Tomato and Corn Chowder with Thyme

With an abundance of tomatoes right now thanks to my father in-law and Avalon Hill (thanks!), we thought Joanne Weir's "Tomato and Corn Chowder" would be a quick, easy, healthy way to use them all before they went to waste.  This recipe came sirendipitly into our email inbox last week; she's a gem, and you can sign up for her newsletter here.

Like everything, I can't just leave well enough alone so I made some modifications.  Instead of the chives, I added some thyme because I just felt like it needed a little stronger herbal touch.  I used more tomatoes and didn't drain or seed them.  I added more butter, less water, and I also cooked it for a little longer.

The result is a hearty, yet summer-y and vegeterian chowder that makes a great meal, especially served with some toasted crusty bread.  If you were to use olive oil instead of butter, you could make it vegan.

Here is our variation:

2 large Russett potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoon butter
1 yellow onion, minced
3 cups chicken stock
6 ears of fresh corn, shucked, kernels removed 
1/2 cup heavy cream
7 ripe medium-size red tomatoes, peeled and chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
3-4 sprigs of thyme

Bring a large pot three-quarters full of salted water to a boil.  Add the potatoes and cook until tender, 10 minutes.  Prep everything else while the potatoes cook.  Drain and reserve.  

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, 7 minutes.  Add the corn but reserve 1 cup of it for later.  Add the chicken stock, the thyme, and 2 cups water.  Simmer until the corn is very tender and the liquid is reduced by one quarter, 15 minutes. 

Remove the thyme stems from the soup, by now most of the leaves will have fallen off.  Puree the mixture with an immersion/stick blender until very smooth.  Add the cream, the reserved corn and the potatoes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Heat over medium high heat just until hot, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook 6-8 more minutes.  Serve hot with toast and possibly a dry white wine.

Serves 6

Authordavid koch

Ranger Pale Ale and Garden Vegetable Soup with Basil Pesto

Spring has come but things haven't quite warmed up yet.  We're still dealing with the 60'sand 70's here in LA and after a non-existent summer last year, I'm ready for some heat.  While we wait, this is a delightful spring soup that ties the seasons together.

This vegetarian soup can use either Great Northern or Cannellini beans to give it some girth and the blast of pesto adds a vibrant touch that ties it all together.  It may require some chopping and prep work but once that is done, assembly is easy and you can scale the recipe up to feed Napoleon's army of keep some for another rainy day in the freezer.

We were approached by Foodbuzz's Tastemaker program to come up with something that pairs well with the beers from New Belgium Brewing Company. We jumped on the idea - New Belgium is one of our favorites and on any given day, you'll have a good chance of finding one of their Folly Packs (a variety of different brews) in our fridge.


Garden Vegetable Soup with Basil Pesto

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 medium tomatoes (or 2 cans chopped tomatoes), peeled and chopped
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock (homemade or store bought)
  • 2 cups cooked cannellini beans (fresh or canned)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Basil Pesto Garnish:
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste


In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onions, carrots and celery seasoned with a little salt and pepper for 2-3 minutes. Add in garlic, fennel, zucchini and red bell pepper and continue to sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Add in tomatoes and cook until tomatoes break down, about 3-5 minutes.
Pour in vegetable stock and bring up to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer until vegetables are almost cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Add in beans and continue to simmer until beans are warmed through. Taste soup for seasonings and add additional salt and pepper as necessary. Ladle warm soup into bowls and garnish with a tablespoon of basil pesto.

To make pesto: In a food processor or blender add basil, garlic, and pine nuts and pulse until finely chopped. With the motor running slowly pour in olive oil until everything is incorporated. Stir in parmesan cheese and taste for seasonings. Add in salt and pepper as necessary.
AuthorDave and Amy Koch
CategoriesDrinks, Recipes
4 CommentsPost a comment
Hearty Miso Soup with Soba Noodles
Being a new mom, I’m all about quick, healthy (and delicious :)) meals these days. When Dave and I made a trip to Japan a few years ago, I became enamored with all the noodle soups and ate one almost everyday. I do not have hours and hours to create my own special broth and roll my own noodles, so I came up with this version to cure my craving.

