Soup, Salads, and Stews



Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese and Roasted Fresh Figs Wrapped in Pancetta

This recipe is my version of a salad I had while dining at a restaurant in North Beach in San Francisco. 


  • Arugula
  • Fresh Mission Figs
  • Pancetta
  • Blue cheese, crumbled or Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese (pictured above)

For the Dressing:

  • Juice from one lemon
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • A little bit of lemon zest
  • olive oil


Step 1: For the dressing: whisk first 5 ingredients together.  Then stream in olive oil to taste. The traditional method uses 1 part acid to 2 parts oil.
Step 2: To roast the fresh figs: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Wrap pancetta around figs. Use a toothpick if needed to secure pancetta around fig.  Place on cookie sheet. Roast in oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Step 3: To assemble the salad: Toss dressing and arugula. Place a portion of the arugula in serving bowl, place figs around arugula and sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese.

Arugula Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Pistachios


  • 8 cups arugula

For the Breadcrumb Topping:

  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup ground pistachios (roughly ground)
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped mint
  • Zest from one orange
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Kosher salt

For the Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Kosher salt


Step 1: For the breadcrumb topping: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Toast breadcrumbs until browned and crunchy.  
Step 2: Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet and add ground pistachios to toasted breadcrumbs.  Toast pistachios but be careful not to burn.   Add mint and orange zest to the toasted bread crumbs and pistachios while they are warm.
Step 3: For the dressing: Combine orange juice, red wine vinegar, mustard, pepper and salt until mustard is fully incorporated.  Whisk in olive oil and then taste.  Adjust flavor by adding more salt and pepper if needed.  Add more olive oil if dressing is too “tart" or add more red wine vinegar if it needs more acidity.  The best way to test the dressing flavor is to dip an arugula leaf into it. 
Step 4: To assemble the salad: Place arugula in a large bowl and add pepper and salt.  Add a small amount of dressing and toss salad—add more dressing as needed.  After salad has been tossed, top with the breadcrumb mixture right before serving.   

Dorie Greenspan's Crab and Grapefruit Salad

Makes 4 to 6 servings


  • 1 ruby red grapefruit
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked through for shells and cartilage
  • 1 Kirby cucumber or a 2-inch piece of seedless cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 red or orange bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 small or 1 fat scallion, white and light green parts only, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 small chile pepper, very finely minced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Dash or two of Tabasco
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced


Step 1: At least 2 hours in advance - cut grapefruit crosswise in half and carefully cut out the half-segments slicing along the membranes to release the fruit. 
Step 2: Squeeze the juice from the hollowed-out halves and keep it covered in the refrigerator (discard rinds). Put a double layer of paper towels on a plate or cutting board and arrange the grapefruit segments on the paper. Cover with another double layer of towels and pat the segments lightly. Discard paper towels, arrange the fruit on a new layer of paper towels , and cover again. Let the segments sit for at least 2 hours, or for as long as 6 hours; if the towels are wet, change them again. 
Step 3: When you are ready to make the salad, drain the crabmeat if necessary, turn it out onto a double thickness of paper towels, and pat it dry. Put it in a bowl and add the cucumbers, bell peppers, scallions, and chile.
Step 4: Cut the grapefruit segments into very small pieces, add them to the bowl, and using a fork (or your fingers), gently toss the ingredients together. Don't overdo it. You want the crab to stay in large pieces.  
Step 5: Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1 tablespoon of the reserved grapefruit juice, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper and a couple of shakes of Tabasco. Taste the salad and decide what you'd like to add. You may need to add a bit more oil.  
Step 6: Stir in mint and serve.

Frisee Salad with Oranges, Goat Cheese and Pecans


  • 6 cups of frisee lettuce
  • 2 oranges segmented
  • 4 ounces of goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup of toasted almonds or pecans

For the Dressing:

  • Juice squeezed from leftover oranges after cutting out segments (approx.
  • 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Generous pinch of Kosher Salt 
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Olive oil


Step 1: For the dressing: Add first six ingredients and whisk until the honey is dissolved into the mixture.  Whisk in olive oil to taste.  If you prefer a tangier dressing, use less olive oil.  
Step 2: Toss the frisee with the dressing and another pinch of salt and pepper.
Step 3: Plate the frisee and top with oranges, goat cheese and nuts.  Add a
small sprinkle of fresh cracked pepper on the top. 

