Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday soup

There is little that is as satisfying as the moment all the flavors come together harmoniously in something I am cooking. Last night I roasted a chicken with some tarragon, lemon and some garlic inside. Today I discarded those flavorings and tossed the bony remains into a pot, covered them with water and added a half of a medium onion and some sea salt. As the broth cooked the tarragon flavor became very bossy, demanding alot of attention.

After chilling, straining and de-greasing the broth, I assembled the soup: a little celery, diced small. the chicken meat, some carrot slivers, and a good amount of sliced baby portabellas. I plucked a few woody stems of thyme and I added a generous grinding of black pepper and a sploosh of sauvignon blanc. After awhile I tasted. I added more salt. The flavors were balanced: It was rich and delicious. The tarragon had taken a step back and had allowed the other flavors to emerge. Nice tarragon, playing well with others.

At the end, I added one third of a cup of Israeli couscous. I'd intended to use rice and was disappointed to find none around. But, the big pearly couscous added a good texture and contrast to the small veg and meat pieces.

A good soup.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Soup for Today

My sister sent me this recipe. I made it today and it is positively addictive. I also added a chopped jalapeno, one of the last in the garden.

Nayana Desai's Mung Bean Soup

I c. mung beans washed
5 cups water
If cooking beans in pressure cooker it takes about 15 minutes
Otherwise soak for a couple hours and then cook til quite soft- 40min or so
( FF note: I did a little research and mung beans do not need to be pre-soaked, they are more like a lentil
in that regard.. of course you'll have to cook them longer to attain desired falling apart stage in the soup)

In small frying pan heat 3 T safflower or soy oil
1 t. whole cumin seed
When they start to brown slightly add
1t. turmeric
Then add this stuff to the beans

Add remaining ingredients:
3T lemon juice
1/2 t. curry powder.
2t. cilantro
1 T. chopped fresh ginger
2T. sugar
2T. tomato sauce (you can give a squeeze
of catsup instead of the last two ingredients.)
2 t. unsweeted grated coconut if you have it.

Add water to desired consistency-
(I like it watery and makes a couple qts for me.)
Cook 1/2 hour over medium heat.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


So it is Saturday. And it's a little cool and could rain but has been oddly warm this week, the moist tropical air making us all discombobulated.

I want to eat something sort of fall-ish, but not totally fall: no pork, no apples, no roasted cauliflower.

So here is what I am doing. I am chopping some kale and some beat up garden tomatoes, and some onion and a medium sweet potato. And I'll cook the onions and sweet potato til golden in a little olive oil, then add the tomatoes and kale and a teeny bit of water. After awhile, I'll add two or three garlic cloves, smashed and chopped Then, as it all comes together and the kale is softening, I'll add some fresh thyme and some fresh oregano. Then I may have to add a little more water and turn the heat down to medium low and cover. I'll add a little butter at the very end. My theory is that the sweet potato will add sweetness to the bitter kale and will create body in the sauce. I will serve this on cheese mezzaluna ravioli.

Could be good.

after dinner postscript: it was very good.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Poach an egg. Chop up a ripe tomato from your garden, or your neighbor's garden, or your favorite farmer's market. Toast a piece of bread.( I used pumpernickel). Cut up the toast into little squares. Put all this in a colorful or pretty bowl. Shave a little parmesan or whatever hard cheese you have on top.

good morning.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Late summer blues...

So tomatoes and zucchini and tomatoes and zucchini.. we definitely need a fresh flavor profile if we are to continue to enjoy eating from our well ripened summer garden.
I browned some well salted boneless , skinless chicken thighs. Cut up you-know-what and used the tomato juicy-ness to scrape up the good bits of brown in the pot. Mashed up several garlic cloves (does this sound familiar?) and threw into the pot. Added a half of a nice jalapeno and a little dry while wine. But wait. This time: No Basil !!!
I added a bit of cumin, a little coriander and a small pinch of curry. And cooked some of that lovely pearly Israeli couscous and dumped it in the pot. And around 10 or so small green olives, cut up. And a handful of fresh oregano, well chopped up.
Slow cooked for a while.. sort of a soupy stewy thing.

Real good.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Eggplant jam

Our Georgia-terranean summer means our garden produces tons of eggplants. We love not only their taste, but their adorable looks: cute and fat and purple.
The other night I peeled two medium cuties, cut into approx. three quarter inch cubes inch and tossed in olive oil. Then I put them in a hot heavy pot and stirred a little, so at least one side would get nice and brown. After a little while, I added 3 chopped garden tomatoes that I'd cored. (If I were making this for company I probably would have skinned the tomatoes) Threw in several peeled smashed garlic cloves. Covered, turned down the heat and cooked for awhile, stirred occasionally, to let the tomatoes meld with the eggplant and for the eggplant to melt: like a jam.

Served on mezzaluna ravioli with a handful of fresh chopped herbs and few tablespoons of parmesan.

Not bad. I'll make that again.

And speaking of not bad, this afternoon I found a beautiful cantaloupe half all sweet and juicy and cold and ready to eat in my fridge. There was a small container of crumbled Maytag blue cheese in there too. Lightbulb went on in head!!!

