Fassolatha – A Greek Godess Yummy Navy Bean Soup

Oh boy, it’s been ages since I blogged about a soup!! I’ve been busy trying other recipes outside of soups (like homemade gnocchi, dehydrated snacks and a few different vegetarian pâtés). I have a liking to get back on the soup bandwagon again…we’ll see how that goes though!

Just last Saturday, I was having a girlfriend over for dinner and I decided to make it a Greek night. I made this soup along with homemade spanakopita, ttzatziki (with cashew cream instead of yogurt) and greek salad and it all did not disappoint!

The Verdict of Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup:

At first, I did not have any plans to add in bacon, I had FULL intentions to making this soup vegetarian. But when I was at the boiling stage just before simmering the soup, when I tried a spoonful test, the soup seemed bland to me and at this point I decided to add bacon, lemon juice and lemon zest to my recipe. I think the new ingredients made a huge difference. Also I shouldn’t short change the 1 hour simmering process that lifted the velvety navy beans and the just-right acidic diced tomatoes which were dancing in the pot with screaming delight!

We had this soup as left-overs for the next few days and on the third day I loved it just as much as the first day!

I would make this soup again and perhaps freeze it for an impromptu lunch one day in the near future.

Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup Ingredients:

  • 4-5 slices of bacon, chopped small and cooked until crisp
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stocks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cans organic navy beans (2 x 14.5 ounces)
  • 4 springs thyme (approx 1 tablespoon finely chopped)
  • 1 can organic diced roasted tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup of chopped parsley
  • 5 cups of veggie stock (may add more to your liking)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest

 

Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup Instructions:

  1. Cook small bacon pieces in fry pan until crisp, transfer to plate over paper towel. Set aside.
  2. In soup pot, add a little olive oil heat up on medium.
  3. Sauté chopped onions and garlic, cook until translucent, 5-7min.
  4. Add carrot and celery, saute for another minute or so.
  5. Add diced tomatoes and the 5 cups veggie stock.
  6. Add beans – add more veggie stock or water to cover beans if needed.
  7. Add thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to your taste.
  8. Cover and bring to boil.
  9. Once boiling, add in the bacon.
  10. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 – 60 minutes.
  11. Serve soup in bowls.
  12. Garnish with some extra parsley and delightful lemon zest.

The Original Recipe From Herehttp://www.lemonandolives.com/fassolatha-greek-bean-soup/

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • used canned navy beans instead of great northern dried beans
  • did not use a bay leaf
  • used organic vegetable stock instead of water
  • added about 1/3 cup of cooked bacon pieces
  • used my smoking gun to give a tad smoked flavour
  • added juice of one lemon at the end of the cooking process before serving
  • added lemon zest to each bowl of soup before serving
  • used more parsley
  • I used roasted canned tomatoes and I did not mash the canned tomatoes, I kept them chopped just like they are.
  • I added garlic. What soup is not friendly for it?!! :)
Soup Mistress Rating for Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5
Presentation: (3.75/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Parsnip & Turnip Soup at Fairmont Chateau Whistler – A Perfect Apres Ski Warmer Upper

Over a week ago, I took a beautiful drive up to Whistler and stayed the weekend. My time there was filled with a lot of fun – dining, spaing  and sking. I had the opportunity to catchup with old friends that I previously worked with at a tech startup a few years back. Nicole, now from Florida gave me a shout and invited me to stay with her at Chateau Fairmont Whistler and I felt spoiled. Nice hotel and great fine dining.

After being outside for the day enjoying the snow and blue skies, I went for dinner at The Wildflower Restaurant in The Fairmont and ordered the soup of the day, which was a Parsnip & Turnip Soup with Bacon.

The Verdict of Fairmont Chateau’s Parsnip and Turnip Soup with Bacon?
Well…let’s just say this soup purred with bacon and the root vegetables were delectable. This soup was rich, tad sweet with an earthy warm base. The root chips were a superb touch for a garnish. The serving size was just right – not to big nor too small. I had just enough room to have the Quinoa risotto afterwards. The soup was a great warm bread dipper and I loved how this restaurant serves up a basket of variety of breads. I loved the fact that the soup had maple syrup and lee and persons – two ingredients I never used in soup and may do so in the future!

