Archive | November, 2010

Pre-Vacation Fridge Stew

30 Nov

I always feel like before vacation there’s this secret challenge to eat all of the food that could go bad, but also have at least one fresh meal (aka, not spaghetti, although it will do in a pinch) available for when you get home so you don’t have to go out to the store or eat take-out when you first get back. (Mary’s head: I don’t know if other people are like this, because I’m never this organized to think about these details BUT I can testify that Alayna gets herself into a tizzy if she doesn’t have a meal prepared to come home, too. Anyway, read on…) Shockingly it’s times like these that I turn to stew. With this one I managed to use all of my half peppers/bags of carrots/onions, come out with something delicious for when I got home, and ‘lazy cook’ (meaning, chop up a bunch of things then do nothing for a long time then eat! Crockpots are brilliant!).

Even MORE importantly, over Thanksgiving I was up in New York and got to see Mary! A long dinner and a palm reading (what? yes, we did that) made me miss New York, but at least I’ll be back in less than a month! (What, hi!, I’m back. Dude that palm reader FREAKED ME OUT. Freaked me so bad that I might start to reconsider my drunk habit of popping into palm readers’ shops. Have you noticed there are as many palm reader shops as bodegas in NYC? And how there is always a fat man in an undershirt watching loud TV in the back? No one ever talks about these things.)

Uhm, is it just me or do I actually sort of look like a palm reader? Alayna just looks like a graduate student though.

Vacation Stew!

  • Add about 2 cups of dried lentils, one chopped sweet potato, one chopped red onion, one chopped red pepper, 6 cloves of chopped garlic, half a bag of baby (or grown-up) carrots, two inches of chopped fresh ginger, one peeled and chopped acorn squash and five chicken thighs (in bitesized pieces) to your crockpot with a few generous shakes of tumeric, a pinch of saffron and enough water to almost cover
  • add some salt and pepper
  • set on high for 6 hours




Miso Soup

23 Nov

Erin and her healthy Buddhist ways have been pressuring me to make a miso soup for some time. Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning, produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, with salt and the filamentous fungus kôjikinn. I think I was probably scared of miso because I knew you couldn’t boil it or reheat it or it would lose its nutritional value so because of that, it seemed scary. But scary it’s not- easy it is!

Turns out miso is delicious, just like any other broth. It’s one of those soups where you can add whatever into it. Besides what is in the recipe below, I also included spinach, chick peas, and shiitake mushrooms. I realized I love wakeme too.  Seaweed, it’s like spinach from under the sea!

This soup was delicious and made me excited about making soups again. I was in a bit of a soup lull, truth be told. But now I want to explore soups from Japan! Land of mystery and Hello Kitty.

As Erin pointed out feigning for blog attention, “And if I didn’t mention before, miso soup is popular for breakfast in rural parts of Japan, because it’s such a healthy/invigorating start to the day….

Soup, it’s not just for dinner.”

Well played, Erin.

Miso soup for everyone, enjoy!

Miso Soup

This is a classic miso soup, so healing, soothing, and delicious! Enjoy it at any time of day and know you are strengthening your immunity as you are satisfying your taste buds. Serves 4.

  • 5 cups water 1 inch strip dry wakame, rinsed and soaked
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup carrot, sliced thinly
  • 2 Tablespoons broccoli flowerettes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chickpea miso, sweet miso, or barley miso, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, minced


  • In a pot, place water and heat. Slice the wakame into small pieces and add to the water. Bring to boil.
  • Add the onion and carrot, reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli and simmer one minute. I like to saute the veggies in a little olive oil and dash of toasted sesame oil first. Shitake mushrooms really boost the nutritional benefits.
  • In a small bowl, place the miso; dissolve thoroughly with a small amount of warm soup stock. Reduce the heat to low and stop boiling.
  • Add the miso, gently stir, and let simmer for three minutes. Serve in soup bowls garnished with raw fresh parsley. Eat warm.
  • NOTE: Its important to never boil miso or reheat miso because it looses its nutritional properties. There are endless variations of miso and of miso soup. Numerous vegetables can be substituted and enjoyed.

Pumpkin Pie-pology

18 Nov

Hello friends. It’s time for an apology. I did not make a soup this week. (I, Mary Lorraine, feel a great weight taken off my shoulders! I’m not the only one who is a soup slacker! Anyways, back to Alayna…) Not even a stew (although I did have some friends make me some delicious curry). It was my last week of finals and I’m collecting/reviewing applications for Amigos to turn in by Friday and have pretty much been living on leftovers. So PLEASE forgive me. To induce that forgiveness, I present to you home-made pumpkin pie (officially not made this week, but it was delicious). That’s right, no cans in this puppy, and it’s actually pretty easy to make. Go ahead, impress your friends and family for Turkey Day. I promise a soup when I get back!

