Monthly Archives: October 2010

Autumn Veggie Soup

I haven’t made soup in a long time–mostly because there is no need to make hot soup in the middle of summer. However, now it is most definitely autumn and therefore–soup shall be made!

One of my favorite and easiest recipes for soup is my autumn veggie soup. It is super easy and you don’t need to cook it too long to get a lot of flavor. Also there are a lot of ways that you can change it up.

First, you want to start off with organic stewed tomatoes. I like using just the plain ones because sometimes the flavored stewed tomatoes have way too much…well, flavor. I usually use two cans to start off my soup base.

Bring the tomatoes to medium heat and then you can start adding your fresh veggies. Of course, you can use your favorite veggies, but I tend to use the same ones for this soup. Yellow squash, zucchini, and eggplant.

You will also want to start adding your beans. I use all sorts of beans in this delicious soup: black beans, chick peas, white beans, red beans, etc. You will want to put all of your beans into a strainer and run them through some water before you put them in the soup. Otherwise, all of the juices that the beans are in can also overtake the flavor of the soup.

Once you get all of your veggies and beans into the stewed tomatoes, you want to start bringing your heat up to a boil. When you add your seasonings, you want the temp to be hot so that everything starts soaking up the flavors.

Sea salt, fresh ground pepper and 3 or 4 bay leaves are a must. I also like a lot of garlic salt and onion powder. I am not a huge fan of onions in soup…but I love onion flavor. Also, I added quite a bit of fresh cilantro and fresh lime. You could add all sorts of fresh herbs such as basil or tarragon as well. For this batch of soup, however, I wanted to keep it simple.

Let the soup simmer with the seasonings for about 20 minutes or so. I wanted this soup to be completely vegatarian, so I didn’t have to cook any meat on the side. Otherwise, adding the cooked meat (juices and all) helps add a lot of flavor. So, for this soup, I decided to use wheat meat crumbles, which I love. The wheat meat doesn’t need to cook long, however, and it is pretty salty on its own. So, I didn’t want to add the wheat meat too soon. Once the veggies started getting soft, I went ahead and added the wheat meat into the soup.

Put the lid on the pot and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. You don’t want your veggies to get too soft, so this ins’t a soup you want to cook for a long time. Make sure that your veggies still have some firmness to them, but also that the flavor has soaked up enough that things are tasty!!

Then comes the fun part of garnishing. I am a huge sour cream fan and like it in most of my soups. For this soup, a dab of sour cream and some chopped green onions really add to the flavor. Also, adding some cheese and tortilla strips make for a great taco soup. I even tend to put some lovely Cholula in the mix. It is all about what you like. This soup is also amazing in a bread bowl–but I am currently trying to kick some of those bad carbs out, so no bread bowl this time! 🙂

Add to this soup any other ingredients you love and you will see how versatile it can be. It is a great base for any fall soup you are in the mood for. Enjoy!

The Copper Onion–Simple Excellence

On a beautiful fall evening, there is nothing better than a stroll around downtown Salt Lake City among art walks and gallery strolls. When the weather starts to cool down, people come out from the shade of their homes and for me, finding new places and renewing my senses seems more important than ever. A part of this is finding new and wonderful places to eat. With the change of seasons comes different cravings and a renewed sense of wandering around trying whatever might come your way until you find it–that flavor you are looking for.

And then you happen to stumble across someplace like The Copper Onion, and suddenly, the exact flavor of fall that you were looking for finds its way to your pallet and you are so grateful that it is all you can think about for several days after.

The Copper Onion just participated in Dine O’ Round, which is a local Salt Lake City event that several downtown restaurants participate in. This gives a lot of great restaurants exposure. They create a menu ($15 for lunch and $30 for dinner) that you can choose from and with most restaurants, it is usually house specialties or favorites. The Copper Onion’s selections for their Dine O’ Round menu were excellent and between my friend and I, we were able to try many of the Onion’s selections.

