Friday, April 29, 2016

Rhubarb Brown Butter Tart

With it being near the end of April and St. George's Day (April 23rd's celebration of England lesser known than St. Patrick's [Ireland], St. David's [Wales], and St. Andrew's [Scotland]) I've started eyeing the rhubarb in my freezer and wondering what to try to make with it besides my usual strawberry rhubarb pie. Seems like a lot of the classic British desserts suggested for St. George's contain rhubarb. So, over the weekend I decided to try baking a rhubarb brown butter tart.

To test the recipe I decided to try halving the recipe and baking it in one of my mini ceramic pie plates from Pottery Barn. While there is always a danger with proportions in baking, I thought the experiment worth trying. The product was edible but I definitely learned some useful lessons. For example the pie filling in this case was a custard. The custard was set by the baking process but very soft and not the chewy texture suggested by the photographs. However, the texture did firm up significantly after refrigerating overnight. I believe that the issue was that my pie plate has a lot of vertical height, in contrast to the tart pan that would probably lose much more moisture during the baking process and have a distinct texture. Next time I cut a tart recipe I will make sure to use a smaller tart pan rather than a pie plate.

I have in mind to try a few other rhubarb recipes including:
Rustic Rhubarb Honey Almond Tart 

The Recipe:

Makes one 8-9″ tart, 8-10 servings
Almond Press-In Crust:
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on the finished tart
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ chunks
Rhubarb, Bourbon and Brown Butter Filling:
12 ounces rhubarb, trimmed, sliced on the diagonal 1/2″ thick (3 cups)
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar, plus 1/2 cup for the custard
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
2 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
Make the crust:
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350º.
In the bowl of a food processor, process the almonds, powdered sugar, salt and flour until the almonds are finely ground. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture just begins to clump together. Dump the crumbs into an 8 or 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Don’t bother washing the food processor bowl. Press the dough into the sides of the pan first, then the bottom, taking time to make square corners, a neat top, and an even thickness. (If the dough becomes soft or sticky, put the whole pan in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to firm it up again.) Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Freeze the crust until firm, 15 minutes, or wrap for longer storage. 
Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet for easy maneuvering, and bake the unlined crust until it is pale golden, 15-20 minutes, rotating after 10 minutes for even browning.
Meanwhile, make the filling:
Toss the sliced rhubarb with 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a medium bowl and set aside to macerate while you finish baking the crust and making the custard.
Place the butter and vanilla pod and scrapings in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium heat, swirling occasionally. After about 5-10 minutes, the butter will foam up, turn golden and smell nutty, with brown flecks mingling with black vanilla bean seeds. At this point, remove the pan from the heat. Remove the vanilla bean (you can rinse and dry it and stick it in a jar of sugar, or use it to make vanilla extract). Pour the butter into a heatproof measuring cup to stop the cooking, and let cool 5 minutes.
In the bowl of the food processor, pulse together the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, the flour and salt to combine. Add the eggs, and process until combined. With the motor running, pour in the brown butter, including the brown flecks and vanilla seeds, then the bourbon. 
Assemble, bake, and eat the tart:
Scrape the rhubarb and any juices into the hot, par-baked tart shell in an even layer. Carefully pour the custard over the rhubarb, filling the shell to the brim.
Bake the tart until the filling is puffed and browned, 30-45 minutes, rotating the tart halfway through for even baking. Remove the pan from the oven and let the tart cool until warm. Set the tart on an inverted bowl or ramekin, and ease off the ring. Sprinkle the tart with powdered sugar, cut it into wedges, and serve warm or at room temperature.
The tart keeps well in the refrigerator for several days; re-warm slices in an oven or toaster oven for best results.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

South African Melktert

April 27 is South African Freedom Day and the last of my year of celebrating countries days as a way of increasing my knowledge about the foodways of all the countries of the world. It's been a fun trip. Luckily Houston has gained several South African restaurants including, Peli Peli, Peli Peli Galleria, and Springbok. After moving to my new house I discovered that a nearby gourmet grocery store was actually run by a South African family and they have several South African specialities, borewors sausages, bobotie, Durban bunny chow, chicken curry, etc. A traditional dessert in South Africa is the melktert or milk tart. Apparently Feb 27 is also National Milk Tart Day.

