Food for Thought – Comfort Foods for Cold Winter Days

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by Linda Viertel

Winter seems to have arrived – finally, and with the chilling weather comes a complementary need for comfort food. Luckily, our river towns provide a wealth of warming sustenance to help stave off the frost and biting cold, an inevitable reality in the coming months. To help relieve the ennui of oncoming darkness and chilly winds, The Hudson Independent would like to feature a few heart-warming soups, soul –fulfilling dishes, and tastes to gladden one’s heart on a wintry day.

Tarrytown’s Yogurt Tree features organic, hearty soups home-made by owner Gjisbertus de Lange’s wife, Unsil Yi: white bean, escarole with uncured bacon, corn chowder and turkey chili are all made from scratch, starting with roasting the bones for a rich broth. Dried beans are soaked, and fresh garlic, ginger and herbs complement their rich taste. Vegetarian choices include Indian lentil, organic tomato with chipotle peppers and butter nut squash. Unsil searches for all organic “basic, basic ingredients,” she says. “I try for a combination of Asian and Middle Eastern tastes whenever I can. ” Her soups are healthy choices – definitely a meal in themselves.
15 North Broadway, Tarrytown:

Bibille, Tarrytown’s Korean fusion restaurant, features a Korean style udon soup. Rich home-made broth is filled vegetables, noodles, enoki mushrooms, carrots, fish and crown daisies (a popular healthy green leaf vegetable in Korea), with egg for added protein. It will cure whatever ails you!
14 Main Street, Tarrytown:

Tortilla soup from Tarrytown’s The Taco Project
Tortilla soup from Tarrytown’s The Taco Project

The Taco Project, in Tarrytown, serves a popular chicken tortilla soup. Sauteed carrots, onion and celery infuse chicken stock, complemented by tomato paste and Mexican spices. Tortillas get blended in to thicken the soup, then shredded chicken is added. Served with guacamole, queso fresco, cilantro, radish, and crumbled tortilla chips on top (plus an extra helping of chips), it’s popular for a reason!
Red bean soup is often a special offering; also based on home-made chicken broth enlivened by sauteed vegtables, spices, and fesh cilantro on top. It comes with chips as well. And don’t forget to imbibe a rich, cinnamony Mexican hot chocolate this winter – it’s the perfect antidote for winter’s chill.
18 Main Street, Tarrytown:

Tarry Tavern and The Eatarry are justly famous for their ribollita, the classic Italian bread soup, Homemade vegetable stock is chock-ablock- filled white beans, roasted garlic, potatoes, carrots and celery and is served with freshly grated parmgiana-reggiano and fruity olive-oil. The taste is divine and comfort abounds.

Try Henry Cabrale’s popular chestnut/celery root soup, another vegetable stock based wonder, enriched with with honey and black truffle oil. His “mac and cheese” is like no other. Mascarpone and parmesan, rich susbstitutes for common cheddar, are melded into perfectly cooked pasta, topped off with crabmeat and toasted bread crumbs…..mmmmm……
27 Main Street, Tarrytown:

Suzanne’s Table, in Irvington, can’t keep enough roasted asparagus soup on hand  – it’s that good. A healthy and delectable combination of roasted parsnips, asparagus, and Granny Smith apples, is enhanced with carrots, onion, celery and bay leaf with a touch of tarragon for perfect flavoring.

Suzanne’s butternut squash soup starts with her homemade vegetable stock, rainbow carrots and tomato. Moroccan spices enrich her totally vegan offering. Cauliflower soup is cream-less, with a chicken stock base; saffron becomes the suprise exotic flavor in this soup.
71 Main Street, Irvington:

Irvington’s Red Barn Bakery savory offerings

P.15-Orangesoup Irvington’s Red Barn Bakery soups are all organic and vegan, except for owner and chef Randell Dodge’s wildly admired matzo ball soup. She infuses her French lentil with roasted cumin and carrots; her butternut squash soup is made with cocunut milk, carrot and fresh ginger. Other vegan choices include kale and white bean soup or vegetarian chili, made with both red and white beans, and a rich winter mushroom offereing, made with crimini and shitaki mushroom. “It’s cream soup made with no cream,” she says. Dodge double roasts all her vegetables to give her stocks an unusually rich and bold flavor.
And, don’t forget to try her gluten-free mac and cheese, made with quinoa pasta- it’s a revelation! So, stop by for winter soups and baked goods too.
4 South Astor Street, Irvington:

Caldo Tlanpeno, a traditional rich Mexican chicken soup, gets first-rate treatment at Irvington’s La Chinita Poblano. The chef begins creating his homemade broth by sauteing carrots, onions, garlic, zucchini, and potatoes, enhancing his preparation with chipotle chiles in adobo, that distinctive smoky sweet, hot tasting pepper. Shredded chicken, avocado and cilantro complete this hearty first course, topped with grated queso fresco and served with a crispy flauta filled with a comforting, creamy fried cheese.

La Chinita’s homemade black bean soup, another perfect way to ward off winter’s chill, is served with crema and cilantro, and it’s an exemplary version of that south of the border favorite.
61 Main Street, Irvington:

Brrzaar, the new hot spot at Irvington’s train station, now offers an Oatmeal Bar starting at 7a.m. on weekdays, 8:30 on weekends. A cup is filled halfway with organic steelcut oatmeal, and customers finish their nourishing selection with their choice of toppings: fresh fruit, chocolate, cinnamon or carob chips, granolas, steamed milk and so many more. It’s a great option for breakfast or a warming mid-day snack. “We can package it to-go for those rushing to the train,” said owner Michelle Leddy.

Soups at Brrzaar are “curated” by Leddy and include a rotation of chicken noodle with kale, potato and leek, hearty tomato, black bean with kale, chicken with wild rice and Thai sweet potato.
Hot chocolate gets the royal treatment with marshmallows or homemade whipped cream toppings. Coming soon: a hot chocolate bar! Could winter be far behind?
7 North Astor Street, Irvington:

4 recommended
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