First off, let me say that the atmosphere at The Copper Onion is one of fine dining and corner bistro all in one. You expect upon entry, that you should be served a wonderful upscale meal and at the same time, feel at home and comfortable. The food experience is very similar. Everything we ordered was wonderful, delicious, and full of flavor. However, it was also customary with familiar overtones.

First we were greeted by our very lovely server who approached us with a smile, a bottle of water, and some golden focaccia bread. The bread was made even more beautiful by the olive oil that accompanied it. A good olive oil always stands out. Usually, the mediocre ones will go unnoticed, but you can really taste the creamy earthy notes in a good olive oil.

Shortly after the awesome bread, we were served some cured meats and cheeses. There is nothing that this girl loves more than a good crustini adorned with the bitter and sultry flavors of salami or prosciutto and then accompanied by a somewhat overpowering cheese. I was a happy eater so far.

Who loves pickles? Who loves homemade pickles? Who wants to try the best pickles ever? If that is you, then don’t pass up the “Pot O’ Pickles” under the “Cured Meats and Cheeses” section of the regular menu. These are some of the best little gems I have had in a while.

But I wasn’t really prepared for what was next.

The starters that we ordered were awesome. Currently, I have an obsession with eggs. Poached, fried, hard boiled…whathaveyou. And, I am particularly liking them when they have nothing to do with breakfast. So, when the Sauteed Mushrooms came out, I was delighted. They come with a fried farm egg, potato sticks, parsley, and garlic. They were amazing. The egg made them a little more rich and the potato sticks gave the dish some texture that was welcomed.

My friend Gillian ordered the Watermelon Gaspacho. If you want something sweet and savory, this is a perfect starter for you. The watermelon base is light, creamy and sweet. However, it is finished off with avocado and chili pepper which gives it a good kick. I always love a good cold soup, and this one did not disappoint.

Then it was time for our entrees. I am rarely one to order pasta at a restaurant. Mostly because eating white carbs means an instant 5 lbs gained on the scale. However, this time around, the Spicy Marinara looked awesome. The presentation was nice and light and it was one of those entrees that you knew wasn’t going to leave you feeling full and gross. The pasta is homemade and as much as I have searched since, you just can’t find that kind of pasta in the store. The homemade pasta was tossed with arugula (which I normally do not like) and a good helping of ricotta cheese. I don’t love bitter lettuce, but the spicy marinara sauce and the arugula went together very well and the creamy ricotta cheese balanced out all of the flavors very nicely. I craved this pasta for a good amount of time after this Copper Onion experience. This is a good thing, and a bad thing. 🙂

Gillian had been hearing about the Copper Onion’s meatloaf for some time and she was very much looking forward to it. I have to say, that the flavor of the meatloaf was outstanding. Perfectly seasoned and salted with no need for any extra salt or pepper. The veggies and mashed potatoes were an awesome accent to the dish and overall, the entire dish was awesome. I will say though, the meatloaf was a smidgen over cooked. Ok, actually it was quite a bit over cooked in some areas. There was a crust that just seemed to be a little to hard to actually eat. I don’t think that it ruined the experience, but it was a little disappointing. I am guessing that this was a one-off and not how their meatloaf is regularly cooked–so I would definitely recommend trying it. Although, I would be interested to know if anyone else has had overcooked meatloaf at the Onion. But let’s be honest–if something tastes really amazing, do we really care that a corner is overcooked? Nope (only just a little bit…).

The dessert that came on the dine-o-round menu was okay. We ordered the flourless chocolate torte and a peach cobbler. Neither were anything to scream about, but we also didn’t complain. 🙂 There seem to be a lot of other desserts on the Copper Onion menu that may be more satisfying such as the bread pudding or the banana split.

Copper Onion, if anything, was memorable. The food was memorable from start to finish. The starters and entrees were all simple, excellent, and flavorful. The Copper Onion is a versatile restaurant providing choices that will suit those looking to spend and evening spending a pretty penny on a lovely meal, or for those looking to get in and out at a reasonable price before catching a flick at the Broadway Theaters. Support local!

Check out The Copper Onion at 111 East Broadway in Downtown Salt Lake City.
T: 801 355 3282
F: 801 532 1753

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