Archive | November, 2009

Ginger Asian Soup

24 Nov

I came home sick from work yesterday and promptly fell asleep. I woke up for the last 45 minutes of Legends of the Fall, wept like a baby when Isabel 2 was shot by the prohibitioners’ stray bullet when they were trying to intimidate Tristan- like that’s even possible. Once again I was left feeling cheated I wasn’t born as a native American two hundred years ago. Then I fell asleep again. Woke up to Alayna buzzing up with groceries. I said what should I help cut? She looked at me with disgust in her eye as if I were a leper and said, Nothing. I sat back and she cooked me soup and it was pretty fantastic.

Then Paul came over. (Mom, stop reading this now.)

Paul came over with bloody hands.

“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.”

– William Shakespeare, Macbeth 2.2

Paul had just ended the lives of two pigs, with two bullets, a slit to their throats and four large man’s knees holding their squealing piggy cries down in the dirt while they died. Paul ate our soup and shared the (curly) tales of the pig slaughter in a cold barn in Vermont just the day before. (Paul will go back to Vermont to cut and salt and store all this meat- he is in culinary school and this acted as his first butchering experience.)

I felt bad that we made our soup with chicken but didn’t say anything.

So this Ginger Asian soup is dedicated to our chicken and pig friends. And once again I am inspired to make one of those promises to myself that when I do happen to buy meat it’s the more expensive kind that says it’s slightly more humane than the other ones.
Because it can’t be good- for our bodies or our karma- for those mass slaughters of those industrial animals with those shitty lives- who die without anyone giving them much thought. Or being sad. Or sitting on my couch eating my soup marinating over the experience- and the life- thoughtfully. Like someone probably should when something dies for our benefit.

I thought about this after Paul left but then I fell asleep again.
I was really tired afterall.

Ginger Asian Soup
  • chop 5-6 cloves of garlic and a generous amount of fresh ginger and saute in olive oil

Your ginger doesn’t have to be growing stems like mine…
  • add a bunch of roughly chopped broccoli rabe (include the stems in leaves! they’re delicious, i promise… just not the very bottom of them)
  • add in mushrooms (we had shitake, baby bellas and… something else that came in the three pack. if only one option is available, i would go for shitake)
  • once the rabe is getting to be a darker green and the mushrooms cooked through a bit, add your veggie or chicken broth and bring up the heat to get to a boil
  • in a separate pan, cook up a few chicken breasts in bite-sized pieces
  • once the broth is boiling, add a packet of udon noodles (snapping them in half first) and two generous handfuls of fresh sugar snap peas with your cooked chicken
  • Flavor with soy sauce (and salt and pepper if you are a sodium addict like moi)
  • Once the noodles are cooked through (about five minutes) enjoy!

Timbale, Hey!

17 Nov

Dinner Menu:
Arugula Salad with apples
Roasted Acorn Squash with brown sugar and butter
Timbale with Smokey Roasted Tomato and Chile Sauce

Banana Cake

Figuring this stuff out isn’t easy. A glance into our heads:

me: name for friday’s dinner? for the post

Alayna: oh Timbale Hey!
not oh timbale
Timbale! (Rhymes with Hey!)
i dontknwo
or dinner
me: got it
Alayna: i know
me: uhm, we’ll see
Alayna: like the song
me: yeah, got it
Alayna: c’mon
me: i can’t believe that was your blog title break through idea

Might not be the best title but this dinner is da bomb diggity. Everyone should roast an acorn squash for dinner, it makes your dinner plate look really pretty and it’s cheap and it’s delicious. What more could you possibly want?

I encourage you to copy this dinner party and impress you’re own friends.

