Cure-All Soup from Côte d’Azur

Côte d'Azur Cure-All Soup (3 of 4)

I would be ever so grateful if this supposed cure-all soup from the Côte d’Azur could cure all that ails me.

For instance, last week I lightly sprained my ankle while jogging. That alone wouldn’t have been so bad had I not later badly burned my hand in an embarrassing, exceptionally brainless stove incident which also left very expensive pieces of sea bass all over the kitchen floor — in full view of my company. (In case anyone is wondering, the ‘three-second rule’ doesn’t come into play when your entree has shattered into dozens of tiny shards.)

How nice it would have been at that moment to whip up a batch of “cure-all soup” to alleviate my twin pains of embarrassment and second-degree burns that night.

I’ve also been a bit tightly-wound these last several weeks contemplating what to do when the water heater in the garage leaves the building. It has already outlived all actuarial estimates, and I worry, things happening as they do, that it will finally give up the ghost on or about April 15th. (Another inevitability filling me with angst.)

I would have had a lot more faith in this soup’s ability to cure-all had Dorie Greenspan listed Xanax or Vicodin in the ingredients. Sadly, while the cure-all soup is brimming with contents said to bring about healing such as garlic, sage, and even egg yolks, pharmaceuticals are nowhere to be found.  (Although it does give me an idea for a future band sponsorship.)

A lengthy trip to the Côte d’Azur could very well mollify these challenges brought on by the circumstances of my daily life. Alas, no such luck. See above, “Tax Day.”) So it was all up to this peculiar soup with the lofty, aspirational title to turn things around this week.

So despite my skepticism I eagerly set out and make it. It has been a very long time since I’ve had the time create a French Friday’s with Dorie recipe along with the rest of the group. I was very grateful for the hole in my schedule allowing me to participate this week and grateful the recipe would be an easy one to make featuring some of my favorite ingredients, lack of Xanax notwithstanding. Additionally, I was grateful to find I had all said ingredients on hand so no extra shopping would be required, especially after breaking the bank earlier on some ill-fated sea bass.

I was grateful that this dish came together easily, beautifully and tasted so fantastic. As I held a cup of it (in my good hand) and sipped it down I imagined how its rich, but not pungent, garlic and sage flavors could probably alleviate any residual discomfort one might suffer on the Côte d’Azur, if discomfort on the Côte d’Azur is even possible.

I considered how excited I felt to share this odd soup with you and felt grateful I had this forum with which to do so. And right this moment, as I finish this post I feel so grateful that it is over! I am now so very aware that I do indeed feel much better! My ankle was not broken, there was enough sea bass for my husband to share his with me, I had a hot shower this morning and I still have two weeks left to figure out something for tax day.

I guess the only real cure-all I know is gratitude.

Côte d'Azur Cure-All Soup (2 of 4)

 Côte d’Azu Cure-All Soup

Many of my fellow bloggers may already know my friend George Menzelos. He is the impresario behind Arianna Trading Company and its fine organic food products from Greece. When George is not in Greece himself, he is most likely found meandering this continent extolling the virtues of using only the best quality olive oils. Like me, you might think you already know a good deal about good olive oil already. But sit across the tasting table from George for an hour tasting the many fine oils he usually has with him and you are certain to leave with an entirely new appreciation.

Arianna Trading Company Olive Oil

George makes the point that the oil’s various flavors (bitter, pungent, grassy, peppery, etc.) don’t simply compliment food’s inherent flavors but elevate them to new levels. (Much the same way a good wine will.) This is why you see ‘olive oil cultures’ using these quality oils more as a condiment added to food and not just as an ingredient. Furthermore, George is puzzled by the idea that US consumers think nothing of spending $50 or more on a bottle of wine and then balk at the few extra dollars it takes to own a fine olive oil. A bottle fine oil will enhance dinners for weeks and weeks while the bottle of wine is usually gone by night’s end. He makes sense, right?

After his proselytizing and experiencing first hand the effects his fine oils have had on my enjoyment of food under his tutelage I know I won’t skimp again.

