Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Soup

December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

Channeling-Contessa-Creamy-Sun-Dried-Tomato-Soup

I’m quite convinced this soup is about to become the obsession of all food bloggers. I’m definitely obsessed with it, and the lady behind the recipe!  Love & Lemons has recently become one of my favorite food blogs- not only for Jeanine’s super healthy but insanely tantalizing recipes, but also for her stunning food photography. I can’t get enough of the clean lines and that marble white background. She’s also got one of the most incredible kitchens I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling the majority of people are in post holiday detox mode, so it’s worth noting this soup fits that bill perfectly. Despite the term creamy it’s actually vegan. The creamy texture and richness comes from coconut milk and ground pine nuts. I kid you not, this is truly one of the best things I’ve made in months. So in short you need to make it- immediately!

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start. Any big NYE plans? We’re having a dinner party with friends, which is my favorite way to ring in any holiday.

More soup:

Channeling-Contessa-Sun-Dried-Tomato-Soup

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Soup slightly adapted from Love & Lemons

serves 2-3

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T oil from jar of sun dried tomatoes
  • 5 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I used full fat), plus more if needed at the end
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (from a jar, packed in oil), minced
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • red pepper flakes
  • handful of coarsely chopped fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoons or so maple syrup or a pinch of sugar (optional, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional, but adds a nice richness)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. .Add shallots and cook for 8-10 minutes until translucent and soft. Add in garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 more minutes until fragrant.

Add wine, stir, and let the wine cook out for 5 minutes (until reduced by about 1/2). Add broth, coconut milk, and sundried tomatoes and a pinch of dried oregano and red pepper flakes. Stir, then reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat, add a handful of basil and blend the soup until smooth. Jeanine recommends a Vitamix- I used my immersion blender and that worked fine.

Taste and add balsamic, maple syrup or sugar, and pine nuts. Give the blender just a few pulses. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with an extra swirl of coconut milk, some chopped basil, and a few red pepper flakes on top.

Weeknight Simplicity:Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

November 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s been ages since I’ve done a “Weeknight Simplicity” recipe. But with the holidays and December gearing up to be one crazy month, I am very much in need of simple meals. Diced tomatoes and chicken broth are items I always like to have in my pantry as they make pulling together weeknight meals, like this soup, so much easier (learn more about my pantry staples). The recipe for this soup comes from Ina’s latest cookbook, Foolproof. The ingredient list is wonderfully…

Lentil & Sausage Stew with Breakfast Toast Croutons

February 1, 2012 § 5 Comments

Boy, do we need a toaster. When we moved into our new apartment (though I really shouldn’t say new, it’s been five months!), we decided to leave behind our old toaster oven because it would just take up too much counter space. I was confident our oven would be enough to toast bread from time to time, and really, how much toast do we actually eat?  Ok, turns out- a lot more than we thought.

Earlier this week we were making toast for breakfast and after burning through 4 slices before getting the toast right we were done. Clearly, we need to buy a toaster! I couldn’t bear to see all that bread go to waste so I left it on the counter, confident I’d figure out some way to use it later in the day.

On Sunday night I made a huge batch of Lentil Sausage stew. I love making big pots of soup or stew on Sunday because it makes the beginning of the week such a breeze in terms of meals.  I knew I’d be heating up soup for lunch so I got in mind I was going to make croutons with the leftover breakfast toast.I stacked the two piece of slightly charred toasted on top of one another, and chopped them up into cubes. I then tossed them in a little olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and dried onion, and pan fried them for a few minutes, tossing frequently. I placed a handful on top of my bowl of soup and dug in.

I have never been happier about having burnt toast until these croutons. They are so so good, and so incredibly easy! If you don’t have dried onion you can definitely use fresh garlic or garlic powder. All would be delicious.  Enjoy!

Lentil & Sausage Stew adapted from the Barefoot Contessa in Paris
8-10 servings (this makes a HUGE pot, perfect for dinner parties!)

  • 1/2 pound French green lentils (recommended: du Puy)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 leeks (green and white parts only), chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves (1/2 T if using dried)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups medium diced celery (8 stalks)
  • 3 cups medium diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3/4 chicken sausage (pre-cooked) halved lengthwise, and cut into semi-circles
  • 1 1.2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender. Add the celery and carrots and saute for another 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Check the seasonings. Add the sausage and red wine vinegar and simmer until the sausage is hot. Serve with grated Parmesan and croutons.

