Coconut milk and a cashew butter finish make this gorgeous stew irresistible. This is everything I want to eat right now, after the holidays, when it's biting cold outside.
Are you cheering for the Badgers in the Rose Bowl? I will be! Yay Bucky!
Are you cheering for the Packers this weekend? Because no one is cheering for the Vikings anymore? Then make this! Thick and spicy with pork and chiles. Serve with beer and it won't matter who wins. (Spoken like a girl who watches very little football these days...hey.)
My son Nathan and I spent our summer Sundays eating our way through Kingfield Farmers Market. We did it last summer too and got in such a fun groove of eating together, visiting with friends, and stocking up on all of our favorite treats for the week.
It's worth noting that it was a much less expensive endeavor last year, when Nathan was around my height and was satisifed with a Chef Shack hot dog. Uh, not this year, not at 6'4" and counting, when he still ate a Chef Shack hot dog, but added their soft-shell crab sandwich, mini-donuts, and Arnie Palmer; Gai Gai Thai curry; Cafe Palmira iced coffee; Foxy Falafel curry falafel with a load of perfect pickles, extra hummus to go; Sun Street Bakery turnovers and sourdough loaf; and Bogart Loves maple-bacon donuts.
I scored plenty of bites, of course, and a good portion of it all we brought home to share with John...but I'm telling you, Sunday became a day for feasting.
So damn cool.
One of my favorites toward the end of the season was Gai Gai's Thai omelet served in a curry broth. On a chilly morning, perhaps after being out too late the night before, that crispy omelet in creamy coconut broth tasted spicy-sublime.
I was out too late last night, in fact - hey! - and could think of nothing but that omelet around lunchtime today. So I made up a fast one, nowhere near the beauty of Kris' lovely coconut curries, but flavorful enough to feed the beast. I made one for John for dinner. His conclusion: I'm dying.
See you in the spring, Kingfield.
Thai Omelet in Coconut Curry Broth
Inspired by Gai Gai Thai
1 can coconut milk
2 Tbsp. Thai green curry paste
1/2 c. chicken broth
2 Tbsp. + 4 tsp. Thai fish sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
handful of finely chopped vegetables, optional (I had cabbage and mushrooms on hand)
juice of 1/2 lime
2 Tbsp. chopped scallions
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro or basil
4 Tbsp. peanut oil
more chopped scallions & herbs for garnish
hot rice (optional)
Open the can of coconut milk and spoon some of the fat off into a medium saucepan set over medium heat. When the fat is hot, stir in the Thai curry paste and fry for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the rest of the can of coconut milk, chicken broth, 2 Tbsp. of the fish sauce, brown sugar, and vegetables. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in lime juice. Set aside and keep warm.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs with 4 tsp. of fish sauce, scallions, and cilantro. Set a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp. of oil. When the oil is very hot, add 1/2 c. of the egg mixture to the pan. Swirl the egg around in the pan and when the edges start to brown, which will be pretty quickly, use a spatula to fold the omelet in half and then in half again. Cook for a few more minutes then transfer to a bowl. Ladle some broth over the top.
Repeat the process with the remaining egg mixture. Serve hot, with rice if desired, topped with more chopped herbs.
I have some pretty exciting news...
I'm working with my friend Andrew Zimmern on his new endeavor for foodandwine.com, Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures. If you only know Andrew from his Travel Channel series Bizarre Foods, you might not realize that Andrew is an incredible chef, home cook, and entertainer. His recipes are not only approachable and fun, but packed with fresh flavor. I know this because I'm preparing and photographing them all for the series!
There will be a new recipe featured each week, so be sure to check back for his delicious ideas and tips.
My mom is recovering from major surgery here at our home. She spent the first couple of weeks in a hospital and rehab facility, where the food was...truly awful. I brought her little farmer's market treats like sliced tomatoes and strawberries, to remind her that not all food comes from boxes and cans, but man, the overall effect of feeding healing people crap food is seriously depressing.
She is glad to be here now, noshing what appeals from my endless stream of cooking, and starting to cook for herself again too. She can't eat more than a few bites of anything at a time - and all she's truly hungry for is sweets, ha - but she made herself a killer BLT yesterday, thick with a perfect tomato and a pile of freshly picked lettuce, and managed to eat half of it.
Baby steps on the road to recovery.
She also managed a few bites of this soup, which really hit the spot on a cool, fall day. I love chicken soup for its endless versatility, and of course for its soothing, healing deliciousness. I studded this version with kale, sweet potatoes, garlic, and just a spot of bacon because my mom loves bacon.
I am of her, after all.
This is a nice transitional soup, warm on a cool day, but full of end-of-summer bounty like a garden-ripe tomato. A hint of nutmeg is lovely here, as is a shower of freshly grated Parmesan to finish.
Chicken Soup with Kale, Garlic & Sweet Potatoes
1 roasting chicken, about 3 lbs., patted dry
1 Tbsp. bacon fat or vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, 1 coarsely chopped, 1 diced
6 cloves garlic, 3 smashed, 3 minced
2 ribs celery, 1 halved, 1 diced
2 carrots, 1 halved, 1 diced
1 tsp. dried thyme
6 c. water
1 tsp. Kosher salt plus more to finish
2 slices bacon, diced
1/2 bunch lacinato (Tuscan) kale, ribs removed, sliced thin
1 large sweet potato, peeled & diced
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 large garden-ripe tomato, diced
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Make the broth:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat a Dutch oven or casserole with a tight fitting lid over medium high heat. Add the bacon fat or oil and when hot, add the chicken and brown it thoroughly all over. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
Turn heat to down to medium and add the coarsely chopped onion, 3 cloves of smashed garlic, 1 halved rib of celery, 1 halved carrot, and thyme. Stir around for a few minutes, then slowly add the water and 1 tsp. of salt. Nestle the chicken back into the pot and bring stock to a simmer. Cover and transfer to the oven. (Or, turn heat to low and simmer on top of the stove.)
