Monday, October 25, 2010

Not Your Grandma's Chicken (Noodle) Soup

This recipe is really good for a cold - there's no noodles, but it doesn't matter: it's just a little spicy and feels really nourishing. Make after you've roasted a chicken and want to do something with the leftovers. The recipe is from Tyler Florence's Eat This Book (which, incidentally, Goo tried to do quite literally).
Spicy Chicken Broth with Avocado and Lime

E.V. olive oil
2 medium onions diced
3 garlic cloves minced
3 medium sized ripe tomatoes chopped (adaptation for non-tomato season: use canned diced tomatoes, 1 can is probably fine - this time I had one last lovely tomato, which I chopped and added to the pot along with one can of diced tomatoes)
2 jalapenos minced (if you don't like it spicy, make sure you don't include the seeds)1 quart chicken stock - homemade is best (this time I had a quart of homemade but also added maybe a 1/2 cup of store bought sitting in my fridge, worked great)
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (this is for 4 people - see instructions below)
avocados (1 works for two people, depending on how much avocado you want)
lime cut into wedges
[optional: 1/2 cup chopped cilantro - I never do this, as I hate cilantro]
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a stockpot. Add onions, garlic, tomato, and jalapeno; cook for 15 minutes until vegetables are soft and pulpy. Pour in stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
[Note: at this point in the recipe T.F. encourages you to make your own tortilla chips by frying corn tortilla strips. I am too lazy for this. You can just buy some Tostitos and they work just fine for a garnish.]
Divide shredded chicken among soup bowls - while the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups, in reality each person can just pick off as much chicken as they want and put it in their own bowl, especially if you are working with leftover roast chicken. Ladle soup over the meat. Top with diced avocado (and cilantro, if you want). Each person can squeeze in as much lime as they want, as well as grab as many corn chips as they want.

Friday, October 15, 2010

German Oven Pancakes

These are a delicious alternative to regular pancakes and so much easier and less time consuming.  Some people call them Dutch Babies or other various names.

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
3 large eggs
dash of salt
1 to 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine
Preheat your oven to 425° F. I usually use two smaller pans and do one recipe in each or you can double the recipe and use a 9x13 pan.

Place the butter in the bottom of the pan and place it in the oven while it's preheating to melt it (Don't let it start to burn though).  Mix your milk, flour, eggs and salt in a bowl. Use a wire whisk to blend, but make sure all the lumps have disappeared before moving on. (Some people blend this in a food processor but I don't) When you've got your mix ready, pour it over the melted butter in your pan, and place it back in the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Edges will be puffed up. I like to server with powdered sugar or Nutella or both (that's why I like to make two).

Improvised Weeknight Pierogi

Another cast-iron man creation has come about. Our new grocery store has some good pierogi which I like to keep handy in the fridge (like a spare pizza crust). The point of such meals is that you would feel too guilty ordering food but you are exhausted from work. This takes less than fifteen minutes, prep and cook time (hint, prep zucchini and garlic while bacon renders).

Feel free to improvise on this:

12 pierogi
2 farm-fresh zucchini, washing, cut off ends, slice lengthwise and then into half coins (they take so much less time to cook than the water-bloated grocery store ones)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
5 stripes bacon, cut into 1/2" bits
red pepper flakes

1. Set heat closer to medium than low. Cook bacon in cast-iron. Once fat has rendered and bacon is not too crisp, remove.
2. Add red-pepper flakes and swirl for a minute to let fat absorb its heat (if it looks like you don't have enough for the zucchini, add a little olive oil at this point).
3. Cook zucchini about 5 minutes, sprinkling liberally with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally.
4. When zucchini has some browing and is not yet too tender to the touch, add your pierogi. Cook about 2 minutes until pierogi begins to brown. Stir occasionally.
5. Add garlic. Cook until garlic is aromatic (@ 1 min.)

6. Enjoy!