It’s the end of January 2020—a new year and a new decade. I never thought I would make it this far. But here I am, thankful for being able to walk again and living in this beautiful area called Monterey Bay. There are so many wonderful things to do and to see, the endless Pacific Ocean, the mountains with their valleys and so much more. I have lived here for over 30 years and I haven’t seen everything—even though I have tried. I always look for new inspiration and new things to do and eat. A free magazine called edible Monterey helps me find new ventures in food. That’s where I found a new soup recipe using celeriac root, one of my favorite winter vegetable.
This soup is very similar to my creamy vegetable soup, called Krabbensuppe from the city of Hamburg, Germany. While my German version has different vegetables in the soup to complement the tiny shrimp from that part of the world. The celeriac soup in edible Monterey has apples, onions and celeriac root, seasoned with a hint of masala.
The soup by itself is delicious. I had some leftover for breakfast. But to bring it to the next level, add fresh Dungeness crab meat sautéed in browned butter. It makes it an elegant and special dish for any occasion. When I made it, I served it with crab cakes on a salad with citrus dressing. It was one of the first meals I cooked for my husband after I recovered. To all my friends who don’t have Dungeness crab available, I think lobster or shrimp would be great, maybe even scallops. It would make a special Valentine’s Day dinner.
Here are some other celeriac root recipes.
I would not omit the marsala , it adds a great flavor. I bought a small box at Whole Foods called Tandoori Marsala. The original recipe used garam masala. I don’t know the difference. I used different variety of apples that I bought at the Farmer’s Market . The original recipe called for granny smith apples. Peeling the celeriac root can be tricky. I use a pairing knife and try not to cut myself. As soon as you peel and cut the celeriac into slices put them in cold water with a splash of lemon juice to prevent them from discoloring
It has been almost eight weeks since my accident, and I am not allowed to walk without my boot and crutches. One of my ankle bones has not healed yet. My doctor told me to write the alphabet with my foot as many times as I can to regain mobility. I can now do it in cursive and in block print. I have learned a lot during these last eight weeks, especially to be patient and resourceful. I also learned to be very careful and take care of my body. Being so physically dependent, I am thankful for my husband’s and son’s loving care. Most of all, it has been a humbling experience, and a lesson about how fragile life can be.
I have been cooking very little these days. I have eaten a lot of salads, rotisserie chicken and food brought by friends and neighbors. Once I am allowed to walk, I will start cooking again. I can’t wait.
A couple days ago, I was looking at a chicken carcass. I hate to waste good food. For years, I’ve made my own chicken and vegetable stock, and never make it the same way. Sometimes I buy chicken legs or a whole chicken, but most of the time I just use the chicken or turkey carcass, leftover vegetable scraps from the freezer or veggies that have seen better days. Whenever I use leeks, I freeze the part that I don’t use which are the dark green leaves. I wash the leaves and put them in a bag. Mushrooms stems give the stock a great Unami flavor. Ginger and garlic add more flavor. I add a couple of carrots, a couple of celery stalks with the leaves, and a whole onion cut into half (leaving the skin on). Some cooks blacken the cut side of the onions in a frying pan to add color, but I don’t. I put all these ingredients in a large cast iron pot and cover them with cold water. When the water boils, I add 1 teaspoon of salt, some pepper, and garlic salt. I always add a couple of bay leaves. So, you see I really don’t have a specific recipe.
Asparagus was considered a beneficial herb among the Romans and later in the 12th century was given aphrodisiacal power by Indian sex gurus. It was cultivated by French monks circa 1469, and a century later in Germany.
Here in the United States we eat green asparagus, while in Germany white asparagus is popular. Although green asparagus is becoming more popular. In Germany, Spargelzeit (asparagus season) is from April to June. During that time in Germany, you will find an abundance of asparagus at the local farmer’s markets and on the menus in most restaurants. Traditionally, it is served with boiled potatoes and hollandaise sauce. You can have it with cooked or smoked ham, or Schnitzel (pork chops).
Asparagus is low in calories and rich in fiber and vitamins. It has chromium, a trace mineral that helps insulin-transporting glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. This is a big plus for the millions of people who are diagnosed with pre-diabetes or are diabetic. Click here for a recipe for asparagus frittata that I posted a couple of years ago..
