Category Archives: Pots of Goodness

Spring Chicken Soup

 

This recipe is straight outta Steamboat from Tania, Bring It’s Rocky Mountain correspondent. Along with her husband, she invented this by merging three Thai recipes. As Tania  says,  “It can be tweaked anyway you want, but it is pretty amazing as written.” She also admits it’s a pain in the butt to make, but it’s really nothing more than a a few rounds of chopping sautéing and stirring. 

What I love about this soup, beyond it’s sheer freshness, is the way it builds in the pot, kind of like stone soup. I guess this is how Stone Soup would evolve in a community with really well stocked veggie drawers. It features a lot of greens, and can handle a lot of flexibility. That said, the first time I made it I was missing key ingredients—fish sauce, mint, red peppers—and used the wrong mushrooms and imposter jalapeños. (It’s New Hampshire. It happens).The result was ok but underwhelming. The next time I made it, with the right stuff, it got the kind of unsolicited rave reviews I NEVER get from soup.

There are no amounts listed for the fresh herbs, but be generous with them, according to your taste. If you want to freelance, I suggest doing it on the amount of oil and butter used at each phase, using whatever amount looks and feels right to you. It makes a lot, so as you reheat it during the week, give it fresh cha-cha  by adding more ginger, garlic and lime. 

Spring Chicken Soup

Courtesy of Chuck and Tania Coffey

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups of chicken stock
  • *olive oil
  • *butter
  • 1 ½ lb boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 3” ginger root peeled and minced
  • 2 red peppers sliced thinly
  • ¾ lb shitake mushrooms sliced
  • 3 limes (skin from one lime)
  • ¼ c fish sauce
  • fresh basil
  • fresh mint
  • fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
  • 3 jalapenos diced
  • 2 fresnos cut in rings (easterners, you are forgiven if you can’t track these downw)
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 T brown sugar
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 11 oz  baby spinach (1 entire plastic coffin)
  • i package straight cut rice noodles

Method:

Pour all the stock into a big pot and heat on medium high.

Grill chicken (or cook up however works for you) 8-10 minutes per side. The breasts are undercooked because they are going in the soup.  When cool enough to cut, cube into 1” pieces and add to soup.

In a nonstick pan heat 1 T butter and 1T olive oil and cook garlic and ginger until fragrant.  Pour into pot.

In a large nonstick pan heat 2 T butter and 1T olive oil (I used less here) and cook mushrooms until fragrant and starting to brown. Add a half cup or so water to the cooking mushrooms if they seem dry.  Add to soup.

Add 1-2 T butter to pan and cook red peppers until slightly soft. Add to soup. You’re done with that pan now.

Grate the skin of a lime into soup. Add juice of 3 limes and the fish sauce to soup.Cut stems of cilantro into ½” pieces and add to soup.
Slice fresnos and mince jalapenos and add to soup.
Add coconut milk, red pepper flakes to taste and  brown sugar.
Chop basil, cilantro and mint leaves and add to soup with all of the spinach (you really have to use a big spoon to get it all in there).
Cover soup partially and cook until the spinach wilts (this happens fast).
In another pot bring water to boil and cook rice noodles according to directions. (alternatively serve this over jasmine rice)
To serve put noodles in a bowl and cover with soup.  Add red pepper flakes to taste.
The soup gets better the next day especially if you add a bit more garlic, ginger and jalapeno.

Looking for other fresh spring recipes? How about minty snap pea salad, or of course Marcharitas. And because it’s the confluence of soup season and sugaring season—what we lack in peppers around here, we make up for in maple—don’t forget maple oat breakfast bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cauliflower and Pear Soup

 

My Dad’s favorite soup was vichyssoise, which is French for a cream, leek and mashed potatoes milkshake. While vichyssoise is delicious, I always feel a little guilty having a day’s worth of calories in a cup. It’s also traditionally served cold, which makes it a tough sell in winter. This soup, from Food52, reminds me of Vichyssoise in its creamy texture and in its potato/leek provenance. It is, however, downright healthy and served hot—key features for all food in January.

