Dill pickle soup a 'Taste of Royalty' treat
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 10:24
WAYNE - Regulars at the annual Taste of Royalty fundraiser for Elmwood Schools know not to miss Sandy Tolbert's food station as they're making their rounds picking up delectable samples.
|Sandy Tolbert with her dill pickle soup garnished with a hint of cayenne pepper powder and dill. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Whatever she's offering - and she's been one of the featured cooks every year since Taste of Royalty was inaugurated - it's gonna be good.
"Every year it's been a soup," Tolbert said of her contribution.
There was chili one year, gumbo another, beef vegetable a third, "and the very first year I did cream of broccoli and beef-barley soups, both," she recalls. "The cream of broccoli was probably my most favorite of those. It was totally gone."
But this year's soup will undoubtedly take the prize for most unusual - even show-stopping.
It's called dill pickle soup.
Fellow Taste of Royalty chef Maralee Noone, who is also a past Cook's Corner featured cook, has had the pleasure of tasting Tolbert's dill pickle soup.
Her first reaction was one that will probably be shared by many other people hearing the name of the soup: "Dill pickle. Really?"
But after she'd had a taste Noone's reaction changed to "Wow, it's not bad! I'm not really a pickle fan, and I had two bowls of it!"
It took the skills of a detective for Tolbert to acquire the recipe in the first place.
"Good friends Butch and Molly Gliva took me out for dinner for my birthday to a Polish restaurant in Toledo" a couple of years ago "and this soup was served."
Despite Tolbert's pleadings, the restaurant's owners wouldn't share with her the recipe for the soup.
That didn't stop Tolbert.
"We went online and tried to figure that recipe out. Then we went home and tried it quite a few times, and eventually we ended up with one that we were satisfied with."
Tolbert says her version of the dill pickle soup is a little thicker in consistency than the original, "but we like it that way."
The restaurant in question is Bu'sia Narozyn, which means "grandma's cooking" in Polish. It's located on Laske Road in Toledo, for anyone who'd like to drive up there, order it and conduct a taste comparison of their own.
"It's a little corner place and boy, they really have some good things!"
Since perfecting the recipe on her own Tolbert has served dill pill soup to both friends and family. "Everybody - they just like it."
Tolbert planned to start making her batches of the soup for Taste of Royalty over the weekend. The event is slated for this Saturday at 6 p.m. in the school auditeria, with tickets on sale in the high school office and at Country Farmhouse in Wayne.
"We try to do at least 200 servings."
She finds it a pretty simple soup to put together.
"I think it's very easy. Your time (taken) is cutting up all the stuff - and grating," she said of the carrots, potatoes, celery and pickles. "I find that therapeutic!"
The only caution she offers is that cooks "really need to taste for the dill pickle juice. They may need to add more" than the suggested 3/4 cup, which is more of a recommended starting point.
Tolbert, who has three children, six granddaughters and five great-grandchildren, is retired from the public safety department at Bowling Green State University.
But "I could not stand being at home," she discovered. "It drove me nuts."
So now she works part-time at Elmwood as a study hall monitoring aide.
Part-time employment also allows her some time to travel. Two years ago she took a trip to New Orleans. There, on the spur of the moment and at the suggestion of a hotel concierge, she enrolled in a cooking school.
"I jumped at the chance!" and stayed an extra day just to learn how to make an authentic gumbo and a to-die-for bread pudding with whiskey sauce.
Even though she's always contributed soups to Taste of Royalty, Tolbert admits "there isn't anything I don't like to make. I have all these cookbooks."
She's not kidding. On average, she acquires three new cookbooks each month - including the latest offerings from Rachael Ray, Paula Deen and Taste of Home.
"There's baskets of them around here and I don't throw anything away."
Tolbert make a point of trying something from every single cookbook and has found some real gems that way.
"Paula Deen's red velvet cake with vanilla bean icing - that was a hit!"
By mid-October every year, a busy Tolbert divides her time between cooking and sewing.
"I love to sew Halloween costumes" and this year has two grandkids the right age for trick-or-treating, although she can't say "no" if someone else in the family wants a costume.
Her son, 50, hosts a big Halloween costume party most years and last year "he wanted to be the pirate Jack Sparrow."
Tolbert never designs costumes for herself. "I dress everybody else!"
She enjoys coming up with "very authentic" ensembles. Past favorites have included 16th century Irish and Medieval garb.
"I really like the big dresses," she added.
Dill pickle soup
8 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup dill pickle juice (depends on your taste )
3/4 cup grated carrots
3/4 diced celery
10 cups diced potatoes
2 cups grated dill pickles
2 T. flour
1 cup milk ( I use half/half )
1/2 cup sour cream
salt & pepper
Combine broth and dill juice, carrots, potatoes and celery in soup pot, cook, covered over low heat until potatoes are tender. Add pickles and cook 15 minutes.
Mix milk and flour until smooth, add to hot soup, mixing well. Bring to a boil, stirring until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
Beat egg with sour cream until smooth. Add to hot soup. stirring until smooth. Keep soup warm but do not let it boil or will curdle. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 October 2011 10:25