Tom Kha Talay Soup, A Frugal Thai Seafood Beach Party!

Sa-wat-dee Kah!

It’s mid March and I’m on a trip of a lifetime visiting Thailand. I’m on a foodie month long crawl for Thai cuisine (while working and exercising here of course).  Seafood soups are definitely on my hit list!

First stop for soup: Lobster Restaurant at Nai Harn Beach.

For my first morning in the Rawai Beach Area, I decided take the hotels complementary shuttle to Nai Harn Beach, a short 10-15 minute drive along a windy road. When I arrived at the beach I was very surprised to see how many restaurants and outdoor seating there was. Each restaurant had various coolers of fresh fish displayed – it was wonderful to see. After sitting on the beach lounging for 2 hours, the heat was too much for me so I decided to do lunch there just before the shuttle was to pick me up at 1:30pm.

I decided upon the Lobster Restaurant and was seated by a very cheerful Thai lady (everyone seems to be so nice here in Thailand!) and the Tom Kha Soup caught my attention. I ordered it with a bottled water and paid 220 Baht (includes tip), that is approximately only $6.80 Canadian dollars.

The Verdict of Tom Kha Talay soup at the Lobster Restaurant?

Holy seafood batman! For $6.80 Canadian I got myself a party of seafood that any frugal person would die for. For this kind of soup in Vancouver, Canada, I’m sure I’d be paying $22 for it!

Prawns, mussels, squid and clams. Tons of all of them, like a jammed pack party with no sitting room! I counted and there was about 10 mussels and 5 prawns for example. All seemed very fresh and not overcooked nor rubbery what-so-ever!

Great presentation with the leaf under the bowl as well!

The soup had a ton of lemon grass (the green part and also the pieces that looked like baby potato slices were suppose to be lemon grass per the waitress when I asked her). And noticeable ingredients were: Thai basil, whole cloves of garlic, lime juice, tiny whole onions and some spicy oil (perhaps drops of red chile). Normally when it is 94 degrees out I would not order soup nor lap it up, but this soup seemed very light for a coconut based soup – must have been in a seafood broth with coconut milk. I slurped it all up and it was very good.

I would order this soup again in a heart beat.

When I search for Tom Kha Talay soup recipes, it seems as though it should be healthy because the broth is in fact lighter with stock/and or water versus mostly coconut milk. Here’s a recipe that may be close to what I have (except it has mushrooms, scallops and crab): http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/recipes/cocsea.html

Soup Mistress Rating for Tom Kha Talay Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.25/5
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (4.5/5) 

Northwest Salmon Soup, Starring Grammy Award Winning Kale!

Northwest Salmon Soup

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Northwest Salmon Soup

Saw this recipe in a magazine at the book store, can’t recall what magazine it was though. The sight of the salmon with the roe looked so delightful along with the use of kale in the soup. So I decided to give it a whirl and voila – what a delight!

The Verdict of Northwest Salmon Soup?

Even though I added lemon juice to the creme fresh, it seemed like not enough, next time I would add some lemon zest to the creme fraiche. The broth tasted better and better after a few minutes. The the kale and salmon played so well in the taste. I’m starting to like kale a ton more especially in broths – it gives a flavourful depth to any soup! I’m going to give the Kale the superstar Grammy ingredient for this recipe – it deserves it!

Northwest Salmon Soup Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen salmon
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 – 32 ounce vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped potatoes
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1/4 creme fraiche
  •  1 tablespoon monkfish caviar
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Northwest Salmon Soup Instructions:
  1. Pat dry salmon, cut in 1 inch pieces.
  2. In large pot (or dutch oven) heat butter over medium low heat until melted. Add onion and garlic, cook, covered 10 – 15 mins until tender, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high, cook onions, uncovered for few more minutes, stir in paprika and pepper.
  3. Stir in broth, kale, potatoes and carrots. bring to boiling reduce heat. Simmer covered, about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. In a separate pan add salmon to hot pan on med/high, cook until salmon fillet pieces flake easily when tested with fork.
  5. Ladle soup in bowls, add salmon pieces to each bowl.
  6. Top each serving with a kettle chip, sour cream, dill and caviar.

Recipe makes 4 yummy servings.

Original Soup Recipe: Jeepers, I cannot recall what magazine, if you do know, let me know and I will give the publisher full credit and a link!

