breakfast + duck soup (recipe for disaster + love included)

Coconut Corn Soup

I just ate breakfast soup, after eating breakfast. Today’s breakfast was pecked in serving order—between feeding the beans, I dug into small bites of Challah French toast Pudding, just a lick of syrup, packed lunches, just a handful of Pirate Booty, three rings of pineapple. Then I returned home to devour the best soup I’ve ever made. Breakfast soup is not a milky porridge with bits of crumbled bacon and a swirl of maple spiced egg custard (though that does sound heavenly). No. It is phenomenal soup of the savory variety from which you won’t be able to keep yourself come breakfast. You’ll eat it cold, standing up, straight out of the fridge. I am crazy in love with this soup. I will share the recipe because it’s my own, and you won’t find one for it anywhere else (believe me, I tried to find it).  But first, a random of the past few days:

They go out in the same order they came in, people say of teeth. We noticed a gap in Lucas’s lower rack, only to discover that a tooth had run away. Lost, didn’t even realize it was gone. Then, another loose tooth, one he was ready to tuck under his pillow as soon as it came loose. Though yesterday, when I picked him up from school, the gap had widened. “Where’s your loose tooth, buddy?”
“Drats,” he said. “Foiled again.”

After a dinner of New York strip and my Sweet Potato Mojo Fries (Sweet potatoes cut into fries, shoved into a plastic baggie with egg whites, then spread upon a parchment-lined baking sheet, cooked at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, flip fries over, cook another 7 minutes or so, then quickly shower the hot “fries” with: salt, 1 clove minced garlic, chopped cilantro, chopped mint, zest of 1 lime, and a pinch of red pepper flakes—the egg whites act like a browned crackling coating), Abigail turned to me and without stopping for a beat said, “Mama, now we need to eat our ice cream for dessert because we have to get all these sweets out of the house!”

Perhaps I’ll spare you the story of Kind Sir’s transition into a Waterfowl the other day. Nervous stomach, meet the ool—notice there’s no “P” in it? Supposed to keep it that way. Oops. Poor Abigail, too, dragged out, soaking, forced to race with us into an air conditioned bathroom, with Lucas truly waddling, appropriately enough, like a Waterfowl, which is exactly the noun I’d turn into a verb to discuss the situation. It was a water-foul. Nightmare on my street. I will also spare you the scene once we entered the bathroom. There will be no discussion of the sink. Truly tasteless, I will also add, after all this poop business, my mind keeps circling corn kernels. I am so sorry.

Last Wednesday, Phil and I stole away to Miami for the afternoon. Phil was there for work, and I’d come along to eat. We dined at Michael’s Genuine Food & Wine (They have a cookbook, too). It’s the kind of place where I imagine patrons asking the waitstaff, “Yes, the chicken is organic, but what was it fed, where did it sleep, and what was his name?” My sustainable food associations with zealots aside, Michael’s offered us fresh, bright, inventive food—surprising. I ordered the soup, which, yes, served as inspiration for the breakfast soup I just devoured. Since I was unable to find the recipe anywhere, including a cursory search in their cookbook via Amazon, I recreated my own version at home. In love, despite the free-association.

– ∞ –

4 cups College Inn Chicken Broth (not stock)
4 ears of shucked fresh corn (Not sure you’ll get the same crunch and perkiness from frozen, but perhaps. Grab a bag, use ¾ of it)
1 baking potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
13.5 oz can of can of good quality coconut milk (my fav: Chaokok brand for its high coconut cream content)
½ red onion
Pinch or two of red pepper flakes (your call on how much heat)
1/3 cup fresh minced mint
1/3 cup fresh minced cilantro (unless you’re one of those people who HATES it)
2 pats of butter to swirl in at the very end
2 tablespoons of olive oil (again, optional. I added at the end, then whisked because I love to see those teeny tiny dots of flavor in my broths)
Totally optional if you like it creamier: ¼ cup Heavy Whipping Cream (or to use if you’re stuck with a crap brand of coconut milk)
1 Avocado, cubed
Zest of 1 lime (optional – I did not do this)
Salt and (white) pepper to taste

I say thin because this isn’t some chunky glue chowder. The broth is thin. Also, you can modify the recipe using low-fat or fat-free alternatives like fat-free half-and-half. I go for the fat kind of thin, personally.

1. Holding them upright in a bowl so kernels don’t fly everywhere, strip the cobs of their kernels as close as possible to the cobs. Place cubed potato and the kernels and their cobs in a large, heavy pot with the broth, making sure the broth covers all. If not, add more broth or water. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover, stirring occasionally, until the corn and potatoes are tender and the broth is flavored, about 17 minutes. Remove and discard the cobs.

2. Whisk in coconut milk (and cream). Add red onion, ½ of chopped herbs, red pepper flakes Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer, uncovered, until the flavors have a chance to meld, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining herbs, season with kosher salt and white pepper to taste. Optionally whisk in butter and/or oil. If you want more brightening power than the mint, add zest of 1 lime.

3. Add avocado cubes to the bottom of each serving bowl, and more red onion if desired, add the soup, and serve immediately, or eat for breakfast reheated in the microwave.



  1. Micheal’s Genuine is spectacular. Have never had one bad morsel ever. Glad you found him. He’s a unique delight in this barred wasteland (foodwise.) He’s opened other venues also. Michy’s is the other place not to be missed.

  2. LOVE Michael’s, and my mouth was watering as I read your recipe. Time to go grocery shopping!

  3. I make a chicken corn soup which is derived from my father’s Lancaster County, PA roots… we put 1/2 – 2/3 the fresh (or frozen.. depending on when I get a hankering for this soup) corn through the food processor. The flavor explosion is phenomenal. This is a traditional chicken noodle, basically… with the corn added (it thickens the broth beautifully) and a few hard boiled eggs thrown in. Positively divine, I promise.

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