Sunday, June 17, 2012

Minestrone and Lady Lessons

I'm not good at following directions. I am REALLY not good at following recipes, though I REALLY am trying, since my sweet husband bought me the most adorable Kitchenaid mixer, and I've been working on baking more.

But I am a lady. I am a lady that believes more in buying fresh, ripe, and hopefully local veges instead of what's in a recipe. And I always think I'm right. It's very charming.

Lady Lesson one: ignore directions whenever you want.

My momzo sent me an LA times recipe for Minestrone... and I went to the Farmer's Market, recipe in tow. HOWEVER, my market didn't have fennel. Or broccoli rabe. My market DID have bok choy and Chinese broccoli (hold your horses, interwebs, I know those aren't even close to the same thing.)  so I will be substituting. And it will be fine. Soup is about making a meal out of a pot of veges... they don't have to be the exact combo that the recipe days... it just has to be good. This lady's soup will not be stopped just because I can't find fennel. And I'll be darned if anyone says that minestrone really has no business containing bok choy.

vegetables are vegetables.

2 tablespoons of olive oil (approx)
6 slices of bacon, diced (plus more, for you to eat while you're cooking. Soup is hard, y'all!)
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced bok choy
1/3 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, smooshed
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped thyme
3/4 teaspoon chopped rosemary
3 teaspoons chopped basil
1 can (14.5 oz) tomatoes, diced
2 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced zucchini
1/2 cup sliced chinese broccoli
3/4 cup cooked orzo (from 1/4 cup uncooked)
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
3 teaspoons chopped parsley
**please note, none of the ingrediences were measured when I made this soup. Except for the dry orzo.

Heat your awesome soup pot. Add bacon, onion, carrot, bok choy (or fennel, if you're good at finding ingredients...), celery, garlic, thyme, rosemary and basil. Stir until it smells like heaven - 5-7 minutes.

That reminds me of 7 minutes in heaven. Which is weird, because I never played that game. I am a lady. And before I was a lady, I was a prude. But I think I read about it. Or I saw 13 going on 30 too many times.

Lady Lesson 2: Don't play 7 minutes in heaven. Unless you want to, in which case, I'm not here to judge.

Anyway, add the tomatoes and broth and let the whole gang come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, so that the flavors can get married.

You rarely get married after 7 minutes in heaven. Or so I assume.

Lady Lesson 3: find a nice man to marry you and buy you kitchenaid mixers and eat all the soup you make.

Add water until you have 1 quart of soup base. Taste it and add S&P if you want.

Lady Lesson 4: you don't always have to measure. Nor do you need to know what a quart is.

Meanwhile, make your orzo. and chop all your other ingredients!

It's been said that you shouldn't rinse mushrooms in water, because it will make them tough. You are supposed to wipe them with a damp paper towel.

I am a lady that does not use paper towels.

So I threw caution to the wind... and RINSED THEM IN THE SINK!!!! Directions - who need's ya?

Sometimes ladies take chances.

Lady Lesson 5: take chances. don't use paper towels.

In another pot, not as big, heat the rest of the olive oil (2-ish tablespoons) and add the rest of the veges, and stir until just tender and lightly colored, about 6-8 minutes.

Lady Lesson 6: Don't crowd the mushrooms! Julia is always right.

Until, of course, you have no choice but to crowd the mushrooms to cook them until just tender and lightly colored, about 6-8 minutes.

Stir the veges into the soup base and add the cooked orzo and garbanzo beans. Heat through and be sure to taste again for seasoning.


Soup Santa

**DISCLAIMER** I do not claim to be an expert lady.  Follow my instructions only if you want to turn out like me.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dirty potato soup, or, mama taught me there can never be too much garlic


Mama taught me there can never be too much garlic

your ingrediences:
5 potatoes
1 large yellow onion
2 bunches green onions
2 heads of garlic
olive oil
2 cubes of chicken stock

I'm sorry. Doing this made my eyes water. So I feel passionate about it. If you don't have a garlic press, you should get one. If you don't have a pampered chef garlic press, you really need to get one. It comes with a thing that fits into the little holes to help you clean it. The cleaning thing CLIPS ON to the press when not in use. It makes my little type A heart happy.

Why, yes, that IS a mimosa in the background!

You will have about 4 cups of delicious onion goodness. Your eyes will be watering. But, if you used your garlic press, your hands won't smell like garlic for days.

