1 Bean Soup 4 Ways

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

I love a bean soup –it’s the duct tape of soups. I encourage you to make a big pot of this “base” recipe and then have fun turning it into something else by adding different flavors! I’ve included 3 of my favorite ways to take it to church.

1. Bean Soup

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4 Bean Soup
serves 8

What you need: 
1 cup dry black turtle beans
1 cup dry pinto beans
1 cup dry cannellini beans
1 cup dry anasazi beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cups diced celery (about 1 small bunch)
2 cups diced carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
8 cups vegetable stock

What to do: 
Cook Beans: Wash beans and add to a stock pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until beans are tender (about 90 minutes). Rinse, drain and set aside.
Sauté vegetables: In a stock pot or large dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Liberally salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
Finish Soup: Add cooked beans and vegetable stock. Cook until carrots are tender and soup is hot.
To Serve: Ladle into bowl.

2. Creamy Indian Bean Soup
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What to do: Add 2 teaspoons curry powder and 1 teaspoon to the sautéing vegetables. Squeeze juice from one lime into the pot when soup has finished cooking. Working in batches, blend until smooth or use an immersion blender.
To Serve: Ladle into bowls and serve with yogurt, limes and warm naan.

3. Mediterranean Bean Soup

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What to do: Add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the sautéing vegetables. Along with the stock, add 1 cup crushed tomatoes simmer. Before serving, stir in 4 cups roughly chopped Swiss chard and cook just until wilted.
To Serve: Ladle into bowls and garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Have thick grilled bread for sopping!

4. Southwestern Bean Soup
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What to do: To the sautéing vegetables, add 1/2 diced jalapeno and 9 ounces of sliced smoked chorizo.
To Serve: Ladle soup into bowls and top with cilantro, salsa, sliced avocado and queso fresco. Have charred tortillas alongside for dipping and scooping.

Loaded Bean Burger

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

I am a carnivore. You don’t come from a hog farming family and not like a piece of bacon. But, when it comes to a burger…make mine vegetarian. I’ll order a vegetarian burger from any restaurant menu I see.

I love this recipe for it’s simplicity and uniqueness. Load it with everything and anything you love and you have yourself one of the best vegetarian burgers…ever!
Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Beans, Bean Burger
Loaded Red Bean Burgers
(makes 6-8)

What you need: 
2 cups dry red kidney beans (can substitute 1 can of rinsed and drained kidney beans)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup prepared HOT salsa
1 cup corn muffin mix
olive oil
8 hamburger buns, toasted (optional)
Toppings: Vegan Mayonnaise, Sliced Avocado, Salsa, Lettuce, Red Onion

What to do: 
Cook beans: In a medium sauce pan, add beans and salt. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until beans are tender (about 60 minutes). Drain and set aside to cool. When cool, smash with a fork.
Make burger mixture: In a large mixing bowl, use your hands to mix together the smashed beans, salsa and muffin mix. Form into 6-8 patties.
Cook Burgers: Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Working in batches as not to overcrowd the pan, cook the burgers until golden browned.
To Serve: Slather buns with mayonnaise and top with burger and your favorite toppings.


Seaweed Soup with Scallops

Words, Recipe and Photography by Chia Chong
Styling by Libbie Summers
Wine Pairing by Grapefriend 

I think it’s true that we always crave the taste and smell of our childhood.

Growing up in a tiny village by the sea in Malaysia, the sea was my backyard. Most of my neighbors were fishermen or fishmongers or had some ties with the sea. My family spent many happy afternoons foraging for baby clams, periwinkle or whatever shellfish that was in season. Lately, at my home in Savannah, I often find myself making this seaweed soup just so my kitchen would smell like the ocean of my childhood.
Soup Recipes, Seaweed Recipes, Chinese Food, A food-inspired life, Food Photography, Food Styling
Ocean in a Bowl- Seaweed Soup with Scallops
serves 4

1 big generous handful of shaved katsuobushi (smoked dried bonito)
1 8×8 inch sheet of dry konbu seaweed*
1 small handful of dry wakame seaweed, cut into 1 inch*
8 dried shitake mushrooms
2 spring onions
Kosher salt and white pepper
8 scallops
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoon mirin
1 small handful of fresh White Beech Mushrooms (optional)
2 cups prepared steamed rice (optional)

Rinse konbu and wakame under running water. Set aside. Soak dried shitake mushrooms in warm water for 15 minutes, drain, cut and remove the stem (you can slice the mushroom thinly if you prefer). Roughly chop white part of the spring onions for soup stock, finely chop the green part for garnish.

