Archive | October, 2009

Halloween Soup

27 Oct
Putting sausage guts in our soup. Awkward to write out, delicious to eat.

It’s so spooky that Alayna and I weren’t even trying to make HALLOWEEN SOUP. Neither of us put together that soaking the black beans in water for an hour and 45 minutes and using that water as the broth would dye the entire soup black. Making it the purrrrfect ghoulish soup.
Wait, what? Soaking the beans for an hour and 45 minutes? I KNOW. That’s a really long time to wait. So what did we do? Uhm, figured out six different Halloween costumes based on Alayna’s closet and dressed up by the soup. Because that’s soupies do on Monday nights.
Here we go! Monday’s Soups first Halloween! And please don’t judge me for writing some of the worst captions ever.
An Egyptian adding poison to her father’s soup.
“Looking into my soup bowl I see many leftovers in your future.”

Stepford wife cooking away her sadness and dreaming of a future where she can take her mind out of the kitchen and into the workforce!

A Mayan Indian thinking about traditional Mayan life and how we only have 2 more years left on the calendar. What will be the last soup she makes?

Holy smokes, Bond girl is tied to the hot soup bowl and is about to die!
Thanks James Bond for annihilating that pot of soup with an electric screw driver.

Just kidding. We didn’t annihilate our soup! We ate it. And now you can, too!
Shrimp / Sausage / Black Bean Spook Soup!

  • put 1.5 16oz bags of dried black beans into a soup pot and fill halfway with water, bringing to a simmer
  • while that’s simmering, chop one fennel bulb, a white onion, three cloves of garlic, 3 large carrots and a red pepper into smallish pieces and dump into the pot
  • cut open the casings of 2 sweet and 2 spicy italian sausages (or 4 mexican chorizo sausages) and break the raw meat into little pieces, dropping them into the pot
  • ADD WATER WHENEVER THE SOUP DOESN’T COVER THE BEANS…. also add veggie broth powder (or salt and pepper) to taste
  • after about 1.5-2 hours (when the beans are soft all the way through) bring the soup back up to a boil and throw in a pound of thawed frozen shrimp (no shells) for 3-4 minutes until cooked through (this is optional, but delicious)
  • serve with shredded cheese on top


Carrot Coconut

20 Oct
The texture revolution.
This is what I mean, these are the things I’ve started to do differently. I buy the New York Sunday Times at the store on 25th and 3rd even though I can read it for free online. I drink coffee in a mug which I refill and refill and refill on the long part of my couch and pick apart the paper. I bought a hard covered book (Sherman Alexie, War Dances) at the store. It was new and cost $23. I just re-read all the underlined parts of “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” my copy is taped up the spine. I read it in Galicia. I lent it to a boy to read in Galicia. I lent it to a boy to read in Barcelona. I re-read it in Barcelona. I mailed it home on a box that took a ship across the Atlantic.
“There is no such thing as safety. There are so many seeking safety here now that they make a great danger. In seeking safety now you lose all.”
I underlined that. But I didn’t add any stars on the margin next to it. Which means those sentence were my lowest priority of underlining. I have a structure. Two stars is as high as a sentence can be. I won’t tell you what those are though.
I meant to write about something else for this post but then I started looking through books because I was looking for Something. A line or something. And instead I remembered how much I miss the feeling of books. I remember pretty much almost exactly what I was thinking when I underlined everything I have ever underlined. It’s a gift. I paged through a Mary Oliver book of poems, and then a Frances Driscoll book of poems, which I don’t think is a big name but I found her in a used bookstore in Maine– which place in Maine, Brunswick? and I cried sitting in the corner reading it because it was sad. And then I probably pitched a tent somewhere.
Alayna and I haven’t discussed the texture revolution that thoroughly yet but I know she’s part of it, too. She forgot what it felt like to receive mix tapes and then she did in the mail and remembered. She builds pots in her hands. That’s a good one.
What do you do to keep texture in your life? Making soup counts, too.
Carrot Coconut Cah-Cah-Cah

  • 4-5 garlic cloves chopped in olive oil, saute
  • Add 2 shallots, 5 stalks of celery chopped, 1 head of broccoli chopped
  • a few generous shakes of garam masala, chili powder and coriander
  • Add 2-3 large leeks, a “decent” amount of ginger chopped
  • 4 small red potatoes, skin on, add a bag of regular carrots chopped
  • Pour in a can of coconut milk
  • Add enough chicken broth to cover the veggies
  • Bring to boil and then let simmer for about 25 minutes until veggies are soft
  • Blend!
  • Alayna and the soup. I cannot smile while spooning soup. We tried. We took 8 pictures. I can’t do it.

