If you follow me on instagram or have been reading for a bit- you’ll know I am obsessed with soups. They are my favorite dish to make for myriad reasons. They are affordable, a clever way to use up surplus veg, are extremely nourishing and bring an immense sense of comfort when making them.
If I have someone over to my house for the first time I’ll either make one of 2 things: a ragu’ bolognese or a soup since for me, making food is one of the most sincere love letters one could write to another. So best to make the things which I love the most.
There’s is a lot of debate of what makes a chili a chili, but to me a chili is a hearty bean & ground meat soup with spicy chili and some tomato. While this has no tomato and neither chili apart from dried chili flakes, the depth in spice is derived instead from raw turmeric root and ginger root. And instead of ground beef, this recipe calls for ground turkey which I order in advance from Luca Menoni at the Sant’Ambrogio market. Just call Luca up and let them know how much you want- 500grams (half-kilo) is minimum and I suggest getting a kilo, divided in 2 packs, one vacuum packed so you can throw in the freezer for later!
Ginger root is a thing in Florence so you can find it pretty much everywhere, albeit questionable in quality. However, the best roots can be found in Sant’Ambrogio from the sole Asian food stand, also Naturasi and La Raccolta for organic ginger. Continue Reading →
I love making soups. Especially after a cooking lesson with one of my chef friends Melissa of Musang Seattle (trained in Florence, now off doing badass things like cooking at the James Beard House, bringing Filipino flavor to Seattle’s pop-up scene and winning cooking battles on TV).
I detailed our little lesson in this post, and they are memories which have always stuck with me. My soup and risotto game haven’t been the same since. I’ve always believed in Melissa’s special touch and skill, a cook with soul and a rare kind of heart in the kitchen. Whenever I make soup, religiously using the tips she taught me in my once kitchen which gazed the Duomo from dusk till dawn, I hope to impart at least a small apart of soul the way she does in her food.
As I have mentioned a few times now on the blog, my intention is to share more healthy, seasonal recipes using what I find at the markets in Florence. I hope you enjoy this Tuscan-sourced vegetable forward soup pulsing with ceci (chickpeas). Pronounced “che-chi.”Continue Reading →
It’s official- my favorite summer vegetable are zucchini and especially their flowers. In Florence they seem to be around most of the year as I see them in the fall and in the spring. I wonder if there are some greenhouses responsible for year-round zucchini (or courgette) but the natural summer ones generously blossomed by blistering heat are the ones I tend to fawn over. Before any Italian puts a bounty on my head, zucchini are “zucchine” in Italian but since I speak American English I’ll still refer to them as “zucchini.”
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe and have been reluctant to do so amidst all the chef-quality blogs and professional food photographers out there! But I thought hey! why not? There is no end-all, be-all food blog, right? There’s space even for humble soups!
I used to hate soups and hate making them, until I learned some secrets and tips that one of my dear chef friends (Melissa Miranda, who used to cook at Vivanda in Florence and now does fascinating Fillippino/Italian fusion pop-ups via Il Vizietto) and Florentine cooks taught me. Mostly, I learned to bundle aromatic herbs and throw into stock pot and/or Parmesan rinds (Heather of Merry Feast recently wrote a great post about not wasting Parmesan rinds), not tossing kale stalks, using sale grosso (chunkier, kitchen salt) to help make a soffritto sweat out flavor, and if adding dry cannellini beans, to not cook them at a roaring boil otherwise they’ll blister/wrinkle. Also, another trick I love to making a better textured soup is to use an immersion blender to blend a corner of the soup, not all of it but just enough to give a puree’ base.
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