Timbale with Smokey Roasted Tomato and Chile Sauce
  • Grate one small (or half of a large) zucchini with a cheese grater, then put into a colander and toss with salt. Let sit for half an hour then squeeze out the excess water before using
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and then add one finely chopped yellow onion, followed by the kernels from 3 ears of sweet corn and small handfuls of chopped parsley and cilantro, followed by the zucchini
  • Add 4 shots of tequila (or 1/4 cup of white wine) and let it simmer until the liquid has cooked off, add a small handful of chopped parsley and cilantro to the sauce when it’s simmering
  • Beat 5 eggs in a separate bowl, adding 2/3 a cup of heavy cream, adding the vegetables when they have cooled and a few shakes of hot pepper, black pepper and salt
  • Pour the mixture into a deep 8 inch souffle pan (I used an 8 in baking dish instead) that is liberally coated in butter and bread crumbs
  • Cook at 325 for about 45 minutes (the top should be golden brown and the custard should not shake if you tap the center)
  • Let cool for a few minutes before serving
Smokey Roasted Sauce
  • Cut 6-8 very ripe tomatoes in half and place face down on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 350 for about half an hour until skins peel of easily and bottoms are a little burnt
  • In a separate dish, cut the tops off two cloves of garlic and place them in a pan with 4-5 dry passilla peppers. Put in the oven (I did this while the timbale and squash were cooking) and take the chiles out when they have puffed up (about 15 min) and the garlic out when it is good and soft
  • When everything has cooled a little, peel the garlic and de-seed the chiles, blending the mixture in a food processor, then put in a saucepan at a low simmer until you’re ready to serve it on top of the timbale
Arugula Salad
  • Cut up two apples (I used one red delicious and I believe a braeburn… you want things that are crisp and tangy!) and put on a generous bed of arugula with a sprinkling of hazelnuts
  • For the dressing, mix grapeseed oil with balsamic vinegar and fresh rosemary and a dash of cinnamon to taste…. dress right before serving

Roasted Acorn Squash

  • Halve acorn squashes (one half per guest), empty out the seeds with a spoon and put in the oven at 350 for about 30-40 minutes (longer if you cook them at 325 with the timbale)… they are finished when you can easily stick a fork through the flesh
  • Serve with butter and brown sugar so guests can season to taste

Banana Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Cream 1/2 cup of butter, 1 cup of white sugar and 3/4 cup of brown sugar until light and fluffy
  • Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time
  • Mash 4 ripe bananas thoroughly and add to the mix
  • In a separate bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups of floor with 1 tablespoon of baking soda with some salt, about 2 teaspoons of black pepper and some cinnamon
  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand (who does?) make it by adding about a tablespoon of lemon juice (half a lemon) to heavy cream and letting it sit for five minutes
  • Beat in the flour and milk mixtures thoroughly by alternating between the two
  • Stir in about half a cup of hazelnuts, half a cup of macadamia nuts, and a handful of craisins
  • Bake for 40 minutes until top is browned and a toothpick comes out of the middle clean
  • Serve with home-made whipped cream (mix some whipping cream with an eggbeater until you can make a ditch with your finger that holds, then add a teaspoon of vanilla and sugar to taste)

Garlic Breath Soup

17 Nov

Poor little baby Zizi cat hated this soup night. But our new buddy Tater-tot loved it! Especially because he got to lick the bowl. The bowl of rich garlic goodness. This soup is a nod to our vampire friends Edward and what’s-her-face from Twilight. Or New Moon. Whatever. You know. I should probably know. I can probably take a swing through What Would Justin Bobby Do and figure it out.

Nods Bella and Beau.

Okay soupies, time to start seriously thinking about the great soup pot day coming up, that’s right, A Year of Monday’s Soup Anniversary Gala. The date should be sometime in January, details will follow, but these are a couple things that should be on your radar in the meantime:

  • Review this blog: Take a stroll back to your favorite soggy recipe; was it Veggie Detox (it actually was, I have analytics and that is our most popular soup– you alcholoholics, you), or African peanut soup (that was MY favorite soup), or Lime Soup (Alayna?). Either way, check out our past hits and remember all the good times we had together. Remember when the blender broke? Classic soup memory.
  • Make your request early! If you have a soup you really want to make (you will bring this soup to our party in a soup pot… that’s another thing, you might have to buy a soup pot)… email one of us and we’ll cross that one off the list. All the soups must be different!
  • Start singing and tapping your toes: We are currently looking for songwriters, poets and dancers to help us write and choreograph the group “We Aren’t Afraid of Soup” song that we will videotape and then repost on our blog and it will quickly go viral.

So let us know who could help us out. I’m not joking about any of this. At first Alayna thought I was and then she saw the soup ladle sparkling in my eye and knew. Knew I was serious. Souperious. And when you’re souperious nothing can stop you.

