Showing posts with label Soups. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Soups. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Chicken Stock

Many of my recipes call for chicken stock. I usually indicate a low sodium stock. And, truth be told, I often use chicken stock out of the box. If I had my druthers, I'd always use homemade stock. It's easy to make, though it takes time on the stove. If you roast a whole chicken, make this stock. You'll get about 3 quarts of flavorful stock from each whole chicken, and will find that it imparts a subtle, yet intense flavor to your dishes.

Ingredients:

1 carcass from a whole roast chicken
2 carrots, peeled, then cut into 2 inch lengths
2 stalks celery, leaves removed, cut into 2 inch lengths
1 small onion, quartered
up to 4 quarts water

Directions:  Remove the breast, legs, and thighs from the roast chicken. Leave the wings and back on the chicken, and any remaining bits of meat. Place the carcass in a large soup pot, and cover with water. It should take several quarts. Add the vegetables to the pot. Bring everything to a boil, then partially cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the chicken falls from the bones, about 3 or 4 hours. Strain the stock through a colander. Cool in the refrigerator, then transfer to bowls and freeze. You can also freeze cubes in an ice cube tray, so you have small amounts of stock to use as needed.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Salmon Chowder, Northwest meets Southwest


I think of salmon as a northwest food. My favorite salmon hails from the Copper River in Alaska. Many US fishing companies store their salmon in Bellingham, Washington. And, so I was introduced to the venerable salmon when I lived in Washington. However, I first learned my cooking chops during time spent in Nevada and Arizona, so southwestern flavors find their way into many of my meals. This chowder is no exception. Northwestern salmon meets Southwestern flavors. Its a marriage made in heaven.

Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped red and/or yellow peppers
1 Anaheim chili, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and membranes removed, minced
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1 cob corn, kernels removed (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup diced potatoes
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried basil (or 1 Tbs fresh basil)
1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh oregano)
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 (7-1/2 oz) can salmon, flaked
1 Tbs whole wheat flour
1 Tbs chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp pepper (to taste)
extra basil leaves for garnish
chopped tomatoes for garnish


Directions: Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, carrots, and corn, and potatoes. Add the spices, then add the wine and stock. Cook until the onions are translucent and the potatoes are cooked. Add the salmon. Mix the whole wheat flour together with 1 tablespoon of the stock to make a slurry. Slowly pour the flour mixture into the soup mixture, stirring as you pour. Cook the soup for another minute. Taste the soup, correcting the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve in soup bowls, garnishing with basil and tomatoes.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Here's a trick to get all the tasty corn flavors from a cob of corn. Hold the corn lengthwise in the pan. Use a knife to remove the rows of kernels. After all the kernels are removed, use the back of the knife to scrape the remaining "milk" from the corn cob. Tip number two - getting  omega 3 fish oils from salmon is all the rage these days.  But, fresh salmon, even in the Northwest, is expensive. Canned salmon is certainly an economical way to get  all the benefits of salmon without blowing your paycheck. You won't miss the taste of fresh salmon when it's part of a soup.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mulligatawny Soup


Here's a chicken soup recipe with an interesting history. The British craved a nice soup when they were in India, and this is the result. It's a blend of the British and Continental combination of onion, carrot, and celery with Indian curry spices. Like many soups, there are many variations out there, so feel free to add and delete to make this fit your taste. Note: Don't worry if you don't have all the spices. Simply add more curry powder if you don't have cumin, coriander, or tumeric. Do taste, however, as you add curry powder. Some powders are hot and spicy, others are mild. So, add some, taste, then add more, until you get a taste you like.


Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 Tbs chopped ginger (or 1 tsp ground)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 pound chicken, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp ground cumin (see note)
1 tsp ground coriander (see note)
1 tsp tumeric (see note)
1-3 Tbs curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, juiced
up to 1 tsp of salt
1/4 cup minced Italian parsley
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds


Directions:

Start cooking the brown rice by measuring it into a saucepan, rinsing it, then covering it with the cup of water. Cover the pan, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer for 30 minutes. Prepare the rest of the soup while the rice cooks.

