Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ginger Chicken and Vegetable Soup

It is still summer how are my boyfriend and I sick?...He is definitely sicker than I am, so I decided to do the cooking and I'm making sure we flush all the bad stuff out.  We have been busy and going out of town for the last month and a half on fun adventures so I guess this was bound to happen.  Luckily we are staying in town this weekend and it also happens to be Pickle Fest 2014 with my mom.  Every year my mother and I (sometimes my aunt too) get together and make our secret batch of about 40lbs of pickles and it is by far one of my favorite things.  It appears that I forgot to post about Pickle Fest last year but here is a post from two years ago.  Onto my recipe it is healing and delicious, so whether you need it now or in the winter I hope it helps cure whatever ails you too.

Serves 5

The Ingredients
8 cups of vegetable broth

3 tablespoons of fresh ginger root, grated

4 garlic cloves, pressed

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup green beans, snapped in half

1 cup zucchini, chopped

2 cups cooked chicken breast

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (I like things acidic)

2 tablespoon sriracha

1/2 teaspoon nature's seasoning (or any of your favorite simple spice mix)

3 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped

pepper to taste

The Process
1.  Add broth, garlic, ginger, carrots, and green beans to a pot and bring to a boil.  Then turn heat down to about medium (so that there is a rolling simmer).

2.  Add zucchini, lemon juice, nature's seasoning, sriracha, and pepper.  Let simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes.

3.  Add pre cooked chicken and cook for about 5 more minutes (I like my veggies crunchy so if you don't cook longer).  Add chives and take off heat to serve.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tomato Basil and Cheddar Soup

As many people know there is an awesome Tomato Cheese Soup made in Eugene, Oregon at a restaurant called the Glenwood.  I often crave this soup and find myself wishing I could magically have the recipe, but oh no the restaurant is super tight lipped about who even knows the recipe.  So instead of driving to Eugene every time I want this soup I made my own version which resembles it enough to satisfy my cravings.  Speaking of Eugene my boyfriend and I attended a beautiful wedding on Mt. Pisgah Saturday evening, I met a lot of awesome people and we all had a wonderful time.  I will keep this post short because it's Monday and who isn't tired?

Serves 5

The Ingredients
½ yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup of tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
14oz fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup pesto
¾ cup half and half
5oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper
The Process

1.  Brown onion in butter over medium-high heat until slightly browned. Add tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, tomato paste, garlic, sugar, ketchup and pesto. Cook for about 10 minutes.

2.  Use blender to make the soup slightly smooth.  Over medium heat stir in half and half.
3.  Add cheese to soup and stir until just blended.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Japanese Cucumber Salad

This last extended weekend was full of fun, we floated the Clackamas river for 4 hours on Saturday and then Sunday - Tuesday we were camping up at Timothy Lake on Mt. Hood.  We went canoeing, crawdad-ing, and swimming (the water was so warm it was heavenly).  This weekend we are headed to Eugene again for our last wedding of the summer which I'm sure will be a blast because food and dancing always are.  Now lets talk food, I made this salad with the Chinese Egg Drop Soup last week during a warm Portland summer day and they both hit the spot perfectly.  One of my lovely coworker's garden is producing a ton of Persian cucumbers that she brings in to share and boy are they tasty.  I slightly adapted this recipe.  Enjoy!

Serves 2

The Ingredients

1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced (I used a mandoline)

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons tamari

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar (or sugar substitute)

The Process
1.  Combine cucumber, onions, rice wine vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, and sugar in a bowl and toss until evenly coated and serve.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chinese Egg Drop Soup

I am very excited for this weekend because we leave on a camping trip to Timothy Lake on Sunday with my whole family.  My family has made this trip happen every year since I was very very young and it is something I look forward to every single year.  If you haven't ever been up on Mt. Hood in Oregon and gone to Timothy Lake you really need to check it out.  So bring on my 5 day weekend!!!  Now to the food, I have been craving this soup for quite some time and even though it has been in the 90s in Portland for going on 3 weeks I couldn't wait any longer to make it, so yes I ate hot soup on a hot day.  I have a recipe for a tomato egg drop soup on my blog that is also very tasty, but I was going for the authentic recipe here.  I adapted this recipe.  I accompanied this soup with a tasty Japanese salad that I will blog about next.

Serves 4

The Ingredients
6 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced

6 cups chicken

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (or to taste)

2 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 6 tablespoons water (substitute cornstarch for arrow root powder to make it paleo)

2 large egg

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

The Process
1.  In a medium saucepan over high heat, add the mushrooms, chicken stock, dry sherry, rice vinegar and ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the salt and pepper.

2.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the simmering soup and stir until the soup has slightly thickened (enough to coat the back of a spoon).

