Soup

8 Can Taco Soup con Tequila

Posted on: January 31st, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“I have been instrumental in banning bottled water on the set. It hasn’t gone that well with the crew… so I replaced it with tequila.” ~ Hugh Laurie, star of “House”

This 8 Can Taco Soup recipe was a wonderful discovery. After watching it buzz around Facebook, I decided it was begging for some “sin.” It has my favourite beans – black beans – along with delicious enchilada sauce and I love how flavourful it tastes. So, in keeping with its Mexican roots, I gave it a good shot of tequila.

Cooking with Sin 8 Can Taco Soup

Cooking With Sin 8 Can Taco Soup original recipe

Image & Recipe credit “Doing It Like Martha

Carla’s *Sin*ful Twist

While I mostly followed the instructions of the original recipe, I first chopped up a rotisserie chicken breast and sautéed it in the bottom of the soup pot with a bit of oil and a few shots of tequila. It softened the chicken, added a a flavourful zip and helped to quickly shred the meat.

Then I added the rest of the ingredients set the temp on high. In about 15 minutes it was all heated and ready to serve.

A sprinkling of shredded Monterey Jack cheese, a bowl of tortilla chips and yum!

Cooking with Sin 8 Can Taco Soup serving

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Soup Sisters Soothe the Soul

Posted on: March 5th, 2013 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“You can do almost anything with soup stock, it’s like a strong foundation. When you have the right foundation, everything tastes good.” ~ Martin Yan

Carla Johnson

At any given time, Anselma House & Haven Houses’ 75 beds are full. That’s 75 women and children who have had the courage to leave an abusive relationship. That’s 75 women & children who have experienced hatred and pain from someone who was supposed to love and cherish them. Many left in a hurry with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Many left fearing for their lives. They all need food, clothing, protection and time to rebuild and restructure their lives. Anselma House & Haven House, women’s crisis shelters, do their best to provide just that.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

A week ago I was honoured to join a group of women from Leadership Waterloo who organized a cooking event with The Soup Sisters. We were divided into smaller groups to make great big batches soups for Anselma House and Haven House. There was chicken noodle soup, hamburger soup, lentil soup and a few others. The group I was in made a delicious batch of hearty chilli.

It was such a fun night! Each of us paid $50 to cover the cost of the groceries and wine with our meal. First we were given cutting and chopping instructions and safety tips. Then we donned our aprons and grabbed our knives. We chopped, peeled, cooked, stirred and laughed the evening away. I was given the especially fun job of crushing canned tomatoes by hand! I felt like I Love Lucy in the grape stomping episode. If there had been an award for the messiest apron, I would have proudly won it. :lol:

Carla Johnson

When it was all done and the big pots were full and simmering on the stoves, we sat down for a group meal. We were served a bowl of the lentil soup that one group had made, some bread and a glass of wine. After our meal we poured our big pots of soups and chilli into storage containers for the Soup Sisters to deliver to the shelters.

When we were done, we learned we had made enough soup for two weeks of meals for those 75 women and children. It was wonderful to be part of such a soul-full evening. Abuse is sadly rampant in our world and it truly was an honour to be part of the healing. Thank you to the Culinary Studio for being the host kitchen.

Carla Johnson

Click here for the photos from the February 26th event. You will notice we had one Broth Brother with us. :)

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson

If you suspect you or someone you know is in an abuse relationship, read this list of “Characteristics of Abusers” put together by Anselma House. Please know that people are available who want to help you or your friend.

Here is “The Soup Sisters Cookbook”

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

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“Oops I Did It Again” Bouillabaisse

Posted on: April 22nd, 2012 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“All the charming and beautiful things, from the Song of Songs, to bouillabaisse, and from the nine Beethoven symphonies to the Martini cocktail, have been given to humanity by men who, when the hour came, turned from tap water to something with color in it, and more in it than mere oxygen and hydrogen.”

~ H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Cooking With Sin

Trips to the hair salon are mini vacations for me. Having someone who knows how to handle my curly mop is a really nice treat. The staff are always fun. They take my coat and offer me something to drink. When I’m sitting with the foils setting in, they bring me a whole array of magazines to peruse and I always go for the trashy, gossipy ones. I can’t resist. I would never spend my own money on them, but I think it is a riot to turn off my brain and catch up on ridiculous rumours that never materialize. Plus, that young actress who has gained all of 10 pounds makes me feel so good about myself. LOL!

Connie Campbell on the other hand uses her time at the hair salon very differently. Being a trained chef, she scours the magazines looking for delicious recipes and stores them away in the culinary file of her creative mind.

Cooking With Sin

Photo courtesy of Connie J. Campbell

Last week one of those recipes came in very handy when Connie accidently left the freezer door open. It’s an upright freezer and she hates to admit it, but she’s done this before, usually because something sticks out and keeps the door from sealing. One of her freezers has an alarm on the door, plus she has also learned to strategically place the food items least likely to be ruined in the locations that warm up first.

