Category Archives: Soup

Real Simple + One Pot = Happy Momma

Soooooo, I know I’ve said it here before and it’s pretty good odds that I will say it again but, being a parent is all at once terrifying/exhilarating/exhausting/priceless. One area where I’ve noticed a big difference is dinner. By the time we get her home, fed, bathed, rocked and put to sleep it doesn’t end there. While David is folding laundry, I’m taking out the trash, cleaning the cat litter boxes, putting up dishes and wiping toddler food crust off my new work shirt, I’m practically drooling looking at my menu plan and what I have to make for the night. I have learned to plan ahead and let me just say, my days of a chicken a la something on a bed of wilted something or other with a foam of blibbity blob is loooong gone. Enter the days of dishes I can braise or roast, half prep in the morning or are super quick or no cook. And I’ll take it if it means more time with her and David as I know these moments are going to whiz by and I can get back to my gourmet meals while fretting about my daughter in college. It will be here before we know it.

Enter these fantastic dishes from Real Simple magazine in a section called One Pot Wonders and wonderful they were. We tried three out of the five and all of them were delicious, once again in order of favorites:

Chunky Italian Vegetable Stew: this was super fast and DELICIOUS. For something so quick and easy, the depth of flavors were insane. The leftovers were even better the next day.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Almonds and Raisins: the Moroccan infused ingredients in this were killer, from the turmeric to the ginger and crunchy almonds everything was just perfect. And y’all, it’s braised chicken thighs, come on.

Loaded Bacon-Potato Soup with Cheddar and Chives: You would think with a name like that this would be first on my list. Don’t get me wrong, this was good but I think I’ve made too many Baked Potato style soups in the past that just can’t be trumped. Do give this one a try as it was easy, breezy and perfect for any baked potato lover in the house.

Chunky Italian Vegetable Stew from Real Simple
Chunky Italian Vegetable Stew from Real Simple

Recipe Reviver: The New Bon Appetit Magazine

Kind of like the drink, Corpse Reviver, that’s how I felt about the latest issue of Bon Appetit – it’s revised my recipe senses! I have to admit, October through January is whirlwind of recipe madness; from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas (indulgence, indulgence, indulgence) to January (stop the brakes…EAT ONLY KALE AND QUINOA), I was pleased to get back to a pace of just darn good food and from what I can tell, Bon Appetit just brought it in spades.

I’ve only made one dish so far (more in a minute) but I earmarked, I believe, half the magazine including:

  • Braised Beef with Red Onion and Gremolata
  • Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops with Potatoes and Shallots
  • Thai Beef Stew with Lemongrass and Noodles
  • Chicken and Dumplings with Mushrooms
  • Fried Chicken Biscuits
  • Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage
  • Caramel Dipped Popovers with Chocolate Mousse
  • Glazed Chocolate-Creme Fraiche Cookies
  • Celery Spiked Guacamole with Chiles
  • Seared Scallops with Avocado and Daikon
  • Grapefruit and White Beets with Yogurt and Tarragon
  • Dark Chocolate Waffles
  • Shaved Kohlrabi with Apple and Hazelnuts
  • Escarole Salad with Horseradish and Capers
Indian-Spiced Chicken with Tomato and Cream (image from Bon Appetit)

Seriously! Get ready for a LOT of Bon Appetit if all of these work out. Who’s excited? So I did make the Indian-Spiced Chicken with Tomato and Cream and wow, did we love this one you guys. I will say if you are not a spices person, this may not be the dish for you, but if you dig the Indian spice fivefecta (turmeric, coriander, cardamom, cumin, garam masala) you are going to simply love this one. It’s simple to put together and I double loved it because it’s a one pot meal. These days, with a 14-month old who is either rolling toilet paper through the house or pointing at everything in the house going ‘THAT?” (she’s asking a question on what it is – the game goes on for hours y’all hahahaha), a one pot meal is a huge food blessing.

Have you guys looked at the new Bon Appetit? Any other mags I should check out?

