Soup's up

Tickets are sold out for the annual Potter's Bowl fundraiser, but some soup recipes are available

Tickets are sold out for the annual Potter's Bowl fundraiser, but some soup recipes are available

February 08, 2006|by KRISTIN WILSON

On the menu is soup, soup and more soup.

Organizers and volunteers are putting the finishing touches on the 12th annual Potter's Bowl, with plans to serve up nine different soups for 240 people.

The fundraising event has become a popular tradition, with tickets selling out in the same week they go on sale, say event organizers Carol Mendelsohn and Janet Emral Shaool.

But the Potter's Bowl also has been a success for the Community Free Clinic in Hagerstown, the beneficiary of the dinner and auction for the past 11 years.


Last year the clinic received more than $15,000 raised from the event.

This year's Potter's Bowl kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown. At the event ticket-holders have their choice of a handmade bowl made by one of 26 regional potters. The bowl is their ticket to any of the nine soups, eight of which are made by members of Congregation B'Nai Abraham in Hagerstown. Volunteers also are making sweet breads, onion bread, cabbage salad and fresh fruit platters. Members of Trinity Lutheran Church are preparing a dessert spread.

"It's a good interfaith project," says Mendelsohn of the Potter's Bowl. The event started out as a fundraiser sponsored by Congregation B'Nai Abraham but soon grew beyond the synagogue's space. All 240 available tickets for this year's event at Trinity Lutheran Church's social hall have already sold out.

For those who won't be able to attend this year's event, Tri-State area residents can try their hand at making some of the soups that will be served up for a good cause.

The Grille at Park Circle restaurant in Hagerstown has donated its well-known Maryland Crab Soup to the fundraiser event for several years, says restaurant co-owner Bob Ginsberg. The medium-spice recipe has been a big hit at the Potter's Bowl, Mendelsohn adds.

One trick to making a good crab soup is to select claw meat, which is a sweeter crabmeat, and add it at the end of cooking, says Alex Diamond, Park Circle head chef. If the meat is added earlier, it could stick to the bottom of the pot or break up into thin shreds.

Janet Broadwater is making soup for the first time this year. She's bringing Pasta e Fagioli, a soup she used to make for her son's wrestling events at North Hagerstown High School.

"This soup is great for crowds," she says. And, it's hard to mess up. "That's a wonderful part of the recipe: There's no wrong way to do it."

Broadwater says she always "ad-libs" with the Italian pasta and bean soup and it works out each time.

Leah Neveil is returning to the Potter's Bowl with her Mulligatawny Soup, a spicy chicken soup that has its origins in Anglo-Indian cuisine. Neveil and her husband share an interest in English history, culture and cooking and learned about Mulligatawny Soup through their research. While the soup is a favorite of the Neveils, it sometimes takes an adventurous eater to get past the soup's appearance.

"It looks funny," Neveil says. "The curry makes it a violent yellow color."

Event tickets are gone, but raffle still is open

Tickets for the Potter's Bowl event are sold out, however, raffle tickets are available until Saturday, Feb. 11, for $2 per ticket at area locations, including Fahrney's Hallmark Cards & Gifts, Howard's Art Supplies & Frames, Carol & Company, The Figurehead and The Boutique. Raffle items include local art - a Ben Jones painting, Lucy Ecker painting, Joan Bontempo ceramic work of art, hand-pieced quilt and a personalized mailbox by Carriagehouse Design. Ticket-holders do not need to be present to win.

Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta and Bean Soup)

6 tablespoons olive oil

Leaves from a sprig of rosemary, minced

2 onions, thickly, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 carrots, thickly chopped

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

1 pound fresh baby spinach leaves

1/2 pound ham or 2 ounces pancetta or prosciutto, julienned (optional)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon pesto, or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon fresh oregano

1/4 teaspoon fresh mint

2 (15-ounce) cans whole tomatoes and juice

6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

2 (1-pound) cans of dark red kidney beans

1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans, or about 2 1/2 cups fresh

1/2 pound good quality dried pasta (ditali or small elbows)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese

Heel of a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)

If using dried beans, soak them overnight and change the water, picking them over to remove stones or bean skins. Cook the beans in 7 cups of water until soft.

In a large saucepan, lightly saut the rosemary in the oil, then stir in onions, carrots, and peppers and cook over medium heat until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the ham (if using), spinach, basil or pesto, garlic, oregano and mint. Stir for a few minutes, then add the drained tomatoes (reserving juice). Cook at medium high heat, stirring until the mixture makes a thick sauce.

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