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"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
I’m not anti-recipe (obviously), but some things just don’t need them — and most vegetable soups fall into that category. Here are easy-to-follow instructions for making vegetable (vegetarian and, for the most part, vegan) soups with common ingredients, a variety of choices and terrific flavor. Print the following page, stick it on your refrigerator and work your way through it. By the time you’re done — 12 days or 12 weeks later — you’ll never again need a recipe for vegetable soup. Promise. [...]
Creamy Spinach Soup
Put 1 chopped onion, 2 peeled garlic cloves, 3 cups water and salt and pepper in a pot over high heat. Boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer until the onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Add 10 ounces chopped spinach and 1/2 cup parsley leaves; cook until the spinach is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup Greek-style yogurt and purée. Garnish: A spoonful of Greek-style yogurt and chopped parsley.
Substitute 1 tablespoon minced ginger for the garlic and 4 cups chopped butternut squash for the spinach (it will take longer to soften). Skip the parsley and substitute half-and-half or cream for the yogurt. Garnish: A spoonful of cream.
Curried Cauliflower Soup
Substitute 1 tablespoon minced ginger for the garlic, 2 cups cauliflower florets for the spinach (they will take longer to soften), 1 tablespoon curry powder for the parsley and coconut milk for the yogurt. Garnish: Chopped cilantro.
Vegetable Broth With Toast
Put 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped onions, 1 small chopped potato, 2 chopped celery ribs, 2 garlic cloves, 10 sliced mushrooms, 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine), 10 parsley sprigs, 1/2 ounce dried porcini, 8 cups water and salt and pepper in a pot over high heat. Boil, lower heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft, 30 minutes or longer. Strain and serve over toasted good bread. Garnish: Chopped celery leaves.
Egg Drop Soup
Beat 4 eggs. Boil the strained stock, lower the heat so it simmers and add the eggs in a steady stream, stirring constantly until they’re cooked, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped scallions, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Skip the bread. Garnish: Chopped scallions.
Boil the strained stock, lower the heat so it simmers and add 3/4 cup white rice. Cook until tender, then add 2 cups fresh or frozen peas; cook for a minute or two. Skip the bread. Garnish: Grated Parmesan.
Put 1 1/2 cup dried beans, 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery ribs, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves and 6 cups water in a pot over high heat. Boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer until the beans are soft, at least 1 hour, adding more water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish: A drizzle of olive oil.
Substitute chickpeas for the beans and rosemary for the thyme and add 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine). When the chickpeas are almost tender, add 1/2 cup small pasta. Cook until the pasta and chickpeas are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish: A few chopped rosemary leaves.
Spicy Black-Bean Soup
Use black beans and substitute fresh oregano for the thyme. When the beans are done, add 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 dried or canned chipotle and the juice of a lime. Garnish: Cilantro and sour cream.
Sauté 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped celery rib and 1 teaspoon minced garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups cubed potatoes and salt and pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine) and 5 cups water. Boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 cup chopped green beans; simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish: Chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.
Substitute 1 1/2 pounds sliced mushrooms (preferably an assortment) for the potatoes; sauté until they brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Substitute ½ cup white wine for the tomatoes, skip the green beans and add a fresh thyme sprig with the water. Garnish: A few thyme leaves.
Use 2 tablespoons minced garlic and substitute 2 tablespoons tomato paste for the celery. Skip the potatoes and green beans; use 3 cups tomatoes and 3 cups water. Cook the tomatoes for 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish: Lots of chopped or torn basil.
“— Chinese Hot and Sour Soup Recipe | Simply Recipes
Hot and sour soup is a lot like chili; every family has their own recipe, and each family thinks that theirs is the best. When I was in the local Chinese market perusing the mushrooms I asked one of the other shoppers, a tiny and ancient woman half my height whose etched wrinkles framed a friendly smile, where the wood ear mushrooms were.
"What are you using them for?"
"Hot and sour soup," I replied.
"What? You don't want those. Here," she grabbed a bag of dried shiitake, "use these."
"No! You don't want those for hot and sour soup!" cried another, more stout lady behind me. She said something in Cantonese to the first lady before grabbing a fresh bunch of enoki mushrooms and throwing them in my basket. "This is better."
Soon, nine women were having an all out argument in the middle of the aisle. I was stuck in the middle, caught between volleys of angry insults and defenses of cherished family recipes for hot and sour soup, both in Cantonese and English. People insulted each other's families, critiqued the various provinces of China (all were in agreement that the people in the North, apparently, can't cook good soup), and altered the contents of my shopping basket at whim. Eventually, a decision was reached that you absolutely have to use black fungus - an apt, but unappetizing name for a delightful ingredient - and lily buds. The other mushroom is up to you. Whatever one you decide on be sure to be ready to defend your choice.”
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