Sweet and salty: great.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

nice easy Sunday late lunch

Take some leftover couscous, a little chopped red onion, a fresh tomato, chopped smallish, a handful of basil, also chopped, a couple of tablespoons of rinsed capers, and a few cups of arugula, chopped. Toss with a little olive oil and some red wine vinegar.
Place on two plates. Top with some toasted pine nuts and piece of grilled or broiled fish of your choice. I used swordfish, and doused it in that green Tabasco sauce before cooking.

No need to make dinner.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

big zuke

uh oh.. a zucchini hid under the leaves of the plant and it is massive. Not quite torpedo, but almost. Just seeing it takes me back to living in the house in Maine with my friends in the early 70's.. we gardened all summer and ate zucchini stuffed with brown rice and sauteed veg's . This was way back before we knew to harvest our squashes while they were young like we were!
Well tonight I will stuff this big guy, but not with rice. I have some leftover couscous, and a little basil turkey sausage, and some fresh garlic, a little onion, a bit of garden tomato, and one half the diced zucchini scooped from the split squash. I'll saute all these things, stuff into zucchini shell and add a handful of chopped basil and oregano, a splash of white wine and top with good grated parmigiano reggiano. Bake at 350 til tender, covered for awhile with foil, then remove for the last 10 minutes when you add the parm.Toast some pine nuts, sprinkle on top.

Hearty but not heavy.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

a better breakfast

I was poaching chicken breasts early this morning because I've been hungry alot from not eating enough lean protein.

After my cantaloupe, I decided to have a poached egg, and saw all that lovely chicken breast poaching broth. Hmmmm, why not cook the egg in that broth? I was not adding vinegar to the broth so I had to figure out a way to support the egg while the exterior firmed up enough to not break up while it cooked. (It helps that our eggs are fresh from our chickens). I used a soup ladle to support the egg while it cooked for a minute or two, then gently tipped the egg out to swim in the hot winey, celery-full, onion-y poaching broth.

I remembered some lovely arugula in the fridge and poured some broth over that in the bowl, then added the poached egg.

It was quite good!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Simple Saturday

It is Saturday night and at our house, that is not usually dinner party night but "eat a simple dinner and get back to your sermon" night.  Today I'd picked roma green beans, and some ripe tomatoes.
I stemmed and cut the beans in half and cooked til just done. Chilled quickly.  I seeded and cut up a large tomato, finely chopped a garlic clove, and diced about a third of a large vidalia onion. Tossed chilled beans with the other veg and added olive oil,  a handful of fresh chopped herbs (oregano and basil).
 I cooked some penne and chilled and added to the other salad ingredients. When I serve it I'll squeeze a lemon over as a dressing. ( if you make a green bean salad, do not add the acid until you serve so they retain their pretty color)  Maybe add a few hot pepper flakes and a few greek olive pieces.  I'll put a serving on each plate, then place a oven roasted  half chicken breast on top. 

I think it will be delicious. 

Friday, July 10, 2009

under construction.. sort of

For about two weeks, our kitchen and family room floors have been in various stages of remodel. We've eaten out more than usual. Luckily, the very old original floor has now been blessedly covered with a new sub-floor. (Note on the photo the new pine boards positioned on the subfloor, and the very attractive mac and skype set up cords, etc.)  All this improvement has meant my trusty chopping block has been parked elsewhere, and I have lost important work space. 

My preparation habits have changed. I have become much tidier in food prep... less prep space means every inch counts. Things get put away immediately. Smaller cutting boards are used, my counters are narrow. Meals need to be chopped and dumped directly in to heat, no stages such as browning and de-glazing while one makes a tasty sauce.

Anyway, our vegetable garden is producing nicely  and I made the following for dinner twice this week, with variations.  I put about 2 C of white wine in a pot, and  an equal amount of water. I added some onion, chopped finely, and a couple of fresh tomatoes, diced up, and 3 or 4 smashed garlic cloves, a handful of kosher salt and a handful of chopped fresh oregano and basil and 1/2 a chopped jalapeno (including seeds) Let all that simmer for awhile. I then added a few diced zucchini and a pound of mussels. Also a glob of butter-like stuff ( I used smart balance)

Cooked til mussels were done, dumped the whole thing in to a big bowl and served at table in soup bowls. There is alot of broth so this is more like a soup that has mussels in it. We crunched on a good chewy, crusty baguette from our Farmers Market along with this. 

The variation for night # 2 was  not using the herbs and adding cumin and a bit of smoked papricka and a handful of frozen peas for a Spanish feel. 


This  #2 variation supper lived on as lunch today. Leftover broth and veg's became a soup when I added 1/2 freshly diced avocado. 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

2 long!

its been too long since I've posted. I've been thinking alot about many foodish things: Thanksgiving... a textural yawn, easy meals from my bitchn' kitchen, the REAL basic ingredients, etc. etc. 
Will get back to business very soon. After I finally get the vegetable garden planted!!!