Archive | August, 2010

Roasted Carrot & Tomato Soup, and Strawberry Salad

24 Aug

So I’m finally back from Colombia, and I’m not going to lie…. it was great. We landed in Bogota late on a Thursday and spent the next few days exploring the old city and getting used to the 8,000ft altitude and even went out to a nearby town to see a cathedral built into an underground salt mine (fact: I had salt in my hair when I came out… weird!). Most importantly, I quickly realized we were back in the land of jugos, or fresh fruit juices. Colombia grows a TON of fresh fruit (some of which, like the lulo, aren’t grown anywhere else in the world), and like a lot of Latin America, there’s the go to drink instead of soda. It’s generally just fresh fruit with some ice and either milk or water. And they are DELICIOUS.

We then headed a little lower to Medellin, home of artist Fernando Botero, notorious for his fat figures. Between the mountains, the lower altitude and warmer weather, this was by far our favorite city.

Then we were off to Cartagena on the Caribbean coast…. more touristy than what we’d been doing, but beautiful nonetheless. Most importantly, it served as a great jumping off point to go up to Santa Marta and visit the Tayrona National Park where you hike in through the jungle to see where the Sierra Nevada mountains meet the Caribbean Sea. Needless to say, it made for some great pictures.

After our short trip up the coast, it was back to Cartagena and then Bogota for a quick dinner with an old co-worker (thanks Julian!) and an early flight back to the US of A, where I had both foolishly and brilliantly scheduled a housewarming party two days after my arrival to force myself to finish unpacking. All I’m saying is that it worked, but the groceries I bought over the weekend were slightly bizarre (I mean, did I really need eight peaches, three pounds of strawberries and two pints of blueberries for ONE WEEK?????? And how did I end up with so many carrots and yet so few savory items?), but I did manage to pull together a rather delicious roasted carrot and tomato soup paired with a small spinach, feta and strawberry salad (with balsamic and cinnamon for dressing) for the first night of outdoor eating in my brand new back yard.

Beautiful dinner on a beautiful night, and now DC is starting to feel a little more like somewhere I live. So, without further ado…. using the new blender!

Roasted Carrot and Tomato Soup

  • Chop about 1.5 pounds of carrot, 2 pounds of tomato (I used a mix of beefsteak and plum) and four celery ribs and put them into a pyrex with six cloves of garlic, a sprinkling of olive oil and some salt and pepper.
  • Cover with tinfoil and cook at 400 for about 45 minutes until the carrot are easy to stick with a fork
  • Put a few handfuls of fresh spinach in your blender, then some roasted veggies, all of the leftover juice in the pan and a generous handful of fresh purple basil (because it’s pretty…. regular basil will also work) and blend, adding water if necessary to keep the mix going
  • Continue in batches until finished, season with salt and pepper and serve either warm or cold either plain, with greek yogurt or with feta cheese… it’s delicious all three ways

Strawberry Salad

  • Take strawberries, spinach and feta cheese and put them in a bowl. Make a dressing of olive oil with balsamic vinaigrette and cinnamon, toss and serve

Chicken bean soup & Olive chicken

18 Aug

I’m starting to realize my kitchen looks a little Soviet Russia. I still really love my kitchen… some people would call it a hallway or a foyer, but I call it a kitchen. I’m always startled when I see it in pictures, like the one above and realize it’s hideous. My kitchen is my ugly baby.

Alayna’s mom made this chicken when we were in D.C. moving her in and it was so delicious I made it the following week and that recipe is below. With the corresponding soup I made with the meat and bones. I’m not putting the broth recipe in here because we all know how to make chicken broth by now right? If not, check ’em archives. I like the routine of the Sunday chicken, Monday soup. Feels very on-the-farm-practical, you know? Using everything down to the bones and all.

Alright, sorry this is short and boring. I just got back from the Dominican Republic. Alayna is in Colombia. I’m still thinking about coconuts and sunscreen. Now go and get yourself a chicken.

Shoot, that looks sorta disgusting doesn’t it? It’s not though I swear!

Sunday Chicken, Monday soup

Olive chicken

Put a 4-6 pound roasting chicken in a slow cooker or dutch oven

Add thyme and smoked paprika to the chicken

Put in 2 green peppers chopped and three or four wedged tomatoes, I squeezed their juice onto the chicken

Throw in one chopped onion

Pour in an entire jar, with the juice, of black olive (I’m not an olive fan so I put in half the jar of olives- but all the juice)

In a slow cooker cook on low for 9 hours, in a dutch oven cook for two hours

From this I made 2 meals with the chicken, ladling the delicious juice over your entire plate, (I froze the bones to use as a broth later).  There was a lot of chicken left over- I put this in the fridge for Monday Soup. There was also a lot of left over broth and juice left over, which I also saved for Monday soup (don’t freak when you open it the next day and you realize it’s become a gelatin, all you first timers.)

Chicken Bean Soup

Boil 2 quarts of water, dump in 1 and 1/2 cups of dried beans (any kind of beans- I did one of those mix packets) let boil for 2 minutes, take off heat and let sit for an hour

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in your soup pot, add 1 chopped onion until fragrant

Add (and this is all really based on whatever is in your fridge), a couple chopped carrots, 1 chopped Japanese eggplant, 1 chopped zucchini, 3 chopped red potatoes. Let all that simmer for about 15 minutes.