Insalata Caprese

This recipe is a family favorite. When we were growing up, my Mom and Dad never added the fresh mozzarella - probably because it wasn't as readily available as it is today. Leave out the fresh mozzarella if you don't have any - the salad is just as delicious. When I make this salad, I always think of my brothers and me fighting over who got to dip their bread in the tomato juice remaining in the serving bowl.



  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoons kosher or sea salt (or season to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 to 5 medium tomatoes, preferably compari cut in quarters (2 to 2 1/2 cups total)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella di bufala
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons basil leaves (cut chiffonade), plus 3 basil leaves for optional garnish 



Step 1: Cut tomatoes and mozzarella into bite-size pieces; place in a medium bowl. 
Step 2: Add salt and pepper to taste. When ready to serve, add the chiffonade of basil and olive oil.  Add fresh basil leaves as garnish, if desired. Serve at room temperature in bowls with crusty Italian bread.

Variations to the recipe:

To add a nice kick, you can also add 1 to 2 thinly sliced hot banana peppers and some thinly slice purple or sweet onions.


Insalata Pomodoro

This is our family's famous insalata pomodoro.  We've had this salad at almost every family gathering since I was born.  In fact, I can't remember any family gathering without this salad. True to form, my mom, dad and I made and served the family's insalata pomodoro at my brother's wedding reception in July 2011.  My brother's wife loved it so much that the tomato salad inspired her to publish a poem about it.  The salad is truly inspirational and I think this poem by Kathy Fagan says it all.


By Kathy Fagan
For the Romans, a barbarian
Was someone who wore trousers, had a beard, and ate butter.
Everyone else ate tomatoes.
From the Nahuatl tomatl, meaning swelling
Fruit it must have reminded the Aztecs of the viscera
They witnessed at rituals of human sacrifice.
Nahuatl also gave us the names for chocolate, coyote, chili, and omelet.
The tomato's Latin name, Lycopersicon esculentum, means
The edible wolf’s peach.
Like all nightshades, the tomato contains poisonous alkaloids
Grown strictly as an ornamental in England, a 1753 encyclopedia
Describes it as a fruit eaten only by “Spaniards,
Italians, and Jew families.” An alternative name, love apple,
Is a probable misreading of the Italian name pomodoro.
Tomato is also recorded to mean an attractive girl.
For our wedding, we combined mouthful-sized
chunks of heirloom tomato, roughly sliced Hungarian wax pepper, 
Ribbons of purple onions,
Torn Italian basil, extra virgin
Olive oil, coarse kosher sea salt, and freshly ground pepper,
To make the family’s Insalata Pomodoro,
A side dish for our guests. It was a summer in Ohio;
Tomatoes were just coming on.
Four hundred miles southeast in 1789, Secretary of State
Thomas Jefferson had introduced the tomato
To the U.S. as part of a national nutrition program. The fruit
Wasn’t commonly eaten, however, until decades later.
Our love salad was eaten by everyone in attendance. 
Both children and adults sopped up the juices with fresh-baked breads;
They tilted their bowls to their wet mouths.
But before they were sliced and eaten,
The tomatoes had looked as livid as hearts,
And bore names like the roses I’d arranged at each table:
Brandy Wine, Black Prince, Ananas Noir,
Abraham Lincoln, Paul Robeson, Julia Child,
Lemon Boy, Flamme Orange, Green Zebra,
Marvel Stripe, Genovese Jewel, Chocolate Amazon,
Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter, Buttery Azoychka, Gold-Shouldered Planet,
Purple Dog Creek, Bloody Butcher, Sweet Ocelot.

Fagan, K. (2014). Reception. In J. Cognard Black and M. Goldthwaite (Ed.) Books that Cook, The Making of a Literary Meal (2014) (pp. 242-243). New York University Press, New York and London 




  • 4 to 5 medium tomatoes (when tomatoes are not in season, I use Compari cut in quarters — 2 to 2 1/2 cups total)
  • 1 to 2 hot Hungarian wax peppers, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • 1/2 small sweet onion (or red onion), thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons basil leaves (cut chiffonade)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (or season to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



Step 1: Cut tomatoes into bite-size pieces; place in a medium bowl. 
Step 2:  Add the slices of Hungarian wax peppers and onions.
Step 3: Add salt and pepper to taste. When ready to serve, add the chiffonade of basil and olive oil.  Serve at room temperature in bowls with crusty Italian bread.


