My friend and I were both complaining a couple days ago about how butternut squash is no longer in season, now that spring is here. That beautiful, rusted orange squash is probably nature’s best answer to a creamy, delicious soup. Probably.
But carrots don’t really get the credit they deserve. I mean, natural orange foods all provide significant amounts of vitamin A through beta-carotene, which has been proven to aid in improved vision, skin health, glowing skin, lessened cancer and heart disease risk, and much more. And no, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you can eat as much mac ‘n cheese as you’d like.
This recipe is for a beautiful, hearty soup that can be served as a small side or as a main dish (a healthy portion is really filling). Roasting the carrots gives them that slight caramelized flavor, and the addition of ginger adds another dimension of spice and depth to the mix.
Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup
[recipe adapted from Food52]
- 6 to 8 large carrots
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt to taste
- a sprig (or a few heavy dashes) of thyme (I use ground)
- 4-6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 1/2-inch long piece of ginger, peeled
- 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- black pepper to taste
1. Peel and chop carrots into roughly 1/2-inch rounds.
2. On a baking sheet lined with oil or parchment paper, toss the carrots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt.
3. Broil carrots until they brown and soften (roughly 20 minutes)—you’ll notice that some of them may caramelize, which is *AWESOME*. Be sure to turn them over with a spatula about every 5 minutes so none of them burn.
4. Bring your veggie or chicken stock to a boil, add the ginger and thyme, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
5. Chop the onion and place in a medium stock pot with the remaining olive oil. Saute the onion over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and beginning to brown.
6. Add the minced garlic and carrots to the onions.
7. Add 4 cups of however much stock you have (ginger and thyme included—our diversion from the old recipe) to the pot with the onions and carrots. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until carrots are soft enough to puree.
8. Use a blender to puree the mixture until smooth (we did it in 2 batches as to not overload the blender). If your soup seems too thick, add more stock or water.
9. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
New recipe up at The Slug Kitchen!
It’s no secret that Matt and I both have the stubbornest sweet teeth. It’s all we can do to go a single day without snacking on chocolate chips, baking cookies, or running into the cashier at the small grocery near our apartment, who now greets us with a smile and says, “The ice cream’s over here!”
During the past several months, we’ve made an effort to lessen the amount of sweets we make at home (let’s be real: we are physically incapable of being dessert-free) and to eat more fruits instead. This recipe is a great example of something that is sweet, healthy and enjoyable to eat—all of the ingredients have healthy benefits: antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, strengthened muscles/teeth enamel, lowered cholesterol, and more!
Dark Chocolate Energy Bites
[adapted from Oh She Glows]
- 1 cup whole raw almonds
- about 8 Medjool dates, pitted
- 1/2 cup dried cherries (we used unsweetened, but if you prefer a sweeter taste, grab some sweetened ones)
- 4-5 tbsp (or more) semisweet chocolate chips (we swear by Guittard, Dagoba, or Ghirardelli)
- 1/4 cup raw pecans
Note: The original recipe calls for salt, but we omitted it and didn’t really miss it.
1. In a food processor, process the raw almonds until finely chopped into small pieces—don’t let them get powdery.
2. Remove 1/3 cup of the almonds and set aside.
3. Add the pitted dates into the processor and blend until the date-almond mixture forms a sticky dough. Then add cherries and process again—you will probably need to break up the mixture and process repeatedly as it will be very sticky at this point.
4. Add in the chocolate chips and pecans and process just until they are finely chopped.
5. Pulse in the remaining 1/3 cup almonds for a nice, nutty texture, and add salt to taste if you wish.
6. Roll the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls, and stick in the fridge to let them firm up.
6. You’re done!
Finally have a new recipe up at The Slug Kitchen!
If you’re a chai/tea drinker, this one’s for you. Chai is a drink that can vary widely from sweet to spicy to bland to everything in between. This recipe is a great foundation to start with. It’s pretty mild in terms of spice, but you can definitely amp up the amount of cinnamon, cloves, and/or peppercorns for a more intensive base flavor. I find that playing around with different amounts of milk and sugar/honey is useful for figuring out the best mix of flavors.
