Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Soup for When You're Snowed In

I was going to make this an entry with my top five recipes, but I realized that I have so many more than just five favorite recipes right now. I thought to myself, "heck, I could fill a list with just my top five soup recipes." So I decided that's just what I'll do. It's cold out. The buckets of snow that greeted me this morning certainly encourage me to head home tonight and start up a pot of one of these. So why not share them with you now? My other fave recipes will hold until next time. As you'll see, most of my recipes are sort of a taste and adjust as you go along, so feel free to do the same if/when you try them.
(small t.=teaspoon, big T.=tablespoon)
Chicken Avgolemono (Lemon Chicken-That's Greek, I think.)
2 Chicken Breasts (bone-in makes for a more flavorful stock)
3-4 c. water (add more later you don't care for a thick soup)
1 chicken bouillon cube (more if you have boneless, skinless Chicken breasts)
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 c. brown rice
2 eggs, beaten
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 T. fresh chopped parsley
1/2 c. frozen peas
salt and pepper, to taste

In soup pot, cover chicken breasts with water. Add bouillon cube and lemon pepper. Bring to boil; simmer for 20 minutes. If using bone-in chicken breasts, remove them from pot and take meat off the bone. Add meat back into the pot with 1 c. brown rice. Bring back to boil; simmer 20 minutes. When rice is cooked, remove 2 cups of broth to blender. Add eggs, lemon juice, and zest to hot broth while blender is on low. Return to soup pot. Add parsley, peas, and more water (and possibly an additional bouillon cube) if preferred. Mix.
Mexican Chili
2 chicken breasts (bone-in makes for a more flavorful stock)
4 cups of water
1 t. lemon pepper
1 t. ground cumin
Bring to boil until chicken is cooked (approx. 15 minutes). Remove chicken from water, remove skin, cut up, remove bone. Add the following:
1 t. lemon pepper
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1 can northern white beans, liquid too
1 can black beans, liquid too
1 can corn, liquid too
1 can green chilies
1 sm. can whole tomatoes, chopped, liquid included. (This way tastes better than buying the already chopped ones, I promise.)
4 heaping T. chopped cilantro
1 lime, zest and juice
1 tablespoon tequila
salt and pepper, to taste

Place in bowls for use as toppings:
4 stalks chopped green onion
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
tortilla chips
Sausage and Kale Soup
3 cups water
1 cube beef bouillon
1 lb. hot Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch kale
1 pkg. dried shitaki mushrooms
1 c. sliced button mushrooms
1/2-1 t. red pepper flakes (optional)

Bring water and bouillon cube to boil in soup pot. Remove from heat, throw in dried shitakis and let rehydrate. Chop kale into 1 inch pieces. Retain stalks. Brown Italian sausage. Remove rehydrated mustrooms from the water and slice thinly. Strain water to ensure there is no sand or grit from the mushrooms left in it. Add sausage and sliced Shitakis to the water. Saute onions in sausage pan. Add button mushrooms and kale stalks. Cook until lightly browned. Toss into soup pot. Add red pepper flakes if desired. Bring to boil.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
2 potatoes
1-2 carrots, chopped
1 vegetable bouillon cube
4 slices bacon
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon butter
4 cups milk
1 cup light cream
pinch of rosemary, sage & marjoram
1 clove garlic (Combine with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in mortar and pestle to create paste.)

Top with:
shredded cheese
sliced green onions
chopped tomatoes

(If I'm feeling really lazy, then I skip the whole making the soup from scratch thing and substitute in a can of Campbell's Cream of Potato Soup with 1/2 can of heavy cream and 1/2 can of milk. Continue with seasonings and toppings, including bacon.)

Scrub potatoes well and nick out eyes and dark spots. Do not peel. Dice into cubes; add potatoes, carrots, bouillon cube, and 1 cup water to saucepan. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook covered until potatoes are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Cook 4 slices bacon in a cast iron saucepan. (If you cook more strips of bacon, discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease before next step.) When finished, set aside bacon and saute onion until tender in bacon drippings. Add butter, milk, cream, and seasonings to cast iron saucepan. Cook mixture over medium heat until very hot. Do not boil. Add potato mixture to milk mixture when it is hot. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Before serving, garnish individual portions with shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, green onions, and crumbled bacon.
Hot and Sour Soup (Another recipe for when I'm feeling lazy.)
1/2 lb frozen shrimp (approx. 10-12)
1 package Hot and Sour soup mix
3 c. water
1 lime, zest and juice
5 dried mushrooms, reconstituted and sliced thinly
10 springs cilantro, torn up
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 t. lemon grass, minced (the frozen chopped kind works well for this)
1 T. fish sauce
1 t. garlic chili sauce
1 serving of rice noodles, soaked in warm water until reconstituted (ramen work too)

Bring water, Hot and Sour soup powder, and shrimp to boil. When shrimp has just turned pink, add in all the other ingredients. Bring to a simmer.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Worst Comeback Ever

Nathan and I were walking to the L the other morning when we passed a big guy just as he windmilled his arm in a windup reminiscent of a first pitch. Only instead of pitching the styrofoam cup in his hand into the nearest bin, he tossed it in a snowbank. Normally, if I say anything at all, it's sort of a passive aggressive mumbling to myself that wouldn't intimidate even the meekest of litterers. This time, however, it was so extremely ridiculous, that a "that was a shitty move" burst loudly from my mouth. Luckily, Nathan was also in the middle of a very sarcastic "Really?" so I could be relatively confident that he had my back should the big guy get shirty. It got even more ridiculous though as we heard the guy's comeback over his shoulder as he swaggered on, "Let God pick it up."

Huh? I don't know how styrofoam, a man-made, entirely chemical-laden product, would have any presence on God's radar. I mean, if God's not going to get involved in war, famine, or the division of Isreal, why the hell would He take care of litter?

I guess if the guy was going for a comeback to end all comebacks, that one was effective because I am still somewhat stuck on it. Even now, I don't know what I could possibly have said back. Perhaps, one of the following:

No, I'm pretty sure God wasn't the last one to use it, you were.

Sorry, God's busy cleaning the graffiti off the bus stop shelters right now.

If God is responsible for trash, then what are you still doing walking the street?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Will you be my mixtape penpal?

Nathan told me that a coworker of his is really into music and that her taste is a lot like mine. After first asking what he thought my taste in music was ("Well, I know you like girl singers." -Oh, how well my beloved knows me.), I decided to make her a CD. Admittedly, it's a bit of a stab in the dark being that I haven't met her and am learning about her from my somewhat less-than-observant fiance, but I do have a current "go to" list of favorite songs that, if I'm honest, I would put on any and every CD I make. Thought I'd share them.

I'll just list my top five right now...

Bon Iver -Woods

Anya Marina -Vertigo

fun. -All the Pretty Girls
<a href="http://ournameisfun.bandcamp.com/track/all-the-pretty-girls">All The Pretty Girls by fun.</a>

Matt & Kim -Daylight

Chromeo -Night by Night