I Bean Making Soup

I couldn’t make lunch with my friend 😦 so I made soup. I had a mixed bag of legumes from my local Italian specialty store, but feel free to mix and match from the pantry. Use what you got – beans, barley, lentils, they all play nice.

And give yourself plenty of lead time. Beans sit on the shelf a while, sometimes years. I cooked this soup three hours and it could have gone longer. It freezes well too.

If you want some extra thickness, purée 2-3 cups and stir back in the pot. We were big babies as kids and refused beans with skin. My mother puréed the whole – baby food for her babies.


2 cups of mixed legumes (look for a package in the bean and/or soup aisle)

1 big onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 parsnips, chopped

2 stalks of celery (or the heart!), chopped

3-4 nuggets garlic, chopped

15 oz can Diced tomatoes

Veg or olive oil

2 bay leaves

Salt & pepper

In large heavy soup pot, warm 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, parsnips and celery. Season with salt & pepper. Soften 5-8 minutes. Add garlic, cook 2-ish minutes. Add tomatoes, bean mix, bay leaves and 6 cups of water. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer 2-3 hours. Add 2 or more cups of water as it gets absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: most of my salting takes place at the end with this soup. Don’t eat bay leaves.

Eat – B



Soup-er & Simple


So, I was looking for colorful legumes to use as vase filler (long story) and I bought a 14 ingredient bean soup mix to fit the bill. But it didn't, as I discovered upon opening the bag. Turns out some of its beans and grains were minuscule.

Not to worry – I could actually use it for it's intended purpose – soup. Nothing is easier than soup. Some savory, some solid, some liquid = soup.

Use what you got – I did and now have soup for 50! (Maybe an exaggeration).


17 ounce mixed dried beans with lentils & barley

Large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

14 -ish oz can chopped or cherry tomatoes

Olive oil

Bay leaf

Salt & pepper

8 cups water or stock

Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in large stockpot. Soften onion 3-5, add carrots, celery and garlic. Soften 3-5 minutes. Add tomatoes, bean mix, bay leaf and at least 6 cups of water. Being to a boil and simmer for at least 2-3 hours, adjusting salt & pepper & adding water along the way. Mine took 4 hours for the beans to get good & soft with about 8 cups of water. Still, I finished the laundry! Remove bay leaf.

Eat – B


Break Fast, Lunch or Dinner

I always say if you can't cook, cook soup. It's nearly impossible to make an unfixable mistake. Soup is meat and/or veg with liquid of almost any kind. It can be vegan, gluten free or grain rich, dairy-centric or not, and an easy way to get vegetables into haters. They're not hiding, they're puréed.

For the annual bagel and smoked fish bonanza I've been hosting at the end of Yom Kippur, I've recently added a couple of soup selections. This year chicken with matzah ball and the roasted eggplant tomato.

I didn't roast the tomatoes as they were farmer's market seconds that needed too much skinning and trimming (but a bargain!). But beautiful romas could easily be halved, dressed with olive oil and sent to the oven with the eggplant.


1 medium onion, chopped

2 carrots chopped

Modest handful of fresh basil

5-ish pounds of fresh tomatoes, seeded. Peel if desired.

Olive oil

2-3 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water for thinning

1 eggplant, cubed into size of choice

1 head of garlic, top sliced off to expose cloves

Over medium heat drizzle olive oil in stock pot or Dutch oven. Melt onion 5-10 minutes, adding carrots halfway through. Add tomatoes, a few good pinches of salt, pepper if preferred and cook a good 20 minutes, lowering the heat when it's super bubbly.

Meanwhile, preheat oven 425. Drizzle olive oil over garlic, wrap in foil and put in oven. Toss eggplant with enough olive oil to cover and put on baking sheet in oven. Eggplant takes about 20 minutes depending on size, garlic about 10-15 minutes longer. If it gets too hot, turn down the heat.

Add basil and all but 2 handfuls of eggplant to the stock pot. Squeeze out the roasted garlic, spread one on toast and add the rest to the stock pot. Eat the toast.

Purée the soup and return to pot, adding stock or water for desired consistency. Heat through with the rest of the eggplant. Adjust seasonings.

Note: my daughter said it needed something crunchy.

Croutons: cut stale bread into cubes of any size. Drizzle with olive oil. Toast in fry pan (or oven!) sprinkled with herbs of choice…garlic powder, kosher salt, thyme etc. Toss to avoid burning, turn off heat when crunchy, and toss with Parmesan. Store in zip top.

