Cold Weather Soup Promotion at Hearst Tower
In January, one of winter’s most blustery months in New York City, Cafe57 at Hearst Tower makes the most of soup’s seasonal appeal.
“One of our most popular promotions has been the Food Network Magazine soup promotion,” says Alexcia L. Smith, Hearst’s assistant director of foodservice. “Soup recipes from the magazine were featured in the café’s 3-well soup station.”
Employees at Hearst liked the new soup recipes so much that they came back day after day to see the latest offerings—practically the definition of a successful employee dining promotion.
Hearst’s Executive Chef Jayson Brown’s picks for “all-time best chilly weather comfort food soups:”
-Any type of chowder
And here are his suggestions for ingredients that can give familiar winter soups (squash, potato, parsnip and celery root) a delicious twist:
“They crave soup in Hawai’i?” A Soup Q&A with UH Mānoa’s Andy Lachmann
Hi Andy. What can you tell us about the soup scene at the University of Hawai’i?
When it’s comfort food we’re looking for, everyone the world over turns to a hot bowl of soup—which makes soup a great addition to any food service program serving a hungry and harried college community.
At the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, one of our all-vegetarian vendors, Govinda’s, even offers soup (or a drink) with every entrée. One of their most popular soups uses the mung bean, a plant protein-base in many Asian dishes. I’ll share the recipe for Govinda’s “Split Mung Bean Soup” with aloha.
When/how did you start doing that combo? It’s such a classic comfort combination for a rainy day—grilled cheese and soup and it must be even in Hawaii?
Even in Hawai’i, we do have a winter season. Students can be seen wearing hoodies and sweatshirts with their shorts and “slippers” (flip flops) as they scurry in to our food court from the rain and “chilly” 70 degree air. Last December, we noticed an increase in sales in our comfort food items, such as soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. We worked with Centerplate, the concessionaire for the Paradise Palms Café, to offer a soup and grilled sandwich combo. Since neither item requires extensive preparation, we can have the special “up and running” in very little time. This allows us to watch the weather and make a quick determination if it is a good day for the special. Simple signage for the “Rainy Day Special” drives sales further.
What are some types of soup you do that with—mostly tomato or do you offer other canned varieties?
Currently, we are using grilled cheese and tomato soup; but chicken noodle or any other soup that reminds you of “small kid time” (as we say here in Hawai’i) would work just as well.
Have you figured out any tips or tricks for successfully promoting soup at basketball and volleyball—you say a lot of senior citizens who go to the games?
The concessionaire in our Stan Sheriff Center (UH Mānoa’s athletics arena) is Sodexo. Their soup station is a winning option for our more senior fans, who appreciate the light menu and the warm broth to wet their whistles and cheers.
Split Mung Bean Soup
Yield: 4 Servings
¾ cup split mung dhal without skins
6 cups water
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced fresh hot green chili
2 tablespoons oil
1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1. Wash and drain the spilt mung beans
2. Place the mung beans, water, turmeric, ground coriander, minced ginger, and chili in a saucepan, and stirring occasionally, bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover with a lid, and boil for one hour or until the beans become soft.
3. Heat the oil over moderate heat in a small pan. Sauté the cumin seeds in the hot oil until brown; then add asafetida powder and sauté momentarily. Pour seasoning into soup.
4. Add the salt and remove the soup from the heat, allowing the spices to soak for a few minutes.
5. Add the minced fresh herbs and stir well.
6. Serve hot.
Make this recipe your own by adding other leftover veggies!
Photo and recipe: Andy Lachmann
Using Tofu in Soups: Silken vs. Firm
Using tofu in soups can go further than the tofu that you see in the classic Hot and Sour soup of Chinese restaurant fame. There are uses for both the more solid tofu and its silkier cousin.
When you want to add creaminess to a soup without heavy cream, silken tofu can be the answer for taking the dairy out of soups that are traditionally cream-based, such as creamy pumpkin soup, mushroom soup and clam chowder.
“Add pureed silken tofu at the end of the cooking process and gently simmer,” says Joy Blakesleee, registered dietician for the United Soybean Board. “Take care not to boil the soup, as tofu can curdle with too much heat.”
Firm tofu is best in miso soup, but can also be added as a solid component to other broth-like soups. Since firm tofu is so absorbent, it works well in soups, soaking up the flavor.