The soup of the day

Eileen Mintz
On Food

When I was a little girl, I would walk home from Laurelhurst Elementary in Seattle for lunch as we didn’t live that far away from school. My mom would have everything laid out for me: a little egg salad sandwich on Wonder bread, carrot sticks and a bowl of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup. Dessert was my favorite: a hostess cupcake. Nothing tasted better when I was 10 than this fabulous lunch. Sure, the soup came from a can, but I loved it anyway. It wasn’t until I married when I really understood that soup could be made from scratch by using a recipe.

In researching the following soup recipes, I have to say that I loved every minute of it. I went to Bennett’s and couldn’t resist a Beecher’s Cheese sandwich with fantastic Tomato Soup. You can buy it for take-out or sit down and relax in the restaurant.

Soup is served every day at Alpenland, and no one does it better than Toni Godola. His Mulligatawny Soup is utterly delicious with the right amount of curry. He serves it with pretzel rolls.

Schmuel El-ad brought me a pot of soup when I was under the weather. We compared notes on how we both make chicken soup. “It’s perfect,” I said.

No one makes soup better than Elaine Epstein. She takes such care in everything she does, and I am truly impressed that she always has soup in her freezer to enjoy at any time or share with others. This takes planning, and Elaine does it beautifully. If you like Barley Soup, you will really enjoy Elaine’s recipe.

Susie Naye is a Seattle-based personal chef and a member of the United States Personal Chef Association. Her goal is to offer customized cuisine paired with unequaled service. Please check out her Web site at Susie brought me her favorite “Good for What Ails You Brown Rice and Lentil Soup.” I’ve included her recipe, but if you don’t want to make it yourself, Susie can make it for you!

How often do you go to a restaurant, taste a great dish and get the recipe? Well, I had to get this stew — I call it soup — from Wild Ginger. They were so kind to cut it down to what a cook can prepare in a home kitchen.

My friend and cookbook author, Norene Gilletz, is a master in the kitchen, designing recipes for easy and healthy cooking. Enjoy her Black Bean and Corn Soup.


This soup will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to six months. Gently reheat over low heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Recipe from the cookbook, “Pure Flavor,” written by Kurt Beecher Dammeier with Laura Holmes Haddad.

Serves 4 and makes about 6 cups of soup.

2 TBS. unsalted butter

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 28-oz. can plus one 14 1/2-oz. can of crushed tomatoes in puree

3/4 tsp. white pepper

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

10 oz. (2 1/2 cups) grated Beecher’s flagship cheddar cheese

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup heavy cream

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until soft but not brown, about 4 minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes, water, pepper and salt. Bring to a low boil, reduce to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cheese and cream and stir until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Serve hot.


Mulligatawny comes from two oriental Indian words meaning pepper water and curry. This soup is available at Alpenland Delicatessen on Thursday through Saturday with other soups that are rotated throughout the year. Serves 10.

2 oz. of butter

5 oz. (2/3) cup of chopped onions

1/2 to 3/4 oz. of curry powder

2 1/2 to 3 quarts chicken stock


Salt and pepper


Cooked rice

In a deep pan of choice, melt butter and add in chopped onions and curry. Saute together lightly but don’t brown. Add chicken stock (can use vegetable stock). Thicken with a little cornstarch. Add 3/4 to 1 1/4 cups cream slowly. Blend all together over medium heat. Season to taste. Garnish with cooked rice into the soup. May add in apple chunks and raisins. Serve piping hot.


What a joy it is to have the El-ads bring over their chicken soup. It was just delicious and, yes, it does help with those stuffy nose colds. I love the fact that Schmuel adds in so many carrots, a great addition to the soup. Parsnip root is optional, but I say add it in. Worth it!

1 whole chicken

1 large yellow onion, halved

4 celery ribs, cut lengthwise into 2-inch segments

10 carrots, medium, cleaned, 2-inch segments cut lengthwise

1 parsnip root, cleaned and cut lengthwise in 2-inch segments (optional)

15 parsley sprigs, washed and tied together

6-8 dill sprigs, washed and tied together

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. white or black ground pepper

Remove from the chicken cavity the bag containing the neck, liver, gizzard and any other internal organs. Wash the chicken and neck thoroughly, remove the fat chunks at the rear end of the chicken cavity (the liver and gizzard can be retained for other dishes).

Place the chicken and neck in a pot big enough to hold them, add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, cover the chicken with water and bring to a boil. With a spoon, collect the scum floating on top of the water. After collecting most of the scum, turn the flame off and dump the water in the sink. Rinse the chicken, neck and pot from all scum residues.

Put the rinsed chicken and neck in the rinsed pot, add the salt and pepper, cover the chicken with fresh water. Bring to a boil, skimming any new scum that may show up. Add the onion halves, celery, carrots and parsnip (if used), and wait for the soup to boil again. Lower the flame to a simmer, add the parsley and dill, partially cover the pot with a lid, and cook for about 2 hours. Taste for flavor and add salt and pepper, if needed.

Turn the heat off and leave the soup to cool on the stove top. Once cooled, put it in the refrigerator overnight. Scoop off any fat floating on top of the soup before reheating. Carefully remove the chicken from the pot onto a plate, remove and discard the skin, divide the chicken into serving portions. Warm up the soup for serving. If you wish, you can add chicken pieces, noodles, matzo balls, etc.


