Soups and Stews


Cool Cucumber Dill Yogurt Soup

Six large cucumbers, peel half the skin off (like a  zebra)
Cut all but one cuke into chunks and feed into a blender, with  a ½ cup water to get started.
Pour off half the pureed cuke into soup container (pot, pitcher etc.)
Keep feeding cuke chunks into blender until  all pureed, except that one set aside.
Keep last batch in blender,  and add into it for blending
A carmelized onion chopped up
Salt, pepper, some slices of jalapeno peppers,  fresh dill.
About a whole bunch of dill, maybe 2 tsp salt.  Be careful of jalapeno, but do use it.
Add some lobster stock or other stock to thin it out and add flavor if desired.
( I make lobster stock from lobster shells.)
Add in a quart of whole milk plain yogurt.  So more cukes than yogurt.
Chop up the remaining cuke into tiny bits, but do not blend.  Toss into soup.
Stir or shake.  Add ice if you need it chilled right away.

Adjust salt to taste.  Adjust jalapeno to taste.  Do this by pouring a cup back in the blender, add your spices, blend, and then return to the soup.
Yes you could use less fat in the yogurt. It’s your palate.
Serve with spring of fresh dill floated on top

Fresh Ginger Pea and Scallop or Lobster (or other seafood) Soup- Cold

This is my summer version of split pea and ham,
but instead you get fresh pea flavor and light seafood.
but instead you get fresh pea flavor and light seafood.
Grill some scallops, or lobster, or shrimp.

3 lbs of frozen petit sweet peas,  thaw them.
3 cups Half and Half (or light cream, or milk)
Use a little liquid in a blender and start pureeing the peas,
that’s right, fresh raw not cooked!
Pouring off into pot or pitcher, adding more peas and cream to blender.,
Until all are in the soup, except into the last blenderful add
Chopped fresh ginger, salt and pepper, and fresh onion.

Serve with scallops or other seafood sprinkled on top.

NEW VERSION 2016-  More lobster flavor!
One night:   Cook lobsters in “seawater”  (2 Tbs salt/quart water)  15 minutes (12 for softshell)
Remove lobsters and save water. Take claw, knuckle, and tail meat.
Return rest (without tomalley- sorry) to pot
Toss in some butter or olive oil to carry lobster flavor.
Bring to boil and mash to produce nice lobster stock.  Toss in some butter or olive oil to carry lobster flavor.  Simmer for a long time if you want lobster smell in your house instead of in stock. I let the big pot cool overnight.
Next morning:  Remember:  Save any stock not used for soup in freezer- great later! Pasta dishes, rices,  stews, etc
Load blender with 1 cup Half and Half, 1 cup lobster stock, and one bag (13 oz)  rinsed Birdseye frozen Baby Garden Peas. (uncooked, and rinsed to keep batch from freezing in blender).  Blend 30 seconds. Makes as many batches as you wish. Frozen peas, cold cream and  warm/room temp stock yield nice cold soup.
Ready to serve with chopped up lobster meat or any other seafood.  Lobster stock is mild and delicious and complements fresh raw peas. Salty water means you do not need additional salt. If too salty, be patient, peas will absorb salt.  Add a dash of salt as needed, or pepper, or raw ginger, or Old Bay seasoning.  But the intent is nice clean fresh green pea and lobster flavor.  A rich stock could easily cover these delicate flavors.

I have mounted lobster shells in a bowl with ice and slush, used tails for
meat, and the tail shells to make stock.  Looks lke lobbies trying to
escape the pea soup… as shown



Black bean and
 Red Pepper Soup
Equal parts black beans and crushed tomatoes
( I like to soak and boil Butterworks Farm beans and
cans of  Muir Glen Fire Roasted tomatoes)
Fill out the flavor with vegetable bullion, onion,
or use Old Bay Seasoning.    Salt and pepper of course.
Fresh thyme and savory are better than dry.
Sliced red peppers are added ten or fifteen minutes
before serving. Juicy and not completely soft.
Just before serving, add chopped cilantro
For extra heat and flavor I sometimes add some Bombay Blast
a somewhat curry warm wide spice.
I love cumin, but it instantly signals” chilli” in this soup.
I never make it the same.  Summer savory or winter savory.
Even canned beans.  Sometimes the choice of flavoring depends
on accompanying dishes and availability of fresh herbs.
Fresh herbs rock in any dish.

