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Soups

Zuppa Tuscana

March 29, 2022

A few weeks ago I was sitting at a restaurant off of one of our favorite ski trails (Lalapalooza at Sunday River, IYKYK). It was snowing, I was super chilly, and when I saw Zuppa Toscana on the menu it was all I wanted. When they put down a piping hot bowl of it in front of me, I was one happy girl.

It was so good I was craving it afterwards. So when my husband let me sneak off to our house to write the next weekend alone (I finally finished the ending to my novel! More on that later…), I cooked up a big pot of this Zuppa Toscana and sipped and slurped while I typed away the whole weekend. Toasted buttered bread for dunking was very necessary of course.

I love making classic dishes and falling in love with them, and being reminded that they are classic for a reason. The creamy broth still feels light and healthy with lots of garlic, and the potatoes and sausage are such a comfort combo. The kale absorbs all the flavor of the bacon and garlic and makes you feel so good. It has been so cold this week, and this soup is perfect for chilly spring nights.

I have to say I much prefer the hot, full fat sausage here. You can use sweet full fat sausage if your cooking for little people who don’t like spice but when I made a version with turkey sausage it was definitely missing something.

Also whenever I make soup, I always tend to use up the chicken broth container, so if you don’t love broth you can use 6 cups but if you don’t mind extra just use 8 cups or 2 containers. It’s so yummy to sip away on. This soup is one pot, under 30 minutes, and leftovers just get better each day.

I hope you try this to see how easy it is to feel like you’re in an Italian kitchen on a chilly spring night. It’s the perfect way to send off winter, and say hello to spring.  Happy eating, xoxo Katie

Zuppa Toscana

Ingredients

4 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 pound sweet (or hot if preferred) Italian sausage, casings removed

4 to 5 large russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 large white onion, diced

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6-8 cups chicken broth

6 cups curly kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon; set aside to drain. Add the Italian sausage to the drippings and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned and no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Add the potatoes, garlic and onion to the drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with the crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add the kale, heavy cream, bacon and sausage and cook over medium heat until the kale is tender, another 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar just before serving.

 

Herby, Brothy Beans with Pesto + Burrata

February 11, 2022

For those of you who know and love the blog/cookbook/adorable person behind Dinner A Lovestory, you will  probably love this recipe which comes from her newest cookbook, Weekday Vegetarians.

I saw her post a video of this recipe by showing a big pot of beans, which got my attention because she put three things in a pot then said ‘when dinner cooks hands free in under an hour’ or something approximating that. Always a good sell to a busy mom.

She spooned the contents into a bowl, put some pesto on top and THEN put some burrata and a drizzle of olive oil, at which point I had to try this deliciousness somehow, someway.

The result? Maybe one of the best things I have eaten all year. It is so bright, creamy, healthy, stick-to-your-ribs comforting. And so easy. The bright pesto is like sunshine, the warm broth is so comforting, and the creamy burrata melting a little in the heat of the broth – it’s all perfection.

You may have a little trouble finding butter beans or big lima beans, but you can get them on Amazon or find them in a specialty food shop (I actually found canned butter beans at Eataly in the Prudential Center in Boston but it is just as easy and delicious to buy the dried ones online or substitute with any northern white bean).

It is funny to say that such a humble dish like beans is the best thing I’ve eaten, but its true. And if you are like me you are starting to think about easy, meatless meals during lent. (Ok full confession I always feel like the challenge to eat meat only once a day on not on Fridays is a chance to eat all the delicious vegetarian foods which I know is not the point but I will still try to offer it up). Good thing this recipe comes from a book chock full of great vegetarian ideas. Even if my 8-year-old declared that it ‘had too many vegetables’.

The real flavor comes from the broth with its simple onion and thyme. I didn’t even chopped the onion as she suggests in her cookbook I just let it simmer. It was the best potlikker I have had in a while.

And I can’t recommend a bit of Naan bread or french crusty bread enough to dip into all this goodness. If you want to add chili oil or red pepper flakes no one would stop you.

