Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Good Day For Some Soup

Photo Credit: Martha Bayne

Even though the snow kept many away, a good time was had by those of us who showed up at Hideout Wednesday for Soup and Bread. Somehow, most of my mock turtle soup was consumed (and thanks to Martha, Sula and Nagrant for the good words on it; I know it was undersalted). My favorite soup, however, was Joshua Westlund's lamb sausage, chickpea and leek, which was simmering in a roasted pepper stock.

Hideout even raised $130 for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. For those of you interested in making mock turtle soup, Martha has posted the recipes for both that and the roasted vegetable stock I made at Soup and Bread.

And I gave propers to LStolpman yesterday for her participation in Texas de Brazil's caipirinha competition, which she won! She was nervous as hell leading up to it, and even shared the recipe in advance with me for review.

Not one to mince words, I told her I thought the recipe bordered on becoming too complicated. At Texas de Brazil she said, "I'm afraid that my version is going to be too traditional." I told her not to fear. Speaking from experience, caipirinha drinkers prefer simplicity (cachaca, muddled lime and sugar, ice and a splash of water). She was trying to perfect crystallized lime peels as a garnish the day of the event.

Before the competition I was looking at the ingredients of the other participants laid out nice and neat. I knew just from looking that Stolps had a good shot at winning. Others were using ingredients like boysenberry-infused honey, Midori and fresh-squeezed blood orange juice with a whipped cream float. Laura kept it simple: muddled lime with agave sweetener, a lime-sugared rim, and club soda.

The judges loved it. Turned out that they were looking for a recipe that adhered very close to tradition. She didn't score points for originality, but Stolpman did rank high for both tradition, presentation and taste. Seeing the look on her face when they announced her the winner was priceless. A close second was the blood orange juice and whipped cream mess prepared by Plate magazine editor Chandra Ram.

Even more inspiring was that Stolps donated the grand prize — a dinner for six at Texas de Brazil — to Meals on Wheels Chicago.

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