The addition of pears here is all upside, especially if you need a way to use up any Christmas pears. By the way, if you happen to have that problem, I’ll be right over! It also cooks in one pot. And that’s not all…it can easily be Veganized by replacing the butter with your fat of choice, and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Swirl in some cream if you need a hug.

Cauliflower and Pear Soup
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, green leaves and trunk removed, florets chopped
  • 2 small yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 5 leaves fresh sage (or about 2 tsp chopped), plus more for garnish, if desired
  • 1 T chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 5 to 6 cups chicken stock
  • kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tsp sherry vinegar, or to taste (champagne vinegar also works well)
  • 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup (optional)

For Serving:

Method:

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the leek and shallot, and cook until they are soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower, potato, pear, sage, and thyme, stirring to thoroughly coat them with the oil and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently, another 8 to 10 minutes. (if your pot is pretty full it may take quite a bit longer. Be loose and go with your instincts here). You’re aiming for a little caramelization around the edges for depth of flavor.
  3. Add 5 cups chicken stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, lower heat to just maintain the simmer, and cook until all of the ingredients are very tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. With an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the soup until it’s smooth. If using a blender, you may need to do this step in batches, then return to pot. You’re looking for a smooth, velvety texture, so take your time to blend thoroughly. Thin with more chicken stock, if needed, until you reach desired consistency.
  5. Season to taste with vinegar, maple syrup if desired (when would it not be?) and salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls, with garnish of choice

The experts say you should serve this with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich. Who am I to argue? And in case you wondered, it’s darned good cold as well. Buck would approve!

Winter’s back. Stay warm out there!

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Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce—Mother’s Day Salvation

A bright, safe spot well outside of the kitchen

A bright, safe spot well outside of the kitchen

Growing up, the Hallmark Holidays got no play in our household. My parents refused to acknowledge either Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, and my Dad was quick to remind us that “every day is Children’s Day” when we pondered the possibility of such a thing. My own household is apparently steadfast in their resolve to uphold this tradition. This is the long way of saying that no, I am not recovering from Mother’s Day festivities. The complete lack of fanfare might have even been upsetting had it not been for some strategic culinary failures that assured I will not be cooking on Mother’s Day next year.

We started the day with Vegan tofu waffles, which were awesome. As soon as I get a picture they’re going up on the blog. I kept the waffles’ key ingredient as a smug secret. Not a soul suspected anything other than maternal good will.

Then came lunch. The waffles had gone over so well that I proceeded with my next experiment, going to considerable effort to collect all the right, freshest, fanciest ingredients. This lunch, Cooking Light assured me, was a “Staff fave” that would satisfy the “heartiest appetites.”

Long story short, the Braised Tempeh Reubens were inedible. Everyone gave them a good faith go, but even one tentative bite was just too much. In justifying my effort, I revealed the truth about the waffles which tipped off my total loss of credibility, and an every-man-for-himself dash to the fridge to pinch hit for lunch. The raid left us with nothing for dinner. Nothing but a sheepish suggestion to go out. On Mother’s Day. With no reservations. Two words: Not Happening. And yet, the cupboards were bare.

Enter, Marcella Hazan’s brilliant tomato sauce made with three ingredients and no chopping. It is so effortless even a Mom striking on Mother’s Day can make it without considering it actual work. This is a must for your weekday repertoire and for those Mother Hubbard moments when you’re not on your fresh and fancy game.

I have no picture, but hey, it’s tomato sauce with lots of butter. And there is not a smidge of tofu or tempeh left in the house. What could possibly go wrong?

Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups tomatoes, in addition to their juices (for example, a 28-ounce can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion (or a big shallot), peeled and cut in half
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter and the onion halves in a saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Add salt as needed.
  3. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. (This is a stealth move. Moms—grab that onion for yourself and mash it right up. It’s delish!) This recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta.

