Tag Archives: soup

West Bridge, Kendall Sq

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Where: West Bridge – 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

I haven’t spooned anyone in so long! Actually, that’s not true, I have been spooning like its going out of style but just haven’t polished up any drafts to a postable state in a while.

You know its been too long when you are writing about a menu item that no longer exist, as the case here at West Bridge in Kendall Sq. A colleague and I headed across the street from our office to West Bridge for lunch on one of those fall days where the sun was no where to be seen and the chill of the rain goes through you right to the bone. Obviously I got soup. And a glass of prosecco on tap. Just kidding, I would never do that during the work day…

I started with the Sunflower Chowder featuring a Woodbury clam as an ode to the traditional clam chowder. I had emailed Jared at West Bridge who told me that Chef Matthew Gaudet blends sunflowers into a familiar cream-based broth and finishes it with smoked pork shoulder. This chowder was… simply amazing. It was creamy and salty but not heavy. It was so damn good I regretted ordering a meal on top of this as I wanted another bowl. I don’t think a rainy day goes by that I don’t think about this dish. They also feature a larger portion for dinner, thank god.

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I then got the GLT, which is the item no longer on their menu. The GLT stands for Guanciale (an Italian style of unsmoked bacon), Lettuce and Tomato. Its a glorified BLT, which is probably one of my favorite sandwiches. It came served with thinly sliced fried chips and some pickled veggies. I loved the flavors of this sandwich but the Guanciale was a wee bit too fatty for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love fat, but this was Fatty with a capital F. Even putting aside my concerns about having a heart attack on the spot, I couldn’t eat more than half of it as it was just too much for me. I ended up wrapping up the other half and eating it later on a flight. It did travel well.

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Overall, the chowder was phenomenal, the service was great, loved the clean simple design of the restaurant, and they have prosecco on tap (so I hear). The sandwich was good but I don’t think I could get it again (and I don’t have a choice as they don’t have it on the menu anymore anyways) as it was just too fatty for me. I’m happy to have West Bridge just around the corner for many more lunches, dinners, and after work libations.

How did West Bridge measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

Yoshi’s, Powderhouse Sq

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Where: Yoshi’s – 132 College Avenue Somerville, MA 02144
When: June, 2012

A few days after I broke my foot a dear friend invited me over to her house (with a pick up and drop off service!) for a movie and sushi. Full of Vicodin and exhausted from carrying my weight around for the last few days I was stoked to get out of the house and have a real evening with little effort.

We ordered from Yoshi’s in Powderhouse Sq, which I hadn’t ordered from since I moved out of Somerville a few years ago. We shared an order of Gyoza and then I got the Seaweed Salad, Spicy Tuna Maki and Sweet Potato Maki. For starters, this was too much food so ended up taking the Seaweed Salad home for another time.

The Gyoza, with “meat” (what kind, I couldn’t tell you) and vegetables, were lightly pan fried and flavorful. The sauce it came with wasn’t particularily good, it tasted very watered down which made me wish I had brought my own bottle from home (from Whole Foods – its the best I’ve found). The sushi was fine, your standard fare, although definitely not our favorite. We both talked about how we prefer Blue Fin and , for me, Super Fusion – both in Porter Sq. The Sweet Potato Maki was a little dry and didn’t have that crunch from the tempura that I hoped for. The Spicy Tuna was a little on the mild side.

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Overall, I wouldn’t actively seek out or suggest Yoshi’s but for delivery its quick and adequate. I wouldn’t order from here again unless knocked out on Vicodin with a broken foot without many other sushi options around. Glowing review, eh?

How did Yoshi’s measure up? 2 Spoons!

Yoshi's on Urbanspoon

Thai Shrimp Bisque, Recipe

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We finally got some snow here in Boston! It sure is a big change from last year’s winter when the term “Snowpocalypse” was overused for good reason. I’m sure our snow bunnies still aren’t happy since it didn’t stick but I am just fine with it.

Anyways, an inch or two of snow is more than enough to drive me into the kitchen to try a new soup recipe. I found this recipe for a Thai Shrimp Bisque through My Recipes (which searches Cooking Light, Food & Wine, and a few other food magazine sites) and, although long, the list of ingredients weren’t too intimidating for someone like me who doesn’t have a lot, if any, experience cooking Thai food. I love the flavors of Thai food and how they combine citrus, spice and creaminess all into one well rounded dish. This soup is really filling just on its own and has a burst of lime that makes it feel very fresh and light even on a cold snowy-ish Boston day.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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From Cooking Light, 2000

Ingredients

Marinade:
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp
1 1/2 tablespoons grated lime rind
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Shrimp stock:
2 cups water
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Soup:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 tablespoon grated lime rind
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation

To prepare marinade, peel shrimp, reserving shells. Combine shrimp and next 8 ingredients (shrimp though garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

To prepare the shrimp stock, combine the reserved shrimp shells, water, wine and 1 tablespoon tomato paste in a large Dutch oven. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until the liquid is reduced to 1 cup (about 10 minutes). Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl, and discard solids.

