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Steamy, savory soups for the fall season

November 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
One of the best parts of chilly weather is the food that comes with it, like warm and filling soup made with seasonal offerings of squash, beans and dark greens. A hearty bowl makes a perfect meal for those with limited space and equipment."You only own one pot, and you have a cutting board and a knife and a frying pan, and that's what you've got," said Chef Anna Thomas.

Thomas found the out the hard way, using an undersized kitchen during a remodel.

"It was literally 81 inches from one end to the other, and I thought, this will be fine for a few months," she said.

Three years and 100 soup recipes later, Love Soup cookbook was born, featuring her beautiful green soup that literally starts with a pot full of dark leafy greens, like spinach, kale and chard, potato and caramelized onion - blended to resemble green paint.

"I finish each bowl of soup with a little drizzle of fresh unheated olive oil," Thomas said.

Her cannellini bean and chard soup is another favorite. Beans are a near perfect food, with a nice protein and carbohydrate balance. They go well with the chard and spices, topped with homemade croutons.

"Maybe a little cheese if you like it," Thomas said.

Thomas also transformed some ugly ingredients into a beautiful, golden soup, roasting kabocha squash, turnips and celery root blended together and topped with browned butter and maple syrup. The combination will create a rich and creamy soup.

While all of these soups are different, she says there are a few tried and true ingredients that will perk up any soup attempt.

For example, Food Coach Lori Corbin made a zucchini soup a few days ago. She added a little salt and some spices, but it just didn't have the zing she was looking for. She tried adding coconut milk, but that didn't work either.

"Your soup is not pathetic. Your soup is what we call a good start," Thomas said.

Thomas said Corbin's soup was hollering for herbs.

"Chop up a tablespoon or two of fresh basil. Throw that in there and a little lemon juice and some pepper, and that will be a great soup," she said.

Thomas urges caution when using salt.

"Add a little bit, and then wait a minute or two," she said.

You can find "Love Soup" by Anna Thomas on Amazon.com.


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