Mastering the Art of “Everything” Vegetable Soup

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This is called using whatever you’ve got.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s pretty common to subscribe to some kind of produce delivery service. For us, it’s Imperfect Produce and Farmstead.

Although these delivery services make healthy eating a lot easier, occasionally we wind up with a bit of surplus near the end of the month.

Even if you don’t use one of these delivery services, you’ve got to admit that this is the season when vegetables shine. Corn, green beans and tomatoes are at their peak in the summer. It’s hard not to overdo it and buy too much when the prices on produce are so low.

In my freezer, I had about a cup of veggies on the verge of freezer burn, and a blob of tomato paste leftover from making pasta sauce so I threw those into this dish as well. Why not clean out the fridge and the freezer?

Other great substitutes or add-ins could be celery, cooked beans, sweet potatoes, or again, whatever you have!

Soup isn’t typically the first thing people crave in summer, but just trust me. This recipe walks the line of being light enough for summer and hearty enough to satisfy. It would pair awesomely with a salad, pasta dish or sandwich. Although my version is vegetarian, it could easily be vegan if you skip the sour cream garnish.

Let’s just be honest — this is the easiest (and most cost effective) way to make sure none of that summer veg goes to waste. Extra points if you save the root ends of your carrot, leek, garlic cloves and shallot in the freezer to make a homemade stock later!

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No-knead English muffins

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This past spring, I took a trip to Napa Valley and experienced the most incredible English muffins from a local bakery in the area. I’m serious about my bread. This English muffin made all other English muffins look silly. The outside was slightly crisp and the inside was fluffy and full of nooks and crannies. It’s all about that texture. If you know me, you know that I love any bread full of nooks and crannies.

Nooks and crannies = little pockets to hold butter!

When I got home, I was inspired to re-create my English muffin experience at home using the same recipe as my no-knead herb slab ciabatta, sans the herbs.

This recipe is just as easy as the ciabatta recipe…and there’s no need to even turn on your oven! I’ll show you how to make your own English muffins, full of nooks and crannies…

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Double chocolate brownie cookies for two

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Sometimes I just want the taste of a fudgy brownie without having to make a whole pan of brownies. Recently I featured a recipe for chocolate chip cookies for two, and thought — why don’t I turn this into brownie cookies?

This recipe gives me the brownie flavor I crave, in a much more portable cookie form. Feel free to play around with the add-ins. Walnuts would be awesome in these. Better yet, roll the chilled dough in powdered sugar and they’re chocolate crinkles! Comment below with your favorite brownie add-ins.

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Kitchen basics – how to roast garlic

FinalGarlicI live about 30 minutes north from the garlic capital: Gilroy, California. Each year on (what seems to be) the hottest weekend of the summer, people make the trek to Gilroy to enjoy all things garlic.

I can’t wait until summer. I love garlic on just about anything.

Perfectly roasted garlic is soft, sweet, nutty, caramely and encompasses everything we love about garlic, without the sharp burning after taste. It’s easy to create a jar of roasted garlic cloves at home. Let me show you.

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Kitchen Basics – How To Make A Perfectly Cooked Hard Boiled Egg

Every egg lover has experienced it. The green ring around the yolk of an egg isn’t just visually unappealing-it’s a sign that the egg has been overcooked. The green ring comes with a chalky, lifeless texture and lack of taste.

Hard boiled eggs are not always considered to be the most glamorous food, but when cooked properly, the flavors are creamy, unctuous, and luxurious. Here is a tutorial on how to cook a perfect hard boiled egg.

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Pumpkin Spice Coffee Recipe

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I know in a previous post, I said that I prefer Vietnamese iced coffees over pumpkin spice lattes. After a busy weekend, I had absent mindedly forgotten to pre-cold brew some coffee. I found myself sleepily scratching my head pondering what kind of me-time caffeine kick I could make myself instead. I don’t generally like to give into hype, but for some reason…I wanted a pumpkin spice latte.

The clouds have continued to hang low over my home town for the past few days, and I was craving a warm drink. I had no interest in getting dressed just to drink coffee. I wanted to drink coffee, while wearing my robe and slippers. I wanted coffee that only tasted like I had paid $7 for it, with real pumpkin.

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To Freeze/Make Ahead, Or Not?

Photo from My Recipes

There seems to be a recent boost in popularity amongst home cooks: big batch make-ahead freezer meals.

To those who may not be familiar with this method, these recipes generally involve prepping and assembling several meals at once, storing each in the freezer, and then thawing and reheating in the oven or slow cooker at the time needed. Some people believe that this method saves time and money, however others might still be asking, “Why would I want to do that?”

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Hello!

Today has been downright relaxing. Right now, I am sitting in the sunniest corner of my bedroom, propped up with dozens of pillows, and drinking coffee. Some people think of coffee as some quickly imbibed energy drink-but to me, it’s kind of my “me time ritual.”

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I am drinking cold brewed Vietnamese iced coffee. For some people, it’s all about pumpkin spice lattés at the very first sign of fall…but my long time love affair has been with the less-acidic, caramely, malty, creamy, almost buttery notes of a good cold brew Vietnamese iced coffee. I realize that the big-name coffee chains have recently hopped onto the cold brew bandwagon, but I still prefer to make my own at home.

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