I love asparagus. Once the season starts, I buy it all the time. My husband prefers steamed asparagus, but I prefer mine roasted with hazelnut oil and sprinkled with some sea salt. When I steam the asparagus, I break off the woody ends. When I roast the asparagus, I prefer the thicker stems. I break off the woody ends and peel the rest of the stalk using a vegetable peeler, leaving the tips intact. However I cook my asparagus, I like it al dente. Click here for a delicious Chinese noodle salad that is perfect for spring and summer parties.
I have been playing with the recipe for this asparagus soup for a few years. Last year, I made one using leeks that was good, but not as good as the one I am posting here. This is a very simple but deliciously creamy soup with the flavor of asparagus. It is cooked in no time and you will enjoy every spoonful. I usually serve it with some fresh bread and salad. It would also make a great first course for a fancy dinner.
This wonton soup is full of flavor, easy to make, and you end up with a light soup which is flavored with ginger, enriched with bok choy and tasty wontons. It has been my go to soup for years and I think of it as Chinese penicillin when I have a cold.. The term wonton comes from a Chinese phrase meaning swallowing clouds.
Lately I have been needing wonton soup in my house. On a cold and rainy evening this soup will warm your belly. It will do the same on a foggy summer night. I have been playing with the recipe for years . The secret is in the tasty light broth that you want to slurp with delight. Of course a homemade broth is tastier but there is nothing wrong with using commercial chicken broth.
Normally I have been making this soup with store-bought wontons that I keep in the freezer. It is an easy and light dinner that is ready in 20 minutes. But when I decided to post this recipe I had to make my own wontons. I found a recipe I liked at (click here for the video on how to make wontons). I modified the original recipe to make less wontons. I didn’t like the flavor of my wonton wrappers so I made mostly pork-shrimp balls. For all purposes you can make this soup with pork-shrimp balls only. Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has.
In about a month I will be in Hamburg, a city in Northern Germany. I can’t wait, but in the meantime here is a recipe for Krabbensuppe, a delicate pureed vegetable soup , topped with bay shrimp. This soup is a staple in that region served with a tasty local little shrimp called Krabben. (click here for the recipe)
Make the wontons first if you make your own and keep them covered so they don’t dry out. The pork should be finely ground. If you don't have Mirin cooking wine try using sherry. Get all the ingredients for the broth ready before you begin cooking. Use both the stems and the leaves from the bok choy. There is enough soup for 3-4 servings .
This soup is a treat for the cooler days. It makes for a light dinner or a first course for a dinner party. It appeals to the diner in you. In Paris it is a quintessential bistro staple.
Whenever I am in Paris I have to have French onion soup. It’s usually my first meal. I am jet-legged and just want a light, comforting, tasty, and very French meal. The restaurant has to be right around the corner from my lodging. I am so happy just to be in Paris after a long flight. If the sun is shining, I like sitting at a small table in an outdoor cafe enjoying my surroundings.
That was the case this last time when I visited Paris in late August. (Click here to read more about Paris.) Everything was just the way I like it, except the onion soup. It was horrible—the broth had no depth, it tasted like dishwater with vinegar added. This prompted me to try my hand at making my own onion soup. Why not? Years ago, I made Julia Child's recipe from her book Mastering The Art of French Cooking. Unfortunately, I have no memory of it. I do remember making my own broth by roasting beef bones. This time I choose to use organic beef broth from Trader’s Joe’s. The soup was excellent but I think it would be even better with homemade stock. For vegetarians, you can substitute vegetable stock. If you choose to make it this way, add some juniper berries and one star anise for additional flavor.
Whatever broth you use, make sure the onions are cooked slowly and caramelized. This is how you get the rich intense flavor, making this soup a savory delight. My main taster (my one and only) loved the soup. His only request was to add more cheese and maybe cut the toast into bite-sized pieces. I will give him more cheese, but the toast stays in one piece or cut in half.
Time has been flying by. We have had some beautiful fall weather here in Santa Cruz. The fires around us have been polluting the air making it hard to breath. My heart goes out to all the people that experienced pain and suffering.
I have been cooking simple meals like baked salmon with broccoli and my German green sauce. I made my quinoa salad and baked shrimp with feta for my monthly book club. I also baked my banana bread and I made my lentil salad for my girlfriend’s Open Studio. Cooking always improves my life.
This soup serves two as a main course or four as a starter using smaller heat-proof bowls. The soup will improve by sitting in the fridge for a day or two. If it is too thick, add water. Finish with the toast and cheese before serving.