"Melktert stems from the Dutch settlers in the Cape in the 1600s. The origin of Mattentaart is credited to a recipe listed in Thomas van der Noot's book, "Een notabel boexcken van cokeryen" (A Notable Book of Cookery) and it's possible that melktert developed from the same recipe. The large proportion of milk in the filling is evidence that melktert was introduced to us by the Dutch dairy farmers who settled the Cape of Good Hope in the middle of the century. The custard filling is made from milk, sugar and eggs, thickened with flour or cornflour. Cinnamon could be used to infuse the milk with flavour during preparation. Some recipes call for whole eggs, others require the eggs to be separated. The filling can vary in consistency from firm to wobbly."
Peli Peli Melktert
The melktert at Peli Peli is distinct from the typical in that they use a cheesecake type of graham cracker crust to surround the milky center. Unlike other custard tarts that add a large proportion of eggs, the melktert is probably closest to a crusted panna cotta due to its cornstarch thickener but uses milk and condensed milk rather than cream. This gives the dessert a lighter taste that allows you to focus on the taste of milk than cream in panna cotta or eggs in a flan.

While you are at Peli Peli I encourage you to try their other South African foods, particularly the babotie (best version of shepherd's pie with addition of apricot chutney and cilantro), carrot bredie, butter poached kingclip, peppadew peppers, the lamb chops, and the sticky toffee pudding. Very few dishes at Peli Peli don't sing with flavor. Even the side dishes force the eater to take notice of the flavor of corn, tomato, and carrot. Most dishes are executed consistently well. New Zealand lamb is perfectly grilled medium rare, and eggs are poached to perfect runnyness on the brunch menu. The restaurant built their early clientele based on them trying their sticky toffee pudding or their money back. No one seems to be taking back their money. The sticky toffee is approximately 90% dates, and the vanilla ice cream is super cooled in liquid nitrogen so there is a nice contrast between the heat of the cooked pudding and the icy vanilla. Lots of people just come for the desserts alone.


butter poached kingclip

lamb chops in three sauces
sticky toffee pudding with liquid nitrogen cooled vanilla ice cream

This recipe claims to be
The Best Milk Tart To Ever Come Out of South Africa


1 Packet of Tennis Biscuits (These are ordinary plain tea type biscuits that you would normally use for a crumb base.)
Sufficient butter melted to make your crumbs wet enough to press into a dish
Crush the biscuits finely, and mix with the melted butter. Press firmly into a pie dish and place in the fridge whilst you make the rest of the recipe.


1 Tin sweetened condensed milk (385 grams)
2 tins of full cream milk measured in the empty condensed milk can (so don't throw it away)

Put these ingredients into a large heavy based pot and bring to the boil stirring continuously with a metal whisk. The secret: The longer it takes to boil the nicer the end result, so slowly does it on a lowish flame. Once boiling, remove from the heat, and add the following mixture before once again returning to your low heat. Prepare this mixture before starting to boil the milk, so that it is ready as soon as you need it. 

1 Egg (extra large - see note at the end)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) custard powder
1 tsp vanilla essence (5 ml)
2 Tbsp Maizena (corn flour) (30 ml)
1 tin of milk (using that empty condensed milk tin to measure)

Mix the above very well with a wire whisk or hand beater. It must be lump free. Add this to your boiled milk and put back onto a very low heat. It is vitally important to constantly stir this mixture with your whisk, as you do not want lumps, and you don't want it to burn either. Keep scraping the bottom of the pot with the whisk. At the first sign of boiling bubbles turn the stove off, and immediately pour the mixture into your refrigerated crumb base. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and sugar whilst still hot. Leave to cool completely before covering with foil, and putting into the fridge again for at least 24 hours before serving. 

Make a double recipe (you will see why once you serve it!). If you do make a double, make the following changes: Use 2 heaped tablespoons plus 1 level one of custard powder, and 4 heaped tablespoons plus one level on of the Maizena (corn flour) 

The secret to this recipe is to boil everything very slowly, so don't rush it.

Every country has it’s own standards and regulations how eggs are sized and packed, and in South Africa these things are regulated by the agricultural product standards act: Jumbo eggs >66 grams, X-large eggs >59 grams, Large eggs >51 grams, Medium eggs >43 grams, and Small eggs >33 grams.

A few other versions of the recipe 
Crustless Amarula milk tart (Amarula is a liquor made from a South African fruit related to mangoes)

South African flag

South African plants belong to their own phyla

Recipe for Durban Bunny Chow

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cleiburne Cafeteria Burned Down

One of my favorite places for homemade pie was one of Houston's oldest cafeterias (part of the 70+ club of restaurants still in business after 70 years). Yesterday the restaurant started in 1941 by a Greek immigrant burned to the ground. Apparently this isn't the first time that fire has hit the restaurant and amazingly spared the paintings of the original deceased owner. Hopefully they can rebuild again soon.