 

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Chupe de Pollo con Chipotle

chipotle-chili-ck-1687650-x[1]First, I know it’s spring and everyone is thinking light, fresh, vibrant. So what’s with the winter stew you ask?  Here’s the scoop…

  1. It’s going to be 30 degrees and snowing at my house today (good grief!).  Every time I share this meal with someone they ask for the recipe (a Bring It pre-requisite).  I recently made this for a friend and I forgot how darn good it is.

In all seriousness, this recipe is a winner. It came to me from a friend who brought it to my house many years ago. I had a bike accident which resulted in a lot of couch time and several months on crutches. I couldn’t do much except sit, read, watch movies and visit with friend. It was so hard not to cook! On the up side, my unbelievably generous neighbors and good friends made meals for me and my family while I was out of commission. They delivered 3-4 meals each week right to my doorstep and there was always enough for left overs. It was so kind of them and very much appreciated (my husband loved it so much that when I came off crutches he actually said, “I’m going to miss the meal delivery”!). One of the meals they brought was this chicken stew. We all loved it and I had to have the recipe. Since then, I’ve made it over and over for friends and family and, every time I shared this meal with someone, they asked for the recipe. And so, a Bring It entry was way overdue!

This stew has a bit of a kick with the chipotle peppers. Careful if you are wimpy in terms of “heat”. It can get away from you quickly. Otherwise, go for it and enjoy!

Ingredients

1 (7 ounce) can chipotle in adobo sauce
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
6 garlic cloves, crushed
6 cups fat free, less sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 (15.5 ounce) can white or golden hominy, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup whipping cream (I used 1% milk)
1 cup chopped, seeded plum tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Remove 1 chile and 1 tsp adobo sauce from can (reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use). Finely chop chili, set chile and sauce aside separately.
  2. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped chile, onion, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic), cook 6-7 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in broth, bring to a boil. Add chicken, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and cool slightly (enough so you can handle it). Shred chicken with 2 forks, cover, keep warm.
  3. Remove pan from heat, let stand 5 minutes. Place 1/3 of broth mixture in blender and process until smooth. Pour broth mixture into large bowl and repeat procedure in two more batches. Return pureed broth to Dutch oven. Stir in potatoes and hominy; bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in chicken and cream, simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining adobo sauce, tomatoes, cilantro, and salt/pepper.

Bring It

Bring in original pot or crockpot with crusty loaf of bread – super easy.

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The Souper Bowl

Souper Bowl of green goodness

What if all your favorite ingredients jumped in pool of green goodness? It could happen.

It’s tough being a Raiders fan. But it does take the pressure of having to ever get worked up over the Super Bowl. This year, once again, I have no skin in the game, which clears the way to concentrate on snacks.

This “soup” is more of a pesto-like base that is diluted with hot water to become the venue for a pool party of your favorite ingredients. Ever since seeing it on a list of  “best yet most ignored recipes of 2015,” I’ve been wanting to make it. It’s got it all—fresh greens and savory herbs, spicy ginger, hot peppers, edgy garlic, creamy almonds and a sweet touch of honey. A severe lack of both exercise and vegetables has only intensified my desire to have a batch of green goodness on hand.

Disclaimer here: This is not for everyone, as attested to by some haters in the comments on the original recipe. If you want a thick creamy soup that is filling on its own, make yourself a batch of the best squash soup ever. This make a thin, flavorful broth which can be sipped like therapy on its own, or used as the backdrop for all manner of yummy things. I also find it pretty irresistible in its undiluted form where it can be used like pesto: spread thinly on toasts, bruschetta style; dabbled atop burrata; swirled into hot grains, pasta or roasted veggies, etc.

