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on May 24, 2004
Can a restaurant survive with just great soups! Sure, and so can it's cookbook. This is outstanding selection of interesting ingredients, techniques and creativity, all around that cuisine we call "soup."
What is especially useful about this cookbook's structure is the page heading describing not only the main ingredient, i.e. veggie, beef, etc., but also its fat rating, and dairy free, etc. warning, as well as "spicy" warnings. Many times there is also listed "Variations" recommendations, which gets one thinking about possible modifications and/or new recipe creations of one's own.
This is fun soup cooking and great eating! Try the likes of some of my favorites: "Winter Borscht With Beef Short Ribs"; "Cauliflower Vichyssoise"; "Valencian-Style Paella" (with saffron and lobster and shrimp and baby artichokes); "Yucatan Chicken-Lime" (my absolute favorite which I also spice up with some broken tortilla chips which one can buy flavored these days); and Pot Pie Soups, chicken, lobster,mushroom.
The book is also fun due to great and comical B&W photos and excellent additions such as Periodic Table of Soups and Soup Personals, e.g. "Successful, long-stemmed Wild Mushroom seeks family of Barley, 2-3, 1 cm, for Eastern European soup romance and possibly more. I am athletic, a fungus, love logs, and hate tight spaces."
There is also great sections on ingredients, techniques, and sparse Source listing.
A true Soup Lovers treasure!
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'Daily Soup' is the name of a New York City chain of restaurants that serve only soup. This book presents the one hundred best recipes out of the five hundred soups the author / chef / owners have developed at the restaurants. This description alone promises a first class collection. I began reading the book with great expectations about the quality of the recipes.
One aspect of the recipes in this book is that since 'Daily Soup' serves only soup, every recipe must be robust enough to be a full meal. The authors state this plainly in the beginning of the book. If you need a light soup, look to Barbara Kafka's 'Soup, A Way of Life' or James Peterson's 'Splendid Soups'.
Early in the book, it became clear to me that the authors truly have fun with their soups and succeed in communicating that sense of fun to you, dear reader. This is a rare commodity in culinary writing which you find as a rare spice to a few writers such as Julia Child and as a truly hot ingredient in the works of Alton Brown and Wayne Harley Brachman. This gave me even greater expectations for the book. The good humor appears in most general instructions, sidebars, headnotes, and selected chapters devoted entirely to whimsy such as the best soups to eat to various movies and the best musical accompaniment for some soups.
The introductory chapter(s) including a section entitled 'Some Things to Remember' are pure gold in the world of advice about soup. The most interesting advice regarded temperature in general and freezing soups in particular. Another obvious but often forgotten fact about temperature is that every time an ingredient is added to a heated pot of soup or stock, the temperature will drop a bit, so one's figuring about how long the cooking will take and what must be done to keep the food a temperature which will kill any roaming bacteria who get the notion to join the party.
The authors organize their recipes in a sensible fashion, by primary ingredient. This is doubly sensible in their case in that almost every soup is hearty enough to satisfy one as a full meal should. Therefore, there are no broths and few soups with a small number of ingredients. The authors augment their classification by ingredient with one or more additional classifiers above the name of the soup. These classifiers include 'vegetarian', 'spicy', 'dairy free', 'vegetarian', and 'low fat'. The principle ingredients, being recipe chapter names, are Vegetable; Tomato; Rice; Grain, Pasta, and Bread; Corn; Potato; Bean; Chili; Lentil and Pea; Nut; Coconut; Cheese; and Fruit. To these are added chapters on Roux based soups such as the gumbos and 'Really Delicious Soups That Didn't Fit Into Any Chapter'. This chapter contains seven recipes. The perfect example of this is Bouillabaisse.
Bouillabaisse is also a perfect example of the fact that the authors are not standing on custom in the recipes they use. I was surprised to find them using a vegetable stock in the Bouillabaisse when a recent Tyler Florence show in Marseilles shows the stew being done with a very fresh fish stock. I also checked a recipe by Paul Bocuse. This recipe also uses a broth made from fish flesh and bones. Both French sources give recipes taking between an hour and a half and two and a half-hours. The 'Daily Soup' recipe can be cooked and ready to serve in forty minutes, not including the ingredients prep and stock making. In fairness, the French recipes included the stock making in the timing. In the case of other classics such as chili, the authors can have it more than one way, as there are six (6) different chili recipes. Even so, all six recipes have a higher than traditional carb count from either beans or pasta. All this really means is that these ladies and gentlemen are creating their own versions of classic soups to fit the strategy of their recipe.
It is not at all surprising that all 'Daily Soup' recipes are made with stocks prepared by 'Daily Soup' itself. These stocks are so instrumental to the outcome of their soup recipes that I would feel uncomfortable in making any of these soups with anything less than a homemade stock, preferably one made by their recipe. Here is where I found a rare problem with the book. The authors in the introduction state that vegetables do not need to cook as long as meat in a soup. This agrees perfectly with statements in a recent text by the Culinary Institute of America, which goes on to give stock recipes which add the veg an hour before the stock is to be done. Somehow, the authors of this book overlook this advice when it comes to their meat stockmaking. In the lamb stock recipe in particular, they cover both meat and veg with the water and simmer together for four hours. I was also quite surprised at the two (2) hour cooking time for the basic fish stock. The fussiest fish stock recipes stop at 30 minutes. I have never seen an authoritative fish stock recipe that cooks for more than an hour. Most stop at 45 minutes. The other side of the coin is that all stock recipes are quite simple. Patience is the only ingredient that may be difficult to find.
