Everyday Gourmet (1/21/10)

Rube Goldberg recipes

Jan. 21, 2010

By Kim Dannies

Take a complex set of instructions and make it simple; by virtue of space allotment, that’s my job every column. Since I cannot properly follow a real recipe, my creations are safe from the copyright police, yet there are always ethics and etiquette to consider when adapting a recipe. The guidelines of the International Association of Culinary Professionals focus on giving proper attribution to recipes that are published or taught. Using the words “adapted from” or “based on,” depending on how much a recipe has been revised, is protocol.

The only time a recipe should be printed without attribution is when it has been changed so substantially that it no longer resembles its source. In culinary school we learned that if three elements of the recipe are changed, then it has evolved to a new recipe. Because cooking is as much invention as art, universal participation dictates that recipes are always evolving. It is the sum of a cook’s knowledge, preference for technique, adaptability and quality of ingredients.

Reader Nancy Suarez shared this recipe. Not only is it a delicious soup, but an excellent example of an evolved recipe. Nancy wrote, “My husband, Joe, found this many years ago in Bon Appetit, we have modified it to be vegetarian.”

Looking at the first version, their adaptation is truly a simpler original recipe.

Wild Rice Soup Suarez

On medium-low, heat a soup pot with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté 1 chopped onion, 3 stalks of chopped celery, 2 chopped carrots, 5 sliced Crimini mushrooms and 1 teaspoon chopped garlic until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Add 1 1/3 cups of wild rice or a blend; stir to coat. Add 7 cups of water with 3 Knorr vegetable bouillon cubes (double size/strength) and 1 bay leaf.

Simmer, with pot partially covered, until rice is tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Remove bay leaf. Puree 2 cups of the soup batch in a processor and return it to the pot; or use a stick/immersion blender for 30 seconds. To finish, gently reheat soup, stirring in 1/2 cup of whipping cream or half & half; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.


Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.