Posts from the ‘mine’ Category

roasted chicken matzo ball soup with quinoa


when i crave matzo ball soup, i make it myself because i can’t get it in the city anymore. seems all the jewish places have moved out of town. i usually can’t get it to taste as good but this time i did it different & it blew away any chicken soup i have ever had or made.

the process is tedious but well worth it.

roast an entire chicken thomas keller style. i coated the entire bird with

-coarse salt
-white pepper
-italian seasoning
-valentina fruit seasoning or some kind of chili lime salt – important

let cool. separate the skin & bones from the meat. make stock. i did a double stock-a previous stock was used to simmer the new bird bones. this added more richness. i also used a pressure cooker which speeds it all up. tossed in 2 bunches of green onion tops, several garlic cloves & above spices.

while the stock is cooking, take a large skillet & fry 5 pieces of chopped bacon till crisp. remove bacon, drain some fat & set aside. chop one large onion & fry 10 minutes. add 3 chopped carrots & 2 chopped celery stalks. add salt, cover & cook 10 more minutes. add 6 chopped garlic cloves, the chicken meat & bacon. add all the spices used on the bird. cook covered on low until the stock is done-about an hour. the pressure cooker is my friend.

drain the stock & combine with skillet. it will be ready almost immediately.

cook the quinoa separate. matzo balls are also separate & very easy. whip 2 eggs with 2 T oil whipping them with electric mixer. stir in one pack matzo meal, chill 15 minutes. cook covered in simmering water 20 minutes. i have made them many times & it seems this is the best way. i used to cook it all together and the flavor is much better cooked separately. you DO want to use the bacon.

i topped it with togarashi. a little romano, but it’s really fine without it.

chicago is having it’s 4th polar vortex- minus 30 degrees w/wind chills. soup is not a luxury. it’s a necessity.

beef broth/french onion soup/polish pork & beans/cucumber apple avocado salad


i was craving a childhood favorite, Soupe-a-lOignon-au-Fromage-French-Onion-Soup-and i wanted it to be really good, which means making the broth from scratch. i have never done this before so i set out to research a few recipes. being a vegetarian for many years, there are still a lot of meat things i’ve been intimidate by. after some research, i decided on emeril lagasse’s beef stock recipe. i used a combo of oxtail sawed by the butcher into half inch pieces, a few marrow bones & a shoulder. the recipe is simple but very time consuming. it took 6 hours & made a gallon & a half of incredible beef stock. enough to make 3 soups!

after chilling the stock, i removed all of the fat & saved it for cooking. check it out


i got busy on the french onion soup first. i cooked all day long because chicago is in the deep freeze right now and i was unable to leave my home & it’s too cold due to poor insulation. using the stove was an easy fix. onion soup is very simple. it’s mostly onions, butter & stock topped with toasted french bread & gruyere cheese. to my utter delight, it turned out delish.


the broth got me so excited i had visions of future bowls of pho & ramen….alas i had a pound of dried navy beans & cooked them in a big casserole for a few hours. i ended up making what i call the yummy dried tomato paste, navy beans, kielbasa, applewood smoked bacon, & one entire head of roasted garlic. turned out fantastic! i called it my polish pork & beans.


in the meantime, i decided to make a salad with chopped cucumbers & apples with avocados in a home made anchovy dressing-anchovy paste mixed with olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper & garlic topped with some parmesan/gruyere cheese-DELISH!


as freezing as it is outside-50 below zero with wind chill-this food will last a few days if i get stranded at home. i’m not sure i’m gonna teach today. it’s just as cold today. but i’m SO glad i got all the ingredients before the predicted cold came. it’s been 27 years since we’ve had this kind of weather. nothing to do but knit, cook, watch tv & wait until the weather gets warm enough to go into. several people have died from this & tons went to the hospital for frozen injuries like frostbite. i hope to god i don’t have to deal with this today. yoga is not that important in my book. wish me luck 🙂

choco-strawberry pazzo cake


i had a few items to use up-mainly creme fraiche & strawberry jam i made when i bought 8 lbs of strawberries for $1.

as usual, i stuck those words into epicurious & found strawberry pazzo cake w/herbed creme fraiche.

i had to substitute several ingredients. there was no brown sugar so i used cocoa powder. i had no milk, so i used pineapple coconut juice. i combined the creme fraiche with cinnamon & threw it into the batter instead of on top. and i did the balsamic glaze with my jam-about 3/4 cup, a couple tablespoons condensed milk, cooked it a while, & set in fridge to chill & thicken.

to my surprise, it turned out really good! it’s like a cake that wants to be fudge, so it was kind of a light fudge & not too sweet at all!

tomato/avocado/corn salad w/roasted garlic olivada


this blog is really for me. when i make something, i want to remember it. this recipe was made with what i had on hand & caters to my current olive/avocado fetish. it is utterly delish-SO good i ate almost the entire batch on my own.

the salad

2 ears corn painted w/olive oil
2 ripe avocados
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 lg cucumber peeled
1/4 cup small diced red onion soaked in ice water
1/4 cup nicoise olives
the dressing

1/2 head roasted garlic
3 T. olive tapenade (ground olives w/olive oil)
3 T. olive oil
3 T. balsamic vinegar
maldon salt to taste
fresh ground pepper
bunch fine chopped basil
2 T. anchovy paste
3 T. shredded parm/asiago/romano cheese

-roast the corn in 350 oven till browned. cut off kernels & put in large bowl. chop avocados & tomatoes & add. i used 3 kinds of my garden cherry tomatoes-white cherry, black cherry & fig. peel, de-seed & chop the cucumber. add olives. add onions after soaking 30 minutes. this makes a big difference to people who are sensitive to raw onions. you need the flavor but it can be too harsh if you don’t soak. toss this together.

