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Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category


After the hurricane when we came down with colds, I had an impulse to make chicken soup. But being congested, I really wanted something I could taste. I always love Asian soups, and a little spice sounded like a great idea. And it was. But next time, I won’t wait to be sick to make this soup.

Thai Red Curry Chicken Soup

5 cups chicken stock

1 package rice noodles

2 tablespoons thai red curry paste

3 tablespoons fish sauce

1/2 can coconut milk

2 tablespoons sugar

Juice and zest of 2 limes

3 tablespoons cilantro (or basil or parsley), chopped

2 tablespoons mint, chopped

1-2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken or roasted chicken breast

1 tablespoon sesame or vegetable oil

Saute the curry paste in the oil for a few seconds to infuse the oil. Add the stock, fish sauce, coconut milk, sugar, lime zest and half the juice, and let it come to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the chicken and allow to warm through. Off the heat, add the herbs and the remaining lime juice and serve.

 

Easy Chicken Stock

1 chicken carcass with leftover bones

1 onion, cut into quarters

2 garlic cloves

2 carrots, cut in half

a couple sprigs of any herb in the fridge, such as sage, thyme, parsley, etc

salt and pepper

water

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and fill with water to almost full. Allow to simmer for 45-60 minutes and then allow to cool on the stove. Strain out the solids, and either use immediately or freeze for later.

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Well, it’s been a challenging couple of weeks on the M&M front; first the hurricane and then my computer decided to die on me. Consequently, I feel like Thanksgiving has snuck up on me. I don’t think I will be making a full Thanksgiving meal this year, however I will do a Thanksgiving-inspired menu. I might include this Angel Hair with Butternut Squash and Sage as a side dish, because there really should a pasta to make it a holiday.

This Farinata would make a great gluten-free appetizer to snack on while the rest of the meal cooks. You can change the toppings to suit your mood, but I liked the olive and cheese combination.

Eggplant Caponata is always a good appetizer as well, and this version is a little Thanksgiving-inspired, with the use of cinnamon.

We usually make a vegetarian option which tends to be a Lasagna or some Stuffed Mushrooms. I always make extra though, because invariably the meat-eaters want them too.

Butternut Squash Soup flavored with apples and sage is a fantastic way to start the meal. I can’t get enough butternut squash in the fall.

Thanksgiving requires a mashed vegetable of some sort,  so I either go with these Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Prosciutto or some Parsnip Puree.

And of course, we can’t forget the cranberry sauce. I ALWAYS make this Brandied Cranberry Sauce so I have plenty leftover. Stay tuned for some Turkey Pot Pie!

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We survived the hurricane without any damage beyond getting a little stir-crazy, so I have to feel pretty grateful. We didn’t lose power or have any terrible flooding, but all we could do for days was watch the damage on TV. Of course, one of my first plans of action was to get to work on hurricane food.

Naturally, my first inclination was for mac & cheese, which was so delicious that it was gone before I could take pictures. For those curious, my mac & cheese is basically my tuna noodle casserole without the tuna. Next up, tomato soup and grilled cheese. I had some cherry tomatoes that were ready to be roasted, and combined them with some canned tomatoes to round out the soup. Perfect cold, rainy weather food. And it’s always a good time for a grilled cheese.

Roasted Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

1 pint cherry tomatoes

4 tablespoons olive oil

12 sprigs thyme

1/2 can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed or pureed

1 cup red wine

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 slices whole grain bread

3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese

thin slices apple, a tablespoon apricot or fig jam, etc (optional)

Roast the cherry tomatoes with half the olive oil and half the thyme at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic in the remaining olive oil for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the tomato paste and allow to rust for another minute or two. Add the roasted tomatoes, canned tomatoes, sugar, and wine. Allow to cook together for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the grilled cheese. You may choose to puree the soup with a stick blender, but we wanted it chunky this time.

Toast the bread in a pan with olive oil or in a toaster until light brown. Add the cheese and any toppings you may like. Cook in a saute pan with a little olive oil or butter until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted. Make sure to flip halfway through and a lid can sometimes help the cheese to melt. Use medium heat so that the bread does not burn before the cheese has finish melting. Allow to cool a few minutes before cutting, so that the cheese does not run out.