I must say that all recipes look delicious and highly recommended. The 'Daily Soup' recipes simply do not skimp on ingredients or the proper application of love and patience. Even the very simple Vichyssoise uses two types of potatoes and heavy cream. One last sale point is that the authors have converted several traditional non-soup recipes such as Peking Duck into soups. This gives added interest to the book, as if you needed it.
Highly recommended, serious soup making. No, there is no mention of the Soup Nazi!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2003
I bought this book after reading some of the reviews here and I have to agree with them. I made the salmon chowder and senegalese peanut soup, and they tasted like something from a gourmet restaurant. I have never made such perfect soups.
However, these are very expensive and time-consuming recipes. If you follow them exactly, you'll get excellent soup. You'll also spend lots of money on ingredients and about two hours chopping, chopping, chopping to make the vegetable stock, then more chopping to make the actual soup. I nearly lost my mind (and about 35 minutes) grinding a pound of salted peanuts into a paste with a blender, only to realize: Couldn't I have achieved this by buying natural, unsugared peanut butter? Couldn't I have purchased that vegetable stock from Imagine Foods? (Maybe not. After the aforementioned hours of chopping, you might not want to risk [messing] up the whole dish with a substitution. And when you need 12 cups of stock, buying it makes it even more expensive).
Anyway, I would recommend this book to a friend. Especially a rich, single friend.
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on March 10, 2003
If only life would be like this. Every recipe here is simplified down to its' barest essentials. & I really like the stock recipes that are such an unexplored territory in cooking nowdays. Back in grandma's day, soup just wasn't soup w/out the stock. But to have a choice in stock making. Worth it's weight in latium. The info contained therein replaces several of my cookbooks.
But the best is the list of recommendations. I.e which soups go w/what. Like watching the Godfather.
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on January 20, 2003
I typically buy cookbooks, read through them, and flag 15% of the recipes for experimentation. Less than 5% of those succeed and are cooked again. This book has started a Sunday Soup ritual in my house, and out of the many soups I've tried so far, *every* single one has been a huge success with family and friends.
If you are new to soups and don't own a cookbook for them yet, buy this one. Right now. Go on, you know you want to. I promise you will love it.
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on November 12, 2002
Usually I cook 3 recipes max from any cookbook I get, but I've made about 20 of the soup recipes in this one and either liked or really liked all but 2. I'm a mediocre cook, but you wouldn't know it when trying my soups from this cookbook :) They sound good and taste great.
Doing the math now... I've had the book a year and made 20 different types of soup, some multiple times. Yes, I definitely recommend it :)
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on October 10, 2002
This is not a beginning let's experiment, perhaps try this soup book. This is a soup book based on a successful restaurant, thus it is their recipes that they sold. Having said that it is quite good. No pictures, lots of ingredients, many steps. If you are a beginner this could take a while to assemble a soup. Quantities are exact. Ingredients are exact: Yukon gold potatoes, blue pots & white boilers. If you cannot get these ingredients you will not have the same success BUT, again the caveats, some are simpler with more easily obtainable ingredients. Well done. Tasty. Delicious chili. Good soup.
And yes you have to love soup.
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on October 4, 2002
I have made many of the recipes in this book and was astounded to discover that ZERO alteration is required to make any of these recipes among the very best soups you'll have the privilege to taste.
By nature, I'm a footloose kind of cook--one that looks at a recipe and thinks "what can I do to make this better?" before I even fire up the oven! Well, this cookbook is the only one I've ever come across where I trust each and every recipe to be perfect. I've never been disappointed.
Because of my delight with this book, it is not only the only cookbook I've ever recommended to friends (or anyone else I know!), but it is also the only cookbook I give as a gift.
A zealot? Perhaps. But try any one of the recipes yourself and you'll be an instant convert.
Enjoy!
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on January 16, 2002
The recipes in this collection are delicious -- full and hearty, with clear directions. The writing is simple and casual, and the love for soup comes through clearly. Highly recommended for cooks of all levels.
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on December 31, 2001
Last night I cooked the "Cream of Lentil" soup. Although initially afraid that this wouldn't be the meal that some of the other soups are (e.g., Senegalese Peanut), I was pleasantly surprised at how good this dish also turned out to be.
I rated this cookbook "5 stars" due to the following:
1. excellent recipes for tremendous meals;
2. easy-to-follow instructions (a must for "cooks" like me);
3. just enough background on the dish "genre" (e.g., vegetarian, cheese, etc.) to make you comfortable to prepare a soup you've never made before;
4. hints/suggestions about storage of basic stocks;
5. easy-to-read format (i.e., layout of book is clear and uncluttered).
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