Mexican Chicken Noodle Soup

All the soups!

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Mexican Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 32 oz chicken stock
  • 1 14 oz can roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup angel hair pasta broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • a few pinches of salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • a little cilantro

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion, carrot and celery.

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Cook until the onion becomes translucent.  Add the garlic and jalapeño and cook for another minute.

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Dump in the roasted tomatoes, chicken stock, and chicken breast and bring it to a boil.

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When the chicken is cooked through, lower the heat to low, remove the chicken and shred it.

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Beef Stew

It’s winter so it’s like law of the land that us humans must consume beef stew.  Plus it’s actually cold here in Austin, it’s kind of freaky.  The Cayenne pepper and the brown sugar here make it sweetly spicy and awesomeeee.  You could also add turnips orrrr mushrooms ’cause that’d be dandy.

Beef Stew (fo four)

  • 1 lb stewing beef
  • olive oil (at least 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp all-spice
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper (or less if you don’t like it a little spicy)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • some red potatoes
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into a dice
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

Smother your beef with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Then add the butter and once it’s melted (careful not to brown it) start browning the beef in batches.

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Keep going…

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Cauliflower with Saffron, Pepper Flakes, Parsley and Pasta

If you know me at all, you know I love meat.  Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day is not my strong suit (is it still even five?! who knows?!).  That’s why you’ll be shocked to learn my newest cookbook is vegetarian.

Try and contain your shock.

It’s called “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison and you’ll learn everything you need to know about tons of great veggies, from growing them to trimming and preparing.  Great book and hopefully you’ll see more vegetable dishes here.  (http://deborahmadison.com/vegetable-literacy/)

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It’s comical how bad that picture is.  Winning!

Cauliflower with Saffron, Pepper Flakes, Parsley, and Pasta

  • 1 cauliflower (cut into small florets)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 pinches of saffron threads (shout out to my mom for always sending me saffron)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • salt
  • 8 oz pasta (I used medium shells)
  • Grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

Start by cutting up the cauliflower.  This is my first time cooking cauliflower and man, that’s a weird vegetable.  Like a hard white brain.

Side note: my dad HATES cauliflower so I never really ate it growing up.

Second side note:  raw cauliflower is so tasteless even my dog wouldn’t eat it off the ground.

Anyways, cut that brain up into little florets.  You can also cut up the stem into pieces but I got a little freaked out by that.  Plus I figured I had more than enough without the stem.

The recipe calls for steaming the florets, but I don’t have one of those handy steamer UFO things you put in the pot that holds the veggies over the water, so I decided to blanch them instead.  I’ll go into that later.

Prep the rest of your ingredients, for we all know that prep is the most important part of the process!  You don’t want to be running around like a chicken with your head cut off and with tears streaming down your face from cutting onions while you’re overcooking your cauliflower.  Always have everything cut and ready to go.

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Small cameo in that picture of my Jambox, which is the best thing I’ve bought in awhile.  Bluetooth speakers for the WIN.  And yes, it’s gold.  YOLO.

Side note #3:  for those of us with crap vision, the key to NOT crying while cutting onions is contacts!  I figured this out on Thanksgiving a few years ago when I was wearing glasses and releasing a lot of eye water.  This was unusual for me, so I tried putting my contacts in and voia la!  No more tears.  Of course I didn’t learn from my mistake and was wearing my glasses last night.  I looked like I had been watching Marley and Me I was crying so much.

Anyways, bring two pots of water to a boil, one for the pasta and one for the cauliflower.  Also prepare an ice bath for the cauliflower.  You want to cook it in the boiling water, then shock it in the ice bath to halt the cooking process.

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You’ll want to keep an eye on the cauliflower, as you don’t want it to cook completely through.  3 minutes or so should do it, you want to taste some and have it still have a little crunch to it.  It’ll cook completely later on in the skillet.

