What’s the Difference Between Soup and Bisque?


A traditional classification of soup types divides all the soups in two broad categories; soups that are clear and soups that are thick. On the other hand, bisque, unlike soupis not a generalized umbrella term for a number of liquid foods. Bisque is a particular type of soup that is smooth and creamy.

Now Let’s Learn How to Make Tomato Soup and Tomato Bisque

Recipe for Mexican Lasagna, A California Comfort Food


Picture from Taste of Home- Mexican Lasagna

Nothing says “I’m sorry for your loss” like a homemade casserole, so it’s not surprising when one appears in the first episode of Dead to Me, the Netflix hit starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini.


The series opens with Applegate’s character, the recently widowed Jen, accepting a Pyrex dish filled with what her neighbor describes as “my take on a Mexican lasagna.”  READ MORE

The dishes we Americans enjoy today as “Mexican Casserole” (aka “Mexican Lasagne”) are hybrid culinary creations featuring Old and New world traditions. Recipes are all over the map. Combinations of native Central American ingredients baked casserole style were documented in the 16th century. Contemporary USA interpretations resemble Italian lasagna: substituting tortillas for pasta, salsa for tomato sauce, beans/ground meat/chilies for protein/flavor/color. Dairy component varies from Spanish to German to TexMex to Southern California to processed American cheddar.

“A Mexican Casserole Costs Little. ‘This casserole is an American concept of a Mexican-type dish,’ writes Marcia B. Stover. ‘It’s ideal for the budget-minded homemaker.’
Marcia’s Tortilla Casserole 
1 pt. cottage cheese
1 pt. dairy sour cream
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
2 7-oz cans whole green chiles
12 corn tortillas
1 lb. mild Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded
Blend cottage cheese, sour cream and tomato sauce in a shallow dish. Cut chiles into 1/4-in. strips. Place tortillas on a cooky sheet and heat in 500-deg. oven just long enough so they will fold easily, about 3 to 5 min. Working quickly, dip hot tortillas into tomato mixture, place two strips of chiles on each, and fold as you would an enchilada. Place a layer of tortillas in 7 X 11-in. baking pan. Sprinkle generously with shredded Cheddar and mozzarella cheese and top with some of the tomato mixture. Repeat with tortillas, making two layers in pan, using remaining cheese and sauce for top. Cover pan and bake at 350 deg. 1 hour. Makes 4 to 6 servings.”
—“My Best Recipe,” Marcia B. Stover, Los Angeles Times, June 23, 1966 (p. F18)

Click Here for Taste of Home’s Recipe






Langostino Truffle Mac & Cheese


We’ve all heard people say that “things happen in three’s” The trinity. The Triad. The Triangle. Britney Spears song 1,2,3…. yes, the magic combination of three. You get where I’m going with this… Well for me, my “magic 3” happens to be… Macaroni & Cheese, Truffles & Langostinos.

Now let’s break this down… let’s start with the basic Macaroni & Cheese. What’s there to say about it. It comes in a box with elbow macaroni that you boil in hot water for 7 ½ minutes exactly, drain and add a bunch of butter, a splash of milk and some bright orange powder to it to make it oh so cheesy! Right? WRONG!!!!! This macaroni and cheese alone if made with out theLangostinos or Truffle oil packs some SERIOUS flavor! The combination of cheeses, with the cream and butter…. It’s the Mac-Daddy of all Mac & Cheeses.

Then there’s the Truffle Oil…. Decadence is what comes to my mind when I think of Truffle Oil. The aroma alone just makes me do a happy dance. (No, I’m not showing you my happy dance!) It adds another dimension to it that I can’t even explain… you’d have to eat it. It’s a relatively inexpensive way of adding actual Truffles that can cost so much and is worth the initial investment, as such a small amount is generally used.

And finally Langostinos. You might be saying, what is a Langostino? Well, it’s debatable… some will say that it’s part of the crustacean family of crab & shrimp and others will say they’re like mini lobsters. I’m going to go with the latter, cause that’s what they taste like to me. Delicious little lobsters with a buttery delicate flavor!


1 pound Langostino tails

1 pound Cavatappi Pasta

¾ stick of butter

½ cup heavy cream

1 cup milk

½ cup Chipotle Gruyere, shredded

½ cup Fontina Cheese, shredded

½ cup Smoked Gruyere, shredded

½ cup Cheddar/Jack shredded

½ cup to 1 cup of plain bread crumbs

2 teaspoons Truffle Oil

salt & pepper to taste


Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a pyrex dish with non stick spray

Add all of the cheese to a separate bowl and combine thoroughly

Cook pasta according to directions on the box

In a sauté pan add cream, milk, butter & truffle oil and bring to a low boil/simmer. Once butter is completely melted, add Langostinos. Allow to simmer for about 5-6 minutes.