This recipe may not transport you to a little Japanese noodle shop, but it sure is satisfying and tasty. I happened to have some leftover steak in my fridge when I made this, but it would also be great with chicken, pork, or tofu. Feel free to use whatever meat and vegetables you have on hand. Enjoy!

Hearty Miso Soup with Soba Noodles (printable recipe)
  • 4oz soba noodles
  • 1 carrot - thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini - halved lengthwise, then sliced
  • 4 cups water, plus more for boiling noodles
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons miso paste
  • 6 cremini mushrooms - thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 2 scallions - thinly sliced
  • 6oz cooked steak - thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

Over high heat bring a large pot of water to boil. Add soba noodles and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside while you make the soup.

Add 1 teaspoon oil to a medium pot over medium heat. Add carrots and saute for 3 minutes then add zucchini plus a sprinkle of salt and pepper, saute for an additional 2 minutes and remove from pot and set aside. Add the 4 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Whisk in miso paste, then add sauted carrots and zucchini, mushrooms and spinach. Let simmer until vegetables are cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

In a large soup bowl, place cooked noodles then ladle over warm miso/vegetable broth. Top with a few slices of steak and scallions and serve.

Serves 2
AuthorAmy Koch
2 CommentsPost a comment
Caprese GazpachoOnce again our house was full of beautiful tomatoes.  With the warm summer temperatures lately, I wanted to get away from the stove for the evening but still do something fulfilling with all our fresh vegetables.  
I instantly thought of gazpacho, a cold raw vegetable soup from Spain.  I also had all the ingredients on hand to make my favorite salad, Insalata Caprese, made simply with buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil.
Finally, I realized I could merge the two into one great dish and enjoy all the wonderful flavors from Spain and Italy in one bite.  This recipe would be wonderful served for lunch or as a light supper.  It looks beautiful plated up and would surely impress dinner guests as a first course.  Enjoy!

The Gazpacho Line-up
Caprese Gazpacho (printable recipe)
  • 4 medium-sized tomatoes (about 2 lbs), coarsely chopped - reserve 1 cup of the tomatoes, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped - reserve 1/4 cup of the cucumber, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped - reserve 1/4 of the onion and dice fine
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces - reserve 1 tablespoon chiffonade
  • 1 bell pepper (any color you have on hand), coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed then coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella, 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 slices of bread, crust removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Caprese Salsa
In a bowl combine, reserved tomato, cucumber, onion, and basil. Fold in mozzarella then season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside in refrigerator to stay cool.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining tomatoes, cucumber, onion, basil, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and bread. Working in batches, puree ingredients in a blender while slowly pouring in the olive oil, until it is a smooth consistency.

With a spatula push soup through a fine mesh strainer into a large serving bowl. Stir in red wine vinegar, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cover soup and let chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish with caprese salsa and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 4

The Gazpacho-maker

AuthorAmy Koch

Wonton Vegetable Soup

You can find bok choy anytime of year but its peak season is during the winter months. I like the baby bok choy for this soup but if you can't find it feel free to substitute for the larger bok choy or even Napa cabbage. 

I kept this soup on the simpler side with just the wontons and vegetables, but it would also be great with some shrimp and chicken thrown in. Also, don't feel you have to limit yourself to these vegetables, throw in whatever you like or may have on hand!

This recipe makes a good amount of wontons, so if you have extra throw them in the freezer and save for later use. This recipe was adapted from Emeril Lagasse.  



  • 20-30 wonton wrappers
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon scallions, finely sliced


  • 1/2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 slices ginger root, 1 inch thick
  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon, fresh ginger juice**
  • 2 medium carrots, peel and sliced
  • 2-3 baby bok choy, sliced
  • 4-6 cremini or shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Scallions and chili paste for garnish

**grate ginger and then squeeze out the liquid


To assemble the wontons: In a bowl combine pork, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and scallions. Lay wontons on counter and place 1 teaspoon of pork filling in the middle of each square. 

Brush all four edges of the wrapper with a little water and fold corners together so it forms a triangle. Seal tightly so that all the extra air is removed from inside.  Continue to fold the 2 bottom corners together so they stick together. Let wontons sit while you make the soup.

