Mushroom and Artichoke Soup

I’ve been sick the last couple of days, the kind where you are just plain passed out on the couch and drooling. So when I finally managed to peel my tired and sick body off the couch, I wanted something hot and delicious. Luckily, I had a container filled with roasted mushrooms and some spare artichoke quarters languishing in a jar… so I thought… SOUP! Since I was fuzzy from sleeping 2 days straight, I put on some good music and chopped methodically while I simmered up this soup. Turns out, this is just what I needed.

Mushroom and Artichoke Soup (A little bit of this and that from the Kaprise Kitchen)

  • 2 cups of roasted mushrooms (I made mine like this), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of canned artichokes (the ones I had are marinated in oil and Italian spices, but plain should be just fine), finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of cumin, paprika, and whatever other spices you want!
  • 1 cup of water
  1. If you haven’t already, finely chop all of the ingredients.
  2. In a pot, heat the butter and olive oil
  3. Gently stir in the onion, cooking until translucent and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Stir in the mushrooms and artichokes.
  5. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer
  6. Season accordingly.
  7. DONE!

Easy Peasy! This is easily made vegetarian by just using olive oil…. I ate mine with some seared scallops, but you can add or leave out protein as you see fit!


I hope you are all staying warm! It’s been freezing out here, and much to my dismay, my dog LOVES being outside in the snow and ice.



Soup, Stew… Something for the Snow

I’ve recently decided that it was time to clean out my entire refrigerator… top to bottom. When I was making room for Thanksgiving Day things, I noticed I had very wisely packed away one person size portions of beef, chicken, lentils, and other things in the freezer. Unfortunately, my preparation for those “rainy” days never got used because whenever I crave something, I’m running out the door and to the store. So… to make use of those “rainy” day provisions, I’ve been making a lot of soup and stew with those little squirreled away packets of food.

Soups and stews are easy… for the most part all you need is a little protein, some vegetables, spices and herbs, and a little water.

Today I made a beef soup with ribbons of kale, a handful of fresh herbs out of the crisper, and some green French lentils. It’s not much of a recipe but here it goes.

Something for the Snow Soup (Kaprise refrigerator clean out recipe)

  1. Cube a portion of beef or any protein. I used 8 ounces of sirloin steak.
  2. Toss lightly in flour
  3. In a heavy bottomed skillet (I use my Le Creuset for this) and over high heat, sear the cubes of beef until crisp in olive oil.
  4. Toss in a crushed clove of garlic and stir
  5. Pour in about 1/4 of a cup of wine (and drink some too)
  6. Add 1 cup of crushed tomatoes and 3 cups of water
  7. Bring your soup to a low simmer.
  8. Add 1 cup of uncooked and rinsed lentils (you could also used canned if you prefer)
  9. Add salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of cumin, and whatever else you desire.
  10. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through
  11. Stir in ribboned kale and herbs. I used about 5 leaves of dinosaur kale, a bunch of cilantro, and a handful of parsley
  12. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

Done!! 🙂 I know it’s not much of a recipe, but these quick little soups get me through the winter. I make a little pot for dinner, and then eat it with an fried egg in the morning… if there is any left over I have it for lunch with some crusty garlic bread (yes. I work from home, so I can eat garlic in the middle of the day).


Dwan-Jjang Gook (Soybean Soup)

It’s really unclear how to spell Korean words in English. Sometimes I think they sound one way, but then the conventional spelling that most people online is completely different. Anyway – I think it should be spelled “dwan-jjang” but I have seen “doenjang” and “ddanjjang” and some others. Regardless of the English spelling, dwan-jjang is fermented soybean paste. It’s made in a variety of ways, but One Fork, One Spoon wrote a little bit about it, so hop on over to read up if you are interested.

Personally, I find the word “fermented” to be a bit off putting, which is why I excluded it from the title of my post. Anyway – this is a quick way to make dwan-jjang gook, or fermented soybean soup. From start to finish it takes less than 30 minutes. I start my rice first, and then start on the soup. I usually make my rice in a cast iron pot or a stoneware pot… Let me know if you want me to do a more in depth post on making rice without a rice cooker.

A quick note before I do get started, for people with gluten intolerance or sensitivity to wheat, this is NOT the soup for you. Many of the commercially manufactured dwan-jjang pastes include some form of wheat… if you are set on eating the soup, you will have to do significantly more research into what types of commercially produced paste do not contain gluten.

Dwan-Jjang Gook (the way my mother makes it)

  • 1/2 cup of dried anchovies, or “mael-chi” 
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons of dwan-jjang paste (I suggest started at 1 tablespoon and working your way up as your paste may differ in flavor and saltiness than mine.
  • Scallions (optional)
  • 1-3 teaspoons of soy sauce (also, for gluten sensitive folks, almost all commercially manufactured soy sauce contains wheat so watch out for this also)
  1. Boil4 cups of water with the anchovies for about 20 minutes
  2. Remove the anchovies from the water and discard
  3. Muddle the gwan-jjang paste 1 tablespoon at a time into the anchovy stock, and bring to a simmer
  4. Add soy sauce to taste
  5. You can add any variety of vegetable at this point. My favorite is spinach.
  6. Pour the soup over rice and enjoy!!

Easy right?!

