Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen

Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen

by Deborah Madison

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When I said I was working on a soup book, the response was often, “Oh, I love soup!” People enthuse about soup in a way that’s so heartwarming it makes me feel as if I’m in the right camp... The soups in this book are based on vegetables, and many of these recipes are new ones for me. But some are soup classics, by which I mean some

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When I said I was working on a soup book, the response was often, “Oh, I love soup!” People enthuse about soup in a way that’s so heartwarming it makes me feel as if I’m in the right camp... The soups in this book are based on vegetables, and many of these recipes are new ones for me. But some are soup classics, by which I mean some of those that have stood the test of time in my kitchen, (Quinoa, Corn, and Spinach Chowder) and those that are classics in the culture (Boston-Style Black Bean Soup). I’ve tried to streamlined these dishes as much as possible without sacrificing goodness, so that you can easily enjoy them in your own kitchen. I hope you do enjoy making these soups and add them, one by one, to your repertoire.

—from the Introduction

In Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen, America’s favorite vegetarian cookbook author presents more than 100 inventive and straightforward soup recipes guaranteed to satisfy appetites all year long.

Deborah Madison has shown millions of Americans how to turn vegetables and other healthful ingredients into culinary triumphs. In her newest collection of recipes, She serves up a selection of soups ranging from stylish first courses to substantial one-bowl meals.

Madison begins with a soup-making primer and streamlined recipes for vegetable stocks and broths (such as the Hearty Mushroom Broth), which serve as the foundation for many of the recipes that follow, for those who wish to make their own. Soups like the Mexican Tomato Broth with Avocado and Lime can start a supper or stand alone as a simple, light meal. Cooks looking for heartier choices will find satisfying dishes such as Potato and Green Chile Stew with Cilantro Cream or grain-based soups like the Wild Rice Chowder. Organized by seasons, the recipes make the most of the produce–from a springtime Fennel and Almond Soup with Saffron and Ricotta Dumplings to a deeply flavorful autumnal Roasted Squash, Pear and Ginger Soup. When time just isn’t available and prepared soups take the place of home made, Madison offers a battery of suggestions for how to make them your own with simple additions from delicious oils and herbs to an invigorating Cilantro Salsa.

Featuring fifty stunning full-color photographs by Laurie Smith, serving suggestions, wine notes, and a host of ideas for creative finishing touches including caramelized pear “croutons” and souffléd cheese toasts, this friendly soup lover's guide gives the reader a hundred delicious ways to enjoy the benefits and flavors of vegetables by the bowlful throughout the seasons.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Madison continues her quest to make vegetarian food palatable to all, banking on her belief that soups are "almost universally popular." Still, though the author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone mostly refrains from using tofu, few of her recipes are as "uncontrived" as she claims: for instance, Roasted Fall Tomato Soup is vastly better than anything canned, but the curry, saffron and quinoa swirled in may intimidate the palates of less ambitious cooks. The other recipes-including hearty broths, bean soups, lentil soups, grain-thickened soups and soups for each season-either riff on classics or take wholly innovative directions. This approach will attract experienced cooks bored with the usual noodle soups or minestrones, and who have access to top-quality spices and vegetables, plus plenty of time and patience. While not all of the recipes are demanding, readers who are willing to commit the necessary effort will be rewarded by rich layers of taste in elegant selections like Rice and Golden Turnip Soup with Fontina Cheese. An excellent opening section on stock sets the stage, and in the margins Madison provides helpful tips on ingredient buying, preparation, presentation and wine accompaniment. Her fans, as well as soup connoisseurs, are sure to lap this book up eagerly. Photos. Agent, Doe Coover. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The latest book from the talented Madison (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) is a lovely collection of more than 100 vegetarian soup recipes for all seasons. There are four chapters of recipes grouped by main ingredient-e.g., "Hearty Bean Soups"-followed by chapters of recipes for each season, from Spring Asparagus Soup Three Ways to a hearty winter Potato and Green Chile Stew. Madison begins with a helpful introduction to the basics of making a good vegetable soup, with lots of ideas for improvising, and many of the recipes include suggestions for variations. There are also sidebars on ingredients and other relevant topics throughout, along with wine (or beer) suggestions for each soup. For all collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
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8.24(w) x 9.11(h) x 0.63(d)

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Avocado Soup
with herbs, slivered radishes, and pistachios
Makes 3 ½ cups

Avocado pureed with buttermilk (low-fat) and yogurt (with the cream on top) yields a pale green soup laced with masses of minced herbs, textured with cucumber, and garnished with slivered radishes, herbs, and green pistachios. All in all, it’s a fine soup for a hot day, and although the recipe makes just a scant quart, it will be enough for four or more servings.

