Tag Archive for 'soup'

Avocado Chicken Chili

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There is something very freeing in acceptance. No matter the situation, letting go of that thing that bothers you down to the core, and changing your mindset just feels better. In one week I’ve had this conversation with three different people, in three entirely different scenarios. Continue reading ‘Avocado Chicken Chili’

Spicy Tahini Squash Bisque

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All I want right now is comfort food, a cozy blanket and a few hours to Netflix binge on some new popular show that I haven’t had time to see. >Okay, and if I am being honest then maybe I’d like to add a swanky cocktail to this fantasy.< It makes sense I suppose, animals hibernate in the winter and store their fat, why should we miss out on all that fun? We are meant to slow down and take it easy. Continue reading ‘Spicy Tahini Squash Bisque’

Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup

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Life has a funny way of boosting you up when you least expect it. And that in itself is inspiring. While this was not the recipe I anticipated posting this week, I couldn’t resist. And on this day of Hearts I wanted to share the LOVE.

Last week I had noticed that a new friend of mine, Judith, was listed in an email as the primary contact for our daughter’s school fundraising soup lunch and Lenten festivities. On numerous occasions over the past four months she had helped our family throughout my diagnosis, surgery and recovery. In hopes of somehow helping her, I stepped out of my ‘recovery comfort zone’ and took a bold step by offering to make a pot of lentil soup for the lunch.

Continue reading ‘Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup’

Spicy Smashed Chickpea Stew

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As the weather keeps its chill button turned on full throttle, I’ve been dreaming about hearty soups. Spicy Smashed Chickpea Stew really does the trick. It is a filling one pot meal that has a surprisingly developed combination of spices and a bit of kick to it. At first bite this stew brings on thoughts of far away travels. Continue reading ‘Spicy Smashed Chickpea Stew’

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Crisped Prosciutto

One of my favorite summertime meal combinations is prosciutto and melon. This recipe takes that concept and blends it with the ‘gazpacho concept’. While I’ve always admired those who enjoy a good tomato gazpacho, it is one of the few foodie things that has never appealed to me. I have to say that this simple recipe packs a flavorful punch and can easily be adapted for vegetarians.

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Crisped Prosciutto

Ingredients

4 slices prosciutto (vegetarian substitution:1/2 cup pistachios, shelled, toasted and chopped

6 cups ripe cantaloup cubes, chilled

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 TBS fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup chardonnay or Muscato

1 TBS fresh basil, thinly sliced

paprika, dash

creme fraiche (optional)

Directions

Make sure that all ingredients are well chilled before pureeing.

Place prosciutto on a microwave safe dish and cook on high for 2-3 minutes or until desired crispness. When cool, crumble and set aside. (Note: when cooking prosciutto in a skillet, the color and consistency of the meat changes; microwave is recommended.)

Puree cantaloupe, honey, lemon juice, mint and wine in a blender or food processor.

Ladle into cups or wine glasses, top with basil, paprika and prosciutto.

Italian Wedding Soup – A Soup-ified Delight

While some of you may imagine that this is a cleaver way to discuss marriage, it is really more about a ‘marriage of food’. That said, I must confess, I had *never* heard about this soup when I lived in Italy – I only discovered this tasty dish a few years ago.

What I can tell you is that the term “wedding soup” is a classic mistranslation of the Italian language, minestra maritata (“married soup”), which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meats go well together. Upon further digging, Càrola Francesconis’s masterful ‘La Cucina Napoletana’, dives deeper into the history of this soup-ified dish — she explains:

Minestra Maritata is a traditional Neapolitan greens and meat soup, which owes its name to the fact that the ingredients go well together — si maritano bene, i.e. they are well married. It’s also a very old dish; some food historians say it derives from the Spanish olla podrida (a liquid stew with many meats, link in Spanish) while others say it derives from Roman traditions. The Italian recipes for Minestra Maritata I have seen call for a variety of meats, which are boiled, shredded, and returned to the pot with the greens. The American versions of the recipe often call for meatballs.

Yes, you guessed it- while I am of Italian decent, I AM American. My version of this dish keeps to some of the core concepts and consist of green vegetables (I like to alternate between endive and escarole or cabbage, lettuce, kale, and/or spinach) and meats (usually meatballs and/or sausage but shredded chicken is also a nice substitute) and is mixed into a clear chicken-based broth and finished off with a small sized pasta (such as tubettini or macaroni).