And so I opted to break out a bottle of George’s finest organic, unfiltered extra virgin olive oils and drizzle it over this Côte d’Azur Cure-All Soup. Not only does it uptick the flavors (very nicely!) but these fine Olive Oils are something of a cure-all themselves! Extra virgin olive oil is a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats and polyphenols. When not filtered out or diluted (as in lesser quality oils) these doohickeys assist in the prevention of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

What’s more, good olive oils are abundant in Vitamin E, an essential metabolic influencer and antioxidant. Of course, these claims can only be made for oils containing sufficient amounts of the good stuff. One more reason to seek out an authentic, organic and unfiltered brand if you’re looking for a cure-all soup. While you drizzle it all over your food to make it taste great, you just might be curing something that ails you.


Côte d’Azu Cure-All Soup

Côte d’Azu Cure-All Soup

This is what you will need:

  • 1 very large head of garlic
  • handful of sage leaves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 large sprigs of thyme
  • 4 cups water & 2 cups chicken stock (or 6 cups water)
  • 1 teaspoon salt and more to taste
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • ground pepper to taste

This is how you make it:

  1. Separate and peel the garlics and slice them real thing using a knife or a small mandoline. If you use a mandoline be real careful. Don't ask me why I know this. Toss the garlic in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. (You will want a pot large not just large enough to hold the contents but to allow you easy whisking during the last step.)
  2. Tie up the herbs with kitchen twine or into a piece of cheesecloth as a bouquet garni and toss into the pot with the garlic. Pour in the water and the broth with 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil and then down to a simmer for 30 minutes. Do not rush this step as a slow simmer will release not just the flavors of the herbs and garlic but also their secret cure-all soup powers.
  3. Remove the herbs and check for taste. Add salt and pepper if needed. You can puree the soup at this point although I'm not sure why you would want to.
  4. Bring the soup back to a low boil, then back to a simmer.
  5. In another large bowl whisk the three egg yolks, add one ladleful of soup to the yolks and whisk some more. Add the Parmesan to the egg mixture and whisk some more and then add the egg/cheese mixture back to the broth and whisk until smooth.
  6. (At this point if you want a thicker soup you can add even more egg yolks but I didn't find this necessary.)
  7. Cadel the soup into mugs or bowls and serve immediately.
  8. There, you're cured!

[Personal Note: I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by First Site Guide for their feature series aimed at helping out those foolish enough to consider starting their very own food blog. I do hope that first-timers will set their sites a bit higher than this here blog thingie but not and you have some spare time, do check my  interview.  

While I’m on the topic of helping food bloggers, I would also inform that my very good friend Kita Roberts is now hosting a weekly podcast entitled “Season with Sass.” Each week she and her podcasting partner interview top food bloggers (these girls know everybody) and coax them all into revealing various tech tips and behind the scenes stories they collected on their road to success.  Sometimes they coax them into revealing quite a few other things as well so you can bet it is a very entertaining podcast!  Check out and subscribe to their podcast here or in iTunes here. ]


About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. I’m sure it was the fine olive oil that really cured all your ailments… ouch with the burn, let me guess: skillet in the oven and you forgot a mitt when you took it out?
    Glad to have you cooking with us again, you are always missed. Rhoda sends her love.

  2. I was hoping this soup would cure more than just common ailments too. 😉 Good to see you posting with the group!

  3. If nothing else, my 3 years living in Italy have made it impossible for me to go back to mass-market olive oil once we move home this summer. When it’s good, it is SO exceptionally delicious!

  4. Oh man – the fish. I would have sat on the floor and cried. Guests or no guests.
    If soup could cure clumsiness, I would buy stock in that company (Ha, pun intended).

    Glad to see you on schedule! Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

    • I kinda think its bad form to cry at a dinner party. Not that I haven’t done it. But its bad form. And yes, my heart is fonder. I really do miss the weekly comeraderi.

  5. When I read about or witness people suffering injury as a result of exercise, I feel righteous in my decision to maintain a sedentary existence. As for burns, cuts (of which I’ve suffered many lately) and kitchen-related bruises, they really are a culinary badge of courage. I hope that you at least had an uncontrollable cuss fit after the sea bass incident. — And the soup? Marvelous!

  6. Great story Trevor and thank you for including my olive oil in a post about healthy eating. I must try making this “cure all” soup. Arianna Trading Company Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil has received a certificate of analysis from World Food Labs qualifying it for a health claim. “Olive oil polyphenols contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress.” The beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of just 4 teaspoons of olive oil. “Let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine.” — Hippocrates

  7. Ouch x 2! I think this soup with a nice big cocktail would at least take a little of the pain away. Off to check out Kita’s podcast—how did I miss this???