John Besh's Heirloom Salad

Makes 4 servings



  • 1 large Cherokee Purple tomatoe
  • 1 green Zebra tomato
  • 1 Black Prince tomato
  • 1 Pineapple tomato
  • 2 Snow White tomatoes
  • 2 green grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 pint yellow or red currant or pear tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 to 2 anchovy filet, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Smallest leaves from 1 branch fresh basil
  • 2 ounces ricotta salata cheese
  • 4 pieces very thinly sliced prosciutto



Step 1: Wash the tomatoes and core all but the smallest ones. Then, depending on their size, slice, quarter, or halve the tomatoes or leave them whole, slicing the larger ones thickly (about 4 slices each).
Step 2: Arrange them in one big serving bowl. Season the tomatoes with a touch of salt and pepper.
Step 3: Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, anchovies, sugar, pepper flakes, and a pinch or two of salt in a small bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the tomatoes and scatter basil leaves on them.
Step 4: Finally, coarsely crumble the cheese over the tomatoes, then arrange the slices of prosciutto on top of and around the tomatoes.


Shaved Fennel Salad with Blood Oranges, Pecorino, and Pomegranates

Adapted from Mario Batali: Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home


  • 2 large round fennel bulbs, trimmed, and several fennel fronds set aside
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large blood oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • An 8-ounce chunk hard pecorino, such as sardo or toscano, for shaving


Step 1: Using a mandoline or other vegetable slicer, shave the fennel crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices.
Step 2: Place in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice and olive oil. Add the blood orange segments, pomegranate seeds, and fennel fronds and toss gently to mix. 
Step 3: Season with salt and pepper.
Step 4: Arrange the fennel salad on four individual plates. Shave the pecorino in long shards over each plate, and serve.

Sicilian Orange, Fennel and Red Onion Salad

On a recent trip to Siracusa, Sicily, I had this amazing salad in a cooking class with Fiora Piccione ( If you are ever in Siracusa and want to take a cooking class, I would highly recommend a class with Fiora. She is a wonderful chef and great teacher, and this salad was spectacular. The Italian name for this salad is Insalata di Arance e Finocchi alla Siciliana. I had several different versions of this salad during my stay in Sicily but Fiora's version was the absolute best.  The citrus fruits from the island are plentiful, delicious, and I found, are enjoyed in both savory as well as sweet dishes. This particular salad is savory and refreshing served either by itself or before or after a meal.   
Makes 6 servings



  • 8 small blood oranges, or other oranges
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 3 to 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or Kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped fresh



Step 1: With a sharp, thin-bladed knife, shave off the peel and pith of each orange completely, exposing the flesh of the fruit. Slice the oranges into rounds about 1/3-inch thick (you'll have about 4 cups of slices in all). Handle them gently so they remain intact. 
Step 2: Peel the onion and slice it into very thin rounds. Slice radishes.
Step 3: Slice one bulbs of fennel as thinly as you can (use a mandoline if you have one).
Step 4: Add oranges, red onion slices, fennel, and radishes to a large bowl. Add some of the fennel fronds, parsley, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, extra-virgin olive oil and a splash of vinegar to taste. Toss and serve.



Apple Rutabaga Soup

Adapted from Chef Patrick O'Connell, The Inn at Little Washington

Makes 6 to 8 servings



  • 1 stick (1/4 pound) butter
  • 1 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup rutabaga, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup butternut squash, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 quart good chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Salt and cayenne pepper to taste



Step 1: In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, apple, rutabaga, squash, carrots and sweet potato and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent.
Step 2: Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until all of the vegetables are cooked through and tender.
Step 3: Puree the vegetables in a blender or food processor. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into the same pot you used to cook the vegetables. Add the cream, maple syrup, salt and cayenne pepper.
Step 4: Return the pot to the stove, bring the soup to a simmer, and serve.


