Archive | June, 2009

Friendly Fajitas

23 Jun

Alayna called me to tell me to come home because she was having a dinner party but sadly I had to tell her I was on the LIRR headed to a house with a pool and secret hiding closets.

Still I was sad I missed it. And I was REALLY sad when I saw these pictures. How good does this look? Mexican & Vegetarian wonders!

By the way, sorry I have to interject. Are Alayna and I the only ones on earth who watch “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here?” We started watching because all the shows we used to watch during soup night had their season finales. I just want to give a shout out right now to Holly and Sanjaya. My new all time favorite couple. I’m not kidding. I think Holly might be kicked off because she can’t drink the Dung Beetle Nut daiquiri that fast and Alayna can testify that I’m sort of teary-eyed.

Right. This meal is NOT made of Dung Beetle Nuts. So there’s that.
Okay friends, lets eat!

AMAZING FAJITAS OF AMAZINGNESS (AKA PORTOBELLA MUSHROOMS)

  • first wrap your tortillas (the big kind) in a slightly damp, clean dishtowel and heat the oven to 250, popping them in on a cookie sheet, so that they get warm without getting dry
  • slice up 6-8 cloves of garlic and coarsely chop about half a red onion and saute in olive oil, adding a couple of red (hot) peppers, chili powder, AND, the secret ingredient, a couple of shakes of CINNAMON
  • add a sliced up zucchini, cut into 1/2s or 1/4s and cover pot (keep covered through-out)
  • add about 3 mushrooms (I keep everything but the very end of the stem) cut into pinky width slices
  • add in half a pepper each of red, yellow and green (or any combination)
  • once everything is cooked through, take out your tortillas and serve with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and the guac!

GUACAMOLEEEE

  • cut two avocados into fourths, then slice the fourths and pop the avocado out into a bowl
  • finely dice 4-6 cloves of garlic and throw in
  • finely dice about 2 pinky-wide rings of red onion and toss them in too!
  • do the same to about 1/2 a red pepper
  • and some plum or cherry tomatoes
  • toss in some coarsely chopped cilantro while you’re at it (some people… eg, Bagel, dislike cilantro… apparently it can taste like soap to people with certain genes, so you might want to get a gene check on your guests before they come)
  • squeeze the juice from 2 limes into your bowl
  • add some salt and pepper
  • now MASH! or make your nearest available, most hyper-est guest do it if you are too lazy to cook before people get to your house because you are a collaborative person who like sharing in the experience, as well as the food 😉

PLATANOS MADUROS

  • get the blackest plantains you can find (the blacker they are, the sweeter, which means more caramelized awesomeness)
  • slice into pointer finger thickness, and place into the frying pan of olive oil while the oil heats up
  • flip fairly frequently so that they don’t get burnt and take out when they’re a nice golden brown (or black for more carmelizyness)
  • can be served plain, or with fresh goat cheese. both are delicious. one is fancier.

Oooh, Alayna, nice plate!

West African Peanut Soups OR Nuts4Nuts!

22 Jun

Little did Alayna and I know but this was actually the last Monday Soup we made while still living in the same apartment. Apparently there was a little miscommunication. She didn’t realize when I said, “I’m renting the truck Saturday,” meant “I’m moving out Saturday.” And I didn’t realize that “I am going to Virginia this weekend,” meant “Alayna is going to Virgina this weekend.”

So all of a sudden Sunday rolled around, Alayna came home and my room was empty. Meanwhile I was uptown a ways fighting off mosquitoes because screens are one of the many things I am currently lacking and for those of you who don’t live in New York City it’s been raining for the last 47 days straight so there are a bunch of bugs. There is that and considering what I’m supposed to do without Time Warner Cable in my life. Writing that out made me sound pathetic, I know. But I like Desperate Housewives of New Jersey. Sue me. That’s my heritage.

Is it just me or have these blog posts gotten way longer? Whatev. This soup is SOOOOO good. It’s hearty and wonderful. One bowl is enough for any human to feel full. So I ate two and then waddled around a bunch. So enjoy! And don’t worry, as stated last week, Alayna and I have a very detailed plan how to continue Monday Soups so do not fret fans. See you next week!

West African Peanut Soup!