You may want to go ahead and buy the big bag at Amazon so you can make this over and over again. It’s so so good.
Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Herby, Brothy Beans with Pesto and Burrata

Ingredients:

16 ounces dried or canned lima beans, or broad beans

1/2 medium yellow onion roughly chopped

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 dried bay leaf

Leaves from 8 fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)

Store bought pesto for serving

Fresh Burrata or Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

If you are using dried beans: place the beans in a large pot, cover with water by about 2 inches, and let them sit for at least 6 hours and up to overnight, 8-10 hours. Check them and be sure they stay slightly submerged.

Add more water to cover the beans by 1 1/2 inches and place on the stove top. Stir in the onion, salt, olive oil and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered, until tender, about 40 minutes, scraping off any foam as they cook.

If you are using canned beans: put beans in the pot and cover the beans with water by 1 1/2 inches and place on the stovetop. Stir in the onion, salt, olive oil and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered, until tender, about 10-15 minutes, scraping off any foam as they cook.

Once tender do not drain the beans. Scoop them into a small serving bowl with a little of the bean broth. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon if using, pesto and burrata or parm.

Adapted from the cookbook Weekday Vegetarians by Jenny Rosenstrach 

 

Chorizo, Kale & Potato Soup

January 12, 2022

Greetings from the house of Covid surrounded by frozen tundra!

We are going on our second month of the virus slowly going through our family (good times!) and I am so thankful that I got it first so I can play nurse to everyone else. Our 4 year old twins seem to be made of teflon and have yet to get it that we know of, but it does mean for lots of baking, baths and abc puzzles as they quarantine away January.

I don’t know about you, but under duress, comfort food needs to also be easy food. I can finely chop ingredients and slow cook meat all day when everything is smooth sailing, but add another job like nurse to my roster and I need food to be easy. I actually have so many fun recipes to make for this blog this year, but for right now I am relying on one pot, ten ingredients or less dinners. But crusty bread is always a must.

I looked in our fridge and found chorizo and potatoes singing to me, and I whipped up this super simple, 7 ingredient soup, and it totally hit the spot.

It was such an easy lunch to warm up for anyone, and it was great to have a different soup in the rotation. (For other soups we had a lot of recently, see this Chicken Gnocchi Soup, Sausage and White Bean Soup, and this Greek Wedding Soup with lots of lemon. And I recently posted on Instagram about our love of tomato soup – it is in our weekly rotation with lots of grilled cheese.)

There are a lot of variations you can make with this soup, and you can treat this as a clean out the veggie drawer soup – chopped carrots, celery, spinach, zucchini are all great additions, and you can swap out beans or pasta for the potatoes and corn. The best part is the chorizo is so well seasoned that it infuses the soup with flavor.

I loved this simple version, and it warmed me up all week as I entertained preschoolers and tended to sick kids.

I hope your family is staying warm and healthy, and that you get to cook up something simple and delicious to bring everyone together for dinner.

Chorizo, Kale & Potato Soup 

1 med onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

8-10 oz. chorizo, cut in half moons

2 cups potatoes, cubed

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon pepper (more to taste)

6 cups chicken broth

2 cups kale, sliced

10 oz. corn

Directions:

Heat 2 T oil in heavy pot over med heat. Add onions and cook for 3-5 min until soft. Add garlic and chorizo and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add potatoes and cook for 2 minutes more. Add bay leaf, salt & pepper and broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 min or until potatoes are tender. Add kale and corn and cook for 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve warm with crusty bread.

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

November 27, 2021

Note: This soup is my favorite way to use up turkey after Thanksgiving. The broth is so good if you make it from your turkey carcass, but if you don’t have it don’t let that stop you. This is the ultimate healthy comfort food. 

I didn’t intend for this to be a blog post. This dish started as me just using up the turkey carcasses we froze after Thanksgiving.

But then I tasted it.

