It’s the time of the summer in Hilton Head Island when vegetable and fruit bins overflow with the best of the season. It makes me think about… soup. Well, besides fried onion rings (Vidalia only, please!), roasted corn on the cob and fresh figs drizzled in balsamic honey dressing – but that’s another story or rather, another blog post.
While my Mother made several types of delicious soups, chowders and stews, her claim to fame in the area of brothy, savory delights is her vegetable soup. I don’t think she ever follows a recipe per say, but her best concoctions are always loaded with fresh corn, carrots, okra, potatoes, sweet peppers, and squash simmered in a piquant tomato base. The herbs she uses are sparse – some garlic, a little thyme, perhaps some basil and lots of ground pepper. Occasionally we’d be given a heartier version, by the addition of braised beef bones or ground beef and consommé, but always the fresh garden flavors were omnipresent.
Even though a warm bowl of her vegetable soup and her crackling cornbread is a very welcome prospect on any day, in summer it was made especially delectable by virtue of our own backyard garden and the plethora of produce found at our local farmers market.
Several weeks back, while perusing the stalls of the Hilton Head Island Farmers Market I was introduced to Gourmet Soups by Daphne and her scrumptious soups. Like a time machine the wondrous flavors took me back, back, back to barefoot summer days in my own mother’s kitchen. Daphne Frazier learned the art of soup making from her Grandmother, a Belgian-born Parisian chef. All of her soups (there are at least 70 and the list is growing!) are made with certified organic ingredients with the exception of the seafood selections where the fish and other seafood are harvested in Lowcountry waters. Daphne uses all natural hormone and steroid free meats and poultry.
Daphne’s delicious scratch-made soups are very nutritious and since they contain no additives or preservative and all those yummy ingredients they are full of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. For those on special diets (gluten-free too!), wanting to watch their weight, and just be healthier Daphne’s soups are a guilt-free gastronomic ticket to paradise. As Daphne says, “My soups warm your heart and soul not just fill your stomach. You will feel great!” Daphne tells me that her ‘crab cake’ soup is her most popular selection – brimming with locally caught blue crab. It is made with no flour or butter and just a tiny bit of cream. Right now, summer selections like cool summer melon, Gazpacho and her super-tasty vegetable soup (with 24 herbs and 12 vegetables) are also popular with her regular customers.
You can check out Gourmet Soups by Daphne web site for a list of soups, photos and ordering details, however, if it was me I’d just scoot over to the Hilton Head Island Farmers Market, find Daphne and start tasting those soups. Then your biggest problem will only be deciding which one(s) to choose!