Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Linguine with Tomato, Mozzarella, Sausage, Peas, and Garbanzo Beans.


Salmon and warm bok choy and carrot slaw with sesame soy vinaigrette.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

15 Minute Meals: Tomato Soup and Sandwich

Michael (my roommate for the last 4 years) came home today wanting tomato soup. I wasn't intending on cooking anything for dinner (it felt like a "turkey sandwich for dinner" day), but it then dawned on me that I have never made a tomato soup. I know I have the theory to make the soup but I have not experienced the practice. So here it is, my first attempt at tomato soup from scratch, with pantry staples. Done in roughly 15 minutes.

First, you'll need a 28oz can of tomatoes, preferably San Marzano variety (or any high quality canned tomato... or fresh tomatoes if they are in season.) I chopped up two fresh heirlooms and added it to the soup. Fresh tomatoes add a denser texture to the soup which helps to give some life to the soup. It might be nice to peel the tomatoes, but I was lazy.

Add all the tomatoes to a pot and simmer. I added in about 5 cloves of garlic, herbs de provence, dry vermouth, and cognac. Then grab yourself some Parmesan, the rind (the outer edge) of the cheese works great for adding some body, taste, and creaminess to the soup. I added about 3 thumb sized pieces, but add to taste.

Basically all you're doing is adding a bunch of ingredients into a pot and letting it simmer.

I finished with a knob of butter, but olive oil would be nice too (or nothing at all).

Ladle into bowls, garnish with whatever (I had a few leftover onions from the sandwiches and some parsley so I used that...of course basil would be nice, or some crab if you happen to have crab laying around...) You could add a drizzle of olive oil if you wanted to make it really nice. I didn't.

Sandwich is just a normal turkey, cheddar, and onion sandwich on Focaccia. Baked in the oven.

And that's it. 15 minute meal. Rachel Ray eat your heart out!
Overall the soup was pretty nice. It would have been better if I had shopped with tomato soup in mind, but alas I don't really shop with anything in mind. This soup was made with pantry staples for about $3.50-$4.00 for 4-5 servings. Not too bad.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Learning to Thai my shoes. Part 1

Thai food is weird to me. It's weird because its not what you normal think of when you think of asian food (unless you are, in fact, Thai). It also blends a ton of flavors, from South-East Asian countries and the middle east. I also eat Thai food maybe...6 times a year? (at a restaurant) And I'm pretty sure I just get pad thai half the time. However, although I am inexperienced on the subject, I do think I understand the flavors. I am after all Thai is right up my alley. Here I chronicle my take on Thai.

I want soup. It finally feels like autumn so I know I want a few things: turkey, sage, winter warmers, butternut squash, and soup. Here is my take on chicken noodle soup, Thai inspired.
The stock is made from a whole chicken, chicken broth, ginger, star anise, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, onions, whole white peppercorns, and parsley stems. Boil for about an hour, strain off everything. Shred the chicken and reserve. Bring the stock back to a boil and add in a can of coconut milk. I used Pho noodles here. I also wanted some freshness and color so I made a quick salad with cilantro, fresno chilies, and green onions. I filled the bowls with noodles, topped with shredded chicken (dressed with salt, pepper, sherry vinegar, and sesame oil), poured the soup over and topped with the salad.

Came out pretty well. Those fried shallots that they sell at the asian store would go really go with this. I think making this with duck would be great. The noodles worked pretty well. All in all a satisfying soup.

Thanks for reading.

Gravlax 1 (Scandinavia via Moraga)

So I decided to make gravlax (aka gravad lax, aka gravlaks). Kinda on a whim kinda because I've wanted to for the longest time. Gravlax is cured fish, usually salmon. Traditionally there are only four ingredients (like Beer! and Bread!) those ingredients are fish, salt, sugar, and dill. For my first attempt I followed that recipe using equal ratios of salt and sugar. Basically... you apply the sugar and salt liberally, cover in dill, make a sandwich with the two pieces and let cure for 24-72 hours (I did 36). I also weighted mine down with a can of beans.
I think my results weren't too bad, but just to have full disclosure...I've only had gravlax maybe once or twice in my life...and my memory is fuzzy about those events. Overlooking that minor detail I think it came out well. I probably should use higher quality salmon (wild and sockeye preferably) but I couldn't find any. I think the 50/50 solution works fine, I might try tinkering with different salts and sugars (maybe smoked salt and raw sugar). I'd also like to add pepper to it. But all in all...not bad. I served it sliced with pita chips, quick cucumbers, and a mustard dill sauce.

Thanks for reading.