Mushroom and Artichoke Soup

I’ve been sick the last couple of days, the kind where you are just plain passed out on the couch and drooling. So when I finally managed to peel my tired and sick body off the couch, I wanted something hot and delicious.¬†Luckily, I had a container filled with roasted mushrooms and some spare artichoke quarters languishing in a jar… so I thought… SOUP! Since I was fuzzy from sleeping 2 days straight, I put on some good music and chopped methodically while I simmered up this soup. Turns out, this is just what I needed.

Mushroom and Artichoke Soup (A little bit of this and that from the Kaprise Kitchen)

  • 2 cups of roasted mushrooms (I made mine like this), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of canned artichokes (the ones I had are marinated in oil and Italian spices, but plain should be just fine), finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of cumin, paprika, and whatever other spices you want!
  • 1 cup of water
  1. If you haven’t already, finely chop all of the ingredients.
  2. In a pot, heat the butter and olive oil
  3. Gently stir in the onion, cooking until translucent and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Stir in the mushrooms and artichokes.
  5. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer
  6. Season accordingly.
  7. DONE!

Easy Peasy! This is easily made vegetarian by just using olive oil…. I ate mine with some seared scallops, but you can add or leave out protein as you see fit!

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I hope you are all staying warm! It’s been freezing out here, and much to my dismay, my dog LOVES being outside in the snow and ice.

 

 

Soup, Stew… Something for the Snow

I’ve recently decided that it was time to clean out my entire refrigerator… top to bottom. When I was making room for Thanksgiving Day things, I noticed I had very wisely packed away one person size portions of beef, chicken, lentils, and other things in the freezer. Unfortunately, my preparation for those “rainy” days never got used because whenever I crave something, I’m running out the door and to the store. So… to make use of those “rainy” day provisions, I’ve been making a lot of soup and stew with those little squirreled away packets of food.

Soups and stews are easy… for the most part all you need is a little protein, some vegetables, spices and herbs, and a little water.

Today I made a beef soup with ribbons of kale, a handful of fresh herbs out of the crisper, and some green French lentils. It’s not much of a recipe but here it goes.

Something for the Snow Soup (Kaprise refrigerator clean out recipe)

  1. Cube a portion of beef or any protein. I used 8 ounces of sirloin steak.
  2. Toss lightly in flour
  3. In a heavy bottomed skillet (I use my Le Creuset for this) and over high heat, sear the cubes of beef until crisp in olive oil.
  4. Toss in a crushed clove of garlic and stir
  5. Pour in about 1/4 of a cup of wine (and drink some too)
  6. Add 1 cup of crushed tomatoes and 3 cups of water
  7. Bring your soup to a low simmer.
  8. Add 1 cup of uncooked and rinsed lentils (you could also used canned if you prefer)
  9. Add salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of cumin, and whatever else you desire.
  10. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through
  11. Stir in ribboned kale and herbs. I used about 5 leaves of dinosaur kale, a bunch of cilantro, and a handful of parsley
  12. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

Done!! ūüôā I know it’s not much of a recipe, but these quick little soups get me through the winter. I make a little pot for dinner, and then eat it with an fried egg in the morning… if there is any left over I have it for lunch with some crusty garlic bread (yes. I work from home, so I can eat garlic in the middle of the day).

xoxo-H

Listen When I Sing This Song (+ the BEST Baked Ziti)

Today… Today I was ravenous… After my run, I demolished an entire tray of sliced carrots and hummus. Then I ate a cheeseburger. Then I spent three hours thinking about how I was SO hungry. Clearly, my body was telling me to eat something! But then I got super, uber fixated on cheesy pasta. So. I made it.

The first time I had baked ziti was at my friend Deirdre’s¬†house. Her mom asked me to come over to play, and I was SO excited. I shouldn’t have been so excited, the minute I arrived Deirdre and I were planted firmly at the kitchen table and told to work on Algebra together while Deirdre’s mother whipped up dinner. Despite being forced to do homework on my “play” date, I was thrilled because Deirdre’s mother made us this thing called “baked ziti.” I distinctly remember wolfing down more than my fair share. It was hot, cheesey, and absolutely amazing. I loved it.

