Weezie’s Spicy Shrimp, Sausage & Chicken Stew by Weezie

Posted on 02-24-11 · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Spicy Shrimp, Sausage & Chicken Stew

I had invited Priscilla for her birthday, but I was a little cooked out and couldn’t come up with anything to make. I started dreaming about the ingredients I knew she’d love – a stew of shrimp, chicken and sausage kept popping into my mind and making me hungry. So I considered what would go well with this rather unconventional trio. The cuisine of the seafaring Portuguese and hearty southern stews seemed apropro, as did capers, some wine and of course my herbs. I wanted this stew to be hearty and full with some heat from Italian sausage, a hint of sea brine, and those perfectly pink shrimp and deep brown chicken thighs.

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Mushroom barley and chicken soup by Anjuli

Posted on 02-04-11 · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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In the words of my father, “Darlin, you really went to town on lunch.” Well, not exactly. What he was referring to was our lunch today of mushroom barely and chicken soup with focaccia. The focaccia was made last night by Matt in a baking frenzy – or as much as rolling out pizza dough and topping it with rosemary and goat cheese and little slivers of onions can be considered a sudden impulse. Yet focaccia does lend itself to a certain spontaneity and resulting crusty satisfaction. And we had mom’s post fresh in our heads to fuel the fire. While the dough was being rolled I stuffed a chicken in a pot, covered it in water and made the fixings of a good stock. After an hour or so of ever so carefully simmering the contents – which on mom’s stove requires a ton of finagling of knobs and peeking under the cocked lid to make sure the bloop, bloop is constant – we took the chicken out. I had started to feel the kind of crappy where your head is stuffed with foam and your kidneys hurt and you just want to lay on the floor in the kitchen and moan. So I lay there, perfectly useless, while Matt pulled apart the steaming chicken with a fork and a thumb. I did emerge a few times to pull dark chicken meat from the bowl and pop it in my mouth. I think boiled chicken may still rival the roasted kind in my book. Then we threw the bones back in and continued to barely simmer the stock, for what was supposed to be two more hours. At this point you’re aiming to get all the gelatin out of the bones. Well, unsurprisingly, we fell asleep somewhere in there and woke up at 2am to find the stock had been going strong for three long hours. It was down to about 2 inches in the pot including bones and vegetables and such. Ooops. It smelled divine, but we effectively had the essence of chicken stock, boiled down to very little. Matt strained it while I wobbled around, brushing my teeth, thinking about stock and getting into bed.

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Roasted sunchoke soup with dill and cream by Anjuli

Posted on 12-08-10 · Tags: , , , , , ,

Roasted sunchoke soup

I don’t know which is a more unfortunate name for this vegetable: sunchoke or jerusalem artichoke. Sunchokes look like overgrown, dirty ginger, are a cousin of the sunflower (hence, sunchoke) and native to the US, and taste like a slightly sweet potato with a bit of nuttiness and the texture of a turnip. Unfortunately, both its names and odd ginger shape have caused this root to be relegated to the oddball end-of-year bins at farmers markets.

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Tomato soup and a Wildforest adventure by Anjuli

Posted on 10-12-10

Tomato soup with grilled sourdough toasts

Matt and I have been planning to live in a campsite in the woods for over 6 months now. On September 18, our plans came into fruition on a small homestead in Annapolis, California. Our woodland adventure is an opportunity to reconnect with nature and start to learn primitive survival skills – which we will ultimately hone over a lifetime if we keep up with them. To some this conjures up images of secret stashes of spam and artillery. While we expect at some time to learn our way around guns, planes, and blades, we don’t share a doomsayer outlook nor an appreciation for meat “foods” that will outlive humans. We simply want to expand our awareness and learn to adapt, survive and enjoy the experience of the wilderness. Of course we’re still working remotely, so it’s not an entirely off-the-grid dirty hippy holiday.