1. Combine peppercorns, smashed cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, ginger, vanilla bean and vanilla seeds with 1 1/2 cups water in small pot. Bring mixture to boil.
2. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes have passed, remove from heat and continue to steep for 10 minutes.
[IF DOUBLING/TRIPLING/___ING THIS RECIPE: In addition to multiplying the amounts of ingredients, remember to increase the simmering/steeping times as well. For instance, if you’re doubling it, you’ll simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, and steep it for about 20 minutes.]
3. Add the black tea and continue to steep for another 5 minutes.
4. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into pitcher or carafe.
Now, assemble your drink!
A good ratio to keep in mind is about 1/3 cup of the chai mixture to 2/3 cup of milk (whether it’s hot or cold).
New recipe up at The Slug Kitchen!
I’d like to introduce you to my favorite homemade comfort food. This soup is good any time of the year, and at any time of the day. It is a bit labor-intensive (at least, in my opinion), so maybe save this recipe for the weekend. It is so easily adaptable for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike—the spice level can be adjusted depending on your taste, as well as that of your friends/family/whoever is eating with you at the time.
I’ve enjoyed this soup many times as a vegetarian, and while it is fully satisfying that way (or even as a vegan dish), this recipe calls for a rotisserie chicken. Matt and I tried adding torn up pieces of the chicken to the finished soup last time we made this soup, and we both agreed it was the best-tasting one we’ve ever made.
One of the best things about rotisserie chickens is that they’re already cooked and ready to eat—that’s what makes it so handy and time-efficient. You can just tear off pieces and throw them into the soup once you’re about done cooking (5-10 minutes before, so the chicken can settle in).
Chicken Tortilla Soup
[adapted from Sunset Magazine]
- 1 rotisserie chicken (optional)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for frying
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6-8 cups chicken or veggie broth
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes, or to taste
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt, or to taste
- 2 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
- 1 15 oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 limes
- 1 bunch cilantro
- hot sauce (just in case)
- 1 package small corn tortillas OR tortilla chips
- shredded jack cheese (Mexican blend or cotija cheese works just as well)
- sliced green onions
- sliced radishes
1. Add 1 tbsp oil to a large pot and heat on a medium level burner.
2. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add in the minced garlic, 1 tbsp salt, cumin, and the red chile flakes, and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add the broth, tomatoes, and the lime juice, and let the mixture cook for about 20 minutes at a simmer.
If you’re using store-bought tortilla chips, ignore step 5. If you’d like to make your own tortilla strips, continue reading.
*5. Cut tortillas into 1/4” thick strips. Pour about 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil into a small frying pan, and once the oil is hot, add in 1/4 of the tortilla strips at a time, so that none of the strips are overlapping. Fry the strips on each side, using tongs (or whatever method works best for you), until the strips are browned and crisp. Transfer strips to a paper towel-lined plate, or a cookie sheet if you’d like to keep them warm in the oven while you finish the soup.
6. Taste your soup to see if it needs any additional flavoring. I typically add in more of any of the following at this point: garlic salt, pepper, cumin, hot sauce or cayenne pepper, or lime juice. It all depends on your taste. The original recipe recommends pureeing this soup, which does have a nice texture, but in my adaptation, I chose to leave it “chunky”.
7. Once your soup is about ready, begin stripping off pieces of your rotisserie chicken (if you have one) and add it to the soup (but ixnay on the skin). Once all the chicken has been added, allow the soup to simmer for 5 more minutes.
8. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with tortilla strips (or store-bought chips), torn cilantro, sliced avocado, and any of the additional ingredients mentioned above.
Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe is up at The Slug Kitchen today!
Yeah, I know, I’ve been on a pumpkin kick. But who shouldn’t be? Pumpkin has this amazing ability to bounce between sweet and savory foods, and sometimes it creates a perfect balance between the two.
I found this recipe because I had leftover pumpkin puree and goat cheese to use up, and thought risotto sounded like fun. I haven’t tried Giada de Laurentiis’s recipes before, but this one is a super-keeper. I played around with some of the ingredients—we didn’t end up using goat cheese, but mostly because we had already used a ton of this amazing ombra that I found at Other Avenues, a food co-op here in San Francisco.
