Brussell Sprouts and Bacon

7 Feb

ImageHello all, and welcome back to Monday “Soups that Aren’t Soup”. For this week I have a delicious pasta dish I made the other night for a dinner guest… actually calls for the use of pancetta, but I didn’t have any on hand, so instead I used a combination of bacon fat to fry up the onions and garlic, and speck (smoked prosciutto) to flavor the dish. Delicious combo of roasted brussell sprouts, cauliflower, cream and toasted walnuts on top served with an arugula, goat cheese, and avocado salad with a lemon/ginger/garlic dressing. Delicious, if I do say so myself! Directions below:

Roasted Brussell Sprouts and Cauliflower Pasta with ‘Bacon’

  • Heat your oven to 400 degrees
  • Half about a pint of brussell sprouts and cut into bite-sized chunks one head of cauliflower. Pour about two tablespoons of olive oil into a pyrex brownie pan and put your veggies on top, mixing around with your hands to coat all the veggies evenly. Roast for about 20 minutes (until edges are brown) or longer if you like the roasted flavor.
  • Boil water and cook pasta. I used frilly pasta, but penne or farfale would work too.
  • In a large pot (this will eventually hold all your goodies) melt about a tablespoon of bacon fat for flavor (the drippings from bacon that morning for breakfast) and half a tablespoon of olive oil. Dice and saute 6-8 cloves of garlic until opaque, and then follow with one diced yellow onion. I like to keep the dicing relatively rough since bacon fat heats up faster than olive oil and things are more likely to get burned if they’re small. Keep the heat low and add in your roasted veggies when they’re ready
  • When you take out the veggies, put a few handfuls of walnuts on a cookie sheet in the oven for five minutes. Lower the heat to 300 so they don’t burn!
  • Once pasta is cooked, drain and add into the big pot with about 1/2 cup of heavy cream, a generous handful of pasta, and cut up prosciutto or speck (smoked prosciutto). Let sit for at least ten minutes to let the cream solidify.
  • Serve topped with toasted walnuts and parmesan!

Ginger Shrimp & Soba Noodles

24 Jan

From the soup pot of Mary Lorraine

If you saw Alayna’s post last week you are rejoicing in the news that after a long, hungry hiatis Monday’s Soup is back full frontal! (I don’t even know what that means but it sounds riviting.)

As Alayna also mentioned, instead of focusing solely on soups, because honestly we’ve eaten a ton of soup, we are just going to highlight the best thing we cooked during the week.

You know what’s the new thing I’m discovering these days? Cookbooks! I know, it sounds obvious but I often go online to look up my meals. One thing I discovered early is that getting a recipe from a random blog (this blog excluded of course) is a recipe for a mediocre meal. I rule of thumb it to only go on sites that I think have a good track record (Bon Appetite, Gourmet, Smitten Kitchen) for higher quality meals. But I’ve gone on these sites so much over the last year-plus, that they are starting to bore me, I’m repeating recipes a lot and the overall feeling of the meal can get repetitive with the same cooks/editors.

Discovering cookbooks has brought two things into my life: 1. New recipes that are really good because they were good enough to be published on actual paper in the first place and therefore tested a million times and 2. To plot out multiple meals I will cook throughout the week so I can try to cut down my go-to-the-market-EVERY-day-after-work routine that is just cray cray.

So the cookbook of week is The Moosewood Cookbook, a beloved restaurant in Ithaca, New York that leans pretty vegetarian. The last thing I’ll stress with cookbook living and new cooks is always to remember to improvise. Recipes can seem so daunting because of all those spices and oils you don’t have and it becomes the head-game of what’s the point of cooking when it would be cheaper to order out? For one, you never need all those ingredients listed and for two, you can often swap out a lot of stuff with what you already have. I’m big on Googling “what’s a good substitute for rice vinegar” for example (A: white vinegar). And also, the more you cook the more your pantry will grow and then all of a sudden you’ll find yourself in the place of LADLE where you’re just buying produce and meat. Easy breezy!

Okay. Rant over. Recipe below. This is a nice one bowl meal of Asian flavors and it’s healthy, of course.

