With Love From
Darling's Kitchen

Renny Darling

25. Soup is the Stuff of Poetry

The Recipes
Cioppino Romano - Italian Fishermen's Chowder
Foccaccio Piaza Bread with
Tomatoes, Onions & Cheese

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Dear Fans,

Counting calories has become one of the great American pastimes.  Practically everyone, everywhere, is concerned and worried about the caloric count in the food they eat.  Dieting and calorie counting have become one of the most pervasive of American pre-occupations.

Lo-calorie dishes do not have to be dull.  Good quality ingredients, sparkled with herbs and spices and prepared with love, can produce a delicious, low-calorie feast anytime.  Out of deference to those who are counting calories, I am going to share with you today, the world's most famous fish soup ... Cioppino Romano, the Italian Fisherman's Chowder.

It is rich and deep flavorful, and at 214 calories per serving, it will soothe our conscience as well.  And with it, one of the great and simple pleasures of the table ... a hearty Foccaccio, which is an Italian flatbread.  Mine is made with Tomatoes, Onions & Cheese (not traditional, I confess) but so delicious, I know you will love it.  And to add to its virtues, this incredible tasting bread needs only to be stirred and baked.  It is a wonderful accompaniment to soup or salad and easy enough to prepare at a moment's notice.

It is not just by accident, that I am sharing with you today, 2 of my favorite foods.  For me, Soup and Bread summon wonderful feelings of sentiment and nostalgia.

For me, bread is beautiful.  The aroma of bread, baking in the oven has stirred the hearts of poets and the minds of men.  Perhaps no single food is so steeped in the tradition and ceremony of so many cultures.  Breaking bread and the Sabbath loaf have been sacred institutions for centuries.  Some people regard bread as holy ... and in Arabic, it literally means life.  Bread is the stuff legends are made of.

And soup...I often wonder what it is about soup that is so endearing to the heart's of men.  Who hasn't said, at one time or another, something about Mama's unbelievable chicken soup with the little dumplings that floated on top ... or Grandma's delicious Barley Soup that was so thick, a spoon could stand up straight in the middle ... or Aunt Amy's indescribable vegetable soup, with the alphabets that spelled your name?

What is it about soup that lingers so long in the memory?  Chances are that these lovely ladies were great cooks in many ways, but somehow, the warmth, the loving quality of soup, is what we choose to remember with nostalgia.  Soup is the stuff poetry is made of.


Cioppino Romano - Italian Fisherman's Chowder

You will hardly believe that this deep, rich and flavorful chowder is so low in calories.  Serving 6, it is an ample main course. And as this dish is only a little over 200 calories, a slice or two of Foccaccio will still keep the total low.  And no need to butter the bread, for it can be dipped in the marvelous sauce.

2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (10 1/2 ounces, each) chicken broth
2 cups tomato juice
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
2 cans (7 ounces) chopped clams (do not drain)

1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon Italian Herb Seasoning Flakes
1 teaspoon sweet basil flakes
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
    pinch of cayenne pepper
    salt and pepper to taste            

2 pounds of filleted fish, cut into 1-inch pieces. Sole, perch, flounder, halibut       all are good.  A mixture of fish and shellfish can also be used...scallops, clams, crab or lobster.  (There are no rules.)

In a Dutch oven casserole, place all the ingredients and seasonings, except the fish, and simmer soup base for 20 minutes.  (This can be done earlier in the day and stored in the refrigerator.)

Before serving, bring the soup to a rolling boil, lower the heat, and add the fish.  Simmer fish for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until fish becomes opaque.  Do NOT overcook.

Serve in deep bowls with a slice of Italian Flatbread with Tomatoes, Onions & Cheese as an incredible accompaniment.  Serves 6.
6 indiv. portions about 214 calories, each

Note: - You can omit the sugar and oil, but it does add a little depth, and you
             will only be saving less than 10 calories per serving.
          - Soup base can be prepared earlier in the day but do not cook the fish
             until a few minutes before serving.

Foccaccio Pizza Bread with
Tomatoes, Onions & Cheese

This is a wonderful blend of tomatoes, onions and cheese and absolutely delicious with soup or salad. This bread has all the beloved qualities of Pizza, yet is light and moist.  I know you will love it and I do hope you have the opportunity to prepare it soon.

2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 medium tomatoes, fresh or canned, chopped and seeded
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3/4 cup Swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian Herb seasoning flakes
1 teaspoon sweet basil flakes

2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together first 10 ingredients just until blended.  Do not overbeat.  Beat in the flour and baking powder and beat until nicely blended, about 1 minute.

Spread batter into an oiled 12-inch round baking pan and drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil on top.  Bake in a 350° oven for about 40 minutes or until top is browned. Serve it warm or at room temperature.  Cut into 12 wedges to serve or let everyone tear off a piece or two.



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The entire contents of this book are copyrighted and protected by
both United States copyright laws and international treaty provisions.
None of the contents, art or text, may ever be reproduced, in original or
modified form, -- including photocopying -- for any commercial or
other purposes, without express written permission from Renny Darling.