[Cheese lesson: Ombra is a sheep’s milk cheese aged for about 4-5 months, with the flavor profile of Parmesan. But way better than Parmesan, IMO.]
I also used Imagine’s No-Chicken Broth, which was a great foundation for the whole thing—super flavorful! And yeah, I can’t really reconcile the fact that we topped it off with bacon, but I don’t really want to change anything about this recipe. And to be completely fair, the cheese technically isn’t vegetarian either, thanks to the rennet. But it is gluten-free! And you can tweak it to make it vegetarian—just use a sharp cheese with vegetarian rennet, and faux bacon!
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Risotto with Ombra and Bacon
[liberally adapted from Giada de Laurentiis]
- 4 cups (extra if needed) chicken or veggie broth (like I said, Imagine’s No-Chicken Broth is a keeper)
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 4 slices applewood smoked bacon, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 leek, thinly sliced (if you’re new to leeks, only use the stalk!)
- 2 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 2/3 cups dry white wine (cooking wine is perfectly fine)
- roughly 1/2 cup (or more) freshly grated Ombra
- 1 tbsp (or to taste) parsley flakes
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- heaping 1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used about 1/2 and loved it)
1. Whisk together the 4 cups of broth and the cup of pumpkin puree together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cover the pan and reduce to a simmer to keep the broth warm.
2. Fry the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy (you’ll know it’s the right consistency when it crumbles apart). Transfer to a plate and blot with paper towel. Let cool before crumbling and/or chopping.
3. Melt the butter down in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add in the leek and 1 tsp of salt, and saute until the leek is soft and tender.
4. Add in the thyme, and then add the Arborio rice and stir for about 1 minute.
[Disclaimer: This next part of the recipe is probably the MOST important. Risotto takes a deft, dedicated hand, because if you leave it alone for more than a minute while cooking, it’s likely to stick to the bottom. Arborio rice soaks up liquid very rapidly, and it’s important to keep stirring and adding broth when you need to. PAY ATTENTION!]
5. Add in 1/2 cup of the pumpkin broth and stir the mixture until the liquid is completely absorbed. Continue to add the broth in, 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until the rice has soaked up each addition before pouring in more. After 20-25 minutes, you should be out of broth, and your risotto should be looking rich and creamy, while remaining moist and soft.
6. Add in the Ombra cheese, parsley, remaining salt, pepper, and nutmeg. I was pretty liberal with the nutmeg—it completely heightened the flavors, and was so compatible with the pumpkin flavors in the broth.
7. Remove from heat, and add more seasonings to taste if needed.
8. Ladle risotto into small bowls, add bacon on top, and serve to your drooling companion(s).
Super excited to share this one with you guys. Follow The Slug Kitchen for new recipes every week!
Alright guys, if you didn’t know already, pasta is the greatest thing ever. Seriously, it’s always good, no matter what time it is or what temperature it is outside. It’s great with sauces, other ingredients, and sometimes, it’s even good all on its own, just with a hint of butter or olive oil. Pure magic.
Reclaiming Provincial is a great little blog focused on “friendly” ingredients and ambitious recipes. Carey has quite a penchant for homemade pasta, and while I’m 0 for 2 in terms of making mine looks as professional as hers, she gives great instructions. I tried making her beet ravioli, which was fun but extremely time-consuming. This recipe is unbelievably simple and delicious (even if you forget to crumble feta on top like I did!)
Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter and Feta Cheese
[adapted from Reclaiming Provincial]
Makes varying amounts—depends on how thin you roll your gnocchi! I used about 3/4ths of the dough and made enough servings for 2 people.
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (I used Trader Joe’s Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago blend, which was a little too thick for the gnocchi but still worked.)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more, as needed)
- 1 egg yolk (if you’ve new to separating eggs, here’s how.)
- 2 tsp coarse sea salt, or 1 tsp regular salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2-3 tsp butter (more if needed)
- about 1/4 cup of fresh sage, minced
- crumbled feta, as needed
1. Combine pumpkin, parmesan, egg yolk, salt, and nutmeg in a medium-sized bowl, and mix together. Stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough begins to come together.
2. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and soft. (Flour the crap out of this so you’re able to manipulate it!)
3. Cut dough into four pieces. Take one, and cover the remaining three with a damp tea towel, or freeze them for future use.
4. Roll the first piece out into a long rope, approximately 1” thick. Cut the rope into 1” x 1” pieces. You can dress these up by shaping them with a fork, so they’ll have little imprinted lines.
5. Bring a large pot of water to boil (you might want to start this after your dough has been flattened out to save time). Add gnocchi to the boiling water, and cook them until they begin to float (this will literally take no time at all).
6. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, and stir lightly until butter begins to brown. Add sage and gnocchi, and saute until the gnocchi are browned or crisp on each side.
7. Remove from pan, and top with feta.
New post up at The Slug Kitchen!
In San Francisco sits a quaint, reclaimed wood-laden eatery on the edge of the Outer Sunset district. You’ll find endless sea swept hipsters gathered on the newly-installed parklet outside, shivering and praying for a seat inside, along with a bourbon lemon apple cider. You’ve found Outerlands.
Hey guise follow my food blog if you like any of the following:
- illustrated Dijon mustard that’s fluent in French
- new recipes every week
- occasional spotlights on San Francisco restaurants
Disclaimer: Conventionally speaking, this is not a vegetarian or vegan-friendly recipe. However, for those of you that are more adept in “veganizing” recipes, you could potentially use smoked tempeh bacon as a textural substitute, and just use whatever cooking oil you prefer (instead of the bacon drippings) as the base for your vinaigrette.
I stumbled upon this recipe in the February 2012 issue of Cooking Light, which has become one of my favorite magazines to turn to for new, relatively-healthy recipes and combinations of ingredients. The writers and testers love to revamp dated, high-calorie dishes and tone them down by finding new ways to cut fat and sugar, while still maintaining great flavor.
I really like this recipe. It’s tangy and bright, and there’s a hint of bacon in every bite! [Gross, I just rhymed.] I’m huge on citrus-y, acidic flavors, and the pairing of apple cider vinegar and Dijon completely satisfy my taste buds here.
[adapted from Cooking Light]
- 1 1/2 lb Yukon Gold or fingerling potatoes, chopped into 1-inch pieces, unpeeled
- 4 slices apple-smoked bacon (I found this at Trader Joe’s, you can probably find this at any local Whole Foods or standard grocery store as well)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp garlic
- 4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 6 tbsp apple cider vinegar (you could probably use white if that’s all you have on hand, but apple cider is the best for this recipe.)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2/3 cup sliced green onions1. Heat up a large pot or saucepan filled with two-thirds of water over high heat. Meanwhile, chop your potatoes and add them to the water. It’s okay if you add them before the water is boiling—it’ll speed up their cooking time.2. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat to medium-high and cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain and set aside.3. Fry bacon in small pan over medium-high heat until crisp—you’ll notice that all the fat has reduced to drippings in the pan. Remove from pan and blot with a paper towel—keep the drippings in the pan. [You can crumble the bacon into bits now, or wait until later when it’s not freakishly hot.]4. Add olive oil to the pan with bacon drippings, and return to medium-high heat.6. Add brown sugar, minced garlic, and Dijon to pan, cook for about 1 minute.7. Add apple cider vinegar and bring mixture to boil. Once it starts boiling, remove from heat.8. Stir in pepper and salt.9. Combine this mixture with potatoes, and throw in your sliced green onions (and crumble bacon in if you haven’t done that yet).
Mix thoroughly together, and feel free to add more vinegar or sugar if you need a more intensive flavor.
New post is up, after a minor delay. Let me know what you think!
Hot and sour soup is one of my all-time favorite comfort dishes. My dad and I used to go to this one place called Golden Hunan practically once a week when I was growing up in the San Fernando Valley, and we always got this soup, without fail. It’s a very fond memory of mine. There’s something about the tanginess and the spice that just keeps you coming back for more. Not to mention, it’s just as good as (if not better than) any average Chicken Noodle crap.
Omnivores: This soup doesn’t have to be vegan, or vegetarian, for the record. Feel free to cook up and shred some pork or chicken in place of the silken tofu, or use beef or chicken broth. But chances are, you won’t need to switch around anything here. The tofu and mushrooms give the soup a lot of body, and it’s unexpectedly hearty.