(ed. note: YOU DO NOT NEED THIS MANY PUMPKINS! I got confused. I’ve made 2 pies from these four and have enough for more)

Home-made Pumpkin Pie


  • Take two sugar pumpkins (those are the small guys, also called pie pumpkins, about the size of an acorn squash), slice them in half, take out the seeds and roast them for about 45 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool.


  • In a bowl use a hand-mixer to mix 2/3 cup cold butter (sliced), 2 cups of flower, 1.5 tsp salt, 1.5 tsp sugar and a few light shakes of cinnamon until the mix becomes pea-like
  • Add ice-cold spoonfuls of water and mix with a fork until the dough starts coming together
  • When it does, pat it together into a ball and then dust the outside with floor
  • Roll out on a well floured surface until it’s bigger than your pie plate, and lay inside, pinching the edges (or mashing them with a fork) to make them look pretty
  • Bake at 375 for 20 minutes covered in tin foil, then take the oven down to 350, take off the tinfoil and cook another 10 minutes until golden brown


  • Whisk together three large eggs with a few hearty shakes of cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and a pinch of salt
  • Add 1.5 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 cups of pumpkin puree (scoop it out of your pumpkins)
  • Mix using an immersion blender or your handmixer until smooth
  • Put into a saucepan and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly (you don’t want your eggs to cook) on medium-low heat until hot (about 10 minutes)
  • Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until the custard is set (doesn’t wiggle when you tap it or shake the pan)
  • Let cool and serve with ice cream or whipped cream!

Cumin Lentil

10 Nov

If you work with me- AKA if you are Winston or Schulyer (Hi Winston and Schulyer!) you know I’ve been eating lentils for about the last two weeks straight. I made a lentil soup when it was my off-soup week. And I made another lentil soup this week. Look, I like lentils. So lets learn about them…

Well, well, look what I found. Lentils are a good source of protein and iron, especially good as a red meat replacement. AND it reads, “Like meat, the iron in lentils is better absorbed when they are eaten with a good source of vitamin C like leafy green vegetables.” Good thing this soup is loaded with leafy green vegetables!

Another reason that I keep making the same soup is that I’m in a CSA, which you should all know about by now. Speaking of, this week I just signed up for my WINTER CSA which has meat! VERY EXCITING LADLES. Anyways, making a thick vegetable soup with lentils and beans is a great way to utilize a ton of vegetables pretty easily. So this week I added a lot of cumin. And winter squash. It’s different from last time’s I swear. But it’s the same in that it’s delicious.

My bounty.


  • Saute an onion in olive oil for 10 minutes with salt and 2 tspn of cumin
  • add carrots, parsnips, potatoes, winter squash… whatever your “hard” vegetables are. Add more salt. Mix around and let sweat for about 15+ minutes
  • Toss in a bay leaf, sprigs of thyme mix around until vegetables are getting soft when you poke them with a fork
  • Add one or two cups of lentils depending on how thick you want the soup
  • Cover with water and add two bullions, bring the soup to medium heat to boil, then simmer for 40 minutes- add more water if it’s not brothy enough- add more cumin to taste
  • I also like to cook a cup of beans on the side and toss them in- your call. With this I add all my leafy greens and mix that in for the last 10 minutes.
  • Then serve this hearty soup that feels a little stone age but tastes delightful.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup

2 Nov

Happy belated Halloween everyone! Hope you had a wonderful time (and maybe re-used some of our costumes from last year).

I was terrible with taking pictures this year, so I can’t show off my costume, but I DID make a ‘ghost soup’ on Saturday to be theme-y. And by ghost soup, I mean an all white soup…. which I also forgot to take pictures of past stage one of cooking. Shocker. Either way, it was good! Here’s the recipe:

Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup

  • Saute 4-6 cloves of garlic in olive oil, adding one large chopped yellow onion when fragrant
  • When onion is translucent, add on large head of cauliflower (chopped) and about half a stick of butter. Cook covered on low until cauliflower is very soft and easy to poke through with a fork.
  • Add two cans of drained chickpeas (I actually made chickpeas in my slow cooker and they were delicious) and a generous handful of chopped parsley and cover again for a few minutes
  • Top off with water, chicken or veggie broth and bring to a boil, adding the juice of 3-4 lemons
  • Blend and serve with optional Parmesan cheese on top!