August Hodgepodge Soup

It’s a New Brunswick/Nova Scotia tradition Hodgepodge Soupusing bits and pieces of freshly harvested garden vegetable most often pepared in August. Such simple ingredients prove shockingly good with potatoes, carrots, garden beans, corn (1/2 ear per person person) peas, either sugar pod, shelled or both. The pot has enough water to half cover veggies, added step by step so none are over cooked. At the end stir in a generous dollop of cream. Since it is a hodgepodge several other ingredients are often added but we were more than pleased with this simple dish and the broth was amazing. This is an approximation of what we were served at a restaurant in New Brunswick on the Canadian U.S. border.
6 small potatoes – well scrubbed or peeled
6 medium size potatoes (we used our Rainbow blend of two orange, two yellow and two red but excluded purple because it is too heavily pigmented. Each carrot cut into three pieces.
Two large handfuls whole green and yellow beans
Corn, i/2 ear per person
1.5 cups peas-I used Oregon Giant Sugar Pod
1/2 cup cream —set aside
salt & pepper to taste
Fill a Dutch oven or other pot wider that’s wider than deep with water about half way full. Bring to a boil and add 1:Potatoes- Cook potatoes for 7 minutes
2:Carrots each cut into 3 pieces cook an additional 7 minutes
3:Corn and Beans add and cook additional 5 minutes
4:Peas add and cook for about 3 minutes

Pour off water allowing 2 to 2.5 cup to remain and add cream, salt and pepper to taste. As with any soup recipe make it this way once and then don’t be afraid to experiment with more or fewer ingredients. This recipe fed 3 hungry adults.

Spicy Squash Soup with Vanilla

Spicy Squash Soup with Vanilla

Use pumpkin or winter squash interchangeably for this recipe. The vanilla may seem unusual but it sweetens and marries the flavors. Some squash are so sweet and scrumptious they only need a few drops.

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup half & half (nonfat ok)

2 cups mashed or processed  squash or pumpkin

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or Chili powder

(¼ to ½ teaspoon vanilla hold in reserve)


On the side offer additions of sharp cheddar, chopped cilantro, small corn chips. Heat stock and cream together in a heavy saucepan, whisk in pumpkin and seasonings. Let slowly simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vanilla last wait five minutes and then increase if you wish. The chips and cheese usually add sufficient salt but again season to taste.

Soup au Pistou, a Vegetable Soup Recipe

Soup with Pistou is a fragrant mixture of herbs and vegetables which originates from Provence France. In my mind it is an” end of the garden” soup, with a few basic ingredients and then a little of this and that is incorporated. It’s always served with a large dollop of Pistou. The Italians have Pesto containing pine nuts and the Southern French have Pistou which doesn’t include this Soup au Pistouexpensive ingredient. Both are served with pasta and spread on crusty bread. Indeed, this soup is much like an Italian minestrone.
Serve with a loaf of good bread, a light red wine, a little cheese on the side and a sweet, crisp, fresh apple for dessert. A feast for the gardener cook!

I small onion, diced
1 leek, chopped (optional)
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium red or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6 Roma type tomatoes, peeled and diced
1- 2 medium zucchini, diced
2 cups cooked white beans
6 cups unsalted or low salt chicken broth, vegetable broth or 5 cups water and one cup white wine
2 bay leaves

Optional ingredients: one cup broken vermicelli, one cup diced winter squash, one cup green beans cut into 3⁄4” lengths, one cup chopped spinach or chard leaves, a few threads of saffron
Hint: Peel tomatoes by dipping in boiling water for 15 seconds, the skin just slips away.

Heat broth with bay leaves. Saute onion, leek and garlic in olive oil until transparent but not showing color. Add this mixture, potato, tomatoes, squash, green beans to simmering broth and cook for ten minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest five minutes before serving. Remove bay leaves. Pistou should be served along side with each diner stirring in a generous spoonful. Add salt and pepper according to individual taste.

Pistou (Basil Sauce)*
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3 to 4 cups fresh large green or Genovese Basil leaves (2 oz.)
4 to 6 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
1⁄4 cup olive oil
This is most easily made in a food processor or blender. Place garlic and basil in food processor with Parmesan cheese. Process for a few seconds, scrape down sides and drizzle in olive oil while turning processor on and off. Lightly process as pistou should be a little chunky. Leftover sauce can be kept refrigerated for 5 days or freeze in an ice cube tray for future use.

*Edited October 29, 07. When making the pistou tonight, I discovered my late harvested basil doesn’t have the moisture content it had a few weeks ago. I added three tablespoons water and an extra tablespoon olive oil to get a sauce-like consistency.