I love soup. It’s warm, it’s filling, it’s delicious, and every culture has their own take on what you can do with a bowl and a spoon.
As you can imagine, my Seamless soup delivery man and I are very close. We even sing each other Christmas carols in December as he walks the three flights up to my apartment.
Frankly, though, soup in the summer is just inappropriate.
But Beth, you say, there’s gazpacho! There’s vichyssoise!
Well, gazpacho is not a soup. Gazpacho is a bloody mary without the vodka.
Vichyssoise? Don’t lie to me and tell me that thick ass puree of potatoes, leeks, cream and chicken stock wouldn’t taste a gazpachillion times better hot.
Most recently, I was craving a bowl of hot and bubbly cold-weather soup but I simply couldn’t muster a crock of French Onion in 100% humidity. Forced to work with the elements (i.e. on a hot summer day when the desire to move and/or make anything lengthy in the kitchen is minimal), my Summer Onion Soup was born.
It is the yin to winter’s cheesy and rich French Onion yang. With three different types of seasonal onion/garlic-related vegetables, plus some chicken, zucchini and potato to round out the dish, this soup is bright, light and flavorful and totally appropriate for summer. It’s like the white jeans of soup.
Summer Onion Soup
- 1 small, whole Chicken
- 16 oz. unsalted Vegetable or Chicken Stock
- 1 bunch fresh Scallions, cleaned and sliced into 3-4″ long pieces
- 5 sprigs Thyme
- 1 head fresh Garlic, cloves separated and thinly sliced
- 1 bunch Garlic Scapes, ends removed and sliced into 3-4″ long pieces
- 5 small Potatoes with a fancy name, quartered (I prefer Augusta potatoes because Augustus was the heir to Caesar and I love Caesar salad. I mean, who doesn’t? And August is my birth month so it works in so many ways. Just make sure the reason you choose your potato has a great story behind it – it’ll make the soup taste better.)
- 2 medium Green Zucchini, cut into 2-3″ chunks
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Maldon Salt
- Generously season the chicken on all sides with salt. Coat the bottom a large dutch oven or soup pot with a thin layer of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Place chicken in the pot breast-side-up and cook until the bottom is golden brown, around 3-5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and pour in stock. Add enough water to the pot so the chicken is almost covered (you want the top 1/8th exposed but that seemed a little anal to state given my naturally lackadaisical demeanor. Important to note that this soup was also invented on a day where I attempted to minimize dishes and knife work – hence, the whole chicken).
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot except the zucchini. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
- Remove the chicken and thyme sprigs from the pot. Discard thyme and place the chicken on a cutting board. Turn off the heat, add the zucchini to the pot and put the cover back on.
- Depending on how hungry you are, at this point you can either brave the scalding hot chicken and start tearing the meat off with your mighty heat resistant talons you call hands, or you can stick the chicken in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes until that bird has cooled the eff down. Either way, pick the meat off the bird, tearing or cutting the meat into large pieces (around 3″ long) and placing back in the pot.
- Stir the soup around a bit so the chicken can get reacquainted with its old friends and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Serve HOT.
Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits but most strawberry desserts are pretty miserable.
Chocolate dipped strawberries are the most overrated dessert of all time. Strawberry ice cream can be pretty hit-or-miss, most often a miss. Strawberry rhubarb stuff… that’s pretty good I guess (but it needs the rhubarb to make it great!).
When making a dessert with strawberries, I always veer simple and make sure to purchase my fruit in-season and from the green market (versus just munching on them raw where it could be December and I really could care less just give me my gawd damn berries mmkay). Green market strawberries have a sweetness and depth of flavor no supermarket berry has ever come close to.
A great, super simple dessert that anyone can do – even if they live in a studio with a hot plate for a kitchen and a shared bathroom – is macerated strawberries. I always gravitate towards a simple flavor profile of vodka/vanilla/lemon combo with a bit of aged balsamic for added depth, inspired by April Bloomfield’s recipe in A Girl and Her Pig. Using my recipe below as a guide, you can sub in your favorite strawberry flavorings – adding in herbs or switching up the sugar, alcohol or spices.
