Thai Corn Chowder

Okay! Enough about birthday celebrations. I have to get back to my soup posts. 😉

I love the flavor of coconut milk and Thai cuisine in general. This dish is a wonderful adaptation of Thai flavors in the form of a soup. The coconut milk base gave it subtle richness which balanced nicely with the lime juice, fresh herbs, and hot sauce.

This recipe was adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant Table: 250 Brand-New Recipes from the Natural Foods Restaurant that Revolutionized Eating in America from the Moosewood Collective. Fabulous!

Yield: about 8 cups

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions (I used 1 large yellow onion)
  • 1 fresh hot pepper, minced and seeded for a milder “hot” or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 T peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 pound potatoes, diced (I used teeny tiny white potatoes from Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (16 oz (1 pound) bag frozen organic yellow corn)
  • 1 14-oz can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 T fresh lime juice, from 1/2 of one lime
  • 3 T fresh basil, chiffonade (Thai basil is bets, but Italian basil is fine too.)
  • hot pepper sauce or Chinese chili paste, optional
  • chopped fresh basil, cilantro, and/or mint, for garnish, optional
  1. Warm the oil in a soup pot on medium heat. (I used an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
  2. Add the onions and hot pepper/cayenne and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the bell peppers and salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetable soften, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the ginger, potatoes, and stock. Cover and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the corn, coconut milk, lime juice, and basil and remove from the heat.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, remove 2-3 cups of the strained vegetables from the pot.
  8. Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree the remaining ingredients, about half of the soup.
  9. Stir the whole vegetables back into the pot.
  10. Season with salt to taste, and, if you want it spicier, add some hot pepper sauce or Chinese chili paste.
  11. Garnish with lime, fresh basil, cilantro, and/or mint, if desired.

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Winter Squash & Red Bean Mole

This is an another amazing vegetarian chili variation. Hearty too. It was especially wonderful for me as well because it incorporated a lot of flavors typically used in a traditional Mexican mole, one of my absolute loves.

This recipe was adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant Table: 250 Brand-New Recipes from the Natural Foods Restaurant that Revolutionized Eating in America from the Moosewood Collective. I doubled the recipe, increased the garlic, and omitted the ground fennel. We ate it with corn muffins and a green salad. Fabulous!

Yield: Serves 8 to 12

  • 4 T olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (I used 2 large onions)
  • 10-12 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ground fennel seeds, optional
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 T chopped fresh thyme of 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup seeded and chopped poblano peppers (can substitute cubanelle peppers)
  • 3 cups seeded and chopped red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (I used 2 red, 1 yellow, & 1 orange)
  • 6 cups diced butternut squash (bite-size cubes), from 1 medium butternut squash
  • 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 2/3 cups water
  • 6 T pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 T sesame seeds
  • 2 15-oz cans red kidney beans, drained
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped, or to taste
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used 72% cacao dark chocolate)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • sour cream, for garnish
  • thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
  1. In a heavy bottomed pot on medium heat, warm the oil. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
  2. Add the onions, garlic, fennel, cinnamon, thyme, salt, and black pepper and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions soften, stirring often to prevent sticking.
  3. Add the celery, poblano peppers, and bell peppers and cook for another 5 minutes until the peppers brighten and become fragrant.
  4. Stir in the squash and cook for a minute or two more.
  5. Add the tomatoes and water to the pot, cover, bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
  7. Using a spice grinder, mini food processor, or a mortar and pestle, finely grind the pepitas and sesame seeds.
  8. When the squash is tender, stir the ground seeds, kidney beans, chipotles to taste, and chocolate into the stew. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Stir in the cilantro.
  10. Garnish with more cilantro, sliced scallions, and/or sour cream, as desired.

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Mexican Lentil Soup with Roasted Garlic & Chilies

It’s been a while. :/ Belated Happy New Year! 🙂 Although I haven’t been posting, I have been cooking, of course.

It has been absolutely freezing here. Freezing. My husband requests some sort of chili or stew for dinner in cold weather. Needless to say, I have a handful of wonderful new cold weather soups to share.

This vegetarian “chili” incorporated both ancho and chipotle chiles as well as roasted garlic. My favorites! 🙂 I also loved the pop of flavor from all of the fresh herbs. It was flavorful and fabulous. An added bonus was that the flavors developed over time and the soup was even better the following day.

This recipe was adapted from one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks, Fields of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Greens Restaurant by Annie Somerville. I doubled the recipe, increased the lentils and tomatoes, used whole San Marzano tomatoes, substituted fresh thyme for oregano, and increased the heat by using additional chipotle chile puree.  I also modified the technique to roast the garlic.

