Wednesday Quickie – Chicken Noodle Soup with Fennel & Scallions

Dear Josie’s,

I love your delicious Chicken Noodle soup when I don’t feel right, the fennel and scallions you have really brings it home. But why does it have to cost me $1,000 / oz?! I don’t feel the love!

So, I figured out the next best thing – a quickie version of your soup. Hope you don’t mind.

xoxo,

Branching Owl

Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Who wants to be chopping up stuff with a runny nose?! To save even more time, buy pre-chopped organic vegetables – Whole Foods NYC has some in their Produce section.

Ingredients (4 Servings)

– 3 Stalks Celery Chopped

– 2 Carrots Sliced (or Chopped if carrots are large)

– 1 Onion Chopped

– 1 Fennel – White Part Only, Sliced in Thin Wedges

– 1 lbs Chicken Breast Tenderloin cubed

– 1 32 oz box of Organic Chicken Stock

– 4 Stalks Scallions – Green and White Parts, Sliced

– Salt and Pepper to taste

– Macaroni Noodles

Directions

– In a large stock pot, bring chicken stock to a boil on med to high heat.

– Throw in sliced fennel, celery, carrots, & onions in boiling stock. Lower to medium heat and cook for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

– Once vegetables are tender, place cubed chicken tenderloin in soup stock. Continue to cook for about 30 minutes or so until chicken is cooked through but not overdone. Stir occasionally.

– While the soup is cooking, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and cook your noodles until al dente – about 8 minutes

– Few minutes before serving, stir in the sliced scallions and macaroni. Salt and pepper to taste. Voila!

Storage

– I would store soup and macaroni separately (toss macaroni in some olive oil to prevent clumping)

Spring has (almost) Sprung – Tahini Noodles with Chicken & Cucumber

Mother nature finally blessed us with a warm day in NYC – yippee! While I am not going to fall into another “sunny day trap” (and dry clean my coats for the season), I will however, cook to celebrate this ephemeral yet exciting occasion because I miss the summer oh so much.

Tahini Noodles with Chicken and Cucumber

Tahini Noodles with Chicken and Cucumber

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tahini, it’s really just a fancy name for grounded sesame paste. This fragrant condiment is common in Middle Eastern dishes (like hummus), but I’ve added a little soy sauce twist to this and created a nice Asian noodle meal.  Served at room temperature, this extremely versatile dish is perfect for cooling down in warm weather.  You can find tahini at your local ethnic food store, Whole Foods, or Amazon!

Recipe (4 Servings)

– 1 lbs Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast

– 4 Bunches of Dry Round Udon Noodles (or Spaghetti)

– 2 Cucumbers cut into 2 inch strips

– 8 Tbsp Tahini

– 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce (adjust according to your taste)

– 4 Tbsp Water

Sesame with Sea Salt as desired

Directions

– Fill medium sauce pan with enough room temperature water to cover the chicken breast, you may salt the water if you’d like.  Place chicken breast in sauce pan with room temperature water on low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes, allowing the water to come to a nice simmer (but not boiling).

– While the chicken is cooking, mix tahini, soy sauce, and water together in a large mixing bowl (enough to contain your noodles and ingredients for tossing later on), to create a nice and creamy sauce. Chop up the cucumbers if you haven’t done so already.

– Check the chicken and make sure it’s cooked through in the center, remove from sauce pan, and rinse under cold water.  ‘Tear’ the warm chicken breast into strips.

– In a small sauce pan, place water on boil and cook the noodles according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Rinse noodles under cold water once it’s cooked through and strain.

– Place chicken & cucumber strips and noodles into the large mixing bowl with sauce and toss well. Serve immediately and sprinkle your noodles with some sesame with sea salt for garnish!

Variations and Storage

– For a vegetarian version of this, you can substitute the chicken with strips of extra firm tofu. I would mix in just a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil to give it extra flava!

– If you made too much chicken and cut up extra cucumber, I would recommend storing them in separate containers. Otherwise, your cucumbers will get soggy! And don’t mix in the noodles with sauce either, I would cook up the noodles when you’re ready to serve the leftovers.

Cure the Brrr! Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Just like that, the cold front snapped NY back into the wintry reality!  Soup is the best remedy for this kind of weather, and since we are in the height of Soup Month(s) celebration (Soup Fans: “YAY!!!”), I have created another recipe for us to enjoy! The mushroom and wild rice soup.

Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

At first glance, the mix of herbs may seem excessive, but Herbs de Provence, I thought, complimented the amazing fragrance of wild rice and the citrusy notes of coriander balances out the earthy mushrooms very nicely. Try it!

