Friday, January 8, 2010

Fatty Friday Issue #22: From Minnesota, With Love (Continued)

Yay wild rice soup! Here's something I learned from making a batch this week: maybe cook the rice first.

The soup was good. Several sources responded positively. But. The rice needs to cook until tender - my opinion. Who knew wild rice was so tough? Guess I should have known, since its such a hearty breed of grain; all complicated and hard shelled. Just like those quiet, strong midwestern boys. Ahem.

All I'm saying is, when you try it, make the soup in different batches. The broth in one pot. The roux in another (with some of the broth), the rice boiling in another and the chicken and veggies sauteeing in a pan all by themselves. Then add everything into the broth pot and let simmer, finally adding the sherry and the half and half. Oh, you will love this soup. Trust!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Fatty Friday Issue #22: From Minnesota, With Love

I went home with the man for Christmas this year - out Minnesota way. It was great to spend time with him and his family in their beautiful state, eating delicious food and just generally having a good time. The one thing I came away with was that yes, Minnesota is cold, but a) it lacks the scarily wet/cold wind of New York and b) the scenery is GORGEOUS in this pristine, crystal-clear way and c) the people are so gosh-darn nice!

Before we left I asked my boo what types of foods were specifically Minnesotan. His first response was "hot dish" - east coasters call this "casserole". I love casserole, so I figured I'd be happy whatever we ate. What he neglected to mention is that wild rice is a staple of Minnesotan cuisine, since it is native to the region. This nutty, flavorful seed (its not a rice) is not only very delicious, but also very smart: the seeds germinate and mature at different rates, growing throughout the year, since the frost can kill it. So, sections of seed grow at specific times year-round to ensure full maturation without freezing the baby seeds. You can read all you want about wild rice, and even buy some, here.

Anyway, why was I so psyched about seeds?? Well, wild rice soup is something to be loved whole-heartedly. It's hearty and creamy and so comforting on a cold day. It's the soup that you need but don't know you've needed it until you have it...and then you're totally in love.

So here, a recipe that seemed to closely resemble the deliciousness I tasted in Minnesota (alas, I wasn't able to steal the recipes while I was there). I found two recipes, which I can't wait to try later this week, one is from the blog Angel in the Kitchen and the other is from Home Ec 101. I'm not sure which I'll try yet, but I'll probably go with the first one. Enjoy!

Angie's Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Serves 8

3 c. cooked wild rice or long grain and wild rice combination (1 c. uncooked)
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped

Salt and pepper
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 c. canola oil or olive oil
1 c. flour
8 c. chicken broth

Additional salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. dry sherry (optional)
1 c. fat-free half and half

1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil to medium-high. Add onion, carrot, celery, and chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add bay leaf. Sauté about 3-5 minutes, or until the veggies are softened.

2. Sprinkle in flour, a little bit at a time, stirring and cooking until flour is blended in. (Don't let it brown.)

It'll start to look very paste-like, but this is OK. This is forming the roux to thicken up the soup, and your veggies and chicken will again return to their usual forms.

3. Slowly add chicken broth, stirring until the broth and roux are blended.

4. Add the wild rice, and adjust your seasonings. Heat thoroughly.

5. Add the sherry and the half and half. Reheat gently, but do not boil. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fatty Friday Issue #21: Christmastime is Here

Hello readers! It's the holiday season and that means Christmas for my family. Though the holiday was all about gifts when we were kids, it has taken on a different tone now that we are older (though the gifts are still exciting). I think it all started one year when my father insisted that we celebrate by following the tradition of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. It was fun and has turned into a tradition over the years, along with delicious treats on Christmas morning.

But my family isn't the only one that makes food part of the celebration. So I polled a few friends and asked them to send their fave holiday recipes. The responses that came in are simple, easy, and super-tasty! Here are a few of the recipes:
CINNAMON ROLLS - from Stina Peterson
You'll need:
Two loaves frozen bread dough (sold in the freezer aisle, usually come in bags of three loaves)
1 stick butter, softened (NOT melted)
1 small carton heavy whipping cream (the smallest size available)
Approx. 1/2 c brown sugar

Here's what you'll do:
Grease a 9x13 baking pan and let frozen dough sit out overnight. In the morning, use fists to press down on the dough to conform to shape of pan. Spread stick of butter over all. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over all. Knead dough with fists to really get the brown sugar/cinnamon into the dough. Pour heavy whipping cream over all. Bake at 375 degrees for around 20-25 minutes. Cut into the dough to make sure it's baked all the way through. Cut into squares. Best when served warm:-)

Helpful hint:
Check on the cinnamon rolls about halfway through to make sure the whipping cream doesn't overflow into your oven. You may want to use the deepest baking pan you've got, go easy on the heavy whipping cream, or place a second pan to below the baking pan to catch the runoff.

Yummy 20-minute Party Dip - from Tracy Farrell

Forgot to make something interesting for your party? Didn't know guests were coming over and want to whip up
something quick and amazing? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then this is the dip for you:

Knorr Spinach Dip: (Prep time 10 minutes)
1 Knorr spinach dip package
1 8oz container of Sour Cream
1 cup full fat mayonnaise
1 sm. package frozen spinach- thawed and water
squeezed out
1 8oz package of water chestnuts (diced)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and chill for as long as possible (best if chilled for 1 hr.)