Place the olive oil, onion, celery, carrots, ginger and garlic into a heavy bottom soup pot. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion begins to get translucent. Add the chicken and spices, using just 1 tablespoon of the curry powder to start, and continue to cook until the chicken begins to turn from pink to white. Add some of the chicken stock if the chicken starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the remainder of the chicken stock, along with the white wine and lemon juice, then cook for another 10 minutes or so. Stir in half of the parsley and green onion, then add the cooked rice. Stir everything together. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary, and more curry powder to taste. Serve in bowls, topping each serving with a 1 Tbs dollop of yogurt, a sprinkle of parsley, green onion, and toasted almonds.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip:  Tumeric powder is bright yellow, being the dried and ground flesh of the root of tumeric. It's used extensively in both Chinese and Indian medicines, mainly as an anti-inflammatory. I doubt that the small amount used in this recipe holds much medicinal value, but I like the way it tastes, reminiscent of a mild ginger, to whose family it belongs. Tumeric is also the main ingredient in curry powder, which is why it's easy to omit tumeric in this recipe and simply increase the amount of curry powder. The yellow color is sometimes used as a dye, so if you spill some on clothes or counters, wash if off quickly with soap and water.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

 
I first tasted Tom Kha Gai, or coconut chicken soup, when I visited Thailand ... many years ago. Learning to make it still ranks as one of my favorite cooking experiences, ever. My husband, who by the way is notorious for not cooking, and I both signed up for a morning cooking class at the small boutique hotel we called home in Phuket. What a surprise we had to find out that only one other student had signed up for the class. We had the head chef, a sous chef, and three assistants to help us make our Thai lunch. The sous chef helped us at every step, while the head chef checked and adjusted the seasoning when we finished each dish. The assistants helped us with chopping and preparing ingredients. With all that help, everything we made that morning turned out delicious!

This particular soup is made with coconut milk. At the Thai cooking class, assistants cracked open a coconut and extracted the milk from the meat by shredding the meat, then pressing water through the shredded coconut. The process for one coconut took about 20 minutes, and yielded only 1/4 cup  coconut milk. I have to admit I thought then that I'd never make this soup myself ... until I asked the chef how they ever made enough soup for the restaurant when it took so long to make the coconut milk. He laughed, and said we use this! That's when he held out a can of coconut milk, it was even the same brand I use in the US. Here's my version of this soup. I enjoy it most often when the cold season lingers on past it's welcome. It's then, as I sip this soup, that I recall warm days on a Phuket beach enjoying this soup.

 
Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
1 can straw mushrooms (or use an additional 1 cup of cremini mushrooms)
2 keffir lime leaves, minced (optional)
a 1 inch piece of lemon grass, minced (optional)
12 ounces cooked, cubed or shredded, chicken breast or thigh meat (gai)
1 can baby corn
1 can light coconut milk
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp chili sauce, or to taste
1 tsp fish sauce
up to 1 tsp salt

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottomed stock pot over medium heat. Add the cremini mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to lose their liquid. Add the straw mushrooms, if using, along with the keffir lime leaves and lemon grass. Stir to combine and cook for an additional minute. Add the chicken, corn,  coconut milk and chicken stock, combine and bring to almost simmering. Season the soup by adding about 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice, the chili sauce, and fish sauce. Add more lemon juice, if needed. Adjust the seasoning by adding salt, if needed.



Stealthy Cooking Tip: Fish sauce is salty, so you may not need additional salt in this recipe. Taste before adding!
 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Udon Noodle Soup

 
This noodle soup recipe is loosely based on two traditional Japanese style soups. Noodle soup is usually served with simply a few cubes of tofu and some green onions. Chicken and vegetables may be cooked in a tasty broth, then served strained, with the broth served separately. I've combined these two dishes into one soup. It comes together quickly, too. The photos show the soup with chopsticks, as is traditional. To eat soup with chopsticks, eat the vegetables first, then tip the bowl to your mouth to enjoy the broth. The caveat is to use a traditional Japanese style bowl, very unlike the one pictured, deep with no lip. I ate this soup with a soup spoon, try tipping one of these bowls, and I'd be wearing more soup and tasting it.


Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
4 chicken thighs, or 2 chicken breasts, boned, skinned, and chopped into cubes
1/2 onion, cut in half, then sliced
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1/2 cup snow peas, cut diagonally into 1 inch lengths
1 cup cubed, firm tofu
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1 cup or more water, if needed
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup bean sprouts
2 cups cooked udon noodles

Directions:  Bring a large pot of water to boil to cook the udon noodles while you begin to prepare the soup. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan or stockpot. Add the chicken and onion, then give a stir or two until the chicken is browned, about 1 or 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock then add the vegetables and tofu as you chop them. Season the soup by adding ginger and soy sauce. Add water if the soup gets too thick.