Bad Breath Soup
  • Roughly chop 3-4 onions and two heads (that’s right, HEADS, not cloves) of garlic and saute in a sprinkling of olive oil and about 3 tablespoons of butter on low
  • Add chopped fresh parsley, rosemary and thyme (we cheated and used dry thyme) and cover, stirring occasionally, letting it cook for about 30 minutes
  • Add chicken stock or vegetable broth and bring to a boil
  • Cube half a loaf of french or otherwise delicious bread and add it to the pot until soft (add more broth if it’s too chunky)\
  • Blend and serve over the leftover pieces of bread
  • Try to avoid sitting to close to strangers

Chickpea Rosemary Soup

10 Nov

While Melinda, our Monday Soup’s dinner guest, was in the other room Alayna introduced me to her new buddy Ernst the Eggplant in the kitchen.

Alayna met Ernst at the Essex Street Market and at first she thought he was a deformed eggplant but then realized he was actually a great new pal. She sent me a message on Saturday night that we have a new soup buddy in our lives. I just pray he never rots. Notice that we discuss produce on Saturday nights? Cool.

Man, this post is weird, huh? Maybe it’s because it’s 4 o’clock and it’s already dark outside. Maybe it’s because I just watered my desk cactus for the month and I’m tired out. Or maybe it’s because last night Alayna and I ate an entire mammoth bunch of kale. (P.S. Check out our kale chip recipe below. THEY’RE AWESOME. They’re like potato chips for health conscious weirdos.) Anyway, yeah, I don’t know.

But this is what I do know. Chickpea Rosemary soup is a comforting thing. Sort of like a potato soup. I also know that I really enjoy New York City in the fall. I keep realizing this over and over. Especially the Lower East Side. I felt all full of goodness and chickpeas when I set out to walk home Monday night at 10pm from Alayna’s. I smiled when the street kiddies pretended to beat each other with baseball bats on Suffolk, or those rats that always run under your feet on the corner by Houston, or that drunk person you always run into because you can’t see the corner because of the plywood fence that is covering the empty lot which always has movie posters for really good indy movies and meditation spots. You know what I mean. Anyway right, soup…

Friends 4-eva.

Chickpea & Rosemary Soup!

  • Roughly chop about 4-5 cloves of garlic and saute in olive oil with some hot red pepper, adding a roughly chopped yellow onion when beginning to get translucent. Add about 4 stripped sprigs or fresh rosemary, leaves only.
  • Increasing the heat a little, add 4 parsnips (also chopped) and then a zucchini. Cook another five minutes or so until everything is a little softer and you can stick a fork through them
  • Add 4 drained and rinsed cans of chickpeas and two tomatoes, then cover with vegetable broth and bring to a simmer (not a full boil! it will make the rosemary bitter)
  • Drain and season with lemon juice and black pepper!
Kale Chips!

  • Tear leaves up into medium sized pieces and place in a brownie pan
  • sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt and mix with your hands
  • cook at 375 for about 30 min, stirring once and checking to make sure tops aren’t burnt

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup / Ode to Beets

3 Nov

Hello soup lads and ladles. (O.M.G. I’m good at this.) November is here. Which means all of our little vegetable friends are burrowing deep into the ground to stay warm, thus the perfect time for root soup.

Root soup sounds cool, doesn’t it? Like Alayna and I somehow have morphed into two heavy set frontier women surviving the winter with only one donkey and a plow. It sounds almost as cool as when Lauren Cook casually mentioned how she pickles AND CANS her beets. My jaw dropped I was so impressed.

The thing is, I’ve been eating beets every day since Saturday afternoon. And I plan to eat them again in a few hours for lunch. Everything that comes out of my body is red. I love it. Poor little Zachy who had beet dinner with me on Saturday doesn’t so much.

Via text message:
Zach: My poop was red and it scared me and I’m never eating beets again.
Mary: I ate the leftovers today and now my pee is red too!
Zach: I feel ill.

Of course, Zach didn’t feel ill. He is just nervous because he has a marathon to run in 12 months and he’s freaking. Don’t worry Zach, keep eating nutritious foods like beets and you’ll do fine.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

  • chop about 4 parsnips, 4 turnips, 6 regular sized carrots, one large yellow onion, and 3 medium sized beets into bite sized pieces and put into a brownie pan
  • add 4 whole peeled cloves of garlic
  • sprinkle the whole mix with sea salt, black pepper, herbs De Provence and olive oil and mix with your hands to coat
  • bake in the oven at 450-500 degrees for about half an hour, stirring once or twice, until you can fork through all the veggies fairly easily
  • transfer to a soup pot, cover with vegetable broth and bring to a boil until the veggies are easily mashed
  • blend and serve!