By far my favorite food genre, soups are perfect for this time of year. One day chilly, the next sweaty, I find a lovely pureed vegetable soup that can go hot or cold to be genius. Just saute a chopped onion in a little butter and olive oil and then add, all roughly chopped, 2 bunches of asparagus, 1 head of broccoli, a couple of potatoes, and 8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, or a combo of stock and water. Bring it to a boil and then simmer 35 minutes. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender and heat through, adding a healthy dose of hot sauce. This is a great mid-week meal served with cheeses and bread.
Many, many of the soups I make come from the Joy of Cooking: All About Soup and Stews (I rarely crack the similar titles from Williams-Sonoma and Cook’s Illustrated). The book has variations of the above as well as a great salmon chowder and a spicy chorizo and greens soup.
As for my own soups, I think my technique of boiling my chicken in stock and water with all my seasonings, including a generous dash of red pepper flakes, and straining it all before making the chicken soup with just shredded chicken and delicate greens is original. Same for my split pea recipe, and I use that term loosely, which I think of as controlled chaos. But none is so personal to me as my parsley soup, a showcase for my earliest food revelation.