Add the noodles to the boiling water while the chicken and vegetables cook. Most udon noodles only 1 or 2 minutes to cook, but do follow the package directions. Drain the noodles.

To serve, fill each bowl with about 1/2 cup of noodles. Top with a ladle of the chicken and vegetable soup. Garnish with green onions and bean sprouts.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: This recipe has about 4 cups of vegetables, or 1 cup per per person. If you see some vegetables that you don't like, substitute. Just keep the amount of vegetables the same. Peas, celery, green beans, or peppers would all be good in this soup.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Southwestern Chicken 'n Corn Soup

 
Growing up, I spent most of my summers in rural Michigan, and always looked forward to eating at some of the finest Pennsylvania Dutch style restaurants that Michigan has to offer. Their end of summer soups often combined local fresh sweet corn with chicken in a broth redolent with saffron. While I remember those soups with fondness, my years in the Southwest often flavor many of my dishes. This soup features an intersection of those flavors - both the chicken 'n corn of rural Michigan tinged with spicy heat from the Southwest.


Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
3 chicken thighs
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 quart chicken broth
1-3 cups water
2 carrots, sliced
4 ears fresh corn, shucked and kernals removed from the cob
1 red or green pepper, chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove the ribs and seeds to reduce heat)
1/2 tsp garlic
2 pinches saffron threads
1 tsp salt (to taste)
2 Tbs cilantro, chopped

Directions: Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Dice the chicken thigh meat and add the meat to the pot along with the onion and mushrooms. Cook until the onions are translucent and the chicken meat has begun to color. Add the chicken broth, 1 cup of the water, the vegetables, and the saffron. When the stock begins to come to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through. Add more water if necessary. Taste the soup, then adjust the seasoning with salt as needed. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a pinch or more of the cilantro.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Soups are a wonderful way to add vegetables to your diet, while reducing the amount of meat in your diet. You'll notice that each bowl of soup has less than 1 piece of chicken in it, but the rich soup stock and thickness of the soup means that you won't miss the flavor or feel that you've missed out on your meat! Serve this soup with a salad and you've got a complete meal.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Asparagus Vichyssoise


Asparagus season is just about over. The tender stalks of early spring are gone. The stalks are getting larger, and tougher now. This is the kind of asparagus that is meant for soup. The tips are still tender, so they make a great garnish, while the stalks cook into a great tasting soup. This soup can be served either cold or warm. I prefer it served cold, as a refreshing lunch or dinner soup. Add a salad and a breadstick, and you've got a complete meal.



Ingredients:

1 pound asparagus, tough ends removed
2 leeks (or 1 sweet onion), chopped
1/4 pound yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 cup soy creamer
1 Tbs lemon juice
salt to taste
lemon zest
chopped parsley



Directions:

Cut asparagus into 1 inch lengths, separating the tips from the stalks. Cook the tips by bringing a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the asparagus tips and simmer for 1 minute. Remove the tips from the water and immediately place into icy, cold water. Drain the cold asparagus tips and refrigerate. To make the soup, place the asparagus stalks, leeks or onion, and potatoes into a pot with the chicken stock and water. Bring the vegetable mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Blend the vegetables, broth, and water together in a blender. Add the soy creamer, then adjust the seasoning by adding lemon juice and salt to taste. Cool the soup, then refrigerate until cold. Serve the soup by ladling into bowls, then topping each bowl with several asparagus tips, a sprinkling of lemon zest, and some chopped parsley.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: The easiest way to remove the tough ends of asparagus is to break them off. The stalk will (should) break about 1 inch above the end of the stalk. The stalks break easiest in early spring, then break with more and more difficulty as the season extends. By the end of the season, you might need to cut off the bottom inch of the stalk with a knife. Vegetable soups are a great way to increase your veggie intake. They tend to have lots of vegetables, be low in fat, and high in fiber, meaning they're very healthy. If you don't like hot soups, try this cold. You'll be surprised how delicious a cold soup can be!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Farro and Mushroom Soup


I'm always a sucker for something new. Farro isn't new... it's been around forever, and was referred to in texts of the ancient Romans, but it's new to me. For something that's been around so long, finding farro isn't easy. I finally located some at Whole Foods, then I saw it the very next week at my local Italian specialty food market. There's a lot of confusion about farro - what it is and what it isn't. Some people say farro is the same as spelt, and others say it's an ancestor of wheat. To confuse matters, the word for farro in Italian is ... you've got it, "spelt". I lean toward considering farro to be wheat's ancestor, as it's also called emmer wheat in Europe. This recipe is inspired by Annie Sommerville, the author of Everyday Greens, and the chef at one of my favorite restaurants, Greens, in San Francisco.