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Added a large clove of garlic (minced)
  • Added 1/4 tablespoon lemon juice to the creme fraiche. Could have use even more! I wanted to add lemon zest, but where I was staying in Whistler did not have a utensil to do so.
  • I didn’t use salmon roe, I used two types of monkfish caviar (red and black)

Soup Mistress Rating for Northwest Salmon Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (4/5) 

Yam and Peanut Stew – A Ski Hill Cafe Inspiration

For the last two months, it has been quite a delight to be staying up at Whistler. When we were up on the ski hill, we’ve found ourselves eating most lunches up at the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain. The food service is pretty good compared to years ago and I think they really rock some of their soups!  One particular soup they dished up was a Spicy African Yam and Peanut soup and it inspired my boyfriend to make a similar soup for us one evening.

He found this wonderful recipe for Yam and Peanut Stew with Kale here.

The Verdict of Yam and Peanut Stew?

I LOVED this soup very much being a peanut lover myself! I craved this soup the next day and just had to have leftovers. The soup thickened up the next day, so I added a little more vegetable broth. This soup is definitely a tummy delight.  Don’t cut out the green onions though, they were the superstar garnish that made the soup just pop in my mouth with flavour! One thing to note, is the healthiest ingredient (kale) in the recipe was left out (forgot to purchase it at the grocery store)! Perhaps we will make it again in the future with the kale…Kale seems to give so many soups a ultra healthy and tasty boost!

Yes please…I want to have it again!

Yam and Peanut Stew Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 large yams, chopped into 1 inch
  • 1/2 cup dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 ripe vine tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or 1 can of homemade or store-bought diced tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • a dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 cups vegetable stock + extra as needed
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup green onion, tops only, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted peanuts, chopped

Yam and Peanut Stew Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot set on medium heat. Add the onion and begin sauteing till onion is getting translucent (about 3 minutes). Add the garlic and ginger, and continue to saute for another 3 minutes, till garlic is fragrant. Add the yams, the red lentils, the tomatoes, the cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne and give it all a quick stir to combine.
  2. Add 4 cups vegetable stock and bring mixture to a boil. If there isn’t enough broth to cover everything but at least 1 inch, add another cup of stock. When soup boils, reduce to a simmer and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until sweet potatoes and lentils are very tender. If you need more broth as the mixture cooks, add it.
  3. Add almond butter and stir well. Using an immersion blender, blend soup till about half of it is pureed and the other half still has texture. The soup should appear creamy, but chunks of sweet potato should be visible.
  4. Season to taste, adding more salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Serve, topped with a tablespoon each of green onion and crushed peanuts

What He Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Oops – missed the 4 cups of kale by accident! Perhaps it will join the soup party next time!
  • Used organic almond butter instead of peanut butter…much healthier for you!

Soup Mistress Rating for Yam and Peanut Stew:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5
Presentation: (4.25/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Winter Soup Olympics in Whistler A Gold Delight!

One more day till the end of our 2 month stay up at Whistler. It’s been a great journey with downhill and cross-country skiing, biking, and walking around trails in British Columbia’s winter wonderland. With all of the outdoor exercise came a few apres ski sessions, fresh track morning buffets, some mighty fine cooking sessions at home and visiting various restaurants in the main village and creekside.  For many meals I had soup, and there were a few to be mentioned and one a sure winner that was a gold delight!

The following are three notable soups and I ranked them as Gold, Silver and Bronze for overall taste and presentation:

Gold Soup Medal

The Gold Soup Medal goes to Alta Bistro’s with their Rootdown Farms Organic Carrot Soup ($10) with roasted chickpeas, fried celery, goat cheese & orange cream, black cumin seeds, fresh thyme, corn bread. What a playful looking soup and great presentation. The orange cream gave this soup a tiny burst of greatness. The fresh thyme was delightful and the bowl seemed to be a great choice for serving soup – it seemed to conduct heat for quite sometime after I was served it! Brilliant!

Silver Soup Medal

The Silver Soup Medal goes to Nita Lakes’ Lodge Aura Restaurant Mussel Chowder ($10) with honey mussels, diced house cured pancetta, Yukon gold potato, onion, ginger, lemongrass bisque. Wow! The service overall at this restaurant was very outstanding. The waitress brought the bowl of morsels to our table and poured in the broth – that was so classy and a nice experience indeed – love when restaurants do that with soups! The large pieces of potato were perfect and gave it a rustic feel. The lemongrass bisque was light but very tasty! And oh my, the honey mussels were good, I wish I had more though, but for $10 this soup really rocked!

Bronze Soup Medal

The Bronze Medal goes the Roundhouse up on Whistler Mountain with their Mushroom Soup. The roundhouse is a huge cafeteria style restaurant and probably serves a few thousand people for lunch between 11 – 2pm easily. We had this mushroom soup a few times in the last two months. I also heard a few other people mention that this soup is one of their favourites as well! The tiny chunks of mushrooms and onions we so very good (really made the soup) and kudos to a cafe style restaurant to use pea shoots as a garnish. If you are ever up there, go for the soup, salad and half sandwich – it’s the best deal in the house! I think it was $12.45 for the combo.