I totally support  the pursuit of tradition. Go boldly into the meaty, cheesy, creamy core of the Internet to find classic super bowl snacks. But while you’re getting chips and cheese and potato skins and fixin’s for chili (don’t forget the killer cornbread) and seven layer dip, throw some greens and citrus, ginger and peppers in your cart. Whir up this concoction in the food processor it will sit quietly ready for when you crave an instant bowl of health and comfort.

With a thorough tour of the produce department and very little time or effort you can make a supply of this and know you have paid your health insurance premium through winter.

Souper Bowl with Roasted kabocha squash

Roasted kabocha squash filled with green goodness and topped with frizzled shallots and toasted seeds. Can you say extra credit?

The Souper Bowl of Green Goodness

AKA Heidi Swansons Spicy Green Soup

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (1 liter) water
  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup (20 grams) firmly packed basil leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups (35 grams) firmly packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/4 cup (7 grams) lightly packed mint leaves
  • A thick 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small serrano chiles, stemmed
  • 1/2 cup (45 grams) sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey (Vegans- do your workarounds)

Options for Making it Awesome:

  • Poached eggs, hot white beans, soba noodles, or brown rice, to serve
  • Chopped black olives, lemon wedges, toasted almonds, shaved green onions, or roasted, sliced mushrooms (or other oven-roasted vegetable), to top

Method:

  1. In a saucepan, bring water just to a simmer.
  2. As the water heats, combine the garlic, basil, cilantro, mint, ginger, olive oil, chiles, almonds, salt, lemon zest, and honey in a food processor. Blend until smooth, thinning with a couple of tablespoons of cold water and scraping down the sides along the way, until the mixture becomes as smooth as possible.
  3. Taste and adjust to your liking; the paste should be strong and spicy.
  4. Just before serving, add the paste to the simmering water and stir well. Dial back the heat at this point; you don’t want it to return to a simmer, but you do want it very hot.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning—a bit more salt or a squeeze of lemon juice. (Editors’ note: Don’t skimp on the lemon!) Ladle into bowls with your chosen accompaniment and enjoy on its own or topped with any of the suggested toppings.

Bonus Recipe

I ran across this recipe for Vegan bouillon (see way below). I have not made it yet, but the fact that it includes miso and nutritional yeast—two totally weird tastes that I love—made me put dried mushrooms at the top of my shopping list. It’s an umami bonanza.

Vegan Bouillon

By Joe Yonan The Washington Post

Makes 1 cup; enough for sixteen 1-cup servings of broth. The bouillon paste can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 6 weeks or refrigerated for 3 to 4 months.

Ingredients

1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4
cup porcini mushroom powder (may substitute 6 tablespoons shiitake mushroom powder; see NOTE)
1/4
cup white miso
1/4
cup canola or other neutrally flavored oil
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon granulated garlic (powder)
1 tablespoon celery seed
2 teaspoons sea salt

Method:

Combine the nutritional yeast, mushroom powder, white miso, oil, soy sauce, onion and garlic powders, celery seed and sea salt in a food processor; process to form a thick, smooth paste.

Use right away, or transfer to an airtight container.

Note: Make your own mushroom powder by crumbling dried mushrooms in a blender, food processor or a clean electric coffee grinder and processing until finely ground.

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Basic Lentil Soup, from the hip

Right from the hip....

Right from the hip….

We’ve shared a lot of desserts and drinks and appetizers lately and I thought, gosh…where are all the soups and stews? Then I saw this recipe for Basic Lentil Soup made “from the hip”, and I thought, it must be easy, now let’s just hope it’s good. So, I whipped up a pot and yes, in fact, it is very good! 

I got this recipe from a friend of mine, Michele Estes who works in health and wellness.  For a link to her Facebook page, click here.  She has wonderful, healthy recipes and can offer great advice, tips and tricks for leading a healthier lifestyle. 

Now onto the recipe which, is “from the hip”, so don’t stress about any of this…wing it… throw in whatever you have on hand….. and enjoy!

