Archive | May, 2009

Chickens Soup

27 May
I know. It doesn’t have to do with Chicken and Rice soup but it is a good photo series.
Okay. First thing is first and that is the WINNER OF THE FIRST MONDAY SOUP HAIKU CONTEST.
This person is someone who is no stranger to poetry. From his first published poems in Folio to beautiful free style raps in car rides, I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.
Ladies and gentlemen, lets give a big hand to Mr. Ziggeh Karp for this quietly powerful master piece:
There comes a time when
everyone must choose, chicken
noodle or chowder?

Sadly, Alayna and I didn’t snap any shots of this soup but Alayna did do an incredible job of sending me so many chicken soup cartoons in a row that I began to wonder if she has a chicken soup cartoon fetish thing.
Anyhoot, here she is: Chicken and Rice Soup. It was good. A nice mix of light but filling. This is a soup everyone likes and everyone should master. So get your chicken friends out of the coop and start ringing some necks.
To-Do!

In a side pot, cook 1 cup of rice (white or brown… or even fancy wild rice!) according to instructions
In your soup pot, dice about 6 cloves of garlic and an onion
and sautee in olive oil
(add a few shakes of hot pepper if you are cold and stuffy and feel the need to be revived)
Add chopped carrots (either 3 real carrots or a handful and a half of baby)
and a head or two of broccoli, also chopped
Add a small box of baby bella/cremini mushrooms and/or shitake
(and, if you still have those dried porcinis laying around, you could soak some of those and put in the broth and I think it would be delicious)
Once things are almost all the way soft, add two whole tomatoes, chopped,
and lower the temperature to simmer covered
In a separate covered pan, cook 2-3 boneless/skinless chicken thigh (or breast) cut into bite-sized pieces in olive oil with salt and pepper


When the rice is done cooking add it to the soup pot,
cover everything with chicken broth and bring up the heat
Once the chicken is cooked through, add it to the soup pot
and put in more broth if needed.
Bring to a light boil, and then take the temperature back down
Add a handful and a half of fresh parsley and voila!
Chicken soup for the soul.

Sausage Soup

19 May
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Writing a soup blog when I’m at work is a lot more dodgy than I thought. But it’s Thursday and I know the people… i.e. Alayna… is freaking out that there is no new soup to look at. Though there is a new Friday’s Dinners! which also doubles as Sunday Brunch.
There is a lot to say here. One: This is a nice Italian-esq. comfort soup. Very similar to Italian Wedding soup, Ryan. Alayna was in the mood for it because she is freaking out- so are most of the Suffolk apartment ladies. As the lease is ending and cha-cha-changes are a-happening. Moving, subletting, weeding out potential craigslist killers. It’s stressful. (Hey! Anyone need a room in the Lower East Side in a week? Inquire within!)
So this soup made us all feel a little more relaxed. Thank you, soup.
Now for the contest. Drum roll please.
The First Ever MONDAY’S SOUP HAIKU CONTEST!

I know, how did we not think of this before.

Rules:
1. Write a haiku about soup.
2. Paste it as a “comment” to this blog post
3. Wait anxiously to see if you’re the winner
You WANT to be the winner.
The Soup!
Slice about 6 cloves of garlic and saute in olive oil in the soup pot
add in 1 yellow onion, chopped
once the onions are getting opaque,
add about two fistfuls of kale, torn into smaller pieces
when the kale is getting softer, add about 1.5 handfuls of baby carrots, chopped
add the florets from one or two heads of broccoli
once the broccoli and carrots are getting softer, but still firm,
add a large can of crushed tomatoes with the juice
and bring the bot to a low simmer
add in a handful of fresh basil
and a handful of fresh parsley
in a separate pan, saute 4-6 Italian sausages cut into bite size pieces (half sweet, half spicy)
once cooked through, add to to the soup pot and fill with chicken broth to get to the right consistency
Bring everything to a boil and eat!

Tomato Tart & Veggie Friends

19 May
Want to impress the veggie lovers in your life? Want to impress the stubborn eaters in your life who might eat red meat one too many times a month? Want to impress them all at the same time? 
This is your tart. 
This dinner party happened last week with Alayna and her lady folk and then I repeated it when my parents and extended family came over for brunch. All parties were impressed. And see that, this is both a good dinner and a good brunch. Excellent.
And it’s easy to make– even if it’s 10am on a Saturday and you’re a little hungover like I might have been and you’re entire family is about to bust into your apartment and you are still in your pajamas– whatever the circumstances, you will impress someone. 
Here we go: Tomato Tart*, Veggie Salad & Spinach and Mushrooms
*Tomato Tart is a slightly modified version of Meredith’s tart. Thanks Meredith.
Pastry:
1 1/2 c. flour
1 stick of cold, unsalted butter cut into pieces
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
Zest from 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. ice water

Filling:
1 1/2 to 2 tbspn dijon mustard
2 tbspn Parmesan cheese
small handful of chopped basil
some shakes of thyme
small handful of chopped parsley
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt & pepper
6-8 plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 tbspn olive oil
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tspn water

Pulse the butter, flour, salt, lemon zest & Parmesan together in a food processor, hand mixer or by hand.  When it has formed a coarse meal, add water slowly until the dough binds. Can either be used immediately, or made ahead and refrigerated(let it soften to room temp for 30 min if chilled).