  • Chop 6-8 cloves of garlic, 1 yellow onion and a decent amount of peeled fresh ginger (again, I like a lot) and saute on low in peanut oil until fragrant
  • Bring up the heat and add about 3 chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces and about a half a cup of roasted unsalted peanuts and keep covered until cooked through, stirring occasionally

  • Add 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and in bite sized pieces, and cover pretty generously with chicken broth (but not too much! you still have things to add!)… bring to a boil and cook until sweet potatoes are soft
  • Cut 6-8 plum tomatoes and 3-4 big handfuls of kale and 3 dried hot peppers torn into small-ish pieces and cook another 8-10 minutes

  • Add about 3 heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter (more or less to taste, chunky or smooth is fine) and stir in
  • … Enjoy!

Thai Coconut

17 Jun
Sorry to all our fans who have been hungry for two days because this posting is late. I am a little scatter brained as I’m moving out of the apartment where Monday Soups was born. Luckily, Alayna already asked the girl subletting the third room in our apartment if she would think it was weird if I were given spare keys and came here every Monday with groceries after work even if Alayna wasn’t home yet. The girl thought that Yes, it would be weird. But that’s okay because we were planning on doing it no matter what she said.
The point you need to take away from this? Monday Soup will proceed as normal. Speaking of Monday Soup being in the headlines. I know, I actually wasn’t speaking about that at all. Alayna and I are happy to report that a Friday’s Dinners entree has been published in Craved Magazine. Yes, Craved Magazine, the English speaking magazine in Dubai. Obviously.
Fear not, when this whole things blows up and I’m never stressed out about my rent check again, we will remember where we came from… We also might get rid of the “blogspot” in the URL. But not quite yet…
So right, the soup. It’s great! And different. Surprise a friend with this fancy treat from the Far East. It reminds me of my buddies in Thailand. What up Governor of Phang Nga? Remember when your driver picked me up every morning and then we ate ice cream cones together and that was my Peace Corps experience? I do. What up Christy? Remember how you are still in Thailand? I do.
P.S. Click on that Christy link and buy that shirt. Good cause! Then pgarut it on and make this soup!
Thai Loco-Nut!

Put a large packet of cellophane noodles (6-8 ounces) into a bowl of warm water and let soak for about 15 min
while preparing other parts of soup
Dice 6 cloves of garlic, and a good sized portion of peeled fresh garlic (I love garlic, so I put in about a hand’s-width… some people might find that excessive)
and saute in olive oil with 4-5 chili peppers, broken into small pieces
Add the zest from 3 limes and 1 lemon to the pan and continue sauteing until fragrant

add one (large) box of shitake mushrooms, roughly chopped and saute some more (just a few minutes)
Add about 1/2 cup of lime juice and 1/4 cup of lemon juice,
and 2 cans of coconut milk (I used one regular and one light… vague attempt at healthiness after being mocked for my appreciation of butter),
fill pot up a little more than halfway with chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
Add fish sauce sauce to taste… it sounds gross, but is delicious and I used about 8 teaspoons (confession, I cook all the time and don’t own measuring implements. Awkward.)

Drain and add cellophane noodles, trying to separate them as they go in (this will make serving easier later)
In a separate pan, cook 3-4 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces.
Once cooked through, add to the soup pot
Once everything is in the soup pot, add a few big handfuls of spinach and stir in… once they are a little wilted, add a handful of cilantro and cook another 2-3 minutes
Eat up!

Saw-dee-kah!

Roasted Squash

9 Jun
squaThis recipe came from a mother so we knew it would probably be good (although we did not have such key things as “tin foil” and “the time we thought it would take to cook the squash just sliced in half and not in little pieces, even though little pieces took almost as long”). It was also exciting to roast an entire garlic. Roast a garlic when you’re bored and then eat the wedges. Way better than you can imagine. Although your breath will be awkwardly bad when you go out later. Which I experienced first hand. But it’s worth it. Who needs to make new friends? Not me.
So yes. New roommate. Summer is starting. Lease is ending. Or is it? New job. Uncertain future. Oohh my. I feel like I say this every other week. But this is a good comfort soup. Who doesn’t want comfort? What isn’t comfortable about comfort? So here we go, roasted squash (and garlic!) soup.

Soup!


Peel and de-seed a medium to small sized butternut squash and an acorn squash
Cut into small wedges (bite sized)
Chop a yellow onion (coarsely)
Take a full head of garlic chop off the top (but don’t de-skin it)
Put the onion and squash in a baking dish, sprinkle with olive oil and fresh thyme, salt, and black pepper
Make sure everything is lightly coated.

