Broccoli + Potato Soup with Gruyere Toasts

It’s been delightfully cool outside these past few weeks. Just when it was beginning to feel like that would never happen.

We had some peeps over for a casual dinner the other evening and soup was on the menu. You can see by the ingredients that this soup makes a great meal for tight budgets and is also perfect for meatless Mondays. Oh, and you could substitute the broccoli with cauliflower, too. 
This recipe makes enough for 6-8 as a first course, and there’s enough left over to stash some in the freezer for future meals.
Here’s what you’ll need for the soup –
1.5 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into large cubes
1.5 lbs. of broccoli. Chop broccoli stems into coins and set aside the broccoli florets.
1 med. onion roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
Zest and juice from one lemon
1 tbsp. coriander
1 tbsp. EVOO
3 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. Espelette pepper

Sweat the onion in 1 tbsp. EVOO until translucent. Add the coriander and garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add 6 cups of hot water, 1 tsp. of salt, diced potatoes, and the chopped broccoli stems. Simmer until the potatoes and coins are tender.

Add 2 cups more of water, broccoli florets, and 1 tsp. salt. Simmer until the florets are soft.
Using either an immersion blender or a regular blender, chop until mostly smooth. I like my soup a bit chunky, but the texture is up to you.
Add the last tsp. of salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and Espelette pepper. Mix and heat again.
Here are the ingredients for the toasts –
Grated gruyere cheese, crème fraiche, and multi-grain bread. The amounts are up to you. Sprinkle with some finishing salt.


Smear the bread with crème fraiche and add some grated cheese. Put the toasts in the over on 400-degrees until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Enjoy!

Eat well, 


Cannellini Bean and Tomato Soup

Most of you are aware of the nasty glioblastoma business that Roger’s been courageously battling. He had been 18 months cancer free (well, as cancer free as one can be with GBM), and a little over a week ago a suspicious area was noted on his routine MRI. Grrr. Let me tell you people that there’s nothing scarier than receiving a phone call from one’s neuro-oncologist with a message to come into the office as soon as possible. First, you pick your stomach up off the floor, and then you get into the car and drive soundlessly to said clinic.

Surgery is over, and my Superman is home. We’re waiting patiently for the full pathology report, and we remain hopeful. Because I find expressing love with my Shun chef’s knife the fastest way possible, I decided to cook up some comfort food for his first meal home after surgery: tomato soup and grilled cheese. We’ll go back to eating oodles of kale and beaucoup veggies soon enough. Now was the time to deliver joy through food.

This soup recipe will serve 6



1-28 oz. can of whole tomatoes (San Marzano are preferred)

32 oz. chicken stock

1-15 oz. can of cannellini beans

1 onion, diced small

¾ oz. whipping cream

2 tbsp. EVOO

3 garlic cloves

1 Parmesan rind

A pinch of saffron

¼ tsp. chili pepper flakes

½ tsp. kosher salt

Ground pepper

basil for garnish


In a 5-qt. pan, sauté the onion in EVOO until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chili flakes, and saffron threads to the onion and heat until fragrant (you don’t want to burn the garlic).

Squish the tomatoes with your hands until they’re fully broken down.

Add the tomatoes and stock to the onion mixture.

Pop in the Parmesan rind and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.


Add the cannellini beans, salt, pepper, and whipping cream. Stir well and taste. Add more seasoning if you like.


Cheese Panini

Grate some Gruyere cheese (amount is personal preference)

I used a seeded bread (sliced it at home) from Whole Foods

Toast the sandwich in a panini press (my method of choice), or on a frying pan with a weight on top of the sandwich

Toast the sandwich until the bread is crunchy and the cheese is fully melted (grating helps it melt faster)

Eat well!


“Cancer is a word, not a sentence.” – John Diamon























Red Lentil Soup with North African Spices

Being a Yankee and all, I’ve got a particular fondness for the magazines Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, and America’s Test Kitchen podcast, along with their founder, Christopher Kimball. Christopher Kimball is as quintessential New England as clam chowder (a.k.a. chowdah). Right down to his bow tie and cranky no-nonsense approach to cooking. And life in general. Just my kind of guy.

Cook’s Illustrated recently published a red lentil soup recipe with North African spices. I just had to make it. It’s healthy and tasty as all get out. I did find, however, that the lentils didn’t break down as easily as the recipe claimed. I had to work really at breaking them down. As a matter of fact, I decided to pull out my potato masher and have at it. Not that it’s a big deal, but thought you should know.


This recipe serves 4-6

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large onion, chopped fine

Salt and pepper

¾ tsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. ground cumin

¼ ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pinch cayenne

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 garlic clove, minced

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

10 ounces (1 ½ cups) red lentils, picked over and rinsed.

2 tbsp. lemon juice, plus extra for seasoning

1 tsp. dried mint, ½ crumbled

1 tsp. paprika

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (I had basil on hand so that’s what I used)

Diced avocado as a garnish is also optional

Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and 1 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, and ¼ tsp. pepper and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, and lentils and bring to a simmer.

Simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft and about half broken down, about 15 minutes.


Whisk soup vigorously until it’s coarsely pureed, about 30 seconds. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and extra lemon juice to taste. Cover and keep warm (soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Thin soup with water, if desired, when reheating).

Melt remaining 2 tbsp. of butter in small skillet. Remove from heat and stir in mint and paprika. Ladle soup into individual bowls, drizzle each portion with 1 tsp. spiced butter, sprinkle with cilantro (I had basil on hand) and serve.

For an extra nutritional boost, I floated some diced avocado on top. Delish!

Eat well!


“Here in New England, the character is strong and unshakable.” – Norman Rockwell