I roast to you!

It’s Soup Saturday in my house. If you’re looking for something different, but not too adventurous, you need to try this soup. It’s so easy and delicious. You don’t even need to put any dairy in this soup. The roasted parsnips add a sweetness, and the cumin adds some spice. Don’t tell anyone there is cauliflower in it. They will never guess! Enjoy!

Knosh and Knit: the world according to Nora

                               Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup

 

In case you hadn’t noticed, I make a lot of soup.  Soup is good. Most of my soups are tomato based and often include lentils, spinach, different spices and some kind of sausage. I’ve been looking to make something different and healthier. I have read various recipes that used roasted cauliflower, but they relied on too many spices. I found one recipe that used roasted cauliflower and roasted parsnips. Pure magic. I adapted the recipe so that the sweetness of the parsnips would be the dominant flavor. Instead of roasting the spices with the vegetables, I added them later into the chicken stock. Instead of roasting the onions, I sautéed them in olive oil. My new friend, the Immersion Blender, made sure the soup was creamy.

1 head of…

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Turkey in the morning, turkey in the evening, turkey at supper time….

 

If you are reading this, you have survived 2016 successfully! Good for you. Did you make an resolutions? Didn’t think so. Every Sunday I get deep and introspective. I thought today would be even more so, but it was not. I am glad to see 2016 go, but nervous about 2017. I don’t think we should put pressure on the new year. It’s up to us to be successful and happy. Is it about choosing a small safe world or taking risk and chance in a big scary world? Meh. I’d rather think about cooking food for the ones that I love.

I found this Turkey Chili recipe in the Washington Post. This is a Sarah Moulton recipe. She was the host of one of the Food Network’s first shows. I loved watching her awkward knife skills, being a lefty. Every time I say “impeccably clean hands” I think of her. What? You don’t use that phrase? You should! It reminds me to keep washing my hands to avoid cross-contamination. She was a great teacher, and I learned many things from her. She’s moved on from the Food Network to PBS and is still cooking and writing about cooking.

I’ve adapted the recipe a little. Her recipe is here.

Turkey Chili

1 cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing tortillas

1 tbsp. minced garlic

2 pounds ground turkey or chicken

1 tbsp. chili powder

2 tsp. ground cumin

¼ to ½ tsp. cayenne pepper

½ tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste

Four (or more) 6” corn tortillas

¼ cup all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken stock (store-bought works well)

2  15-ounce cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1   5-oz. can of chopped green chilies

2/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

2 tbsp. lime juice

¾ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Combine the onion and oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat to high; add the ground turkey or chicken, the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper (to taste) and the ½ teaspoon of salt; cook for about 6 minutes, breaking up the meat, or until it is no longer pink.

Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium, then add the flour; cook for 3 minutes, stirring. Pour in the broth, stirring. I would put 2 cups of chicken stock in at first. I like my soup thick. If you want the soup thinner you can add more stock. Once the mixture starts bubbling, stir in the beans and green chilies. I like to mash one of the cans of beans. It helps thicken the soup. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sour cream, lime juice (to taste) and season lightly with salt. Stir in about ½ cup of cheese and stir until melted. You can either add the rest now, or sprinkle it on top of your bowl.

Taste the soup. I found that I had to put a little more cumin and chili powder, as well as salt in it. It’s better to add, since you cannot take out spices once they are added.

Now for my favorite part of the soup, the tortilla toppings! On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, place tortillas in a single layer. Brush vegetable oil on the tortillas. Sprinkle salt over them. Put in the oven, on the middle rack for about 15 minutes You want the tortillas to crisp up and brown lightly. Watch them so they don’t burn. Your home will smell wonderful. Take them out of the oven to cool. If you have a rolling pin, you can crush the tortillas with it, making them into coarse crumbs or tear them into small chunks. I prefer the chunks. Of course.

Add the tortillas to the pan and let the soup bubble around them for 2 minutes. Spoon into bowl. Sniff and smell. Lower spoon into bowl, lift to mouth. Smile. It’s delicious!

NOTE: I like to make this soup the day before I plan on serving it. The flavors develop more when you wait. You can, of course, serve it immediately. Your leftovers will be fantastic!

 

Oh yay! Thanksgiving is here!