Yield: Serves 10

  • 1 pound of brown lentils
  • 12 cups cold water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 fresh oregano or thyme sprigs
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 4 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 28 oz canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 red onions, diced, about 4 cups
  • coarse salt
  • 2 tsp cumin seed, toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 carrots, diced, about 1 cup
  • 2 small red and/or yellow bell peppers, diced, about 1 cup
  • 4 T Ancho Chile Purée (from 1 large or 2 small chiles, see below)
  • 1 tsp Chipotle Purée, (from 1 chile in adobo sauce) plus more, to taste (I added an additional 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 T chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish, as desired
  • 2 T chopped fresh oregano, for garnish
  1. Sort and rinse the lentils and place them in a soup pot with the water, bay leaves, sage, and oregano/thyme sprig.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook, uncovered, at a gentle boil for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Remove the herbs.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Rub the whole garlic heads with a little olive oil, wrap them together in a packet of aluminum foil, and seal it closed. Place directly on the oven rack and roast for about 30 minutes, until soft.
  4. When the garlic has cooled, slice off the top of each head and squeeze the garlic out of its skin. Purée with the tomatoes in a blender or food processor and set aside.
  5. Make the Ancho Chile Purée: Pull the chile(s) apart at the stem end and remove the seeds. Place in a small bowl and cover with hot water, allowing to soak for 15 to 20 minutes, until softened. Place in a blender or food processor; add a small amount of the soaking liquid and process to a smooth purée, adding more liquid if needed.
  6. Make the Chipotle Chile Purée: Using a blender or food processor, purée one whole chile with additional adobo sauce until smooth. Unused purée can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. (I used a 4 quart pot.) Add the onion, 1 teaspoon of salt, the cumin, and the dried oregano; sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  8. Add the carrot and peppers and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
  9. Add the chile purées, the puréed tomatoes and garlic, and 2 teaspoons of salt; simmer for 10 minutes.
  10. Combine the beans and their broth with the vegetables, partially cover, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  11. Adjust heat, as desired, by adding additional ancho or chipotle purée. (I added an additional 1/2 tsp chipotle.)
  12. Sprinkle in fresh herbs (cilantro and/or oregano), as desired, just before serving.

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Summer Vegetable Gratin

This colorful dish used my entire CSA box in one meal! My husband accepted it as a vegetarian main because of the flavorful baguette-cheese topping (yay!), but it would also work well as a hearty side dish. We even had a green salad on the side. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Julia Moskin. Moskin recommended using a fresh baguette in the topping for the best crust. Great!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish or up to 12 as a side dish

Time: 1 1/2 hours

For the Base Layer:

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced, or 2 additional onions
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed

For the Tomato-Bread Crumb Topping:

  • 1 ½ pounds plum or other ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan or Gruyère cheese

For the Gratin:

  • ¼ cup olive oil, more for baking
  • 1 ½ pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick (I used 2 pieces)
  • 1 ½ pounds yellow squash, sliced 1/4-inch thick (I used 2 pieces)
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped basil or parsley, more for garnish
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Make the base layer: In a large, heavy ovenproof skillet or enameled cast-iron pan (10 to 12 inches across), combine onions and olive oil and heat to a sizzle, stirring to separate.
  2. Add bell peppers, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook, stirring, over low heat until peppers are very soft and onions are browned, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and leave mixture in the pan. (The garlic can be removed at this time, if desired.)
  3. Meanwhile, make the topping: Core tomatoes and slice them 1/4 inch thick. Lay on paper towels to drain for 10+ minutes.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add tomatoes and cook very slowly, turning once or twice, until liquid has bubbled away and flesh is cooked through, about 8 minutes. (Do not overcook, or tomatoes will fall apart.) Turn off heat and let slices cool in skillet; they will continue to dry out.
  5. Tear baguette into pieces and pulse in a food processor to make coarse, fluffy, pea-size crumbs. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the cheese and pulse to combine.
  6. Assemble the gratin: Heat oven to 425 degrees. (If your oven has a convection feature, use it, reducing baking temperature to 400 degrees.)
  7. In a large bowl, combine oil, zucchini and squash, and toss well until lightly and evenly coated. Add basil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and toss again.
  8. On top of the base layer in pan, arrange squash and zucchini slices around the inner rim of the pan, standing on their edges in roughly alternating colors. Pat down into the pan so slices overlap and lie down, like shingles or fallen dominoes. Repeat to make another circle inside the first, and again if necessary, until pan is filled. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  9. Brush oil over the top of the gratin and transfer to oven. Bake 30 minutes. Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees (425 degrees for convection), or heat the broiler.
  10. Add the topping: Arrange tomato slices in one layer on top of the par-baked gratin. Spread bread-cheese mixture over tomatoes and press down gently.
  11. Bake or broil until vegetables are browned around the edges or crust is crisp and golden. 
  12. Let cool slightly and serve hot or at warm room temperature. Garnish each serving with herbs, if desired.

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Weeknight Red Curry

My husband has been saying that we really should incorporate more fish into our diet. I know that he’s probably right. :/ So, I was very proud to serve not only one, but TWO fish dinners in one week. The first was a super quick and fresh pan-roasted fish dish. (I’ll share that in a separate post.) The second was this quick red curry. I thought it was just me, but we all decided that the fish overpowered an otherwise delicious dish. (I am open to another opinion though!) I made it again with my go-to protein, boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and it was a winner in my house. Maybe fish once a week is enough for us. 😉

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used two broccoli crowns, one red bell pepper, two carrots, and one large shallot in the mixed vegetables. We ate it over fresh rice noodles; I think it would also be wonderful with rice. It was absolutely delicious and faster than takeout.