I prefer to spoon these strawberries over vanilla gelato for the perfect summer dessert but they’re are also great over angel food or cheesecake, yogurt, pancakes or oatmeal. (NOTE: if you have these in the morning, remember the vodka is still quite active).
with Vodka & Vanilla
- 2 pints Tristar Strawberries (or other green market variety), hulled & halved
- 1/3 cup good quality Vodka
- ¼ Granulated Sugar
- 2 Vanilla Beans, halved & insides scraped out (discard beans)
- Zest & Juice of ½ Lemon
- ¼ cup Aged Balsamic Vinegar (that syrupy ish)
- 2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Large pinch of Maldon Salt
- 2t Black Pepper
- Using your hands, mix together all ingredients except for the strawberries in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add the strawberries and toss to combine, smooshing around 1/3 of the strawberries into a pulp with your hands as you do it. Taste for sweetness and acidity and adjust if necessary.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve.
In my marginally humble opinion, radishes are just about the most rad vegetable ever. Radishes are delicious, beautiful and – dare I say it – adorable. They’re even more adorable than baby corn.
In fact, in Japan, radishes are seen as so adorable that people carve them into cute little edible art pieces.
(Nevermind that these a more reminiscent of bad taxidermy than actual food…)
Behind the dainty, tickled pink hue of a radish lies a crisp and peppery vegetable with a taste that ranges from mildly spicy to horseradish hot.
(”All it comes down to is this. I taste like a spicy crunchy wasabi jicama guy but look great.” – Patrick Bateman, radish spokesperson)
Radishes can be eaten in a variety of ways: straight up Frenchie with butter and sea salt, in a crudite, roasted, pickled, or – one of my personal favorites – in a salad as the star ingredient.
When making a radish salad, the secret to making it not just a good radish salad but a great radish salad is all in the massage.
Deep tissue that radish.
You literally want to feel like you are trying to push the other ingredients into the radish. Radishes have a high water content and are pretty porous on the inside so by massaging the radish with the other ingredients, you are imparting the maximum amount of flavor into the vegetable.
Even though radishes taste pretty strong solo, they easily take on other flavors. Richer salad ingredients – like aged vinegars and cheeses – are perfect in a radish salad because the light and crunchy radish balances the heavier components with its signature, palate-cleansing bite.
So, without further ado, here is one of my go-to recipes for a tasty radish salad.
Radish Salad with
Aged Balsamic, Basil & Parm
- 2 bunches of Radishes (whatever color or type strikes your fancy, just make sure they’re firm and pretty blemish-free)
- 5 leaves of Basil
- 5oz Parmigiano Reggiano
- Handful of Sunflower Shoots
- Handful of Micro Russian Red Kale (substitute with small bits of torn Lacinato Kale if this is unavailable)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Good quality, aged Balsamic Vinegar (break out the good ish for this recipe)
- Maldon Salt & Black Pepper
- Clean the radishes, removing the greens and saving for another use if you wish. Halve the small radishes and quarter the large guys so all the pieces of radish are around the same size. Place in a large bowl.
- Tear the basil into medium-sized bits and add to the bowl. Break off small chunks of the parm with your hand (sometimes it helps to use a fork or paring knife to get the cheese going) into the bowl.
- Add a large pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and start massaging the radish, basil and parm together in the bowl, pressing the cheese and herb bits into the radish chunks with your hands. Add lemon juice, a drizzle of balsamic and continue to massage until the ingredients have incorporated themselves around each radish chunk
- Add sunflower shoots, micro kale, and a drizzle of olive oil to the bowl. Gently toss to combine (the greens are delicate!). Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve immediately with a little more balsamic drizzled on top.