Once pasta is fully cooked, begin assembly. Add a layer of pasta on the bottom of the pyrex. Follow with a layer of the combined cheeses, breadcrumbs and ½ of the Langostino/ cream sauce. Repeat same step again- only this time putting a final layer of cheese and breadcrumbs on top of the Langostinos to make a crispy crust on the top.

Place in the oven covered for 35 to 45 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb some of the sauce. Remove foil and allow to cook for another 10 minutes to turn to a golden brown on top.


This recipe can also be done with Lobster Tails cut into pieces.

I use a Chipotle Gruyere to add a little smoky heat to the dish… you can use a Jalepeno Jack or any sort of cheese with a spice to it to add that flavor! Get creative with the cheeses! Use any type you really like!

A dash of mustard powder is great in this dish too if you like that flavor… it’ll make your guests say, “ I know that flavor! What’s in there?”

This freezes extremely well. If you don’t finish it all, put in smaller containers and just pull it out of the freezer any night of the week as a great side dish!
Recipe by Michelle Karam

Moscow Mule & Chicken Chili Recipes


One of my favorite things to make is chili.  Here on Multi Cultural Cooking Network, we have a couple of variations from veggie to black bean and pumpkin.   Years a ago, we even posted suggestions for wine with chili.   Well, it is time for another pairing.  Moscow mule with specifically chicken chili.   I have no doubt that is would be paired well with other meats but the light taste of chicken with the Moscow Mule is just a great sit back and kick your feet up for a comfortable time at home.

Moscow Mule

Yes, you can use a glass but those popular copper mugs you see in store is for this cocktail.

Let your mug or glass be filled with ice.

Pour equal parts ginger beer and vodka.

Squeeze a bit of lime and use a wedge to garnish.

If you are not a lime fan then this will not make or break the taste.

Chicken Chili

As for the Chicken chili recipe, I am going to differ to Martha Stewart.  After all her recipes should be so good that it’s criminal.









Long Beach, CA: West Coast BBQ Classic

The Queen Mary welcomes back the 5th annual West Coast BBQ Classic (WCBC) for a finger lickin’ afternoon full of barbeque grillin’ on Saturday, May 14 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. BBQqueenmary-72 (1).jpg The WCBC invites barbeque experts and amateur grill masters to take part in a classic showdown that will leave your taste buds filled with the unmistakable sweet ‘n smoky flavors of BBQ.

The WCBC will feature BBQ styles from across the country including slow-cooked hickory barbeque from Texas and southern Memphis-style barbeque. The competition is an official California-State-Certified, KCBS-Sanctioned, BBQ Championship and will bring Southern California’s most accomplished Champion Pitmasters together to compete for a $10,500 cash prize and the coveted title of West Coast BBQ Pitmaster Champion.

Whether you are a barbecue aficionado or simply a foodie fan, the West Coast BBQ Classic offers something for everyone with delicious BBQ samples for only $2 each, live music, backyard games, contests and a merchant market. Live entertainment will be provided by the country sensation, Scotty Mac Band. Join in the fun and participate in the watermelon or cobbler eating contests. Children are invited to Kids Country offering games, a bounce house, face painters and potato sack races just for little BBQ fans.

Cost: General value pack tickets are $20 each through April 30 and include event admission plus five tasting tickets and access to the Queen Mary ship. AfterApril 30 tickets increase to $25. VIP value pack tickets are $35 through May and include one-hour early event admission plus five tasting tickets and access to the Queen Mary ship. After May 1 tickets increase to $40. Event parking is $15.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the 5th annual West Coast BBQ Classic visit http://queenmary.com/events/west-coast-bbq-classic/.

Classic Lentil Soup Recipe

I’ve e always loved Lentil Soup. It’s always been a favorite of mine. There’s something so comforting about it… It started lentil-soup-2out during my childhood years when I’d come home from school and my mom would have a can of Progresso Lentil Soup piping hot and ready for me and my sister.

I like the sultry crisp bite of the lentils, the hearty bite of the potatoes, the smooth tangy bite of the spinach and finally the hot warm broth with the underlying taste of the smoky cumin….. wow! I kinda sound real profesh writing like that! I’m even surprising myself!

Although my beloved Progresso soup did not have the taste or depth that the one I make now does… it did open my eyes to what this marvelous soup could be.

Now my son asks me for this delicious soup when he comes home from school!