I’m bringing this to share at Fiesta Friday #123 this week co-hosted by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Linda @ La Petite Paniere. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 large shallot
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1½ cups whole peeled tomatoes, plus juices from one 15-ounce can or half of one 28-ounce can (I cheated and used diced tomatoes.)
  • 1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • coarse salt
  • approximately 1 pound mixed fresh vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, red bell peppers, carrots, and/or shallots), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound firm white fish (such as halibut or cod), skin removed or 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 12 to 24 oz fresh rice noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • minced and whole cilantro leaves, for serving
  • lime wedges, for serving
  1. Pulse shallot, garlic, and ginger in a food processor to finely chop.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add shallot mixture and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add curry paste and turmeric; cook, stirring, until paste is darkened in color and mixture starts to stick to pan, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, breaking up with your hands, then juices. Cook, stirring often and scraping up browned bits, until tomatoes start to break down and stick to pot, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in coconut milk and season with salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until mixture is slightly thickened and flavors meld, 8–10 minutes.
  6. Add vegetables and pour in enough water to cover (limit to 1/2 to 1 cup to prevent the sauce from becoming too thin). Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 8–10 minutes.
  7. Season fish or chicken all over with salt and nestle into curry (add a little more water if it’s very thick). Return to a simmer and cook just until meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  8. Spoon curry over rice noodles and top with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Do Ahead: Curry base (without vegetables or fish) can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Reheat over medium-low, adding water to thin as needed.

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Easy Arroz con Pollo

My mom doesn’t cook very much these days, so when my family and I visit, she and I cook together. When we recently stayed with her over spring break, I forwarded a couple of new recipe emails to try. More fun that way!

As a loyal Good Morning America fan I am not sure why I receive Today show recipe emails, but some of them do catch my eye. This recipe was adapted from Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food by Joanne Weir, via today.com. I adjusted the cooking times, used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken, doubled the garlic and peas, incorporated chicken stock, and omitted the olives (I’m not a fan.). My mom added the olives to her leftovers!

This is a delicious one-pot dish with a lovely, colorful presentation. I made it again when we came home. 🙂

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 10
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 28 oz can peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes (or 2 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
  • 2 cups Spanish Bomba or other short-grain white rice (I used white Basmati rice)
  • 1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives, sliced, optional
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen shelled English peas
  1. Rub the chicken pieces all over with 1 teaspoon salt, lots of black pepper and the oregano. Place in a large bowl, cover, and set aside in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  3. In an 8-quart Dutch oven or other heavy pot (I used enameled cast iron.), heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, add the chicken pieces in a single layer and cook, turning as needed, until golden on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  5. Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, saffron, chile flakes, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.
  6. Increase the heat to high, add the tomatoes, 2½ cups water or stock, the wine, and the chicken, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven, add the rice, olives (if using), and 1/2 teaspoon salt (if using water instead of stock), and stir well.
  8. Re-cover the pot, return it to the oven, and cook for another 30 minutes.
  9. Retrieve the pot again, add the peas and fluff the rice with a fork. Re-cover the pot and return it to the oven for a final 5 to 10 minutes. At this point, the rice and the chicken will be tender and the liquid will be absorbed.
  10. Remove from the oven and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes before serving. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, and serve.

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Roasted Red Pepper, Corn, & Tomato Soup

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I had a BOUNTY of red peppers this year in my CSA share. I found this recipe on an extensive search for a creative use for them… last year I made Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce (link below) more than once, and, although delicious, I wanted something new! 🙂 (One can only eat so many red peppers in salad too…)

I was completely floored by this delicious soup. The color was incredible too. What a wonderful surprise! The roasted vegetables – especially the corn- gave it a fabulous depth of flavor. It was chili-esque. In fact, it was the BEST vegetarian “faux” chili I have ever tasted- and the BEST use for my bounty of CSA red peppers! (not to mention late-summer corn!) We ate it with green salad and popovers– but it would also be wonderful with cornbread. This recipe was adapted from Knead to Cook.com.

I’m bringing it to this week’s party over at The Novice Gardener. Happy Fiesta Friday #36!!

  • 4 ears of fresh corn
  • 3 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 6 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 6 red bell peppers or red long peppers
  • olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ricotta salata, for serving, optional
  • cilantro, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Roast red peppers on a baking sheet 5-7 minutes a side, until charred. Turn over and repeat to char the other side. Cover with foil to steam. When cool enough to touch, remove skin, seeds, and stems. Roughly chop.
  3. On a cookie sheet drizzle a bit of olive oil. Remove the corn kernels from the cob; place on the cookie sheet. Add the tomatoes. Toss to coat with the olive oil, adding extra if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat, then add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and chopped red peppers and stir.
  5. Add the stock and spices to the red pepper mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Add the roasted corn and tomatoes. Reserve some corn for a garnish, if desired. With an immersion blender, or working in batches with a food processor, puree until smooth. Continue to cook simmer for an additional 20 minutes or longer over a low flame.
  7. Serve garnished with reserved corn, a sprinkling of cheese, and/or cilantro, if desired.

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