I can’t wait to come back and try more soups next season! Whistler is the premium place for Soup Olympics I am sure!

Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup or Vice Versa

Serve up[

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Serve with a few pieces of fried sage and a swirl of cashew cream.

After a few recent visits to Nuba restaurant in Vancover-  it has inspired my Scottish sous chef and I to create more cauliflower dishes lately. Nuba has a killer Cauliflower Najib’s special, if you ever make it there, do make sure you order it. My Scottish sous chef decided to make this yummy soup for us after a beautiful day of cross-country skiing in the Callaghan Valley, BC, Canada.

The Verdict of Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup?

This soup is tasty and very much filling – the parsnips dominate the cauliflower and we both liked the parsnips. I think the soup should have been called “Parsnip Cauliflower Soup” instead of “Cauliflower Parsnip Soup”.  No herb stood out that much either, but that being said, the herbs and spices worked well in this delightful bowl of liquid! I would make it again.

Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped
  • 4 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 shallots, cut in half
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • dash of sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray or two with tin foil.
  2. Lay cauliflower, parsnips, shallots, and garlic, out on foil, and drizzle with olive oil, thyme, sage, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast veggies for about 35-40 min, or until they’re soft and golden brown.
  4. Place veggies in a high speed blender (you may have to work in batches) and add broth and almond milk. Blend until soup is smooth and creamy, adding more liquid if you need to. We added about 2 more cups. Alternately, you can use an immersion blender.
  5. Transfer soup to a pot and re-season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6.  Serve with a few pieces of fried sage and a swirl of cashew cream.
Original Soup Recipe: http://www.choosingraw.com/roasted-cauliflower-and-parsnip-soup/

What My Scottish Sous Chef Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Used almond milk instead of rice, soy, or coconut milk
  • Used 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Added fried sage as garnish
  • Added a dollop of cashew cream
  • Used more vegetable broth – 5 to 6 cups. Was originally too thick.

Soup Mistress Rating for Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5
Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4/5) 

Vegetable Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos at Chicago’s XOCO is all xoxo’s!

Just this weekend I ventured to Chicago for a layover on my way to Winnipeg to visit my family. I’ve been in Las Vegas for the last 3 months with beautiful warm sunny weather and holy moly my body was in shock when I got outside in Chicago!!! it was windy and very wintery freeze your butt off weather. Everyone on the streets were bundled up in big bulky jackets, hats, scarfs and gloves. I had a tiny leather jacket and leather gloves…not good enough for my walk to check out XOCO for some mexican fare.

By the time I got to the restaurant, I changed my mind of trying one of their famous Tortas. The Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos (AKA soup) fancied me way more – I really needed some hot broth to thaw out my insides and extremities!

I ordered the Vegetable Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos and it had: black beans, woodland mushrooms, zucchini, potato-masa dumplings, greens, avocados, and serrano chile.

The Verdict of XOCO’s Vegetable Meal-in-a-Bowl:
I felt the love big time with this this Meal-in-a-Bowl (AKA soup)…. it should be called xoxo Soup! My tummy had a genuine almost cuddling-like affair with this soup and was very grateful to the warm tasty broth! The big chunks of avocados, lots of onions, tasty mushrooms, deep flavourful broth and black beans that weren’t mushy made up this delightful meal-in-a-bowl. The broth was unique and not like all other Mexican soup broths, I couldn’t pinpoint what all of the spices were.  And the healthy greens were nice and fresh added on top. XOCO’s soup puts the tortilla mexican soup I had two days ago at El Segundo’s in Vegas to shame.

XOCO had a superb ordering process and great customer service experience. A sweetie of a gal who gave me a seat number, asked me when seated  if I’d like sparkling or still water. The sparling water was for free – a nice touch for so-called street food in a restaurant that did not break the bank!

Here’s a spoonful of all the scrumptious chunks of love and lot’s of onions oh my!

If you are going to check out XOCO’s Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos make sure you also order the Roasted Garlic Tomotilo Guacamole with choice of 2 toppings, tomatillo salsa, 3 chile salsa and just-made chips. I had the queso fresco and grilled onion!
Soup Mistress Rating for XOXO’s Vegetable Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4.5/5) 

Jaleo, A Sopa De Ajo Spectacle in Vegas!

Just this last weekend, I had the opportunity to go out with three wonderful gals two evenings in a row in Las Vegas. The first night we dined in The Paris Hotel at Mon Ami Gabi and the second night we decided to walk on over to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and check out the options. And Jaleo was our choice for the evening – we all loved the fact of sharing Spanish Tapas!