Italian Vegetable Stew

“A bowl full of health” is what David calls this Italian Vegetable Stew from Bon Appetit.  I made this a few weeks ago for the two of us when the plague was attacking everyone and everything in Austin, including the three of us. It was the first time little Lila was sick and I was on pins and needles but just like everything else with kids, you get through it and you learn that your “gear” is everything. Bless the NoseFrida, the humidifier and saline spray is all I can say.

David and I were so impressed with this stew the first time around we decided to make it again for friends last night for dinner and once again, it didn’t disappoint.  I did make this without adding in the bread since two of our friends are gluten-free and served up toasted garlic bread on the side so everyone else could dip as much as we wanted. Also, I did add a splash of red wine vinegar at the end just to give a hint more acidity, which seems counterintuitive given all the tomatoes but actually, we all agreed it needed it.  Winter does seem to be winding down so be sure to put this into your rotation before the hot summer months get to you…heck, it’s already 80 degrees here today, yeesh. Mangia!italian-vegetable-stew-646

Best Fruit Forward

We had a fruit-tastic evening here at Casa de Kealey last night! I have been in heartburn hades because of el kiddo and the one thing I keep seeing to quell said heartburn is watermelon. Now, I’m not the biggest watermelon fan – my Dad is currently shaking his head in shame – but I was willing to give this delightful looking Watermelon Gazpacho from Bon Appetit a try and then, because I have cravings like a mad woman, their Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta and Ricotta Salata looked YUMMY! And it was!

To keep things a little more healthy I chose to use whole wheat orecchiette and low-fat feta (since I’m using feta in a dish later this week). Let me tell you, these two changes will not change the flavor of the dish which was awesome and very delightful even the next day. I’ve always been a huge fan of the prosciutto/melon combo and to put it in a pasta? Brilliant. Now to the Watermelon Gazpacho! I slurped this you guys. I took one spoonful and then exclaimed “that’s SO GOOD” and then proceeded to down the bowl. I followed this recipe to a T, even the basil syrup part which is just too fun to say and it makes you sound like a kitchen badass…”oh this?” you might say “it’s just a little basil syrup.” Sounds fancy but it was really easy and I wish I would have doubled this for leftovers today. I will make more this week and keep it on reserve for those undesirable heartburn moments. Really, the heartburn is quite a thing isn’t it mamas? Oh, one thing I did add was a dollop (ick, I hate that word, weird I know) of sour cream and some fresh chives at the end to you know, kill off any hopes of stopping my heartburn.

Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta, and Ricotta Salata:

Watermelon Gazpacho:

Boy? Girl? Let’s Find Out!

284967_395016050552859_1805443785_nOK, I’m going to admit that I completely dorked out over the gender reveal party for our baby. Massive, massive dorkage.  Maybe it’s because I was so tired in my first trimester and wanted to get my food groove back on or I’ve been fatigued and haven’t been able to spend as much time with friends as I’m used to, whatever it was, I was pumped pandas. Never mind the fact that we were about to start calling “it” her or him instead! David and I got to see baby Kealey that Friday on a sonogram (such a cutie) and then proceeded to give the sealed card to Tyler, my niece’s super gentle chef boyfriend. Alex, my niece, created a blueberry and a strawberry pie filling, the super cute cutouts and then gave Tyler directions on how to make the pie once he opened the card. We got back from lunch and Tyler had done such an awesome job with the pie…look at that, he SHUT IT DOWN. I kept swearing up and down the color looked blue underneath and David thought so too. Not until tomorrow would we know!

So down to the food geeking out part. I wanted to make foods that represented our very different backgrounds including something that embraced my East Texas/Southern roots and his Canadian/Northeast ones. Obviously, my Mama’s chicken fried steak and creamy gravy was on the menu and as was poutine –  the national dish of Canada. David requested tomato soup and grilled cheese since he loved that as a kid and fried mac ‘n’ cheese because it’s “just so awesome” in his words. I also served a kale salad for those trying to eat healthy (weird, but it does happen here sometimes) plus Devils on Horseback because bacon, dates and cheese are never wrong, a cheese plate and crackers. I thought earlier in the day that I had bitten off way more than I could chew, but actually, it wasn’t that bad making all this food!