Also, cut your potatoes into cubes, about 3/4" - but relax about it. You didn't go to culinary school, no one is going to measure. 

DO NOT PEEL THEM.All the good for you parts are in the skin! And, it wouldn't be dirty soup if you didn't leave the skins on.

 Also, don't take a photo of that because that would show how varied in size your cubes were...

Get those onions into a pot with some olive oil!

Add the potatoes, and cover with 2 quarts of water!
Now, add two ice cubes of chicken stock and stir it up 

It's done cooking after about 40 minutes of deliciousness.
OH! I almost forgot to tell you. in the meantime, you should roast a head of garlic. In the oven. With some olive oil, in foil, in a ramekin. At about 350.
You can now squish all the roasted garlic into your soup.

Now, grab your immersion blender! BLEND!!!

Add some hot sauce...not a ton, just enough.


Soup Santa

PS - I bet you didn't know that I am dying for a kitchen garden. Well, I am. Unfortunately, I have no land, nor enough sunshine to grow much of anything. HOWEVER, if you put the cut ends of green onions in a little jar or dish of water... THEY GROW. It's magical. So you should try it, and make some soup magic.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Turkey Chili for when it's Chilly

It's cold in April here. I live in San Francisco. I used to live in Southern California. I used to not own rainboots, or a real coat. But now I live in San Francisco, where even when it's sunny out, it's pretty chilly... unless you are walking 18,000 steps a day to try to win your company's wellness challenge...

Then it's chilly with a hint of sweaty. But your work clothes can be dry cleaned, and soon they will fit better. Trust.

Especially if you eat such healthy things as Turkey Chili for when it's Chilly. It's a stick-to-your-ribs, warm you up, keep you smiling chili that would be awesome on a hot dog.

Hot dogs aren't GENERALLY considered part of a fitness meal... but it's COLD OUT!

But I'm getting of topic. What you should really do is make some chili.

loosely translated from the kind folks at the Food Network
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onions (leftover from the too many onions you sliced for your French Onion Soup
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped yellow bell peppers
1 pound ground turkey
1 (28-ounce) can crushed organic tomatoes, undrained
1 (16-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Chalula)
11/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Brown your meat, with the onions and bell peppers.
When you brown your turkey, consider pot size. This is two batches worth of turkey. I really thought it would all fit in the one pot...
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Harsh Realities: I didn't measure ANYTHING.
Ha! This is one batch. I split it into two pots... two batches totally would have fit.
Do you see the nutrition? DO YOU SEE IT??

If you're gluten-free, look away. Go back and look at the nutrition in the pot.
You should serve it with these with homemade English muffies.

I'm sorry if you are gluten intolerant. I sometimes wonder if I really tolerate gluten, or if I should try giving it up.

BUT LOOK AT THEM. Is that really a reality I want to explore?
I will never apologize for this.

Nope. Just going on, eating the gluten. Hoping for the best.

Enjoy your chili! And your fitness.
Soup Santa

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Julia's French Onion Soup

Julia Child can do no wrong.

She wanted to make an whole volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking on Soup.

I feel like she gets me. She also smoked and drank and ate a ton of butter.

She wants you to make this soup.

It takes a lot of onions. Slicing them will make you cry. And spill things. But it tastes soooo good. So you forgive her for the crying. And the spilling. Especially if you can eat Gruyere cheese on top.

Julia Child's French Onion Soup

3 lbs onions
3 cloves garlic, minced or smashed
1 t sugar
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups beef broth
S & P to taste
Bread (a baguette, or loaf of crusty french bread)
Shredded Gruyere cheese

This is what was happening while I made this soup. You may notice approximately 12 lbs of flour, purchased from the bulk bins at Berkeley Bowl. This is why you should always look in your cupboards before you go shopping, lest you buy 17 lbs of flour when you already have 9 at home.

All this chaos will become English muffins (from scratch, no bigs) meatballs, chili, french onion soup and a frittata)

I enjoy herbs in mason jars, like little aromatic, edible flower arrangements
Indeed. it was an epic day of cooking to remember.

This is too many onions.

Slice. Add as many to a hot pot on the stove (with about 2 T of olive oil warmed in it) as will fit.
This many will not fit. Sure, it will cook down, but come on people. Put the onions in your meatballs and your chili and your frittata!

Some will fall on the ground. That will help in the reduction of the number of onions you have to cram into your pot.

