Category Archives: Soup

Grilled Cheese If You Please

I think Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup might be one of my favorite comfort food combos of all time. My reigning favorite still has to be Luna Park’s in Los Angeles Cheeselitz and Tomato Soup, but a homemade version with Kale? Sign me up! I chose this Grilled Cheese-and-Kale Sandwiches with Tomato Soup from Everyday with Rachael Rayfor a fun kid’s night at Casa Kealey. To be honest, I don’t have too much to say except this was simple, fast and easy to make, and absolutely delicious. The havarti cheese was super melty. You know the kind of grilled cheese that you pull away from the sandwich and strings of gooey cheese come out? Yeah, that kind and here’s your drool cup. Also, the soup was creamy and a perfect complement to the sandwich. I actually kept dunking my sandwich into the soup. Finally, there was kale. I’ve professed my undying love for kale again and again so I won’t bore you with the love poems or sonnets I have for it. This was a fun, delicious and quick meal that’s perfect for all ages.

Now about this artic chill. There are icicles on our porch. Icicles…ACK! I do hope it snows though so I can go outside and make snow angels!

Grilled Cheese-and-Kale Sandwiches with Tomato Soup (Photo by Dan Roberts)

Salute the Captain!

As I was thumbing through the new Cooking Light, I kept coming back to this Vegetarian Country Captain recipe due to it’s unique combination of ingredients: curry, mango chutney, heavy cream, cauliflower, edamame, and a Granny Smith apple? My brain kept trying to figure out just how these would all taste together and finally intrigue got the best of me. Two cheers for intrigue. We LOVED this. It is an Emily and David favorite hands down.

OK back to what the heck a Country Captain is exactly. According to Cooking Light: Traditionally, Country Captain is a mild chicken stew seasoned with curry powder. Myth has it that a British sea captain working in the spice trade introduced this classic, comforting dish to the southern U.S. in the 19th century. Here, we’ve replaced chicken with edamame and cauliflower for a version loaded with vegetables to help you meet your daily produce goals. For a more in-depth history of this very popular Lowcountry dish (FDR adored it!), read more here. If anyone has favorite Country Captain recipes please share in the comments as I’m dying to make more versions of this.

This was so easy to put together and the layers of flavor were insanely delicious. I loved how all the ingredients played off each other and it is really filling to boot. For the love y’all, make this right now! One note, if you are working off of the magazine do not pay attention to the photo above the recipe.  It’s  the wrong image and I saw on their website that Cooking Light is aware of the error. As I was making this I kept scratching my head and worrying because mine was looking nothing like the beauty shot. Lo and behold I flipped to the page ahead and put two and two together. Whew, that photo DID look like this….

Vegetarian Country Captain (Photo by John Autry)


Guinness Lamb Stew

We’ve got a thing for Irish stews in this house. It couldn’t possibly be that we’re both of Irish descent, heck, David has an Irish passport – Dublin here we come!  With that in mind and the cold weather hitting the gentle ATX, I thought this Guinness Lamb Stew would be very much welcomed into our home. Now you may recall that we tried one of Cooking Light’s Staff Favorites Beef and Guinness Stew back in November and it was quickly a David Favorite or Davorite as I’ll call it. Could this recipe beat that one? The Beef and Guinness Stew had a little bit more fussiness to it with caraway seeds and raisins and the Guinness Lamb Stew had two things we love, lamb and potatoes! Ay, we are Irish aren’t we? 😉

I followed this recipe to the letter and yes it does take a while, 3 1/2 hours, but it’s a stew so we all know those take a while to develop the lucious layers of flavor. I loved this more than the beef version because of the two additions mentioned above. It was savory, comforting and a perfect Irish stew. What I really liked about this was the addition of the whole grain mustard at the end. It provided a nice bite and rounded out the dish beautifully. I think I know what I’ll be making for the crew on March 17th!

On a seperate note, the BCS National Championship is tonight! Who do you think is going to win? No matter your personal opinion of him, I’m not sure if Cam Newton can be stopped. It reminds my of Vince Young back in 2005 against USC…ah, those were the days UT, those were the days.

Guinness Lamb Stew (Photo by John Autry)

Garbanzo Beans and Greens

First of all – HAPPY NEW YEAR LAMBS!

