Browsing articles in "Soups + Salads"
Mar 24, 2013

Wedding Italian Soup

From the kitchen of: Isabel  Makes: A potful, feeds up to 4-6 people
Total time: 45 min to 1 hr


Spring has finally arrived … in the form of snow. Seriously? I love a good snow storm and all, but it’s almost April and I need some warm sun in my life. Why won’t Winter die already?! I’m crossing my fingers that today will be the last day of this white stuff. Well, to cope with this very odd weather, we made this Italian Wedding soup for dinner tonight. It was just what we needed on a very cold day and since Mother Nature is highly confused this season, you still have some time to make this! The first time I made this soup was actually when my husband was hit by a very viral infection back in January. He was a poor sick puppy, helpless on the couch and had to stay home for four days. I felt so bad for him that I made this soup to make him feel better. He and I both fell in love with this hearty and rich soup. It had everything — noodles, homemade meatballs, kale and yummy broth. It was salty and delicious, perfect for his sore throat. So whether sick from a viral infection or sick of this wintery weather, this soup is sure to cure any ailment.

for how to make the meatballs please check my recipe!
1 lb of ground beef
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (heaping!)
1/4 cup shaved or grated Parmesan cheese (heaping!)
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
olive oil

for the soup
olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 bunch of kale, sliced 1-inch thick
salt & pepper
2 – 49 ounces of low-sodium chicken broth
1 bouillon cube or powder
1 3/4 cup of dried elbow noodles (or any noodle of your choice or even gnocchi!)
1 egg
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Prepare meatballs.
Follow this recipe for my version of homemade meatballs. Form them into gumball-size meatballs. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium temperature. Add a heavy drizzle of olive oil. When oil heats up, cook the meatballs for 10-12 minutes rotating every few minutes to brown all sides. Place cooked meatballs on a plate and set aside.


2. Sauté kale. While the meatballs are sautéing, heat a large pot over medium temperature. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Brown the diced red onions and season with some salt and pepper. Add the chopped 1-inch slices of kale that have been thoroughly rinsed and dried beforehand. It’s important to rinse the kale since it has a lot of grit. Sauté kale for 5-7 minutes.


3. Add broth and meatballs. Add the chicken broth, meatballs, plus 1 buillon powder or cube to enhance the flavor. Stir to combine. Allow this soup to simmer uncovered at medium temperature until soup get hots. About 20-25 minutes.


4. Add noodles. Add the dried noodles, stir and allow to simmer for 6-8 minutes until noodles are al dente. If you use a different type of noddle, check the box for appropriate cooking time.


5. Add Parmesan cheese and egg mixture. To finish off the soup, mix together an egg and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Slowly stir it into the soup, which thickens the soup slightly while adding more flavor. Serve and enjoy while hot!


And voilà! A bowl of delicious Wedding Italian soup!


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Nov 7, 2011

The Best Brunswick Stew in Town

The best Brunswick stew is made right here in good ol’ Richmond, Virginia. Not in my kitchen, but in the kitchen of The Episcopal Church of the Creator. This is not an advertising for the church by any means. I just want to tell you if you love Brunswick stew, the spicy Brunswick stew made from this church is the way to go.

Some friends and I attended the 12th Annual Brunswick Stew Festival this past Saturday held at the 17th Street Market. We arrived as soon as it opened at 11 in the morning and started sampling immediately since the lines do get ridiculous. The first Brunswick stew we tried was the one from The Episcopal Church and after 10-15 samplings of other Brunswick stews from other parts of Virginia, this stood above the rest. We waited in line for 30 minutes to purchase quarts of our own and voted The Episcopal Church of the Creator to be the winner of the festival. If you missed the festival, don’t fret. You can order some yourself by calling (804) 746-8765 x6 and leaving your name, phone # and number of quarts of traditional or spicy (go for the spicy). You must order by Nov. 25th though.

A 32 oz. quart of the spicy Brunswick stew costs $8, the traditional was $7. We had the stew for dinner that night. We easily just heated it up on the stove for less than 10 minutes and toasted some crusty bread spread with butter and olive oil. It was just what I needed to help with this cold weather and runny nose.

I’m not lying when I say that this was the ultimate bowl of Brunswick stew. Even though this was the “spicy” batch, it wasn’t overbearing at all. The spicy stew had a slight kick to each bite. The bits of vegetables and potatoes were roughly the same size and same consistency. The chicken was shredded perfectly. The texture was creamy and so flavorable. Hands down, the best Brunswick stew in town.

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Oct 18, 2011

Recipe for: Homemade Wonton Soup

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 30 min to prep, 20 min to cook
about 40-45 wontons

I have never made wonton soup in my life. So yes, I must be crazy to even attempt something like this. I was a little intimated at first because I didn’t even know where to begin. But, after much research, I realized that wonton soup is not as difficult as you might think. The most tedious part was forming the actual wontons because I would add too much filling or the wrapper would tear since they’re so fragile. This is the part where my patience was tested. Once I found my groove though, making the wontons was a cinch. The filling for the wonton and broth were also easy to prepare. I would love to take credit for the filling, but I found a recipe for it through However, the broth was my own concoction. It was seasoned beautifully, had the right amount of saltiness with hints of onion and ginger. This soup is one of my favorite recipes and I will definitely make it again, probably the next time my parents are in town. I think they will certainly be impressed.