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Thanksgiving is here and you are in a panic! I can see it in your eyes…hear it in your breathing. You’ve got your kids coming home from college, in-laws staying for days, friends “stopping by.” Not only do you have to prepare a FEAST on Thursday, but there are the meals before and after that need to be planned. Oh, you didn’t think of that? Lucky for you, I have a few recipes that are easy. You can use disguised poultry for some of these meals. Don’t worry that you’re having turkey on Thursday. If you make my Tortellini sausage soup, you can use turkey or chicken sausage. Don’t tell anyone. Serve with some hot rolls (store-bought this time) and everyone will be happy! You can make this today and serve it tonight or tomorrow as your guests roll in. A hot pot on the stove makes a happy guest.

Another crowd pleaser, with disguised poultry, is my chicken enchiladas. Make it in the morning and serve it later. Buy the rotisserie chicken in the grocery store. No one will be the wiser. You have enough to do this week. This meal is quick and delicious. It can be mild or as spicy as you’d like. If anyone asks what’s in it, change the subject! “Look, is that snow?” or “I see deer in the yard!”

You’re tired and ready to collapse. You can prep a nice breakfast the night before if you make my breakfast souffle. A little bit of work at night makes for an easy breakfast in the morning. If you want to get fancy, buy some challah bread and make French Toast. You can make it and keep it warm in the oven while people wake up and stroll to the table. See, it’s easy! Check your syrup supply. Buy the bacon too!

Let me give you a few words of advice. ASK FOR HELP. I should listen to myself. You don’t have to do everything perfectly or yourself. If people ask if they can bring something, repeat after me, “Yes!” Do your best, not Martha Stewart’s best.  The holidays are about being with your family or friends, the people you care about. Everything else falls in place. Relax. Laugh. Eat. Create your own traditions.

Make a schedule of what needs to be done and when. While one thing cooks, another is prepared. Planning makes it easy.

One more thing, check your toilet paper stash. Oh, and coffee. Make sure you have enough coffee. You will make it through this week and have many happy memories-unless you run out of toilet paper!!

The holi-daze are here whether you like it or not. It won’t be long before you are suffering from frugal fatigue or host-traumatic stress disorder or making silly resolutions you will not keep. Enjoy the small moments.

Happy Thanksgiving…..breathe!!

Hot time in the summertime…..

I made these today on a very hot summer day. I used a rotisserie chicken and jarred jalapeño peppers. It’s even easier and I think it tastes better! I added these changes to the recipe.The house did not heat up and I have leftovers for lunch!

Knosh and Knit: the world according to Nora

I made these the other day before that summer sun heated up my house. Of course, I forgot to take a picture! Don’t despair, this recipe was lovingly adapted from this Easy Chicken Enchilada recipe. Here’s a picture of them ready to be cooked!

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Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe is super easy. I often cheat and used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. If I have any leftover chicken, that goes right into the pan! You can make this as spicy or as mild as you’d like. This kind of meal doesn’t require a precise recipe, but some guidelines. I just eyeball the amount of chicken I use. You top the enchiladas with the remaining sauce. If you don’t think you have enough sauce to cover them, just add a splash of water or a little more of the cilantro base. The top is covered with cheese, so you don’t…

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Dark chocolate makes the very best…..broooowwwn-ies!

These are perfect for the Fourth of July cookout you’re having. Rich and delicious. Cut them in small squares.

Knosh and Knit: the world according to Nora

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The Baked Brownie

I somehow stumbled upon this fabulous Brooklyn bakery while cruising along online. I have several of their cookbooks. They are droolish-ish. I have made several things, all chocolate, and am very pleased with their recipes. So, chocolate you say? Well, my favorite chocolate is milk chocolate…..ummmm…semi-sweet chocolate.. errrrrrrr……white chocolate. Well, let’s say I love most chocolate but dark chocolate. Until now! The original brownie recipe calls for all dark chocolate, but I used a blend of dark and semi-sweet chocolate. I was scared of too much dark chocolate. Of all things to be afraid of…..this fear stopped me cold. What if I didn’t like these brownies after using 5 EGGS? I hate when things don’t come out right. I mentally calculate the wasted ingredients and mope. This is the first recipe that I can say, beats out any brownie mixes I’ve used. I’ve…

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Friends

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”

William Shakespeare

 

Well, thanks Bill but I don’t think it’s quite so nice and tidy. I’m not sure I have the talent or capacity for friendship. Friends are supposed to be those people that mirror our own character. People are supposed to be drawn together with common interests, history and common values. Please allow me to disagree.

