Friday, June 12, 2009

What month is it again?

There are SO many misconceptions about Southern California. In the past month, I've seen multiple people recommend San Diego as a "beach vacation" in December or January. People - you do not want to be on the beach in San Diego in the winter. It gets COLD here. Okay, so maybe it doesn't snow, but it does get into the 40s and 30s overnight. We do get frost on our windows. And the beach? It gets REALLY cold on the beach. And the water is not pleasant. Even Thatboy, who surfs year round doesn't go out in the winter without his warmest wetsuit (yup, they come in different warmnesses). Plus, I don't care what you've heard - it RAINS in Southern California. The past month it's rained on a weekly basis. You'd never know it was almost summer. Plus it's cold and grey. In May we have what is affectionately known as May Grey. In June, it turns to June Gloom. We're currently in June, and yet Thatboy is still in wetsuits in the water and we still keep sweatshirts or jackets with us because it's not warm outside. If you're planning a beach trip, save it for later in the summer.

It's been so cold, grey, and gloomy out lately that I've gotten the chance to make a lot more soups. That's right folks. Southern California in June is still soup weather. It's weird to eat soup in June though, so I've been trying to keep it to summery seafood options.

I started out with Fannie Farmer's Lobster Bisque. You didn't think I'd forgotten about Fannie did you? I'd been dying to make this for a while as Lobster Bisque is one of my favorite soups. And this one? It's literally the best lobster bisque I have EVER had. Thatboy and Thatmom agreed. I love the fact that it contains rice (I used brown rice, which is what we keep in the cupboard) because I love the extra texture. Thatmom was convinced the rice was even more lobster, because of the feel in her mouth.

I loved the lobster bisque so much, I decided to try the shrimp bisque. It wasn't as good as the lobster. Not bad, but nothing special. It lacked the butter lobster flavor, and while the lobster bisque has you strain the veggies out, the shrimp bisque keeps them in. I don't think they added anything.

I was doing so well with the other soups, I figured I'd use up some of my sweet potatoes to make a sweet potato soup. This one wasn't as big of a hit as the lobster bisque either. Thatboy said he thought it was going to taste like a butternut squash soup, and instead it tasted like tortilla soup. He did like the cheese croutons I threw on top of it though.

These soups were warm and filling and perfect for a cold June night.

Lobster Bisque (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/4 cup uncooked rice
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 lbs lobster (I used lobster tails because they're easy)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup cream
  • salt and pepper
  1. Put the beef stock and rice in saucepan, cover and cook over moderate heat until rice is done (about 15 minutes).
  2. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large pot, add the carrot and onion, and cook slowly for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the bay lead, thyme, and lobster, cover, adn cook until the lobster shells are red, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and chicken stock, adn simmer, partially covered, for another 15 minutes. Remove the lobster and strain the broth.
  5. Add the undrained cooked rice to the broth. Remove the lobster meat from the shell and cut it into bite-size pieces. Add it to the broth.
  6. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small pan and stir in the tomato paste. Cook until smooth, then add to the soup.
  7. Stir in the cream, add the salt and pepper to taste, and heat to serving temperature without allowing the soup to boil.

Shrimp Bisque (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
  • 1 1/4 lbs fresh shrimp, shelled and deveined, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 bay leaf
  • pinch of marjoram
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cream
  • salt
  1. Melt the butter in a pot and add celery, mushrooms, onion, carrot, bay leaf, marjoram, and nutmeg. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the lemon juice and chicken stock, cover partially, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp and simmer for 5 minutes, until they are cooked and pink.
  4. Add the cream and heat, but do not allow to boil. Add salt to taste.

Sweet Potato Soup
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  1. Heat oil in a soup pot. Add onions and cumin and cook 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add sweet potatoes and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer soup 20-25 minutes.
  3. Combine soup with yogurt and parsley and puree in a food processor.
  4. Reheat till warm.


  1. Soup is good food.

    Yeah, I just quoted Campbell's.

  2. And don't forget the Santa Anna winds that will suck every drop of moisture out of your body before you can blink an eye!

  3. i was just eyeing the lobster meat at the grocery store this weekend, thinking it would be lovely to make some lobster bisque. mmmmm!

  4. We have been having cool, rainy days in New England lately, so these all look delicious to me!

  5. Thank you for clarifying the weather situation here in So. Cal right now. It's definitely not summer yet, I don't care what the calendar says.

    You could always tell the tourists from the locals up north. They'd get off the plane in SF in shorts and tank tops in the summer and then run around having to buy sweatshirts and jackets. Hey guys, SF is nice and all, but even if it's 90 during the day, trust me, it's going to be 60 by dinner. We used to have a good laugh at people. ;)

  6. 40's and 50's in the winter??? Can we trade?? Last winter we had temps in the negative 20's with windchills in the negative 50's (not joking). Cold in June??? Try living in MN then we can talk about cold! ; )

  7. Sheee's baaaack, long live Fannie Farmer!