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This blog is a record of soups we have tried from recommendations from recipe books, friends, the web and other places. How we liked them or didn't as the case may be.We try to find different soups to try each week and make the meal fun by inviting friends to share.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuscan Stoup

A few weeks back we were at Sally's and the topic of “stoup”came up. We understood from Sally that a stoup was a conglomeration of a stew/soup that was made adding various ingredients during the day to a broth. It was one of those kind of favorite dishes you remember from childhood that your mom used to make. Not only that, Sally had found recipe to make it on

So for our next soup day Mike looked over the recipe and decided this would be a good stoup to make especially as this one called for Italian sausage , one of his favorite items. It certainly had many other items in it like kale, Parmesan cheese. beans  and tomatoes and small shell pasta. You probably could add any other items that you had on hand to make it a real stoup. Mike bought Andouille sausage and said invite "Someone who likes spicy food to help me eat it because you know you won't eat much if it's spicy!!"

Sally and Jo couldn't come so we asked Ros and she was delighted to come. The stoup was indeed spicy but if you didn't eat the sausage ( me) ,just fine. The kale had almost disappeared being one of those veggies that goes from a hugh bunch to almost nothing when cooked.We all thought this was an excellent stoup and we can see why it was a favorite. Mike gave it a 9 , Ros a 10 and I gave it an 8 ( because of the spiciness and overall look- a bit messy.The texture and broth was lovely.
We had a very nice white wine Bare Foot Pinon Grigio with it compliments of Ros.

To eat with the stoup I made a recipe given to me by the Empty Bowls organization. It is in their special cook book called “Soup and Quick bread recipes”. Just the thing for us.I chose Southwestern three cheese biscuits and these came out as an excellent side biscuit, soft and fluffy and just lovely . Believe me you didn't need butter with these biscuits. They do need to be eaten just cooked as we tried the one we had left later in the day and that was not so good. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mike's Clam Chowder

So on a hot day in November- yes it really is hot almost 80 degrees Mike made a soup that would have been more suited to a winter's evening in February!!
However we can't know what the weather will do especially if you live in Texas where even in the space of one day the weather can change from hot as h*** to cold as i**. and often at this time of the year.
The soup looked very nice as you can see in the photo with lots of veggies and ham swimming in a creamy soup base. We sat down . I took one spoonful and said ” I think you put too much pepper in the soup ” ,trying to say this with my mouth open to dissipate some of the heat. I could see by the look from Mike he was thinking I was just being fussy as he knows I don't like spicy foods. That was before he took his first mouthful and said ,” Hum .Yes .maybe I did use a little too much cayenne pepper and also the paprika as well. I did cut it down you know!!”
Anyhow we managed to get acclimatized to the peppery taste and I actually ate most of it. The veggies( potatoes, corn) were fine as was the clam and ham ,The creamy texture was lovely but I think Mike has now written on the recipe. “ Measure the cayenne pepper and paprika carefully next time.”

it was just as well Mike had opened a bottle of Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio which is just a lovely refreshing light white wine which went down like a dip in a cool stream.

No it really wasn't THAT hot!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chinese Soup

We had both been very busy and soup day rolled around and I said," Why don't we go to a Chinese Restaurant and try their soup?" Mike agreed and so we did.
We went to the Chinese Cafe on University in Denton which is one of our favorite places to eat . The food is good, the price is very reasonable and we just knew they would have a choice of soups as they are a buffet style restaurant.
They had indeed 3 soups to choose from; seafood soup, spicy hot vegetable soup, and egg drop soup. We took small helpings as we knew we would be trying all the rest of the food as well. We couldn't pass up that now could we.

Our soups were good full of good things, not that we recognized many of the ingredients. They were highly colored and very hot, indeed tongue-burning hot. I found the seafood soup had strange pink pieces floating in it and it tasted somewhat fishy but okay not overwhelming.I did not like the thick glutenous texture very much. Mike tried both the other soups and said they were just fine but really spicy and he knew I wouldn't like them .He found them a bit thick textured as well.
And then we were on to the other delightful variations of food that only a good Chinese buffet can supply, I think the only thing we didn't sample was the sushi But the rest of the meal was super delicious.

However I still prefer our homemade soups.

Paint & Draw together -Old master style

This was a 8x10 painting in acrylic on canvas board I did in response to a challenge put out by the blog, Paint and Draw together. I hadn't painted for some time and the previous paintings were done with oil and using only a palette knife. That leads to very long brush( knife) strokes and you need to use a very different technique in doing a painting in the style of the old masters. Both enjoyable  but this was more demanding.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pink flower -palette knife painting

My ffirst attemp to paint using just palette knives with oil paint.

