Brie and apple soup

Serves 4.

Note: This makes a lovely appetizer. The riper the cheese, the more intense the flavor. Pair it with fougasse (recipe at right). From "The Soup & Bread Cookbook," by Beatrice Ojakangas.

• 2 tbsp. butter

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

• 2 ribs celery, chopped

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped

• 2 tbsp. flour

3 c. low-sodium chicken stock, divided

8-oz. round Brie, cut into 1-in. cubes

• 1/4 c. heavy cream

• Salt and black pepper

• Sliced almonds, toasted


Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the onion, celery and apples and cook, stirring often, until the onion and celery are soft, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup of stock. Stir in the remaining 2 cups stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer until the onion, celery and apples are cooked, about 20 minutes.

Transfer soup to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Return soup to the saucepan.

Just before serving, stir the Brie and cream into the hot soup and stir until the cheese is melted. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with toasted almonds.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 380 Fat 27 g Sodium 480 mg

Carbohydrates 19 g Saturated fat 17 g Calcium 140 mg

Protein 17 g Cholesterol 89 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 fruit, 2 high-fat meat, 4 fat.


Makes 1 flatbread (about 4 servings).

Note: Fougasse is the French version of focaccia, the Italian flatbread. From start to finish, this bread takes less than two hours, very little of it active time for the cook. It's best served straight from the oven. The recipe calls for herbes de Provence, a classic mix of dried herbs, which is available at most grocery stores. From "The Soup & Bread Cookbook," by Beatrice Ojakangas.

1 pkg. (1/4 oz.) or 1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast

1 c. warm water (105 to 115 degrees)

• 1 tsp. sugar

• 2 c. flour

• 1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. herbes de Provence, or 1 tsp. each dried basil, oregano and rosemary (see Note)

1/4 c. olive oil, plus additional for serving


In a small bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast begins to foam.

In a large bowl, or in a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and stir or process until a soft dough forms. Let stand until the dough begins to rise, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the herbs and oil, and mix until well blended. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and with oiled hands, shape into a ball. Place on a baking sheet and press the dough out to make an oval leaf shape, about 10 inches long and 1 inch thick.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Let dough rise until puffy, about 30 minutes. Using a blade, make diagonal slashes down the center and along the length of both sides of the dough. Pull each slash out gently to open the holes to somewhat resemble the veins of a leaf.

Bake until crisp and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Tear apart to make individual servings. Serve warm with olive oil for dipping.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 360 Fat 14 g Sodium 595 mg

Carbohydrates 50 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 24 mg

Protein 7g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 3 bread/starch, 3 fat.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Serves 6.

Note: Lovely when served in a hollowed-out pumpkin shell, especially with mini-pumpkins for individual servings. Pair it with cheese bread (recipe below). From "The Soup & Bread Cookbook."

• 2 tbsp. butter

• 2 tsp. curry powder

• 1 large onion, chopped

• 1 large carrot, shredded

• 2 c. low-sodium chicken stock

• 2 c. half-and-half

1 (15-oz.) can unsweetened pumpkin purée

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper

• 1/4 c. sour cream

• Toasted sunflower seeds


Heat the butter in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the curry powder, onion and carrot. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Return mixture to soup pot and stir in the pumpkin, half-and-half, salt and white pepper. Heat over medium heat to a serving temperature. Scoop into soup bowls or pumpkin shells. Top with sour cream and sunflower seeds.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 212 Fat 6 g Sodium 310 mg

Carbohydrates 14 g Saturated fat 10 g Calcium 130 mg

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 45 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1 fat.

Peppered cheese bread

Makes 2 loaves (24 slices).

Note: Serve with the soup, or use an hors d'oeuvre, topped with hummus or small pieces of meat or cheese. From "The Soup & Bread Cookbook," by Beatrice Ojakangas.

• 3 c. flour, divided

1 pkg. (1/4 oz.) or 1 scant tbsp. active dry yeast

• 1 tbsp. sugar

1 1/4 c. warm water (120 to 130 degrees)

1/3 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1/2 tsp. hot sauce

1/4 tsp. cayenne or black pepper

• Cooking spray

• Olive or vegetable oil


In a small bowl, combine 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar and warm water. Stir until blended and set aside until mixture has begun to bubble and rise, about 10 minutes.

In a food processor, combine remaining flour, Cheddar and Parmesan cheese, butter, salt, hot sauce and pepper; pulse just until well blended. Add yeast mixture and process until the dough comes together in a ball and spins around the bowl 25 times; dough will be in a smooth ball. (If mixing by hand, or kneading by hand, knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky. Be careful not to add more than a tablespoon or 2 of extra flour as you knead.)

If the dough seems very firm, add water 1 tablespoon at a time to make a soft and smooth dough. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Coat a work surface or countertop with cooking spray and turn dough out onto it. Cover with an inverted bowl and let rise for 15 minutes.

Lightly grease a baking sheet. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a baguette 12 inches long. Place loaves on the baking sheet 4 inches apart and brush with oil. Let stand, covered with a towel, in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake loaves until golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Nutrition information per slice:

Calories 77 Fat 2 g Sodium 130 mg

Carbohydrates 13 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 18 mg

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 5 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch.