You’ll have to forgive me for getting February’s theme started in late January – I am usually very good at following rules – but when Streusel suggested chocolate (she was clear that she wanted this theme “even though Valentine’s day is stupid”), I figured we should get moving ASAP.
My brother suggested that I credit him as my muse for this recipe. If it’s not clear, my brother is a dork, though I grudgingly acknowledged he’s a dork with good ideas. Though – absolute truth be told – my dad was the one who started the crepe-making theme that is now running wild through my family (across three states, no less!).
When our family was together for Thanksgiving, my dad made savory crepes from a recipe he found in the New York Times, and served them for lunch as the wrap for various salads (tuna, egg, and chicken, if memory serves). The crepes were quite tasty, but fussy I assumed, so I didn’t think much more of it.
Fast forward to last week, when my brother mentioned that he’s been making crepes quite a bit, since – as it turned out – my niece and nephew had loved them. Brian’s (the crepe making muse we’re discussing) crepe utilization had ranged from savory wraps to sweet filled crepes, to even a thinly layered cake made of stacked crepes interspersed with buttercream. He also mentioned that they are super easy to make, and that he had a copy of Dad’s recipe. This got me thinking about chocolate month, and how much I’d like to eat a crepe covered in chocolate sauce (the peanut butter was a last minute addition following a thoughtful online recipe search).
Here’s what I love about this recipe: they’re decadent enough for dessert, yet filled with fruit, so you could call it a hearty breakfast if you wanted to. We actually ate ours for breakfast (that’s not the surprising part) but included plain greek yogurt (sweetened with a little honey) on the side to make it feel a little more “appropriate” for morning time.
This soup allowed me to use one of Strudel’s favorite kitchen gadgets. She actually bought one for me a few years ago! This soup is full of flavor and the crunch of the corn blends well with the smooth texture from the lentils. Pair this soup with a savory scone or biscuit like Strudel’s Cheddar Jalapeno Scone and winter doesn’t seem so bad.
Roasted chickens are a staple go-to food in my house and I like to boil down the bones to make broth. I had just boiled down the remnants of a roasted chicken (about 1 c. concentrated broth) and used it straight away for this soup.
I love, love, love miso soup; I’m pretty sure the saltiness has something to do with it (I have an unhealthy draw towards sodium-rich foods), but miso has always been a flavor that tastes really good to me. Back in my real vegetarian days – I eat seafood now – one of the foods I missed the most was actually this soup (also pepperoni*); I would happily chow down vegetarian sushi rolls while glancing longingly at this soup. I easily admitted that it was a great homecoming for me and my miso soup once I turned pescatarian.
That being said, I never really mastered making miso soup at home, until now. Everything I attempted to make was either super bland or tasted only of salt; I also made a bunch of really fussy recipes, something I’m happy to do occasionally, but not as a go-to recipe. As it turns out, all I needed was a magic, non-vegetarian ingredient: dashi. It seems that the fish soup stock was the star ingredient I was missing (thanks for the heads up on that, Dad!). By using just 5 ingredients – water, dashi, miso, tofu, and scallions – I’ve happily achieved my homemade miso soup nirvana.
* still haven’t eaten any pepperoni… but when I do, I fully expect it to be as great as it is in my memories
Living in a land-locked state, I can’t readily get good chowder from anywhere near me. When I crave something, I want it immediately and don’t want to have to spend all day making it. Such is the case with this chowder. I was able to make it and eat it in under an hour!
In doing a little research online I discovered that the difference between a chowder and soup is that a chowder is typically creamy, often with seafood and vegetables, and thickened with crackers. As much as I love crackers I don’t like adding crackers to my chowder, I like it to be thick to begin with, so with this chowder I added rice during cooking. It gave the desired consistency and with the chunks of seafood, a nice hardiness.
Happy 2016 everybody! I’ll admit that I’m a bit relieved that the holiday season is over – we had a lovely time visiting with friends and family, but I’m ready to get back to a regular life, and regular schedule, that doesn’t involve dessert after every meal. Well, my body is ready – but I won’t lie, I *do* love a bit of chocolate at breakfast… which makes it all the more reason to get back to a regular schedule. An occasional bit of a sweet in the morning is fine – but a daily morning treat is not fine, for my brain or my body.
Despite my commitment to getting back to healthy eating, chilly January doesn’t make me exactly crave a salad. In discussing this month’s theme, Streusel and I agreed that it should be something warm and hearty – it’s cold in our respective cities of Denver and Seattle (it’s even snowing this very second in Seattle!). So, we decided that January should here forth be known as Strudel and Streusel’s Month of Soups. So let’s get our soup on!
I typically don’t repost a recipe from another blogger unless I can tweak it and make it my own. I like to be original however these crackers caught my eye and they enabled me to use one of my favorite gadgets for something other than pasta or baklava dough. Since Clotilde’s recipe is metric I thought I would convert it to the inch-pound system and give it a try.
When I was in junior high and high school, my parents had a rule that my brothers and I were each required to make dinner for the family once a week. They said it was so we would learn how to plan, prepare, and cook a proper meal; while I’d like to believe they also did it so they wouldn’t have to cook three nights a week, I don’t think that’s actually true. We weren’t delicious cooks back then, and in fact, at some point they made a rule that no one was ever allowed to make Tuna Noodle Casserole again. Blech. I shiver to think about how much TNC we made them eat before they enforced that directive. I also remember a night where my brother Eric didn’t properly figure out the plan/prepare part of his dinner, and we ate Turkey Tetrazzini at 930pm (on a school night no less! Gasp!)
As part of our culinary education, my folks picked up the giant teaching cookbook, “The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.” It covers all courses of meals, with recipes broken down step-by-step. As the title suggests, the book includes extensive drawing so that you have a good idea of what you’re supposed to be doing. I remember the recipes being solid and tasty; not life-changingly spectacular, but respectable and accessible.
That being said, nearly thirty(!) years later, I’m still making the marinara sauce from that cookbook. It tastes great – I particularly like that the flavor is simple but with an intensely tomato flavor; plus, cooking up a batch is only slightly more difficult than buying a jar of sauce at the store. That the sauce is also incredibly adaptable and stores well in the fridge makes it all the more fantastic.
If you have a kitchen lover in your circle of friends and family, and need a gift for them this holiday season, any of these would be well appreciated! I had a hard time choosing only nine of my favorite kitchen tools to talk about. Since Strudel started off this month’s season of sharing with a nice introduction to 9 of her favorite kitchen tools I figured I would follow suit!
Not surprisingly, when Streusel and I give gifts to one another, they’re usually kitchen items that we love, and want to ensure the other person gets to experience that same kitchen-tool nirvana. In honor of that – and because we’re in the midst of a gift-giving season* – we decided that for this month, we’d talk about our favorite items as well as put those items to use in some well-loved recipes.
note: to be clear, I’m also a fan of getting yourself gifts year-round, as well – if you don’t, who can guarantee that someone will?!
Last month I traveled to Providence RI for work and although it wasn’t as adventurous as Africa, it was an exciting and unexpected find for me. I was there working on a weekend and had a few hours to kill so my co-worker and travel buddy, Suzy (also my photographer for this post), signed us up for a Food Tour called Savoring Federal Hill!
We took a three hour tour of an Italian neighborhood near downtown called Federal Hill. When we signed up for it we didn’t realize it was an Italian neighborhood, we just knew there would be eating involved. When I discovered it was all things Italian I was in heaven.