Ginger Shrimp & Soba Noodles

  • Bring water to boil and cook soba noodles (found in Asian section of markets) for 5 minutes (or whatever the package says)
  • In small saucepan combine 3 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp sherry, 1/4 cup apple juice, 2 tbsp water, 2 tbsp of chopped ginger, and simmer for 5 mis. Remove from heat and set aside
  • In a larger saute pan, heat 1 tbsp of sesame oil add 2 bunches of broccoli cut in florets, garlic and whatever other vegetables you’d like to saute here– I added red peppers and some peas and spinach, add salt
  • Meanwhile, in another saute pan (a lot of pots, I know, so sorrrry) add however much shrimp you want in sesame oil until pink and cooked
  • When veggies and shrimp are just about done add everything to the biggest pot with the drained soba noodles and drench in sauce, mix and add a handful of scallions for good measure.
  • Serve with chopsticks!

Oh, Hello There

17 Jan

You may have noticed that Mary and I have been horribly horribly delinquent in our blogging lately… we had excuses! Really really good ones! Some even better than others! But never mind those, we’re re-committing to bloggerdom, but this time a little differently. We’ll each post about every two weeks, but instead of having just soups, we’re just going to give our favorite recipe from the week before. Easy enough right? So for you this week I have Warm Quinoa Salad. Its super easy, light, and delicious. Here I ate it with baked salmon, but I’ll be honest, it was also delicious on its own.

Warm Quinoa Salad

  • Cook 1 cup quinoa
  • Once done (almost all the liquid should be gone), add in two generous handfuls of craisins, and two generous handfuls of  torn spinach
  • Stir the spinach into the quinoa and cover for about a minute until spinach has wilted
  • Add more spinach and do the same
  • Once you’ve achieved your goal spinach to quinoa ratio, add in some goat cheese and finish off with a squeeze of fresh lemon

Summer Sayonara: A Poem

12 Jul

Ladles and Lads, have you been sad?

That Monday’s Soup has flown el coop?

Alayna in Madagascar. Where o’ where is Madagascar?

Mary Lorraine always at work.

The fridge is empty.

The soup pot is cold.

Enjoy the summer, dearest ladles & lads

We’ll be back before you know it

We’ll be back in in the fall. Why I’ll be

isn’t that tree just uber tall?


Thai White Bean Soup

24 May

Bridal showers. Good lord. Before any ladle starts out on a food blog of their own, you know what they should do first? Get engaged to someone to have a bridal shower. Toasters, blenders, mortars and pestles, oh my! It’s like my kitchen went on Extreme Makeover. I have one pot made of copper (thanks Katie!) that is so beautiful it just sits on my stove as a decoration because I’m too afraid to cook in it lest it might lose some of that shiny luster.

Anyway, so as you might have noticed (or not, unique page views are down, what’s up with that?), Alayna and I aren’t posting with the same once-week-or-something-terrible-has-happened rigor. This has a lot to do with me. And this new job. At my last job I could handle 25 hobbies and a Little Sister. This job I’m just trying to get home with enough time to eat dinner before I fall asleep. Sigh. Even more rougher waters are ahead if you can believe it because Alayna is going to Madagascar for the summer in a mere two days. When I think of Madagascar, I too imagine a place where all the animals are animated and so is Alayna.

But I’ll try my best to hold my own. And Alayna will give us occasional reports from the field. So keep checking. I’m aiming for once a week. I might not always make soup though, but I’ll try to keep it vegan. But who knows? Life’s an adventure right? Lets have this soup blog live a little. Jump out of the soup pot and run down the road and see what it finds. Love. Adventure. Spices. Butter.

Speaking of, so the soup I made last night (because for the first time in about 6 months I was craving soup) was good! I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Be liberal with spices. Especially when you’re cooking vegan. Spices taste as good as fat. Fat as in diary and meat. (Not “fat” like wahh I eat 12 thyme twigs instead of dinner.) My mom gave me a Thai Curry spice for my bridal shower which basically is a mix of black pepper, salt, curry powder, onions, peppercorns, turmeric, paprika, chili peppers, thyme and parsley. I added a bunch of this into the soup and it was delicious. Also note that when I say “Thai Curry” in the ingredients, you can just use a combo of those spices which you should already have in your spice rack. (Good ladles always have robust spice racks.) And without further ado…