Vegan Hot & Sour Soup
[adapted from Jolinda Hackett]
6 cups veggie broth
2 cups shiitake mushrooms [two of the packages you find at the grocery store should be plenty]
12 oz (3/4 package) silken tofu (or fried tofu/seitan)
1 small can bamboo shoots
1 small can sliced water chestnuts
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp pepper (I think I used a bit more than this. Just start with this amount and work up from there)
1 tsp hot sauce (I used Cholula, which has a nice roasty flavor)
2 tbsp white vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup scallions, sliced
2 tbsp chili oil (I didn’t use this since I have a spicy-phobic boyfriend. But I didn’t think it was necessary)
Here’s the deal. Just dump it all in the pot—except for the scallions and the tofu—once you’ve brought the broth to a boil. Then, let it simmer for about 15-20 mins. Add in the scallions and tofu, which I sliced into 1/2” pieces.
Then, add more vinegar, pepper, and/or hot sauce to your liking. I felt that 2 tbsp of soy sauce was the perfect amount, but you may want to vary the amount, depending on how salty you like your broth.
Seriously easy, and so delicious.
Hey guise, check out my new cooking blog.
Summer Squash Risotto with Fresh Garlic & Petite Peas from the talented Vegenista! Good lord, this looks all right, outta sight! I love risotto; it’s the greatest because it’s so easy to fuck up but even if you overcook it, the result is just kind of a makeshift juk, and it’s still delicious. Also, it’s cheap-ish and you can put pretty much anything you want in it and it’ll probably be tasty as hell. Let’s eat it all! All of it!
In my recipes, I talk about caramelizing onions a lot! I always do it, because I like the depth of flavor it adds to food. I remember when I first started hanging out in the kitchen,* learning how to cook, I was like, “Hey, what’s the difference between caramelizing onions and burning them?” No one could give me an answer I liked. I think it’s the difference between browning them to release the sugars and blackening them because the heat was too high. Does that work for you?
I’m also a visual person, so we’ll do this step by step. Pictures included!
2 Tbsp. oil (I’m using olive, but vegetable is more than fine!)
2 red onions
For most recipes, you will probably only need one onion, but for the sake of this demonstration, I’ll be using two. Let’s say, one tablespoon of oil to one onion? I think that sounds good. Caramelizing onions can take up to an hour, so plan accordingly!
Another great thing about caramelizing onions is that you can keep them in the fridge to use later, though I’d say store them no more than five days. Then, when you want to use them for a recipe, heat and go.
Let’s get this onion party started! Heat oil on medium high heat. You will know it’s ready when you flick some cold water into the pan and it sizzles. Add your chopped onion and turn heat down to medium.
Chopped red onions in heated olive oil. Let the caramelizing begin!
Now is the part where you don’t have to do much, but stay close to your onions so you can keep an eye on them. You don’t have to constantly turn them with a spatula, maybe about every 7 to 10 minutes.
My onions took about 50 minutes to caramelize. I turned the heat down low; not only was I in the middle of watching Big Love, but my porcelain pan gets very hot in the middle and I didn’t want my onions to burn. I scooted them to the sides, where less heat was concentrated.
The finished product.
The point at which your onions are done is kind of up to you. I stop cooking mine when they are nicely brown, through and through. You will reach this point anywhere between 20 and 60 minutes. Taste them during your cooking process to see if they’ve achieved a level of caramelization to your liking!
Another little thing I did, which is totally optional, was deglaze my pan with white wine. When I felt my onions were done, I added a healthy splash of wine into the pan, and let it cook into the onions for a minute or two before turning the heat off. This lifts all the caramelized bits off of your pan and back into the onions. Yum! If wine isn’t your thing, you can do this with vegetable stock.
I want to give a shout-out to Chef Fox at Source, because he has given me tons of tips on how to caramelize onions. Thanks, boss!
*Did you know I’ve worked at The Chicago Diner, Cafe Gratitude, and now Source? Well, now you do!
Dude, the wine idea is bomb! I’m definitely gonna try this next time I make me some caramelized onions.