The caramelized onions by themselves are a treat and can be served many different ways—on hamburgers, sausages, or bruschetta.
It is best to cook this soup in a heavy four-quart covered saucepan. I keep some leftover baguette slices in my freezer. I used a grated mixture of Gruyère but many recipes use Comté cheese. A mixture of Swiss and Gruyère will also work.
Lentil Soup with Carrot Salad
Ok, I'm officially pouting. I don't want to face the reality of real life, making appointments, getting things in order, cleaning up my poor dried-out yard, going to the doctor and so on. I don't want to be a participant of life, I want to be an observer. I want to sit in a little French cafe watching people. I want to drink an Anis with lots of ice in the cafe Les Deux Magots in Paris where Hemingway and Jean Paul Sartre had their drinks, I want to admire all the beautiful decorated shop windows and walk until I find another cafe or museum.
I will post about my trip to France, later but for reality's sake, I need to make something that will bring me back to earth like good old fashioned lentil soup. I have made this lentil soup many times. It's an old friend of mine. I got some sausages, carrots, potatoes, and fresh herbs at the farmers' market and will use them for my soup. This recipe is not written in stone, so you can add different ingredients. I have sautéed pancetta with the veggies and that was delicious. It is very easy to make a vegetarian or even vegan version of this soup by omitting the meat and Parmesan cheese rind, using vegetable broth instead of chicken. You can also add baby spinach with the basil at the end to up the health factor. Puréeing part of the soup gives it a creamy texture. I use an immersion blender, but a blender or food processor will do the same thing. As you see, there are many variations on the theme. Have fun and enjoy this wonderful filling and healthy soup.
For a little salad, I grated a couple of carrots, added some lemon juice and raisins. It is a great addition to the soup.
I buttered my bread and added thinly sliced radishes sprinkled with coarse sea salt.
The Parmesan cheese rind adds a rich flavor to the soup. I freeze all my leftover Parmesan rinds. This time I used a 2" by 1" inch piece. An alternative is to sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese before you serve the soup. Only blend about 2 cups of the soup, just enough to give it a creamy texture. This soup makes great leftovers.
My mom passed away on Christmas Eve, peacefully surrounded by her family in Germany (I was on my way). She had fallen the day before on December 23 and broke her hip. There was talk of operating, but a day later my mom (and her body) decided that it was time to go. She would have been 92 in January; we all miss her.
She was one of the fortunate Germans of her generation who lived in the same place all her life. Her family, especially her children, were the most important part of her life. My brother and I were raised with love, always knowing that we could return home at any time. Home was a large farm in a small village in the middle of Germany. My mom was an intelligent and strong woman with a keen sense of justice that was remarkable. She was well loved and respected by the people around her. She was an environmentalist long before it became fashionable — no water, electricity or any other resource was ever wasted. She formed an especially strong bond with my niece, who both loved each other very much. There are so many stories and anecdotes to tell and I hope to write them all down eventually. I just returned from Germany this week, and have to adjust to my new life without my daily calls and frequent visits to see her. I already miss her presence in my life very much.
I would like to thank all my blogger friends for the comforting words I received.
When I was in Germany, we watched an old film of my brother’s wedding. It was soothing to see all of us decades ago when we were younger. Part of the wedding menu was a wedding soup (Hochzeitssuppe). My German family loves it, so the next day I made the soup for them. It was nourishing and well liked, and I promise I will post the recipe. In the meantime, I needed a nourishing soup that was easy to make and healthy. My Creamy Vegetable Soup with Bay Shrimp fits the bill. The celeriac root adds so much richness that you don’t really need cream. I added some low-fat milk, but even that is not necessary. Thank you again for all your support and love you sent my way.
This is a filling soup with the tasty flavor of sweet shrimp. It is a staple in northern Germany, in the town of Hamburg it is cooked with the local tiny shrimp, a true delicacy. You absolutely have to try if you ever find yourself in that part of the world. I used the little cooked bay shrimp that you find here in California. The celeriac (celery root) and the other root vegetables add an earthy flavor. When I made this for my German girlfriend, my picky American husband loved it. This soup is hearty enough for an evening meal served with crusty bread and a salad. Or it would make a delicious first course for a fancy dinner. It has hardly any calories, but it is very satisfying. I cook soups like this when I need to lose some weight.
