Category Archives: Soups

Soups

Edible Flowers in the San Diego Union Tribune Food Section

In the San Diego Union Tribune

Dec. 16, 2015

Lavender Shortbread cookies

View the recipe and a mouth watering photo here:

Shortbread blossoms with lavender

or

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/dec/15/shortbread-blossoms-with-lavender/

Boo-Hoo, it’s Halloween in 2013! Time for pumpkin chorba soup!

 

Greetings on a sunny, Southern California, Fall afternoon. Halloween and

 

Thanksgiving are just around the corner, citrus trees are laden with ripening

 

fruit (another record crop awaits!), and golden, apple-sized figs still hang on

 

to our  tree for dear life. And birds find our our Pom Wonderful pomegranates

 

bursting open with sweetness irresistible.

 

 

I love the onset of Fall, here, in San Diego County, or anywhere else. Nature,

 

it seems puts forth its final burst of beauty, a mature one  tinged with the

 

colors of experience, of a brief, sun-drenched life. I can’t explain why, but

 

one of my favorite images of Fall is one of fading anemones in various shades of

 

pink drooping languidly over a blue vase. The artist is long erased from my

 

brain.

 

 And then there is  Halloween. Our location, off a busy street, has never been

 

conducive to enticing young children up our steep driveway. Yet, every year,

 

hoping a young visitor might break the mold, I stock up on Snicker bars, Crunch

 

bars, and Reese peanut butter cups (my husband’s favorites!) I would much rather

 

give away a wedge of Vache qui Rit cheese, or a plump Medjool date. That line of

 

thinking according to my husband, is distinctly “unamerican!”

 

 So what do you do when life hands you a carved pumpkin, and you don’t want to throw it away? Make pumpkin chorba!

Kitty’s Pumpkin, Tomato, and Vermicelli Soup

 

Serves 4 

 

In Morocco, chorba is a catch-all word for vegetable soup incorporating vermicelli broken up into tiny pieces. A bowl of steaming chorba is standard fare in many Moroccan households on chilly evenings. This soup is usually fairly thick, but you can thin it by adding a little milk.

 

 

1 medium onion

 

4 whole cloves

 

6 cups  broth

 

2 pounds pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks

 

4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

 

5 medium tomatoes (or 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes), quartered

 

12 sprigs cilantro, tied with string

 

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

 

1/4 cup broken up capellini, or angel hair pasta

 

1 to 2 cups milk

 

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 

Wedges of lemon

 

 

         Stud the onion with the cloves. In a large saucepan or soup pot, combine the broth, squash, celery, tomatoes, cilantro, and turmeric. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until vegetables are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Drain, reserving broth in a bowl.

 

         Discard the onion, cloves, and cilantro.

 

         In a blender, food processor or ricer, puree the vegetables in increments, adding the reserved broth a little at a time to obtain a smooth, thick puree. Return the soup to the pan. Bring to a simmer. Break up the pasta into 1-inch pieces and add to the soup. Simmer until pasta is cooked, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1 cup milk or more for a thinner soup, and heat through.  Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


From The Vegetarian Table: North Africa by Kitty Morse. (Chronicle Books, 1996)

 

 

 

A HOT couscous soup for a cold night!

Joyeuses Fêtes and Happy Holidays!

(to paraphrase a Moroccan proverb)

 

To each of you, I send a box filled with sesame seeds.

 

Each seed representing one hundred wishes for peace, health, and happiness in 2012

 

Bonne Année, Bon Appétit and Bismillah!

 

A l'année prochaine!

 

 To counter grey days and world-shattering news events, I usually retreat to the

kitchen to ferret out the contents of my vegetable bin. Do I have what it takes

to make soup? Last week, while the rain pelted our skylights, I uncovered the

ingredients necessary for couscous soup. A true balm for the spirit! 

From my book, Couscous: Fresh and Flavorful Contemporary Recipes, a heart warming soup spiked with not-too-fiery harissa.

 

Spicy Tunisian Couscous Soup 

Serves 6

This soup is packed with flavor even if you omit the chicken. In fact, I often make a vegetarian version, adding other root vegetables such as turnips and rutabagas to the pot.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon Harissa hot sauce, plus extra for serving

6 chicken legs or thighs

3 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 medium potato, peeled and cubed

6 ounces pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

8 cups chicken broth

1 medium zucchini, diced

One 14 1/4-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained

1/3 cup couscous

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, coriander, cumin, garlic, and harissa. Stir to blend. Add the chicken. Stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium. Add the tomatoes, carrot, potato, pumpkin, and broth. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. 

