Cooking From Memory ~ A Recipe Journal

Sweet Corn Chowder

Posted in Soups, Stews & Gumbos by Paul Gauche on August 14, 2012

Photo Credit Todd Coleman for Saveur Magazine

While it’s not quite Fall and the official start of the hot soup season is still weeks, perhaps months away, this recipe for Sweet Corn Chowder is a great foretaste of the feast to come! Late summer sweet corn is showing up everywhere—from grocery stores to farmers’ produce stands; from big-box store parking lots to my own driveway. Last week two large boxes of sweet corn showed up—dozens at a time.  What a thrill to eat corn this good!

So, give this a shot. Make a lot and freeze some for later. You’ll know right when to pull this out… in the midst of that first snow fall!

Ingredients ~

  • 5 cloves garlic, divided
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups pumpernickel bread, cut into ¾” cubes
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • paprika, to taste
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 ribs celery, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 8 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk

Method ~

Heat oven to 325°. Put 1 clove garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Using a knife, mince and scrape garlic against cutting board to form a paste. Transfer garlic paste to a large bowl and whisk in oil. Add pumpernickel cubes, season with salt, pepper, and paprika, and toss to coat; transfer to a baking sheet. Bake, tossing occasionally, until toasted, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with Parmesan; toss to coat evenly and set aside to cool.

Heat butter in a 6-qt. pot over medium heat. Mince remaining garlic and add to pot along with celery and onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, partially covered and stirring often, until vegetables are soft but not browned, 16–18 minutes. Add corn and curry powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is soft and fragrant, 18–20 minutes. Vigorously stir in flour, then add chicken stock, half-and-half, and milk; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 10 minutes. To serve, divide soup between serving bowls and top with croutons.

Serves 6-8


Fruit Soup

Ingredients ~

  • 1 cup pitted, dried prunes+
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ¾ cup dried apricots
  • water to cover (about 3 cups)
  • ¼ cup quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup apple cider++
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar to taste+++
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • whipped cream, plain or vanilla yogurt

Method ~

Combine prunes, raisins, and apricots in a 3-quart saucepan. Add water to cover, about 3 cups. Bring to boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the tapioca and simmer for 10 minutes while mixture thickens. When the fruit is softened, add the cooked, thickened tapioca, lemon juice. Apple cider, vinegar, sugar and the cinnamon stick. This mixture will thicken as it cools. If the soup seems a little thick, you can add more water or cider to adjust both the consistency and the taste. Serve either hot or cold, garnishing with a dollop of whipped cream, plain or vanilla yogurt.


+Different traditions as well as varying tastes may dictate the fruit you use. Variations include currants, golden raisins or any of the mixed fruit combinations. +Along with the prunes, raisins and apricots, I’ve used a mixture of fresh apples—½ each red, yellow and green apples. If you do this, you will need a little more than 3 cups of water to cover.

++You can also substitute pineapple juice for the apple cider.

+++Fruit naturally has sugar, so you’ll want to taste the soup before you add any sugar. That being understood, you may wish to adjust the ratio of sugar to lemon juice so as not to make this too sweet.

Carrot Ginger Soup with Curry

Posted in Soups, Stews & Gumbos by Paul Gauche on December 9, 2010

This is a fresh, lively soup that can be served either hot or cold.

Ingredients ~

  • ¾ cup scallions (green onions), chopped fine
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled, cut in 4 pieces
  • 1 ½ pounds carrots cut in 1″ pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root peeled, grated
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (or to taste)
  • 1 14-ounce carton low salt/fat chicken broth
  • 1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk + extra for garnish
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice (approximate ½ small lime)
  • Sour Cream, Crème fraiche, plain yogurt or fresh chives for garnish


Method ~

Place green scallions, onion pieces and carrots in a food processor, process by pulsing rapidly until the vegetables are coarse chopped.

Combine chopped vegetables, grated ginger root, curry powder and chicken broth in a large saucepan. 

Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Using a immersion blender process until smooth or strain vegetables and reserve the liquid. Add vegetables to food processor in two batches and process until smooth.  Add the vegetables, the vegetable liquid, coconut milk and lime and stir until mixed thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Place in wide rim bowls and serve with your choice of garnishes.

Sugar Pie Pumpkin Soup with Sweet Curry and Coriander

Posted in Soups, Stews & Gumbos by Paul Gauche on October 1, 2010

Ingredients ~

  • 1 3 pound sugar pumpkin
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 3-4 Tablespoons white flour
  • 1 teaspoon sweet curry
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Sour cream, optional

Method ~

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a stable surface, cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard or save to roast later. Transfer the pumpkin halves to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil evenly to cover the insides of the pumpkin halves; rub ½ Tablespoon brown sugar into each half. Roast the pumpkins, cut side down, until the pumpkin is easily pierced with a knife, about one hour. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, melt the butter and the oil and add the diced onion and the shredded carrot. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, and sauté on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Halfway through this process, add the spices and continue to cook until the onions and carrots are tender. Add the flour and stir until well blended, cooking on low heat for another few minutes to cook out the flour taste.