Thai White Bean Soup

  • Saute olive oil and 1 white onion chopped until translucent under low heat
  • Add 1/2 a spaghetti squash (any squash, or sweet potato, will do… and will probably be easier to cut)
  • Add 1 16 oz can of cannelloni beans and 1 16 oz can of black eye peas (if you want a heartier soup, if not, just use 1 can of beans)
  • Add a bay leaf, cover with vegetable broth, and add about 3 tablespoons of Thai Curry spices (or the spice combo listed above)
  • Add two handfuls of cherry tomatoes with their centers squeezed out into the pot (and then throw in their skins. Enjoy this process.)
  • Let this simmer for about 30+ minutes (while you write more bridal shower thank you notes, perhaps?)
  • Add a ton of arugula (I put in a whole bag.) mix until it wilts
  • Ladle out and add some parm cheese if you don’t want to be a complete vegan tonight.
  • Enjoy!

Spices.

Collard Green Machine

3 May

What’s that there? That is a huuuuuge bag of collard greens. Sometimes I’m not sure who it is that eats this many vegetables, but then I remember… oh right. Me. That’s why everyone thinks I’m a vegetarian, even though I’m not. Either way, I had a huge bag of collard greens and it’s my week for soup, so I decided to make a kind of summery version of the persian lentil soup…. summery-er because it doesn’t have lentils, I guess? Basically I like tumeric and cumin. Either way, I ended up with this glowing bowl of health:

That’s right. It’s literally glowing it’s so healthy. Although I am currently in the library and my classmates are telling me that it smells to ‘indian’ to eat in the study room. Jerks. I think they’re just jealous of my ‘weird-ass soups’ (and ten points for those who know the drama that that phrase came out of…). So here goes:

Collard Green Machine Soup

  • saute 4-6 cloves of garlic and one large yellow onion in olive oil, sprinkling generously with tumeric and with a little bit of cumin, keeping covered until the onion is nice and soft
  • start filling up the pot with collard greens, then cook covered on low while they wilt, adding more until you’re done with your ginormous bag of collard greens
  • once all the greens are in and wilted, add one can of drained kidney beans (for protein!) and a box of chicken broth (I know, I’m getting lazy… it’s finals!)
  • Simmer about 10-15 minutes, blend and serve – dollop of greek yogurt optional, and delicious (if still smelly) warm or cold

Vegan Enchiladas

27 Apr

The vegan challenge. I’m always happy with the results of my meals, but finding those meals to make in the first place is a little annoying. Alayna’s sister awesomely sent me a cookbook that passed through her magazine, Women’s Day, called “Part-Time Vegan.” I was super pumped. I haven’t given the recipes there a good look yet, but I will and will get back to you. Mainly, a lot of the self-declared “vegan” recipes I find on blogs and vegan cookbooks seem so bland. And it’s not the lack of cheese and stuff. Cooking vegan isn’t that different from how I ordinarily cook. It’s the lack of spices and flavor. I really beg, if you have great vegan recipes please share them by commenting below. I’d love to try them out.

But in the meantime, try out this one for size. Enchiladas. That is one thing I’m discovering actually, that vegan recipes that aren’t self-declared “vegan,” but are actually, vegan, from all around the world (more like Asia here, not how I think of Mexican food…) are totally flavorful and delicious. I should poke East for my recipes for next time. Anyways, this is delicious. I didn’t miss any cheese or meat and Gavin loved it. Very flavorful and filling.

Plate cleaning.

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Saute 1 onion in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt until soft
  • Add 1 green (or any color) chopped pepper, 2 normal size summer squash cut in bite sized pieces and 1 tspn of chili powder, 2 dried chili peppers crushed, saute for another 5 minutes on medium heat
  • Add 3 or 4 chopped cloves of garlic
  • I bought this all natural taco seasoning at Whole Foods and added a ton– you don’t have to do this, you can just add 1 tbsp of tomato paste, generous shakes of cumin, onion powder and more chili powder instead
  • Add 1 can of black beans, saute for another 5 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and add lime juice (from one lime)
  • Lightly spray large rectangular baking dish, place a tortilla in front of you and arrange about 1/4 cup of bean mixture (or whatever you think) across the center. Roll up and place seam-side down into the backing dish.
  • You can fit about 4 inside, put extra juice you have from pot on top of the enchiladas and put in the oven for 20 minutes
  • Take out, sprinkle with chopped green onions and add sliced avocado on the side. And hot sauce if you so desire.
  • Enjoy!