Ingredients

Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, diced
3 celery stalks and leaves, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
Splash of wine (whatever you have on hand)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup lentils, rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Drizzle oil into a heavy bottomed pot, add onion and sauté for a few minutes and then add carrots and celery. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes (don’t let the garlic burn). Add kale and sauté for a couple minutes. Add wine and canned tomatoes. Add each spice and stir until you can smell the spices. Add vegetable broth and lentils bring to a boil, and then simmer for approximately 45 minutes, until lentils are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For a thicker soup, puree one cup of the soup in a blender and add back to larger pot.

Bring It!

To bring to a party or someone’s house for dinner, a crockpot is the way to go.  That mean no fuss for the hostess and you can keep it warm once you get there.

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Melt-In-Your-Mouth Beef Stew

Melts in your mouth for sure!

Melts in your mouth for sure!

My boys put up with enough vegetarian fare that I thought a big pot of hearty beef stew would be a great carnivore fix. This recipe, taken from Jamie Oliver’s Cook with Jamie cookbook, makes your mouth water just reading the title. Jamie teaches you how to cook like your mothers and grandmothers, but with a modern flare.

Last night I served this up as an experiment to “Bring It” because in all honesty, I have never made beef stew. But, I thought, this would be a great dish to bring to someone’s house in the winter when we are all looking for hearty winter meals and comfort food. After a bite or two, I ask my family what they think. My husband, said, “this is the best [fill in expletive here] stew I have ever eaten”. He then asks if I will make this and dehydrate it for an upcoming trip he has to the Brooks Range in Alaska. And so this recipe may become a new twist on “Bring It” food because it will be made here in Lyme NH and brought, dehydrated in a plastic bag, to the Artic Circle where it will be re-hydrated and shared with a few friends. Below a few photos of the Brooks Range. Enjoy the stew and if you are simply bringing it next door, a crock pot will do!

Ingredients

Olive Oil
2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 sticks of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
A small handful of dried porcini
1 cinnamon stick
2 lbs beef stew meat, cubbed (preferably chuck)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbsp flour
28 oz can good quality plum tomatoes
2/3 of a 750ml bottle of Chianti

Method

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In heavy-bottomed ovenproof saucepan, heat splash of olive oil and gently fry the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, herbs, porcini, and cinnamon for 5 minutes until softened slightly. Meanwhile toss the beef in a little seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Add the meat to the pan and stir everything together, then add the tomatoes, wine and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently bring to a boil, cover with a double thickness piece of aluminum foil and a lid and place in your preheated oven for 3 hours or until the beef is meltingly tender and can be broken up with a spoon. Taste and check seasoning, remove cinnamon stick, rosemary springs, and bay leaves. Serve with crusty bread or egg noodles.

Bring It

Who doesn’t love when you show up with a crockpot. Just plug it in and keep it warm until dinner is served.

Brooks Range

BrooksRange-II  

 

 

 

Brooks_Range-I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Halloween Soup: So easy it’s scary

 

Almost instant squash soup, with pro toppings for extra credit.

Almost instant squash soup, with pro toppings for extra credit.

This is the whiny thing I was going to post: “I give up. I will never, ever be able to produce an exact recipe for soup. I’m into my third pot of butternut squash soup of the season and have yet to really measure the ingredients, or actually even keep track of them. For me, homemade soup is like a hall pass to use whatever I have and crave at the moment….”

But then…but then…then it all changed. I discovered a trove of pumpkin/squash soup recipes that take the same basic ingredients and, with nary a knife unsheathed, produce a deliciously complex and satisfying soup. A soup that can be served hot in a big bowl as a meal, or cold in a shot glass as an appetizer.

I am including my non-recipe below, for when you have the time and ingredients to create something uniquely yours. In the meantime, here is the sheer brilliance of nearly instant pumpkin/squash soup.

