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Chicken Vegetable Soup

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Time: 2 hours (Day 1), 1 hour (Day 2)

Serves: 15-20 cups

Inspired by: It’s winter. Everyone I know is sick this month. I wanted to create a soup with similar flavors to my delicious and hearty lentil vegetable soup, but with healing, homemade chicken stock and chicken, instead of the lentils. Experiment successful!

Ingredients for Broth:

  • 1 chicken, 3.5 – 5 pounds, with skin, cut up, remove innards
  • 3 stalks celery, with leaves, cut into chunks
  • 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1-2 dozen sprigs parsley
  • 1-2 dozen black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste

Ingredients for Soup:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2  medium yellow onions, diced
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt (+ add additional at the end to your desired taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 4-5 stalks celery with leaves chopped
  • 2-3 quarts chicken broth (made from above ingredient list)
  • 2, 28oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch collard greens with tough ribs removed, chopped
  • Juice of one Meyer lemon

Preparation Day 1:

  • Place broth ingredients (chicken, celery, carrots, onions, parsley, peppercorns, bay leaves and salt) into large soup pot and cover with water by 1-2 inches. Add a bit more for a more brothy soup.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce to a very low simmer. Cover and boil for 1 hour. Uncover and boil for another 30 minutes, until chicken is tender and falling off the bone.
  • When cool enough to handle, use tongs to transfer chicken from the pot to a container. Strain broth through a fine sieve (or colander lined with cheesecloth), into a separate container. Discard all solids from the strainer.
  • Refrigerate chicken and broth separately for at least 8 hours or until fat has risen to the top of the broth.

Preparation Day 2:

  • Remove fat from the top of the broth, and separate chicken meat from the bones and skin. Discard bones and skin. Use forks to shred or fingers to separate chicken into small pieces.
  • In large soup pot, heat olive oil. Sauté garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add onions, salt, pepper, cumin, thyme, and optional red pepper flakes. Sauté for another 5-8 minutes until soft and translucent.
  • Add the celery and carrots and sauté for another 10 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth and tomatoes with their juices.
  • Cover and bring to boil.
  • If you’d like the carrots and celery to stay a bit firm, turn off the heat. If you prefer them soft, boil for another 10 minutes and then turn off heat.
  • Add greens and let sit for 5-10 minutes until they  have softened.
  • Add the juice of one lemon and mix well.
  • Taste and add salt if necessary. For more than two quarts of broth, you may also want to add a bit more cumin, pepper and thyme.

Notes: This is a large batch, but it freezes well.


Radish Salad

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Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 8

Inspired by: I like the crunch and spiciness of radishes. This is a salad I’ve started to make more often because it has a fabulous combination of spicy and sweet with the acid of the dressing and goes well with just about any other combination of fish and vegetables that we enjoy.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 8 handfuls of Arugula and/or other peppery greens
  • 2 cups radish sprouts
  • 4-8 radishes sliced 1/8″ thick
  • Nectarine or pear sliced into 1/8″ thick pieces
  • Persian cucumber (optional) sliced into 1/8″ thick pieces
  • Toasted almond slices

Dressing Ingredients:

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove crushed garlic (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

  • Mix the salad dressing ingredients in a shaker. I like the simplicity of this lemon dressing for this salad.
  • Toss the greens with the dressing first.
  • Add the radish, fruit, cucumber and toss well.
  • Top off with the radish sprouts and toasted almonds.

 


Frosted Butter Cookies with a Hint of Lemon

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Time: Approximately 2 hours active: 30 minutes to make the dough, 30 minutes to rollout and cut cookies, 30 minutes to bake, 30 minutes to decorate. Also allow at least 2 hours to chill the dough before rolling it out and at least 2 hours after decorating for the frosting to dry.

Serves: 1 batch makes 20-25 medium sized cookies. These pictures show a double batch.

Inspired by: My family, like many, had a tradition of decorating cookies together at Christmas. Since I love everything lemon and have a Meyer lemon tree, I decided to add my own twist that gives these just a hint of lemon. I never make them at Christmas, but do enjoy making them around other festive holidays.

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsifted all purpose flour

Frosting Ingredients:

  • Confectioners sugar – approximately 1 cup
  • Fresh lemon juice – 1-3 teaspoons
  • Food dye if you want to color your frosting, and any other sprinkles, sparkles or decorations you’d like

Cookie Dough Preparation:

  • Measure butter, granulated sugar and salt into bowl. With electric mixer, beat until smooth.
  • Add egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon extract and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy – 2 minutes.
  • Gradually add flour, stirring with mixer or wooden spoon until well combined and smooth.
  • With hands, shape dough into ball. Place on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Flatten into disc and wrap.
  • Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight until dough is firm.

Bake Cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • On lightly floured pastry board, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick and press together cracks at edges. Use cookie cutters for cut outs. Place cookies 1 inch apart on uncreased sheets (using parchment paper can help keep them from burning).
  • If cookies start getting soft while making them, it can help to put the cookie sheet with the cookie cut outs into the freezer for 5 minutes before baking. This will help them will hold their shape better while baking.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes or until edges are just barely golden.
  • Remove to wire rack to cool.