Preheat the over to 425.  Roll the dough out on a floured surface to make a 12 inch circle.  Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (NOTE! PARCHMENT PAPER IS NOT THE SAME AS WAX PAPER… we discovered this once the smell of burning started coming out of the oven and ended up transferring everything to a pie pan to prevent fire. Meredith says you can also just use a greased pan if you don’t have parchment).  Using a pastry brush, spread the mustard over the surface, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Mix all the herbs and the salt & pepper in a bowl.  Arrange half of tomato slices over the mustard and sprinkle with half of the herb mixture.  Repeat.  Fold the edge of the pastry over the tomatoes, and pinch any cracks to keep juices in while baking.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Brush crust with yolk mixture.  Bake for20-25 minutes, until crust is golden brown.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Serve warm.


Salad!

Cut up cucumber, avocado, tomato and red/yellow peppers if you have them, mix with a handful of chopped fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic

Optional addition: I added some mango and it was awesome.

Mushrooms & Spinach

Slice 4-6 cloves of garlic and saute on low heat in walnut or olive oil in a big pot. After about a minute, add in a box of sliced baby bella (or really any type) of mushrooms and saute until they start to cook through. Once the mushrooms are getting softer, add in a bag of spinach and stir to distribute oil. Cover and let cook slowly, stirring occasionally. Add rock salt to tast.

Happy Tomato Tarts.
PS I wanted to post the after pictures of this dinner party but Alayna didn’t let me. But let me say, tart makes people crazzzzy.

Artichoke My Heart

13 May
“You have a bright future ahead of you.
Go into the world.
And use everything we have taught you.”

-Tyson Bedford, “Make Me A Supermodel
Kate has a magic bullet. Alayna has artichoke hearts. You’ve heard this story before…
Nooo, you haven’t.
I was doing who knows what in Jersey so I could not partake on this adventure but Monday Soup fan, Lauren, filled in. Everything was moving along great.
Onions were sauteing…

Alayna was chopping hearts…

Stuff was going in the pot…

The cat was in the bag…
And then… it’s time to puree.
“Oh Lauren, it’s time to blend,” Alayna said, innocently. Having no idea what was about to happen next.
“Yes!” said Lauren, excited to watch Monday Soup in real time and not just recaptured on this blog.
“Lets go to the blender,” Alayna says. Bowl in hand. There they go. Five feet from the kitchen. To the corner of the apartment. By the bookshelf.
No one had any idea what was about to happen.
THE BLENDER IS BROKEN!
Can’t you see the crack in the blender?
And that’s when Kate’s magic bullet comes in. And the story reaches our Monday’s happy ending.

Unfortunately, that magic bullet is a wee little thing. And Alayna and soup crew dirtied every dish in the apartment. But worse has happened. And I wasn’t there to have to do the dishes.
Now, for the soup:

Ingredients

The hearts from 6 large artichokes
butter
2 leeks
6 garlic cloves, chopped
3 chopped shallots
2 handfulls of baby red potatoes
Veg/Chicken Stock
1/2 bay leaf
Thyme
Handful of chopped parsley
half and half or heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

Method

1 Cut the artichokes lengthwise into quarters. With a small knife, remove the thistley choke part and discard. Cut away the leaves from the artichoke heart and reserve for steaming and eating later. This will probably take longer than you think. Cut or peel away the tough outside skin of the stems and discard. Chop hearts to 1/4 inch thickness

2 In a large pot, melt half a stick of butter and cook the artichoke hearts, leek, garlic, and shallots on medium heat covered until tender (can stick a fork through hearts). Add diced potatoes and broth, about 2-4 bay leave, a handful of parsley and some thyme. Bring soup to a simmer and let cook covered until everything is tender (about 45 min).

3 Remove and discard the bay leaves. Purée the soup with your magic bullet if you somehow accidentally broke your blender body (oops!) and add cream to taste once all blended. Add salt/pepper as desired.

Lauren, with all of our dishes, dirty.

Penne a la Vodka, Salad & Fruit & Cream

7 May
Mmm. Hmm. Scratching your head are we? Thinking to yourself, boy, does that pot of sauce sure look like that tomato soup Monday’s Soup made in February of this year?
Sure does.
Sure done does.
This is how soup is so brilliant. It can be more than one thing. Watch as we impress a room full of ladies with a sauce that is actually a soup. 
Nooo you didn’t.
Yes we did.
Girls had no idea. Suckers.

Who knew our apartment was so big? 
Well, Alayna and I do after she made me tape measure the whole thing. 
Anyone want to sublet a room?
Right. So here are the girls. Drinking wine, swapping stories of people peeing on the subways (other people) and the ilk.
Pasta is cooking. Sauce is simmering. Folks are relaxing.
(It’s late right now. And I think I’m delirious. But I’d be too sad for Lauren Cook if I didn’t post this by tomorrow.)

