Recipe: Vegetarian Miso Noodle Soup

Published 10/22/13 by:

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  If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that most of my recipes are haphazard adaptations of people’s Pinterest posts. Well folks, consider this my culinary awakening, because I literally threw stuff in a pot on my own accord, and it came out delicious. Okay, so I’m biased, but I’m also picky, so I feel like you should trust me. I even did that thing where you slurp some of the soup using a wooden spoon to see how it is, and I accurately pinpointed what the broth needed and MADE IT BETTER. Usually when I think something needs “a little extra” or “a pinch of this” it goes awry. Tonight the cooking goddesses were on my side. Hallelujah! So, if you’re someone who has an affinity for all Asian cuisine (like myself), then look no further! This soup presents like a Pho, but tastes more Japanese because of its Miso base. My culinary naiveté prevents me from getting more explicit than that. I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I did!

Ingredients:

Half of a red onion diced

One 32 ounce container of Miso broth (I bought mine at Trader Joe’s)

One 16 ounce bag of yellow Lo Mein noodles (the kind you refrigerate before using)

One red Bell pepper diced

One yellow Bell pepper diced

2 tablespoons of Shriracha Garlic Sauce

2 tablespoons of minced Garlic

3 tablespoons of Soy or Gyoza Sauce

1/2 Cup of Water

Directions:

In a large soup pot, put onions, peppers, garlic and Gyoza/Soy sauce and sauté on high heat (a 7 on my up to 10 stove). Once the veggies start to soften, add Miso broth and water. Once the broth is at a simmer, add in noodles. Taste test your broth to see how you feel, and add the Shriracha to your liking. Once the noodles have softened, serve your soup!

**Possible variations: use frozen dumplings instead of Lo Mein noodles, add tofu, include mushrooms, include scallions, add a meat, use curry powder instead of Sriracha.

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Recipe: Simple Chicken, Tomato & Tortellini Soup

Published 10/13/13 by:

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     If you’re looking for a low fat soup recipe, this is not your post. If you’re afraid to use cream in a recipe, this is not your post. Those are my official disclaimers. If you’re still with me, you are in for a treat! It’s football season, and I’m in high gear with my soup cooking. When time permits I like to use the crockpot, but last night at 6pm I was too hungry so I modified a recipe from Pinterest that incorporated what I had available in my kitchen, and the time I was willing to commit to. The base is a creamy tomato, and it’s quite delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 cups of half and half

2 cups of chicken broth

Approximately 30 oz of condensed tomato soup (I used low sodium from Trader Joe’s)

1 large diced sweet onion

1 9 oz package of cheese tortellini

3 boneless chicken breasts (cube them, or make them into strips)

Shaved Parmesan cheese (for garnish)

Directions:

Take out your favorite soup pot, and put the olive oil and diced onions in there. Simmer them until they’re clear. Once the onions are cooked, toss in cubed chicken breasts and cook for approximately 7 minutes. Next, add all of the liquids into the pot and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling turn down to medium/high heat (this would be like a 7 or 8 if your stove goes to 10). Add in the tortellini and cook until pasta is soft.

Total cooking time: 30 minutes (subject to change depending on how impacted you are by the dicing of the onion).

I served my soup with shaved Parmesan as a melted garnish, but it’s up to you what cheese you top it with. I thought the onions really bolstered the flavor of this soup, but you could easily add a few dashes of your favorite seasonings to spice it up.

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An Open Letter to Pop Music

Published 10/2/13 by:

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Dear Pop Music,

It’s been a while since we’ve connected, and while I miss you, I have some reservations about getting back in touch. I know you’re busy trying to “get lucky”, so allow me to recap our tattered history. My musical prowess, or my earliest memory of being keenly aware of music and its popularity dates back to the Spring of 1995, when I was in the fourth grade. I was really into Sheryl Crow at the time, and I coaxed my mom into buying me the 1995 Grammy nominee cassette tape because it featured not only Sheryl, but also Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” as well as All-4-One’s “I Swear”. This was basically a mix-tape of magic for me. The music was catchy, and my mom and I could listen to it in the car together without anyone getting embarrassed. I brought the tape into school one day, and my teacher let me play it on his boombox during snack. It was, perhaps, the most glorious, and simplest time of my life. The music showcased talent, and did not serve as a gimmick for anything or anyone. I’d be remiss to not mention that you showed up at the Grammys that year, in a big way, and you simultaneously were what was popular (and overplayed) on the radio. Pop music, you were representing well at the awards shows, and you were dictating with a classiness you no longer possess.

In fifth grade, you went from soft rock to alternative. Instead of singing about having fun, or feeling the love, I was singing about letting the girl cry (hat tip to Hootie) and if God was a slob like one of us. When one of my classmates showed up in a Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt on a Monday morning, I thought it was just absolutely brilliant. Honestly, I think it was the most impressed I’d been by a peer’s fashion in my young life. So Pop, you were doing your thing, and making adolescents of all shapes and sizes into irritable, emo, snarky human beings. We’ve never recovered, thanks to you, and I think you built some serious character in me as a result.

