Monday, September 20, 2010

Soup's On, Soul's Smiling

Give me soup...any day, any season. From scratch is preferred. My ingredients are simple: olive oil, onions, vegetable stock (I get a little help from Rapunzel which I pick up at Old Hook Farm), veggies of choice, spices. Sometimes a little soy creamer to mock dairy creamer.

These leeks from Abram Demaree Homestead are just begging to be paired with potatoes for a homemade potato leek soup. Celtic Kitchen in New Milford, NJ, sells brown bread from Ireland, which would be a delightful partner.

With a spinach Swiss cheese quiche and Fall's favorite drink, apple cider, at Abram Demaree's quaint patio overlooking land that has been farmed since the 1750s. The soup: vegetarian split pea, my dining companion, my lovely mother.

At a cozy French cafe, with Edith Piaf piping from the sound system. Add crusty bread, olive oil for dipping, and a bottle of tap water. This tomato basil soup was savored at a now shuttered cafe in the Chelsea section of New York City.

With salad, this one topped with blackberries and candied cashews, and a buttermilk herb scone from Rolling Pin Cafe in Westwood, NJ. The soup, dairy-free butternut squash soup.

With a Mexican flair, and loaded with protein and fiber rich beans. The black bean soup at La Batalla in Bergenfield, NJ, is hearty enough for a meal. Their homemade flan, so hard to resist.

With a touch of Asia. At Empire Hunan in Fair Lawn, NJ, a cup of miso soup. The perfect starter to feasts of steamed vegetable dumplings and brown rice or bean curd with veggies. Lychee fruit to end for dessert. I haven't been here in far too long.

With soup's best good friend: Saltines. Some would say tomato soup's soulmate is grilled cheese. The tomato soup here, Campbell's, from Conrad's Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant (open May through Labor Day; after which it stays open as a chocolate shop, which it is year-round).

An aside, the last time I dined at Conrad's counter, where I enjoyed a strawberry sorbet on a sweltering summer day, a man beside me told the owner the last time he was in was in 1957, and the place hadn't changed at all. There's something to be said for that in the age of obsession over modernizing and upgrading to the next best thing. There's comfort in the constant.

One thing that will never change, the comfort to body and soul soup always provides.

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