Italian Wedding Soup

Meatball Ingredients

1 lb ground chicken
3/4 lb chicken sausage or mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup white bread crumbs (or two slices of white bread with edges removed
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese + extra for serving, finely grated
1/4 cup milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
2 tsps salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

Soup Ingredients

2 TBS olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 ½ cups carrots (approx 3-4 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup celery (2-3 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
12 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups small pasta, such elbow macaroni
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
12 oz baby spinach, washed and trimmed
* crusty bread (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Using a heaping teaspoon, drop 1 1/4-inch size meatballs onto a foil lined pan. (This recipe yields approx 40 meatballs.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In a medium-large size pot boil water and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in colander when ready. Ladle pasta into warmed soup bowls, add soup and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot. Add the onion and cook for 3-5 minutes. Then add in the carrots and celery and saute until softened approximately 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Stir in the dill and spinach and meatballs and simmer for 3 minutes. Spinach should be wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, place a ladle of pasta in the bottom of each warmed dish. Then add in the soup and sprinkle with a little cheese. Serve with a nice crusty bread. Enjoy!

And for my Italian friends, here is something fun that I found while researching this soup, which I am sure you can appreciate. Anna Amalia, gives three versions of the Italian Wedding Soup recipe — one in Neapolitan, one in Italian, and one in English. It seems that while once quite popular in Naples, Minestra Maritata has fallen from popularity due the long list of ingredients called for, and because it is considered to be a heavy soup by modern standards.

****MINESTRA MARITATA di Anna Amalia *****
‘A menèsta ‘mmaritata

Cu nu poco ‘e tiempe e pacienza putite priparà ‘na pietanza ca è ‘o vanto d ”a cucina napulitana.. addo’ carne e verdura s’ammarìtano.. Oggi poco s’aùsa p”a troppa ‘mbuttitura ca nc”e vo’, ma pe’ chi ‘a vo’ pruvà, ‘a ricetta è chesta ccà:
Mettìte a vòllere cu acqua abbundante ‘n’uòsso ‘e presutto, nu salamino (200 g), custatèlle ‘e puorco (300g), 3 sacicce, ‘na còtena, e mièzu chilo ‘e carne ‘e puorco, ‘e carne ‘e vaccìna, nu’ bello pièzzo, 2 cipolle,’na pastunaca, ddòie cape d’àccio, e facitele còcere pe’ ‘nu paio d’ore. Quanno è cotta, levàte ‘a carne, e, dint’o’ stesso broro, facìte còcere dui chili ‘e verdura ammiscàta, e cioè: cicoria, cappuccia, vruoccòle e vrùcculille, già lavata.Quanno ‘a verdura s’è cotta, sì vulìte magnà tutte cose ‘nsieme, ‘nce menàte ‘a carne ‘a dinto, e si’ nò, v”a magnàte come sicondo piatto. Sotto ‘a menèsta mettìtece pane de’ casa abbrustuluto.

Minestra maritata

Con molto tempo e tanta pazienza potrete realizzare un vecchio vanto della cucina napoletana, e campana in genere: questa minestra in cui carne e verdure si “maritano”.
Oggi è un po’ in disuso per il numero e la scelta degli ingredienti necessari, che ormai non fanno quasi più parte della nostra cucina quotidiana.
Per chi pensa di poterseli procurare, ecco comunque la ricetta: Lessate in abbondante acqua un osso di prosciutto, un salamino di circa 200 g, 300 g di costolette di maiale, tre salsicce, qualche cotica , 500 g. di carne di maiale e un pezzo (5-600 g) di carne di manzo. Unite anche 2 cipolle, 1 carota gialla, due coste di sedano e lasciate cuocere per un paio d’ore. Scolate quindi tutta la carne e tagliatela a pezzi. Nello stesso brodo di cottura delle carni lessate 2 kg di verdure assortite, precedentemente lavate, tra cui la cicoria, la cappuccina, i broccoli e i broccoletti. Quando le verdure saranno cotte, unite anche la carne al brodo, se desiderate mangiare tutto insieme, altrimenti servite la minestra di verdure con dei crostini di pane casereccio abbrustoliti e la carne a parte, come secondo piatto.