I made baked ziti for years, and it has always been one of my favorites. I made it for my 16th birthday celebration, but I can’t remember having made it since (… seriously?!). ¬†Anyway, I read a couple recipes on my phone before running through the grocery and grabbing the ingredients. From start to finish it took me about an hour and 15 minutes, but it was an active 1 hour and 15 minutes. Either way, baked ziti is always worth the elbow grease!

Kaprise Kitchen’s So-Hungry-I-Can’t-Focus-On-Anything-But-Food Ziti (inspired by several different recipes online, and Deirdre’s mom)

  • 28 oz can of whole tomatoes (you may choose to use more tomatoes if you like to keep extra sauce for rainy days. I did!!!)
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 pound of uncooked pasta
  • 15 oz of full fat ricotta cheese
  • 12 to 16 oz of full fat¬†mozzarella,¬†shredded (also. seriously. NEVER buy that preshredded stuff. It’s bad. VERY bad)
  1. If your oven takes 10000000 years to preheat, now is the time to fire up that babd boy. 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot, bring a large quantity (enough for 1 pound of pasta) to boil. Salt lightly.
  3. In another large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat
  4. Mince the onion (really more of a petit dice) and add to the olive oil.
  5. While your onion is softening, peel and smash about 3-4 cloves of garlic. Chop finely and add to onions. Continue to cook gently, be sure not to let the garlic or onion brown. You just want them to be nice and translucent.
  6. Add tomatoes to the garlic/onion. Break apart the whole tomatoes with a fork. Continue on medium/high heat
  7. While your tomato mixture is heating up, your water should boil. Add your pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than al dente. Set a timer so you don’t forget!
  8. As your tomatoes heat, finely chop your fresh basil and parsley. I added a very generous 1/4 cup of chopped herbs, but feel free to adjust based on your preferences.
  9. Add the herbs to the tomatoes, cover and bring the tomato sauce to a boil. I don’t like to cook the heck out of the sauce, so just as it gets to a boil, I turn the heat off.
  10. Now… your pasta timer should have beeped, so drain your pasta in a colander. Shake the excess water from the pasta and return to the pot.
  11. In the pot, add the ricotta cheese and 1/2 of the shredded mozzarella (I added some more chopped herbs too) and 1/2 of the tomato sauce. Stir until the noodles are evenly coated.
  12. Spread your pasta into a large casserole dish (or two separate ones like I did). Dot the top of the pasta with the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella.
  13. Pop into the over for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has bubbled a bit.
  14. ENJOY!

Leftovers keep well for up to 4 days in a tightly sealed container. When reheating, add a little extra tomato sauce to the pan/plate/whatever to help the pasta perk up a bit.

I would have taken pictures, but I was so busy burning my tongue and wolfing this down that I didn’t. Also. Baked ziti photographs pretty terribly, so I doubt you’re missing much.

What did you eat for dinner?

 

Crisp Salad with Feta, Olives, and Basil

After eating soup and soft hot foods to help kill my cold, I was really craving something fresh, crispy, and refreshing.¬†This salad satisfied my craving, and the remaining leaves of lettuce have been quickly gobbled up with zesty dressing.¬†Since this isn’t much of a recipe, I’ll leave you with a list of the ingredients and a couple pretty pictures of my salad

Crisp Salad with Feta, Olives, and Basil

  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Sliced black olives
  • Shredded basil
  • Thinly sliced fennel
  • Sliced carrots
  • Coins of roasted sweet potato
  • Avocado
  • Cherry tomatos
  • Italian dressing

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Spiced Pea Stew

I don’t really like the idea of pea soup. I find it is always a bit too creamy or sweet or weird. Anyway, it was raining yesterday and I felt like soup. I was going to make chicken-something-something soup with some leftover chicken I had in the freezer, but then I found two bags of sad little peas and immediately changed my mind.

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This soup isn’t pretty… but it sure beats the hell out of those weird pea soup recipes you see. It’s chunky, spicy and just delicious.