I have to give kudos to the waiter. Chris, the waiter was extraordinary because he was probably one of the first servers ever who provided me with the most detail when asked about what was in the soup. He came back to me with a full list of ingredients from the chef. Normally when I ask at a restaurant, I get a two main ingredient answer, which shows no effort what-so-ever.

The following are the ingredients Chris shared with me: parsnip, turnip, onion, maple syrup, potato, celery root, bacon, thyme, salt and pepper, garlic, lee & perons, butter

Chris did not give me the measurements but I am going to take a guess at them and perhaps try to make this soup in the near future,

Parsnip and Turnip Soup Ingredients (Estimate of measurements from my soup making experience):

  • 1/4 cup bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups parsnip, chopped
  • 2 cups turnip, chopped
  • 1 cup potato, chopped
  • 1 cup celery root, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lee & Perons
  • 6 cups Vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
Parsnip and Turnip Soup Instructions:
  1. Chop the bacon into small pieces and cook it over very medium-low heat in a heavy bottomed pan.
  2. Reserve the bacon on a plate with paper towel, leaving about a tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan to saute the onions.
  3. Add the butter to pan, saute onions and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
  4. Add parsnip, turnip, potato, celery root to the pan, saute, stirring occasionally, and cook for about 8 more minutes.
  5. Add the bacon pieces, maple syrup, lee and perons, thyme and the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat. Cover the pan and simmer until the root vegetables are soft (30 minutes). Check the soup occasionally to see if more liquid is needed; the lentils should be covered.
  6. Turn stove off and puree.
  7. Add the salt and pepper (to taste) and serve.
  8. Ladle in serving bowls, garnish with fried root vegetables
Soup Mistress Rating for Parsnip and Turnip Soup with Bacon:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.5/5)
Presentation: (4.5/5) 
Taste: (4/5)

Ocean Wise Chowder with Halibut at Hapa Izakaya in Vancouver

On Monday evening, I went to Hapa Izakaya in Vancouver (Coal Harbor location) for my good friend Sherry Cooper’s birthday dinner. We had a nice time, enjoyed some great food and wine. I am a huge fan of Hapa Izakaya (been many times) and highly recommend it.

I decided to have Hapa Izakaya’s Award-Winning Ocean Wise Chowder, it sounded so scrumptios with BC halibut, scallop, bacon, dashi and cream.

Oh cream, luscious cream! You make me work out harder the next day on the treadmill – but so worth it.

The Verdict of Hapa Izakaya’s Ocean Wise Chowder? The chowder had a wonderful velvety texture and yet at same time, very delicate flavor for broth. The chunks of halibut were nice and flaky, but a little sparse (I shouldn’t blame the restaurant on the lack of halibut though because the price of halibut in general is ridiculous and it won’t get better with the fishing quota dropping 8% this year, read more here). Like most Japanese food, the chowder was not overpowering but had a very authentic taste leaving me wanting more. I think there were some tiny pieces of fried wonton on top as well (at least, that is what the waitress told me) – they were very crispy and added another level to the chowder.

I definitely want to recreate this soup in near future. Afterall, it is halibut season and I will be picking up my special halibut order from 1fsh2fish soon! Can’t wait.

I was curious to figure out how the chowder had a nice delicate broth. Most chowders are made with broths from fish carcass, clam juice or crustation shells. But this chowder was made with Dashi.

Hmmn, so what is Dashi?

It is a japanese soup stock most commonly made by heating water containing kombu (edible kelp) and kezurikatsuo (shavings of katsuobushi – preserved, fermented bonito) to near-boiling, then straining the resultant liquid. As an alternate there is also a powder Dashi. Read more on Dashi here.

I found a decent blog post on how to make Dashi (image above is from the original source). It seems simple enough and I would rather make it myself versus resorting to the powder version: www.thekitchn.com/japanese-cooking-dashi-57749

Soup Mistress Rating for Hapa Izakaya’s Ocean Wise Chowder Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3/5)
Presentation: (4/5) 
Taste: (4.75/5)