Chicken and Bottle Gourd Soup



I looked around for the English translation of this commonly used vegetable in the Philippines which we call “upo” and  almost identified it as winter melon.  Apparently, the winter melon is  “kundol” back home.  This vegetable pictured above is a bottle gourd.  It’s a light and delicately flavored vegetable we often use sauted with pork and shrimps or dried fish. 

A Chinese friend of mine said that a winter melon is a good vegetable to “…keep you cool when you’re heaty” and I found that description to be so accurate.  Just like the winter melon, which is actually a gourd and not a melon, “upo” makes a great soup in the summer or the tropics and perhaps does lower your body temperature, though I have no proof of that.

Continue reading “Chicken and Bottle Gourd Soup”

Lentil, Chorizo and Spinach Soup

It’s getting cooler in Colorado!  Autumn officially arrives tonight (as of this writing), the 22nd of September.  But we’ve been getting some cool days for quite a few weeks now.  Today was a particularly cold and wet one. 

A thick soup sounded perfect for lunch so I scrounged around my pantry and freezer to see what I could put together.  Luckily, I had leftover diced ham, frozen chopped spinach, some Goya chorizo links and dry lentils.  Sounds like the start of a good soup…. Continue reading “Lentil, Chorizo and Spinach Soup”

Mami: Philippine Chicken Noodle Soup


I finally made a Chicken Mami that satisfied my craving for this very common Filipino dish.  The noodles were always the key, for me anyway, and it so happened that I found a good brand of noodles at the Filipino Sari-Sari Store today.

Chicken and noodles go so well together every country probably has its own version.  In Southeast Asia, the chicken noodle soup you’ll find is most certainly Chinese in origin.  Mie is the Chinese word for noodles.  So in Indonesia, Malaysia  and Singapore, this dish is called Mie Ayam or Chicken Noodle.  It’s only the Philippines where there came a slight change.  Continue reading “Mami: Philippine Chicken Noodle Soup”

French Onion Soup


From the first time I had this soup years ago at the old Bistro Burgos in Makati, I fell for it.  The last time I had it was at Johnnys Cafe in Omaha which was sometime last year when Spouse and I were on a business trip there. Steak houses should have the best onion soups since they have all the ingredients to make the perfect beef stock.  Johnny’s is an institution in Omaha, having been around since 1922 – that’s a lot of experience churning out steaks and onion soups.  They are located right in the middle of where the old stockyards used to be and have this 1950’s, stepping back in time feel about the place.  If you watched Jack Nicholson’s “About Schmidt”, you might remember the restaurant where Schmidt’s retirement party was held – that was Johnny’s Cafe.  They serve fantastic, perfectly aged steaks and the best onion soup I’ve ever had – before this one of course. Continue reading “French Onion Soup”

Portugese Sopa de Grao



I’ve always been a soup person, and it’s a real surprise for me to find that not everyone is. Soups can be a whole, heavy meal in itself or a light lunch or in-between snack.  This soup of Portugese origins is a meal all by itself, light enough but substantial depending on how you make it.  Best of all, I think it’s pretty healthy.

The soup is called Sopa de Grao which translates to Cork-Stripper’s Pottage.  As you know, Portugal produces most of the world’s cork.  Cork is produced by first stripping the bark from the cork trees and hence the need for Cork-Strippers.  I can just imagine cork-strippers working under  the glare of the Portugese sun, while a big pot of Sopa cooks by a wood fire nearby.  Or do they have them delivered to the workplace these days?  You know…like that Soup Peddler on a bicycle from Austin, Texas… Continue reading “Portugese Sopa de Grao”