Ideas to Make Soup Special

Soup, particularly purees can look a bit like baby food.  So here is the idea: julienne some zucchini, throw on some toasted pine nuts and top with olive oil.  It’s beautiful, tasty and brilliant – and not my idea:)  This dish is from Chez Caro in Arles, France.  It was hot pea soup with either barely cooked or raw zucchini.  I highly recommend this restaurant if you are ever in Arles.

Soup Decorations

In our own version, we had a cold zucchini gazpacho and opted to top it with raw cucumbers, toasted pine nuts and olive oil.  Also delicious!

The Bitter Truth on Bitter Greens

Bitter greens are, well, bitter! They’re sophisticated, they’re beautiful and they’re healthy. But the bitter truth is that they’re bitter! Don’t make the mistake of using too many bitter greens or pairing them poorly. Most people do not love a mouthful of bitterness. Yep, that’s me after a mouth full of bitterness.

Bitter Greens!

Here are some tips on keeping the bitterness out of bitter greens:

Pair them well. Bitter greens like endive, tatsoi, watercress and mizuna go well with a nice balsamic vinegar. The vinegar breaks down the bitterness and counters it with acidity.  Same with lemon. Unlike regular greens, they can endure more time with acids before breaking down into mush.

Why so bitter? Because this salad is 90% bitter greens!
Why so bitter? Because this salad is 90% bitter greens!

Go light. A mixed greens salad should be mixed – not overwhelmed with bitter greens. Throw in some extra romaine and some shredded carrots to offset the heavy bitter flavor if your “baby mix” looks like a “bitter mix.”

Not all greens are alike. Arugula (or roket) can come in variations whose bitterness can range from almost undetectable to sour lemon face inducing. Make sure you can take the bitterness before you dish it out.

Put them on the side. Arugula is a popular middle eastern pizza topping, but you don’t have to put it on the pizza for people. Offer it up in a salad bowl and let people put it on themselves.