Chilled Avocado Soup Shooters with Spicy Breadcrumbs

Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2010



For the Soup:

  • 1 large ripe avocado (11 to 12 ounces), halved, pitted, peeled, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups (or more) vegetable broth or low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Generous pinch of coarse kosher salt
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 1 4 x 4 x 1/2-inch slice soft white sandwich bread with crust
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Step 1: For the Soup: Place diced avocado in blender. Add 1 1/2 cups broth, whipping cream, lime juice, and coarse salt. 
Step 2: Puree until smooth. Transfer soup to 4-cup measuring cup; add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin soup, if desired. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD Soup can be made up to 4 hours ahead. Keep chilled.
Step 3: For the Breadcrumbs: Finely grind bread in processor. Melt butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs to skillet; stir until golden, about 1 minute. Add paprika, coarse salt, and cayenne; stir until crumbs are crisp, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to small bowl and cool. DO AHEAD Breadcrumbs can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.
Step 4: Pour cold soup into eight 1/3-cup glasses or other small glasses. Sprinkle each serving lightly with breadcrumbs.

Cold Almond and Garlic Soup with Figs and Marcona Almonds

Adapted from Jose Andres: Made in Spain, Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen


  • 1-1/2 pounds blanched almonds
  • 6 cups of flat mineral or filtered water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup aged sherry vinegar plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2-1/2 cup spanish extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
  • 3 slices of rustic bread, crusts removed about 2 ounces
  • 4 fresh black figs, quartered
  • 4 tablespoons roughly chopped spanish Marcona almonds
  • 1 tablespoons chopped chives


Step 1: Put blanched almonds into a bowl, cover with mineral water and let soak overnight.  Soaking the almonds overnight brings out the natural milk of the almonds. 
Step 2: Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a small pot over high heat. Add the garlic and boil for 1 minute, then drain the garlic and cool.  
Step 3: Drain the soaked almonds, reserving the soaking liquid.
Step 4: Put drained almonds in a blender or food processor.  Add the garlic, reserved soaking liquid, 3/4 cup of the sherry vinegar, 2 1/2 cups of olive oil, and bread. Puree until smooth. 
Step 5: Place a colander over a large bowl and line it with cheesecloth. Pour the soup into the colander. Alternatively, if you have a chinois, you can use this to strain your soup (see picture below).  
Step 6: Once most of the liquid has passed through the colander, gather the cheesecloth around the remaining solids and squeeze gently to release as much of the liquid as possible. 
Step 7: Discard the solids. Pour the soup in a pitcher and chill for 30 minutes.
Step 8: To serve, divide the fig pieces and Marcona almonds among soup bowls. Pour in the cold soup, sprinkle with chopped chives, and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil.


I love this gazpacho recipe by Jose Andres. I have had it at Jaleo in Washington, DC and Bethesda, MD and it is close to the best gazpacho I've ever had. I got together with my friend, Amy to see if we could re-create Jose's gazpacho. On this particular Sunday, Amy was the chef de cuisine, and I served as sous-chef de cuisine and photographer. Our version was delicious. The taste was pretty darn close to the original.



For the Gazpacho: 

  • 2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes (about 10), cut into chunks
  • 8 ounces cucumber (1 cucumber), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 ounces green pepper, in large pieces
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt

For the Garnish:

  • 1 tablespoon Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice rustic white bread
  • 6 plum tomatoes, with the seeds, prepared as "fillets"
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 pearl onions, pulled apart into segments
  • 2 tablespoons Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • 4 chives, cut into 1-inch pieces


Step 1: To make the gazpacho: In a blender, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, garlic, water, and sherry vinegar and blend until the mixture becomes a thick liquid. 
Step 2: Taste for acidity; this will vary with the sweetness of the tomatoes. If it's not balanced enough, add a little more vinegar. We used Roma tomatoes that were not very sweet so we had to add somewhere between 2 and 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Add the olive oil, season with salt, and blend again. Strain the gazpacho into a pitcher and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
Step 3: While the gazpacho is chilling, prepare the garnishes: In a small pan, heat the olive oil over moderately high heat and fry the bread until golden, about 2 minutes. Break into small pieces to form croutons and set aside.
Step 4: Place 4 croutons, 2 "fillets" of tomatoes with seeds, 4 cherry tomato halves, 3 cucumber cubes and 3 onion segments into each bowl. Add a few drops of olive oil to each onion segment and drizzle a little more around each bowl. 
Step 5: Add a few drops of vinegar to each cucumber cube and drizzle a little more around each bowl. Sprinkle sea salt on the tomatoes.To serve pour gazpacho into each of 4 bowls containing the garnishes.  
Step 6: Sprinkle the chives over the soup.  You can simplify the garnishes: Just use a few cubes of cucumber, tomato and green pepper. Serve when the gazpacho is refreshingly chilled.
And here's a picture of Jose Andres, the master himself!