And it’s time to eat. I do believe Kate Zimmer said something along the lines of, “How many helping can I eat and still wear a waistband tonight?”
Is that even true? I swear you said something like that.
And I had three helpings.
But I NEVER wear waistbands.

Lauren Cook, ladies and gentlemen. Monday’s Soup fan of the week.

Looks like some good times.

Alayna makes whipping cream in the corner. 
That’s where the blender is. When you live in Manhattan you do things like this.
And then we started playing cat in the bag.

You can’t see. But there is a cat in the bag.

Hmmm. What’s in that ole rain boot?

Why it’s a cat!
Okay, I know, what did we make already. Here you go… 
Penne a la Vodka (or pasta with tomato soup but that does NOT sound fancy)
Ingredients
2 big cans of crushed tomatoes
6- 8 cloves of garlic chopped
red pepper (like the spice not the vegetable)
heavy cream
olive oil
a bunch of basil, chopped

Now Do This… 

Saute chopped garlic in big soup bowl. 
Add a generous portion of red pepper.
When sauteed dump in the two cans of crushed tomatoes and stir
Add the basil (a lot of basil)
Let simmer for about 30 minutes
Add as much heavy cream as desired, depending on your tomato soup cream preference and cook about five more minutes, then turn off… i like to let it cool a little before it’s served so it thickens a little
serve with penne pasta

SALAD:
spinach, seedless red grapes, chopped walnuts and chopped almonds
dressing:


olive oil, a large spoonful of mustard (not yellow, but any of the other kinds), a small spoonful of sugar and 2-3 caps of white vinegar
adjust to your own taste, stir with a fork and let sit for at least 10 min before serving

DESSERT:
blackberries, blueberries and strawberries 
whipped cream:


mix heavy cream and about 1 tablespoon of vanilla either in the blender on “aerate” or by hand with a whisk. NOTE: the cream should be cold to do this! otherwise it won’t foam!
once the cream is stiff, add sugar to taste (don’t need much) and serve!

THANK GOODNESS FOR AIR HOLES!

Fennel Is Fentastic

7 May
Is it just me or has Monday’s Soups become a really big deal? Alayna and I hear stories from all over the country… or world, thank you Aimee from Barcelona… about readers making our soups. And you know, it hits a heart string every time.


Ms. Lauren Cook (what an appropriate last name!) might take the title this week for being the most enthusiastic Monday’s Soup fan. (Check out Ms. Cook in this week’s Friday’s Dinners). But there are others, Austin from Kentucky has stopped making Trader Joe’s pizzas for good. (That might be a lie, but he HAS made a soup.)


My mom has been eager for me to post her fan quote that was something along the lines of “Mothers should teach their daughters how to cook but I’m learning how to cook from my daughter.” Was that even the quote? I don’t remember. I do remember when my mom bought one take-out meal for a family of three to split every night for my entire childhood.


Anyway, I regress. Monday Soup friends, get ready for this soup. You all know not to be afraid of Mondays but do you know not to be afraid of fennel, too? This soup is, hands down, the best soup we’ve had in a long time. I even considered making a second batch two days later. I said, “I wish this soup ran out of our faucet like water.” I still wish that.


P.S. Lastly, soup lovers, if anyone has any idea how I can be paid for this, let me know. Thank you.

Ingredients!
  • 2 large fennel bulbs with fronds
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced medium thin
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • kale
  • extra-virgin olive oil,
  • walnut oil (optional, sub olive)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • “chicken broth”

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lowest position.

Slice bulbs 1/4 inch thick and toss with carrots, onion, half of garlic, olive oil, a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of pepper. Spread in a 4-sided sheet pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Once your veggies are in, saute the rest of your garlic in a little olive oil in your soup pot, and add 3-4 large handfuls of kale (stems removed and ripped into smaller pieces) once the garlic is slightly opaque. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until leaves are tender and turn off until the rest of your veggies are done.

Once your roasted veggies are tender, add them to the kale in your soup pot and cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then blend the whole soup to the desired consistency.

Can also be served cold, and I think it would also be good roasting the other veggies in walnut oil instead of olive.

Yeah, I know, holy heck we even made pie.
Alayna is sitting next to me right now watching Law and Order for the 3rd time tonight. You want to know how to make that pie don’t you? It’s really, really good.
This is what Alayna says:
Crush finely a packet and half of graham crackers,
mix with a quarter cup of sugar,
six tablespoons of melted butter.
Mix until moist and press into a pan.
Cook it at 360 for 7 minutes
(After 7 minutes, let cool for a little before put the mix in)
Mix 3/4 a cup of whole milk
with 4 eggs
a splash of vanilla
and a pinch of nutmeg
Mix this all together.
Then mix together in separate bowl a tablespoon of flour and a cup of sugar
After mixed slowly mix in with wet stuff above.
Place two small boxes of fruit (any kind of berries) and arrange them evenly (as one layer) in the pie crust.
Then pour the liquid on top
and cook at 450 for 35 to 45 minutes
until the center has set.
If not sure if it’s done, tap the center with a fork- if it jiggles like jello it’s not cooked enough and give it a few more minutes.