As of May 1 I will begin a new project to identify the best savory and sweet pies in Houston. I would have included Cleiburne and Kindli Haus (which I reviewed last year) in my list, but now both are gone, the latter permanently. Anyone who would like to suggest a pie or pie restaurant that I should put on my list, please leave a comment. A good restaurant pie for consideration at minimum has to have 1) an individually made crust (can't be frozen crust), 2) have good (and hopefully creative) flavor combinations, and 3) not have filling thickeners that create a bad texture. I will also be contributing to a list of restaurants or food trucks outside Houston in Texas (and nationwide) with excellent pie.

Monday, April 18, 2016

April Soups

This month April soups is a work in progress. Stay tuned for picture updates.

Garlic Royale

4 cups water
2 bouillon cubes
5 garlic cloves
½ cup white wine
1 bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaf, parsley tied together)
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash Tabasco
1 egg yolk, beaten
¼ cup heavy cream or coconut milk

Bring the water to a boil. Add the garlic, bouillon cubes, wine, and bouquet garni. Cover the pot and cook slowly for 1 hour. Add water if necessary. Strain the consommé through a thin colander and discard all the solids. Place the consommé back into the pot and season with salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Bring to a boil and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes. Just before serving, beat the egg yolks and heavy cream. Pour into the consommé and stir well. (The version I made without eggs or milk and added fresh spring peas for a more Chinese-type soup.)

Fava Bean Soup

1 onion, chopped finely
2 Tbsp olive oil
16-oz can of fava beans or dried beans soaked overnight and rinsed twice
1 carrot, diced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
3 cups water
1 small branch thyme or ½ tsp dried
1 ham bone
1 Tbsp sherry
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Place the onion in the soup pot and saute in olive oil for 2 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the fava beans (without the liquid), carrot, and potato. Stir well and add to the water. Over medium heat, bring the water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the peas, thyme, ham bone, and cover the pot. Cook over medium-low for 30 minutes. Add the sherry, salt, and cayenne pepper. Stir well, cover the pot, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove the ham bone and thyme branch. Add croutons as a garnish.

Tomato Garlic Spinach Soup

5 large cloves of garlic, well minced
¼ cup olive oil
3 ½ cups stock of choice or use bouillon cubes
15-oz can of tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
4 slices of French bread
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of fresh spinach, chopped
Pinch of cayenne

Saute the garlic in olive oil over low heat without allowing to brown, stirring continuously. Add half of the stock, and tomato sauce. Stir well. Blend the soup in the blender until smooth. Return it to the pot and add the remaining stock, French bread, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Then reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes. Simmer slowly another 15 minutes. Add cayenne and remove the bay leaf. Pour the mixture into the soup, stirring constantly. Simmer another 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Black Bean Mexican

5 Tbsp olive oil
½ yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ jalapeno pepper, chopped finely
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
1 15-oz can of black beans
1 potato, peeled and diced
3 ½ cups of water
1 bouillon cube
¼ cup fresh cilantro
1 ½ tsp cumin
1Tbsp lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream and cilantro as garnish

Pour the olive oil into a soup pot and saute the onion for 2 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeno pepper, and tomatoes, and continue sautéing for another 2 minutes over medium heat, until it turns into a regular sauce, stirring often. Add the beans with the juice, potatoes, water, and bouillon. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to medium low. Cook slowly, covered for 20 minutes. Add the cilantro, cumin, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Stir well and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, turn off the heat, and let the soup rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot and garnish each serving with a teaspoon of sour cream and chopped cilantro.

Everyday Potato Soup

4 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups stock of choice
1 ½ onions, sliced (or leeks)
½ cup milk, or unsweetened soy, cashew, or coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter or oil of choice
2 tsp chopped parsley or chervil

Put the potatoes into a soup pot. Add the water and onions and cook over medium-low heat covered for 45 minutes. With a blender, mash the potatoes in the soup pot. (I removed part of the potatoes to keep some texture before blending). Add the milk, salt, and pepper, stir and reheat. Just before serving add the butter and parsley. Can be served hot or cold. If served cold, substitute oil instead of butter.

