Hello, everyone — long time no blog. Apologies for my blogosphere absence; I have been lacking in motivation recently, still a bit burnt out from last fall’s DELTA course (I passed all three modules on the first go, thank goodness). I’ve also been wondering what the point is of re-blogging recipes that I haven’t changed all that much. And, if I do continue blogging, in which direction I’d like this blog to go. More musical? More sporty? More education-related? I’d love to hear what you enjoy most about my blog, so please leave a comment and let me know what you’d like to see more of.
Now to today’s topic: what’s been cooking in my kitchen? I’ve tried some great new recipes lately (okay, in the past six months…) but haven’t modified them much, so I’ll just link to the original recipes below. Here are some highlights:
Miso-Coconut Chicken Soup (i am a food blog). I made this one way back in September. Unfortunately, F was sick that weekend so I ended up eating most of it myself, but I loved it and look forward to making it again at a time when we can both enjoy it. Creamy but not too rich, great over rice.
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (i am a food blog). These. are. SO. good. Crispy edges, moist and chewy insides. F dubbed them “maybe the best cookies I’ve ever had.”Now that’s saying something! Use whatever chocolate you want (I used extra dark) and don’t leave off the sprinkling of sea salt on top. I passed this recipe onto J, whose family devoured them in no time.
lemon poppy seed muffins
Double Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (Cookie + Kate). In my mind, it is hard to beat the combination of lemon and poppy seeds. Let’s be honest, lemon–anything is pretty great. I had combined lemon and poppy seeds before in pancakes but not in muffins. This recipe presented great flavors, although the muffins were a teensy bit dry for me.
Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Lemon Glaze (Bon Appétit). F was away last weekend and I wanted to surprise him with something tasty upon his return home. He loves lemon cake, so I tried out this one, which had been sitting in my “make this” bookmarks for ages. It was fantastic, remaining moist for a couple of days. I took a bunch to work and four of us devoured it pretty quickly. F’s only comment was that it could be even more lemony, so next time I’ll use the zest of 2 lemons in the cake batter.
While I was visiting my parents in Rochester, T invited us over for Sunday brunch on the cozy back patio (S was away hiking). As usual, T provided a delicious spread: blueberry cake, salmon quiche (have to get that recipe!), and this incredible kholodnyk. It’s a traditional Russian/Ukrainian/Polish cold buttermilk and beet soup — it made a delicious first brunch course on a warm morning. I immediately asked T for the recipe, which she said came from epicurious and was really easy. She was right — this takes 10-15 minutes to whisk together and makes a vibrant, healthy summer soup. It works well as a brunch accompaniment, as we enjoyed it, or as an appetizer before dinner. It received full marks from F when I made it back in London. I went heavy on the beets and forgot radishes — it still tasted great. Feel free to take this recipe as a base and modify ingredients and amounts for a chunkier or thinner soup.
Do you have a favorite cold summer soup? Share it in a comment below!
Oh man is this good comfort food. On a Friday night after a long week with a cold, this was just what I was hoping for: warm, wholesome stew topped with fluffy-chewy dumplings. F gave the chicken and dumplings a “this is really good” rating and has already requested that I make the dish again, just a few weeks later.
Chicken and dumplings is (are?) actually pretty healthy for comfort food. Veggies, chicken, and stock make up the stew part, and dumplings are just delicious — I don’t really care what’s in them. I was inspired to try my hand at this dish when I remembered that one of my housemates from senior year of college would sometimes make chicken and dumplings. It didn’t seem that difficult (it’s not) and doesn’t require any out-of-the-ordinary ingredients — you probably have almost all of them in your house already.
3 chicken thighs OR boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tsp butter or olive oil, or a combination of both
to taste: salt & pepper
4-6 cups chicken stock
1/4 celery root, chopped finely OR 2-3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2″ pieces
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 onions, roughly chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1-2 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
1.25 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 cups all-purpose or cake flour (I used AP, but Simply Recipes says cake flour makes fluffier dumplings)
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 – 1 cup milk
optional: 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
In a medium pot, heat the chicken stock to a gentle simmer.
In a large pot, heat the butter/olive oil over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle it with some salt, then brown the chicken pieces in the pot on both sides (start them skin-down, if using thighs). Remove the chicken from the pot and turn the heat off.
Get rid of the chicken skins and pop the chicken into the simmering stock. Cook for ~20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. When it is ready, take the chicken out of the stock and set aside until cool enough to shred into pieces.
Moving back to the large pot, turn the heat on to medium-high. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and thyme. Sauté the vegetables until they’re soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken stock by ladleful to the flour-vegetable mixture, stirring well after each addition. The broth should eventually come together nicely. Add the chicken meat, peas, and parsley to the pot. Turn up the heat and let simmer while you make the dumplings.
While the stew simmers, make dumplings: whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the chopped herbs, if using. Pour in the melted butter and milk, then mix with a wooden spoon until everything just comes together (don’t over-mix).
Drop large spoonfuls of dumpling dough into the stew (they’ll float on top). Cover the pot and simmer until the dumplings are cooked through, ~15 minutes (do not uncover the pot during this time!).
