Kim: I did one of these last year…..only a few people came but we had so much fun, I wanted to find an easy way to entertain in late January-February and this even needed to be repeated. The rules are: Prepare one soup recipe you have never tried before (the smallest portion). Bring your soup in it’s pot to my house with copies of recipes and all invitees taste soups all night. Those who do not cook brought bread and wine and this year many people came!
A tradition is born!
This is one of the soups I made (yes, I’m an over- achiever, I made 2 different ones!) and everyone like it. See if you agree:
TOMATO-FENNEL SOUP WITH CRAB
Makes: 8 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bulbs fennel, trimmed, cored and thinly slices
(save fronds for garish)
2 leeks (white & green parts), sliced and rinsed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons Sambuca or anise flavored liquor
1-28 ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 cups chicken broth
¾ cup heavy cream
4 ounces lump crabmeat
Heat olive oil in a large pot over med-low heat. Add fennel and leeks and season with 1 ½ teaspoons salt and red pepper pinch. Cook, stirring occasionally until the veggies are just tender, about 25 minutes.
Add Sambuca and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, broth, cream and ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook until fennel is soft about 15 minutes.
Working in batches, puree until smooth with a blender or immersion blender. Return soup to the post and season with salt. Top each portion with crab and fennel fronds.
I needed a bit of a sweet for this soup tasting and I always have more recipes to test than I have hours in a day. I literally closed my eyes and put my hand into the basket of recipes I have waiting to be filed and decided to prepare the recipe I grabbed. This is it! The texture is like fudge but it tastes like a great brownie. Cut into small bites, it was just what people wanted or needed (?) after a night of soup tasting.
Makes 1 9-by 13 inch pan
2 cups flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
2 cups (7 oz) finely chopped dark chocolate (70 %)
6 large eggs
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups pecans (5oz)
Preheat oven to 350F, Coat 9X13 inch baking pan with baking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine cocoa and sugar together in a medium saucepan set over gently simmering water, melt the butter with chocolate, stirring until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
In large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the eggs with the brown sugar and salt at medium speed for 2 minutes. Beat in the dry ingredients in 4 additions, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer on, drizzle in the chocolate mixture and beat at low speed until well combined. Fold in the pecans.
Scrape the brownie butter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool before cutting.
(this recipe freezes very well for weeks!)
~ Kim Hendrickson, Salvia Press
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KIM HENDRICKSON, author of the Tastefully Small cookbook series, has been teaching for nearly twenty years. A regular instructor at the John C. Campbell Folk School, she is a frequent speaker at culinary events throughout the U.S. She has catered for The Travel Channel’s Bizarre Food Show, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Penguin Repertory Theater. And TV’s “Slangman”, David Burke. Kim's book, "Finger Sandwiches", is the only one of its kind, dedicated exclusively to a celebration of unique and flavorful tea sandwiches, and her "Savory Bites" and "Dessert Canapes" books help round out the Tastefully Small series to make any gathering both fun and delicious. See http://www.SalviaPress.com
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