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Dandelion dal: Harvest your lawn by Anjuli

Posted on 04-22-10 · Tags: , , , ,

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I’ve been visiting my Mom in Connecticut. See, we’re enjoying the first crop of asparagus and writing a cookbook together. Yes, that’s right. We woke up one morning and this view came out of nowhere. What do you see when you look at this photo? A field of flowers, dandelions, perhaps? A mowed lawn in dire need of weeding? My Mom, well she sees food. On this particular morning she looked out over the dandelions, their bright yellow heads sprouting up through the freshly cut lawn and said, “Let’s make some dal.” This is my first spring outside of New York and I am just adjusting to pollen, let alone a garden and a lawn. Making a meal of this lawn… a dal at that, sounded like the best food idea I’d heard all year. So the following morning she headed out with a gardening fork and cut that first bed of dandelions and piled them into a basket. They were fresh, young, a bit sweet and wonderfully bitter – so far away from that summer bitterness that makes you gag, and nothing like the matured and metallic farmed variety you find in the store.

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Black bean soup + Utah’s red dirt by Anjuli

Posted on 02-09-10 · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

"Black" bean soup

Lately I have been reading about the Japanese cooking philosophy, washoku, in a wonderful book of the same name by Elizabeth Andoh. Included in the principles of the washoku philosophy are considerations of: the five colors (go shiki), five tastes (go mi), five senses (go kan), and five ways… of preparing food (go hō). These principles are used to prepare meals daily, from elaborate multi-course kaiseki to the simplest of breakfasts. While they can easily be identified in Japanese cooking, and the Japanese certainly do a beautiful job of interpreting their philosophy, guidelines like these are an excellent way of exploring any meal or cuisine. While the list may seem daunting, it’s quite simple, and quiet effective in guiding us to create healthful, satisfying meals.

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Carne con chile by Anjuli

Posted on 02-02-10 · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pojoaque - new house and neighbors

Some foods are so hearty and so beloved that selecting one among the many variations is like waging war upon all the others. This is probably the case with beef chili, which some claim to have evolved from a Northern Mexican dish, and some a purely American one. My childhood memory of beef chili would more accurately be: “ground beef with kidney beans,” or the faintest memory of that other, “vegetarian” kind, which never held my attention for more than a few bites. In fact, I never really understood what the “chili” part of the dish was referring to, except for some faint red spice bombarded by too much oregano and cumin.

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Spicy Tuscan soup by Anjuli

Posted on 01-28-10 · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Spicy Tuscan Soup

You can’t go wrong with hearty soups and stews in winter. They make any snowfall feel like the best of snow days, they restore your body and relax your mind, and they simply and deliciously warm you up from the inside out. My family doesn’t eat pork all the time. But when we come across a really good spicy pork sausage, we immediately find a big soup pot to put it in. Allowing the thick coins to soften and infuse a light broth with their rich, spicy, fatty goodness can change your whole outlook on cooking in winter. There must be a group of people out there who have devised recipes that showcase turkey and chicken sausage, but this soup is not one of those recipes. Furthermore, I am not one of those people. The fat and spice is what gives peasant-like soups their umph. It’s why you find yourself leaning in over the bowl and breathing in deep. And fat certainly puts the soul in good ol’ chicken soup.

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Hearty cabbage soup with sausage and potatoes by Weezie

Posted on 12-11-09 · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Hearty cabbage soup with spicy sausage, ham, and potatoes

Cabbage is a satisfying vegetable to grow in the garden like carrots and parsnips. It is relatively undemanding and available from July on in the garden. In the fall after hard frost, when you have harvested everything from the garden, it will keep in the fridge for at least a month. We consider it a staple, like carrots or onions, that we almost never have to buy.

Cabbage, by many, is considered a poor man’s vegetable and thus there are millions of recipes from around the world for wonderful cabbage soups. The following was inspired by the Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine, with my adaptations.

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Mom’s First Post: Moong Dal with Rosemary, Thyme, Cumin and Lemon by Weezie

Posted on 11-25-09 · Tags: , , , , ,

Dal

Anjuli has been inviting me, her mom, to post on her blog. I am a little old for this sort of thing, but I will give it a shot. I certainly love her blog. I feel honored.

Ramani, Anjuli’s dad, has been bothered by spicy food lately. He grew up in Bombay, so this is not something we take casually. This is up on the level of Greek tragedy. He strongly felt that without heat there can be no flavor. Poor guy. But yesterday he had an epiphany. We created a dal with herbs, garlic and onions and he loved it. I don’t mean he sort of liked it, it was ok. I mean he loved it.

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