Spice Pea Stew (Kaprise Kitchen Original)

  • 3 cups of frozen peas, rinsed under cold water
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup of chopped beet greens (you can use spinach, kale, or any other green you would like)
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of spicy pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons of butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  1. In a heavy bottomed pan, melt butter over medium heat
  2. Saute onions until soft and translucent
  3. Add beet greens and continue to saute over medium heat until soft
  4. Add in celery and peas
  5. Smoosh (hehe… smush? squish?) the peas with the back of a ladle. I squish about 1/2 so that there is texture to my stew (Alternatively, you could blend 1/2 of the mixture with an immersion blender or other device for a smoother texture).
  6. Add all of the spices (you may want to add in increments so that you can adjust accordingly). Taste, and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  7. Just cover the vegetables in filtered water, cover and bring to a boil
  8. Lower the temperature and simmer for 20 minutes
  9. Serve and enjoy!

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Garlicky Parsley Buttered Mussels

Today, I went for a run, and then I got back and ate two bars of caramel chocolate before deciding to join the adult world and eat real food.

I saw these mussels in the freezer, and decided that a quick bake in the oven with some garlicky sauce would be just the ticket for an adult (and not chocolate/sugar) filled meal. Bonus points for being paleo friendly.

 

Garlicky Parsley Buttered Mussels (an inspired Kaprise Kitchen original)

  • 1 pounds of mussels (I used frozen ones that were already shelled)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of chopped garlic
  • 1 small bunch of parsley chopped to bits (haha I felt like saying “chopped to bits”)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of macadamia nuts, smashed (with a wine bottle)
  1. Arrange mussels in a baking sheet, you may use a rack like I did, or simply let them rest on the sheet
  2. In a small heatproof bowl, melt the butter and stir in the parsley and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste
  3. Gently spoon the mixture over the mussels
  4. Top with a sprinkle of your “smashed” macadamia nuts
  5. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

While my mussels baked, I made a quick mushroom pasta and threw the mussels and a little bit of the baking liquid over it before devouring. Delicious!!!

Note: I baked mine in a small convection toaster oven… the best place to make food for one or two.

 

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Sweet Potato Baja Fish Bites

Guys… Baja fish. It’s tender, delicate, and delicious. Mine was prepared simply… just a tiny pinch of salt and a light dusting of flour before being pan fried in olive oil. Can I just tell you? AMAZING!

I had a few pieces of fish left over, and I couldn’t stop thinking about ways to prepare the fish. Scallion? Ginger? Salad? Sandwich?! Then I thought, “BITE-SIZED!” and came up with this!

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Sweet Potato Baja Fish Bites (Kaprise Kitchen Original)

  • 2 filets of baja fish
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of flour (for those Paleo eaters, you can omit this all together or batter your fish in egg, or dip lightly in fine almond flour)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 teaspoon of grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar reduction
  1. Slice the sweet potato and carrot into 1/2 inch slices, toss in olive oil, and roast in the oven at 425F for 25 minutes, until crisp. (You can also do this the day before and chill in the refrigerator)
  2. Heat a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil. Sprinkle the baja fish with a teensy bit of fine salt and lightly flour. Fry the fish for 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. (Also, can be done a day in advance and chilled in the refrigerator)
  3. In a large serving platter, place the slices of sweet potato
  4. Gently brush each sweet potato with a thin layer of mustard
  5. Top each sweet potato/mustard with a piece of fish, sliced to fit the pieces.
  6. Garnish with a little sliver of roasted carrot
  7. Top each bite with a drop or two of balsamic vinegar reduction.
  8. Eat!!!

Balsamic Vinegar Reduction: Super easy! Just put some balsamic vinegar in a non-reactive pan, medium heat, cover, and reduce until 1/2 volume. Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated, and please, for the love of cooking, do not sniff the mixture! Just let it bubble away until it’s 1/2 volume. Cool and store in an airtight jar. Use on anything.

Note: You can use any type of left over fish in this recipe. I do think that the baja was a perfect match for the sweetness of the sweet potato, but I can see cod being really good too. I would do a tilapia also, but maybe with a chili-cilantro salsa instead of balsamic.