 With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones. Return the boned chicken to the pot.

Add the zucchini, garbanzo beans, and couscous. Continue cooking until the couscous is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with extra harissa on the side.

STAY WARM!

 

Encore fava beans!

A New Way to Cook with Fava Beans!

Leaves included!

Some of you may know of my taste for fresh fava beans, that most underrated bean, at least among US cooks. 

 Fava beans always come to mind at this time of the year, especially around Easter and Passover. Growing up in Morocco meant I got to participate in the rituals of Muslims, Christians, and Jews: That made for sampling a number of celebratory dishes, from Ramadan soup, to Hot Cross Buns, and my maternal great-grandmother’s Passover bean soup packed with fresh cilantro.

 My favorite way to savor favas is à la marocaine of course, cooked in olive oil, and flavored with cumin, paprika, and cilantro.  But I was thrilled to discover that fava leaves are also edible. This thanks to a vendor at the Vista farmer’s market, the one where you will find me every Saturday morning. Gladys, an expert in Asian cooking, told me she added fava leaves instead of pea shoots to her Chinese egg drop soup. So I rushed to the store, bought the makings for chicken broth, and added fava leaves and sesame oil:  I am here to tell you that this soup will become part of my repertoire .  

In the same spirit of experimentation, I too, decided to give a Moroccan classic a new twist by adding leaves and pods ( as long as they are young and tender). Shelling favas is somewhat time consuming, but you can do that a day or two ahead.  The leaves have only a very faint, grassy taste, so you can be generous when you add them to your dish.

Et voilà le résultat! Bon appétit!

 

Fava Beans, Leaves and Pods with chermoula spices

 serves 4

 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

2 teaspoons cumin

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 cup shelled fava beans

2 cups fava bean leaves (no stems)

4 or 5 small, slender pods, cut into 2-inch pieces

½ bunch cilantro tied with string

½ cup water

Salt and pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

Chopped cilantro, for garnish

 In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add paprika, cumin, and garlic. Stir until spices start to bubble. Add tomatoes, shelled beans, leaves, pods, cilantro and water. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Discard cilantro. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl, and serve at room temperature. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.

copyright Kitty Morse 2011

Happy 2010

          As I write, I can hear thunder rumbling in the background. High winds and pelting rain are so unusual in our neck of the woods that we had to take in a roommate, and allow Olive, our scott terrier, to sleep on our bed (normally an absolute no-no!). She had never heard such thunder! The end result was worth it, however. From the ocean, a ring of snow-capped mountains is visible in the distance, between Palomar Mountain to the south, and the San Jacinto peak above Palm Springs to the northeast. A rare sight indeed!

            Thank you to  those who purchased copies of A Biblical Feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today’s Table. The list of stores (California missions and a few university bookstores among them) keeps growing. How about sending a signed copy to a special friend as a Valentine’s Day gift? The book is available at www.abiblicalfeast.com.

            Thank you, as well, to those who availed themselves of my consultation services, whether before traveling to Morocco or to organize a Moroccan banquet. (See the pages on this site).

            As I hear about the lack of water in the Central Valley, I remain deeply concerned about California’s family farms. This year, I intend to obtain updates on some of the farmers and home cooks who contributed so generously to The California Farm Cookbook (Pelican Publishing 1994). Perhaps you’d like to come along for the ride? I will share updates along with a recipe or two. 

            Meanwhile, the chill in the air of the past week generated almost a pavlovian response. I automatically headed to the kitchen to make soup. The following, adapted from my book, Couscous, fulfilled my craving!

Spicy Tunisian Couscous Soup

Serves 6

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon harissa hot sauce, plus extra for serving

6 chicken legs or thighs (optional)

3 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 medium potato, peeled and cubed

6 ounces pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

8 cups chicken broth

1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices

One  (14 1/4-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained

1/3 cup couscous

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

             In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, coriander, cumin, garlic, and harissa, if using. Stir to blend. Add chicken, if using. Stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes, carrot, potato, pumpkin, and broth. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, 35 to 40 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones. Return boned chicken to the pot.

            Add zucchini, garbanzo beans, and couscous. Continue cooking until couscous is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with extra harissa on the side. Enjoy!

 Bismillah!