In the middle of the baking dish, place your head of garlic
Bake it covered with tin foil (we didn’t do that- but DO it) at 375 F for 45 mins to an hour
(or until everything is soft enough to put a fork through easily)

Transfer everything to a soup pot
Add chicken broth
and a big handful of parsley and bring up the mixture to soup temperature
Blend and put in 1/2 and 1/2 and salt and pepper to taste!

There you go.
Yo Kate, you forgot your bullet! (thank god)

Veggie Detox Soup

2 Jun
This is the “Vitamin Water” of soups. After a heavy weekend this is a wonderful thing to make you to feel better about your life in general.
Alayna and I made this little bowl of heaven Memorial Day Monday night. It was great because after one too many meat center BBQs a bowl of light broth and veggies felt perfect to detox and recharge for Tuesday.
We used a chicken stock but if you use a veggie stock this soup could be Vegan. I think. Right? It’s also good as one of those, I-have-a-lot-of-random-vegetables-in-my-kitchen soups.
Anyway, so here it is!

Cut up 2 yams/sweet potatoes into spoon sized slices and boil in a saucepan on the side
Chop 6 cloves of garlic, half a white onion
And a decent sized chunk of peeled fresh ginger (I like a lot… but I also love ginger) s
Saute in olive oil
Add in 2 slicked yellow squashes (med-small)
Once they are getting translucent, add in chopped carrots (two normal sized carrots or small carrots)
And 2 chopped broccoli heads...
Continue cooking until the broccoli turns bright green
Add 2 small cans of cannellini beans, drained and cook covered on low heat
Add the sweet potatoes once you can stick a fork through them relatively easily,
Cover the whole concoction with vegetable or chicken broth and bring to a boil
Let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes, adding two big handfuls of spinach for the last 5 minutes


There you have it! So easy! So healthy! So great.

Summer Starter Dinner

1 Jun
What a lovely dinner we have for you! It’s a super light and healthy but a highly satisfying meal. I’m a pretty big fan. This dinner was sparked because Lindsay had flown in from London for the weekend… I pretty much just mentioned that because it sounds so cool… Which was fun and overshadowed the fact that our dearest third mate Kate was moving out. Off to sunnier skies and better produce. Sigh. 
It also came out that Kate had no idea Friday Dinner’s blog exists which was hard for me to understand as I’m pretty sure it’s the only thing Alayna I talk about, minus the cat. 
Okay, ready, set, go: 
Baked Salmon, Arugula Awesome, Mango, Strawberry & Mint Salad, AND CousCous Crazy

I know, what exciting names! And four courses! But it’s so easy. What a dream. Read on.

Lauren Cook, a mango and Alayna. Whipping together the fruit/mint salad. Lauren, I have to admit, is still the winner for most enthusiastic Monday Soup fan. The competition is on-going, but Lauren is doing pretty darn well. (Example: Opening the door for Gavin and introducing herself this way: “Hi, I’m Lauren, you may recognize me from the Monday Soup’s blog.”

This has nothing to do with dinner. I’m just showing off my dress. 

Slicing the mangoes.

Setting the table! So many goblets!

Eating!!
Here We Go:


Baked Salmon:
Put salmon in a pyrex dish. Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the salmon, and then sprinkle with thyme. Cook at 375 for about 30 min. When fish is cooked through, it should flake away easily with a fork and be a consistent pink color all the way through.

CousCous Crazy:
Make couscous according to instructions. Once it is cooked through, add a handful of chopped parsley, about half a red onion (chopped), 2 roma tomatoes (chopped) and chopped red pepper (about half a pepper). Stir in a big bowl and serve.


Arugula Awesome:
Cut a large gala (or other type… preferably crispy!) apple into bite size slices and put onto a bed of arugula. Shred parmesean-romano cheese on top (i like a lot). For salad dressing, mix the juice from half a lemon, about a spoonful of honey, and a tiny splash of olive oil (about 1tsp)… mix well and then toss into salad. The lemon will keep the apple slices from browning so you can make ahead.

Mango, Strawberry & Mint Salad:
Wash and cut up mangoes, strawberries and mint. Mix them in a bowl. Delicious.


For dessert we had Rhubarb Crisp, thanks to Lindsay’s magic. Lindsay add the recipe as a comment to this post so we can all copy the recipe and eat that wonderful thing again. Thank you.

That is the end of Rhubarb Crisp.
I’ll leave you with a series I call, “How I look when I describe the stabbing I witnessed on our street yesterday.”