Monday, January 11, 2016

Review of Thug Kitchen for January Foodies Read featuring Tortilla Soup

Last month I told you about a new reading group that I joined in which you read any books you want that has food as a main theme and link up with other foodies to review it and any recipes that you made inspired by the book.

Grab button for Foodies Read 2016

The club is the brainchild of Based on a True Story who sets up a page for us to add our links as well as taking charge of pinning and tweeting.  Fiction, non fiction, cookbooks....any book is game as long as the main theme of the book is food related.

My friend, Linda, joined us for Thanksgiving dinner this year and brought me Thug Kitchen from Rodale Press and written by Matt Halloway and Michelle Davis.  It was published in 2014 and won Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Food & Cookbooks.  

Image result for thug kitchen author

As you can see from the cover of the book, it uses bad language, most specifically the F word a LOT!!  If this offends you then the book is definitely not for you. But if, like me, while you try not to use that kind of language and think that life can be lived without it but are able to stomach are going to laugh your A** off.

The book is written with beginners in mind but with recipes suited for seasoned cooks as well. As with all Rodale products it is written with a health conscious sense of humor.  It is a vegan cookbook which works perfectly for me as I am trying to cut down on the amount of meat my family consumes. In a chapter entitled "Hold the F up, Where's the Meat?" we are given statistics that American's on average eat 270 lbs of meat each year. This is more than double the recommended amount.  I try, with varying success, to serve Meatless Monday meals in our household but find that most of those meals still contain animal protein in the form of eggs or cheese.  This cookbook has some delicious recipes that I hope will help me break out of that cycle.

I decided to start this little experiment with the Tortilla Soup because:
  •  Frank likes tortilla soup and I was hoping that he wouldn't notice the omission of meat.  
  • During the winter I like to have a little thing called Soup Saturday because nothing is more satisfying than soup on a cold blustery day.
  • It sounded easy, peasy and delcious.
  • I had all the ingredients on hand,
"This old-school Southwestern soup is so gd good, even your grandma would approve.  Just don't let her catch you swearing in the house" quote from Thug Kitchen.

I served this on Saturday when we had friends for dinner.  We started with Margaritas, chips and guacamole and then had the soup followed by a build your own taco bar.

I did make some adaptations to the recipe so it is no longer vegan.  I used chicken stock instead of vegetable stock because that was what I had on hand.  I also garnished with sour cream.  Use vegetable stock and omit the sour cream to remain vegan.  The only other adaptations were with the ingredient measurements.  I added more tomato paste and stock than in the original recipe and lessened the amount of spice for my husband's palate.

I also changed up some of the technique.  The recipe had you cutting the vegetables into different size dice.  Since it was all going to be pureed anyway, I just threw everything into the food processor together without worrying too much about size.

This turned out delicious and would make an excellent meatless Monday meal.  The chickpeas add texture and protein.  It was flavorful and had just the right amount of spice.

Tortilla Soup
adapted from Thug Kitchen

1/2 of a sweet onion, cut into chunks
1 carrot, scraped and cut into chunks
1 bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1 lg. jalapeno, seeded and cut in half
4 cloves garlic
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2  t. cumin
2 t. oregano paste ( I use Gourmet Garden)
2 t. chili powder
pinch of salt
1  (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
7 c. chicken or vegetable broth
juice from 1/2 a lime
8 corn tortillas, cut into 1" squares
1 (15 oz) can of chickpeas
Garnish of choice. I used sour cream and cilantro. Other good choices would be avocado, jalapeno slices or tortilla chips.

Place onion, carrot, pepper, jalapeno and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times.  Scrape sides and pulse again.  Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over med high heat.  Add pulsed vegetables and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes.  Add the spices and cook for another minute or so before adding tomatoes and tomato paste.  Stir to combine and then stir in the broth. Bring just to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and add the lime juice and tortilla.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until tortilla is softened.  Puree the soup using an immersion blender or by batches in a blender returning to pot afterwards.  Add the chickpeas and heat through. Taste and add additional seasonings if desired.  Garnish and serve hot. Print Recipe


  1. I love this book. Everything I've made so far has been really good. The buffalo califlower was much better than I expected.

    1. This is the first recipe I have made from it but it was a good one. I look forward to trying some more.

  2. I guess I DO have a problem with the "F" word. I get so hung up on how many times it is used (such a useless word-although I am no prude and have been known to utter it a time or two....or ten) I just don't see the need for it in books and movies to the extent that is all I can focus on. This soup does sound good though!

    1. This cookbook would absolutely drive you to distraction then Paula. Just use the recipes I post LOL>

  3. My daughter has this book and LOVES it! I'm not a fan of the f word or any other potty words. But you hear them so often just by going to town and hearing other people talk or blaring radios, so I can overlook them. The recipes sound good so I asked her to loan it to me when she gets through it.

    1. Yes, Vicki, I think they were playing to their audience who is much younger than I. My kids are in their 30's and 40's and the f bomb is dropped by their generation all the time.

  4. Truth is, I am still a little girl when I read books with cuss words, an usually giggle all the way through. Guilty pleasure. I am going to keep an eye out for this one because it sounds like a fun read with lots of great recipes! Thanks

  5. Sounds amusing, I'm not huge into Vegan cooking, but I might have to give this a try for Lent!

    1. I'm not either Amy as you can see from the adaptations I made but the basic recipes sound good and recipes are only a guideline anyway.

  6. This one has been on my *to buy* list Wendy. I have read excerpts and seen them online so I am well prepared for the language. ;-) I love tortilla soup so your bowl has me drooling.

    1. I think you will like it then Deb. Enjoy. Tons of wonderful sounding recipes.

  7. Hi Wendy, this soup sounds awesome - and I agree about soup on a blustery day - totally and I don't mind the f word, I've worked in kitchens. After awhile it just sort of fades into numbdom, unlike this soup!

    1. The soup was delicious Dorette. I am looking forward to trying some more recipes from this book.

  8. I probably could do with the recipes and ignore those bad languages. :)


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