At almost any German grocery store, you will find different vegetables tied together in a bundle that consists of roots like carrot, celery root, parsnip or parsley root, leek and some parsley. The German call it Suppengrün, which is used to give aroma and taste to any broth and is usually discarded after cooking. In this recipe, I use it as a thickening agent. I did make a small bundle from the green part of the leeks and some parsley sprigs. I add several pinches of saffron (which is optional).
A secret weapon for the common cold—a delicious prescription
I always add dried shiitake mushrooms to the broth, I have added astragalus root pieces (a folk remedy for colds and upper respiratory infections) and ginger. The secret here is in the broth. I freeze all my mushroom stems and leek greens from previous meals. When I'm ambitious, I add a whole chicken, but that takes longer, so lately I've been adding chicken pieces. For this soup, I add a whole leg (breast is fine) and three chicken wings.
A vegan soup loaded with nutritious healthy ingredients, digestive spices
and great taste
This soup has it all. The ingredients and spices are good for you and it tastes great—even to carnivores. Children (and the young at heart) will love it, because it is flavored with peanut butter. Each ingredient and spice is loaded with fiber, protein and antioxidants. The different flavors—ginger, curry and peanut butter—are pleasing to the palate. Whenever I make this soup, everyone loves it and wants the recipe.
When I was a vegan years ago, I cut this recipe out of the local paper. It originally comes from: Stop the Clock! Cooking: Defy Aging-Eat The Foods You Love by Cheryl Forberg .
This soup tastes great the next day. You can always substitute almond butter for peanut butter.
A special treat for friends and family
Cioppino is a quintessential San Francisco dish. Legend has it that the term evolved from the expression "chip in." It was created by Italian and Portuguese fishermen, who "chipped in" seafood from their daily catch and cooked it in a savory tomato-based broth. Today you can find it on many menus in restaurants. It is one of my favorite dishes and I serve it to my friends and family when our Dungeness crab is in season. I have cooked this for years and each time it is a little different. The essential question for me is whether to use red or white wine. Traditionally, it was cooked in red wine which gives the stew a deeper, richer flavor. Lately I've been leaning towards the lighter version using white wine. Whatever you choose, it it will be a delicious meal. In our house, we serve it with garlic bread that my husband prepares, add a salad and you have a special meal for a cold winter evening that you can share with your friends and family.
Use whatever seafood looks best at the store, as the success of your cioppino will depend on the freshness of your selection. If local crab is not available, use King crab legs from Alaska. If you want a stronger tomato taste in your soup, add another tablespoon of tomato paste. Add less red pepper if you want it to be less spicy. I have also served this with fennel and celery added. In my opinion, the mussels and clams are a must. I figure about 2-3 prawns per person, depending on their size. If you don't have a Trader Joe's store nearby, use ½ pound of calamari instead of the seafood mix. You can prepare the stew (without the seafood) ahead of time. Make sure to have extra napkins, little tools to get the crab out of the shell (I use little forks) and bowls to discard the shells. Do not use your best tablecloth, as you will have stains.
An easy to make elegant and light soup, perfect for a first course.
When wandering through the Whole Foods produce department, I spotted white asparagus—my all time favorite vegetable—and it was fresh! In the past, the asparagus sold in this country was old and not worth the effort. Leave it to Whole Foods to make me happy. So, I decided to make Spargelsuppe (asparagus soup). This is a very delicate soup that brings out the wonderful flavor of the asparagus. Germans love their asparagus and when it is in season you will find asparagus on the menu of every restaurant. It is traditionally eaten with melted butter and boiled potatoes, and sometimes hollandaise sauce is substituted for the melted butter. It is also served with different kinds of hams or schnitzel (a breaded pork chop).
To peel the asparagus, hold the tip and carefully peel of the woody part of the asparagus. Be careful, as the asparagus breaks easily. Unlike green asparagus, white asparagus has to be peeled. The peels and end pieces will produce a flavorful broth for the soup.
My husband loves corn and clam chowder. Yesterday I didn't feel like shopping , so I had to cook with what I had in my pantry, my refrigerator, and my garden. My husband said that this soup was not benign but aggressive . I think what gave this soup a tangy flavor was the fresh rosemary and lemon thyme.
You can adjust this soup to your taste . I have used 4 slices of bacon instead of pancetta. Just make sure you drain the fat. I have made this chowder with two cups of half and half and 2 cups of water. I have increased the amount of clams to two cans. When corn is not in season I use frozen corn.
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.