-roast garlic painted in oil in foil oven 350 for 35 minutes. squeeze into mini chopper/processor with olive tapenade, balsamic, anchovy paste, salt, & pepper. add olive oil gradually. mix in the basil (i used my purple basil from the garden which is stronger in flavor than regular green basil) & the cheese. add to veggies, toss gently & serve with a sprinkle of cheese on top.

SO good! all of these ingredients are in season so take advantage!

*easily can be made vegan by omitting the anchovy paste because the olives are flavorful enough & cheese is not necessary either because of this. olives are your flavor friend 🙂

creamy thai-chili pesto shrimp pasta


i cooked for a friend on friday for his birthday. it’s more fun than taking him out. and the dogs can hang out. i decided on creamy thai-chili pesto shrimp pasta because i already had made it & it turned out fantastic. this time i went with high-end shrimp, which makes a huge difference.

i traded a few bags of my home made blissbites dog treats for enough fresh basil to make a quart of pesto.


what a luxury! i used this recipe loosly-changing a few things. of course twice as much garlic & only 2 kinds basil, more cheese & 1/4 cup walnuts, which adds a nice texture.

creamy thai chili pesto shrimp pasta

-1 lb. large raw shrimp
-1 cup pesto sauce
2 T. olive oil
2 leeks
-1 cup home made tomato sauce (i roasted fresh tomatoes, removed skins & sauced)
handful thai chili peppers
-1/2 stick butter
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cup assorted cheese-asiago/romano/parm/sharp cheddar/swiss/guyre…
-fresh pasta
salt & pepper to taste

prepare the pesto, set aside. steam shrimp 5 minutes. remove shell, de-vein & cut. set aside. heat olive oil. sautee chopped leeks 10 minutes. add tomato sauce, chopped chilis. cook 10 minutes. add butter, cream & stock. cook 10 minutes. add shrimp & cheese. cook 5 more minutes. cook pasta al dente. finish in sauce. season to taste.

this turned out more like a shrimp pesto mac & cheese. if you dust it with breadcrumbs & bake, it would be even better. this is RICH & NOT for dieters.


absolutely perfect chili


do you remember bishops chili? it was in pilsen-it was a meaty chili that was SO incredibly perfect. they moved to westmont so i haven’t been back for 25 years or more.

anyhoo…i’m always chasing that “thing” that they did SO perfect. less tomatoes, more spices/meat/meat juices…soft awesome beans….

i got pretty close yesterday.

1 medium white onion
2 medium red peppers
2 italian sausage links
1 lb. ground sirloin
1/2 bulb garlic
1/4 cup red thai chili peppers
generous italian seasoning
3 small cans high quality diced tomatoes
2 small cans butch’s baked beans with sauce

1 cup fine chopped fresh purple basil
1 cup fine chopped cilantro

olive oil for frying

start the onion chopped in olive oil & salt. add sausage casing removed & crumbled to make a gravy. add ground beef. add spices & garlic mashed with the peppers. you can use any kind of hot peppers. i have a thai pepper plant right now that is fertile. after a while, add the red peppers small chopped, seeds removed. cover & cook till everything is combined well-10 minutes or more.

after the meat is properly browned, transfer to pot & add all the canned stuff. cook covered over low heat for a few hours. put fresh herbs in 15 minutes before serving.

you can top with any kind of cheese/sour cream/avocado, however, you really don’t need anything. this is EXCELLENT.

however, i need to go to westmont and eat bishops again. because i think i fell short of what they are. really….the very best in the world.

avocado tomatillo gazpacho with thai chilis


this turned out amazing! easy, very healthy, vegan, super delish! i have a thai pepper plant that is currently getting harvested & i’m substituting them for anything that needs a kick. these are better than jalapenos or serranos-the burn is slow, long, & extremely tasty!

here are the cute peppers


of course you can use any kind of peppers. enjoy!

1 pound tomatillos, papery shells removed, rinsed

boil low for 10 minutes turning once, drain water & place in food processor till blended. press through a screen to remove seeds.

2 slices red or white onion-soak in cold water w/a little vinegar 5 minutes. rinse & chop.
2 to 3 garlic cloves, to taste
several chilis

pulverize the above & add to the tomatillo mixture. then add everything else-

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
5 fresh squeezed limes
2 large avocados chopped
one cucumber skinned, seeded & chopped
one bunch fine chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon whole cumin roasted & ground fresh
plenty of salt to taste
1.5 pounds of the best heirloom tomatoes chopped

pulverize, chill overnight or at least 2 hours. top with sour cream or yogurt! my new summer fave!