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Archive for the ‘soup’ Category

When the squashes start appearing in the farmers markets and grocery stores, I get a little twitchy. First, it’s a harbinger of fall. Summer’s over and the grey and cold where I live is inevitably on its way. After all these years you’d think I’d be used to this but I’m not. Second, the site of the first squashes and pumpkins make me want to cook warm, comforting, homey things. Then it happens: I’ll buy a bunch and they’ll sit on my kitchen table for weeks.

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Back in the days right out of college when I was scraping to get by, I survived on soup. It was easy to make, inexpensive and could be varied countless different ways. Meatless chilis, various vegetable concoctions and chicken-less chicken noodle were my standards. Soups were filling and they reheated beautifully in small office microwaves but more importantly, one could really stretch their dollar far with a pot or two. When you were saving any bit of extra cash to buy a few rounds of beer Friday night, this was important.

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I keep a strange schedule that follows no patterns. Such is the life of a freelance recipe developer – it’s a drought or a tsunami – and right now I’m drowning. Given that I’m cooking all day, when it comes time to actually make something for myself, I usually punt. Classic case of the cobbler’s children having no shoes, I tend to default to delivery, take out or nibbles here and there of leftover scraps from whatever I’ve made that afternoon. Sometimes it works out well, other times not so much. Case in point: my dinner the other night was a bowl of partially mashed edamame. That’s not even a thing. I spend a lot of time staring at the contents of my fridge and while I may shut the door and dial the number for Chinese delivery instead, I do get a lot of ideas this way. That’s how this post came together.

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It was a dreary day, typical of a Chicago spring, and I was looking for something to cook. I was tired of hearty soups, stews and pasta and was on the hunt for something light and bright. Something spring-like. Putzing around the internet for inspiration, going from one random link to another I came across something on the Eating Well website. Radish Soup. Was that a thing? The color caught my attention – a lovely shade of light pink. Curiosity piqued, I was about to find out if this was indeed a thing.

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Freezing rain always makes me want soup. Hot, hearty, comforting bowls of soup that warm from the inside out are just the thing for these times. I live in a very old apartment with unpredictable radiator heat. Over the winter my apartment is either blazing hot or a bit chilly and I monitor the temperature through a series of simple steps honed over years of experience – open the window a smidge, close the window, put on socks, take off a sweatshirt, hide under a blanket. It’s a little involved but I’ve figured out how to make it work. In these instances, soup works very well too. As does a good supply of comfy loungewear and thick socks.

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Today, the day after Thanksgiving, are you taking that picked apart carcass and making soup? No? Me neither, but to be fair, I haven’t hosted a Thanksgiving in years so I’m not usually left staring at stripped poultry bones the next day. I always go to someone else’s house, bring the pies and leave behind the leftovers. In some ways that’s good; no clean up to deal with. In other ways, it kind of stinks; no turkey-stuffing sandwiches. I also don’t get to make soup. No carcass means no soup. This year I’m traveling for the holiday and enjoyed my Thanksgiving meal in a restaurant so they’ll be none of this. I’m good with that but I do wonder where I might find a stuffing sandwich.

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I’ve been completely immersed in Olympic coverage the last two weeks. It’s pretty much all I’ve accomplished even with a trip to New York City and several Client meetings.  I watch in the morning. I watch at night. I watch late late night. I tape during the day and watch in between. And can I just say, across the board, the ladies are killing it. I’m finding the women’s sports much more exciting than the men’s this go round. Also, throughout the games, I’ve been inspired to cook with a Brazilian flair, making all sorts of dishes that fit the theme. For an Opening Ceremonies party, I made Brazilian cheese bread (pão de queijo) and feijoada that were both very delicious. In the interim I made Coconut Quindim, a lovely and very easy coconut flan and a tropical Fresh Mango Coconut Tea Cake. Then the other night I made this: a coconut milk based fish stew known as moqueta.
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