In a 3-quart soup pot over high heat, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Stir in katsuobushi and turn off heat. Let it steep for 10 minutes. Remove katsuobushi with a strainer squeezing the excess liquid from the katsuobushi back into the pot before discarding. Return liquid to a boil, add the konbu to the pot, turn off heat and let it steep for another 10 minutes. Remove konbu, it may be saved for later use in seaweed salad (stay tuned for recipe). Add shitake mushrooms, white beech mushrooms and white part of spring onion, simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Add wakame and simmer for another 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a sauté pan till hot. Add oil, sear scallop 2 minutes on each side until brown, drizzle with mirin half way through. Remove scallop from pan and set aside.

To Serve: Divide soup among 4 serving bowls. Add seared scallops to each bowl and garnish with green part of spring onion, serve hot. Serve with steamed rice on the side to add to the soup if desired.

Chia’s note: I sometimes like to switch out the scallop for squid or shrimp, or crack an egg to the soup at the end of cooking. The soup goes well with steam rice or soba noodles.

*Dry seaweed, dried shitake mushrooms and katsuobushi can be found in any Asian grocery store.
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Wine Pairing:
Txakoli (pronounce cha-co-LEE) is an awesome wine from northern coastal Spain, where the salt air actually infiltrates the grapes. It’s fantastic with shellfish in general, and this seaweed soup and scallops dish would make a fine friend of it as well. It’s like drinking the ocean, if the ocean were wine. And who hasn’t dreamed of that?


Libbie’s Food Styling Props: Shot on a cutting board burned over a fire. Bowls from Home Goods, Vintage glasses from Habersham Antiques Market, Fabric from Fabrika Fine Fabrics, Bamboo spoon from Libbie’s collection.




Pucker Up Chicken

By Libbie Summers
Photography by Cedric Smith

This. Chicken. Is. EVERYTHING.
A full meal in one pan with plenty of zesty juices to sop up with crusty bread.

Pucker Up Chicken
serves 6

1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 whole lemons, 2 juiced and one sliced, divide
3 whole oranges, 2 juiced and one sliced, divided
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
Flake sea salt (I use Maldon)
Freshly ground black pepper
12 pieces (about 5 lbs.) bone-in skin on or skinless chicken thighs, patted dry
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
12 fingerling potatoes

•Preheat oven to 400ºF.

•In a small mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, paprika, onion powder, red pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

•Place chicken, sliced onion and fingerling potatoes in a roasting pan with sides large enough for them to lay in a single layer. Pour olive oil mixture over and use your hands to toss to coat. Tuck lemon and orange around and under the chicken. Sprinkle all over generously with salt and pepper.

•Bake uncovered for about 1 hour, or until chicken juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs.

Styling Props to:
Enamelware dishes: Vintage and some new sourced at Cohen’s Retreat
Necklace: By Repeat Offfender
Knife: Cut Brooklyn
Always Chambray Shirt: J Crew

Citrus Grilled Fish with Warm Fennel Slaw

Recipe by Brenda Anderson
Words and Styling by Libbie Summers
Photography and Fish Cleaning by Chia Chong
Wine Pairing by Grapefriend 

I’ve cleaned more than my fair share of fish while cooking aboard sailing yachts, and I’d still rather have someone else do it. So Chia did…in record time (the proof is at the end of this article).

A Food-Inspired Life, Libbie Summers, Citrus, Fish Recipe
Grilled Fish with Warm Fennel Slaw
serves 4 

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
Flake sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, can sub kosher salt
1 (2 pound) fresh fish, gutted, cleaned and dried
1 lemon
Fennel fronds for garnish, optional

In large sauté pan, heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat.  Add fennel, lime juice, vinegar, anise seed, ginger and garlic.  Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring often  until the fennel is cooked through (about 8-10 minutes). Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside while grilling fish.

Preheat a cleaned and oiled outdoor grill to high heat. Rub the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the fish and liberally salt and pepper. Place the fish on the hot grill and cook until the skin no longer sticks to the grill, about 10-12 minutes (BE PATIENT, do not force the fish to move….just wait). Turn over and cook on the other side for another 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with foil for 10 minutes. Squeeze lemon over fish and serve whole topped with the fennel mixture. Garnish with fresh fennel fronds is desired.

Wine Pairing by Grapefriend:
Fennel is a weird food to pair with wine, like the friend you love but just don’t know what guy to set her up with. The strong anise flavor can overpower most wines, although when cooked that flavor mellows out making it easier to match up. Most people recommend pairing it with Sauvignon Blanc, and with the bright lime and ginger in this recipe a clean citrusy one from California would be delicious. But even more perfect would be a Vermentino, which comes primarily from Sardinia. I’m not a huge fan of most Italian whites, but the light citrus and minerality in this wine goes amazingly with fish and would be a good complement for the fennel too.

Libbie’s Food Styling Props: Wooden bowl sent to me from a carver in the Ozarks area of Arkansas. Table is an old weathered wooden table. Whole cooked fish is laying on an old panel to a kitchen cabinet door. Tongs are vintage silver from Habersham Antiques Market. Dressing is in a mid-century creamer.


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