    End of Summer Delight

    14 Oct
    A sad sad sad end of summer dinner, even though the company was lovely. Our menu was bacon wrapped prunes, roasted tomato and zucchini tart, a spinach salad, sweet potato mashed potatoes and apple cobbler for dessert. Overall, there was a touch of autumn, but the the flavor of summery goodness. AND my brand new dish set has been broken in! So here it is, our end of summer dinner party…

    Bacon-Wrapped Prunes

    • Wrap each dried prune in about half a piece of bacon, securing with a toothpick
    • Place on a tin-foil covered baking sheet and bake at 400 for about 10-12 minutes (until bacon is crispy)
    • Serve!

    Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Tart:

    • First, thinly slice a large onion and saute in olive oil over low heat to carmelize (this will take a while, so let it hang out while you’re preparing the other veggies). In the last few minutes you’ll add about 3 cloves of thinly chopped garlic
    • Pre-heat oven to 375 and slice up 2 medium zucchini in thinish rounds and 3-4 plum tomatoes. Lay them on baking sheets and, using a pastry brush, lightly coat them with olive oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper before roasting them in the oven for about 10 minutes per side (are ready when the zuch is golden brown)
    • While your veggies are roasting, make your crust (same crust as the summer tomato tart! It’s just so delicious!

    • Pulse 1 stick of cold butter (sliced), 1.5 cups of flour, some salt, lemon zest from one lemon & .5 cup of Parmesan cheese 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).
    • Roll the dough out to about a 12 in circle (or any other shape… we did a rectangle!) Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a greased pan. If your crust breaks in the move (like ours did), just push the pieces back together with your fingers on the baking tray
    • Put the carmelized onion and garlic onto the tart crust, then arrange the roasted zucchini and tomato nicely, and slice about half of a big ball of mozerella to layer on the top with some fresh thyme leaves. Leave about an inch from the edge of the crust so that you can fold and pinch it up to keep all the juices in. Pinch closed any weak spots or holes and bake for about 30-40 minutes (crust should be golden brown before you take it out)
    • Let cool a little and serve!

    Sweet Potato Mash
    • Boil peeled sweet potatos
    • Drain and mash them, adding a little salt, some fresh goat cheese and a brown sugar to taste
    Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing
    • For salad, toss baby spinach, walnuts, red grapes and fresh goat cheese
    • For the dressing, mix balsamic vinegar, stone mustard (or any mustard), olive oil, a dash of cinamon and some rosemary with a touch of sugar or honey. Let sit for a little while and adjust to taste.

    Apple Cobbler

    • Thinly slice some apples and place in a baking dish
    • Mix about 1/2 a cup of sugar, with 3 tablespoons of flour and some sprinkles of dry ginger and cinnamon. Pour over the apples in your baking dish
    • mix 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/3 a cup of flour with some more shakes of cinnamon, then cut in about 6 tablespoons of butter until it looks like chunky bits (not too big, but there shouldn’t be dry mix left behind)
    • sprinkle onto the apples and cook at 375 farenheit for about 45 minutes

    Roasted Pumpkin Soup

    13 Oct
    Pumpkin slaughtering. That was our Monday night. Did you know you can buy a pretty big pumpkin at Key Foods for under $5. I know, right? We gutted this pumpkin, roasted the seeds, knifed it into sections, peeled the outside skin, chopped those into bits. Roasted the bits. I sort of felt like we were hunters tearing apart our prey. I liked it.

    For those non-New York City readers, yesterday was cold. That morning as I was getting ready for work I heard a hissing sound I could not identify and it began to drive me crazy. Eventually I realized it was the building’s heat being turned on for the first time this season. I decidedI should probably take out the air conditioner.