It’s good, it’s hearty, it’s inexpensive to make and is almost a meal in itself! Make a little mixed green salad on the side and you have a fantastic dinner any night!  -Contributor- Michelle Karam – Feb 2010


I’ve e always loved Lentil Soup. It’s always been a favorite of mine. There’s something so comforting about it… It started out during my childhood years when I’d come home from school and my mom would have a can of Progresso Lentil Soup piping hot and ready for me and my sister.

I like the sultry crisp bite of the lentils, the hearty bite of the potatoes, the smooth tangy bite of the spinach and finally the hot warm broth with the underlying taste of the smoky cumin….. wow! I kinda sound real profesh writing like that! I’m even surprising myself!

Although my beloved Progresso soup did not have the taste or depth that the one I make now does… it did open my eyes to what this marvelous soup could be.

Now my son asks me for this delicious soup when he comes home from school!

It’s good, it’s hearty, it’s inexpensive to make and is almost a meal in itself! Make a little mixed green salad on the side and you have a fantastic dinner any night!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots finely chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery finely chopped
  • 2 potatoes cut into small cubes
  • ½ red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach or 1 cup frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and picked thru
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • ¼ cup plain tomato sauce
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon cumin


Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add onion, carrot, celery and pepper. Allow to sweat or cook on the stovetop until the onions are translucent or you can see thru them. About 5 minutes. Add the lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, tomato sauce and seasonings and allow to cook on a med-low simmer for about one hour. Add spinach and cook for 10 more minutes.

Drizzle with a little more olive oil on top… mmmmm!!!!

Optional Ingredients

  • ½ cup uncooked small pasta shells
  • ½ cup diced smoked ham (that will be added when the vegetables are sweating in the oil)
  • 1 sausage diced or sliced – spicy chicken sausage is excellent!
  • ½ cup canolini beans
  • ½ cup croutons – add upon serving

French Onion Soup Recipe by Chef Jay Jones

French Onion Soup

This classic is quick and easy to make. The key is getting your onions nice and brown.

Culinary Terms to know
Emincer- To thinly slice
Singer- To add flour to sautéed item as a means to thick a sauce or soup
Caramelize- To sauté an item until brown

4 Large Onions
¼ cup flour
4 cloves garlic smashed and sliced
½ cup gruyere cheese shredded
8-10 cup beef stock

Large Sauté pan
Large Stock pot

Heat beef stock in large stock pot
Heat large sauté pan
Add onions to sauté pan
Caramelize onions
Use stock to deglaze onion sugars from bottom of pan
Singe with flour
Add hot beef stock to onions
Cut baguette into thin slices 2 for bottom of bowl and 1 for top
Rub baguette with garlic and oil
Put baguette in oven until brown on one side then flip and brown on other side

For Service
Put 2 slices of the baguette into bottom of bowl
Cover with soup to the top of the bowl or ramekin
Add one slice of baguette and cove with cheese
Make sure cheeses touches lip of bowl
Put in oven until cheese melts

Remove and serve hot

Memories of hot cocoa—a cup of warm comfort

I used to drink chocolate milk when I was a kid; it was a real quick fix. Just pour some milk in a glass and add two tablespoons of the powdered chocolate and that was it. This wasn’t my favorite beverage, but it was a good enough drink to settle down with on a Saturday or after school on a weekday. Sometimes my mother bought the powdered strawberry mix, but I didn’t drink the strawberry milk. That often stayed right in the cabinet unused. It wasn’t until I was just out of college and visiting my aunt at Christmas when I tasted something different—hot cocoa. Now, I’m not going to say that I never had hot cocoa before because I’m sure that I did, but this time it was so memorable.

chocolate with marshmallows

Take an occasion like Christmas. Add on a spoonful of Christmas music like Donny Hathaway and little Michael Jackson from the Jackson 5 Christmas Album ( a classic in a lot of African American families).  Sprinkle in some family with just a pinch of understanding about how precious this Christmas was because it would probably be our last holiday with my aunt, who was dying from an incurable disease. Then serve this reality with a cup of hot cocoa fully loaded with marshmallows from the hand of that loved one. This made for a special cup of hot cocoa and a memorable experience.

My aunt was a very direct person—intentional in getting in your business, especially if your business was raggedy. She loved you straightforward. She was the kind of aunt that said what she thought and didn’t mince words, like the time she asked my 22-year old boyfriend what he wanted with an 18-year old girl. Talk about OMGeesh! Soooooo embarassing! Do you think I told her that? No way! I just went with the flow and watched him sweat. Survival of the fittest dude!