 French Lentil

3 Tbsp olive oil
½ onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
¾ cup French green or brown lentils
6 cups water
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 small turnip, diced
1 bunch sorrel or spinach leaves
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, sliced
1 medium potato, diced
½ cup tomato sauce
Salt and pepper
¼ cup cooked rice (optional)

This lentil soup has a nice mix of vegetables that make it more interesting than just straight lentils.

Beguine Cream

This soup is named after some independent Flemish mystic women.
prior to cooking

the finished product

3 ½ cups water
1 leek
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 slices stale bread
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ cup half and half or coconut milk
1 ½ tsp butter
Chopped parsley or chervil

Bring water to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the leeks, potatoes, carrots, and bread slices. Lower the heat to medium, cover, and cook for an hour. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the soup and let rest 5 minutes. Then blend the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the pot. Add nutmeg, half and half or coconut milk, and butter. Stir well and bring to a light boil. Garnish with chopped parsley or chervil.

Spicy Indian

1/6 cup of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ¼ cups brown or green French or Italian lentils
4 cups water
1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
1 celery stick, finely sliced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp paprika
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour the oil into a soup pot. Add the onions, garlic, and lentils. Saute gently over low heat for 3 minutes. Stir continually and watch that the vegetables don’t stick at the bottom of the pot. Pour the water into the mixture, stir, and raise the heat to medium. Bring to a boil, add the carrots and celery. Boil 20 minutes and then lower the heat to medium-low. Add the coriander, cumin, curry, paprika, lemon juice, lemon peel, salt and pepper. Stir well and cover the pot. Let the soup simmer gently for 45 minutes. Check seasoning and serve hot.


15 different beans in "Ham Beens" bean soup mix

a lot of cilantro and spring onions (next time I won't use the flower stalks because they stay fibrous after cooking)

¼ cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
¼ cup lima beans
¼ cup kidney beans
¼ cup black beans
¼ cup lentils
¼ cup split peas
¼ cup white navy beans
6 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
½ of a 16-oz can of tomatoes, chopped
¼ tsp ginger
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp black pepper
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp flour
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
4 fresh mint leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of paprika

Place all the beans in a large pot, add the water, and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 1 ½ hours. Add the onions, tomatoes and juice, ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, and lemon juice. Stir well, cover the pot, and bring the soup to a second boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for another hour. Add the salt and more water if necessary. Place the flour in 2 Tbsp cold water and make a paste. Add a few Tbsp of the hot soup to the flour mixture, mix well, and pour into the soup. Stir vigorously and continually so the soup thickens without lumps. Add the cilantro, mint, cayenne, and paprika. Stir well and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.

Bread and Milk Soup

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk (or unsweetened soy milk)
½ onion, minced
2 slices of bread, cut into quarters
Salt and pepper to taste
1 beaten egg
¼ cup chopped parsley or chervil

Melt the butter in a pot. Add the flour and half of the milk, stirring constantly. Add the onion and the remaining milk. Bring the soup to a boil. Add the bread and seasoning. Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Blend the soup thoroughly and add the egg while the soup is blending. Sprinkle the herbs on top as garnish.


2 ½ Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
½ fennel bulb, finely chopped
3 parsley sprigs, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 ½ potatoes, peeled and diced
4 large shrimp
4 sea scallops or mussels
¼ lb haddock, cod, halibut, monkfish, or rockfish cleaned and cut into small pieces
½ cup dry white wine
Pinch of saffron

Sauce Rouille
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 egg yolk
1 ½ tsp lemon juice (or dry white wine)
1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and paprika to taste
¾ cup olive oil

Heat the oil in a good sized pot. Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and fennel. Saute them lightly over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the parsley, salt, pepper, water, and bay leaf. Bring the soup up to a light boil. Simmer the soup for a few minutes, then add potatoes, scallops, shrimp, cut fish, saffron, and wine, and stir well. Cover the pot and cook the bouillabaisse on high heat 15 minutes. Then reduce and simmer for another 15 minutes. To make the rouille, combine all the ingredients except the oil in a deep bowl. Mix slowly with an electric mixer. Then add the oil a drop at a time until it thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise. Refrigerate before serving. Ladle the soup into bowls or serve the broth first and soup and fish as a second course. Serve French bread covered in Rouille sauce with the broth and extra on the side for the fish.

March Soups

Cream of Leek

¼ olive oil
6 leeks, chopped
4 cups water
1 ½ cups day old bread
2 egg yolks
1 cup of milk or coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the chopped leeks in the oil in a large soup pot over low heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let them brown. Add water immediately and bring to a boil. Add the bread and simmer 30 minutes. Blend the soup in a blender. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add milk and salt and pepper to the egg mixture. Blend the eggs and milk with the soup.