Finally, Orange Pinwheel Cookies, from Sarah Mroue (congrats on the nod from the NY Times!):


1 cup cranberries

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour


1. For filling, in a blender container or food processor bowl combine cranberries, pecans, and brown sugar. Cover and blend or process until cranberries and nuts are finely chopped; set filling aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and orange peel until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

3. Roll half of the dough between pieces of waxed paper into a 10-inch square. Spread half of the filling over dough square to within 1/2 inch of edges; roll up dough . Moisten edges; pinch to seal. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Chill for 4 to 24 hours.

4. Cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices . Place slices 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375° degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Makes about 60 cookies

Thanks to everyone who submitted recipes. I'm looking forward to trying these out very soon!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fatty Friday Issue #20: What to Eat? Everything!

I'm having a hard time deciding what to feature this week. Do I write about the butternut-bacon soup I made with the man the other night? (Butternut squash and bacon are good friends, it turns out.) Or, do I wait until next week to discuss the food explosion that will be this weekend. It's a weekend away with friends, and food is featured prominently in the activities... decisions, decisions.

Well, for now, I'll share this really easy recipe for butternut bacon soup.
+ =

You'll need the following ingredients:
one medium sized squash, Trader Joe's sells them pre-cut and packaged (chop into small pieces)
one medium sized vidalia or yellow onion (chopped)
two to three cloves of garlic (diced)
one cup of chicken or vegetable (or really, whatever you prefer) broth
one cup water
1/2 cup of dry white wine
two tablespoons heavy cream (or more, to taste)
four slices of bacon
one tsp sugar

To begin, brown the bacon. Remove from the pan and drain some of the fat. Use the remaining fat to brown the onions and garlic. Once they are translucent, add some olive oil or butter and the squash. Sautee until bright orange, then add a little of the broth and white wine. Once the squash is soft, puree it in a food processor along with the bacon. Once the entire pan has been pureed, pour into a pot along with the rest of the broth and the water. Let this simmer for a bit - you may want to add more broth or water for a thinner soup. Once it is hot and boiling a bit, turn off the heat, season with salt, pepper, maybe some cayenne, and the sugar. Then add the heavy cream, stir and serve with crusty bread and glasses of white wine. Yum!

Friday, October 16, 2009

More Soup: The Chicken Version

I love soup. I enjoy it year round, but it's obviously my fave in the colder months. What I love most about soup is that you can just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot, let it simmer for a bit, maybe add some rice, and have a tasty meal. Sweet!

Mmmmm...lemony garlic chicken soup

Recently I made a roast chicken, based on this recipe, which gives me chills and cravings like a junkie. Try it, you'll get it. Anyhoo, the carcass and a whole roasted head of garlic were just sitting in my fridge earlier, winking at me in a way that said, "You know you want to..." So, I proceeded to make a broth using the following ingredients:
1 leftover, partially eaten roast chicken (sounds prettier than carcass, right?)
1 head of roasted garlic
1 quartered onion
1 halved lemon
1 packet of dried morel mushrooms
3 bay leaves,
dried fennel seeds
6 cups of water

I placed these all in a soup pot, set on medium heat and let simmer. My house proceeded to smell like warm, spicy goodness in no time. Now I have soup to last for a while. I can add rice or pasta or just freeze it to use in the future. Yay soup!

Fatty Friday Issue #19: Pumpcakes!

Ah, the noble pumpkin. Each October this star of the squash family gets a chance to shine. The pumpkin has been around for a while. The Greeks called it "pepon." The Native Americans called it "isquotersquas." The English called it "pumpion" and the pilgrims settled on the current form of the word.* I call it delicious and useful. Did you know that the Chinese supposedly use pumpkin seeds as anti-depressants?

What a vegetable! So, to celebrate this amazing squash, today's issue is dedicated to pumpkin cupcakes. I found this recipe at smittenkitchen - one of my fave food blogs - and it is really simple. The only addition I made was adding candy corn to the tops of each cupcake.

The cake is spicy, sweet and light, and the frosting is creamy with a warm, maple flavor, just oozing "fall". Plus, they are a perfect treat for a halloween party or for breakfast or dessert with coffee. Yum! Thank you, pumpkin!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fatty Friday Catch Up Issue: Quick and Easy Chunky Tomato Soup

Last week, while working from home, I had an intense craving for chunky tomato soup. It was a chilly fall day here in NYC - perfect for soup.

Chunky tomato soup - whether vegetarian, or with meat, like my version - is easy to make in a pinch. All you need are the following ingredients:
1 12 oz can diced tomatoes
3-4 cloves of garlic (depending on your love of garlic - mine is intense)
1/2 onion, chopped in chunks
1 cup of broth (veggie, chicken, beef, etc)
1 cup of water
olive oil
basil, torn into large chunks
optional: soppressata chopped into bite-sized chunks

To begin, you'll want to smash the garlic cloves and pull off the skins. I leave the cloves whole, (I got used to doing it for people who don't like garlic,but I also like the way a smashed clove melts in your mouth when cooked through) but you may want to dice them. Then, chop the onion. Heat a deep pan and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. After that, lightly brown the garlic and onion. Add the tomatoes, basil, water, broth, salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add the optional soppressata. Let this goodness simmer for about 20 minutes. For a thinner soup, just add more water. Serve hot, topped with some grated parmiggiano reggiano and crusty ciabbata bread on the side.

This recipe is so easy, warming and yummy for a chilly day. With the tangy chunks of tomato, spicy garlic and onion and salty soppressata it really hits the spot. It's my favorite cold weather soup! What's yours??