My aunt had no children of her own, but that never stopped her from making her influence felt. She was strong and intelligent and she expected her neices and nephews to be that way too. However, she was a little different on this Christmas. It was just a few months after we learned of the disease she had been living with for seven years. It had robbed her of her full-figure. It had stripped her of her smooth glowing brown skin and left a ash-gray cover over her normally vibrant brown complexion. She was frail—less than 100-pounds—but she was still just as strong, just as concerned and just as loving as ever. So that Christmas she fretted over her neices because she wanted to and since then, hot cocoa with marshmallows has always felt like a cup of warm comfort. It takes me to a time of love and celebration that was so fleeting and sweet, and much like those fluffy marshmallows I could just lay back on the memories and rest for a while.

My aunt died the following summer, but oh how I remember her unabashed love, advice and correction. I will also always remember the way she loved on me with a cup of warm comfort that made everything all right that one Christmas.

Click here for a homemade recipe for hot cocoa with marshmallows.

Effie’s Chicken & Lemon Potatoes


Almost every American child has had meatloaf for dinner…it’s common to us and an easy meal… well in Greece what would be considered their meatloaf is this fabulous chicken dish…I went to Greece when I was 19 years old with my mom and my cousin Danielle. To this day, it’s one of those trips that I think was one of, if not the BEST vacation of my life! The sites, the beaches, the people and mostly THE FOOD! Some of the best meals I’ve ever had were on that tiny island in Santorini!

One of them was Greek Chicken and Lemon Potatoes. I’m not a huge chicken lover and I find it to be bland sometimes, but this chicken… I can’t even begin to tell you! It was so moist and packed so much flavor and the potatoes were crispy and rich! For years after, I tried a hundred times to make it just like they did in Greece and it just wasn’t the same… that was until my cousin Danielle, who was with me on that amazing trip to Greece so many years ago, married a fantastic Greek man, who’s mom Effie knew exactly what I was talking about when I said I had eaten this potato and chicken dish while there… so she shared this recipe with me.

Thanks Effie! It really is true, you really can relive an entire memory through a dish. In this case, I’m back on that Greek Island having the time of my life!  -Michelle Karam



6 Medium Yellow Potatoes Quartered

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

1 teaspoon garlic salt

2 teaspoon oregano

½ cup lemon juice


1 whole chicken quartered

¾ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

¾ garlic salt

2 tabespoons. butter melted

1/4 cup lemon juice

Peel & quarter the potatoes. Place in bowl and combine with all ingredients. Let marinate, mixing it every so often so chicken and potatoesthatpotatoes do not discolor or turn brown.

Combine all of your dry seasonings together in a bowl and rub all over both sides of your chicken pieces.

Place chicken, skin side up, in roasting pan and drizzle butter and lemon juice over the top. Add potatoes all around the sides of the chicken, juices included. Roast,uncovered, in preheated,395 degree oven for 45 min to 1 hour.

Greek: Recipe for Bodino Stifado (Beef Stew with leeks)

I recently got exposed to the culinary stylings of Chef Michael Psilakis at the Buick Discovery Tour near the Los Angeles beef stewarea.  Chef Psilakis  has a number of restaurants in New York featuring Greek Cuisine.  Additionally, he competed against fellow Greek and Iron Chef Michael Symon.  Here is his recipe for Bodino Stifado. (Beef Stew with leeks)

Serves 4 to 6 family-style with potatoes, rice, or orzo
Braises like this are perfect for meat with tough muscle tissue and tendons (which come from the part of the animal that works hard), a great example of poverty cooking. This less expensive cut of meat develops its own natural and luscious sauce as it cooks. You want a little marbling in the meat, because it melts down as you cook and adds a lot of flavor to the sauce. You can use brisket, shanks, shoulder – all fairly tough meats – but save the filet mignon for the grill or a pan. It takes a little time to cook and become tender, but it’s a relatively easy setup, and once you get it onto the stove you don’t have to worry about it for about an hour. So you can do your laundry, or walk the dog, or make a salad.
A couple of days later, if you have any leftovers, you can shred the meat, then return the meat to the sauce and add your favorite pasta. The resulting dish is a Greek version of beef stroganoff.
The herbs are very important to the flavor development here, since I’m using water instead of stock, so use fresh herbs if possible.

  • 3 tablespoons blended oil (90 percent canola, 10 percent extra-virgin olive)
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 ½ – inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • ½ large Spanish or sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large leek, cut into thick rounds, washed well in cold water, drained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 to 5 cups water
  • 1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried leaves
  • 1 large sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley

See Directions