For the soup: Add oil to a large pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and ginger and saute for 1-2 minutes then add in broth and bring up to a boil.  Reduce heat and let soup simmer for 20-30 so the garlic and ginger infuse into the soup. Once it has infused, remove garlic and ginger pieces and add in soy sauce and ginger juice.

Add in carrots, bok choy, and mushrooms and let simmer 3-5 minutes or until they begin to get tender. Add in wontons and simmer an additional 5-10 minutes or until pork is cooked through.  Check soup for seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle in soup bowls and serve.  Garnish with sliced scallions and pass around chili paste for those who like a little heat.

Makes 4-6 servings

AuthorAmy Koch
3 CommentsPost a comment

I'm a big fan of soups.  They are usually easy.  They can be done quickly.  They are often cheap.  Who doesn't like cheap, fast, and easy?  Only communists.  That's who.  

This "Tortilla" Soup only requires about 30 minutes when you use one of those pre-cooked chickens from the supermarket.  I always stock onions, carrots, and celery and this whole thing, albeit delicious, was an afterthought.


A half an onion, one rib of celery, a large carrot, salt, pepper, oil, cumin, coriander, paprika, chicken, and water - oh yea, and tortilla chips.  A knife, a pot, and a

Authordavid koch
3 CommentsPost a comment

Spanish Almond Soup

I first heard of Almond Soup on Evan Kleinman's radio show/podcast Good Food.  She and her guest talked about Ajo Blanco - a kind of gazpacho from southern Spain.  I thought, "cool, I was wondering what I was going to do with all those raw almonds that I just I bought..."

I dug around a little bit online to find a recipe; searching "spanish almond soup" I found a theme, grasped some basic ratios, and set out on making it my soup, albiet not Ajo Blanco.  Garlic, saffron, and bread or bread crumbs were present in all of them.  Besides those, some had cumin, some had milk, some had vinegar, some even had cinnamon.

In full disclosure and truthiness, three of the recipes I found were completely identical: the one from, from, and also  They all started with, "Heat the oil and toast the almonds, garlic, bread and saffron.  When golden brown set a few..." and completed the recipe verbatim.  I wonder who got screwed.

In any case, this is what I came up with.  The key is blending the Jiminy Cricket out of it and running it through a strainer.  The yield is less but the result is not nearly as grainy.  Almonds don't break down under heat like, say, peanuts or other legumes will.



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaved parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • the juice of 1 lemon



Heat the almonds and garlic over medium-high heat with the olive oil for about 3-4 minutes, just until the garlic develops a little color and the almonds become fragrant.  In another pot, bring the 6 cups of stock to a simmer.

Add the saffron, cumin, and breadcrumbs to the almond mixture and begin to stir them well.  This will bloom the flavor of the cumin and saffron and cook any raw flavor out of the breadcrumbs - about another minute. 

Add 2 cups of the stock to the pan to deglaze, bring back to a simmer, then transfer the mixture to a blender.  Add the chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.  Blend thoroughly, 2-3 minutes.

Pour the blended almond mixture through a strainer into the simmering stock.  Add the lemon juice, check the seasoning and serve hot.

You can garnish with slivered almonds, and a pinch of the parsley.




I used raw, unsalted almonds.  I'm sure you can use roasted and/or salted you simply would not need to cook them as long, and adjust the salt accordingly.  I would also not recommend an emersion blender, they wouldn't be able to break down whole almonds like a good 'ole stand blender can.


Authordavid koch
4 CommentsPost a comment


This Creamy Collard Greens and Roasted Garlic Soup is a hearty soup with the addition of potatoes and cream.  It takes about an hour and requires only an emersion blender, an oven, and a stove.  It makes for a completely satisfying entrée with a little bread or toast as a side.  I garnished it here with a dollop of sour cream, a drizzle of olive oil, and a dusting of paprika.