In another sauce pan, combine the chicken stock and the cream and slowly bring up the temperature over medium-low heat. Slowly add this mixture to the onions and carrots and stir well. The mixture will thicken as it combines. Heat until the soup begins to bubble; reduce heat and simmer until ready to serve.

You can adjust the texture of the soup by using a stick blender to smooth or adding more chicken stock or cream to thin. Your call. Serve with a dollop of sour cream if you wish.

Cheese Tortellini Soup

Posted in Soups, Stews & Gumbos by Paul Gauche on March 31, 2010

It was, as I recall, a late-Monday-morning menu brainstorming session taking place in the Deli section of a large wholesale grocery store. We were pondering the approaching evening meal for about one hundred of our closest friends and the need for a third dinner option to fit nicely somewhere between Parmesan Chicken and three different pastas with a variation of sauces. At a point just after locating the Feta and cherry tomatoes for the salad bar we landed on how to compliment those other fine offerings.

Tortellini Soup. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

~ Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 pound ground italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1-2 teaspoons Italian Spice mix or Penzeys Tuscan Sunset
  • 5-6 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 head celery, sliced
  • 1 28-ounce can Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil
  • 1 32-ounce carton chicken broth (about 4 cups)
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans
  • 1 large container cheese tortellini


~ Method

Sauté the bacon and sausage in the oil, add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery for just a couple minutes. Stir in the spices. Add the tomatoes and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a slow simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the kidney beans and the tortellini. Cook for another 30 minutes until the tortellini is tender.

 ~~ With thanks to Handt Hanson and Connie Nagel

Oyster Stew

Posted in Seafood & Fish,Soups, Stews & Gumbos by Paul Gauche on December 29, 2009

Nothing says “Christmas Eve Dinner” quite like oyster stew. At least in our home.  Well, okay, at least in the home in which I grew up. Oh, all right… probably just for my parents.

While certainly not for everyone, and certainly not for the faint of heart, the aroma of oyster stew wafting through the house, together with the fragrance of Christmas candles and a live Christmas tree, conjours up images and memories of Christmas past for many. This recipe and many like it are simply part of “The Story” of Christmas that many people share each year. Always use the freshest oysters you can find. And always use—what else: oyster crackers.


  • ¼ cup onion, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced
  • Oyster juice and milk to equal one cup
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 – 2 pints small or extra small oysters
  • Oyster Crackers
  • Fresh chives, minced
  • Paprika


Sauté onion in the butter until the onion is tender. Stir in the flour, salt, white pepper, celery salt and parsley. Cook until smooth–even bubbly and hot being very careful not to boil. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in the 1 cup mixture of oyster juice and milk. Stir in the remaining 2 cups hot milk. Return to heat and bring up to temperature stirring constantly. Blend in 1 – 2 pints small or extra small oysters. Heat through until oysters curl around the edges. Garnish with fresh chives and paprika. Serve hot with oyster crackers.

Curried Chicken and Lentil Soup

Posted in Soups, Stews & Gumbos by Paul Gauche on December 18, 2009

Lucky Pantry… I had a couple hours of free time this morning and like so often happens, I’m crusin’ the cupboards. Now, I knew I had a package of chicken breasts in the fridge and I needed to use them somehow, but was tired of chicken tacos and wasn’t up for marinating and grilling on this winter day. So when I opened the spice cupboard and saw some Penzey’s Hot Curry, something clicked. Lentils. Do I have lentils? Of course, they’re in a bag next to the corn meal and flax seed.  So here we go… just happned to have a carton of stock and some plum toms. Lucky me.  The only things I didn’t have but would add were the coconu milk (which I improvised here–just happened to have some shredded coconut; and the mint.  Next time I make this, I’ll buy mint.  This will be great with some fresh bread and a salad.  Happy Friday night…

Ingredients ~

  • 2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 package (3 – 4) boneless chicken breasts
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (tip: substitute with ¼ cup milk, or soak ¼ cup coconut flakes in ¼ cup milk for 15 minutes. Strain coconut before adding milk.)
  • 2 cups diced plum tomatoes, or 16 ounces of diced, canned tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint, optional

Method ~

Place the lentils in a large saucepan and cover with cold water about two inches over the top. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the lentils until tender, about 25 minutes. Set aside.

Bring the chicken stock up to a boil in a sauté pan. Reduce the heat and poach the chicken breasts until done, about 6-8 minutes. Remove chicken from the stock and set aside. Reserve the stock for the soup. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred or cut into small pieces.

