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August 15, 2011

Cookbook: A Beautiful Bowl of Soup


I didn't seek out A Beautiful Bowl of Soup for the usual reasons one buys a cookbook (great recipes, mouth-watering photos, new ideas), though it turns out that this book has all of those attributes, and more. No, I found it by accident while perusing the Chronicle Books web site, looking for holiday gifts. I'm easily distracted by cookbooks, especially soup cookbooks, and a collection of vegetarian and vegan recipes that could expand my own repertoire intrigued me.

Paulette Mitchell, prolific author and television personality, has organized this book not by the seasons, which is a traditional way soups are sorted, but rather by texture: creamy, or chunky. She's noted soups that are vegan, with a reminder that many more recipes can be made vegan with simple substitutions (soy milk for dairy milk, for example).

As always when I approach a cookbook for the first time, I need your help to decide where to start. Which of these recipes should we try first?

  • Sweet potato ancho bisque, with apple-pecan salsa and roasted red pepper cream
  • Wild rice-cranberry soup (pictured on the book cover)
  • Ratatouille soup, a vegan cornucopia with eggplant, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, and lots of fresh herbs
  • Yukon Gold potato soup, topped with black olive "caviar"
  • Caramelized onion soup, with herb goat cheese toasts
  • Carrot vichyssoise, a chilled soup with sweet balsamic swirls

Leave your choice in the comments, and I'll get to work.

The recipes in this cookbook span the culinary globe, with flavor profiles drawn from Mexico, Morocco, Mumbai, and Minnesota. For vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores, A Beautiful Bowl of Soup presents new ideas you're sure to enjoy.


Posted by: Pauline | August 15, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Caramelized onion soup with herb goat cheese toasts sounds like a winning combination.

Posted by: Ann Huebsch | August 15, 2011 at 12:20 PM

The ratatouille, only because the others seem more autumnal. I would gladly put any one of them in my mouth right now, however...

Posted by: Susan | August 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Ratatouille soup, please. Sounds like a dance waiting to happen in my mouth. And, it sounds perfect for the end of summer's veggie bounty. Thanks!

Posted by: Bob Huebsch | August 15, 2011 at 02:29 PM

They must have chosen the soup on the cover for a reason- do it!

Posted by: N Shah | August 15, 2011 at 03:12 PM

Its summer, so Ratatouille Soup is my choice.

Posted by: Judy | August 15, 2011 at 05:08 PM

What a gorgeous picture on the cover - but I still vote for the caramelized onion soup with goat cheese - it sounds irresistible!

I haven't heard of Chronicle Books. I am dismayed both by discovering a new source for book temptation, and because you are doing your holiday shopping - already? I am busily denying the arrival of September!

Posted by: Kate | August 15, 2011 at 05:58 PM

I agree that the Ratatouille soup makes the best use of "in season" produce..... although, the carrot vichyssoise is a chilled soup for the heat wave we've been having.
All logic aside, that cover photo DOES look amazing!
There now, totally confused? :)

Posted by: Renee Redding | August 15, 2011 at 06:07 PM

I vote for the Carrot vichyssoise, a chilled soup with sweet balsamic swirls. That sounds yummy.

Posted by: Margot | August 15, 2011 at 09:05 PM

Caramelized onion soup with goat cheese, please!

Posted by: Amanda Thompson | August 16, 2011 at 01:03 AM

I vote for the caramelized onion soup with herb goat cheese toasts!

Posted by: Trish | August 16, 2011 at 08:29 AM

They all sound amazing! But the wild rice cranberry soup is such a visual stunner (and I've never had that very logical combo in a soup before) so I vote for that.

Posted by: susan g | August 16, 2011 at 11:29 AM

You snagged me at sweet potato! I could just go right down the list. Maybe I 'need' this book...

Posted by: janet @ the taste space | August 16, 2011 at 08:07 PM

I am torn between the first 2: sweet potato ancho bisque, with apple-pecan salsa and roasted red pepper cream and the wild rice-cranberry soup. Both sound delicious!

Posted by: Robyn | August 16, 2011 at 08:28 PM

Carrot Vichyssoise has me guessing what the ingredient list might be, so I'm most curious about it. They all sound delicious, so whatever you choose will be a treat.

Posted by: Lila | August 18, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Cranberries go in everything I cook (well almost), and wild rice is my all-time favorite since living in Minnesota. Please, please, please?

Posted by: CJMcD | August 18, 2011 at 09:05 PM

Are you kidding? Sweet potato ancho bisque, with apple-pecan salsa and roasted red pepper cream.

Posted by: Debbie | August 19, 2011 at 11:03 PM

I think that the ratatouille is the way to go given what is in season right now but the caramelized onion one wouldn't be a bad choice either!

Posted by: seasonal recipes | November 15, 2011 at 10:13 PM

The ratatouille, only because the others seem more autumn. I would fortunately put any one of them in my lips right now.

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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