Ingredients:

1 cup cooked farro (1/2 cup uncooked)
2 Tbs. dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
1/2 cup very hot water
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbs. fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper
several curls of Parmigiana or Pecorino Romano cheese


Directions:
START IN THE MORNING OR THE NIGHT BEFORE! Cover 1/2 cup farro with warm water, then let sit for 8 - 12 hours. Either start the cooking process after 8 to 12 hours, or drain and refrigerate the soaked farro until ready to make the soup. They'll keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Soak the dried porcini mushrooms, if using, in 1/2 cup of hot water for about 10 minutes. Start the rest of the soup while the dried mushrooms are soaking. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a soup pot. Add the chopped onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms begin to give up their liquid. Add the white wine, along with the thyme and parsley, and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes. Add the stock along with the soaked  porcini mushrooms and the farro. Lower the heat so that the soup is at a simmer, then cook until the farro is al dente and the vegetables are tender, about 15 more minutes. Al dente means that the outside is tender, but the inside still has some texture or "bite" to it. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top each bowl with several curls of cheese.


Serves 4
Stealthy Cooking Tip: Farro has some excellent qualities. In the field, farro has a sturdier hull than modern wheat, which means it's more resilient to insects, and therefore growers have less need to use chemicals or pesticides. It also has a great nutritional portrait, with about twice the protein and fiber as regular wheat. That's one of the reasons many are trying farro, and why it's being grown more and more in the US.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Curried Red Lentils

This can be made with more stock, so that it's a soup or stew. Or, it can be made with less stock, so that it's more like a sturdy side dish. I made this somewhere in the middle, so that it was thick, but served it in a soup bowl. Good enough for seconds, and by request, it's finally here!


Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced mild or sweet onion
1 tsp - 2 Tbs chili powder (depending on taste) or use:
   2 tsp fresh grated ginger
   1 tsp minced garlic
   1/2 tsp ground mustard
   1 tsp ground cumin
   1 tsp ground coriander
   1 tsp turmeric
   up to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup diced green chili
1 cup lentils (any color, but I like the red ones)
3-6 cups water or stock
1 cup diced ham (optional)
1/2 cup orange juice
up to 1 tsp salt
up to 1 tsp ground pepper
4 tsp Greek yogurt
4 tsp chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot. Cook onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. If the pot gets too dry and the onion begins to stick, add some of the water or stock to the pan. Add the spices to the pot, giving a stir or two to brown the spices, bringing out more of their flavors. If using curry powder, add just a small amount. You can taste and add more when the lentils are almost done. If using spices, add only a small amount of red pepper flakes. You'll also taste and adjust the seasoning when almost done. It's always easier to add more heat, but difficult to take it away! Add carrots, peppers, and lentils along with 3 cups of the water or stock. Add the ham, if using. Cook until the lentils are soft, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for about 45 minutes to one hour. Add more stock if the lentils seem too thick or are beginning to stick, or if you'd like a soup like consistency. Add the orange juice and correct the seasoning. You'll need to add some salt if you omit the ham and use water instead of stock. However, with both salt and a seasoned stock, you might not need to add any salt at all. To serve, ladle a portion into a soup bowl or onto a plate. Top with a teaspoon of Greek yogurt, some chopped cilantro, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: I made this dish with ham, because my family will eat anything with some ham in it and call it good, even going back for seconds. The trick is to use just a little ham, so that the flavors mix throughout the dish. However, I've made this without meat and still find it very tasty. I've also added other vegetables - celery, small diced potatoes, or cauliflower. This dish also holds well for leftovers, and it thickens when left in the refrigerator overnight. I like my leftover lentils stuffed into a pita pocket, topped with Greek yogurt, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Finally, if you like fun names, call this dahl!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pretty Purple Potato Soup

It's not often, OK it's been never before, that my husband has said, "take a picture, it's so pretty" about a soup. It's also not often that I watch him dig into a bowl of nothing but vegetables cooked in some broth and topped with a little cheese and some greens ... then go for seconds. That certainly says something about how visual perception affects taste. Here's what he was so excited about!

Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water (as needed)
10 purple, blue, or any color new potatoes, halved
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
2 green onions, white parts with some green, cut into 1/4 inch lengths
2 Tbs shredded yellow cheese
1/4 tsp salt, to taste
1/4 tsp pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add chopped onion, red pepper, and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes, until onion is soft and translucent. Add chicken broth along with potatoes, corn, and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Cook about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Add some or all of the water, if needed, to make sure the vegetables are covered with liquid while they cook. Taste the soup, and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed. Ladle the soup into bowls, then top with the cheese, the remaining parsley, and the green onions.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer

Stealthy Cooking Tip: This is a variation on a basic corn chowder ... and shows what I had (and didn't have) when I made it. I was out of bacon or ham, white potatoes, and creamer necessary for corn chowder. The addition of the purple potatoes to a soup was one of those strokes of luck that turned out better than expected. It's a testament to trying out new things, and coming up with a winner! Feeling free to experiment with what's on hand means that eaters probably already like the ingredients ... and may well like the resulting combination.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cannelloni Stoup with Ham and Greens

The smells of beans cooking for hours on the stove makes me think of ... fall, fires in the fireplace, good friends, and good food. I had some delicious beans with ham hocks this last weekend, and realized it had been way too long since I'd cooked up a pot of beans at home. It's been since last fall! Here's a fall recipe for beans with ham and greens. I used cannelloni beans, mainly because that was the only kind of dry white bean I found the day I cooked, but feel free to use any kind of white bean - great Northern, small whites, or cannelloni. Do remember that dried beans don't keep forever! They're tastiest when used within one year of drying. In the past, beans didn't have a "use by" date, but you'll find they have one now. You can still use beans after a year, they just won't taste quite as fresh.

Ingredients:

1 cup white beans
4 cups water
1 ham hock, or 1 cup chopped leftover ham (omit for vegan)
2 cups water
2 cups stock, vegetable or low sodium chicken
Extra water as needed
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup carrot, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1/4 inch lengths
1/2 cup zucchini, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1/4 inch lengths
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 can tomatoes, diced
4 handfuls spinach leaves
salt, if needed

Directions:

Pour beans into a heavy bottomed soup pot. Sort through dry beans and remove any that don't meet the grade. Add the water to the pot and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the beans, and allow to soak for about 1 hour. Pour off the water. Add the ham, water, stock, and bay leaf and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and let the beans simmer for about 45 minutes to 1-1/2 hours, depending on the type of bean. Add more water, if needed, to make sure the beans are covered by about 1 inch with water and broth. Taste the beans about every 30 minutes. When they are almost tender, add the carrot, zucchini, onion, and garlic. Continue cooking until the beans are tender. Add the tomatoes and heat until the soup is hot. Add the spinach and continue to cook until the spinach wilts. Taste the soup, and add salt and pepper if needed. If you use less water and broth, this will be thick, what I used to call stoup - not quite a stew, not quite a soup, but the best of both. If you'd like a more traditional soup, simply add a little more water.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Add acidic foods, such as tomatoes, after beans are cooked. The acid in the tomatoes keeps the beans from cooking ... so, if they're added too soon, it can take hours and hours for your beans to get tender! This recipe is also good with other kinds of greens. If you use kale or collard greens, chop the greens into bite size pieces, then add them when you add the carrots and zucchini. Spinach is a quick cooking green, but kale and collards take longer to cook.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Chick 'n Rice Soup

I first had chicken and rice soup deep in the South, and it was the most soothing and comfortable soup I'd ever tasted. Here's a recipe for a soup that's easy to make, easy to digest, and easy to enjoy. Eat it when fall or winter blows in, when you want something warm and comfortable!


Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup white wine
1-1/2 cups chopped, skinned chicken meat, thighs or breasts
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup peas
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 quart low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp minced fresh sage
2 tsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup soy creamer ( optional)
1 tsp salt (to taste)

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add onion, garlic, and celery and cook until the onion in translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine if the onion starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, or add it after the onion has cooked. Add the chicken, and cook for about 5 minutes more, until the chicken is just cooked. Add the carrots, peas, rice, and chicken broth to the pot. Add about half of the sage and parsley, then cook the soup until the carrots are tender crisp, about an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Add the soy creamer, if using. Taste the soup, and add salt as needed. Serve in bowls, and garnish with the remaining sage and parsley.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Use leftover cooked rice as a time saver. I used a mixture of brown rice and wild rice. The brown rice almost melts into the soup, acting as a thickener. Brown rice has more fiber than white rice, so it's the rice I prefer. When salting liquids, I use a quick dissolving salt, like Diamond Crystal's Kosher Salt. Add a little salt, taste, then add more salt and taste again, until you have the salt you need.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wonton Soup

I saw some miso base on the shelf recently, and fondly remembered miso soup from my own ancient history - probably something like  35 years since I've made miso soup. My original recipe simply mixes water with miso base, then adding little cubes of tofu and some slices of green onion. To tell the truth, I can't imagine foisting that miso soup on my clan, but I can think of ways to incorporate it's goodness into something they would like. Hence, today's wonton soup. It incorporates basic miso soup, but builds on the basic soup by adding familiar wontons. The wontons are fun to put together, and have great potential as a project for young cooks and chefs who want to help in the kitchen.


Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cups chopped spinach
1 Tbs thinly sliced green onions
2 slices bacon or pancetta, cooked and chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup soft tofu, or ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
15 wonton wrappers

1 quart chicken broth
2 Tbs miso paste
2 cups water
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 Tbs parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add spinach, green onions, cooked, bacon, garlic, and white wine. Cook until spinach turns bright green and begins to wilt, about 1 more minute. Mix in tofu or ricotta, and taste as you season with salt and peppers. Remove from heat.

To make wontons, set a small bowl of water near your wonton wrappers and filling. Put about 1 teaspoons of filling into the center of a wrapper. Use your finger to moisten the edges of the wrapper with water, then fold the wrapper in half over the filling, forming a triangle. Next, bring the two sides of the triangle together, overlapping them, and seal with another dip of your finger into the water. Continue making wontons until you've used up all the filling. There should be about 15 to 20 wontons.

To make the soup, bring the chicken broth, miso paste, water and 1/4 cup of the green onions to a simmer. The wontons should cook in just one layer, so they'll need to be cooked in batches. Add enough wontons to cover the bottom of the simmering soup and cook until they rise to the top of the soup, about 5 minutes. Add remaining wontons and repeat. Add the remaining green onions to the soup.

To serve, ladle several wontons into each soup bowl. Cover with soup. Top with parmesan cheese, if using, and serve.

Serves 4 to 6

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Miso is a soybean based product, which means it's high in protein. It imparts a wonderful flavor to chicken broth ... but is a flavor you might not quickly identify. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nice n' Spicy Carrot Soup

Here's a soup that's good year round, inspired by a recipe from Annie Sommerville's Fields of Greens cookbook. My garden carrots are just starting to come in, so they're especially sweet right now, and make a splendid soup. Because carrots keep so well, they're easy to obtain any time of year, making this soup good during fall and winter, too. The carrots won't be so sweet then (they lose some of their sweetness during storage), so make sure to use a sweet potato during winter.

Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin seed
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tsp grated fresh ginger)
1 quart chicken broth or vegetable stock
1 cup water, if needed
5 cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped potato, white potato or sweet potato
1/2 cup orange juice
salt, if needed
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 Tbs. chopped cilantro

Directions:

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add spices, stirring constantly for about 1 minute while they brown. If the onion and spices begin to stick to the pan, add a little of the broth or stock. Add the quart of broth, along with the carrots and potato, and continue to cook over medium heat until the carrots and potatoes are soft. If the stock boils off and is below the level of the vegetables, add up to 1 cup of water, so that the veggies remain covered with liquid while cooking. When the vegetables are soft and cooked, remove from heat. Working in batches, blend the soup in a blender until smooth, taking care to use the cover so that the hot liquid doesn't burn you. Return the soup to the cooking pot, stirring in the orange juice. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne as needed, tasting after each addition. Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro.