Hearty Bean Soup


  • 1/4 pound cooked ham, in one piece
  • 2 medium-size celery stalks
  • 2 medium-size carrots
  • 1 medium-size onion
  • 1 medium-size zucchini (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 15 to 19 ounce cans white kidney beans (cannellini) rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive or salad oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 14-1/2 to 16 ounce can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 13-3/4 to 14-1/2 ounce can chicken broth
  • 1/2 medium size bunch spinach, chopped, with tough stems removed (about 1 cup packed)
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)


Step 1: Cut ham into 1/2" pieces; dice celery; thinly slice carrots; chop onion; dice zucchini. 
Step 2: Remove 1-1/2 cups white kidney beans to medium bowl; with potato masher or fork, mash beans until smooth. In 5-quart Dutch oven, add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Add ham, celery, carrots, onions, zucchini, basil, and pepper and cook until vegetables are tender and begin to brown, about 15 minutes. 
Step 3: Stir in stewed tomatoes, chicken broth, chopped spinach, mashed white beans, and 2 cups water, using spoon to break up tomatoes; over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in remaining beans; heat through.
Step 4: To serve, spoon soup into large soup bowls. Sprinkle each with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Adapted from Tyler Florence's Dinner at My Place




For the chicken stock:

  • 1 whole free-range chicken (about 3-1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
  • 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 2 large white onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

For the chicken soup:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows
  • 8 ounces dried orzo
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


Step 1: To make the chicken stock: Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. 
Step 2: Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. 
Step 3: As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
Step 4: Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.
Step 5: Strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids.
Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.
Step 6: To make the chicken soup: Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. 
Step 7: Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 7 minutes until tender. 
Step 8: Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Italian Wedding Soup



For the Chicken Stock:

  • 4 chicken breasts with skin
  • 1 stalk celery with leaves
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • salt to taste
  • 3 quarts of water
  • 4 or 5 chicken bouillon cubes

For the soup:

  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup pastime or 3/4 pound of thin noodles

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • About 1/2 to 3/4 cup waters to make the meatballs soft


Step 1: For the chicken stock: Wash and clean chicken breast. Soak in salt water for 1/2 hour. Drain and place in large kettle with rest of ingredients for the stock. Cook until chicken is tender. Remove chicken breasts and strain broth.
Step 2: For the meatballs: Mix all ingredients together and add enough water to make the meatballs soft. Roll out miniature meatballs. 
Step 3: For the soup: Add 3 stalks of chopped celery and the chopped onion to the strained chicken stock and cook until tender. To make a larger amount of soup, you may add canned chicken broth.
Step 4: Add raw meatballs to the chicken broth containing the celery and onions.  
Step 5: Cook 3/4 to 1 cup pastime or 3/4 pound thin noodles as directed on package. 
Step 6: Add cooked pastime to broth. If soup is not served immediately, do not add pastime to broth. When ready to serve soup, cook pastime or noodles, place in soup bowl and add broth to each bowl.
Step 7: Add one package fresh spinach or frozen spinach to the soup. If using frozen spinach, cook separately, rinse and add to soup. You may substitute endive or escarole in place of spinach. 
Step 8: Add shredded chicken and parsley.  Serve immediately.

Pappa al Pomodoro (Chilled Tomato and Bread Soup)

Adapted from Mario Batali: Molto Italiano 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home



  • 3 to 4  pounds very ripe tomatoes, cored
  • 1-1/2 cups torn up day old bread
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices baguette, toasted and cooled



Step 1: In a food processor, blend tomatoes until liquid. 
Step 2: Add day old bread, basil, thyme, olive oil, water, and generously season with salt and pepper. If too thick, thin with more cold water. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Divide cool tomato soup among 4 bowls. Place 1 slice baguette in center of each bowl, and top with the scallions.


Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Lentils are high in protein and fiber, low in fat, and packed with folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. On top of all of their nutritional benefits, they cook quickly. So this is the perfect soup to make when you are in a hurry for dinner and you want something nutritious to eat. This particular lentil soup is like no other I’ve had before. A pinch of cayenne and chili powder gives the soup just the right amount of spice, and a vibrant splash of lemon is added at the end to perfectly finish the soup’s flavor.
Adapted from Melissa Clark's Red Lentil Soup with Lemon, published January 2008 in the New York Times



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chile powder
  • Pinch of cayenne, more to taste
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro



Step 1: In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
Step 2: Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper, chili powder, cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
Step 3: Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
Step 4: Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
Step 5: Stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.


Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Adapted from the Slow Roasted Italian's Slow Cooker Potato Soup 



  • 10 slices cooked bacon, diced
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 to 3 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toppings: extra shredded cheddar cheese and bacon, and fresh parsley



Step 1: Add potatoes, onion, garlic, bacon, and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3-4 hours on high, until the potatoes are fork tender.
Step 2: After the soup has cooked for 3 to 4 hours and once the potatoes are tender, add butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat and melt. Whisk in the flour until completely combined.  Gradually add the evaporated milk.
Step 3: Whisk the flour and milk mixture until smooth. With the heat on the lowest stove setting, let the mixture cook until it starts to simmer and is getting thicker, stir occasionally.
Step 4: Add the thickened milk-flour mixture to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
Step 5: Using an immersion blender, puree about 1/2 of the potatoes.
Step 6: Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking the soup on high for 15 minutes.  If the soup is too thick, add more chicken broth (or water).
Step 7: Garnish with bacon and cheddar cheese.


Tom Kha Gai (or Tom Yum Gai)


  • 4 cups chicken stock (canned or home made)
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, crushed and cut into 1-inch sections
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 slices galangal root
  • 1 teaspoon roasted chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 green onion sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms or 1 can straw mushrooms, drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 cups cooked chicken meat, diced
  • 1/2 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 can coconut milk 
  • To make Tom Yum Gai: Omit the coconut milk in the above recipe


Step 1: Pour the chicken stock into a large saucepan.  Add the lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal.  Bring to a boil, cover, and boil for 5 minutes.  
Step 2: Stir in 1 teaspoon of chili paste.  Add coconut milk, fish sauce, lemon juice, green onion, mushrooms, cilantro, cooked chicken meat and raw shrimp. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Watermelon Gazpacho

Adapted from Tyler Florence: Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Anytime 
Makes 4-6 servings


  • 3 cups coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes (about 6 large tomatoes)
  • 3 cups cubed and seeded fresh watermelon (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, plus more sprigs for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta


Step 1: Puree half of the tomatoes, watermelon, and cucumber in a food processor.  
Step 2: Chop the remaining tomato, watermelon, and cucumber into a small dice and add to the puree.  
Step 3: Finely mince the red onion and jalapeno peppers and add to the soup mixture.  
Step 4: Add sherry vinegar, olive oil and salt/pepper to taste.  Season with salt and pepper to taste  

Step 5: Sprinkle the soup with feta cheese and garnish with dill.  The soup should be served at room temperature. 

West African Chicken Soup




  • One 3-pound chicken, neck reserved
  • 3-1/2 quarts water
  • 2 medium onions, 1 unpeeled and quartered, 1 thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, 2 coarsely chopped, 2 sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 celery ribs, 2 coarsely chopped, 2 sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 6 parsley sprigs
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro



Step 1: In a stockpot, combine the chicken and neck with the water, quartered onion, chopped carrots and celery, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley springs and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. 
Step 2: Transfer the chicken to a plate. Discard the skin. Pull the meat off the bones, cut it into 1/2-inch pieces and refrigerate.
Step 3: Return the bones to the pot, partially cover and simmer for 1 hour, until the broth is richly flavored. Strain the broth into a clean heat proof bowl and rinse out the pot. 
Step 4: Return the broth to the pot and boil over moderate heat until reduced to 8 cups, about 30 minutes. Season with salt.
Step 5: In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the sliced onion, ginger, minced jalapeno, tomatoes, curry powder and tomato paste and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. 
Step 5: Stir in the broth, and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Season with salt cook over moderate heat for about 30 minutes. 
Step 6: Add the chopped chicken and cilantro and simmer until just heated through.
Step 7: Ladle into bowls and serve. Serve with white rice.