Country Mushroom with Sour Cream

½ lb mushrooms, finely sliced
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 medium potato, diced
1 large onion, finely sliced
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups water
1 bouillon cube (mushroom or vegetable)
Salt and paprika to taste
½ cup sour cream (or Tofutti equivalent + white wine vinegar)
Chopped chives as garnish

Prepare the vegetables. Place the oil in a soup pot and saute the vegetables for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the water and bouillon cube and cook slowly, covered, over medium heat for 30-40 minutes. Add the salt, paprika, and sour cream. Stir well and simmer 10 minutes more. Serve hot garnished with chopped chives.

Soup du Berry (Red Bean)

A castle in the Berry region of central France

Berry is famous for its canals
"The Annunciation" from The
Book of Hours owned by the Duc du Berry

¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ onions, chopped
1 ½ cups canned or precooked red beans
½ bottle (375 ml) of red wine
2 cups water or ham stock
1 ham bone
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Pour the olive oil into the soup pot and add the onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the red beans, wine, water, ham bone, and bay leaf. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower to medium low. Cover the pot, and simmer for 1 hour. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir well and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and rest 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and ham bone and serve the soup hot.

Ravioli Potage

2 ½ Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 ½ tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
¾ cup chopped spinach
2 ½ cups chicken stock
10 oz fresh or frozen small ravioli
Salt and pepper
2 sprigs chervil, chopped
2 tsp crème fraiche or sour cream as garnish

Pour the oil in a pot. Add shallots and tomatoes. Saute gently for 3 minutes. Add the spinach and the stock. Stir and slowly bring the soup to a boil. Add the ravioli, salt, and pepper. Cover the pot and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the chervil and cover. Turn off the heat and let the soup rest for 5 minutes. Serve the soup hot, and place a teaspoon of crème fraiche or sour cream on top as a garnish.

Bulgarian Soup

4 cups beef broth
2 carrots, diced
2 small turnips, diced
1 small celeriac, diced
½ cup rice
½ large onion or 1 small onion
1 Tbsp butter
½ tsp flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Chopped parsley

Pour the broth into a soup pot. Add all the vegetables and rice and cook slowly over medium heat for 30 minutes with the pot covered. Peel and slice the onion. Melt the butter and saute the onion briefly until it begins to brown. Add the flour and mix until even. Add the onion mixture and salt and pepper the soup and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Just before serving, beat the egg with the lemon juice. Add to the soup and stir continuously for 1 minute. Serve the soup hot, garnished with finely chopped parsley.

St. Lioba Beer and Mushroom Soup

3 Tbsp oil of choice
1 cup mushrooms chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 cans of beer
1 bay leaf
1 egg
2 Tbsp heavy cream or coconut milk
Chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Gruyere cheese

Pour the oil into a soup pot. Saute the mushrooms and onions lightly for a few minutes over low heat. Add the beer and bay leaf and raise the heat to medium. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 20 minutes. In the meantime, beat the egg and cream. Add 6 Tbsp of hot soup to the egg mixture and blend thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the soup, mixing well. Add the chopped parsley, salt and pepper, and mix well. Reheat the soup over medium heat and continue stirring for a few minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve hot topped with grated cheese.

Minostrone di Verdua (Tuscan)

1/3 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
½ of a 15-oz can of cooked cannellini beans
½ of a 15-oz can of peeled tomatoes
5 cups water
1 potato, peeled and diced
Small radicchio, chopped
½ cup white wine
1 bay leaf
Chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Gently saute the onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the beans and tomatoes and continue to saute for 2 more minutes. Add the water and bring the soup to a boil. Add the diced potatoes, radicchio, wine, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover the pot and simmer for an hour. Turn off the heat and let stand 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Serve hot topped with grated cheese if preferred.

Lima Bean Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
½ onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 ½ cups water
1 bouillon cube
1 carrot, sliced
1 potato, cubed
1 cup fresh or frozen lima beans
Chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated cheese of choice as garnish

Pour the oil into a soup pot. Saute the onion and garlic lightly over low heat for a minute or two, stirring continually. Add the water, carrot, potato, and bouillon cube. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low. Add the lima beans, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Cook slowly over medium-low heat for an hour or until the beans are tender. Let the soup sit for 5 minutes and serve hot. Grated cheese may be used as a garnish.