Continue reading Boy? Girl? Let’s Find Out!

French Onion Soup – Grandpa Jacques Style

I’ll paint a little picture of a young Emily for a moment. I grew up loving PBS (I’ve always been a public television and radio junkie) and Julia Childs and Jacques Pepin were two of my favorites. I would sit in front of the TV with my head perched in my hands and a smile plastered on my face as I watched these chefs stir up their magic. Between this and my Mom teaching my all the southern ways of cooking, I didn’t stand a chance to not be in the kitchen did I? With Jacques Pepin I always felt like I was learning to cook from an awesome French grandfather and as I got older and started cooking in the kitchen, I realized just how much I loved his recipes too. Fast forward to now, where I’m cooking each night for my wonderful husband in our own cozy little house…ah, life huh? After a few weeks of random dental surgery, we needed soups, stews or anything soft and palatable for a week. I found Jacque’s French Onion Soup and knew this would be a winner for tender mouths and hungry stomachs.

Cooking Light suggests you can use store-bought broth but I followed their recommendation and made my own. Patting myself on the back for that one. Sure, it’s more work and more groceries but you cannot beat this version with any store-bought brand. I felt so Chef-y as I was ladling my from-scratch made soup into the bowls to boil the cheese and bread. It doesn’t take much lambs, obviously.  I’ve made plenty of French Onion Soups in my lifetime and never have I ever gone “MMMMMMMMMMM!!!! OMG!” and pointed at my soup bowl like a 4-year old who’s learned to tie her shoes. That should tell you enough to make this if you are craving some seriously good French Onion Soup.

Tonight we are making David Chang’s Pork Butt (Bo Ssam) with Ginger Scallion Noodles. If you haven’t read the post here you go, and if you haven’t made this dish, please let my husband requesting it once a week inspire you to do so now:

Chickpea Stew

I really don’t have many words to describe this recipe from Bon Appetit except it’s…amazing, savory, spicy and deep in delicious flavors. This is one of my most favorite things I’ve made in really long time and it’s super simple to boot. In fact it was so good, I was a smidge jealous that David was getting the leftovers for lunch the next day…jealous, over leftovers, now that’s saying something.



Chickpea Stew (photo by Jonny Valiant)

Nom Nom Nom

So I had to share this photo of me with my new favorite t-shirt ever. Yes, it’s a brontosaurus eating tree leaves that says “Nom Nom Nom.” Thanks to my friend Kari for an awesome t-shirt. You know, it’s the little things that make me a happy panda, er, brontosaurus.

Nom, Nom, Nom!

Speaking of nom nom noming, this Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings recipe from Everyday Food magazine was spectacular. I love dumplings. I grew up eating my Mimi’s chicken and dumplings dish when I was little – my gosh she made the best I’ve ever tasted! I’ll have to share the recipe with you someday won’t I?

This dish had tons of flavor with a wonderful blend of carrots, celery, green onions, green bell pepper, thyme, beer (!) and chicken thighs. What we couldn’t get over was the texture and taste of the sauce; it was thick, creamy and packed a delicious punch.

I pretty much followed this to a “T” but did include about a 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic with the veggies, and I threw in a pinch of cayenne pepper when I added the vinegar to give it a little spice.

This was one of David’s first experiences with dumplings and he loved them. YAY! And as he likes to state after a successful meal, “Absolutely blog worthy.” The recipe is not online so here you go lambs. As the magazine states “This stew has a zesty New Orleans feel,” well, I  say let the good times roll with this one poodles, it ROCKED.

Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings, Everyday Food, April 2011 (p.114)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1 ½ pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • ½ bunch scallions, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
  • 2 celery stalks, diced medium
  • 2 medium carrots, diced medium
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 bottles pilsner or another light-or-medium bodied lager (12 ounces each)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 recipe Cornmeal Dumpling Dough
  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, add to pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons butter, scallions, bell pepper, celery, and carrots to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions and celery are soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in thyme and flour and season with salt and pepper; cook 1 minute. Return chicken to pot and whisk in beer. With your hands, roughly tear tomatoes and add to pot along with juices. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook, uncovered 30 minutes. Season to taste with vinegar.
  2. Reduce heat to a medium simmer and drop dough by rounded tablepoons on top of stew. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through 7 – 10 minutes.