Cheryl's Spicy Black Bean Chili


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 green pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 pounds 85% lean gound beef
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans of black beans
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (if needed to counteract the citric acid in the tomatoes)


Step 1: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, chile peppers, cumin, coriander, and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. 
Step 2: Increase heat to medium-high and add beef; cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. 
Step 3: Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. 
Step 4: Remove cover and continue to simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally (if chili begins to stick to bottom of pot, stir in 1/2 cup water and continue to simmer), until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich, and slightly thickened. 
Step 5: Adjust seasoning with additional salt. Serve with lime wedges and condiments if desired.

George's Hearty Beef Stew

This recipe belongs to George, my friend Amy's father. George has been making this beef stew for family gatherings for more than three decades.  This stew has a tomato-based broth and is loaded with lots of vegetables.  Her family loves it with lots of warm buttered rolls, and dipping your bread in the broth is a must.


  • 1 pound of stew meat (chuck-eye roast or sirloin), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce
  • 4 large carrots (chopped into large chunks)
  • 4 medium potatoes (chopped into large chunks)
  • 1 large onion (chopped into a large chunks)
  • 4 stalks of celery (chopped into large chunks)
  • 1/2 cup of quick cook barley
  • 1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 bay leaf (2 if bay leaves are small)

Instructions for Pressure Cooker:

Step 1: Let meat come to room temperature. Place oil into the pressure cooker and heat on high.  Once oil is hot, sear meat until brown.  
Step 2: Add 2 cans of tomato sauce and two cans of water.  Add half of the chopped onion and the garlic. Add basil, oregano, bay leaf and a pinch of salt and 20 grinds of fresh cracked pepper. 
Step 3: Cover with lid and set the pressure control weight to 10 pounds.  Heat on high until weight jiggles and then cook for 15 minutes.  Turn the heat off and let the cooker cool down for 5 minutes.  Then run cold water over the cooker to reduce the pressure.  
Step 4: Once cooled down, add barley, carrots, potatoes, celery, frozen corn, remaining onions and a can of diced tomatoes.  Replace the pressure cooker lid and set pressure cooker weight to 10 pounds. Cook for 12 minutes.  Check flavor and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Instructions for Dutch Oven:

Step 1: Let meat come to room temperature. Place oil into a dutch oven and heat on high.  Once oil is hot, sear meat until brown.  
Step 2: Add 2 cans of tomato sauce and two cans of water.  Add half of the chopped onion and the garlic. Add basil, oregano, bay leaf and a pinch of salt and 20 grinds of fresh cracked pepper. 
Step 3: Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.  Add barley, carrots, potatoes, celery, frozen corn, remaining onions and a can of diced tomatoes.  Cook until vegetables are cooked and soft, but not mushy.  Check flavor and add salt and pepper to taste. 
Step 4: Serve with warm rolls and butter. 

Paniolo Chili


If you crave a chili loaded with protein, this chili is the one for you. I consider this the ultimate comfort food and perfect to have on a cold winter's evening. Paniolo is the Hawaiian word for cowboy. This is a dish that originates with the cowboys of the Big Island.




  • 1-1/2 pounds beef chuck roast
  • 1-1/2 pounds pork butt (or country style ribs)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds Portugese sausage
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1-1/2 pounds chicken thighs
  • 3 large red onions
  • 3 large green peppers
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 16-ounce cans tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 16-ounce cans beans (mixture of black and kidney beans)
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato paste
  • 5 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes



Step 1: Cut chuck roast and pork butt into manageable pieces. In large skillet or dutch oven, heat oil over high heat and saute meat until brown.
Step 2:  Add sausage, ground beef, and chicken thighs, and saute until brown.
Step 3: Drain fat.  Add onions, green peppers, and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent. 
Step 4: Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 3 to 4 hours.  Add additional spice if needed.  Cook for 3 to 4 hours until meat is tender and falls aparts and shreds easily.


Purdue Boilermaker Chili


Adapted from


  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 pound chuck roast, cut into cubes
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar


Step 1: Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground chuck and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease and set aside.
Step 2: In a large stock pot, sauté onions, celery, green peppers, red peppers, jalapeño peppers, and garlic in olive oil until tender.
Step 3: Add ground chuck, sausage and cubed chuck roast to vegetables.  Stir to combine.
Step 3: Rinse and drain black beans, then add to large stock pot with meat and a sautéed vegetables.  
Step 4: Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, 28 ounces of water, and 1 bottle of beer. 
Step 5: Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, paprika, and sugar. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Step 6: After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day.