When I first glanced at the menu, it was a no brainer to start with a soup. Jaleo had three wonderful soups: A Gazpacho, An Anjo Blanco and a Sopa Ajo. I have had the former two soups on other occasions, so I decided on trying a new soup. And Soupa Ajo (a black garlic soup with black garlic and egg) it was!!

The Verdict of Sopa Ajo?:

No need to go to a show in Vegas to get a spectacle! Wow, just go to Jaleo and order soup! When the waiter arrived at the table with my soup I was very impressed, this is how it was presented to me:

Then the waiter had a mini carafe in his other hand which was full of broth. He was going to pour it over the soup bowl canvass! This is it in action:

The soup had many flavourful depths to it. First the wonderful crisp crustini kept up quite well for a few bites in. The broth was so delicate yet very oozing with creamy delight. When I sliced into the very soft and delicate poached egg, it started to run in my soup and bring different spoonfuls of taste each time I lapped it up! The garlic broth was a licker candidate for sure.

I lapped the soup up in no time and could have lifted the bowl up to finish the last of my lovely liquid, but I resisted from embarrassing my gal friends and gracefully pushed it aside for the waiter to take away.

Soup Mistress Rating for Sopa De Ajo

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.25/5
Presentation: (4.75/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Princess & A Pea Soup Challenge at Horizons Restaurant

Just this week I had my big brother visiting from Winnipeg. I wanted to take him for dinner at a nice restaurant with a view of Vancouver. I thought that Horizons on Burnaby Mountain was a mighty fine choice for the view.

When I read the menu the soup of the day, it really fancied me:

“Carrot & Sweet Pea Soup – Sourdough croutons, paprika oil”

So I ordered it and my brother followed suit.

Leading up to being served the soup, I imagined that it came with more than one crouton and would be very colourful to my eyes with green (for the peas) floating around perhaps in the orange broth (carrots) with some equisite kind of garnish.

This is what I was served:

The Verdict of Horizons Carrot & Sweet Pea Soup?

There seemed to be a disconnect of how it was described on the menu and what was in front of me. Don’t get me wrong, the broth was super tasty and a very nice touch with the paprika oil. But the soup overall did not wow me what-so-ever. Perhaps my expectation of a fancy dancy restaurant on one of the highest points in Burnaby was way to inflated.

 

I question if Horizons in fact used sweet peas in the soup and why did they not celebrate them floating around in a beautiful broth? Were some peas actually pureed in the soup? I don’t know and couldn’t tell if they were. Perhaps they did not use fresh sweet peas and hid them in the broth?

Also, the notion of “croutons” being plural in the description was deceiving. I only received one very thin baguette piece which got very soggy after my first spoonful. It disappointed me a tad.

 

I have been so blessed with superb soups at many restaurants I have visited in the past and would consider myself a soup princess.

So, what I am saying is this soup did not passs the princess test. I am pretty sure someone forgot to put the pea under the twenty mattresses. I was not feeling it what-soever! And the prince is asking “Where did the pea go?!!”

 

Soup Mistress (and Chris Yelland my brother) Rating for Horizons Carrot & Sweet Pea Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.5/5)

Presentation: (2.5/5)

Taste: (3/5)

Soups of San Francisco – A16 is Broth-a-licious Indeed!

Yesterday was my first day of vacationing in San Franscico and I was all by my lonesome for the first night. Tonight, I will be meeting my boyfriend and we will be venturing out together in the city as well as Napa for few days.  I’m hoping that he will help me rate the rest of the soups during the visit here.

But last night it was just me. So what is one to do all by themselves in the Cow Hallow area?

Well, walking down to Chestnut street was a mighty fine idea indeed. It seemed to be buzzing with all kinds of folks. People hanging out of pubs, cafes and restaurants. I decided to walk by A16, a restaurant that my girlfriend Sharon (whoms house I was staying at) has mentioned a few times in the past as being a great spot. It was super busy, and I lucked out being a lone diner to grab a seat at the bar.

A first, I sat between two couples and it felt so boring to me. But shortly after one couple left, three bubbly freindly women joined the bar besides me, whom I had the liberty to have a few glasses of wine and some laughs with. They were a hoot and made my evening for sure.

 From left to right: Nancy, Heida and Alicia

So what was on the menu?

I decided to have A16’s Spring Zuppa and the Octupus salad.

The Verdict of “A16 Spring Zuppa”?