1 package wonton wrappers, about 45
7 oz shrimp, shelled and chopped
14 oz ground pork
1/2 egg white
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 boxes of 32 oz low sodium chicken stock
3 scallions, sliced in half
3 slices of ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1-2 handfuls of spinach

chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish

1. Prepare the filling. In a medium-size bowl, combine with a fork the following ingredients: chopped shrimp, ground pork, egg white, corn starch, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, sugar and salt.

2. Make the wontons. Take one wonton wrapper and lay it flat on the board in a diamond shape. Scoop one little teaspoon of filling into the lower center of the wrapper. Wet the edges with water. Take the bottom corner and fold over to form a triangle. Seal all the edges and remove any air pockets. Moisten the left and right corners of the triangle, then draw them together and pinch to seal. Place on a tray and be sure to cover the wontons with a damp paper towel so they don’t dry out.

3. Prepare broth. In a large saucepan, add chicken broth, green onions, ginger slices, sesame oil and soy sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes on medium temperature. Once the broth has simmered, slowly drop the wontons one at a time, stirring gently to prevent it from sticking together. Cook the wontons for an additional 10 minutes. At the last 2 minutes of cooking, drop a heaping handful of spinach. The spinach takes only seconds to wilt. Spoon soup into bowls and top with chopped scallions and cilantro.

If you like more spinach, feel free to use two handfuls into the broth.

A tasty bowl of the most delicious homemade wonton soup. Let it cool down for a while because it will be super hot. Enjoy!

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Aug 23, 2011

Recipe for: Tomato + Mozzarella Salad

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes
4 servings

Saturday morning, Jared and I woke up bright and early because his mom was in town for the weekend. We had decided the night before that after our morning coffee and breakfast pastry, we’d show her the South of the James Market, a farmers’ market located in Forest Hill park in Richmond, Virginia.

If you’ve never been there before, it is one of the bigger farmers’ markets in town with over 50 local growers and artisans selling apparel, meats, dairy, produce, wines, breads, pasta, pottery and so much more. We did arrive a little on the late side, but it was still busy as hell with lots of goodies to choose from.

These beauties immediately caught my eye — little tomatoes in a medley of colors and petite sizes. I couldn’t resist buying these because I thought they would be perfect a salad. As soon as we got home, I put together this refreshing and light tomato and mozzarella salad ideal for any warm day.

1 large pint of little tomatoes
5 leaves of basil, thinly sliced (also known as chiffonade)
1 ball of mozzarella, cubed
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
salt + pepper

1. Prep the tomatoes. Rinse and pat dry the tomatoes. Quarter the tomatoes and place in a medium-size serving bowl.

2. Add basil, red onion and mozzarella. In the bowl with the tomatoes, add the thin slices of basil, diced red onion and cubed mozzarella. Toss together gently.

3. Add liquids. Once tossed, add the olive oil and white wine vinegar. Mix together with a spoon and add salt and pepper. Taste to check on seasoning. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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May 10, 2011

Recipe for: Flat-Iron Steak Salad with Blue Cheese

From the kitchen of: Isabel Canfield

One thing about this salad that speaks to me is the cost of ingredients. Yes, you can still eat in style with a budget! This simple salad calls for ingredients that you may already have stocked in your fridge such as mayo, Worchestershire, garlic or lemons, so you’ll just need to purchase the main ingredients for a minimum amount of money. I decided to use a flat-iron steak because it was literally $7 to feed about three mouths, and if cooked properly, this cut of meat is so tender and juicy. You can also go cheaper on the type of lettuce and use iceburg or a mix bag. Whatever you think your crowd would enjoy. This salad is definitely very hearty salad and substantial enough for a dinner meal.

1 cut of flat-iron steak
salt + pepper
1/4 cup of soy sauce (I prefer dark)
1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves of crushed garlic (add less if you prefer, I love garlic!)
3 Romaine lettuces
2 medium tomatoes

For the blue cheese dressing:
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of mayo
1/2 of sour cream
1/2 cup of blue cheese crumbles

1. Marinade the steak. In zip lock bag, place seasoned meat with soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Mix around and place in the refrigerator to marinade for at least 1 hour.

2. Make the homemade blue cheese dressing. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mayo, lemon juice and blue cheese crumbles.  Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes and romaine lettuce. Be sure to rinse both before serving.

3. Grill the flat-iron steak. I used a flat-iron steak for the recipe, but you are certainly welcome to use any cut of meat you like. Once the steak has been marinated, heat a grill pan on the stove over medium to medium-high. Add two tablespoons of olive oil. Place the steak on the grill and let it cook for one side for about 5-7 minutes depending on thickness. Turning once to cook the other side. Notice how the sugars in the marinade caramelizing the steak. That’s what you want. So good.

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