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Patatas Bravas

22 Apr

I am once again entering the end of the semester, where you’re working all the time and basically end up eating very random things, whether because you just eat what’s in front of you (arepas for breakfast?) or make what you have (patatas bravas stew?). But you know what? Patatas bravas stew is delicious. It’s based off a Spanish dish I used to love when I worked at a tapas bar I worked in after college. Funny story about that: At my graduation party I was telling my (somewhat deaf) grandpa what I was doing (working at a tapas bar) and he misheard me and told everyone I was a stripper. So lesson of the day is use crockpots and enunciate!

Patatas Bravas Stew

  • Put one large chopped yellow onion, 6-10 small red potatoes (in fourths), 6-8 cloves of garlic, one chili ancho, one chili passilla, a handful of cilantro and 5 chicken thighs in a crock pot
  • Cook for 6 hours on high
  • Enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Soup for Spring

30 Mar

Sometimes the soup blog is the perfect iteration of all of my planning tendencies (I actually made this soup last Sunday) and procrastination capabilities (I’m posting it on Wednesday of the following week and have to look at the picture to see what ingredients are in there). And this is why we blog about soup…. it apparently is the yin and yang of everything.

Right now we’re having yin and yang weather in DC… we had a few beautiful spring days where flowers came out, cherry trees bloomed and wearing flip flops was no longer crazy, and now we’re back to a gray week in the 40s with looming rain. Not my favorite temperature, but midterms mean I can’t play outside anyways and a head cold was keeping me out of the loop… this soup helped with all of those things, so without further ado!

Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup

  • In a side saucepan, put on water to boil your  noodles
  • In your soup pot, saute 6-8 cloves of garlic in olive oil
  • Add 4-6 chopped carrots, adding two yellow squash and a zucchini when the carrots begin to sweat
  • When zucchini is still fairly firm, add in two handfuls of kale sliced into thin pieces and mix in, replacing cover to keep in moisture
  • After about 3-5 minutes, add in 1 or two chopped red peppers and a generous handful of parsley
  • When veggies are almost all the way cooked, add in your chicken (I had roasted a chicken the day before, so I just pulled it off the bone… a rotisserie chicken or chicken cooked on the side would also work), almost all the way cooked noodles (I used bowtie pasta and just drained it 2 minutes before ) and the cook time was so be over) and chicken broth (I used broth infused with lemon from the chicken I roasted the day before)
  • Bring to a low simmer, adding in the juice of 2-3 lemons to taste and more parsley, salt and pepper as necessary
  • Enjoy!

Honey Ham Soup

19 Jan

Alayna’s Soup: Aaaaah the crockpot. Mary has recently talked about how much we love it, and it’s true. You put things in it and then you get deliciousness! I made this warm soup on a cold night last week (we had snow! very exciting) and Bagel came over to help me enjoy. I think you can tell by the looks on both of our faces that we are into ham, and more importantly, into ham in soup!

P.S. Mary write, “The votes are in, we’re making a slow cooker category. Dreams are coming true, soups are cooking slow.”

Honey Ham Soup

Put the following in a crockpot for 6-8 hours:

one small bag of large lima beans
one cup chick peas
6-7 cloves of garlic (chopped)
half large yellow onion (chopped)
several handfuls of kale strips
2-3 tomatoes (chopped)
2 bay leaves
rosemary, thyme, basil
a generous portion of honey-baked ham, including the bone if you have it
enough water to cover

Moroccan Chicken Barley

11 Jan

Did you know Alayna and I once backpacked through Morocco without one inkling of an idea what we were doing? No plans laid out but we did have a guitar. We only bathed in bath houses and we had to be rescued by a nomad on a camel when we got trapped in the desert by the ocean in exchange for cigarettes. I know that last sentence sounds completely improbable but it happened. I lost my Slouching Towards Bethlehem paperback in a hostel in Fes, too.

I used to be so cool.

But now I make soup.