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In the summer, we all switch over to cold soups, which I don’t really enjoy all that much. I’m not a big fan of raw onion or raw garlic, so gazpacho has never been a favorite…until now. A little bit of heat with the juicy tomatoes and the refreshing watermelon makes a delicious summer soup that I like with a skewer of marinated shrimp. All it needs is a squeeze of lime, and it’s perfect for these hot days.

Watermelon Gazpacho

2 cups cubed watermelon

1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 scallions

Juice of 1-2 limes

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (to taste)

salt and pepper (to taste)

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until it reaches a think consistency but still has some texture. Chill until ready to serve.

Marinated Grilled Shrimp

1/2 pound large shrimp cleaned with shells removed (I like to remove tails so they can just be eaten)

1 teaspoon aleppo pepper

1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

salt and pepper

Juice of 1 lime

3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl to marinate for 30-45 minutes. Much longer, and the lime will start to cook the shrimp. Skewer them onto soaked skewers and grill for 2-3 minutes on the first side, until they start to turn pink. Flip and continue to cook for 1 minute more on the other side. Remove and serve with a lime wedge.

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It’s that time of year where everyone goes crazy over ramps. I tend to like them best in pastas and risottos or with eggs, but I decided to try them in this soup. It’s the perfect spring soup, which I like to leave a little chunky by using my immersion blender. If you can’t get ramps, leave them out or substitute some garlic or onion. Either way, enjoy a little bit of spring!

In other news, it’s my birthday and we’re going to Puglia next week! Get ready for some new Italy-inspired recipes!

Asparagus, Ramp and Leek Soup

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces

6 ramps, chopped

3 leeks, washed well and chopped

2 cups chicken stock (I use homemade, but feel free to use your favorite or substitute vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)

1 cup white wine

1 teaspoon minced chives

salt and pepper to taste

squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil (optional)

Combine the asparagus, leeks, and ramps in a pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil or butter and season with salt and pepper. Saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and stock and simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Off the heat, carefully blend with an immersion blender. Add the chives and serve. Add a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil if you would like.

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Ochazuke is one of my favorite comfort foods and I’ve been craving it this week as I’m sick with a cold. A nice, light broth combined with salmon for protein and rice for substance makes it a perfect one bowl meal. I may be congested, but thankfully I can still taste this. It’s traditional pub food, and I loved it the first time I tried it. I’m waiting to learn how to make dashi from a Japanese friend, but this is a pretty good version. Most ingredients you should be able to find in your supermarket, but feel free to substitute!

Ochazuke

1 cup cooked white rice (any variety will do)

2 cups hot freshly brewed green tea

2 tablespoons mirin

4 ounces salmon fillet

2 tablespoons bonito flakes or ground bottarga

2 tablespoons japanese rice seasoning or combination dried seaweed and sesame seeds

Roast the salmon for 10 minutes with just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper until it’s cooked to medium rare. Pile the rice in a bowl and lay the salmon over the top. Sprinkled with bonito and rice seasoning. Combine the tea and mirin and pour over the top.


Chazuke

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Last year we tried Urban Organics, who brought us a box of produce every week. I had no idea how many beets we would end up getting, and I kept trying to come up with new things to do with them (and the beet greens). It seemed there’s a dearth of good vegetables in winter, so it’s a good thing I’ve learned to like beets. This year, I found a beet soup on the Bon Appetit Cleanse and I had to try it. I have to admit, the original recipe tasted…well…healthy. So I’ve doctored it up a bit and I think this might be the still healthy but tasty version.

Beet Soup with Caramelized Onions

6-8 beets roasted in foil for an hour at 375 degrees and skinned, or pre-cooked

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

1 cup red wine

2 cups vegetable stock

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

1/4 cup plain yogurt

Saute the onion in the butter and olive oil until it softens. Add the thyme and continue to cook until they start to caramelize and brown. Deglaze the pan with the wine and add the beets. Cook for a few minutes. Add the stock, ginger, and five-spice powder. Cook for another 10 minutes and then let cool a little. Blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender (carefully). Add the yogurt and stir through. Reheat if necessary. Garnish with some extra yogurt and scallion slices.