2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 cup yogurt, preferably whole-milk
1 large avocado, peeled and pitted
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 large garlic clove
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 slender scallions, white parts plus a bit of the green, finely minced
3 tablespoons chopped dill
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1 tablespoon minced marjoram or oregano
1 tablespoon minced tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
½ jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lime
½ teaspoon sweetener, such as agave syrup (page 140), to taste

To Finish
Finely sliced chives and chive blossoms
Thinly slivered radishes
Dill, mint, and cilantro sprigs
1/3 cup shelled pistachios or walnuts

1. Puree the buttermilk, yogurt, avocado, and a quarter of the peeled cucumber in a blender until smooth, then pour it into a bowl.
2. Mash the garlic with ½ teaspoon salt and stir it into the puree along with the scallions, herbs, chile, and lime zest. Season to taste with salt, pepper, lime juice, and sweetener, if needed. Seed and finely dice the remaining cucumber and add to the soup. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Just before serving, taste and correct the seasonings.
3. Ladle the soup into bowls, then cover the surface with the chives, radishes, herb sprigs, and pistachios.

Agave Syrup

For those who don’t like using refined sugar, organic or not, agave syrup offers and alternative. It’s sweeter than sugar but has a low glycemic index. While there’s more to it than pure sweetness, its flavor is not a pronounced as that of honey or maple syrup. Derived from agave, the same plant used for making tequila, the liquid form of the syrup is easy to add to foods as it dissolves instantly. Agave syrup can be found in natural food stores.

Cool Cucumber Soup
with a cucumber-herb relish
Makes 3 to 4 cups

This herb-green froth of a soup can be whipped together in a blender in moments, then chilled until serving. Served in glasses, it makes a refreshing way to begin a summer dinner, and it’s a great convenience to have on hand in the refrigerator for a quick lunch or an afternoon bite.

A cucumber soup can be led in many directions. You can allow dill to predominate and garnish it with dill flowers, use a mixture of herbs as is done here, or use any one of them alone. I find a mixture most interesting–dill, basil, cilantro, and chives with a leaf or two of lovage, the perfect cucumber herb in my opinion. If you want the snap of chile, add minced jalapeno and lime.

The Soup
2 pounds cucumbers
1 cup buttermilk, whole-milk yogurt, sour cream, or a mixture
½ cup coarsely chopped herbs, including basil, dill, cilantro, and lovage
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Zest and juice of 2 lemons, or to taste

The cucumber relish
2 tablespoons minced chives or scallions
1 tablespoon minced dill
2 tablespoons each finely chopped basil and cilantro
1 lovage leaf, finely slivered
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Peel and seed the cucumbers. Use one to make a cup of small dice and set it aside, then coarsely chop the rest. Puree in a blender or food processor with the buttermilk, chopped herbs, ½ teaspoon salt, and the zest and juice from 1 lemon. Chill.
2. Just before serving, toss the reserved diced cucumber with the herbs, a few pinches of salt, the olive oil, and the remaining lemon juice and zest.
3. Taste the soup for salt, pepper, and acidity, adding more lemon juice if needed, then serve in chilled bowls with the cucumber-herb relish.

You can make the soup ultra-lean if you use buttermilk or richer with sour cream. I fall in between, using buttermilk along with at least a cup of the best whole-milk yogurt I can find, such as Strauss Family Organic Creamery.

White Gazpacho
of almonds and melon (ajo blanco)
Makes 2 2/3 cups

A silky texture and the presence of garlic, salt, and the melon (or large green grapes) make a concoction that’s at once sweet, salty, and pungent. The first time I had this, in Spain, I was immediately reminded of those perfumed Arab almond-based drinks scented with orange-flower water, to which this is related. Both are luxurious given the quantity of nuts and the labor of pounding and straining, even if that is now done by a food processor. Because this is a rich soup, it can be served in quite small portions; this amount will serve six or more.

1 large slice white country bread or baguette
¾ cup almonds
2 garlic cloves, not too large, peeled
Sea salt
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, plus extra to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil, preferably Spanish
2 cups ice water
2 cups diced fragrant green melon, such as Galia or Passport, or 24 large seedless green grapes, peeled and halved

1. Put the bread on a plate, drizzle several tablespoons of water over it, and set aside.
2. Bring several cups of water to a boil, add the almonds, turn off the heat, and let stand for 1 minute. Drain, then rinse with cold water. Pinch off the skins with your fingers.
3. Grind the almonds in a food processor with the garlic and add ½ teaspoon salt until reduced to fine crumbs. Add the bread and vinegar and continue working until it is as smooth as possible. It may clump together, but you can’t overwork it. With the machine running, slowly pour in the oil, followed by the ice water. Be sure to scrape down the sides as the ground almonds can stick to them. Pour the soup through a fine strainer set over a bowl, and gently press the liquid out with a rubber scraper so that the soup is silky smooth. Discard the solids and refrigerate the soup until it’s good and cold, 2 to 3 hours. Taste for salt and vinegar. The sharpness of the vinegar should just be detectable.
4. Serve small portions of the soup, dividing the melon or grapes among them.

This rich soup wants some bubbles to contrast with its creaminess. A Spanish cava would be an obvious and good choice.

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