I now want to fast forward to 2013. I’m 28-years-old, and I teach sixth grade. If I had the time, I’d be the teach letting kids crank the tunes during snack. Although as I pondered that thought, Pop, I realized, I wouldn’t be able to let the kids listen to your stuff. What you embody now is over-sexed music with too many bleeps to count. You’re twerking, hungover, crude and bawdy. Dude, even your name, as a term – “Pop Music” has become a bit of a punchline. Adults are embarrassed to say that they like you as a genre. When adults do admit to loving “Last Friday Night” or make a YOLO reference, they quickly add in, “guilty pleasure”. That’s what your reputation has become: you make people feel guilty for liking you. You’ve definitely stopped winning Grammys. Don’t you miss being classy and adored by all? Aren’t you sick of being emulated by tweens, and tweens only?

I’m ready for you to make a comeback, Pop. I want you to be at the top of your game. I want to be able to sing along to songs with my students, and not be limited to the timeless, family-friendly Taylor Swift. So how can I be of assistance to you? Who handed you the Kool-Aid? It may take some time, but with the right backers, I think we could really re-image you. The question is: are you ready for a make-over?

 

Miss you terribly,

Kaitlin

 

PS That chain letter you sent me last week was weird and I had to change my password on like, everything. No more, please.

 

 

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Recipe From a Guest: Vegetarian Pot Pie

Published 10/1/13 by:

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A guest post/recipe from my friend and fellow blogger, Steph!

There is nothing quite like the comforts of home and to me it manifests the most in smells. Fresh cut grass, firewood for the woodstove, the many aromas of the kitchen. So today I decided to make a pot pie. The smell of pie crust, savory or sweet, is one of the best smells in my opinion. It smells like Autumn. So good.

 Let me first say that I do not eat meat, however this is an extremely versatile recipe and you can most certainly add chicken or beef if you prefer. I would recommend grilling if you can, just to get some added flavor, but baking will suffice. Just make sure to dice the meat into small chunks. You can also use almost any vegetable, whatever you have in the fridge.

 You can also make your crust from scratch. I have never found a better crust than my grandmother’s, flakey, buttery, salty, mmmm. However, I have one square foot of counter space in my apartment so making crust is sort of out of the question. If you’re feeling ambitious, by all means make it yourself. Nothing tastes quite as good as homemade pie crust.

 

So here’s what I did…

 

Ingredients:

(Note: you can certainly use potatoes, peppers, zucchini, squash, whatever vegetables you like, I just happen to have these in the fridge so that’s what I used)

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Directions:

Make sure, first and foremost, that your pie dough is at room temperature or else it will break when you unroll it. Using a 9 inch pie pan lay the first piece of dough in, pressing it to fit the pan and poke with a fork. I’d like to be able to tell you what the purpose of this is, but I have no idea. I assume it has something to do with letting the pie crust breath, but that could be utter nonsense. But everyone on Food Network does it so it must serve some purpose.

 In a large sauté pan melt butter and sauté veggies over medium heat. Some veggies, like potatoes and carrots, need longer to soften so you’ll just have to gauge when it’s ready. I thoroughly support tasting what you’re making throughout the process. How will you know if it needs more of something if you aren’t tasting it?

 When it has reached the softness you desire (about ten minutes or so) add the flour. This is going to be your thickening agent. Stir well and continue to cook about two minutes. Slowly add the broth in increments, about a half a cup at a time. This allows the flour to mix with the broth and create a creaminess. Then add in the milk. Full disclosure, I grabbed half and half by accident at the store. You can use cream or milk, it all does the trick. Now you need to add salt and pepper to your taste preference. I also added dill because I just love it. You can add thyme, if you like. It’s whatever you like to taste. But make sure you add salt and pepper, otherwise this will be rather tasteless when it’s done.

 Here’s a little secret… I also added about 1/4 cup of parmesan. Good quality parmesan. This is not typical in a pot pie but I had it in my fridge and it will add to the creaminess of the filling. And, well, I really just love cheese.

 So by now the filling is thoroughly mixed and is thick and creamy. Pour it into the pie crust and cover with the second pie crust. Cut a slit in the center to let it vent while cooking. Also, make sure to crimp/press the edges so the filling doesn’t leak out the sides while cooking. Then brush with egg wash (just an egg that’s been beaten). Bake at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until crust begins to turn golden-brown.

 

Enjoy!

 

Stephanie Blackburn is the author of two YA novels (SUMMER AT NINETEEN and I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND), both of which can be found on Amazon. For more of her recipes as well as book related news you can check out her blog, http://stephaniemaeblackburn.blogspot.com/ 

 

 

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