Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category

A record cold Arctic blizzard blasting winter has been playing with us in the US. Here in NY we have had a really cold and long winter. Down to -14-15C/8F almost every time a cold spell hit us. And it has been snowing off and on all through the winter. We still have snow in the garden and now they warned for yet one more little snowfall. But this time I think it will be very minor and it will not stick to the ground.

The really strange thing is that back in Sweden, it has been a more warm winter, not too much snow & not too cold. Actually no winter at all for the longest time. Some people said they missed the winter others didn’t.

I just reminded a friend, that the good thing with a super deep freeze is that all mosquitos, tics and other horrible little creeps all dies. They have to start from scratch with their colonies.

So all is well with the deep freeze during the winter for me. But one does not have to overdo it. All over the US temperature records are broken. They said that we in NY have had the 7 coldest winter since they started keeping track of temperatures. Now that is crazy.

And all this really has made us “drink soup” as they call it in the West Indies. And lot’s of it, all through the winter.

I make sure to always have a few different kinds in the fridge & freezer, because it really is one of the best ways to defrost after being outside.

I usually make some pumpkin soup, potato & leek soup, some clear broth for noodles, my favorite simple and classic vegetable soup, corn chowder or some other soups.

But come the weekend, we do a little bit of a fancy soup or chowder.
Here is an easy seafood chowder. Super good, tasting and fragrant.




Seafood chowder.

Serves 4.

About 1/2 lb. of fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined.

6oz. of fresh salmon cut into 1″ cubes.

1/2 c. of finely cut leek or 4 medium shallots, chopped.

4 c. of fish stock or vegetable stock.

1- 1 1/2 c. of heavy cream (if you do not want cream use more stock).

A handful of corn kernels & shelled edamame..

1/4c. white port or good white wine.

1.8 oz-2 oz. saffron.

Fresh herbs like thyme, basil or chives as decoration.

1/2 tbs. butter for frying (you could use olive oil if you only have that).

Salt & pepper to taste.


Start with melting the butter in a soup pot on medium heat. Fry the shallots to a translucent color. Add the saffron, corn & edamamde. Fry for a few minutes.

If the shrimp is really big, you can split them lengthwise.

Add the white port or white wine. Let boil for one more minute before you add the peeled and deveined shrimp & the salmon. Let come to a boil and add the cream and let come to a boil again and simmer for a few minutes. The seafood chowder is done when the shrimp is turning pink. You can add either salt & pepper to taste or just stick to the fresh herb that you chop up and sprinkle over the chowder. You can of course also add hot sauce if you like just as well as any other of your favorite ingredient that you feel is missing in your version of the seafood chowder.


Stay warm and enjoy!

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It is still a little chilly out and I crave some soup or broth. Right now, I am so focused on finishing a whole bunch of tasks making long complicated cooking banned.  I just don’t have the time for it this week. Instead I am making quick dishes. Turkey Fricadelles in a chicken broth.

The “heavy work” would just be the mixing of the ground turkey. After that, it takes care of itself.

This is more of a sophisticated and old fashion dish. It is usually served in a consomme’. I am more used to Fricadelles made out of ground pork. But, if using ground turkey, you will get a very nice light and fresh taste. And, if you mix it with ginger and lemon zest the freshness & lightness is elevated even more. You can also make Fricadelles and boil them in a tomato sauce and pour it over some pasta. Another version is to bake them in the oven. I prefer to boil them in a broth though.

It is a little sad that we have forgotten many of the old timers (old classic dishes). I really appreciate eating different kinds of food. Things that my grandmother and mother used to make. These Fricadelles are an upbeat version of theirs.



Turkey Fricadelles in a Chicken broth.

Makes about 20 Fricadelles.

1 lb. ground turkey.

1 tbsp. potato flour/starch.

Zest from 1 lemon., finely chopped.

1/2-1 tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger.

1 egg.

2 tbsp. finely chopped herbs. Any kind. (I love to use basil/Thyme/cilantro/parsley. Either one or a combination of).

2 tbsp. finely grated parmesan cheese (optional).

1 tbsp. concentrated chicken or vegetable broth.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Splash of hot sauce (optional).

Good quality chicken broth or consomme’.


Mix the ground turkey, herbs, zest, egg and all the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl. Make sure all is well combined. Form little “meatballs” of the mixture, about 3/4″-1″ in size.

Let the broth or consomme’ come to a boil. Drop in the Fricadelles, one by one and make sure they don’t stick together. Let them simmer slowly (so that they don’t boil too hard and break into pieces). It should take about 8-10 minutes. They should be slightly firm to the touch. Note that since it is poultry they must be cooked all the way through. I use the broth that I boiled the Fricadelles in, but you can just as well boil some clean and clear broth on the side and lift over the Fricadelles into that broth for a clean serving. I usually strain the broth I boiled the Fricadelles in since it becomes very flavorful. 