Pour in all the leftover broth from last night’s chicken into the pot. If it doesn’t almost cover the veggies add some water

Add a big squeeze of lemon or two, 1 tsp of thyme and 1 tspn of paprika and 1 tsp of salt & pepper. Add the beans (with their water if you want more liquid). Taste it and see if you want to add a chicken bullion cube. Let all of it sit on simmer for another 30+ minutes.

Add in as much of the leftover chicken as you want and a few handful of leafy greens.

Let it sit for another 10 minutes and ENJOY!

Spicy Quinoa Soup & Peach Frozen Yogurt

9 Aug

Alayna has moved out of town. I’m auditioning for new lady friends. Paul is barefoot and touring Phish somewhere out West. Days can be lonely for the soup ladle left behind. Thank goodness for the Union Square farmer’s market. It’s my favorite community indulgence. Gavin makes fun of me because I impulsively buy vegetables I don’t need the way other girls buy shoes. And then I get really anal about not wasting any of them. I’ve tried to lighten up with this. I don’t guilt myself if say, I don’t consume the carrot top greens, but when I do figure out how to work everything in and waste nothing I feel like I did well on a puzzling math test.

This soup is tasty. It’s like the lime soup we made way back in the day but more grain-packed. I used 2 cups quinoa and that was a ton. Feel free to just use 1 cup if you want it to feel more soupy less salady. You know what I’m saying.

In other news I’m headed to the Dominican Republic and Alayna is in Colombia, so, I’m not totally sure how we’re going to post for next Monday but we will. So check back. Eat soup and, oh! enjoy the frozen yogurt recipe. I gave up ice cream when I was in my medical boot as some sort of deranged punishment. So I made this instead, which some people could say is cheating, but it’s so good for you, with no added sugar, I’d say–Lord, sometimes I just have to step back and tell myself I’m not a health food commerical. Whatever, eat what you want. See you next week.

Spicy Quinoa Soup

4 ears of corn
2 jalapenos
1 giant handful of lima beans
2 cups of quinoa
3 heirloom tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
generous shakes of red pepper

  • Heat oil in soup bowl and add 1 chopped onion, saute for 5 minutes
  • Add a generous shake or two of red pepper and 2 cloves of chopped garlic, keep on low heat for another few minutes until everything becomes fragrant.
  • Turn heat to medium and add 4 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups of quinoa, wait until the pot starts to boil and then turn to simmer and put on a lid– let sit for about 10 minutes, checking occasionally to see if you need to add more water
  • Add lima beans, let sit for another 5 minutes
  • Add corn kernels, chopped jalopeanos, 3 chopped tomatoes, stir and let simmer for another 10 minutes or so (more if you aren’t ready to eat)
  • Add avacado slices and a squeeze of lime and lemon to taste. Enjoy!

Healthy Peach Fro-Yo

  • 1 pound of peaces, chop them into pieces drop them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drop them immediately in water with ice cubes for 5 minutes, drain and freeze the in pieces over night or longer with one sliced banana
  • The next day, put 1.5 cup of non-fat yogurt, 1/4 cup of honey, 2 tsp. vanilla in a blender and blend, then slowly add the frozen fruit until it’s all blended to your chunky/chunk-less preference
  • Put in freezer container, freeze for 2 hours and enjoy!
  • Can stay in the freezer up to 3 weeks
  • Tip eat with drizzled honey, the honey freezes over it and is delicious!

Parting Persian Soup

2 Aug

Well, I’ve really done it… left the wilds of New York to go back to Washington DC. The week before I left was spent sorting through all of my things (and who knew I had so many things???) deciding what to take, what to sell and what to give away, and finally getting everything into boxes and onto a (very small) truck with the help of some very generous friends and family. Mary, in her gimp boot and best friend role, came with me to keep me sane in situations like the movers not showing up and breaking a mirror at 1am when trying to move a chair, and I won’t lie, it might have been all worth it the next morning when we got to have our coffee on my front porch.

(Mary says, Note to my new friends, if what you want me to do allows me to wear overalls for two days straight I’ll probably say yes.)

The week before I left I cleared out the fridge and the pantry to make one last soup to keep me going through the packing and use up the rest of my produce and dried goods… something with lots of fiber and veggies, but thick enough to be filling even when I’d been working all day. It’s loosely based off of the Persian soup with did when Mojdeh was in town, and also delicious enough to eat for a week straight. Enjoy!

Parting Persian Soup

  • Sauté about five cloves of garlic and one large yellow onion in olive oil with a generous amount of turmeric until the onion is soft
  • Add two cups of mung beans, cover with water and bring to a low boil for about ten minutes
  • Add two cups of yellow lentils, one cup of rice and about ¾ a stick of butter, adding more water if necessary, and let simmer for another 45 minutes to an hour until all beans are soft
  • For the last ten minutes, chop up and add in whatever vegetables you have in your fridge (in this case, two red bell peppers, four carrots, and a quarter bag of spinach)
  • Serve with Greek yogurt or plain!