Eat – B

ps – stores beautifully


Veggie Zoup

In my house we call it zesty zoup, not necessarily because it's zesty (although it can be) but because we like saying zesty zoup. This vegan big batch recipe is a late summer staple. Mid winter veggies work just as well. The addition of barley gives a whole grain chewiness. Try adding quinoa if you'd prefer a hit of protein instead.

Non vegans feel free to sprinkle your fave grated Italian cheese. Even better cook this baby with that dried out rind of Parmesan lingering in your fridge 🙂

Use what veggies you have and feel free to sub. Making soup uses up pieces and bits you would otherwise toss. Feel free to use you processor for slicing, chopping & dicing – no judgement!


1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 carrots, sliced thin

1 larger zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced

1 larger yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and sliced

2 ears of corn from cob or freezer

1/2 cup puréed tomatoes, fresh, boxed, jarred or canned

1/2 cup barley

Olive or veg oil

In large stockpot over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon oil of choice. Cook onions 5-10 minutes until soft. Add garlic for last 2 minutes. Stirring and seasoning with salt & pepper. Add carrots, zucchini, yellow squash & corn. Add barley and toss the whole mess together. Combine with tomatoes & 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook 20-30 minutes, until barley is cooked through. Check seasonings. Eat.

Eat – B

*note: Zoup can be made zesty with red pepper flakes, fresh herbs or pistou (blended garlic, basil, olive oil). Beans can be added for a heartier dish – jarred, canned or previously hydrated.


Corn & Crab Soup

My son picked this soup from Bon Appetit. The original calls for cold corn soup with lobster. Too lazy to seek out reasonably priced lobster, I adapted lump crab as the garnish (the fishmonger agreed). We also prefer warm soup to cold, and it was just as easy since we were dining close to the stove.

Here is the link to the original recipe. (Click here) I added kernels from two extra ears of corn to my soup. For the crab garnish, I dressed 1/2 pound with the lemon, olive oil & Dijon mustard. I skipped (didn't have) the rest of the ingredients. I'm thinking the crab on its own would be pretty good too! Admittedly, I taste tested it a few times. 🙂

Drink up – B


Old Bones, New Soup

I will never be confused with Le Bernardin's Eric Ripert, but then again I never claimed to be a restaurant. I will tell you I can make chicken soup with one hand tied behind my back, and so can you!

Here is a no fail “recipe”.


2 roasted chicken carcasses, or the equivalent in bones, raw or roasted, or a whole chicken plus necks and wings

A couple onions, halved or not

A couple carrots, chunked or not

A couple celery stalks, leaves too if possible, chunked or not

A couple garlic cloves, whole & peeled

A parsnip, chunked or not

A turnip, halved or not

A hunk of ginger, optional*

1/2 teaspoon peppercorns (not ground)

Fresh dill if you have, or not

Throw it all in a heavy bottom pot, whatever you have of the above list, and cover with water. Chicken is obviously required. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer. A whole 3-4 pound chicken will cook in about an hour fifteen to thirty. If it's all bones, I let it simmer for hours. I prefer the bones.

Sieve out the lumps and bumps. Cool and refrigerate.


When ready to make soup, add fresh carrots, noodles, herbs if desired, salt & pepper to taste.

Do laundry at the same time, doubly productive – B

Note: proven to be effective for fighting colds.

Tip for cooling. Saw this one in Vegas. Fill a bin, pot or your sink with tons of ice and water. Insert zip top bags or plastic containers of stock in bin, pot or sink until cool. Alternatively snow banks work too.


Wanton Wonton Soup


..as in I threw my usual weekday caution of time to the wind. It never ceases to amaze me how slowly I assemble wontons. And I'm not exactly showcasing form over function. Chefs in China study dumpling making for years. I can't compete, basically because I can't pleat. No matter, these wontons taste terrific. I use my friend Nancy McDermott's Quick & Easy Chinese as a benchmark for the dumplings.

For the broth, I lightened my mom's chicken soup with a little water, added a couple slices of ginger, a little soy sauce, salt and shredded cabbage (one head of savoy lasted 2 weeks and supported at least half a dozen dishes! Go folate & vitamin C!).


1 lb ground pork

2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger

4 scallions chopped

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup shredded Savoy cabbage

1 teaspoon s

1/2 teaspoon sugar

I could only find square dumpling wrappers so I place the filling in the middle and bring two opposite corners together to make a triangle. Then I bend the two furthest corners to the middle of their straight line so they touch. Water makes wonton wrappers stick like glue – use it on all the edges.

Note: Nancy's recipe calls for spinach – I subbed cabbage. It also calls for sesame oil and I'm out. Last note-her dumplings are potstickers, notable for getting a crust in a fry pan and using steam to finish them. Fabulous alternative to floating them in soup.