Icing:

  • In a small bowl or coffee cup, mix 1 cup of confectioners sugar with a teaspoon of lemon juice. Add lemon juice and continue stirring until you get your desired consistency. A thinner icing will be more like a glaze. A thicker icing will create better color.
  • After cookies have cooled, use a pastry brush for glazing/painting, and dust with sprinkles/sparkles while the frosting is still wet.


Lentil Vegetable Soup

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Time: 90 minutes

Serves: 20 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound French green lentils (3-4 cups)
  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped (3-5 cups)
  • 2 leeks (white part only), chopped (2-4 cups)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt (+ add additional at the end to your desired taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional – adds a bit of a kick)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (1 – 1.5 cups)
  • 4-5 stalks celery with leaves chopped (3-4 cups)
  • 3 quart chicken broth
  • 2, 28oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch collard greens with tough ribs removed (or Kale), chopped (3-5 cups)
  • Juice of one Meyer lemon

Preparation:

  • Rinse and drain lentils.
  • In large soup pot, heat olive oil. Sauté leeks and garlic for 2 minutes. Add onions, salt, pepper, cumin, thyme, and optional red pepper flakes. Saute for another 5-8 minutes until soft and translucent.
  • Add the celery and carrots and sauté for another 10 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth, tomatoes with their juices, and lentils.
  • Cover and bring to boil. Then uncover and simmer for 1 hour, until lentils are cooked (French green lentils will still hold their shape and firm texture even when cooked through).
  • Add greens and simmer for another 5 minutes or so until they have softened.
  • Add the juice of one lemon and mix well.
  • Taste and add salt if necessary. If you are using a broth that already has the appropriate seasoning, you may need very little salt. But if you are using low to no sodium chicken broth you’ll likely want to add more salt.

Notes: This is a large batch, but it freezes well. The recipe is modified from one published by Ina Garten in the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook 1999.


Roasted Tomatillo Soup with Shrimp

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Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 5 – 6 tomatillos
  • 1 large Anaheim pepper
  • 1 very small Jalapeño pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek (white part only), halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pound shrimp, cleaned with shells removed – you can leave tails (or substitute black beans, white beans or shredded chicken)
  • Cilantro or another green for garnish (I’m not a fan of Cilantro, but had some arugula)

Preparation:

  • Roast the tomatillos and peppers at 375 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes. Turn half way through roasting. They will be done when soft, lightly browned, and oozing liquid.
  • Meanwhile, sauté leek and onion in olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until they are well cooked, but not browned. Add approximately ¼ teaspoon of salt while cooking.
  • Put all of the above ingredients into a blender and purée. Return to soup pot. Add the chicken stock and cumin and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-20 minutes covered.
  • Add the shrimp 2-3 minutes before serving (if the soup is boiling, medium-sized shrimps will take approximately 2 minutes to cook). Rock shrimp or other small shrimp will likely cook in a minute. Previously cooked shrimp, beans or chicken will heat through in 2-3 minutes. If chicken is your protein of choice, you can add a chicken breast when the soup comes to a boil. It should get cooked through in about 20 minutes. You can remove it, shred it with a fork, and put it back into the soup.

Notes: This will likely be relatively spicy with the roasted peppers and pairs well with an off-dry or dry riesling. It should also pair well with any white wine with nice acid – either light and crisp or full and round. It went really well tonight with a beautiful Chassagne-Montrachet.


Prickly Pear Cactus Sorbet

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Prickly Pear Cactus Sorbet

Time: 30 minutes to prepare (chill overnight); 10-20 minutes in sorbet maker.

Serves: 6 – 10 single small scoops.

Inspired by: My long time friend Emmett Lynch brought some goodies from nearby orchards. One bag he said was “dangerous” and not to stick my hands into. I peeked inside and saw those beautiful prickly pear fruits that I grew up with in the Arizona dessert! I had a dinner planned with some friends with multiple courses, so decided to use them to make a beautiful deep purple sorbet with lots of lemon and lime. My plan was to serve it as a palate cleanser, or as a transition between the last dinner course and dessert, so I made it a bit more tart than sweet.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 pounds of large prickly pear fruits
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons Cointreau (optional)
  • 3-4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh mint for garnish

Preparation:

  • Make a simple syrup by simmering the 1/2 cup water with the 1/4 cup sugar.
  • Cool mixture in refrigerator.
  • Use tongs to hold the fruits over an open fire (gas stove) and burn off the needles (without burning the fruit).
  • Cut off the outside layer of skin and preserve as much fruit as possible. Use a non-staining plastic cutting board and gloves if you don’t want purple stains on your hands and board.
  • Put fruit in blender with the simple syrup, pinch of salt, zest, and half of the lemon and lime juices. Puree well and taste.
  • Add additional lemon and lime juice until you get your desired level of acidity.
  • Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds and any pieces of skin.
  • Chill in refrigerator overnight if possible – or at least for several hours.
  • Run this through a sorbet maker. Freeze for a few hours if you would like a harder consistency.

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