There is a reasonable amount of onions for this soup.
Add garlic and 1 teaspoon sugar. Cook for 20 mins, until translucent and caramelized. This may take longer if you crammed too many darn onions into the pot.
Once you've reached your desired carmelization, add the wine, cook for 7 minutes. Add beef stock. Simmer for one hour. Dish it out into oven-proof bowls, top with bread and cheese. Broil for 2-4 minutes. Enjoy!

Unless you are lactose intolerant. In which case, just eat it like this and be glad you're not gluten intolerant. Not because there is gluten in this soup... but just in general. It's a count your blessings kind of thing.
Thank you, Julia, for your infinite wisdom, your love for soup and butter, and for your voice.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ham Bone Soup And Things I Like


I like a lot of things. There are, obvi, lots of things I do not like, but focusing on those things would be a downer, right?

I like Jackie cardigans from JCrew. Even if they are short. I have too many Jackie cardigans.
I like when my husband emails me to say good morning, i love you, and then suggests that he wants to give me a gift every month for no reason.  How sweet is that?

I am not sure what I should give him every month... marriage is hard, y'all. I wonder if soup would work?
I really like burritos.
I really like deciding what color Kitchenaid stand mixer I would buy, if I were to buy such a thing. (tangerine. or pear. or classic red. or maybe stainless???)
I like walking to work.
I like daffodils in mason jars.
I like EVERYTHING in mason jars. Like leftover soup.

You can make soup from anything and from nothing. As long as you have a ham bone and some determination.

Isn't that really all we need in life anyway? Pork and a strong will!

I like ham bones.

I started this soup with nothing but the ham bone leftover from Easter dinner, the dregs of a veggie platter from a work party, and an almost-donezo head of cauliflower - and it became a miracle. I put the celery, half the carrots, some onions and the ham bone in the soup pot. I let that jam for about 10 minutes, then added water to cover the bone. Simmer for one hour, don't let it boil hard or the fat does this crazy thing where it breaks down and makes the stock greasy... trust me.

I like roasting vegies

Roast your veggies and three cloves of garlic for 40 minutes at about 275 - keep an eye on them. Dice the garlic after its been roasted.

Remove the ham bone and celery from the ham stock. Take the meat off the bone, return to the pot. Discard bone and celery. Add roasted vegetables to the stock, and add some frozen peas, you daring chef you! Simmer 15 minutes.

I should note that at this time your apartment will smell like HAM HEAVEN.

I like taking soup to work for lunch in mason jar

Dish it up. Save some for lunch tomorrow. 

Think of things to give your husband as a little gift that are not socks. Or lunch, because you already make that for him. So it doesn't count.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Seriously Tasty Tomato Soup

My pal Emily and I made up something brilliant. It's called Epic Day of Cooking. And you each gather 3-4 recipes, make your shopping list, go to the Berkeley Bowl, shop away (make sure you get enough bar snack mix), and then go to Emily's apartment, cook everything, and put it in single serving size tupperware and freeze it.

And then you're incredible, and you have tasty soups for days!

Did I mention you drink champagne while cooking? It makes you even more incredible. It does not help you use consistent formatting on your instagram though. Strange.
The half and half in this photo is a lie. You could put a splash in at the end, but then it would cause unfortunate side effects for your lactose-intolerant friends. Anyway, just ignore it.
Tomatos. Like, 5 lbs.
Onions. Like, 3
Chicken Stock (you really should make your own)
2 Bay leaves

Chop your onions. Be furious that Berkeley doesn't compost. Really Berkeley? REALLY?

Core and halve your tomatoes, stick them on a sheet pan with your garlic and onions.

S&P for roasting.

Roast them for 25 minutes

Mmm... roasted.

Apply veg to soup pot, add 2 bay leaves and chicken stock. Simmer for 40 minutes.

Take out your bay leaves! They are tough to digest.... 

Add some basil!
Fresh basil is a totally delicious herb. I have a hankering for an herb garden. But alas, apartment living and San Francisco fog may not let it be as fruitful as my Momzo's. Her garden is magical.

Anyway, back to soup.

Enjoy your success with a(nother) glass of champagne! You are making soup magic!

Blend the soup with your immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, stop reading this blog and GO GET ONE NOW.

Blend it until it looks even more delicious.

You will be so excited about how tasty it is, that you won't even WANT to add a splash of half & half.

You will be so excited, you will forget to photograph it. But trust me, it looks good. Put it in your belly.

Soup Santa