Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Spicy Turkey Kielbasa Kale Soup


Since I was feeling under the weather all last week, I wanted to make a soup, but also wanted something substantial since I couldn't eat much. This soup really is a meal, as opposed to most broth based soups. It's also very healthy with lots of vitamins and minerals from the kale and white beans. I added a spicy kick to mine with some Louisiana hot sauce, but if it's not your thing, leave it out.

 Dolce was so excited, she was all like:


Ingredients:

  • 1-14 oz package turkey kielbasa 
  • 1 medium onion 
  • 1 bunch kale (about 4 cups) 
  • 1-15.5oz can cannellini beans 
  • 1 tablespoon veggie spice*
  • Cooking spray
  • 5 dashes Louisiana hot sauce (optional)
  • Shredded Parmesan (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Method:

In a medium sauce pan, heat chicken stock over low heat.


Meanwhile, slice the turkey kielbasa at an angle into 1 inch pieces. Spray a large soup pot with cooking spray and brown kielbasa over medium/high heat until slightly caramelized. Add onions and sweat just until translucent. 


Remove ribs from the kale and roughly chop. Add to the soup pot and cook about 2 minutes, until wilted. Add the warm chicken stock, spices, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. 


Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan if desired. 



*I had Veggie Spice, so I used that. It is a combination of celery, salt, bell peppers, garlic, onion and smoked sweet paprika. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mexican Corn Salad


I love Mexican Corn (Elote). It is reminiscent of summer and home (Texas) for me. Grilled corn with a thin layer of mayo, sprinkled with chili powder, lime and cotija cheese...it's amazing and looks like:


Being that it's about -15° here in Chicago...yes that's NEGATIVE degrees, I thought making this would make me hate life a little less and bring back some happy memories. It worked  for about 20 minutes, then we went back to this...


I made this into a salad for a couple of reasons:

1) Where do you find fresh corn in -15°? You don't.
2) I wanted to add avocado.
3) I wanted to scoop a ton of it into my mouth at once, not so easily done on a cob. 

So there. 

Ingredients:

  • 2-15 oz cans whole kernel sweet corn
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons regular or light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely diced, seeds removed
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons cotija cheese 
  • 1 avocado, cut into cubes
  • Chili powder to taste

Method:

Melt the butter in a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Drain corn and add to the buttered skillet. Cook for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until it gets slightly charred. Throw in the jalapeno and cook for 2 more minutes. The "char" is key here. It's what makes the Elote unique and delicious. 



Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the mayo, grated clove of garlic, green onions and lime juice. Toss until everything is combined. Crumble the Cotija, throw in the avocado cubes and give it another light toss to combine everything. Sprinkle the top with chili power and serve. 

While I was making this, I realized it would be REALLY good even without the mayo. But if you want the  authentic taste of Elote, you need that element. If not, you can omit and it's still a really fresh light tasting side dish. I served mine with Worlds Best Chicken and cornbread. 




*Bonus: this is even better the next day once all the flavors merry and the avocado stays green because of the lime juice* 




Sunday, January 20, 2013

Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons


I have seen this recipe all over the internet, each with it's own variation. I decided to use the one from Spoonful because it incorporated roasted tomatoes, which I love. I think it gives the soup much more depth of flavor roasting the tomatoes first. This particular instance of soup making also inspired us (my roommates and I) to purchase an immersion blender. There was a slight instance with a piece of the original blender getting sucked into the hot soup and a minor choking instance, but that's neither here nor there. From now on, I will only blend with the immersion when making soup. Oopsey.

Minus the *almost* choking incident, this soup is bomb.com and I would definitely recommend trying it while we're still in tundra season. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups (3 pints) cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400°. On a baking sheet toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes until they are slightly shriveled about 40 minutes. 


In a large soup pot, melt the butter with the remaining 1 tbs olive oil over medium/high heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes, careful not to burn the garlic. Add the roasted tomatoes (including the accumulated juices),the canned tomatoes, chicken broth and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. 


Using a blender, errrr, immersion blender OR a food processor if you have one, blend all the ingredients until smooth. I like to leave it *slightly* chunky, just so it has that homemade texture, but the consistency is up to you. Return soup to the pot and stir in the cream. Warm the soup without boiling until hot. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. 


Garnish the soup with grilled cheese croutons (I made my grilled cheese with thick white bread and sharp cheddar, then cut up into cubes)







Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies



NOTE: I clearly started writing this before Christmas, then got distracted/abducted. Sorry, but I still want to share it!

In honor of Christmas, I wanted to spread a little Holiday Cheer with these delicious cookies! I cannot take credit for this amazing idea, I got the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. They are everything a Christmas cookie should be...rich and decadent. You could use pre-made peanut butter cookie dough for this if you wish, but this recipe is so simple and you probably already have all the ingredients on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 11/4  cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, not packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 48 miniature Reese's peanut butter cups, unwrapped (side-note, the bag will tell you it has 45 cups in it, do not be fooled! I think it had less than 30, but somehow it worked out just fine)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°


Combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the peanut butter, butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce the mixture speed to low (unless you want to be covered in flour) and add the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined, then give the dough one final mix by hand to make sure all of the flour is incorporated.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls (I used an ice cream scoop to ensure they were all even) and place into cups of a mini muffin pan. Very important to keep the dough in the balls, do not press into the pan.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown and puffy. Remove from the oven and immediately place an unwrapped peanut butter cup into each cookie. Make sure to press them down enough so that the top of the peanut butter cup is even with the top of the cookie. Let cool almost completely before you try removing them from the pan, otherwise you will end up with a ooey gooey mess (don't ask, just trust me).

Voila! Deeeeelcious peanut butter heavenly goodness!