You can make lot’s of Fricadelles and freeze them for future use. Perfect to just defrost in the fridge over night and drop into any dish for dinner.


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Like everybody else, I feel like eating a little lighter. It is the beginning of the year and the start of all our healthy promises.

But right now, I have to eat “soft” food since I just had a tooth removed. Yikes… But It is what it is. It had to be done…

Tofu hasn’t really been my thing but my friend Lisa has been introducing me to different kinds of Tofu and I must say, it can actually be really good. Lisa get’s sticky rice from a Korean place we go to sometimes, and to that she eats super soft Tofu. In the beginning, it looked really bad to me and a little plain, but she is right, it does taste pretty good. I tasted it the first time when she had dunked a big chunk of it into my Udon noodle soup. She is faster that the eye sometimes… I survived and now I actually buy tofu on my own. That is a big step for me. But I feel good about being good, if you understand what I mean. While being out with my husband the other day, I actually ordered crispy Tofu at my favorite noodle place. NO NOODLES!! Wow, what a victory that was.


Tofu & Eggplant in a Miso broth.

serves 2-3.

One eggplant, cubed into aprx. 1″ pieces. (If you use Japanese eggplant, take a bout 3-4 since they are so small).

2-3 scallions. Cut on the diagonal, into small pieces.

1 fresh hot pepper. Any kind (Optional. You could also use a little dried red pepper flakes).

1/2 -1 box of soft Tofu (or the Tofu of your choice). Cut into 3/4″-1″ pieces.

2 c. water.

2-4 tbsp. Miso paste. Any color.

A splash of oil for frying the eggplant.

You can add any herbs or spices of your choice. It happens that I add a splash of soy sauce or tempura sauce.


Heat up the oil in a medium low heat pan. Fry the eggplant until it is starting to get a little soft. Add the miso paste and water. Taste as you go, and add as much of the Miso as your taste buds require. I usually would take about 3 tbsp. for a pot of Tofu & eggplant. Add the Tofu. Let heat through slightly, don’t let it cook. Sprinkle over the chopped scallions and hot pepper.

This is perfect with any kind of meat as well. 

Soft, fast and easy… Not forgetting that it is also healthy.


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I just love my garden!!!

I am at the end of all my “farming” for this year. I have a small garden but it is well planned and we get lot’s of fruits, vegetables and herbs from it all through the summer.



A great harvest.



I have a lot of herbs. Basil is of course one of the staples.



Herbs cut for drying. I make my own “Herb the Brooklyn” mixture.

It includes dried basil (Genovese, lemon/lime, Greek,cinnamon basil), Thyme, Lavender, Oregano, Mint, Rosemary, Sage (purple, golden & regular Sage), Chives, Mexican coriander (recao is another name for it) & Marjoram. This mixture is my every day spice. I use it for everything. You can call it one of my secret weapons.




I also make a more “Swedish” mixture of dried Dill, Parsley & Chives. This herbal mixture is great for any seafood but you can also use it for many other things.


A great tip for herbs is to cut them fine and pack them into glass jars. All through the winter, you will now have “fresh” herbs. Just take the jar out and scrape with a fork directly into the food you are cooking. Or perhaps you are making a cold sauce that needs some herbs. Just add some from the frozen jars. I always have Dill, Parsley, Cilantro & basil in jars all over my freezers (yes I have 2 freezers. One in the kitchen for an everyday” use and one in the basement for all my bulk purchases and harvesting.



All sorts of cherry tomatoes. I keep them on my deck so that there is an “easy access”. I don’t have to go into the garden itself to snack on some sun ripe cherry tomatoes.



We love to always have a variety of tomatoes. They are just so delicious to use as they are or to cook with.


I am always looking forward to my home-made tomato sauce. It is a mixture of all my different kinds of tomatoes and a whole bunch of herbs like Basil, Oregano & Thyme.

I cut it all into small pieces and then boil it down to a good consistency. I also add a few very finely cut fresh hot peppers. To keep the sauce for the winter I pour it into extremely clean glass jars. I always boil the lids separately to make sure there is no bacteria hanging out. Then, I put the jars in a water bath in a large pot (the water should only reach up to the lid). Let them come to a boil and then simmer for about 25-35 minutes. It depends on how long I boiled the sauce itself. When done, take the jars up and but on a dry towel to cool down. When you hear a little “pop” from the pressure of the lid, the canning of the tomato sauce is done. Keep in a cool and dark place. You might want to check the jars ever so often to make sure the sauce is still good.