Bake (or simmer) chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until chicken is very tender. Remove chicken from the pot to a cutting board (it might break apart into pieces, which is fine) and let cool for a bit.
Strain stock through a colander into a large bowl. Skim fat from stock. Discard strained vegetables.
Make the soup:
Set the Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon to the pan. When the bacon is browned and crisp, add the diced onion, diced garlic, diced celery, diced carrot, kale, sweet potato, and nutmeg. Saute for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until the onion is softened. Pour in the stock and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the carrot and sweet potato are tender.
While the soup simmers, tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones.
To serve, stir about half of the chicken into the hot soup (reserving the rest for another use) and taste for salt, adding more if necessary. Divide the diced tomato among soup bowls, ladle soup over the tomatoes, top with black pepper and Parmesan cheese, and serve.
Think of this soup as comfort food with a kick. The garlicky broth is mellow and sweet, ready and waiting to be made sublime with a fried egg (because a fried egg makes everything sublime...right).
I added warmed sausage, white beans, and arugula because that's what I had in the fridge (see recipe below). Simmer the base soup and make it your own, a little differently each time, over and over again.
Light yet filling, Coconut Curry Soup with Shrimp & Vegetables is on the table fast, packed with flavor, and chockful of whatever vegetables you like. My recipe at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine.
The Perennial Plate creator/chef Daniel Klein's recipe for Chilled Carrot Soup with Coriander Yogurt & Daylilies (yes, daylilies, delicious!) at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine.
Spring may be right around the corner, but I'm freezing right now. Brrr! I keep going out at night without stockings on, dying to wear something other than boots, hoping that because it's now March, 20 degrees will feel more like 50 degrees.
Not that 50 degrees is warm enough to go stockingless either, but if you're from 'round these parts, you know how it goes. When you ride a +100-degree annual temperature swing, it seems perfectly logical to skip stockings while wearing a wool coat and giant scarf.
At least it does to me.
It's all about bridging the seasons, mixing things up. Given hot comfort with bright, fresh flavors, tortilla soup fits my fickle mood. Make it as spicy as you like, then layer in the good stuff - cheese, avocado slices, a squeeze of lime, and of course crunchy tortillas.
It takes a bit longer to start from scratch, but it's so worth it for the rich chicken flavor. You could definitely do this soup in a crockpot of you're so inclined. The final puree gives the soup body and thickness without adding flour or masa.
1 broiler/fryer chicken (2-3 lbs.)
8 c. chicken broth
3 dried guajillo chiles, stems removed, cut into large pieces (guajillos are mild dried chiles, substitute others as you like or add more or less to taste)
1 carrot, halved
1 medium onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 14-oz. can chopped, fire-roasted tomatoes
shredded jack cheese
chopped fresh cilantro
wedges of fresh lime
corn tortilla chips
Place chicken in a large Dutch oven, add the remaining soup ingredients, set over high heat, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to very low, so that broth barely bubbles (you can also transfer the pot to a 225-degree oven). Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until chicken is falling-apart tender.
Remove chicken from broth and set on a cutting board to cool (it will likely break into pieces as you transfer it). Skim fat and residue from the broth. Using an immersion blender, or a stand blender in small batches, puree the soup and return to the pot.
Remove and discard chicken skin, then remove chicken meat from the bones and cut into bite-size pieces. Add chicken to the pot (if you don't use it all, the remaining chicken makes a terrific chicken salad!). Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with garnishes.
When it snows, I make soup. And complain. And take ridiculously long baths. And pretend like I'm still on vacation.
John and I were in Costa Rica last week and it was...heavenly. Too heavenly. I have been in a massive funk ever since we returned.
The lovely view out of our home bedroom window that I normally love? Hideous to me. Who wants to see colorless snow after a week of blue-green ocean views? I was blessedly, easily warm the whole time we were there. I basked (too much) in the sun, swam in the ocean, listened to music, read two great books, and messed around on Twitter (the hotel had perfect wifi and ATT service, even on the beach) with my foodie friends while John surfed.
I had a blast.
It does make me wonder if I'm the type that should just grind through the winter and save the escape for the end of the season? Apparently I'm not very good at changing gears. It if were late March instead of February, I might be handling it all better...
A first-day-home dinner with Debbie & Stu The Wine Genius Williams at Corner Table Restaurant in Minneapolis helped. A double course of fresh eggs (poached over polenta, softly scrambled, rarrr) helped. As did the pork three-ways entree I inhaled (braised shoulder, belly, & sausage). Plenty of wine, serious laughs, a reason to go out with my minor tan - all good.
This soup helped too. It's got a bit of wild rice, plus is quick to pull together while pleasantly smoky from ham. A splash of cream at the end makes it all snowstorm worthy (we're receiving 8-10 inches as I write, sigh) without adding too much richness.
On a completely separate note, I did this short interview with Twin Cities Spark a few weeks ago. Fun!
Vegetable Soup with Wild Rice, Ham & Cream
1 Tbsp. butter
1 c. diced ham
1/2 c. each of sliced leeks, diced carrots, diced celery, diced parsnips, diced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 c. raw wild rice
6 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. whipping cream
salt & freshly ground pepper
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in ham and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in leeks, carrot, celery, parsnips, mushrooms, garlic, and thyme and saute for another 5-7 minutes, until vegetables are softening. Stir in rice, then broth, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until rice is tender, 45-50 minutes.
Stir in cream and season with salt & pepper.