Serves 4 to 6

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Blending vegetables makes them indecipherable! If someone in your family doesn't like the crunch of carrots, this might make a carrot lover out of them. Conversely, if someone in your family doesn't normally like cooked carrots, the blending may change their mind. Feel free to call this Nice n' Spicy Orangey Soup ... I have!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Easy Split Pea Soup

Tis the season for large meals, and that means lots of leftovers. So, what to do with all those leftovers? That's the theme for the next few posts. Here's an easy way with split pea soup. Make it in a crock pot for hands free time. There's no worrys here about making sure the meat is cooked thoroughly, because you'll be starting with that left over ham bone from that large ham you had! Just add a few extras, and voila, it's soup! For a filling and healthy dinner, just add some whole grain bread. Kick it up by adding a green salad.

Ingredients:

1 left over meaty ham bone
2 cups split peas (usually this is the amount in a bag of split peas)
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)
2 tsp dried parsley (optional)
6 cups water
1 tsp salt, to taste
1/2 tsp pepper, to taste

Directions:

Place ham bone in crock pot or slow cooker. Add vegetables and spices, if using. Cover with water and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or low for 8 hours. Remove the ham bone, picking off any remaining pieces of meat. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Stealthy Cooking Tip: This soup freezes well. If this recipe makes more than you'll eat soon, freeze part and enjoy later. Healthy eating and convenience, too!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mushroom and Barley Soup

Fall is here, so hearty meals are back. This soup fits the bill when you want something warm to take the chill off. Leave the vegetables large, if you like to see them. Chop them up small if you like the taste, but don't want to know (or don't want others to know) what makes this soup so delicious.

Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup sliced leek
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup sliced celery
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, plus 2 Tbs for garnish
1/4 cup soy creamer
up to 1/2 tsp salt
up to 1/4 tsp ground pepper

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add leeks and garlic and cook about 5 minutes, until leeks turn bright green. Add celery and mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to give off their liquid. Add the white wine and continue to cook for another minute or so. Add the barley, broth, bay leaf and 1/4 cup of the parsley. Simmer the soup about 40 minutes, until the barley is tender. Stir in the creamer, then taste the soup and correct the seasoning with the salt and pepper. Garnish each bowl with a little of the parsley just before serving.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: This tip is more about speed cooking. There's lots of time that I simply don't have time to cut and measure all of the ingredients. It's much faster once you learn how to "eyeball" measurements. For example, 1/4 cup equals one of my handfuls, 1/2 cup is two handfuls. One teaspoon is about the size of my thumb. Check out measurements yourself by measuring 1/4 cup of something, then comparing it to your handful. It will speed up your cooking! Most soups and stews can easily be made by eyeballing the ingredients. It's only when you get to baking things like cakes, cookies, and candies that you need exact measurements.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Canadian Split Pea Soup

I grew up outside of Detroit city, just 3 miles from the Canadian border. There were a number of Canadian recipes that easily crossed the border, and this must be one of them. What makes it Canadian? Now, that's something I've never fully understood. I've always figured it has something to do with the addition of the barley and the potato. Those additions make the soup heartier than it's American cousin, and also make the flavours more complex. Whatever it is, this is the soup I grew up with, and a recipe that one of my kids recently requested. Enjoy it where ever you live!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 ham bone
2 cups dried split peas (green or yellow)
1/4 cup barley
6 to 8 cups water
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 cup potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 tsp dried leaf thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Place onion, garlic, ham bone, split peas, and barley in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally to make sure the peas and barley aren't sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add the carrot, potato, and celery, along with the thyme, bay leaf, and celery seed and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Add additional water, if the soup gets too thick. Remove the ham bone from the soup. When the ham bone has cooled, remove the ham from the bone, returning the ham to the soup. Stir in the parsley, just before serving. Taste the soup, using the salt, pepper, and vinegar to correct the seasoning. Serve, using extra parsley on top of the soup.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: If you'd like a vegetarian version of this soup, simply omit the ham bone!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

N'Awlins Style Gumbo


I love the food in New Orleans, and gumbo is one of the local specialities. However, every recipe for gumbo that I found started with making a roux of even parts oil and flour. One cup oil as the first ingredient? I don't think so. After some experimentation, I found that toasting flour allows the gumbo to retain the deep rich color and creaminess of the dish without the large amounts of oil. I've used spicy andouille sausage and chicken, but if you wish to further lower the fat content, replace the andouille sausage with shrimp. Serve this over brown rice, rather than white rice, to increase the nutritional value.


Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 links andouille sausage, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced chile pepper, anaheim or jalapeno
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried parsley (or 2 Tbs fresh parsley)
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup plus 1 quart chicken stock
6 ounces dark beer
1 bay leaf
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup sliced fresh okra
up to 1 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped chives

brown rice


Instructions:

Spread the flour on a baking pan and place in a preheated 350 degree oven or a toaster oven. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 4 to 5 minutes, until the flour turns the color of peanut butter. Cook the sausage, vegetables, and chicken while the flour is cooking. Heat a nonstick skillet and cook the sausage to render some of the fat, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan and drain it on a paper towel. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel to remove most of the fat. Return the pan to the heat, and add the teaspoon of olive oil. Add the onion to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion turns translucent. Add the celery, peppers, and garlic and continue to cook for about 5 minutes more, the onions will begin to brown. Remove the vegetables from the pan, and add the chicken pieces. Cook until the chicken begins to brown on the outside, about 2 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan.

Remove the cooked flour from the oven. Add it to a heavy bottomed soup pot or large Dutch oven on medium high heat on the stove top. Make a roux by whisking in 1/2 cup of the chicken stock. Whisk continually until the mixture is smooth. Slowly add another 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, continuing to whisk to retain the smooth texture. Add the remaining stock and beer and stir. Add the cooked sausage, vegetables, and chicken, and spices and stir to combine. Bring the gumbo to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook the mixture, partially covered, for about 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

Cook brown rice according to package instructions. You'll want about 2 cups of cooked rice.

Bet you thought I'd forgotten the okra? Not a chance! While the gumbo simmers, heat 1 tsp of olive oil in the skillet. Add the okra and cook until it browns on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the okra to the gumbo about 10 minutes before serving. Cooking it in the pan, and adding it last, keeps it from getting gummy.

Serve gumbo in a bowl, over a 1/2 cup serving of rice, topped with some of the chopped chives.


Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Don't let the long list of ingredients or the cooking time put you off. This one is definitely worth it! I played with learning to make a low fat roux here, so expect to see the same technique in other recipes soon!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gazpacho

Here's a cold soup that's perfect for a hot summer lunch ... or dinner. Serve it with Parmesan topped toast for a perfect pairing. While it's possible to chop everything together, I like to chop each vegetable separately.


Ingredients:

1 cucumber
1 red pepper
4 Roma tomatoes
1/2 red onion
1 jalapeno, seeded (optional)
2 Tbs fresh parsley
1 tsp garlic
11.5 oz V-8 juice (1 medium can)
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:

Cut the cucumber in half, scooping out the seeds and discarding them. Cut the red pepper in half and discard the white membranes and seeds. Chop the vegetables into 1 inch pieces. Add the vegetables to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Pour the vegetables into a large bowl. Add the jalapeno, parsley, and garlic to food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add them to the vegetables, along with the juice, vinegar, olive oil, and ground pepper. V-8 juice has plenty of sodium, so your gazpacho won't likely need any additional salt. Serve, adding a pinch of cayenne pepper on top of each serving.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: This has got to be one of the healthiest soups ever! It's like eating all of your vegetables at once, and it's so tasty!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Provencale Soup

Here's another meal with a French twist. According to Julia Child, in the French Chef Cookbook, the soup of Provence is based on a broth of tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and beans. Then seasonal vegetables are added at the last moment, and the whole thing is topped off with a pesto like topping. I've altered this soup to both increase the healthy aspects and, more importantly, to simplify the cooking process. No longer is it necessary to spend all day in the kitchen cooking soup. What remains the same is that the soup base is cooked first and the fresh vegetables are added last, so that they retain their bright colors.


Ingredients:

1 quart boxed or canned low sodium vegetable stock
1 quart water
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped potatoes
1 cup chopped onion

2 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs dried basil
1 Tbs dried parsley

1 can kidney or cannellini beans
1 cup green beans, frozen or fresh, cut into 1 inch lengths
1/2 cup green peas, frozen or fresh
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup small pasta
1/4 tsp saffron


1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat the broth, water, carrots, potatoes, and onions in a large stockpot. Bring to a low boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and spices. Also add the beans, peas, peppers, pasta, and saffron. Cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the pasta is cooked to your taste. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve, topping each bowl with a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: If you're looking to add vegetables to your diet, this soup fits the bill! To simplify this recipe further, just use a can of "Italian Style" Tomatoes in place of the tomato paste, garlic, basil, and parsley. Just chop the tomatoes before you add them to the soup.