Physalis. Just be careful with it.  It is one of those plants that ones you plant it you will always have them in your garden. They replenish themselves greatly.


Asters. My mothers favorite flower. I always plant them for her, even though she is in Sweden.  I always have Asters & Bleeding hearts my mothers favorites, Lobelia my fathers favorite & Ranunculus my sisters favorite.

Happy fall to all of you.

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I don’t know why, but Udon noodles are my favorite noodles.

It is to the point where I need to come up with something new to eat for lunch at work. It can get a little boring to eat the same thing (almost) all the time. Does it count as a different thing if I get it from a new place??? Ok, I know. Same thing. I was just joking…

At times, I make Udon noodles at home. It tastes much better and I can add anything I want. Here is a Beef Udon noodle I make quite often. It is light and yummy. And knowing my husband & I, it always ends up a little spicy in our version, but it is up to you, what level of heat you like and can stand.


Beef with Udon noodles.

Serves 2.

2 packages of Udon noodles, fresh not dried. (If you use dried, follow instructions on the package.)

About 1/2 lb Beef, any kind but preferably a good cut meat. (If you would like more beef just add more…)

Miso paste. Any kind. About 3-5 tbsp.

2 tbsp. Soy sauce.

2 tbsp. Mirin.

Juice of 1/2 lime.

2 – 3  cups of water. (Depending on how “soup like” you would like it to be.)

1/2 hot pepper, any kind. For decoration.

2 tsp. lightly toasted sesame seeds.

About a handful per person of any kind of vegetables you like or have in the fridge, cut small. For example chives, spring onions, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, sprouts…

2 tbsp, finely Julienne (leaves rolled up and cut thinly, creating long strips) fresh basil.

1/2 stock cube. (I use chicken stock.)

1 tbsp finely cut fresh coriander.

A pinch of lime zest.

A splash of hot sauce (optional).

You can add any other kind of herb or spice you like.


Cut the beef into strips. Marinate in the Mirin, Soy sauce and lime juice for at least 30 minutes to a couple of hours. If you don’t have Mirin you can use rice wine or cooking sake. When done, pad the meat dry on some paper towels. Fry in a skillet on high heat until done. It will just take a minute or two.

In a pan, boil the water with the miso paste & the stock cube. Add as much Miso as you like. I usually get the lighter Miso paste and use about 3-4 tbsp. (optional. Add the splash of hot sauce.)  Add the udon noodles. Let them just get warm.

Add all the finely cut veggies into the bowls. Add the udon noodles on top. Pour in the Miso liquid. Arrange the beef on top of the noodles. Sprinkle the coriander, basil, lime zest and sesame seeds on top. Finish off with the finely cut peppers.

This of course is just a guideline of what you can do. It works just as well with chicken, shrimp, pork or why not just the noodles with vegetables. You can also add small cubes of tofu to the noodles.

I hope you will enjoy it.


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What beats a bowl of nice hot soup on a cold dreary day?

It is so easy to make a soup , that it’s almost a crime not to make one. You can spiff up those “bottom of the fridge” items, by putting them into a soup. I know I say this a lot but there are really no rules for what you can make. One of the easiest ways would be to just simmer (slowly boil) vegetables, beans, peas or lentils (or whatever you choose to use in your soup.) When soft, just puree them with a hand mixer. Take out a little bit of the ingredients before mixing, then put them back into the pureed soup, so that you would get a little “crunch”. Spice it up and there you have it, a yummy soup.

I never liked butternut squash soup, since it was a little too sweet for me the way most people made it. Here is my version with a little bit of a twist.  Less sweet and “blend.”

Butternut squash soup with an orange twist.

1 butternut squash.

2 cups of broth (I use chicken, but vegetable broth is fine.)

2 tomatoes, chopped.

1 orange, squeezed.

The zest of the orange.

Hot sauce or any kind of pepper or spice/ herb. I like the taste of thyme to this soup.

Sour cream (optional)


Peel and cut the squash into 2″ pieces. Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper you can do without. Roast the squash pieces in the oven for about 20 minutes or until soft. Keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn. Turn them a couple of times.

Pour the chopped tomatoes, roasted squash pieces, chicken broth, spices. and the squeezed orange juice into a pot. Allow to come to a boil then let simmer for about 8-10 minutes. When all is soft and broken down, take off the heat and puree with a hand mixer directly in the pot. Put the soup back on to the heat.

Mix in the orange rind.  Pour soup into individual bowls. Shred a little green apple or a fresh carrot on top of the soup. Decorate with a sprig of thyme (or any herb of your choice.)  You could also add a tablespoon of sour cream into the soup.


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