Roasted parsnip and cauliflower soup is perfect for a quick mid-week dinner. It’s warming, filling, and healthy — plus, it comes together in about an hour. It can serve as a full meal on its own but it also tastes great along with some German sausages and a good baguette.
I adapted this soup from Spoon Fork Bacon; my changes mostly included ingredient ratios, like adding another parsnip and increasing the garlic, cumin, stock, and sour cream (when in doubt, add more spices). The sweet, earthy parsnip flavor dominates the dish in a wonderful way, and sour cream adds a pleasant tang to the final product.
1/4 – 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I go light on this because I’m sensitive to it; feel free to add more to your taste)
to taste: salt & pepper
3-5 cups vegetable stock (start with 3 cups and as more once you start pureeing)
1/3 – 1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Combine the cauliflower, parsnips, shallots, garlic cloves, thyme, olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper in a large baking dish and toss until the vegetables are coated with olive oil and spices. Bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are soft enough to puree.
Just before the vegetables are done, bring stock to simmer in a medium pot.
Add everything from the roast vegetable pan to the stock. Puree with an immersion blender or in a blender covered with a towel, adding more stock or water as necessary.
Stir in the sour cream and bring to a simmer, then serve with more fresh thyme and sour cream.
This soup may look monochrome and uninteresting, but it has a lot of flavor, thanks to earthy celeriac and fresh thyme. Inspired by one of Martha Rose Shulman’s “Recipes for Health,” the soup was a handy way to use up a huge celeriac bulb that we got in a freebie Abel & Cole delivery (thanks, Sarah!). Throw in some potatoes, onions, garlic, and apples, and you have a well-rounded, silky smooth soup to enjoy on cool autumn evenings. It’s great with German sausages, too — mix them in or eat them on the side.
Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften (5 minutes or so).
Add the celeriac and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, another 5 minutes or so.
Pour in the water/stock, and add the apples, bay leaves, thyme, celery seeds, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let the soup simmer until the vegetables are tender enough to blend, 40-60 minutes.
Take the pot off the heat and blend the soup with an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender). Return the soup to low heat for another 5-10 minutes before serving.
This soup/stew smacks of health. I’ve called it “Friday stew” because I basically threw in all the vegetables we had left in the fridge. Thanks to the spinach, it ended up a bright-ish green color. But don’t let that turn you off: it tastes delicious, especially with some plain yogurt (or cheese, if you’re F) stirred in.
pre-blending (leave it this way if you prefer)
Spiced with REWE’s Inseln der Südsee (a mixture of Chinese five-spice, chilies, ginger, cumin, coriander, green pepper grounds, lemon zest, and powdered garlic) — a gift from Maya — the soup acquires a soft spiciness with a slight tang. A squeeze of lemon at the end brightens it all up.
Feel free to make this with any combination of vegetables you have lying around. You can blend it or not; the blended texture is pleasantly thick and reminiscent of dal, and tastes great cold or reheated on the second and third days.
UPDATED 6 Oct 2019: We’re still making this soup six years later! I play crouton master and F usually makes the soup. He’s taken to using the pressure cooker to speed up the process – I’ve updated the steps below. And we’ve discovered that it really matters what kind of potatoes you use: go for less starchy ones that break down easily so your soup turns out silky but not slimy. This recipe easily scales up or down and we don’t usually measure the soup ingredients very closely. I would, however, recommend doubling the crouton recipe, as you may find them highly addicting!
Original post, Feb 2013: Winter is a good time for soups, no matter how cold it actually is where you live. It’s certainly damp and gray enough here in London to make a nice warm soup hit the spot. F sent me the recipe for this soup last week, so I suggested we make it on the weekend. Make it we did, roughly doubling the recipe because we had lots of broccoli and no time to cook again until Wednesday. The soup turned out well, though F thought it was a bit starchy and suggested roughly mashing the potatoes next time before blending them. Or we could just use one less potato. That said, it’s a silky-smooth soup with great flavor from the broccoli and mustard. Don’t skip the croutons — they totally make the dish!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup with MustardCroutons (adapted from this recipe)
~3 cups (6oz) of white or whole wheat baguette, cut into chunks
2 tbsp salted butter, melted
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp whole grain or dijon mustard
to taste: sea salt
2 onions, diced
3-5 medium-sized potatoes, cubed
3-5 garlic cloves, minced
3-5 cups water or vegetable stock
2 small-medium heads of broccoli, roughly chopped
1-1.5 cups cheddar cheese, grated
Optional: 2-3 tbsp whole grain or dijon mustard
Make croutons: Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Mix the liquids with the mustard in a bowl, then add the bread cubes and mix until the bread is coated. Spread the bread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake 10-15′ or until slightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Make soup (use a normal large pot, or a pressure cooker to speed up the process)
Saute the onion in olive oil until it begins to soften.
Add the potatoes then cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften (5-7′). Add the garlic and water, then bring to a boil. If using a pressure cooker, seal and cook on high pressure for ~10 minutes.
When the potatoes are nearly cooked, add the broccoli and continue simmering (orpressure-cooking) until everything is soft enough to blend.
Remove the pot from the heat and add half the cheese and mustard (if using). Blend partway with an immersion blender, then add the rest of the cheese and mustard and blend until smooth.
Serve bowls of soup with croutons on top and a generous grinding of fresh black pepper.