It’s certainly still winter but this weekend we were blessed with a beautiful and mild Sunday, the kind that promises spring is just around the corner. A spicy, tangy soup works well on sunny-but-still-cold days like these, not too heavy but still warming. This recipe is called chili but instead of being a stew-like combo of beef and beans, it’s a brightly spiced green vegetable soup. And it comes together in just 30 minutes, a simple recipe for a quick and delicious dinner.
For my easy supper, I subbed the chicken out for a vegetarian version, replacing it with zucchini, and added some black beans for additional body and protein. The combination of cumin, oregano, fresh cilantro, and lime really seals in the tangy kick. The result is delicious and just feels good eating. For a little more texture, serve with toasted tortilla slices. Enjoy! Read More
It may seem ridiculously obvious that during the potato famine, the Irish ate a lot of potatoes. But did you know that’s literally all they ate? Although their meager diet was occasionally supplemented with some herring or an oat cake or two, for the most part, all the Irish ate was potatoes. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, 6 to 8 pounds a day. In order to create a little variety in their diet, the thrifty Irish added some “kitchen” to the potatoes, using any flavorful morsel they could find to improve the meal. A little bit of black pepper, some salted fish, foraged shellfish and seaweed, it was all used to “kitchen” the potatoes.
I learned this gem of culinary history from the book 97 Orchard, a thoroughly enjoyable look at the food habits of five different cultures living in the tenements of New York City. Now that I’m back in New York, I’ve started the food book club back up, and 97 Orchard was February’s pick. The book has many fascinating tidbits—so many that I am planning to read it a second time to catch the ones I originally missed—but one of my favorites was the idea of adding some “kitchen” to a dish. Read More
I’m a lady who likes routine—I’m totally okay eating the same breakfast every morning and I’m happy to make a big pot of soup and have it for dinner all week long. With a routine, you become more efficient, leaving time for the other things in life (like digging into complicated recipes that take all day!) Some of my preference for pattern probably stems from my time spent in professional kitchens, where you live and breath by the routine that gets you through busy service, but it’s also just a lot easier to repeat the same steps over and over again.
Since I obviously like to cook, however, I try and make my routines as flexible and fun as possible. Lately I’ve been all about the salad prep, making a batch of mix-ins on the weekend that I can toss together for my weekly lunches. The elements change constantly based on my whims and pantry items, but the idea is still the same. Prepare several ingredients on Sunday—roast or shredded veggies, diced fruit, chopped nuts—and you’ll have a bonafide salad bar at home to mix up weekly lunches.
Last week it was this combination of roast squash, chopped mushrooms, and seed brittle—a recipe that is so easy and so genius. Just lightly whip an egg white, toss in any seeds and nuts you have lying around along with some spices and a dash of honey. Spread onto a baking mat and cook until lightly toasted, then cool and crumble. It’s the perfect way to incorporate fun texture into the salad bowl. For an Asian flavor punch, I tossed the squash in Korean chili paste for some nice heat and whipped together a dressing of chili oil, rice wine vinegar, and ginger.
For even more efficient salad prep, pre-chop a few days worth of veggies and lettuce and make a big batch of dressing for the week. That way all you have to do is toss together your lunch each day. What are you going to do with all that time saved?