Un piccolo consiglio: perché il piatto sia più leggero, bollire da solo l’ osso di prosciutto per qualche minuto, buttare l’acqua di cottura, e poi cucinare il tutto come prevede la ricetta.

“Married” Soup

With a lot of time and patience you can make this old soup recipe, the pride of Neapolitan cooking, where meat and vegetables are “married” togheter. Today, this soup is not very widely used on account of the vast number and choice of the necessary ingredients, which do not play a part anymore in our daily cooking. For those who are able to procure all the ingredients, here is the recipe: boil in lot of water, the bone of a leg of ham, a salame sausage of about 200gms, 300 gms of pork chops, 3 sausages, some pork rind and 500 gms of pork and beef. Also add 2 onions, 1 yellow carrot, 2 sticks of celery. Leave the lot to cook for a couple of hours, then drain the meat and cut into pieces: In the same meat stock, boil about 2 kg of assorted vegetables, amongst which cicory, “cappuccina” i.e. a type of salad, broccoli and brussel sprouts. When the vegetables are well cooked, add the meat to the stock.

Joost-a like Pasta Fazool – That’s Amore


Depending on the dialect of Italian being used, the word fagioli can even be pronounced “va-zu-l” in Sicilian. A 1927 song by Van and Schenck capitalizes on this latter pronunciation in the rhyme, “Don’t be a fool, eat pasta fazool.” And then there is the more recently famous Dean Martin song “That’s Amore”. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to feel or be in love…even if it is with a bit of bean soup. When love is on the menu, the line is long. >sings to herself, the excerpt below< When the stars make you drool
Joost-a like pasta fazool
That’s amore
When you dance down the street
With a cloud at your feet, you’re in love
When you walk in a dream
But you know you’re not dreamin’, signore
‘Scusami, but you see
Back in old Napoli, that’s amore

(When the moon hits your eye)
(Like a big-a pizza pie, that’s amore)

Attempting to dig back into this blog after a brief bout away I am in dire need of comfort and comfort foods. And this week the cravings were meatless yet hearty. Pasta fagioli or pasta e fagioli, meaning “pasta and beans”, is one of many traditional Italian peasant dishes that was widely available in all regions of Italy due to cheaply available beans and pasta. This recipe should be added to your files under -will keep you warm on a cold winter’s night.

Pasta e Fagioli


Ingredients

4 TBS olive oil, and 2 TBS olive oil
1 1/2 medium size yellow onion, finely chopped
7 cloves garlic, pressed hold 1 clove off to the side
3 cups dried cranberry beans (if rushed buy 3-15 oz cans)
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 sprigs rosemary
2 TBS fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
salt & pepper to taste
7-8 oz tubetti or small pasta
pesto (optional)
Parmesan cheese, grated


Directions

In a large pot add 4 TBS olive oil, onions and garlic, salt and pepper and cook on medium-low heat until onions are translucent. Add in tomato paste and coat pan without allowing the paste to burn.

If using dried beans, place broth and beans in the same pot and bring to a rapid bowl, lid slightly off, for 40 minutes. Reduce heat, add in rosemary, salt, pepper and parsley, basil and oregano. Place lid on pot and turn heat to simmer for 1 1/2 hrs, checking after one hour to see if more water should be added to create sufficient broth.

If using canned beans, place broth and beans in the same pot and bring to a rapid bowl, lid slightly off, for 30 minutes. Reduce heat, add in rosemary, salt, pepper and parsley, basil and oregano. Place lid on pot and turn heat to simmer for 30 minutes.

In a medium size pot with a cap full of oil, bring water to a boil. Once boiling add in 1 TBS of salt and then add in the tubettini or other pasta. Cook according to package directions, drain and set aside.

In a small sauce pan add 3 TBS oil, 1 clove garlic, minced. Cook over a low heat until soft and then stir in rosemary which has been finely chopped. Add this mixture back into the soup.

To thicken soup you can either use a stick blender and puree 1/3 of the soup to gain a nice thickness or you can remove two cups of the beans and smash them in a mug with a fork and then return them to the pot, stirring well.

To serve, place drained pasta in an individual serving bowl, cover with pasta fazool then top with cheese, dash of olive oil and a spot of pesto. That’s Amore.