have had this soup prepared both ways and I think I will make it without the cream from now on.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz uncooked bacon diced
  • 3/4 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 large white onion finely chopped
  • 2 Red Delicious apples diced with the peel on
  • 1 med carrots coursely chopped
  • 3 lbs pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 qts chicken broth
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 qt heavy cream (this is optional)

In a large stock pot (dutch oven) saute bacon until brown.

Add the butter and melt completely, add the onions and apples and saute until translucent.

Add the carrots and saute on low-med heat for 5 min.

Add cayenne pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour.  Cook over low heat 4-8 minutes stirring continuously.

Add chicken broth, Marsala wine and pumpkin. Cook over med high for 10 minutes.

Add salt and brown sugar and simmer for 10 minutes.

If you choose to add cream, simply add it just before you are about ready to serve the soup.    Enjoy!!

GREEK WHITE BEAN SOUP (FASOLATHA)

From PEACH:

I learned of this wonderful and delicious Greek White Bean Soup in my mom’s kitchen as a child. Traditionally, made with dry white beans, I have found canned beans to be much easier without giving up the  taste.  In no time at all, the soup is finished.  Just wonderful and so very good for you.

Ingredients: (makes 12 hearty cups)

  • 3 – 1 lb 13 oz Goya Small White Beans
  • 1 –  28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 8 oz can of tomatoe sauce
  • 2 TBSP chopped garlic
  • 6 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock (Recommend Minor’s Chicken Base, can be found at BJ’s)
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano (rub between palms of hands to release flavors)
  • 1 TBSP black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot.  Bring to a full boil. Stir.  Stir. Stir!!

Reduce to simmer.  Cover.  Cook for 30 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Remember to stir periodically.

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