The soup was not your stuffy high end soup with heavy cream. It had a wonderful tasty and delicate broth. Actually probably one of the top broths I’ve had. It had very thinly sliced asparagus morsels and oh so fine crispy fried croutons. The herbs seemed very fresh, and they definitely used some fresh English Peas – oh my, I liked how they popped in my mouth! The soup seemed simple yet very elegant and oh so tasteful. It seemed as though the soup is an au natural for your tastebuds. No need to glamourize and heavy it up with fat and cream! I am guessing that the broth was a vegetable base – the roasted spring onion oil gave a really good depth to the broth that a meat based broth may have done. Brilliant. Overall, my tastebuds felt very satisfied with A16s Spring Zuppa and my hips didn’t feel guilty what-so-ever.

 

A16 is a place to check out, they also have a wine list comprising of more than 500 selections!!

A16
2355 Chestnut Ave, San Francisco, California
http://www.a16sf.com

 

Soup Mistress Rating for “A16 Spring Zuppa”:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (3/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Sunchoke Lentil Soup With Garnish Galore!

Sunchoke lentil soup

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with a apple, chive, sunchoke medley

I’ve been meaning for quite sometime to make this soup when my boyfreind shared the original recipe from the Wall Street Journal back on January 13, 3013. I never had a chance to cook with sunchokes in the past nor did I hear of them till late last year. And now I notice more restaurants in Vancouver like The Acorn making Sunchoke soup. I was even more motivated to make this soup. Is this a new fad of soups? Hmmn.

The Verdict of Sunchoke Soup?
This recipe was very thought out with the great looking garnish that took it further than a garnish because it added another level to the soup with taste and texture. Two thumbs up to Chef Michael Anthony from the Gramercy Tavern in New York known for fine-dining take on hyper-seasonal American cuisine with this recipe.

 

The soup was healthy and sans cream or milk products. Loved it also because the topping with chives was exquisite and the crunchy apples a fine texture and just enough sweetness. The fried tiny Sunchoke pieces are subtle and plays well with chives and apples. The soup was very velvety and creamy like a pureed cauliflower soup (one of my favs). The bouquet spices made a strong statement in the pot of soup for a tiny packet.

I adjusted the recipe and added more lentils to make a meal out of my soup. I took it to work two days in a row for lunch and it filled me up just fine!

One thing I would do different next time if I made this soup is I would use a lighter coloured vegetable stock (like Imagine Organic Vegetable Low Sodium Stock). The stock I used for this time (Pacifico Organic Vegetable Broth) was way too orange for my liking. I would have loved to have a whiter looker soup (prettier in my opinion being more white). Oh, ya, sprinkle a little lemon juice on the apples before adding to the medley if you want them looking white for next day and store the medley in an airtight plastic container.

 

Sunchoke Soup Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup black lentils
  • pinch salt, plus more, to taste
  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 2 pounds sunchokes, all but 2 pieces (about 3 inches each) peeled and cut into ½ inch coins
  • 8 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly sliced
  • 15-20 corriander seeds
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • pepper to taste
  • ½ cup apples. Cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
Sunchoke Soup Instructions:
  1. Set a small pot of water over high heat and bring back to a boil. Add lentils and pinch salt and simmer until lentils are just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, make soup: Set a deep pot over medium heat and swirl in 2 tablespoons oil. Add onions, leeks, shallots, garlic and celery. Sweat until softened and translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add sunchokes and sweat until slightly softened, 1-2 minutes more.
  3. Add enough stock to just cover vegetables and raise heat to high. Wrap spices and ginger in cheesecloth, secure with kitchen twine and add sachet to pot. Once soup comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and simmer steadily until sunchokes and fork-tender, 20-30 minutes.
  4. While vegetables simmer, assemble garnish: peel and cut reserved sunchokes into ¼ inch dice/ Set a medium pan over medium heat and swirl in remaining oil/ Once hot, sauté diced sunchokes until tender and golden all over, about 5 minutes.
  5. Mix sautéed sunchokes with cooked lentils, apples and chives. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.
  6. Once vegetables have simmered, set a sieve over a large bowl and pour soup through to separate vegetables from stock. Discard sachet and reserve stock. In a food processor, puree vegetables until smooth.
  7. Return pureed vegetables to pot and stir in enough stock to create a loose yet creamy consistency. Bring back to a simmer and season with salt and white pepper to taste.
  8. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and place a large spoonful of sunchoke-apple-lentil garnish in center of each bowl.
What I changed from original soup recipe:
  • Used black pepper instead of white pepper
  • Doubled lentils
  • Used 3/4 cup of diced apples instead of 1/2 cup
  • Used more chives, corriander and two star anise
  • Used a mix of lentils (black and brown)
Soup Mistress Rating for Sunchoke Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (4/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5)