For the croutons:
Makes enough for 3 bowls of soup

  • 2 pieces slightly charred whole wheat toast, diced
  • 1/4 tsp onion granules
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 T olive oil

Toss together all ingredients. Place in a small frying pan over medium heat and fry, tossing frequently, until slightly crispy.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

December 29, 2011 § 8 Comments

I arrived back in the city yesterday and was happy to ease back into our old routine. I love the holidays, and my family had a great one, but after the flurry of parties and constant eating I find myself craving my normal schedule. Tuesday afternoon I spent a good hour placing a huge grocery order and I was thrilled to find all our food neatly stacked in boxes, ready to be unpacked, right when I walked in the door. Pumpkin Cheesecake has been a staple in my diet since Saturday so I was eager to welcome some healthier foods back into my life.  To me, there’s something so comforting about unpacking the groceries and filling our bare fridge and cupboards with lots of fresh food. Later in the afternoon I made a huge batch of granola, and then last night, Brandon and I caught up in the kitchen while making a batch of homemade chicken noodle soup. With breakfast and lunch set for the week, I think normal life has officially returned.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup generously adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Serves 6

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (plus a few leafy tops for the stock)
  • 1/2 whole medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon (heaping) ground thyme
  • 12 ounces egg noodles
  • 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • fresh parsley for serving

In a large pot, cover the chicken with 4 quarts (16 cups) of water.  Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer partially covered for 30 minutes.

Once cooked, remove chicken and let cool.  While it’s cooling cut up your carrots, celery, onions, and garlic.  Set another large pot to medium low heat. Place olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery in pot and sauté. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Once the chicken is cooled, using your hands pull all the meat off the bones until they’re practically bare, and return the bones to the stock pot. Bring stock back up to a simmer, and simmer with bones for 45 minutes.  We also added in a few stalks of leafy celery.  You could add that as well as more carrots or onion- whatever you have on hand.  Or you can just simmer the bones. While the stock is cooking, shred the chicken, removing any skin or tough parts. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, at the garlic to the vegetable pot.

Once the stock is cooked, strain the bones and vegetables, and pour the stock into the vegetable pot. Add in the spices and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until flavor have melded. Then add in the chicken and noodles, cooking for 8-10 minutes, until noodles are fully cooked.  Lastly, place the flour in a small cup.  Add a bit of water to make a liquid-y paste.  Add the paste to the soup and stir well.  Let cook for an additional 5 minutes so soup can thicken. Once cooked, taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately with fresh parsley on top. Soup can be stored up to 5 days in fridge.

Weeknight Simplicity: Winter Squash Soup

November 18, 2011 § 4 Comments

Oh my God is this good. I know that’s exactly what Ina says, but the statement couldn’t be more true when it comes to this soup. You will be blown away on so many levels.  First, I would have never thought to categorize this as a simple weeknight meal until I learned how easy it is to peel a butternut squash with a vegetable peeler (why was I ever going at that thing with a knife?).  You could take it a step further and just purchase pre-cut squash.  Second, who knew adding pureed pumpkin to butternut squash soup would make such a difference? We were totally totally shocked, but now are oh so addicted. It’s officially my new favorite fall soup, fall dish, fall weeknight meal- fall everything.  Do yourself a favor and double the recipe.  It freezes really well, but I have a feeling you’ll be polishing off the pot in no time!

Have a great weekend!

Winter Squash Soup slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa in Paris
Serves 4

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (1 large 2 small onions)
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 lbs butternut squash peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup half and half or 1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy bottom stockpot, add the onions and cook over medium low heat for 12-15 minutes, or until translucent. Add the pumpkin puree, butternut squash, chicken stock, salt, and pepper.  Cover and simmer over medium low heat for about 20 minutes, until the squash is very tender (pierced easily with a fork). Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it’s very smooth.  Once blended add the half and half or heavy cream and heat slowly.  Serve with a toasted baguette or croutons. The crouton you see in my photo is sliced baguette that’s been toasted under the broiler and then brushed with a little melted butter.  They’re dangerous but delicious.