I have been sitting here for weeks waiting for my friends to visit. I’ve thought long and hard. My friends are an odd lot. They are all around different. Let’s discuss.

I’ve had some moments of lapsed judgment in the friendship game. When I worked at the courthouse I befriended Miss Demeanor. I can’t be mad at her, she’s, um, indisposed…..for 5-10 years. Miss Adventure is off traveling. We met at the bookstore looking at travel and self help books. Maybe I should have bought a few travel books.  Miss Informed is off studying. She’s getting her umpteenth degree. We met at a grad school open house. I fell asleep. She’s studying in London. Miss Communicated has never understood anything I’ve said, not even when she was my boss. It’s like I’m speaking a different language. I told her I was home and she thought I said I was in Rome. Miss Shapen is off at the gym. She’s won’t miss a work out. We used to walk around the neighborhood. Well, I followed her around the neighborhood.  If I want to see her I have to get off the couch. Not happening this week. My oldest friend is my cousin, Miss Judge. She is an “ABC” kind of gal: assess, blame and criticize. It’s, apparently, my fault for having arthritis and needing surgery at a time that wasn’t good for her. Oh to be perfect!

All my friends will come around eventually. They are all good people who just are busy. I haven’t always been there for them, either. But when we do get together, it’s like no time has lapsed. Like Nietzsche said, “Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes”.

There are countless other friends, who are busy. So I will read my books and hang out with my book friends. I’ll search for the perfect item to knit my friends, dreaming of their gracious reactions. James Taylor will continue to sing to me and my new bestie, the UPS driver, will always stop by for a visit and bring me presents!

 

Minestrone Soup for me and you!

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Nothing warms the heart during the winter than a hot bowl of soup and a hunk of fresh bread with butter. I found this minestrone soup online last week. I don’t think I’ve ever made minestrone. We grew up on my mother’s vegetable soup. None of us can make it quite like she does. I do love the concept of vegetables and pasta together in a bowl. I make a lot of soups, but this one is the best. I changed the original recipe a bit. I love to tweak recipes.

I ordered some delicious dried Marcella beans online from Rancho Gordo a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure what to use them for until I read the label. It mentioned using them in a minestrone soup. Perfect! It all came together.  I followed the directions on their website to pre-cook the dried beans. They were very creamy. I tasted a small bowl with a sprinkle of salt and olive oil. They were very satisfying. For the minestrone you can absolutely use canned beans. You can save yourself the steps of pre-cooking.

I decided to cook the pasta in the soup to thicken it. I don’t like watery soups.I can’t decide if it’s because I like the texture of a thick soup or that I usually spill soup of my shirt. Maybe it’s both reasons!  You may choose to follow the directions of cooking the pasta separately. I would suggest cooking half in the soup and the other half in another pan, al dente. I think adding a Parmesan rind adds a creaminess to any soup. I freeze my rinds and sometimes even buy them at Whole Foods.

The original recipe has directions for making it in a crock pot or on the stove top. I don’t have a crock pot. I love using my Le Creuset Dutch ovens for soups. You may choose your methods.

 

Let’s get cooking!

 

1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained, rinsed (cannellini or navy)

32 oz. chicken broth or vegetable broth

2 tsp. olive oil

1 chopped onion

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots diced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

28 oz. canned petite diced tomatoes

Parmesan cheese rind (optional)

2 bay leaves

2 tsp. dried basil

¼ cup chopped parsley

½ tsp. kosher salt and fresh black pepper

1 medium zucchini, diced

2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach

1 1/2  cups small pasta like ditalini or elbows

extra Parmesan cheese for garnish

 

Puree beans in 1 cup of broth in a blender or food processor. You can mash them with a fork if you don’t have these pieces of equipment, and then add in the broth.

Heat oil in a large pot. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mushrooms. Salt the vegetables lightly and saute them until tender, about 15 minutes. Don’t let the vegetables brown. You want them more translucent.

Add the remaining broth, tomatoes, beans, parmesan cheese rind, salt and pepper. Add the basil and parsley, cover and cook on low for 40 minutes. Add the zucchini and spinach, cover and simmer until the zucchini is tender. I add the uncooked pasta now and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and parmesan rind and season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta if you are using any. Let the soup simmer for a few minutes so the flavors can all blend together.  Serve the soup with some extra Parmesan cheese on top! Enjoy!