As usual with home cooking, simple ingredients, slow cooked, with flavor make the best best dishes. And this soup was SO delicious I had to share it. So here we are. If you don’t have a turkey carcass left over, consider just making this with chicken. It is that good you can’t wait until next year.

I made a huge pot of Turkey stock yesterday in our lobster pot and cooked for 3+ hours. If you have never made stock, check out my post here.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI hope you still have a turkey carcass you can use up! If not, just pull this post up next year. You’ll be so glad you did!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup (find printer version here):

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice blend*
  • 1 small yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 medium carrots , diced
  • 2 ribs celery , diced
  • 6 Tablespoons butter , divided
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 4 1/2 cups turkey (or chicken) broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey meat, diced (can substitute chicken breasts, see step 5)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or half & half)
Instructions
  1. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.

  3. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté until slightly tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

  4. Stir in the broth, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. *If using chicken breasts, add and bring mixture to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and allow mixture to boil for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, then remove chicken to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.. If using pre-cooked turkey, skip to next step.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add turkey meat (or chicken meat) and cooked rice to the soup.

  7. In a separate medium saucepan melt remaining 5 Tbsp butter over medium heat.

  8. Add flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking vigorously, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken.

  9. Add this mixture to the soup pot and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in heavy cream or half & half. Serve warm.

Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch’s Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Gazpacho with Crab + Avocado

August 28, 2021

imageIs there anything more refreshing on a hot day then Gazpacho? It is one of my all time favorite summer dishes. It is like drinking your salad – so filling and delicious, and I love it with the tang of vinegar and kick from jalapeño. I was reading about this easy version this morning from Cup of Jo and I know I’ll be making it soon, but I love this recipe.

When we visited Paris a few years ago, it was a 100 degrees, and we ate lunch at a bistro where I saw it on a chalk board menu served with vegetable tartar on top. It was so refreshing – ice cold, and the tartar made of just cucumbers, onions and zucchini was so different (and so precisely chopped! The woman who waited on us came up and asked how I liked it and I am guessing she made it herself).

Her dish made me think about adding something on top, and I wanted to add a protein to make it a meal. I adore the combination of crab and avocado, and I was craving them tossed in lemon. So I made a mixture tossed in a quick vinaigrette out of lemon, olive oil, and mustard. The result was…amazing! Perfect for lunch or as an appetizer. (You could even put them in little glasses for a party).

To make the gazpacho: imageChop all the veggies and put them in a food processor. Then tear up the bread and add it along with all the liquids (water, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil). That is it!

imageimagePulse it to the desired consistency (fine, but not liquified). So easy. And it makes a huge batch, great for a party or for luxurious lunches the whole week.

For the crab and avocado (which would be good on anything, right?):

imageimageCube two avocados, and squeeze half of a lemon over it. Then add half of the 1 lb. can of lump crab – I really love Heron Point’s brand, and you can freeze the other half, though we ate ours as an appetizer with easy remoulade the next night. But you could also use shrimp as well, chopped if they are large. In a bowl, mix together 3 T. olive oil, 1 teaspoon dijon, and the other half of a lemon, a dash of tabasco sauce along with salt and pepper. Then pour that over the lump crab-avacado mixture, and stir. Add 2-3 T. scallions.

image

To serve, pour chilled gazpacho into bowl. Spoon crab mixture on top and enjoy.

imageThis is just the most luxurious dish, the crab goes so well with the tomatoes and spicy jalapeño.  Simple flavors, simple ingredients. So stock up at your next farmer’s market or with your garden bounty and whip this up – I promise you will thank me!

Gazpacho with Crab and Avocado (printer version here)

For Gazpacho:

4-5 very ripe beefsteak tomatoes

2 large English cucumbers, halved and seeded

2 red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and stemmed

1 small (or ½ of one large) red onion

2 slices day old white bread

3 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 cup ice plus ½ cup water

4 T. red wine vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more to drizzle

 

Directions:

Core and seed tomatoes. Peel and seed cucumbers. Stem and seed the peppers. Tear two slices of bread into pieces. Combine vegetables, bread and liquids in food processor and process until almost smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Pour soup into pitcher, cover and refrigerate until very cold. (You can serve with croutons if making without the crab mixture.)