Little anchovies in water


Washed spinach leavesSONY DSC

Skimming the anchovies out of the soupSONY DSC

Dwan-jjang pasteSONY DSC

Adding the paste to the soupSONY DSC

White rice and spinach leaves (I usually just pour the hot soup over the leaves so my spinach is “just” wilted, but feel free to add them to your soup as it simmers.SONY DSC

Soup, rice, and spinachSONY DSC

Chicken Soup

A couple days ago, a friend told me she was making chicken soup and invited me over. Much to my dismay, she was pouring a carton of chicken stock into a pot and throwing some random things from her refrigerator into the pot. I do like making everything from scratch, if not for the challenge but to procrastinate just a teensy bit more, but chicken soup is one thing I will never eat out of a box, a can, or otherwise. I cringe at the thought of pre-made soup, and I cringe at restaurant made soup too. I just don’t like the idea of someone else making my soup.

This chicken soup is a little riff on what my mom used to make us as kids. It’s easy, and all you have to do is put it all in the pot and walk away until it’s just beautifully fragrant and delicious. I use chicken legs for this because I dislike using whole chickens, but you need some bones to boil to get that delicious and silky quality to your soup.

Chicken Soup

  • 4 to 6 drumsticks, cleaned and skinned
  • 1 carrot, cleaned and chopped in half
  • 1 stalk of celery, cleaned and chopped in half
  • 1 small shallot, peeled
  • 1 tbl of fresh garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper

finishing touches

  • 1 carrot, sliced into coins
  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced into half moons
  • 2 small red potatoes, diced and rinsed thoroughly
  • sprinkle of fresh parsley
  1. Put all of the main ingredients into a large pot (my Le Creuset and I are inseparable during the winter) and cover with filtered water (use about 1 tsp of salt and pepper)
  2. Simmer on medium to low heat for 1 hour (I normally put this on the stove and then go for a walk, pick up some bread and come home).
  3. Remove the chicken and bones. Discard the bones and shred the chicken meat into a bowl.
  4. Remove the boiled vegetables and discard
  5. Skim any fat off the top of the soup (shouldn’t be much since we took the skin off the meat)
  6. Season to taste – maybe a little extra pepper
  7. At this point, I usually put the entire (cooled) pot into the refrigerator to make sure I get ALL of the fat off the top of the soup. But you can skip this if you can’t wait to have your soup
  8. Bring to a gentle simmer and drop in the potatoes and cooked chicken. Boil for 5 minutes before adding the rest of the vegetables. I like crunchy vegetables, so I let everything percolate for only 2 or 3 minutes more before I serve… but feel free to cook the vegetables to your liking.

Store leftovers in an airtight container. I freeze the stock before I add the finishing vegetables. The soup should keep well in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days and up to 1 month frozen

Summer Love.

I am officially done with my first year of law school. Not without the requisite tears and scars, but it’s over! So the minute my exams were over, I spent 2 weeks crazily writing for law journal, and then I worked for 2 weeks before I discovered that I needed to travel for some family stuff. So I promptly had to quit my job, and then traveled. I have a few more days before I’m back on the road. Because the summer has been so hectic, I have resorted to making larger batches of food – the kind you can throw into a container and it still tastes great cold.

Last week I made a fragrant soup and filled it with hearty grains so I could have a meal in a single bowl. I was home with my mother and sister, so we ate the soup for dinner and the single cup left at the end of dinner was devoured the next morning with egg and toast.

This is not the prettiest soup. In fact, I took 50 photos of the final soup and it still looked terrible. So, I’ll show you the ingredients I used and leave those pictures out, lest you change your mind about this phenomenal soup.

Green Lentil Soup (a Kaprise original)

  • 1 cup of French Green Lentils – picked through and rinsed
  • 1 cup of White Wheat Berries – rinsed
  • chopped steamed fingerling potatoes,
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of dried mushrooms, soaked in cold water (about 1 hour) and rinsed 3 times (or 2 cups of fresh mushrooms)
  • Herbs – basil, oregano, lavender, rosemary, grated lemon zest, salt and pepper (I like to make my own blends of herbs, this one is Provencal)
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 5-6 cups of filtered water
  1. In a large pot, melt the butter. Saute the chopped onion lightly.
  2. Drain and coarsely chop the mushrooms. Add to the onions.
  3. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of your herb mixture over the mushrooms and continue to saute the onions and mushrooms.
  4. Add the red wine and stir to distribute evenly.
  5. Add 4 cups of water
  6. Add the wheat berries and bring the soup to a simmer.
  7. Add the French Green Lentils and chopped potatoes 15 minutes after the wheat berries.
  8. Add more water as necessary. The lentils and wheat berries will soak up some of the water, so adjust accordingly.
  9. Simmer for 40-50 minutes until the wheat berries are tender but retain a good bite.
  10. Adjust seasoning accordingly. A few extra cracks of black pepper and a dash of vinegar rounded out my pot, but a little kick from some red pepper flakes or extra rosemary might entice you more.


  • Use a sturdy onion, or it’ll mush apart in your soup. I used a sweet Vidalia onion.
  • The mushroom blend that I used was supposedly preservative and additive free – however I thought it smelled like something was added. I soaked the mushrooms and rinsed them several times to make sure I got a true mushroom flavor.
  • The wheat berries, unless they are the “soft white” variety need to be pre-cooked and used. The soft white variety cooks within an hour, but regular red wheat berries take about 3 hours.
  • French Green Lentils are sturdy and provide a good bite to the soup. I prefer these over other lentils. They are exponentially more expensive but worth every single penny.
  • I steamed the potatoes before added them to the soup because I did not want to impart the starch into the soup.