Elaine often makes large batches and has soup available anytime she needs it. Freezes well too. Serves 8 to 10.  

1 1-lb. can peeled and diced tomatoes with the juice

2 quarts of vegetable stock or water

1 onion thinly sliced

3 ribs celery with leaves, diced

2 TBS. fresh chopped Italian Parsley

1/2 red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup whole barley

1/2 cup small dried lima beans

2 carrots sliced

1/2 - 1 lb. sliced mushrooms

2 TBS. salt

2 TBS. snipped fresh dill

In a large stock pot, combine the tomatoes with their juice, vegetable stock or water, onion, celery, parsley, red pepper, barley and lima beans. Bring to a boil. Simmer covered for approximately 1.5 hours.

Add the carrots, mushrooms, salt and dill. Continue simmering until the carrots are tender, approximately 20-30 minutes.

Season and sprinkle on additional dill to taste, if desired.


“One of the things I love about this soup is the fact that you can make it with all organic ingredients,” said Susie. “It fits into even the thriftiest budget. As evidenced by the ingredients, it is also a very healthy and hearty soup. It couldn’t be easier to make.” Just put it all in one pot and cook it up!

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, combine:

1 32-oz. box organic chicken broth

1 14 1/2-oz. can organic chicken broth

3 cups water

3/4 cup organic French green lentils

3/4 cup organic red lentils

1 cup organic brown aromatic Jasmine rice

1 28-oz. can Muir Glen organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes

1 14.5-oz. can Muir Glen organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes

3 organic carrots, halved lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices

1 large organic onion, chopped

1 large celery stalk, chopped

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

2 TBS. chopped fresh basil or 1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. crumbled oregano (one of the few herbs that I prefer dried)

1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. crumbled thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. Worcestershire

1/2 tsp. sugar

1 1/2 TBS. soy sauce

Couple of drops of Tabasco

3/4 tsp. cumin

Stir these all together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pot, simmering for 45 minutes until the lentils and rice are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Then stir in the following ingredients:

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

2 TBS. cider vinegar or a bit more to taste

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Soup thickens as it cools. If necessary, thin the soup with additional hot broth or water.

“Like most soups,” says Susie, “it tastes even better the NEXT day!”


Tim Baker, director of sales and marketing of Wild Ginger told me that this stew will last for several days covered in the refrigerator. If it becomes too thick, just add water or equal parts of water and coconut milk to thin as needed. Serves 8 to 10. Look for a Wild Ginger restaurant at an Eastside location in about a year or more.

6 cups coconut milk with cream

2/3 cup sugar

2 tsp. salt

6 cups zucchini (unpeeled), cut into large dice about 1 1/2-inch size

10 sweet potatoes or yams (use yams if possible), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch size

1- Kabocha squash, dry (stem should have no vine color, best if aged); peel and seed cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges

1 bag of Bean Thread Noodles (12 oz.), softened in hot water

1 7-oz. bag Cassava Color Sticks (tapioca), looks like plastic zigzag sticks in different colors. Soften in cool water; can be put in fridge overnight.

1 7-oz. Tofu Sheets or Sweet Bean Curd Sheets (12-oz. package). Deep fry until blistered with air bubbles. Drain and hold.

Advance preparations: Fry the tofu sheets and hold. Prep the Cassava sticks, which add a nice texture and sweetness. If you let them stand too long, they will disintegrate into the soup. Lightly soften Cassava sticks so that they will stay whole and noodle-like. Prep the bean thread noodles.

While waiting for the other items to soften, steam off the squash and yams. Do this ahead of time and refrigerate.

Preparing the soup: Heat the coconut milk without boiling (boiling may break the mile and cause it to separate). Add sugar and salt to taste.

Add raw zucchini.

Drain noodles and tapioca sticks and add to the stew.

Add crispy tofu sheets with the softened squash and yams. Bring up to temperature slowly and heat through (2 hours). Serve hot or cool and refrigerate.


My friend and writing pal, Norene Gilletz, just came out with “Norene’s Healthy Kitchen, Eat Your Way to Good Health.” In this book, she has over 600 fast and fabulous recipes; all are family and weight-loss friendly, as well as heart smart. She includes the calories, fiber, fat, protein, sodium and iron in each serving per person. Published by Whitecap, this is one of the BEST cookbooks around. I have all of Norene’s books in my collection and each one is a treasure. “Healthy Kitchen” is great reading too!

Yields 6 to 8 servings, about 12 cups. Keeps for four to five days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to four months.

4 cups (2 19-oz. cans) canned black beans, don’t drain

2 cups (1 14-oz. can) canned stewed tomatoes, don’t drain

3 cups tomato or vegetable juice

2 TBS. maple syrup or honey to taste

2 medium onions, chopped

2 green peppers, seeded and chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic (2 tsp. minced)

1 cup corn kernels, frozen or canned

1 tsp. chili powder, to taste

1/2 to 1 tsp. salt, to taste

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 TBS. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a four to five-quart ovenproof casserole with cooking spray. Combine all the ingredients in the casserole and mix well. Another choice is to put all the ingredients into a six-quart slow cooker.

Bake soup covered for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the soup is too thick after baking, add a little more water. If using a slow cooker, cook for 6 to 8 hours on low, or 3 to 4 hours on high.

Serve hot.

Eileen Mintz can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 232-1984.

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