Ingredients (Serves 4 – 6)

– 1/2 cup Wild Rice

– 4 Cloves Garlic, minced

– 1 Medium Sized Onion, Chopped

– 3 Stalks of Celery

– 3 Medium Carrots

– 16 oz Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms (2 8 oz containers)

– 8 Cups of Chicken or Vegetable Stock

– 1 Tsp Salt, 1/2 Tsp Pepper, 1/4 Tsp Coriander, 1/2 Herbs de Provence (to taste, adjust as necessary)

Directions

– Heat up 1 – 2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot, add chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

– Add carrots, celery, and mushrooms, stir with onions and garlic to coat with oil. About 2 – 3 minutes.

– Add chicken or vegetable stock to cover carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic, and onions, and bring to boil. Cover and lower to low-medium heat, and let simmer for 30 – 40 minutes until carrots are relatively soft.

– Then, add wild rice and simmer for another 40 minutes or until everything is cook through and tender.

– Season with Salt, Pepper, Coriander, and Herbs de Provence.

Check out last week’s Broccoli and Potato soup for more vegetarian soup options! If you want something even heartier, you can get the Italian Sausage Tortellini soup recipe here.

Souper Winter Months – Broccoli and Potato Soup

In Midtown NYC where I work, healthy and delicious lunch options are available, but you really have to do your investigative work.  When I don’t have time to walk all the way to Westerly Natural Market, the best kept NY Soup secret, I go to Between the Bread. Their stuff is a bit pricey, but I’ve always been able to find dairy free and healthy food options.

Speaking of soup, did you know that January & February are official soup months?! Holy moly. In honor of that, I had to come up with a couple of hearty yet healthy soup recipes. Crediting BTB for inspiring this easy Broccoli and Potato Soup.

Broccoli and Potato Soup

 I am so pleased with how hearty and flavorful this recipe turned out! Serve with some toasted crusty bread and enjoy.

Ingredients (4 – 6 servings):

– 2 Small heads of broccoli, trim off stem and use florets for soup

– 3 Medium sized yellow potatoes

– 1 Medium sized onion, chopped

– 2 cloves of garlic, roughly sliced

– 1 32oz box of chicken or vegetable stock (or home-made stock)

– 1 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp pepper; 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste, so adjust as needed)

Directions

– Heat up 1 – 2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot, add chopped onion and sliced garlic. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

– Add potatoes, stir with onions and garlic to coat with oil. About 2 – 3 minutes.

– Add chicken or vegetable stock to cover potatoes, broccoli, garlic, and onions and bring to boil. Cover and lower to low-medium heat, and let simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are relatively soft.

– Then, add broccoli and simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes.  Cook until tender.

– In batches, use a food processor to roughly blend the ingredients.

Coming up next, Mushroom and Wild Rice soup!! Delish!

Curry Up for A Healthy New Beginning!

Happy 2013! Hope everyone had a great holiday season and a fantastic new start.  To kick things off the right way (and really to detox from a very meaty and sweet holiday) I finally decided to try and make a vegetarian dish.  I said finally because I’ve always suffered from many food intolerances.  In particular, barley, most legumes, and soy really makes it difficult to get the protein I need from a vegetarian diet. But it’s a new year and I’m willing to give it a shot.

What better teacher than Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood cookbook?  For those of you who have never seen the book itself, I definitely recommend checking it out.  Aside from the delicious vegetarian recipes, the hand lettering aesthetics really makes it homey.  Flipping through the book, her Mushroom Curry caught my eye mostly due to the use of apples, lack of legumes and dairy.

Mollie Katzen Moosewood Cookbook's Mushroom Curry

Mollie Katzen Moosewood Cookbook’s Mushroom Curry

All the spices may seem daunting at first, but follow the recipe 100% and you’ll find making curry from scratch is really not too difficult! This recipe is definitely a winner.  Aside from the seducing aroma, the Cremini mushrooms have the perfect “meaty” and creamy texture, celery a nice crunch, honey & coconut balances the tartness of the apples and tomatoes.

Here’s the recipe:

To save time, you can use boxed or canned chopped tomatoes, I added the honey and water as suggested but decided to skip the yogurt topping as I found the dish tart enough on its own.  Also see alternative serving suggestion below the recipe!

Mollie Katzen's Mushroom Curry Recipe

BRANCHING OWL ALTERNATE SERVING SUGGESTION:

Yes, you can have curry for breakfast.  Here’s how:

Instead of serving this dish with rice, top a fried egg on a small bowl of curry and eat it with some toasted thick crusty bread on the side.  Yummy!

Stay tuned this week for more veggie soups!