Creamy Broccoli, Carrot, and Cheddar Soup

October 31, 2011 § 4 Comments

Brrr! Did it snow where you live this weekend?  New York City experienced its first snow storm, and I totally did not see it coming. Rumors began around Thursday evening, with talk of a couple inches of snow on Saturday. But temperatures were only supposed to drop to the high 30s, leaving me completely unconvinced anything was going to happen.

Boy was I wrong. On Saturday morning it quickly transitioned from rain to full on snow and sleet.  Trapped inside, we promptly spent the rest of the day rearranging our apartment and getting some more things up on the wall. I can be so impatient about the decorating process (I just want it all done now!), but things are slowly coming together. And as promised, once everything is complete, a full apartment tour is in store!

So, on to soup. You’d think this soup would have something to do with the wintery conditions we’re experiencing, but truthfully it came about well before the snow arrived.  I had a craving for Broccoli and Cheddar soup earlier this week, but wanted to create a version that was a bit heavier on the vegetables while still being indulgent.  Turns out carrots pair beautifully with the traditional ingredients, providing a sweet balance against the sharp cheddar. It’s so good, I’m truly regretting not doubling the recipe!

Hope your week is off to a wonderful start. Oh, and how could I forget- Happy Halloween! I’ll be ringing in the holiday with a pile of gummy candy tonight…. yum.

Broccoli, Carrot, and Cheddar Soup
Serves 4

  • 3 T butter
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb broccoli florets cut into a small dice (with no big pieces of stem)
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp French mustard (I use Maille)
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Set a dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pot to medium low heat.  Melt the better; once melted, stir in the onions and shallots.  Raise heat to just below medium, and cook for 10-12 minutes until the onions and shallots are nice and soft. Next add the garlic, cooking for 1-2 more minutes until fragrant. Lastly, add the carrots and cook for an additional 5 minutes until they’ve softened slightly.

Next add in the chicken broth, paprika, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil.  Lower and let simmer for 5 minutes, then add in the broccoli and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes until the carrots ad broccoli are very soft. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until it’s very smooth.  You can also purée the soup in a blender or Cuisinart and then return it to the pot. If the soup feels a bit thick, you can add more chicken broth at this ppoint.  Once puréed, turn the heat back to medium low.  Whisk in the cream cheese and mustard until well combined. Lastly, add in one cup of the grated cheddar, and stir until completely melted. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Serve the soup  with a drizzle of olive oil and extra cheddar on top. Can be stored up to 4 days in fridge.

The Best Corn Chowder

September 9, 2011 § 3 Comments

Comfort food may be one of the most overused phrases among food blogs.  I don’t excuse myself, I’m completely at fault too. But oddly enough, those words didn’t pop into my head last night when I sat down to write about this chowder. All I could think was- homey.  This soup is downright homey.  It’s heart warming without being too weighty.  It completely embodies the transition from summer to fall. It makes you want to sit at home with your family and just have dinner.

This recipe is rather labor intensive.  There’s chopping.  You have to shuck eight ears of corn and then cut the kernels off. Some of the soup has to be puréed.  But, you see, this is the second time I’ve made this recipe.  There is no shortage of corn chowder recipes out there, I easily could have chosen one that doesn’t require as much work.But I didn’t, and here’s why. Most corn chowders, I find, are more about the cream and cheese, and less about the corn.  That’s fine in the dead of winter when you can’t get fresh corn, but right now is the best time to buy fresh corn.  And when corn is good, it’s really really good! So I like this recipe, because it truly highlights the corn, and doesn’t weigh it down with other ingredients.  Also, given that corn is so sweet when it’s in season, the bacon provides the perfect salty bite against the sweetness of the soup. It’s all around addictive. Will you make this soup already?

We’re attending the wedding of one of my dearest childhood friends this weekend.  It’s going to be beautiful! Pictures to come on Monday.  Have a great weekend!

Corn Chowder adapted from Saveur

I follow Saveur’s recipe exactly except for the following small modifications. Enjoy!

-The recipe calls for six cups of milk, I use 4 cups of whole and 2 cups of skim. You could use all whole, or all 2% all well.  I also recommend using organic milk as the flavor is naturally much richer.

-This time I added a whole chopped jalapeno (seeds and all) into the onion mixture.  I think it adds to the flavor, but one pepper didn’t provide much heat. If you’d like a spicy soup, I recommend adding 2-3 diced jalapenos into the onion mixture before it’s sautéed.

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