Tag Archives: Soup

Mexican Meatball Soup

Mexican meatball soup from LaurenFoodE
Last week I spent a full day on the couch due to a wicked case of the tummy aches. Ironically, the Food Network has never appealed to me more. I watched a full day of cooking shows and was actually quite inspired (Little known fact about me: I’m not a fan of cooking shows… I find them quite boring. Give me Kardashians any day.).

In a particularly lackluster episode of Mexican Made Easy, there was a little shining gem of inspiration: Mexican meatball soup. The perky host is one of those people with no trace of a Mexican accent until they’re pronouncing Mexican words and then they’re fresh off the boat from Tijuana. “We’re going to start this taco dish with a TORRRR-TTTEEEEYAAAA!”

Anyway. This soup looked flavorful, easy, and perfect for dinner on a day like yesterday where it finally felt like winter in New York (oh hello there snot-freezing winds, how I’ve missed you). I grilled up some fresh bread and cheddar for grilled cheese and voila: dinner.

On the menu:
Mexican meatball soup
Makes 8 servings
Adapted from Mexican Made Easy

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup long grain rice (uncooked)
2 Tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
8 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Mexican oregano (or regular oregano if it’s all you have)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large parsnip, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
1 Yukon gold potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Cook onion for around 5 minutes, or just until the onion starts to cook but before it turns translucent. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.

In a medium sized bowl, combine (by hand) the onion, ground beef, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, rice*, salt, and cilantro until completely combined. Roll into 1-inch balls, wetting your hands with a little water if the ingredients start to stick to your fingers. The mixture should make around 25 meatballs.

In the same large stockpot you cooked the onions in, add vegetable stock, tomato paste, potato, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the meatballs, zucchini, and parsnip. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for around 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Add salt and pepper as needed.

*Note: I know what you’re thinking, raw rice in the meatballs? But it does cook through completely and it is delicious! Promise.

 

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Bacon, Spinach and Chicken Stew


One of the (many) pitfalls of being unemployed is that now the weather is cold and gloomy and I have even less motivation to leave the apartment than I did before (which is truly frightening). One of the fantastic things about being unemployed is the colossal amount of time I have on my hands to dream up and cook delicious things. I’m like Jerry Seinfeld. It all evens out.

I’ve been dying to make soup lately and this was easy and used up lots of things I already had in my house. You could use this recipe if you still have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, or bookmark it for Christmas leftovers.

On the menu:
Bacon, Spinach and Chicken Stew
Serves 4
Adapted from this recipe from The Kitchn

1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
4 strips of bacon, diced into thin slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. baby spinach
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 – 5 cups chicken stock
Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add bacon. Cook until most of the fat is rendered and the bacon is almost crisp. Add garlic and stir, cooking for 1 minute. Add baby spinach and stir until completely coated in bacon fat. Sprinkle spinach with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes or until spinach is wilted down. Add cooked chicken and stir to coat in fat. Cook for 5 minutes until mixture is completely heated through. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes at a simmer.

Serve in big soup bowl and sprinkle grated cheese over the top.

Note: The sandwich in that picture is a delectable prosciutto with melted mozzarella and balsamic marinated cherry tomatoes on challah rolls. And yes… it was as good as it looks.

Last Note (promise): I don’t know why this is a stew and not a soup, but to me it’s a stew because there’s more stuff than broth. You feel me? Ok good.

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Thanksgiving Recipes

Pumpkin Ginger Soup topped with Pepitas

My family is ridiculously traditional, and suggesting an innovative take on a Thanksgiving classic usually warrants more eye rolls than anything else. But little by little, year by year, I’ve introduced a few dishes to the traditional Turkey Day menu that have gone over very well. Below is a list of dishes and recipes that you can try this year to give an untraditional spin to a very traditional meal. My family approves, so yours will, too.

STARTERS
Pumpkin Ginger Soup topped with Pepitas

SIDES
Roasted Kabocha Squash (just leave out the chicken to make this a nice compliment to the Thanksgiving turkey)
Butternut Squash, Leek, and Apple Gratin
Easy Biscuits
Jalapeno Goat Cheese Corn Bread
Green Bean Casserole (from The Pioneer Woman)

DESSERTS
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sugar Crusted Apple Pie

BEVERAGES
Hard Cider

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Pumpkin Ginger Soup

‘Tis the season to cook with pumpkin. You’ve been bombarded by orange at the farmer’s market, inundated with pumpkin recipes from your daily email recipe newsletters, and overwhelmed by Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts commercials featuring pumpkin flavored everything. I would say it’s cliche, but really… it’s just delicious. Below is an incredibly easy recipe that yields a flavorful soup that would serve as a lovely first course to any fall meal, or as a hearty lunch with crusty bread on the side. Don’t hold back, friends… give in to the power of pumpkin.