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Spicy Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

I’ve never made any Cajun or Creole food, so I figured it was about time to experiment.  This is a Cajun-style recipe because the base of the gumbo is a dark roux and the aromatics are the trinity of onion, green pepper and celery.  This recipe is based off the “Spicy Seafood Gumbo” from Emily Ansara Baines’s “The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook,” although I added sausage, forgot to buy celery and the store didn’t have any okra.  Okra is an awesome vegetable, you should add some if you have it.  But anyways, this is a pretty easy and turned out pretty delicious. DSC_0298 Spicy Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 2 tbsp seafood seasoning, I used some crab/shrimp/crawfish boil seasoning I found at the grocery store
  • 2 tbsp Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (less if you want less spice)
  • 2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 sausage of your choosing, I used boudin sausage made of pork and pork liver
  • 1 box of rice, I used Zatarain’s brand Dirty Rice Mix

Start by boiling water for the rice and prepare per the box directions. Heat the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Take a wild guess at what I used… DSC_0284 THE DUTCH OVEN DUH. When the butter is melted, add the flour and stir with a fork or whisk.  I have this super nifty flat whisk and it rules at making a roux.  It’ll initially foam up a bunch like this: DSC_0285 So the tricky part about making a roux is that it’s so easy to burn it’s insane.  When you’re doing this part, make SURE you’re constantly stirring and watching it.  I stopped for 10 seconds to take a picture and ruined my first attempt; had the whole house smelling like burnt popcorn and you DON’T want that in your food, it’ll taste naaaasty. Just keep stirring.  Slowly it’ll start to get golden. DSC_0288 And it’ll get a little brownish… DSC_0290 Keep stirring constantly, you want your roux to be as dark as possible without having any burnt bits. DSC_0291 Keep going until it’s EVEN MORE brown.  DO NOT STOP STIRRING seriously it’s not fun to stir that long and burn it. DSC_0293 Continue reading

Chicken Stock

Congratulations!  You’ve butchered your first whole chicken!  Now what do you do with that carcass, those wings and wing tips?  Why, make chicken stock, of course!

Chicken Stock

  • chicken parts!  (carcass, wings and wing tips left over from THIS post)
  • 4 carrots, roughly cut into segments
  • 3 stalks of celery, roughly cut (tops and greens are good too!)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 clump parsley (I used a combo of remnants of fresh Italian and dry since our local store was out of parsley?!)
  • some sprigs of thyme
  • water

In a large stock pot, throw in all of the ingredients.

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Fill with water.

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Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to low.  Let that pot sit over a low heat uncovered for houuuuuurs aka sit on your butt and watch TV like I did.  Orange is the New Black, y’all.

Stir occasionally and wait for the house to smell like Thanksgiving.

I let mine go for about 3 hours, but it’s completely up to you.  I didn’t add any salt since you can always add that when you’re using the stock in a dish.

Strain it.

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Dump it into a plastic bag or some jars and freeze away for future dishes!

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Summer Eats from Coast to Coast

Here’s some of the amazeballz things I’ve been eating/drinking this summer:

1.  This photo is reaaaally old but brunch here was amazing and The General Muir (http://www.thegeneralmuir.com/) is my oldest friend and future chef business partner’s favorite place to eat in Atlanta.  Highly recommended.

The Avenue A open faced bagel:  nova, schmear, avocado, grapefruit, cucumber, onion.

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2.  While in sunny SAN DIEGO for the 4th of July, I had lunch with my lovely mother at Prep Kitchen (http://www.prepkitchen.com/) in Little Italy:  to start, probably one of my favorite cocktails to date, London’s Burning.  Gin, jalapeño, avocado and lime.

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Followed up by a cold corn puree soup:

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And mussels with garlic, white wine, cream and fries:

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One-Pot Cheesy Chicken Pasta

Dutch ovens are probably my favorite cooking vessel.  You can do pretty much anything in them.  My mom recently bought me this giant Le Creuset pot and I want to marry it.  For real.

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Isn’t she gorgeous?! (THANKS MOM)

We’re going to do everything involved for this dish in this beautiful piece of cast-iron wonderfulness.  Although i guess you could cook the pasta in a different pot but I’m feeling lazy about cleaning and ONE POT YOU GUYS.

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One-Pot Cheesy Chicken Pasta

  • 1 box bowtie pasta
  • olive oil
  • 2-3 chicken breasts (sliced or diced)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or chicken/vegetable stock)
  • 2 cans whole tomatoes (or you can use marinara sauce for a faster result)
  • 1 tbs dried parsley
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • grated parmesan
  • basil (I forgot to buy this)
  • mushrooms (forgot to buy these too, womp womp)

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