Anyways. I am having a little love affair with the spice Ground Cumin these days. Make that any spice. I remember reading a Martha Shulman (New York Times health food writer) article about being mindful to liberally incorporate spices into healthy, vegetarian dishes to enhance flavor. I’ve always put in spices, but recently I’ve been putting in a few more shakes of each spice and the results are delicious.

Additionally, my love of the crock pot continues. My Man of Honor, Zach, just got a crock pot for the holidays and boy is it all we talk about. This meal incorporated parts of my CSA crock pot chicken and the broth I made from those bones in the crock pot, this all made for a very delicious meal.

I always take more pride in dishes where I create as many of the elements of the dish as possible (preparing the meat, broth, etc.). This is one of those meals.

Lastly, I have been debating making a “crock pot” category because I feel like we’re doing more and more with them. Thoughts ladles? Let me know & enjoy!

Moroccan Chicken Barely

  • Saute 1 yellow onion in olive oil with generous shakes of salt, chili pepper and ground cumin
  • After five minutes add chopped carrots, shiitake mushrooms (healthier than other mushrooms!), garlic, red chard stems
  • Saute for about 10 minutes then add 1 cup of pearl barley with 2+ cups of chicken broth
  • Let simmer for 20 minutes, 10 minutes into that time add chard leaves and chicken
  • Spice to taste and a squeeze of lemon ain’t never hurt no one


1 Sep

Ladles, see that guy? That’s Paul. Paul’s eating a delicious gumbo soon y’all enjoy. Paul’s eating a delicious gumbo while doing our souper-special soup handshake. Lets rewind.

Note token bounty shot. All products purchased from Union Square Farmer’s Market. I call this shot: Little Farm / Big City. I had okra for my first time–not, to my surprise pronounced orca, like the killer whale–(Sidenote: okra sautéed with salt in oil is delicious. I think I shy’d away because of southern literature I’ve read when its deep fried. But I am going to stop shying away starting now!)

Next lesson: Roux. One part flour, one part oil. Heated over low heat and whisked steadily for 40 minutes (depending on desired color/flavor). You can whisk and do other things in the kitchen so it’s not totally all-consuming, but you gotz to stay in the kitchen.) It gets darker in color and as it does the flavor gets deeper and nuttier. We stopped when it was the color of molasses.

Paul explained that we’re doing this because it adds depth to the flavor while also thickening it. And it certainly did. You can add roux to everything, soups, mac and cheese, cream of whatever’s. It really does add depth. It’s like OH, I GOT IT, it’s like roux is to soup what age is to wine.


Now we’re going to add depth to the vegetables. We caramelized half the vegetable bounty and cooked the other half (in the same pot) for less time to add different flavors. We salted all the vegetables BUT in order not to over salt everything, when we were adding new vegetables, we pushed everything already salted in the pan to the side, so we could just salt the new batch. Let that sit then mix.

Hard to remember? No worries:

Trip S: Split, Salt, Stir

And lastly, Paul pointed out slicing a jalapeno like pepper, not chopping it. That way you avoid all the seeds and innards. Really, it’s always been the small things that get me.

After two hours the gumbo was finally done– we also steamed mussels and roasted sausage. And it really did have a depth that our quicker soups lack.

Without further ado, Gumbo:

Hmm, this is a very approximate recipe, as I got it from watching many pots of gumbo get made, but never read the actual recipe. to make about 10 bowls of gumbo:

Heat the oven to 350, and make sure there are two racks in there.
In a metal skillet (no teflon), heat 11/2C vegetable oil, add 1 1/2C flour, stirring to mix evenly. So this is the start of your roux, which I suggest putting in the oven after you get to light brown, checking on it and stirring every 15 minutes or so, but it will not burn in the oven, and youll have better control of bringing it to the right color. You can take it out when it is that deep mahogany reddish-brown and it should keep cooking itself to the final dark shade of nearly black but not burned. This can be done at any time, but preferably beforehand. Once cooled and then refrigerated, the oil should pool on top. You can simply pour this off, and you will have nothing but the browned flour, which is all you want anyway. You will add this last, not first, as with most gumbo recipes.
  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 or 4 ribs celery
  • 1 large or 2 small green bell peppers
  • 4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp hot cayenne
  • 1T dried thyme (or fresh chopped)
  • 1T file powder (optional)
  • 4 or 5 links andouille sausage, cut into half-moons or bite-size pieces, and roasted in the oven, until well-browned
Chop these to slightly larger than bite size pieces, although the consistency matters more than the actual size. Keep each vegetable separate, i.e. don’t mix them all into one bowl when you’re done cutting them.
Heat a large pot over medium heat, and add a couple swirls of canola oil, the oil should just cover the bottom of the pot. Add 2/3 of your bell peppers, and sprinkle them with salt. Let them cook over medium-heat high for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2/3 celery, sprinkle with salt, and cook for 3 more minutes, before adding 2/3 of the onion, season the onion with salt. Stir this all together, and keep the heat up, you are trying to get these vegetables nice and brown and caramelized. This step will take a while, and your vegetables will wither down to almost nothing. When they are done, reduce the heat, and add the remaining vegetables, in the same order, and seasoning. All you want to do with these is “sweat” them, but they should still cook quite a while, but not get any color on them. When you think they are almost done, add the garlic, jalapeno, and all the spices, stir them around, and let cook for 1-2 minutes, until the kitchen starts smelling like garlic and spices. Add 1/2G chicken stock to this, keeping in mind how much gumbo you want, and that you can always thin it out, but it is much harder to thicken, and bring to a simmer. Add the sausage about 20 minutes before the gumbo is done, but before adding the roux. This is your gumbo base, and you can add pretty much anything to it. Peeled tomatoes, chicken, seafood, okra, what have you. If you’re using okra, don’t add file, if you’re using file, dont add okra. If adding file, it has to go in with the spices, not at the very end, otherwise it will be stringy. The final step, once everything is in the pot (unless you’re going to be adding fresh-cooked shrimp or oysters), is to whisk in the roux, in stages, allowing to come to a simmer each time, until it reaches the desired consistency and flavor. Continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes to get rid of the pasty flour taste, check for seasoning (you may need more salt or any of the spices, i gave very approximate and conservative estimates), and serve. I like it most with creamy potato salad, rice is classic, and don’t forget the hot sauce and scallions!
That’s about it, i think!

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!

Not Just Greens

22 Jun

This Monday’s Soup was so emotionally exhausting there was a period when Alayna and I just gazed at Zizi, deeply sighed, and said something like, “Thank God for cats.”

In other news, Alayna had her pottery show on Saturday night! Look at that dinner set! I asked her if it took her more than 80 hours to make, she looked at me like I was nuts. So yeah, apparently making an awesome 8-seat dish set and serving wear which are all different creatures and flowers, you know, takes a long time.

That’s all I’ve got this week, friends. I dropped off about 3 pounds of various greens which were severly stressing me out at Alayna’s last night. I might just miss picking up my vegetables from the CSA this week because I feel like radishes and baby onions are taking over my home. This soup was a delight. We used new and exotic spices. It made the soup orange instead of green, which was awesome. I also commented that I think this is the most beautiful soup we’ve ever made because it had all the colors of the rainbow.

Enjoy the rainbow.

Not Just Greens

  • Saute six cloves of chopped garlic in olive oil
  • When fragrant, add one chopped white onion and cook until about halfway wilty. At that point, add a generous amount of tumeric, some cumin, garam masala (if you have it) and powdered chili
  • Add about a handful of chopped carrots and cook covered until they begin to soften
  • Add one chopped yellow squash and cook another few minutes until they begin to soften
  • Add one cup of quinoa and fill in your soup pot, bringing up the heat to cook at a simmer/low boil for 10-15 minutes until the quinoa is done (it will no longer look like dry seeds, but like, oatmealy seeds…. but appealing).
  • Since we used home-made broth that had lemon in it, we already had a lemony scent, but if you’re NOT doing that, just squeeze in the juice of 1-2 lemons here.
  • Add two bunches of swiss chard and some torn up chicken (optional) from that roast you made yesterday, and serve!