Heat the oil in a medium size saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté the onions until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the curry, ginger, and garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes longer.  Add the reserved chicken stock and coconut milk to the onion mixture. Simmer about 10 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and lentils and bring to a boil. Add lemon juice and salt and fresh ground cracked pepper to taste. Add the chicken and heat through and serve. Garnish with mint.

Serves 6

Cold Cucumber, Watercress and Avocado Soup

Posted in Soups, Stews & Gumbos by Paul Gauche on August 29, 2009

Photo Credit: Paul Gauche, Cold Cucumber, Watercress and Avocado Soup

This lovely and refreshing cold soup earns raves in the hot days of late summer. Serve it in small bowls, each cool green pool scattered with drops of olive oil, bright red cubes of tomato, and a few crisp croutons.

Long, soft-skinned cucumbers, called English, Armenian, or Persian cucumbers, are best for this soup because they can be used with skin and seeds. If they are very large, check for mature seeds and remove them, but a slender cucumber of this type generally has tiny, soft seeds that puree perfectly.

Watercress adds a little bite to the mild cucumber and avocado. Arugula can be used instead, or a bunch of cilantro, but choose one — don’t mix the flavors. This recipe is based on proportions for one large avocado and can easily be doubled.

Ingredients ~

  • 2 pounds soft-skinned English, Armenian, or Persian cucumbers
  • 6 ounces watercress
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper (use more if it’s very mild)
  • 1 large Haas avocado (7 ounces)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea salt


  • Fruity green olive oil
  • 1 ripe red tomato, finely diced
  • croutons

Method ~

Trim the ends off the cucumbers, taste each end, and trim off any bitter part. Cut the cucumbers into cubes. Wash the watercress, remove any heavy stems, and chop it roughly. You should have about 2 cups.

Combine half the cucumbers and most of the lemon juice in the container of a blender and puree. The cucumbers will soon be a liquid, and you can then easily add the remaining cucumbers, the watercress, garlic, and jalapeño. Puree until everything is smooth, working in batches if you need to. (I find that my immersion blender does not work well with this raw soup.)

Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, peel the avocado, and cut the flesh into cubes; you should have not quite 1 cup of diced avocado. Add the avocado to the cucumber puree, along with a teaspoon of sea salt, and process again. The mixture will become thicker and creamier. Stir everything together in a bowl and taste. Add more lemon juice and more salt, a bit at a time and stirring thoroughly each time, until the balance feels right to you. I like to feel the citrus edge against the creaminess of the avocado, and while I don’t want a distinctly salty taste, the various flavors become clear only when the right amount of salt is added. Use your taste buds — it’s fun.

Chill the soup well. Serve it in small bowls, and drizzle each serving with a little fresh fruity olive oil, then scatter a few tomato cubes and croutons on top.

Excerpted from Love Soup: 160 All-New Vegetarian Recipes from the Author of The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas. Copyright © 2009 by Independent Productions, Inc.

~~ Serves 5

Seafood Gumbo

Posted in Seafood & Fish,Soups, Stews & Gumbos by Paul Gauche on July 24, 2009

Seafood Gumbo 2

Ingredients ~~

  • 8 ounces Cajun or Kielbasa sausage, cut into ½ inch slices
  • ½ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound okra, stems removed
  • 2 cups onions, diced
  • 1 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup green pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups canned plum tomatoes, drained, slightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 ounces scallops 
  • 1 pound shrimp, deveined
  • 12 ounces cooked lobster meat
  • 8 ounces lump crab meat
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped 

Method ~

Brown the sausage in ¼ cup oil, add okra, sauté’ a bit and add onions, peppers and garlic.  Add broth and tomatoes and spices.  Simmer for 30 minutes or longer.  Sauté the seafood together in white wine and the other ¼ cup of olive oil. Add seafood to the broth and heat through. Serve with sourdough or rye bread or toast.

French Onion Soup

Posted in Soups, Stews & Gumbos by Paul Gauche on July 11, 2009

French Onion Soup

Ingredients ~

  • Enough croutons for 4 -6 bowls of soup
  • 3 medium sized white onions
  • 4 T butter
  • 6 cups Beef Broth
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay Leaf
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 slices French Bread
  • 6 generous slices of Mozzarella Cheese

Method ~

In a medium kettle, bring the beef broth to a boil.  In another pan, sauté garlic in the butter.  Add the bay leaf and the onions.  Cook until the onions brown and begin to crisp.  Add the wine.  Bring to a boil and reduce the mixture.  Add the garlic, bay leaf and onions to the beef broth.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.  Ladle soup into oven proof bowls and float the croutons on top.  Place a slice of cheese over each.  Place bowls on a cookie sheet and carefully broil until cheese is melted.  Watch!  Watch!  Watch! Watch!

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