Lobster Tomato Pesto Soup
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 canful of lobster stock*
2 cups cooked farfalle (bowtie) pasta
2 TBS pesto- fresh if available
2 TBS butter
salt and pepper

*Lobster Stock
Use lobster bodies after people eat the claws and tails.
Bring lobster bodies to boil  in stock pot with lightly salted water,
Simmer for half hour or so, then let sit over-night
(Do not boil away the good stuff .)
Mash bodies in pot with potato masher to enrich stock.
Remove bodies and add salt to taste.  Option add butter or olive oil to carry flavor.
Many uses.   Used in cold raw garden pea soup for example (Taste of the Valley 2016)
More lobster flavor than lobster meat.  Freezes fine.


Pork and  Black Beans
Buy a big inexpensive pork shoulder or roast.
Trim out the meat into bite-size chunks.
Stir fry up the meat, seasoning it with salt pepper, and cumin
Add in your canned or home-cooked black beans
Add in whole tomatoes cut up.
Salt, pepper, wine,  Old Bay ? and chili powder maybe.

Elk and Venison Stew
    Buy stew meat, or chop up what you have.  Drain well.
Since the meat is lean, put a couple tablespoons of olive oil is a big fry pan and brown the meat.  Since it often juices up before it gets dark brown unless you have a commercial stove, I slip in under the broiler for a few minutes to give some dark flavor to it.  Then dump it into the stock pot.

For each pound of meat, add
½ onion-  I like to cut in half, peel, then cut “moon” wedges.
For the venison which had more flavor than the elk, I browned the onions in the  fry pan with a little sugar to give a darker carmelized onion flavor to match the meat.
2 cups water (enough to cover everything)
1/4 cup red wine for elk and white wine for venison (we can argue this)
½ teaspoon salt  (maybe more- adjust last)
1/8 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon black pepper- fresh ground
1 large carrot chopped to bite-sized
2 big red potatoes- reds have thin skin you can leave on
(peel brown potatoes,  or tell me how sweet potatoes work- gotta try)
1 large piece of celery
1  tablespoon of Worchestershire sauce or BBQ sauce
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

For my Elk Stew I added a bag of fresh cranberries. I’d have added dried mushrooms if I had them.  Could have had more cranberries- a bag per four lbs of meat.

For my Venison Stew I added a half head of red cabbage, sliced thin,  and a half cup of fresh chopped rosemary for a eight pounds of meat.

After this simmered overnight,  I added a half cup of my sourdough starter (which half flour and half water) just for a little thickening and flavor.  See my bread recipes for info on sourdough’s benefits.   The venison needed another half teaspoon of salt, perhaps due to the cabbage. Anyway, adjust your salt after the overnight simmering.

This is my first stab at game stew, and it was down the hatch,  with seconds for everyone I was told.  Fifty guys ate about 15 pounds of meat. That three tenths of a pound per guy, plus ham and egg sandwiches and corn chowder, and the stew vegetables.  Then apple pie with cheese and ice cream.

Anyway, my philosophy was spices and flavors to stand up but not overwhelm the game flavor, with a blend of fairly well-known spices, potatoes and carrots to absorb and carry flavor with so little oil.  Broiling the meat darker, caramelizing the onions, the Worchestershire or BBQ sauce, the balsamic vinegar, and the pepper  all are rich dark flavorings to complement and take the strange edge off the game.  I doubted the fresh rosemary would work, but its pine-like richness seemed to be appreciated- it raised questions.

Thanks to Joy of Cooking and all the web sites I peeked at before charging into the kitchen.  I thought cranberry would be cool for some reason, and I Googled elk and cranberry, and found I was not crazy. So use your imagination, look at what’s available in your kitchen or store, and Google your ideas to see if someone may say it worked.  Still your idea.  Same idea with the red cabbage and venison- I thought red cabbage with vinegar, apples, and caraway would be a great side dish, so why not put it right in the stew.  Google said- yes- been done, works.  I still think I got lucky.