I was fortunate enough to be invited by the authors of The Book Club Cookbook , Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy-Krupp, to partake in a Soup Swap Blogging Party.
Twenty two bloggers were sent the cookbook, Soup Swap, written by Kathy Gunst. In return, we were requested to choose a recipe to make, review the cookbook and the recipe and blog our personal, honest opinion of the book and the recipe during the week of September 11-20. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review or post. I did however receive some nifty gifts from Chef's Choice and Zeroll. Neither of these companies requested a review of their product, however I am happy to share my thoughts with you.
Chef's Choice sent me the Pronto Pro knife sharpener. Frank is the knife sharpener in the family so I turned this over to him and he set to work sharpening every knife that he could find in the house that needed sharpening. He said it was easy to use and "fool proof", even I could do it.....he's a funny guy.
Zeroll sent me a ladle and a slotted serving spoon both of which were used in the creation and serving of this recipe and will be used many more times in the future. I wish to thank both companies for their generosity.
On to the cookbook.....
I got this cookbook in the mail around 2 pm. I sat right down and read the Introduction where Kathy tells of her love of soup and how it developed into a near obsession during a particularly rough New England winter when she was stuck in her house for months. Kathy then goes on to say how she and a neighbor decided to host once monthly soup swaps which resulted in not only many good meals and lots of laughs but also to many wonderful and lasting friendships.
I then read the first chapter "The Basics of Hosting a Soup Swap". By 5 pm, I had chosen a date and invited 3 other couples to join me for a soup swap of our own.
I had set up a buffet table prior to my guests arriving. I placed a salad at one end, followed by room for all 4 pots of soup and ending with some dinner rolls. I bought some cute little chalkboards so that each guest could write out the name of their soup and also take the chalkboard home with them as a little remembrance. I found bowls to match the chalkboards so it was all color coordinated.
We had a lovely selection and all of the soups were tremendously good. My offering was in the orange section, Escarole and White Bean Soup, that I made from one of the recipes in the Soup Swap Cookbook. I wanted a recipe that was quick and easy and would reheat well if made ahead because, as host, I was also providing drinks, salad, dinner rolls and dessert.
I found exactly what I was looking for with this Escarole and White Bean Soup. You can get a glimpse of how lovely this book is with photos of many of the soups. Each one more delicious looking than the last. I made a few, very slight adaptations to the recipe and let me tell you....it was mmm, mmm, good!!!
Start off by cooking up your leeks, onions, garlic and thyme seasoned with salt and pepper.
Puree a cup of the beans with a cup of vegetable stock and add it to the pot.
Add in the escarole and the remaining beans allowing the escarole to wilt a bit.
Add the remaining stock and parmesan rind and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
I placed mine right into the crockpot and left it on low for about an hour before my guests arrived.
Once the guests arrived and we started eating, I forgot to take photos of the soups in individual bowls. They were all lovely and we had a great variety. Everyone thought the idea of a soup swap was wonderful and while we won't have it monthly, perhaps quarterly would work since there are 4 couples.
I want to thank Chronicle Books for providing the cookbook, Kathy Gunst for writing this book and the ladies from The Book Club Cookbook for inviting me to partake in this party.
Escarole and White Bean Soup
adapted from Soup Swap by Kathy Gunst
1 lg head escarole
1 lg leek
1 vidalia onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 (48 oz) jar Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
8 c. vegetable stock
1 parmesan cheese rind, optional
grated parmesan cheese, optional
Remove the core from the escarole, rinse and dry using a salad spinner or pat dry with paper towels. Finely chop half of the head and roughly chop the other half, set aside.
Trim the leek, removing the root end and dark green leaves. Cut the leek in half lengthwise and rinse well under cold water. Cut thinly into half moons. Peel and thinly slice the onion and mince the garlic cloves.
Heat the oil in the bottom of a large soup pot or dutch oven. Add the leeks, onions, garlic and thyme sprigs. Season with salt and pepper and let cook until translucent and tender, about 5-10 minutes, stirring often.
Place 1 cup of the beans and 1 cup of the stock into a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Add to the pot with the onions. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Add all of the escarole and the remaining beans. Cook and stir until escarole wilts. Add remaining stock and cheese rind, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs and cheese rind. Serve with parmesan cheese for sprinkling. Print Recipe