After whirlwind Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, my brain was fried, my body was tired and my ability to cook was kaput. But I did want to start 2011 off right with a healthy dish…so of course I chose one with bacon in it.  To be fair it’s center cut bacon which is a healthier alternative, but the delicious pork product in the Garbanzo Beans and Greens recipe from Cooking Light wasn’t the only thing it had going for it.  The dish is a part of their Budget Cooking section that averages out to $1.75 per serving that yields four total. This recipe also looked super easy plus it fits into Cooking Light’s new Healthy Habits initiative that ensures you get a load of veggies. For the total win right?

Garbanzo Beans and Greens (Photo by John Autry)

Thank goodness for this recipe. It was everything I wanted/needed and was quite delicious. I’ve proclaimed my obsession with kale before and this has loads of it…YAY! What I truly loved was the Greek yogurt you place in the soup at the end. It gave it just the right silky and creamy texture that balanced out the soup perfectly. Plus, there’s bacon in it. Bacon.

Give this one a try for super duper easy weeknight meal. Tonight it’s the Bon Appetit cover recipe: Saigon Chicken Salad and here’s the rest of my menu plan for the week: Tuesday – Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Miso Glaze and Baby Bok Choy; Wednesday – Braised Halibut Filets in Coconut and Lemongrass with Smoked Eggplant and Tomato Ginger Chutney; Thursday – Turkish-Spiced Chicken Kebabs with Pomegranate Relish and Tahini Yogurt.

A Dizzy, Chili, Chocolate Christmas

Oooh lambs, we are getting to my favorite time of year – the holidays! In fact, each year the city of Austin puts on the Trail of Lights and the Zilker Christmas Tree. Sadly (due to budget issues) the Trail of Lights did not happen but the tree, thank goodness, is up. A brief history for you from the Nile Guide

For more than 35 years, one of the tallest man-made trees in the country lights up the holidays in Austin. The 175-foot Christmas tree, decked out in nearly 4000 twinkling lights, is lit every night from early December to the end of the year. It is tradition to stand in the center and spin around with your loved ones underneath the tree for a fantastic light show. Be careful, as you will find many people twirling in circles. The lighting takes place in Zilker Park.  

The Zilker Christmas Tree (Photo by Kari Holloway)

Since we live in the Zilker vicinity, our friend Kari had the great idea for a small holiday get together for some food, hot chocolate and a visit to the tree. Here is her photo from her twirling underneath the tree. I also took my first ever spin with David. Warning, you will get dizzy but there was something magical and yes, a little touching to see all of our fellow Austinites whirling and twirling under the tree. 

Twirling under the Zilker Tree (Photo by a very dizzy Kari Holloway)

But what to make for such a festive occasion? I decided to make this All-American Chili and Mexican Hot Chocolate from Cooking Light. Who doesn’t love chili and hot chocolate!? No one I care to know. I made the chili the day before, because even as Cooking Light says, chili is even better the next day. I really liked this recipe and the perfect chili-ness of it all. Beans, two kinds of meat, veggies and oh yeah, a spicy kick. One thing I changed was instead of ground sirloin, I cut a sirloin steak into small cubes and browned along with the sausage since I tend to like big chunks of beefy mcbeef in my chili. Also, this thing had a KICK. When I tasted it the day before the spiciness was right on, but the next day? Yowza. I would recommend if you are making this to be enjoyed a few days after making, to either deseed the jalapeno or lower the chili powder level if you have a spicy-sensitive group. However, I was getting great reviews from the table so maybe I’ve become a spice-pansy.  

Kari, who just got back from Italy, also made awesome Cauliflower Fritters and homemade bread. Maybe if y’all apply enough pressure here she will give me the recipe as these were molto buono! UPDATE, Kari gave us the recipe, see below. Also Lex, being the awesome chef that she is, did some kind of delicious wicked voodoo with Kari’s leftover bell peppers from the farmer’s market. I asked her what she did and all she could say is “magic Aunt Moey!”. She’s so kin to me. 

All-American Chili (Photo by Randy Mayor)

On to the Mexican Hot Chocolate. We loved it. It was simple, chocolatey, spicy and the perfect beverage to take with us down to the tree. And if you want to add a little Bailey’s we would highly recommend it 😉 Overall, the gang loved all the yummy dishes and beverages but isn’t that what food does? It brings us all together to share stories, laugh, and appreciate the time we have with our good friends and family; especially this time of year. Not to get all sentimental but my life has changed in so many ways this past year, from David being in my life, new amazing friends, and my wonderful niece and her significant other moving to Austin. I couldn’t be more grateful and can’t help but look back over this year and grin from ear-to-ear.  In fact, I kind of feel like this… 

Here are some more pics from our fun holiday evening AND we survived our first dinner party with the new countertops. Digital high five! 

David and me making the hot chocolate (maybe with some Bailey's, photo by Kari Holloway)

From right to left: Yours Truly, David, Tyler, Alex, Kari and Raul


Cauliflower Fritters
Recipe by Maria Jewitt in Rogliano, Italy
4 oz/Tbsp white flour
1 tsp Salt
1 egg
1/4 Pt liquid (half water, half milk, or whatever you have)
3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 garlic clove, diced
Several Tbsp vegetable or canola
Veggies – You can use Cauliflower, brocolli, corn, potato, squash; the more veggies you use, the more fritters you will make. For 6 people, I doubled the recipe and added a whole (small) head of cauliflower.
Mix flour and salt in medium sized bowl. Make a dip in the dry mixture and add egg, mixing together with a fork. Slowly add milk/water mixture – you may not need all of the liquid, it will depend on the size of the egg. The batter should be fairly runny and come off the fork easily. Add diced garlic, shredded parmesean and chopped parsely. Let rest for 10-15 minutes. Cook vegetables until soft while batter rests. Tear (do not cut) into bite sized pieces. Fold veggies into batter. Heat vegetable or canola oil in a medium sized pan – add enough oil so that you will be able to shallow fry the fritters. When oil is hot, add a spoonful of batter in available areas in the pan. Once they start to cook, you should be able to push them closer together and add more batter to the pan. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper plate. Serve hot.


Soup and bread – two food soul mates. I for one know I don’t like a yummy bowl of soup without some delicious crusty bread. Now kick that up a notch with this Tuscan version of soup known as Ribollita or in Italian Reboiled that has delicious crusty bread in it. Yep…IN IT. I’ve never heard of this soup but when I saw it in the Cooking Light November issue I thought I would save it for a cold, blustery day. Well, it’s here, right now actually, swishing the trees outside our windows and is very brisk indeed. A Ribollita is nothing fancy, just vegetable scraps and day-old bread but it does take time to make – three days from what I could find in my research. This one only took a few hours for chopping, baking, and of course building the soup so eh, that’s not so bad.

Ribollita (Photo by John Autry)

Y’all, this soup was super gentle. The flavors of the kale, tomatoes, beans, carrots, potatoes, yadda, yadda, yadda and yes, my delicious bread made this SUPER hearty. This bad boy is packed with good-for-youness and it’s vegetarian. We loved this for a gentle lunch on such a cold, windy day. Tonight, it’s Scallops with Green Tea Cream if I actually get around to making them this time. I swear, aliens are going to abduct me to ensure I don’t. More on this issue later and oh! if you haven’t yet, be sure to become a fan of Cooking Inside the Lines on Facebook today. Warm reboiled hugs.

Braised Chicken and Red Potatoes in Tarragon Broth

Talk about an Emily favorite. I have made this soup since it’s debut three years ago in the September 2007 issue of Cooking Light. To me, this is a bowl of comfort that I’ve turned to year after year say when I’ve got a cold, it’s gloomy and gross outside or your favorite team ever (rhymes with Fonghorns) gets dismantled again. Bleeb to the blarb.

The flavors of this soup with the tender braised chicken, soft red potatoes, shallots, and white wine are a perfect combo and the tarragon broth provides the perfect balance to make a beautiful soup. Ahhh, the smell of the broth hooks you before you even begin to eat. Plus it has a short ingredient list and is undeniably easy to make…see why I love it so?

I just ate this for lunch and now I’m all comfy and cozy at my desk.  Now if only I could be in my pajamas with my slippers I would be set…and then I would probably get fired…then I would just have to make more soup to comfort myself. Enjoy this y’all, it’s a good one.