With company coming the next day, Connie’s menu was a no-brainer. The thawed food needed to be eaten and she had most of the ingredients to create a type of bouillabaisse. Using a recipe she had found in a magazine as her inspiration, she created her own from the items she rescued from her freezer.

Bouillabaisse is a French soup recipe from Provence made with Mediterranean seafood. A thick slice of toasted French bread is placed in each bowl and the soup is served on top of it. Traditionally a Rouille sauce is served on the side. Today, it commonly served as a one-bowl soup. Connie made sure hers had a nice amount of wine in it!

This is Connie’s own recipe based on the items she had to work with. If you experience a similar freezer melt-down, you can alter it to suit your items.

Carla Johnson

Photo courtesy of Connie J. Campbell

 

“Oops I Did It Again” Bouillabaisse

 

2 shallots, finely chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups white wine, dry
1 Litre crab stock
1 cup chicken broth with crab stock
½ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
3 teaspoons dried chilies
The peel of 2 small oranges, grated
1 teaspoon fennel leaves
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon saffron threads
4 whole tomatoes, skinned & cut up
2 pounds shrimp
2 pounds scallops
 
  1. Sauté the shallots and onions in the butter.
  2. Heat the wine and stock in a large pot. Reduce to simmering then add the softened shallots, onions and butter.
  3. Add all the other ingredients, except the seafood. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Turn down the heat and add the seafood. If you have seafood in a closed shell, add them first and cook until the shells open. Then add the rest of the seafood and cook until it is opaque.
  5. Actually tastes better the next day, but will keep in the fridge up to two days.
Carla Johnson

Here is Connie’s version of her story-recipe on her blog. It includes the original magazine recipe: Lemonade from Lemons, Bouillabaisse from the Open Freezer Door?

See more of Connie’s culinary expertise on her previous post: “Good Neighbour” Gluten-Free Beer Braised Beef

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Cooking With Sin

“Savoury Scent” Chicken Soup

Posted on: April 11th, 2010 by Carla Johnson 2 Comments

malaysiaflagBehave so the aroma of your actions may enhance the general sweetness of the atmosphere.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Ada hari, ada nasi” (Where there is a day, there is rice.) ~ Malaysian Proverb

H.T.’s mom learned to cook late in life. She had grown up in Malaysia in a family where most of the house chores – cooking & cleaning – were done by live-in maids. It’s the kind of thing most of us envy. But, she gave all that up when she married for LOVE. H.T. remembers how his family just scraped by when he was little. It was a good thing the cost of living was low.

H.T.’s dad worked as a linesman for a local hydro company in Malaysia. His mom liked to cook soups. They were easy to make and went well with rice, an inexpensive Malaysian staple.

malaysian-rice

One evening, many years ago when H.T. was young, his mom made this chicken soup for dinner. When he and his brother arrived home from school they smelled something “gamey.” The boys asked their mom what the aroma was and she replied, “Chicken soup. Is there something wrong?”

“No,” H.T. replied, “It just smells a bit strange.”

H.T.’s mom had been home all day and had grown accustomed to the smell. She went into the garden for some fresh air and when she returned she noticed the smell! “OK boys,” she said, “we need to fix this before dad comes home! What can we do?”

She called her mom for help who told her to use 3 shots (3 fingers!) of brandy. That did it! Dinner was saved!

This is the recipe that H.T.’s mom made that day. He likes to cook it to this day. It’s quite simple.

Chicken Soup

 Ingredients:brandy

1 whole chicken, with bones, remove fat and skin
4 large carrots, chopped to 1 inch chunks
4 yellow potatoes, chopped to 1 inch chunks
4 celery stalks, yes, chopped to 1 inch chunks
2 cooking onions, quarters
sea salt
3 fingers (shots) of brandy

Throw all the ingredients into a stock pot and add water up to 3 inches (6 cm) above the ingredients. Bring it to a boil and cook in medium heat for 4 hours, adding sea salt for flavour. Turn off heat and add 3 fingers of brandy. Stir and serve!