Love the colors of this one but it is a difficult technique

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hallowine Soup Day

This year Halloween fell on, you guessed it.... Soup Day so we decided to be at least a bit festive and keep Halloween in our thoughts by making, you guessed it again, PUMPKIN soup. On the web there are many recipes for pumpkin soups, It was difficult for Mike to pick just one to make. Various people had told us how to prepare a real  pumpkin but he opted to use a regular can of pumpkin puree. Neither of us are real fans of pumpkin so what would we do with the remainder of an actual pumpkin? The  recipe Mike chose only called for an 8 oz  can ( or half a regular can).

The soup was a little different too because, just like French onion soup, it included crouton triangles of bread, spread with cinnamon , butter and brown sugar that you crisp up in the oven and then float on the top of the soup. Sound delicious doesn't it? The soup itself was very simple,- pumpkin ,spices, butter , chicken broth and whipping cream, It turned out very well . It was tasty and the croutons just seemed to dissolve in your mouth, Quite a treat indeed. Changed our minds about pumpkin and the soup  easily earned   10 this week.

However the crowning glory of this soup day was the wine we had brought when we were on vacation in Door County on Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin. At Door Peninsula Winery we took a trip through the winery , tried ( and bought and drank )some of the wines and then at the last minute bought their special wine especially for Halloween. It is called called Hallowine. Clever. This came in a lovely pumpkin colored and decorated bottle that looked very seasonable of our table so we reckoned even if the wine was only so-so the bottle would be a nice memento. The wine was a semi sweet apple wine spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and it did complement the soup well. It tasted even better on the following evening when we warmed the wine and had it with some fruit and brie cheese and crackers. Ahh the good life of old retired people...
On the back of the bottle it told the legend of 
In 1665 Reginald W, Hallow brought his unique blend of fall harvest apples and mulled spices to ferment in the crisp Door County air, He dubbed his creation Hallowine then mysteriously disappeared ( creepy music insert here,,,,)
334 years later Door Peninsula Winery honors Hallow's legacy conjuring up the distinctive autumn flavor of the region for a limited time. One sip and we're sure you'll agree It's so good its scary!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Empty Bowls, Soup Day continues....

Empty Bowl Day in Denton,Texas

This week we decided not to make a new soup as we had a large container of the vegetable and pesto soup we had made last week still in the freezer . So with a little help from some ham and a few spices plus some new ciabatta rolls we managed to have a pleasant Soup Day as usual. The soup actually didn't seem much tastier as we had hoped it might but we knew we had a much tastier soup meal coming up on Saturday .This would be the day we would go with friends Sally and Joe to the annual “Empty Bowls” day in Denton.

Empty Bowls is a marvelous idea as it is a fundraising event with proceeds going to the local food pantry which helps by giving food to the many people who just don't have enough money to buy food . Yes, not all Americans are rich in fact many struggle each week just to make ends meet and this year we were told it seems to be worse than ever.
Our selection of bowls

So we paid for our tickets ( $15 ) each and off we went on a beautiful crisp sunny morning to Denton .We arrived to find the soup lunch was going great and the church hall where it was being held ,almost packed to capacity with lots of people and an equally large number of willing volunteers. There were two very long tables just full of the most lovely bowls made by local artisans. The idea is that you can select one of these great bowls to take home with you so everyone was picking up bowls to find just the right bowl for them. What a difficult choice to make! There were so many kinds. You could tell they were all lovingly made by a great many adults and children as their way of helping.

I had done some pottery making in the past and I could tell that many were truly wonderful pieces of art. Some bowls, made probably by the kids, were colorful and charming with finger prints all around the edges. The wooden bowls were lovely as well. So many different kinds.
The wonderful bowls

After we had selected our bowls we found a place at one of the long tables and then went to choose a soup. We did not use our art bowls for the soup. These were too special for that purpose. There were many soups to choose from; tomato, gumbo, vegetable ,chicken and noodles , sweet potato,chili , sausage and without exception, all were excellent and homemade and very tasty.
We all tried  different soups and each one was voted a 10 plus as just delicious. You could go back for  refills as many times as you wanted . I think Joe and Mike tried them all.
Vegetable Chili Soup

Meanwhile at the table we chatted about our pots and with the other people that were sitting there or just passing by . What a interesting time we had with such friendly people.
We talked to one of the organizers and she said that one man, Mr Reed had made over 300 various pots and these were much prized. He made them each year as his contribution. Some people who come every year collect his pots. Mike and I had actually inadvertently selected two of his pots .The fun part of the bowl was not only the skill, beauty and individual design but underneath on the base Mr Reed writes different inscriptions which are really fun to read. For instance on Mike's bowl it said” Reed 26 April 2012 Mowed the lawn this morning, played ball with the dog .Did this. Need to feed the fish “Then just as we were finishing Mr Reed came over to say “HI “ and we were so pleased to shake his hand and say "Thank you".
Joe and  Mr  Reed

There was also a silent auction with many beautiful paintings,bowls, dishes jewelry, scarves and other very special craft items all given by caring talented artists .All to swell the coffers for a good cause.

Just a lovely soup day and one which we will remember and be sure to attend in the future.