Braised Chicken and Red Potatoes in Tarragon Broth (Photo by Lee Harrelson)

Beef and Guinness Stew

Beef and Guinness Stew (Photo by Jonny Valiant)

Every month Cooking Light does their staff favorites of recipes from each issue, and while reviewing their choices I came across this Beef and Guinness Stew recipe. How I managed to miss this in the March 2010 issue is beyond me since I love a traditional Irish stew and come on, it’s a staff favorite. Shame on me and three whacks with a shillelagh.

It’s been a little chilly here so I thought a stew would be a nice belly warmer and since I was just coming back from one of the most Irish cities in the U.S. – Boston – I thought my timing was perfect.

You know a recipe is good when your signficant other mentions that this is one of their favorite stews they’ve had in a while – thank you Cooking Light, thank you! David liked this better than I did but I have to say it was a deliciously-perfect Irish stew that was uber savory and the layers of flavors were marvelous. Plus, I was just informed by David that leftovers of this were awesome and even better the next day. 

I followed this exactly except I didn’t include parsnips because our local HEB hates me and didn’t have any. There were also a little less onions than called for – oh not because I didn’t chop enough. I did in fact chop the right amount and then tripped, almost fell and knocked the bowl over with some of my precious chopped onions falling to the floor. Yeah, clumsytastic I know. Anyhoodles, give this a try on a cold wintry night, it is soooo super gentle!

Recipe Retry of an All-Time Favorite


Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Semolina Gnocchi (Photo by Elinor Carucci)

I can’t even begin to tell you the love I feel for this Milk-Braised Pork Shoulder with Semolina Gnochhi from Olivia restaurant right here in Austin. I made this dish exactly as directed some time ago and it is still one of my favorites. In fact, when someone ask me the one recipe they should make that I’ve tested, this one is always my first recommendation.

We are in full kitchen remodel mode and as anyone knows who’s been through one, an 1/8 of an inch off of one thing can derail you for days. We had plans to have our Wolf oven hooked up and ready to go – it’s a gas stove I can’t wait – but alas the cabinets threw us off. Thanks company-that-shall-not-be-named, thanks ever so much for making cabinets that require you to alter with a chainsaw, fairy dust and some Vaseline. I kid but only a little.

Since I already had the pork sitting in the nice combo of salt and cinnamon and didn’t want to waste it, I chunked cooking inside the lines out the door and threw all  of the ingredients from the butter to the tomatoes (I didn’t add the flour since I wasn’t making a roux but could not skimp on the butter, do you blame me?) into a large Dutch oven. I cooked this bad boy for 2 hours in our convection microwave and then let cool and sit overnight in the fridge. The verdict? AWESOME. DELICIOUS. PORK.

Sure, the depth of flavor was slightly better in the original but hey, in a pinch and less time in the kitchen this worked! I couldn’t make the semolina gnocchi so I served this as a stew with a Caesar side salad. David mentioned this has been his favorite dish that I’ve made so far…with that poodles make this, make this right now. Try the slow version (it’s seriously not that much trouble) or go rogue and try it my way. Either way, for the love, make this. Now if I could actually go eat at Olivia…

Tasty Gazpacho

I do love me some gazpacho lambs. Something about the aroma and all the flavors chilled together make it a perfect soup. We had tropical storm Hermine making out with Central Texas earlier this week so I was happy at the notion of making a simple and comforting soup to watch as the rain and thunderclouds passed by.

I chose this Tomato and Pepper Gazpacho with Sherry created by Chef José Andrés in the new Bon Appetit (let’s talk about the cover burger recipe later poodles WOW right?).  I don’t think anything could be as easy as chopping up tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumber, blending in a food processor and chilling. Two notes, I ran out of fresh garlic (yeah that’s weird I know) so I used two tablespoons of garlic powder and didn’t have sherry (that’s not weird I don’t think?) so just used the sherry wine vinegar.

Tomato and Pepper Gazpacho with Sherry
Photo by: Elinor Carucci

I made all of the garnishes – easy peasy – and bam, some really, really good gazpacho on the table and awesome leftovers. I served this with some simple cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto and black pepper sprinkled on top.

The rain kept going but sadly our gazpacho experience didn’t last long. Make this for a simple, quick and delicious meal at home and enjoy for lunch the next day!