H.T.’s Tips:

  1. Another ingredient to add to the soup is sliced ginseng root – good for circulation.

  2. Avoid old chicken. It’s too gamey!

HT Feryal wedding

H.T. and Feryal's wedding

HT's kids

H.T.'s beautiful children

 

“Cool Poor” Champagne Squash Soup

Posted on: February 7th, 2010 by Carla Johnson 3 Comments

marlene dietrich“Champagne makes you feel like it’s Sunday and better days are just around the corner.” Marlene Deitrich

Barry Lane and Tara Park Lane found themselves far away from family and friends when they moved to the quiet snowy cottage town of Lindsay, Ontario, early in the new year. They had both quit their jobs and moved to this small town for school. To brighten up their small, generic apartment, they filled it with a mish-mash of hand-me-downs, wedding gifts and furniture they had scrimped and saved for. There was a rag-rug from Ikea, a wobbly wooden dinner table that had belonged to Barry’s great-grandmother, and two wooden adirondack chairs. One chair was painted yellow and the other was a loud blue. They weren’t allowed to paint the boring white walls, so they covered them with pictures. The place was jammed full.

yellow & blue chairs

They had hoped for an apartment with more character, but this one was right beside the school. Barry could walk to class and Tara could use the car. Yes, the car. They had cut back to one car since neither of them had a job. Tara loved being free to drive the two hour trip to her ”old faithful” Ikea store.  She also decided to take a Native Studies class at a nearby university that was “only” an hour and 15 minute drive.

Tara and Barry knew they were poor. While they found it challenging to adjust to their new economic situation, they decided that the poor situation they were in had some “cool” aspects to it, so they decided to call themselves “cool poor” and they found a few other types of “cool poor”: student poor, starving artist poor and humanitarian poor. They were student poor, they were “cool poor.” 

Tara and Barry’s “cool poor” was not the living-paycheque-to-paycheque, no-holiday-in-Mexico-this-year kind of poor. Theirs was the no-paycheque-at-all kind of poor. They couldn’t even “splurge” on a $3.49 plastic milk container. Instead, they poured the milk bags into a beautiful yellow and green pottery pitcher that had been a wedding gift from Uncle John and Aunt Shelly.

As beautiful as the pitcher was, it didn’t pour very well and the milk could be unpleasant to drink because it always absorbed the odours of the previous night’s leftovers. The milk had a different flavour everytime they tasted it. It was hard to enjoy. One day in the spring, Tara saw Barry bicycling home towards her with one arm in the air, waiving something blue in his hand. His whole body beamed a great big smile. As he got closer, Tara realized the blue thing in his hand was a blue plastic milk container. Yes, blue, not boring white. It had a piece of ripped off scotch tape on it with “25 cents” written in black marker. Barry had talked the guy at the yard sale down to 10 cents for it!

A few weeks after they had moved in, Tara’s parents called to say they were going to swing by their place for a visit on their way home from a holiday. Tara looked for something yummy, warm and cozy to make them for lunch to stave off the winter’s chill. She found a recipe called “Champagne Squash Soup.” Tara and her mom both loved squash, so she knew it was the meal to make. The cheapest bottle of champagne would be half their grocery money for the week, but it was something they knew they had to do. So, they splurged, bought the champagne and made the soup.

vintage champagne poster

Tara & Barry

Barry and Tara today

Tara still remembers standing in her small kitchen at the tiny apartment-sized stove, with the oven that never really worked, sautéing the onions in butter and adding the champagne. The aroma is sweetly embedded in her memory forever. It was exciting making this special soup for her parents; the soup they had sacrified their weekly groceries for.

The four of them sat on uncomfortable fold-out chairs at the wobbly wooden table and enjoyed the soup and their precious time together. Since they could barely afford the soup, there wasn’t much else with the meal except a fresh loaf of bread from the bread maker, another wedding gift, and the remainder of the champagne. They cherished every sip.

Tara and Barry have made this soup many times since. They now have children and own their own home in Waterloo, plus they can afford a nicer bottle of champagne. While they are also able to serve more with it, they say it is best served with a thick slice of warm olive bread generously spread with butter that has melted into it. Don’t forget a nice glass of bubbly, too!

And that milk jug… it still sits in their fridge hugging a bag of milk to this day.

blue milk jug

Champagne Squash Soup

4 lbs. squash, acorn or butternutTrius Brut 2
2 medium onions, halved & thinly sliced
4 tablespoons butter (2 + 2)
1/4 cup champagne (You will find some way to use the remainder of the bottle!)
4-5 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a cookie sheet with foil. 

Quarter the squash &  scoop out the seeds.  Place the quarters skin-side up on the cookie sheet and bake 1 – 1 1/2 hours until the squash is tender. 

Let the squash cool. Scoop out the pulp and pureé in batches in a food processor. 

Sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of the butter until they turn clear.  Add the champagne and cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed and onions are golden brown.  Purée the onions in a food processor with a little of the squash purée. 

In a large saucepan, combine the onion and squash purées.  Whisk in the chicken broth until you reach the consistency you prefer. 

Cover and heat on medium, stirring occasionally.  Whisk in the final 2 tablespoons of butter.  Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

soup swirl

To decorate, fill individual bowls with the soup, drop a small spoonful of sour cream on top of each bowl and swirl with a knife. Sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg on top and you can garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley. 

Serves 6-8.

champagne

Cheers!