  8. Ouch! On so many levels! If it’s any consolation at all, it makes for a great war story. You’ll be telling it for years.

  9. TheKitchenLioness says:

    Trevor, what a gorgeous shot of your Cure-All Soup – love that you chose to serve it in a glass cup/soup bowl – and the extra drizzle of olive oil sounds like a pretty good idea – you are so right aboout investing in a really good quality oil, I often buy my oil at my very favorite local oil mill and the owner sounds a bit like your frieed, he will go on forever about the health benefits of a cold pressed oil, rightly so and I love to listen to all the advice he gives.
    Hope you are feeling much better – I can certainly relate to the burn incident (lets just forget about last week, shall we…).
    All the very best – so nice to see that you are blogging again,

  10. Okay, Trevor, if you think soup is going to cure your problems, let me tell you it is impossible. I prefer a good stiff drink, your preference. The soup was good, but too much garlic… As for your story of Olive oil, I love it,
    one of our most favorite delicacies is a great olive oil. Hopefully, we will see you soon.

    • I’m with you. I destroyed an aloe plant to cure my hand but it was the Manhattan(s) I enjoyed later that pulled duty to cure my pain…both literal and figurative!

  11. You totally should have called and talked your way through your week with me… I hope your ankle and hand are healing well. I do have to say, after all of that, your closing line (to the recipe introduction) was beautiful. At the end of my craziest days I do try to take a few moments to digest my day and realize how much good I have in it. Gratitude does have a way of putting it all in perspective and knocking me back in my place.

    I have not tried George’s oils yet, but will now be keeping an eye out for them at my local shops. I love trying new products that come so highly talked about by my friends.

    And thank you so much for giving a shout out to me in both your interview and here. It really drives home the friendship that we can build through these peculiar little sites of ours even a country away. Someday, (and maybe not this year so close to tax day, because I am a little bit worried about that myself) we will enjoy a cure all vacation some place relaxing. Until then, cheers to Xanax and sensational soups.

  12. Gratitude and good soup can go a long way to improving things, especially with that wonderful olive oil. (I like to drown my sorrows in a good cup of tea, personally.)

    • See above. I find a good sorrow drowning elixir to be a Manhattan (or two.) I do like this soup but for future sorrow drowning I may just stick with what I know.

  13. It did take a while for me to spring the dollars for really good oils and vinegar but it’s so worth it. I agree with George.

    I’m sorry to hear about the burn and the water heater and that darned fish – but if things come in 3s, you’re all set and things are looking up.

    • George is very wise! I would say that ‘things couldn’t get worse’ but they could, easily, and that is my point. Even with all that it wasn’t anything more than I can handle. Already its just a memory!

  14. So sorry about your hand, ankle and expensive bass! You were not having a good week! Hope things are looking up!
    Trevor, your soup, photos, and presentation are absolutely gorgeous!
    True about good quality olive oil and vinegar…so worth the price. I usually buy one olive oil just for cooking, and a good one for drizzling and dipping!

    Have a great week…and welcome back!!

    • Well, truth be told, even with the mishaps it wasn’t all that bad. Thank you for the compliments! It was an elegant simple soup and I wanted to show that off elegantly without a lot of fuss. I’m glad you liked it Kathy!

  15. Sounds like you have had quite a week. I hope the soup did the trick or the fab olive oil. Thanks for all the helpful information and I will check out the podcast. Although I do not have any delusions of making my blog better.

  16. LOL – true, there are no pharmaceuticals in this soup, but it was good. It surprised me in a good way, as so many of Dorie’s recipes do.

  17. If not cured, at least this little soup improved things for you. I think we all have some of those battle scars of burns. Proves you can cook! I’m headed off to read your interview and add Kita’s podcast to my lineup. Wishing you a harm-free week.

  18. Only slightly off topic. But you should consider an on-demand water heater. Our is fantastic. No waiting for hot water, it’s immediate. No heating and reheating the same water until it’s needed so (other than the shock of the initial expense) it saves money. Just a thought. Now go clean up that sea bass (and use hot water). XOGREG