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Dining In: Soup’s on in the River Towns

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Last weekend’s threat of snow that never materialized may have put a little damper on the Lambertville-New Hope Winter Festival, but there is still time to enjoy some of the culinary events, starting with the Soup-A-Thon competition.

A dozen restaurants in New Hope and Lambertville are serving their signature soups for the competition, which is celebrating its third year. To participate, try as many soups as you can by the end of the festival on Sunday, Jan. 27, then go to the website (winterfestival.net) and find a ballot where you vote for your top two favorites.

Participating restaurants and their soups are, in Lambertville, Lambertville Station serving vegetarian minestrone, Inn of the Hawke offering stuffed pepper soup, Liv & Charlie’s Real Food with fire-roasted tomato basil (also vegetarian), Jess’s Juice Bar & Cafe with vegan butternut squash soup, It’s Nutts on the Canal dishing up seafood chowder, Sneddon’s Luncheonette offering chicken pot pie soup, More Than Q BBQ serving smoked shrimp and chicken and sausage gumbo, and Deanna’s Restaurant offering Sailor D’s Block Island Clam Chowder.

In New Hope, the Logan Inn is serving creamy beef stroganoff soup, Havana is offering tomato basil, GreenHouse has (vegetarian) roasted apple and butternut squash soup and Martine’s RiverHouse is serving fennel and housemade pork sausage soup.

In addition to the Soup-A-Thon there are ticketed events, which include tonight’s Taste of Lambertville at the Inn at Lambertville Station. Fifteen local restaurants and food purveyors will be serving samples of their wares from 7 to 9 p.m. Participating restaurants are the Logan Inn, the Salt House, River Cat Café, Marsha Brown, Hotel du Village, the Pork Shack and Nektar in New Hope, Basil Bandwagon of Flemington, Caleb’s American Kitchen of Lahaska and El Tule of Lambertville.

Other ticketed items include the Beef and Brew Saturday, and the Chili Cook-Off Sunday, both at Triumph Brewing Co. in New Hope. For a complete list of ticketed and free events see the website.

Now that you are thinking about hot foods to warm you up from our recent bout of chilly weather, this quick and easy soup recipe from allrecipes.com pairs perfectly with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Rich and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
4 cups tomato juice
14 leaves fresh basil
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup butter
salt and pepper to taste

Place tomatoes and juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves, and return the puree to the stock pot.

Place the pot over medium heat, and stir in the heavy cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Do not boil.

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