A Savory, Satisfying Soup

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - February 17, 2010
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Donna Bebber is a tireless community volunteer who knows how to put the fun in fundraising. Not content with the usual hotel ball-room/black tie and rubber chicken dinner/auction event, Bebber is using her position as chairwoman of Manoa Valley Theatre’s annual Manoa Marquee fundraiser to make sure the 2010 event is one where folks can really let their hair down!

Slated for April 25, this year Manoa Marquee will be held at a private indoor/outdoor club downtown, and the party will be themed after MVT’s eagerly anticipated production of Hair. That means lots of tie-dye, suede, Afros and braids, beads, bubble machines and even the option to purchase a blanket on the grass instead of the usual table for 10. Entertainment will be provided by the cast of Hair,so expect to rock out to the likes of Aquarius, Hair, Sunshine of Your Love and Stoned Soul Picnic. There may even be brownies for dessert. Far out!


The event will honor performer, donor, sponsor, volunteer and patron of the arts Richard Aadland, who, Bebber points out with a giggle, has no hair.

This column is dedicated to Bebber, whose volunteer work has benefited countless nonprofits including such local organizations as the Honolulu Symphony, Pacific Aviation Museum, Arizona Memorial Association and, of course, Manoa Valley Theatre.

For information or tickets to Manoa Valley Theatre’s 2010 Manoa Marquee: HAIR (or to reserve tickets for the stage production of the musical Hair onstage March 4-21 with extensions possible), call MVT at 988-6131.

Try this wonderful soup to warm the chilly winter nights we are having in Hawaii.

Here are a few garlic tips:

* For easy peeling: Place cloves between two pieces of wax paper, crush lightly with a knife, and the peel should slide off easily.

* For mild garlic flavor, rub the inside of salad bowls with the peel of a raw garlic clove.

* Macerate cloves of garlic in olive oil to impart extra flavor to the oil.

The longer the cloves are left in the oil, the stronger the flavor.

* Most importantly: To freshen breath after garlic consumption, chew on a few fresh mint or parsley sprigs - and you thought parsley was just a garnish for the plate!


* 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
* 2 medium leeks, whites only, washed well and chopped
* 1 cup chopped Maui sweet onions
* salt, to taste
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
* 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
* 1/2 cup roasted garlic
* 1/4 cup dry white wine
* 4 cups vegetable stock
* 1/2 loaf rustic Italian bread, cut into cubes
* 1/2 cup low-fat milk
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
* 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
* 1 package toasted crostini (find in gourmet section, or deli section of supermarket)

Coat large pot with cooking spray, heat to medium and add pancetta, cooking until fat is rendered, about five minutes. Add the leeks, onions, salt, pepper and thyme and cook five to six minutes. Add the roasted garlic and stir well to incorporate. Add the wine; bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the wine is nearly all evaporated, about four minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft and the soup is slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Add cubes of bread to thicken (or, if you prefer a thinner soup, do not add bread or only add as much for the thickness you want) and blend with an immersion blender.

Add the milk, parsley and lemon juice and simmer for five minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Place in individual bowls and serve with toasted crostini slices.

Makes four servings.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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