A few notes: I love red curry paste so I probably sneak in a bit extra. You can also use red curry powder, though you would be missing out on the twin goodness of garlic and lemongrass.  I roast my own kabocha squash because its thicker and sweeter than other squash, and makes the house smell good. But dang, the option of opening two cans instead is money! Finally, I cannot tell you how much I love toasted unsweetened coconut flakes and the healthy, tasty, crunchy I daresay almost bacony finishing touch they add.

Now my little kitchen witches and goblins, go forth to your pantry and make some Halloween Soup!

Ingredients

2 Tbsp red curry paste (more or less to taste)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, about 32 ounces (one carton)
2 15 ounce cans pumpkin puree (or 4ish cups cooked squash of choice.)
1 3/4 cup coconut milk, or a 13.5 ounce can, reserving 1 Tbsp (slackers—pour in the whole
an and be done with it)
1 large red chili pepper, sliced (totally optional but a nice touch for hotties)
Cilantro for garnish if desired
Toasted coconut flakes for garnish if desired (strongly encouraged)

Method

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the curry paste for about one minute or until paste becomes fragrant. Add the broth and the pumpkin and stir.
  2. Cook for about 3 minutes or until soup starts to bubble. Add the coconut milk and cook until hot, about 3 minutes.
  3. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of the reserved coconut milk and sliced red chilis. Garnish with cilantro leaves if desired.
  4. Serve with Best French Bread, Paleo Crackers, Dirt Bread or your dipper of choice.

And now for…

Edie’s Seat of Pants Squash Soup

While I can’t provide an exact recipe, I can provide a process, some ingredient guidelines and of course my sincere encouragement at every step. There really is nothing that says comfort like a pot of your own signature soup.

Ingredients

Olive oil (for silkiness)
Butter (for tastiness)
1 onion
1 apple or pear
Savories (your choice of curry, garam masala, cumin, dried or fresh herbs, fresh ginger, red or green curry paste, a squeeze from a tube of lemongrass paste my new fave go to ingredient.)

  • Optional deglazing hooch (sherry, wine, calvados, hard or regular apple cider)
  • Cooked winter squash (and/or any leftover cooked root vegetables)
  • Diced potato (if no leftover roasted potatoes were in your leftovers above)
  • Maple syrup, a tablespoon or more to taste
  • Chicken or vegetable broth

 Method

  • Saute chopped onions until slightly soft.
  • Add apple or pear and continue cooking until all are soft and starting to brown.
  • Add savories and continue to cook a minute or two, or until aromatic. You want to really get the flavor infused before adding liquid.
  • Just as you are thinking “OMG look at the stuff sticking to my pan!” pour in a healthy splash of deglazing liquid of choice and give the pot a good stir/scrape. Watch the browned bits disappear and rejoice as the liquid cooks down.
  • Add in broth and potatoes. If potatoes are raw let them cook for 10 minutes or so before adding squash. If cooked add them with squash.
  • Add squash and maple syrup. Continue cooking, giving flavors time to meld. I have no idea if this step is necessary, but it gives me ample time to check email, read The Skimm, take a shower or get through a few more minutes of Serial.
  • Turn off heat, let soup cool a bit and then process until smooth with an immersion blender (you just plain need one for fall) or in a blender.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with Best French Bread, Paleo Crackers, Dirt Bread or your dipper of choice and be very, very happy.
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Farro Risotto with Asparagus and Tofu

Grainy goodness with faro, mushrooms, asparagus, and tofu

Grainy goodness with faro, mushrooms, asparagus, and tofu

Before I get into this recipe, let me first say, I’m happy to be back!  I was away with work and family travel for a few weeks and, oh how I missed my food blog and foodie friends. I thought about the posts I would do when I got back, so get ready, because I have lots of ideas.  Also, a big thank you to my blog partner Edie for keeping the posts coming while I was away!

Next, let’s get started with this delicious vegetarian, über grainy recipe.  If you haven’t tried farro, it is a great grain to add to your repertoire with one caveat, it takes a while to cook. It’s not the easy-peasy quinoa that you throw in a pot of water and it’s cooked before you even have time to grab a fork or a spoon. This requires a little more time and effort, so plan ahead.

