Chef Tom – Baby It’s Cold Outside

Classic holidays song, been around for ages, though today it’s being chased through the virtual jungle by Social Justice Warriors (something about misogyny and male domination) because they’re a bored bunch, are indoors at this time of year, and there’s really nothing to do, so what the hell.

Civilized and Well Dressed – The Warning Signs of Abuse (While she looks at him like he’s a bowl of Ice Cream – and Visa Versa)

Anyway, as I was saying, baby it’s cold outside. Cold means soup. It does. In fact cold is Latin for soup. This one is especially warming. It’s chock full of veggies, too. You have my permission to be as creative as you want with the veggies. Just know which ones cook faster is all and do those last.

But basically, it’s a dead simple, peasant, who’s-got-time-to-fuck-around, get-the-family-fed-now-because-they’re-cold kinda soup. But it’s so yummy. Remember what Chef Tom says, your cooking is as good as your ingredients.

Quality Ingredients!

Yes, you can make a lovely, fragrant broth from those science experiments in your veg drawer, but now is not the time to save pennies. Splurge a little. Buy good stuff. Especially the meat, although the peasants living next door would argue that the cheapest cuts are the most flavorful…and they’d be right….but for this version I spent the big budget bucks from the company and bought Boneless Beef Spare Ribs. Oh my lord!


With or Without the Bone In…Either Way, Baby.

Any good Mexican restaurant worth its tortillas will have a couple of big soups on the menu. Caldo de Res is Beef Soup, one of the most common. It’s pure comfort food and almost as perfect for the morning-after a night of over-indulgence, as a big sloppy bowl of Menudo, with lots of jalapeños and salsa. Only Menudo and me stopped talking a long time ago.

Menudo and Menudo – One is a soup

The fact that we had three Mexican painters doing their good work in the office all week, who we invited to eat with us, inspired me to give them a taste of home (as close as this NorCal white boy could come anyway). So Caldo de Res it was. I served it with wedges of lime, plenty of corn tortillas and a big bottle of hot sauce. And loaded it with veggies: corn, zucchini, green bean, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, tomato, potato, and cilantro.

This is pretty fast, and oh so delicious. It’ll warm you right up.

Buen apetito!


Beef and Vegetable Soup (Caldo de Res)

Serves 6


2 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 2-inch chunks

2 boxes beef stock (bone broth, if you can find it)

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large white onion, halved and sliced into 1-inch pieces

salt and pepper to taste

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds

2 large celery sticks, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 large zucchini squash, cut in 2-inch chunks

3 large ears frozen corn on the cob, halved

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

1 small green cabbage, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 whole lime, wedged

12 good corn tortillas

hot sauce

Brown the beef well in olive oil over med-high heat, about 3-5 min per side.  Remove the meat to a bowl.

Caramelize the onions in the fat remaining (turn heat to low and cook the onions in the fat, stirring occasionally until onions are brown and sweet).

Add the garlic. Add back in the meat, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, add the stock, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 60 minutes. Then uncover and skim off the foam and grease.

Add the carrots, celery stick, squash, corn, green beans, and cabbage. Cover, and continue simmering for 30 more minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Turn the heat off and serve hot with lime wedges, hot sauce and warm corn tortillas. Make sure each bowl gets a couple of big chunks of beef, and a piece of corn.


Chef Tom is currently Resident Chef for a small tech firm in San Francisco. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

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