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After more than a week of eating healthy, this soup tasted so great with just a little ground lamb. I’ve started craving carbs, but not meat– until I started smelling this meat cooking. Because it had been a while, the soup was even more satisfying. I don’t cook a lot with all these spices, so it was nice to have an excuse to try them out. They make it a warm and hearty soup, almost a stew. It definitely inspired me to cook more Moroccan food, especially with some Israeli couscous once I’m back on carbs! If you don’t like cilantro, you could definitely substitute parsley.

Moroccan Lamb Soup

1/2 pound ground lamb

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 large onion, chopped

3-4 slices ginger

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup French lentils

1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 can chickpeas, drained well

5 cups water

1 lemon, zested and juiced

Roast the cherry tomatoes at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Meanwhile, start browning the meat in a large pot or dutch oven. Once browned, stir in the cinnamon stick, red pepper flakes, and cumin. Add the onion and ginger and stir through. Add in the tomato paste and season with salt. Add the lentils and the cilantro. Add the water and deglaze the pan by scraping up all the bits on the bottom. Cook for 20 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes and chickpeas and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and zest and season to taste. Serve with some cilantro on top if you wish.

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It was a great first year for my latest project, Meatballs and Milkshakes. I had a chance to make both namesakes for my blog, spaghetti and meatballs and affogato milkshakes.

My recipe for shaved asparagus salad won on Food52 and I got all sorts of prizes. (And my recipe will be in print in October 2012!)

I had a great guest blog from Gareth with some music to go along with it, a favorite song around the apartment which reminds me that I still have not blogged about the trip to Ravello and Positano. Well, at least I’ve still got things to do in 2012.

There were a lot of favorites that came out of the kitchen this year, including prosciutto and goat cheese stuffed dates, scallop crudo, burrata and tomato crostini, seared scallops with spinach and pine nuts, chicken with porcini mushrooms, veal saltimbocca, and beef stew.

Of course, I can’t forget all the great pasta– linguine with bacon, peas and mint, pappardelle with duck ragurisotto with spinach, lemon and bay scallops, gorgonzola and mushroom tajarin, linguine carbonara, pesto, spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, gnocchi, and carrot and butternut squash lasagna.

I learned that I loved burrata, Di Palo, and Eataly, and surprisingly, I don’t actually hate all ricotta. I made a surprising amount of pasta by hand and got a ricer for gnocchi.

It wasn’t all Italian all the time, however. There were a lot of cookies, including nutella chocolate chip, chewy chocolate chip, double chocolate, chocolate chip hazelnut, jam thumbprints, and spice cookies.

We celebrated Gareth’s birthday with a delicious chocolate layer cake. We had peach and raspberry crisps and crostatas. I brought zucchini bread on vacation and we had a beautiful and delicious berry pie.

The fall meant apple picking and with it, the bounty of apple-inspired recipes such as apple oat muffins, pork chops with apple chutney, apple pie, butternut squash soup, and apple butter.

Thanksgiving was quickly followed by Christmas and then the whirlwind into New Years.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes was a great success, and my favorites were the marinated sardines, shrimp bisque, and baccala alla vicentina. The chocolate pudding will also be made regularly.

A lot of great friends came over for some really delicious meals and I’m looking forward to more in 2012. Up on the docket are braciole, lasagna, and maybe some healthy dinners like salmon and brown rice in the next couple of weeks….have to balance out the pasta somehow…

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Shrimp Bisque - Meatballs&Milkshakes

While this soup is not necessarily Italian, I think it works very well with all the other flavors. You could substitute marsala or another sweet Italian dessert wine and it would be maybe a little more authentic, but I’m a big fan of the Sherry with the shrimp. I served this in little glasses because I didn’t want us to get too full too fast. However, on a cold winter day a nice bowl of this with some crusty bread would be just perfect.

Shrimp Bisque

6 shrimp, cleaned

1 leek, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup white wine

1/4 cup Sherry (I used Pedro Ximenez)

1 tablespoon flour

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup fish stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Saute the leek and garlic in some olive oil to soften. Add the shrimp and cook until they start to develop some color. Add the tomato paste and let it rust a little. Deglaze with the wine and sherry. Add the flour and butter and stir to combine. Add the fish stock and cook for a couple minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend it so that it’s smooth but with some little chunks– you want to know you’re eating shrimp. It’s ready to serve.

Shrimp Bisque - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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