Next, it is grainy. Did I mention that already? Well, it’s worth re-iterating.  I kept thinking it wasn’t cooked, but in the end I realized, it is just chewy.  You won’t have to try to eat this meal slow because there is no other choice!  I love it and I think you will too.  I added asparagus, dried mushrooms, and of course, cubed tofu (which I seem to add to just about everything!), but you can add whatever you like.

Ingredients

1 oz. dried mushrooms (any kind will do)
1 lb. asparagus
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 cups vegetable stock (you can use the water left over from soaking the mushrooms as part of this vegetable stock, plus a vegetable stock – see below)
1 1/2 cups uncooked farro
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. variety of mushrooms (shiitake, chanterelle, crimini, oyster, porcini), sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Place dried mushrooms in medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes or until tender.  Drain and coarsely chop.  Use mushroom water as part of vegetable stock if desired.

Toss asparagus in 2 Tbsp olive oil on baking sheet and roast in 425 degree oven for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring half way through.  Cut stalks into thirds and set aside to add to farro later.

Sauté cubed tofu in a little olive oil with the smallest dash of cayenne pepper. Set aside to add to farro later (you can totally skip the tofu if this adds too much work).

Bring vegetable broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Keep stock warm over low heat.

Heat remaining olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add farro and onion; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add all mushrooms (rehydrated and fresh).  Cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally.  Add wine and thyme and cook until liquid almost evaporates.

Add 1/2 cup broth to farro mixture; cook over medium heat for approximately 4 minutes or until the liquid is almost absorbed, stirring occasionally.  Add remaining 4 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time until liquid is almost absorbed each time, stirring occasionally. This will take about 50 minutes so you are definitely committed for the long haul, but as stated above, it is worth it.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once farro is cooked, add in asparagus, cubed tofu, and top with fresh parsley and cheese.

Cooked and ready to CHEW!

Cooked and ready to CHEW!

Prep for adding later

Prep for adding later

Pre-cooked Farro sautéing in oil

Pre-cooked Farro sautéing in oil

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Fi-Fi to the Rescue (with chicken taco chili)

slow cooker chicken chili

Fi-Fi hard at work cooking up some chicken chili. Go Fi-Fi go, you hottie!

I have a friend (and you know who you are) who refers to her slow cooker as FiFi, short for “Fix It and Fugget It.” Of course, she is on her second slow cooker because she forgot about FiFi for three months while it was filled with leftover Chicken Marbella. But let’s fuggedabout that image right now, and focus on dinner….tonight…with zero effort. This recipe comes from Amy, who I am calling right out because she deserves credit on at least two fronts.

First, Amy appreciates the vast the difference between crockpot cookery and crockpot warmery, an issue discussed in the Fast and Slow Lasagna post. Other than chopping up one onion (and some cilantro unless you are a slacker like me and blew it right off), the only effort involved here is opening cans, and FiFi is the only dish called into service.

Second, Amy offered up a recipe that is as delish as it is easy. With a whole lot of cold winter nights and aprés ski opportunities in the forecast, and with the Super Bowl right around the corner this comes just in time. We ate this for dinner, for lunch the next two days and were not the least bit relieved when it was gone.

Ingredients

Makes 10 servings

1 onion, chopped
1 16-oz can black beans
1 16-oz can kidney beans
1 16-oz can of cannelli beans (use whatever combo of beans you have)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
10 oz package frozen corn kernels (canned works too)
2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes
1 packet taco seasoning
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or equivalent weight boneless, skinless thighs)
chopped fresh cilantro (for overachievers)

Method

Combine beans, onion, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half an hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Top with fresh cilantro. Dig deep and serve with cheese and sour cream to show you care.

OK we're ready. Bring on FiFi's finest chicken chili!

OK we’re ready. Bring on FiFi’s finest chicken chili!

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