3.  In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and sesame oil lightly with a fork. Take your pot off the heat. Slowly pour the egg into the soup in a steady stream while continuously stirring with a ladle. The egg should cook immediately. Sprinkle the green onions on top and serve.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Paleo Chicken "Parmesan" with Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Summers are always so so busy, but in the midst of it all I somehow find time to still blog once in a while.  Two weekends ago we went to a beautiful wedding out on a farm in Aurora, Oregon and had the most fabulous pit roasted pig.  That night ended with copious amounts of dancing and a campout in the woods.  Last weekend we went down to Eugene, Oregon to visit my boyfriend's family and they took me out to Thistledown Farm, a farm very similar to one you would find on Sauvie's Island near Portland, Oregon.  The farm had some of the most amazing looking shallots I had seen in a long time and lots and lots of tasty fresh corn.  I concluded my weekend by going to see Portland's major league women's soccer team the Thorns, and we won!!!  If you haven't attended a Thorns game yet I really suggest you do, I find them much more entertaining than the Timbers and they are a good price.  Onto food, I recently received a mandoline for my birthday and have been using it for all sorts of things from fries to "noodles."  Last night I decided I wanted chicken parmesan with zucchini noodles in order to use up all the large awesome zucchinis that my garden is producing.  I adapted this chicken parmesan recipe and created the pesto zucchini noodles on my own.  Enjoy!

Serves 2

The Ingredients
2 Chicken Breasts
1 ½ cups Almond Flour
2 Tbl Italian Seasoning
1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp Black Pepper
2 Eggs
1/2 jar Marinara Sauce
2 cups zucchini noodles, shredded by mandoline or peeler
1 Tablespoon pesto
A couple fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden, sliced in half

The Process
1.  Preheat oven to 375 F & line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Pound out the chicken breasts to allow for even thickness throughout the cut.

3.  In a wide rim plate (i.e. pie dish), beat two eggs together.

4.  Mix the almond flour, seasoning, salt, and pepper together and lay out on a plate.

5.  Dip each piece of chicken in the egg wash first (both sides), then the dry batter (both sides, then repeat. This will allow for a nice thick crust.

6.  Lay the battered chicken on the baking sheet and bake at 375 F for ~35 minutes. Add more time if they don’t look crispy.

7.  In the mean time heat up your marinara and shred up your zucchini into noodles and cook for 4 minutes in a pan right before your chicken is done.  Then toss zucchini with pesto and add fresh tomatoes.

7.  Let the chicken cool for at least 5 minutes before you plate. Don’t fret if the bottom part of the batter sticks to the foil. Do your best to scrape it up with the chicken.  Plate the chicken, pour sauce over top and serve.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pimento Cheese Grits

As you all know well, my friend Rebecca and I are somewhat obsessed with pimento cheese everything...that being said here is another one of our cooking adventures exploring the wonderful world of pimento cheese, original recipe found here.  Since grits are a southern thing we decided to pair this meal with collard greens and the flavors ended up complementing each other very well.  My friend Rebecca and her husband just bought a big beautiful new home with a lovely kitchen so it was necessary to break it in with one of our cooking nights.  In other news 4th of July was a blast!  Two of my friend good friends visited from Florida and we had a BBQ, we went down to the north Portland bluffs and watched fireworks over the river, and we set off our own, all in all a very successful night.  During their visit we also made two river trips to cool off during this heat wave here in PDX.  Our first adventure was up to the Washougal river in Washington where the water was high and still very cold, too cold for swimming in my opinion.  Our next trip was to a secret spot I hadn't ever been to on the Sandy river, the water was warmish, and there was a very large swimming hole with a nice sandy beach (hard to find at rivers in the PNW).  Let the summer adventures continue!

Serves 6

The Ingredients
5 cups water
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups medium-grind stone-ground corn grits
4 ounces Beecher's Flagship cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/4 cups)
4 ounces Tillamook medium white cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/4 cups)
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup finely diced jarred piquillo peppers, patted dry
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
The Process
1.  In a large saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Whisk in the grits in a slow, steady stream. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until the grits are thickened and tender, about 30 minutes.

2.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk both cheddar cheeses into the grits along with the cream cheese, piquillo peppers and cayenne; season with salt and black pepper. Scrape the grits into a serving bowl, garnish with thinly sliced scallions and serve.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Romesco Sauce

I had recently purchased a bag of red, orange, and yellow bell peppers and before I had the chance to use them they started shriveling up on me so I knew I needed to use them quickly.  I decided to adapt this romesco sauce and I served it over chicken and steamed baby artichokes, boy was it delicious.  This recipe calls for pine nuts but I know you could use cashews or walnuts too. Last weekend my boyfriend and I attended our friends beautiful wedding in Silver Falls State Park in Oregon.  If you live in the Pacific Northwest and haven't visited this area it is a must see.  You find yourself driving for miles on end with farmland and fields surrounding you and then all of a sudden there is this massive beautiful forest in the middle of it all.  Another beautiful place to visit in the area is Opal Creek on the Santiam river, it is surrounded by ancient forest.  Summer is in full force and we have several more weddings, camping trips, and adventures ahead of us.  Enjoy!

Makes 3 cups

The Ingredients
3 cups chopped roasted red bell peppers     
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted     
1/2 large onion, diced     
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk    
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley     
Ground black pepper, to taste     
If you want to develop the flavor a little more add honey little by little to taste

The Process
1.  In a blender, purée roasted red peppers and pine nuts. Set aside.

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion and crushed red pepper; cook about 5 minutes or until beginning to brown and stick to the skillet. Stir in garlic and broth; cook 1 minute or until liquid has evaporated.

3.  Stir in puréed red pepper mixture and almond milk, whisking until evenly combined (this is also where you would add the honey). 

4.  Simmer 3 to 4 minutes or until heated through, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and black pepper.