Cornmeal Dumpling Dough

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), 1/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal,  1 ½ teaspoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon coarse salt. Using your fingers, work in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter until small crumbs form. Stir in ½ cup buttermilk.


I’d Like To Thank The Academy…

Last night we had a BIG Oscar party in our house and I was a little nervous since it was the first big shindig in our casa, well that and I chose to make a flotilla of food. I simply adore our gentle friends and one thing I know about our group is we love to eat. With that in mind I was going to make darn sure everyone had enough to nibble on during the three hour show. 

The Obligatory Picture of Colin Firth

Epicurious assembled menu plans based on the Best Picture nominees and the one that stood out to us was the Inception option. It’s very French inspired since part of the movie takes place in Paris – the scene with the city folding on top of itself is still incredible every time I see it.  Although I liked the recipes they suggested, I decided to stick wtih French fare but do it my way. And the award goes to…. 

 To get real nerdy about it I made an “Execution Plan” to ensure everything was done by 6:00 p.m. so we could watch arrivals and snarkily judge away. 

  • 2:00 p.m. Prep and mis en place
  • 3:00 p.m. Make compote for Brie, while compote cooks, make pots de creme, refrigerate
  • 3:30 p.m. Make soup
  • 4:00 p.m.  Make green beans, assemble and bake Brie rounds
  • 5:00 p.m. Make sandwiches
  • 5:40 p.m. Fire steaks, let rest and slice, make fries
  • 6:00 p.m. Guests arrive

Everything pretty much went according to plan and let me tell you, the soup, green beans, sandwiches and brie rounds with that stellar compote were delicious. For the steak frites I kept it very simple. David (the super poodle) ran to the store and bought a Weber charcoal grill so he could grill them properly. Little salt and pepper on the steaks, grill and you are done.  I took  frozen fries and mixed with salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme leaves and baked until crispy. Thanks to my lovely and talented niece Alex who is a bomb chef for coming up with that tasty concoction.  

I’m giggling at the thought of the Pots de Creme because the flavor was amazing but I didn’t have enough glasses to properly make individual servings, so I decided to place the whole shebang in a large ramekin. Yeah, don’t do that. We had to put it in the freezer so it would set up, but a few minutes on the table and it was like ice cream. Of course, no one cared and it was gone by the end of the night but I highly suggest not being an idiot like moi and scratch the idea if you can’t do it individually. 

The Oscars were OK this year, a little zzzzzzzzzz at times and it wasn’t as exciting as in years past but I am so happy for The King’s Speech! It’s an excellent, heart warming story and if you haven’t seen it yet, GO. 

Here’s our spread and more posts to come this week…I hope. :) 

Chile Con Carne

Three simple little words for such a powerful dish. Bon Appetit did a special on chilis from around the country and of course this proud little lady chose the one from TEXAS! Some Texas chili rules. Number one, no beans. EVER! Rule number two, there will be beef.  Rule number three, bring on the spice.  Sometimes following the rules is fun.

Chile Con Carne (Photograph by Marcus Nilsson)

As the magazine states:

Chili is practically a religion in Texas. The thick, meaty “bowl of red” dates back to San Antonio in the 1820s. By the 1880s, the city’s plazas were full of pushcarts run by “chili queens” who would lure customers with live music. And Texans may argue about chili ingredients – but purists agree that the hearty stew would never, ever involve beans.

Roger that. This chili, like most real versions, has a lot going on and takes quite some time – but if you heart chili you won’t mind one iota. I followed this to the letter and it turned out perfect. It’s beefy, spicy and yes, a very dark bowl of red.  I topped with fresh tomatoes, green onions,  cilantro, and Monterrey Jack cheese. YUM! I aslo served with this amazing and so simple to make Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread. The only addition I made was I added pickled jalapenos and sauteed cork kernels for a little spicy/sweet oomph.

Before the cold slips away (YAY!) make this bowl of chili today. I just wicked rhymed that without meaning to.