  • 1 pound of medium-starch potatoes, like Red or Yukon Gold, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound of carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound of collard greens, washed well, and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 pound of asparagus
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 quart of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 bulb of garlic, roasted
  • 1 cup cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste




Pre-heat the oven to 350.  Slice bulb of garlic in half into a cross-section, rub with olive oil, salt & pepper, and place into the hot oven for about 30 minutes until it browns lightly.  While that is roasting, wash and chop all your vegetables.  Ensure the greens get a good soak, they tend to have a lot of grit on them when you get them from the store.

Bring a large pot to medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the carrots, asparagus, and onions, salt & pepper, and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Then add the stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, then turn the temperature down to a simmer and cover.  Cook until the potatoes until they're soft and yield easily to being pricked with a knife, about 15-20 minutes.

Once you have removed the roasted garlic from the oven, squeeze it so that the cloves slide out.  They should have the consistency of pudding at this point and should slide out easily.  Drop them into the pot along with the collard greens and bring back to a boil, hold them at a boil for 5 minutes.

Once the greens have had time to soften, take the pot off the heat and blend thoroughly with an emersion/stick blender, or in batches in a traditional blender.  Once everything is blended, taste to see if you need more salt & pepper, and add the cream.  Mix well.

Serve hot and garnish with sour cream and/or a little olive oil, and a sprinkle of paprika.  Enjoy.



Authordavid koch
4 CommentsPost a comment

photo by Dave Koch

Also known as Jerusalem Artichokes, you can make Sunchokes into a quick, easy, and delicious soup in about 15 minutes.  Interestingly enough, Sunchokes are native to North America and are one of the continent's only tubers.  When they bloom, their flower looks much like a small Sunflower.  

The name Jerusalem artichoke is from the Italian name Girasole articicco (Sunflower Artichoke) because of their plumage and because the first group of Italians to snack on them thought they tasted like artichokes.  When the name came back to the New World, Americans had difficulty saying Girasole and thus converted it to Jerusalem.

And now back to the soup.  In full disclosure, these were the first Sunchokes I have had.  I peeled them, cut off a little piece to eat raw, and was blown away by how sweet they were.  My first thought was how tasty they would be raw in a salad, much like Jicama - maybe next time, soup was already in the works...


  • 1/2 pound of Sunchokes, peeled and diced 
  • 2 small carrots, or one giant one, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of chicken or veggie bouillon, I like the brand Better than Bouillon  
  • 4 cups water
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper



In a medium/hot pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil, the carrots, celery, and the sunchokes.  Season well with salt & pepper and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.  When they yield easily to being prodded with a fork, add the water and the bouillon and bring to a boil.  

Hold the boil for 5 minutes, and when complete, blend thoroughly with an emersion blender (or transfer to a traditional blender in batches).  I garnished with a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil, and a few squirts of Sriracha Hot Sauce.


Authordavid koch
2 CommentsPost a comment

photo by Dave Koch

This simple and easy asparagus soup can be whipped up in about a half an hour.  Its richness comes from infusing the chicken stock with the woody ends that normally get discarded.  I use milk instead of cream to keep it light and so as not to overpower the deep flavor of the vegetables.  Along with some crudité, some buttered toast, or a salad, this is a main course.

Serves 2 

  • 1 bundle of asparagus (about 1.5 lbs.)
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 oz. butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 cups milk (we used 2%)
  • The juice of one lemon, about 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Cut off the tough woody ends of the asparagus and put into a small pot with the chicken stock and bring to boil.  Allow to boil for at least 15 minutes to infuse the stock with flavor.

In the meantime, chop the rest of the asparagus into 1 inch pieces.  Heat up a large pot with the butter and olive oil.  Sauté the onions, garlic, celery, and asparagus and add the red chili pepper flakes.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Allow to cook until all the veggies are soft, about 5 minutes.

Remove woody asparagus ends from small pot and throw away.  Pour the asparagus infused chicken stock into the large pot with the sautéed vegetables.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Puree mixture with an immersion blender right in the pot.  In lieu of an immersion blender, a regular blender of food processor can be used.  After it is rendered completely smooth, add the milk and lemon juice.  Stir well, and taste.  Add more salt and black pepper if necessary.

Garnish with a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of your very best olive oil, and a few almond slivers.



Authordavid koch