 

For the Crab and Avocado Topping:

2 ripe avocados

½ lb. lump crab

1 lemon

3 T. olive oil

dash of tabasco

salt and pepper

2 T. scallions, sliced

Directions:

Cube avocados and spoon out. Sprinkle with half the lemon juice. Add crabmeat and toss lightly so ingredients stay chunky. Make vinaigrette out of next 5 ingredients, and gently toss to combine. Add one large spoonful on top of each bowl of soup.

 

 

 

 

 

Pork Posole

August 29, 2019

We are back in the swing of the school year, and I’ve been scouring my cookbooks and the internet to find new dinner ideas. My criteria has been dishes that are easy, delicious and feed a crowd. And I guess I’ve also been looking for things that are a little different, something we’ve never tasted before.

This Pork Posole checks all the boxes. When you find a dish that has SO much flavor, and is so simple and easy, and is a little bit different than anything you’ve had before, you have to share it. The amazing flavor comes from three things: the salsa verde…

the hominy…it was a little hard to find for me so I bought six cans from Amazon and I am very excited to have the makings for more posole in my pantry. Amazon Prime for lyfe. (Seriously, what did moms of little kids do before it existed?)

…and the addition of 3 cups of tortilla chips at the end. It sounds so weird but then you realize that the corn chips dissolve and when they do, they thicken this dish and add salt and fat that makes you crave more. It’s loaded with veggies that help to balance this decadence though, right?

I was a little worried that the fresh poblano pepper would make it too spicy, but my normally picky nine year old loved this dish along with my big kids.

My six year old did not love it though and ate what we always serve the kids who think something is too spicy: a cheese roll up. This is the name we give a tortilla sprinkled with shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese, rolled up and microwaved for 30 seconds with some avocado. (Just looking out for you mommas out there.)This dish has got to be one of the best bowls of stew/soup I’ve ever had. I’ve seen a lot of posole recipes around using chicken instead, and you could easily swap the pork for the chicken here. But the pork was so flavorful and satisfying I highly recommend trying it. There are a lot of crock pot versions too, but I think sautéing the veggies adds so much flavor and once you’ve done that you might as well just let it simmer on the stove for 30 minutes.The salsa verde and the lime make this taste so fresh, but at its heart this is comfort food and perfect for fall. I hope you get to try it and fall in love with it like we did. 

Happy Eating,

xoxo Katie

Ingredients

Olive oil

1 1/2 pounds lean, boneless pork loin, 1/2-inch diced

2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)

1/3 cup small-diced poblano pepper

2 Holland yellow or orange bell peppers, seeded and 3/4-inch diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

6 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade, simmering

1 (12-ounce) jar medium salsa verde

2 (15-ounce) cans white hominy, rinsed and drained

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 cups yellow corn tortilla chips, plus extra for serving

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lime wedges, sliced or diced avocado, sliced scallions, sliced radishes, grated Cheddar, and sour cream, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium (11-inch) pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, over medium-high heat. Add the pork and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned on all sides. Transfer the pork and any liquid to a bowl and set aside. (Don’t worry about crowding the pan here). Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the pot, add the onions, and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the poblano and bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, chili powder, and oregano and cook for one minute. Return the pork and its juices to the pot.
  2. Add the chicken stock and salsa verde and bring to a simmer. Stir in the hominy, black beans, corn chips, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 teaspoon salt, depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock and the chips.
  3. To serve, ladle the posole into large soup bowls. Garnish with a squeeze of lime and top with avocado, scallions, radishes, tortilla chips, Cheddar, and sour cream. Serve hot.

Recipe from Ina Garten can be found here on Foodnetwork.com