Our first big snow fall hit this weekend and all I can think about is cooking and eating soup and biscuits so forgive me for another soup suggestion. This Spicy Tomato Soup is from Barabara Lynch and it is spicy. If you don’t love a serious kick of heat I would cut the red pepper flakes in half. At its core, this recipe is a 5-ingredient vegan soup built from simple pantry items. And where there is soup there is dipping. Biscuits make mean dippers – especially when they’re covered with everything bagel seed mix. If you’d rather use your biscuits to hold fried eggs, red onion, cheese, and spinach then I’m not stopping you. We started our fair share of mornings that way too.
Barbara Lynch’s Spicy Tomato Soup
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled, halved, and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste — I used a 1/2 teaspoon and it was almost too spicy for me)
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Crème fraîche, for garnish (optional)
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and very tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, plus the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded, about 30 minutes. (If you’re in a hurry, you can skip the simmer time — just add a bit less water.) Add the basil, season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat, and let cool briefly, about 5 minutes.
3. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large, heatproof bowl. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap from the blender lid (the pour lid) and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam from the hot soup to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off).
4. Pour the blended soup through the strainer, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula or ladle; discard the solids. Taste the soup and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
5. Return the soup to the saucepan and reheat on medium low until hot. If you choose, serve topped with a tablespoon of crème fraîche.
Everything Biscuits from Small Victories
Makes 12 biscuits
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons onion flakes
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-in cubes and chilled
1 ½ cups buttermilk, plus more for brushing
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. (You can skip this if you’d like, since all of the butter in the dough will keep the biscuits from sticking, but I love anything that makes cleaning up easier).
2. In a small bowl, stir together the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and onion flakes. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk more than you think you should — this isn’t just to combine the ingredients but also to aerate them. Plus, how much easier is it to clean a whisk than a sifter, amiright?? Using your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture, rubbing it between your fingers until the mixture turns into coarse crumbs. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir in the buttermilk until the mixture becomes a shaggy dough — no need to overmix here. Stir in half of the poppy seed mixture.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it out so that it’s about 1 in thick. Using a 2½-in round cutter (or a juice glass), stamp out biscuits as close together as possible. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them evenly. Pat the dough scraps together (do not overwork the dough), reroll, and cut out more biscuits. You should end up with a dozen biscuits. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill the biscuits for about 1 hour. Baking them from cold will yield flakier biscuits (the butter will be slower to melt and will create more distinct layers); but if you don’t have time, don’t worry—the biscuits will still be very good.
4. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450°F. Right before baking, brush each biscuit lightly with buttermilk and then sprinkle evenly with the remaining poppy seed mixture.
5. Bake the biscuits until they’re risen and golden, 15 to 20 minutes, turning the baking sheet halfway through baking. Serve warm
My latest article for Food52 was published last week. Photographs by Elizabeth Cecil.
Good soup toppings balance whatever is inside the bowl with crunch (say, from a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds), a hit of acidity (from a squeeze of lemon), spice (from a dash of chile flakes), or cooling refreshment (from a swirl of yogurt).
And it’s not that hard to think beyond oyster crackers. By taking only a few extra minutes (while your soup boils, perhaps?), you can make toppings—like grilled cheese croutons, salt and vinegar potato croutons, and chimichurri sauce—that will make winter soups, stews, and chilis feel like special meals.
Marjorie Standish is like the Julia Child of Maine. She has authored over five books all focused on “cooking down east” with fresh seafood. A few years ago, a friend of ours who grew up in Maine introduced me to Marjorie Standish’s apple pie recipe. Apple pie is one of those things that is kind of good no matter what but when it is great it really can’t be beat. Here is Marjorie’s apple pie recipe, our favorite. She uses a technique that was completely new to me – pilling the sugar/spice mix directly on top of the sliced apples rather than tossing the apples in the dry ingredients before filling the pie pan. I don’t know why it works so well but it does – you gotta try it.
Best Apple Pie by Marjorie Standish
Makes 1 pie
Enough apples for a well filled pie, 5 to 8
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat the oven to 425F. First, peel then slice the apples into thin slices. Fill the pastry lined pie plate with apples. Sprinkle all the remaining ingredients evenly over the apples. Dot the top of the filling with butter. Bake at 425F for 40 minutes then reduce the heat to 325F and make for another 20 minutes. Let cool then slice and enjoy.
PS. You can use any crust recipe you like but my favorite is…
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks cold butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup ice water
1 teaspoon salt
Pulse the flour, salt, and butter together in a food processor until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, stream in the ice water. Run the motor until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out on a floured counter top and shape into two 1-inch rounds. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until baking time.
What’s happening around here? We cut our tree down / put our tree up, keep making / slurping Heidi Swanson’s Green Lentil Soup, and are playing Town Mountain’s I’m On Fire over and over and over. The winter trifecta. XO
Green Lentil Soup: Curry Powder, Brown Butter, Coconut Milk & Chives from Super Natural Everyday
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, or extra-virgin coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups green lentils or green split peas, picked over and rinsed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Indian curry powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
Fine-grain sea salt
1 bunch fresh chives, minced
Combine the 2 tablespoons butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, but can take as long as 50 minutes.
In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauce until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute.
When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and puree with an immersion blender. You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth. Stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of salted broth. Serve drizzled with the remaining spice butter and sprinkled with chives.
As you may have gathered from my instagram I am thoroughly enjoying Genius Recipe’s Kale Salad this fall. The recipe originates from Northern Spy Food Co., a little NYC cafe that is now closed, and is the perfect thing to make at the beginning of the week, stored in the fridge for last minute lunches or snacks.
I’ve eaten this salad warm, at room temperatures, topped with a friend egg, and pressed onto avocado slathered toast – all are good.
Here is the salad’s recipe introduction in Genius Recipes “Raw kale is like any other green we’ve ever put to dressing-just a little more resilient. And that’s a very helpful trait, making it an ideal leafy salad to make ahead for company or tomorrow’s lunch. This particular kale salad is at once substantial and spry. It’s dressed with just lemon and olive oil, making it a bit like a raw version at a health store salad bar-but filled out with roasted kabocha squash, almonds, and two kinds of cheese. Depending on the season, Northern Spy trades out the kabocha for fresh apricots, kohlrabi, or pattypan squash. I sometimes go with slices of apple or persimmon. Kale’s amendable.”
Kale Salad from Genius Recipes
1/2 cup peeled, cubed kabocha, butternut, or other winter squash
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch kale (preferably laminator or dinosaur kale), ribs removed and leaves finely sliced, about 2 1/2 cups
1/4 cup almonds, cut roughly in half
1/4 cup crumbled or finely chopped Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (or any good, aged cheddar-if you can’t find aged cheddar, use Parmesan)
Fresh lemon juice
Pecorino or other hard cheese, for shaving (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Toss the squash cubes in just enough oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Spread on the baking sheet, leaving space between the cubes. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 40 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10 to 15 minutes. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the same oven until they start to smell nutty, tossing once, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with the almonds, cheddar, and squash. Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (using about 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Divide the salad between two plates or shallow bowls. Garnish with shaved Pecorino cheese and serve.