    This is how we look when we have food in our mouths.

    You are encouraged to mimic our Autumn harvest. It was pretty awesome. We drank pumpkin special beers. We snacked on roasted pumpkin seeds, crackers with homemade baba ganoush, pesto with hazelnuts (recipes below), and St. Andre cheese.

    Then the soup was ready. New soup record with the sheer amount of soup we made. A big pumpkin goes far. And Alayna and I like to cook as if we had 10 sons coming home from war.
    Whatever, I was pumped to have a full pickle jar of pumpkin soup to schelp 30 blocks home with me. So many lunches!

    P.S. This soup was under $10, and it made what? 20 servings? Souper cheap, souper tasty.

    Roasted Pumpkin Soup!

    • take one medium-sized pumpkin (as in, not more than 5-6 pounds, because that’s a lot of pumpkin! like, enough for 6-8 people), wash the outside, take out the seeds and set them aside in a colander.
    • OPTIONAL: Rinse off the seeds and put them on a cookie sheet with some olive oil, salt and pepper… cook at about 350 and take out before they burn (we burned ours, so I don’t have a time estimate)… you can snack on these or just put them on your soup
    • Peel the pumpkin with a vegetable peeler (we found peeling it in pieces easier) and cube, placing pieces in a brownie pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover with tinfoil and pop into the oven for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees (should be easy to fork through when they’re done)
    • Saute garlic, raw ginger, half a white onion, a handful of fresh sage leafs and 3-4 large carrots until carrots are getting soft. Add the pumpkin and some vegetable broth
    • Blend and serve!

    Pretty Pesto!

    • buy a bunch of fresh basil for no reason other than it’s pretty
    • toast about two handfuls of hazelnuts (or walnuts) in a frying pan with no oil on low heat, stirring occasionally
    • almost fill your food processor with basil leaves, then add 3-4 cloves of garlic, about half a cup of parmesean cheese (or just the amount you had left), the toasted nuts, some salt and pepper and a generous pouring of olive oil
    • taste and adjust… for more saucy pesto add more olive oil, if serving as a dip, maybe a little less
    • serve with crackers or use as a marinade, in soup, etc etc… keeps for a while in a well sealed container and can be frozen!

    Asparagus & Brown Rice Soup

    6 Oct

    Alayna and I chose this soup because I had a bunch of asparagus at home I didn’t know what to do with it. We found a recipe that incorporated asparagus and brown rice and we were tentatively planning to work off that until we re-read the recipe at home and realized adding soy sauce and hot sauce sounded sort of gross. Plus it instructed us to use multiple dishes.

    We did not like this.

    We altered the recipe so we only used 1 soup pot and 1 pot for rice. No other dishware was dirtied! (Minus our feeding bowls… I said that with a southern drawl and I hope you did, too.) This soup set a lot of records actually. Alayna came over at 7pm and we were sitting down eating by 7:40. This never happens. Not necessary because soup takes that long but because we have a habit of dilly dallying over things like kittens and craftware. And Alayna ate, I kid you not, 4 bowlfuls of this soup. To make her feel better I ate three. And my second bowlful was REALLY big.

    When she asked for her fourth bowlful she reasoned, well it’s just vegetables and water, really.
    It’s true.
    Now enjoy this soup yourself and don’t be shy with the Parmesan cheese. Trust me.

    Oh! I was asked to include an Obituary for Gourmet Magazine in here. It’s true, it was the Vogue of cooking. Alas, I too, miss paper.

    • Cook a cup of rice (mixed brown and wild is best) in a seperate pot
    • Sauttee one chopped yellow onion, adding 3 finely chopped shallots at the end
    • Adding as you chop, put in about 5 celery sticks, 4-5 smallish carrots and a bunch of asparagus, keeping the pot covered on medium heat
    • Add a handful of chopped parsely, several sprigs of fresh thyme and some ground black pepper
    • Once the veggies are cooked through but still have some crunch (the asparagus should be bright green), add in the cooked rice and fill the pot with chicken or vegetable broth
    • Squeeze in the juice of one lemon, bring to a simmer and serve with a sprinkling of parmesean on top