To prepare the soup, heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and sauté 8 minutes or until browned. Add 1 cup shrimp stock, coconut milk, and 1 tablespoon tomato paste, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour and reduced-fat milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add to pan; reduce heat, and simmer until thick (about 5 minutes). Add shrimp and marinade, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime rind, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and salt.

Chicken, Leek, and Mushroom Soup, Recipe

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Happy National Homemade Soup Day! I hadn’t planned it this way but realized the coincidence of this “holiday” when reading Foodimentary’s blog (great blog if you don’t already follow it!).

New Englanders seem to love the cold and as soon as it dips below freezing they hit the slopes or grab their ice skates. I am not a New Englander. I’m not sure how I ended up here as I am the happiest in the tropics where it’s so hot and humid that you are constantly covered in a glowy warm dew. I’d trade my boots for flip flops and parka for a polka dot bikini any day of the year. When the weather dips below freezing I bundle up, bring out my knitting needles, and spend my time making soups and other hearty dishes.

I wanted to make a chicken soup but something a little different, not your mama’s chicken noodle soup. This one, on She Cooks, He Cleans’ blog, caught my eye as it has a little something different in it – apple and apple cider. I’m also a big fan of puréed soups and love any excuse to bust out the immersion blender.

This is a really easy, filling meal and makes great leftovers to take into work. Very flavorful with the apple giving the soup a nice burst of freshness. Not quite like anything I’ve tasted before – definitely a keeper! Hey, an apple a day however we can get it, right?

Chicken, Leek, and Mushroom Soup
From She Cooks, He Cleans

Ingredients:
2 free-range chicken breasts from U.S. Wellness Meats (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
4 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
3 tablespoons Kerrygold unsalted butter (grass-fed)
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced, washed thoroughly and dried
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
10 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used a mixture of cremini and shiitaki)
1 tart apple, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pour the chicken broth into a large, heavy pot. Rinse the chicken breast halves with cold water, and place in the pot with the chicken broth. Bring the broth to a simmer, and cook the chicken for 15-20 minutes at low heat. As the chicken is cooking, periodically skim the foam from the broth and discard. Move the chicken to a dish to cool. Pour the chicken broth into a bowl through a fine-mesh strainer, and set aside. Wipe out the pot with paper towels.

Using the same pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Saute leeks and celery until soft, but not browned, for around 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute for 2 or 3 minutes,, then add the apple cubes and cook for another few minutes until the mushrooms and apples are soft. Return the strained chicken broth to the pot with the vegetables; stir in apple cider vinegar, dried thyme, and cream. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, partially covered.

In the meantime, cut the chicken into smaller pieces, then shred each piece by hand. Cover the shredded chicken so it doesn’t dry out, and set aside.

After the broth and vegetables have simmered for 20-30 minutes, use an immersible hand-blender to puree the vegetables to a finer consistency. (I like to leave it a little chunky.) Add the shredded chicken to the the soup. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat on low for at least 10 minutes. Serve hot, and enjoy!

This isn’t the most beautiful meal to photograph but you get the point.

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Ciopinno, Recipe

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20111230-152649.jpgFor the last 5-6 years my dad and I have been making Ciopinno for Christmas dinner. Not being Italian I am not sure exactly how this tradition started but it was a one time thing that ended up sticking around.

With Christmas usually being just the two of us this is a great one-pot meal which is uncomplicated but fancy enough for company. This Christmas my mum flew in from California and my brother and his son from Japan so our family gathering almost tripled! Thankfully there is always enough Ciopinno to go around and then some.

I don’t love all of Giada De Laurentiis’ meals but this one is a keeper. To the point and delicious.

Don’t forget to pick up a loaf of crusty bread to go along side of it.

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Ciopinno
From Giada De Laurentiis

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups fish stock
1 bay leaf
1 pound manila clams, scrubbed
1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut or salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks

20111230-152704.jpgHeat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.

Add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

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20111230-152736.jpgFor dessert dad busted out his cigar lighter, I mean torch, for crème brûlée. He makes one mean crème brûlée and whats better than being able to play with your food?

Yet another delicious Christmas at the Plants, or the Poinsettias as a friend dubbed us (get it? Holiday Plants!)

I’ll leave you with this photo of my dad’s pup, Arrow, guarding the Christmas tree. Happy Holidays!

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(Note my dad’s fancy Christmas gift tags, aka post-it notes)