On the menu:
Pumpkin Ginger Soup
Serves 4
Adapted from this recipe at Yumm.com

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp ginger, finely grated (or use 1 Tbsp ginger powder)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 15-oz. cans of pumpkin puree
3 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp Sriracha (or similar hot sauce)

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 8 – 10 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, cook for another 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, pumpkin, stock, cream, and hot sauce. Stir until combined and turn down heat until the soup is simmering. Simmer for 25 minutes, occasionally stirring. Use an immersion blender to blend* in the pot, or pour soup into a standing blender and blend until completely pureed. Replace soup in the pot and heat until hot and ready to serve. Top with crunchy pumpkin seeds if desired.

*Note: you don’t necessarily have to blend this soup, but I found the crunchy onions distracting so I ended up blending the entire pot after I ate one bowl. It was much creamier and much more flavorful after all. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of dirtying your blender, though, it’ll still be delicious without the blending.

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I am BACK!

A few snapshots from my amazing vacation, first in San Diego and then in Norfolk, Virginia. I’ll make some real posts when I recuperate but for now… here you are, my friends.

In N Out! Maybe I ate it twice…

Sea World! San Diego

Me and The BF… in a photo booth, but using an iPhone. Like you do.

So SoCal.

Shamu!

Beautiful Norfolk, Virginia

A latte for Lolly

It was 106 degrees in Colonial Williamsburg, but I ordered soup at Blue Talon restaurant. It. Was. Worth it.

Oh Waffle House. You have my heart.

 

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Hello, Autumn. Lovely to see you again.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that it legitimately feels like fall, that I have a brand spanking new stove (I think I will name her Bertha?), and that I feel a crazy intense desire to be back in the kitchen. All is right with the world! Okay, so I could use a tiny bit more money. Details.

On the menu:
Mom’s tomato soup

1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 medium sized carrots, grated
1/2 large green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup butter
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 quart tomatoes, peeled* and chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 tsp sugar
1/4 cup flour

Saute celery, onion, carrots, and green pepper in butter in a large, heavy pan until they are slightly softened. Add 4 cups of the chicken broth, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar. Bring heat up to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Blend flour with the remaining 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Gradually add flour mixture to soup. Simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the soup thickens and the vegetables are tender. I like to serve this soup with tiny grilled cheese sandwiches, cause frankly, everything is cuter in miniature.

Note: the key to this soup is making sure all of the vegetables are chopped to relatively the same size.

*To peel a tomato: boil a pot of water. Make a small X in the top of the tomato, barely piercing the skin. Drop the tomato into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove it and immediately drop it in icy water. The skin will peel right off.

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Way Up North

Every once in awhile I need an escape from the city. I know, it’s crazy. Who would need a break from the constant insanity of the city that never sleeps? Lunacy.

This weekend I took a short MetroNorth trip up the Hudson River to New Paltz, NY to celebrate a friend’s birthday. If you ever make a trip to New Paltz, you’ll find a little college town with more than a few 60s-era hippies perched on curbsides. It’s charming. And it has some good eats.

Gomen-Kudasai 215 Main Street, New Paltz, NY. A small, traditional-style Japanese restaurant off the crowded central area of Main Street in New Paltz. The lawn is pure kitsch, as the restaurant is attached to a bizarre antiques store, but that’s the beauty of New Paltz. Strange oddities juxtaposed with college comforts. Beauty.

On the menu:
Shrimp and pork dumplings
Tempura vegetables and shrimp
Miso soup
Pickles (cucumbers with rice vinegar – not your classic Vlassic)
Sapporo beer

Verdict: Stunning. The tempura was crispy and not at all greasy, the vegetables were fresh and crisp, and the tray was full of food at a reasonable price*. I was so impressed by the meal that I asked whose cell phone had the best camera so I could snap a picture. I didn’t plan on eating anything incredible over the weekend but this place was delicious. Also impressive was the homey feel we experienced when we walked in. The owner greeted us warmly at the door and our waiter was attentive and friendly without being too much. The table next to us had kids with them and the staff went out of their way to prepare something special to the families’ specific requests. Gomen-Kudasai has a sushi menu as well that I’ll delve into on my next visit. And oh yes… there will be a next visit.

*Please note that I suffer from what is known as “New York City Price Dimentia.” Symptoms include forgetting what constitutes as affordable. The plate pictured was $15. To me, incredibly cheap. Maybe for you? Not so much. You’ve been warned.

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