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I hope you guys enjoyed this recipe! Also… Happy Valentines Day!!! Celebrate those you love, and celebrate yourself, because there is no one else you should love more!!!

xoxo -H

Turning the Other Cheek…

A year or so ago, I made the promise to let go of all the people and things that hurt me. Life is so short and so precious that you can’t let these things get to you. So I wonder… is it worth it to turn the cheek with a close friend? Or is it better to just let them go and move on? If it were anyone else, I’d just let them go. I have a great friend, Kara, and she is my voice of reason in this matter. She told me to give this friend the benefit of the doubt and let bygones be bygones. So… I’ve decided to let it go.

Anyway… at the same time I was preoccupied with thoughts of tangles of pasta and meat sauce… I followed Whipped’s recipe for Pasticcio to a T. I found that my noodles absorbed quite a bit of liquid. So the only changes I would make are to use 28 oz of tomato sauce to help keep the dish a bit more moist.

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Pork Butt (hehehe!!)


I made carnitas! (On a mildly related note, has anyone else noticed that their Mac autocorrects their text? Is this a setting I can change? Because… it keeps correcting my words. So carnitas turns into carnal… wtfffff and when I say OooO! in my chats it changes it to POO! I find this mildly funny, but mostly annoying).

But back to the carnitas… so Homesick Texan’s recipe for carnitas has been on a bit of a blog blitz, and so when I was wandering around a new (and very sweet) grocery store I saw some Boston Butt (tehehe) in the meat case, so I asked the nice butcher to wrap it up for me. I know I’m in my mid-twenties, but I still giggled a little when I had to ask the butcher “Can I please have the second Boston butt on the shelf?”

Anyway. You can read the recipe here at Homesick Texan’s website. The carnitas were delicious, but I have a couple notes to make.

  • Because the pork is unseasoned, the pork has a distinct smell. It’s not an unpleasant smell, but I added a few cracks of pepper at the 1 hour mark, and I think that helped. I think swapping out a couple tablespoons of the orange juice for some carrot juice will also help.
  • Add a generous amount of water. I found that the water evaporated at an alarming pace, even when I reduced the heat drastically, so I did add more at the 1 hour mark. However, I think it would be best to simply start out with enough water.
  • Get a generously marbled piece of pork. Mine was quite fatty, but I still felt that more fat needed to have rendered in order for the pork to caramelize properly. If you aren’t able to find a piece of meat that has enough fat, you should consider adding a bit of bacon lard to your pot, or perhaps some duck fat.
  • Place the fatty pieces of pork on the bottom of the pot to help render the fat and prevent sticking.

 

Smoked Gouda Pork Chop

I’ve been making serious effort to make every single one of my meals at home. Not only is it healthier and cheaper – but the few minutes it takes me to prepare my own meal is a good way to unwind at the end of the day. But, there are those days that you get home late and you have to walk the dog and by the time you get to the kitchen the clock is reading closer to bedtime than dinner time. So a simple and quick recipe is in order… and when you are trying to reduce your wheat intake – toasting a slice of bread is not an option. This recipe is easy. In the time it takes your chops to sizzle, you can get a salad together and silverware on the table and pour a glass of wine.

Smoked Gouda Pork Chop (Kaprise Kitchen original)

  • 2 boneless pork chops
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of shredded smoked gouda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  1. Set your broiler to high
  2. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cheese, and mustard until smooth
  3. Rinse and pat your pork chops dry. Sprinkle both sides of pepper.
  4. Place the pork chops on the baking sheet
  5. Smooth the cheese mixture evenly over the two pork chops.
  6. Place the baking sheet on the lower shelf of your oven for about 30 minutes, or until the pork has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F (see notes).
  7. Once the minimum internal temperature has been reached, place the sheet on the higher shelf and allow the chops to brown just a bit more.
  8. Serve over salad with a good white wine. I had mine with spinach salad and a glass of dry pinot gris.

 

 

Notes:

  • Connie at OuiChefCook has an excellent post about mayonnaise and instructions on how to make your own here.
  • You can substitute the cheese for other variations – I’ve only tried this with aged white cheddar and parmesan. Both work well, but if you try other cheese variations – let me know how it turns out!!
  • Suggested internal temperature for meats can be be found here¬†on the USDA website. They say “Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 ¬įF as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.”