Holy Crab! … and Avocado Soup

First of all, SO SORRY for my laziness over the past 9 months. Rest assured I have been cooking and feeding my now hubby, but wedding planning over the past few months really took a toll.  Hopefully, I will get to write about that journey one day, but now that the wedding is over… let’s get cookin again!

After 2 weeks of the summer’s delicious sweet corn and grilled chicken, the law of diminishing returns has set in.  To rescue us from the summer food doldrums, I browsed through the list of saved recipes I’d intended to try over the years but ended up collecting cyber dust.

The Crab & Avocado soup (easier than it sounds) is exactly what I needed to maintain my “good wife” status! This DELICIOUS cold summer soup packed with all the goodness from avocados and sweet crab meat served with some sourdough bread is the perfect light summer dinner.

Crab & Avocado Soup

Crab & Avocado Soup

I modified this Epicurious recipe to make it a bit soupier and doubled the amount of crab (hey, why not) so I can serve this as a main.  Also, if you don’t already have an immersion blender, get it, it’s da bomb!!

Yields 2 Main Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lump crab meat (I used back fin crab meat due to cost)
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation

– Mix crabmeat, celery, dried parsley, and lemon zest in a bowl.  Cover and chill crab salad.

– Cube and pit avocados; scoop flesh into a large mixing bowl. Add vegetable stock, crème fraîche, lime juice, kosher salt, and 1 1/4 cups water. Purée with immersion blender until smooth. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper; chill.

– Divide soup amongst 2 bowls.  Spoon crab salad into center of each bowl.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Mini Loaves – Yay Fall!!!

Ready or not, the weather’s gettin’ nippy. But it also means the arrival of pumpkin and apple season – and it’s the best!!!  What better way to welcome the fall than some Pumpkin Ginger Bread?

This Buzzfeed post led me to this delicious Good Thymes & Good Food recipe.  To make it super irresistible and easy for gifting, I used these Paper Mini Loaf Molds from Sur la Table and added some personal touches to it. I find myself coming back to this recipe again and again because it’s been such a hit.  Continue reading

Wednesday Quickie: Chicken Stir fry with Zucchini & Mushrooms

As quickly as summer arrived, it’s slowly slipping away!! Well, hold on to your zucchinis before they go out of season, we’re going to make some summer stir-fry!

Chicken Stirfry with Zucchini and Mushrooms

Chicken Stirfry with Zucchini and Mushrooms

This is my latest quick dinner favorite, especially after a long day at work and a swim at the pool.  Including prep and cook time, this can be in your tummy in just about 30 minutes. Celebration!

Ingredients (4 servings)

– 2 organic chicken breasts

– 3/4 pound organic crimini mushrooms

– 2 medium – large organic zucchinis

– 1 stalk organic scallions

– 1/2 tsp ginger powder

– Dash of white pepper

– Dash of garlic powder

– 2 tbs soy sauce

– 1 tbs balsamic vinegar

– 1/2 tbs roasted / salted sesame seeds (Optional)

– Drizzle of sesame oil (Optional)

Preparation

– Cube Chicken, Zucchini, Mushrooms into bite-size pieces. The smaller the pieces, the shorter the cook time.

– In a medium saucepan, add olive oil, sauté cubed chicken for 8-10 min on medium heat until cooked through.  Set aside.

– In the same saucepan, (add oil if needed) add in zucchini and mushrooms, season with ginger powder, white pepper, garlic powder, stir to coat. Sauté for 8-10 min until wilted but not mushy.

– Once mushrooms / zucchinis cook down, add chicken, sesame, soy sauce, vinegar and combine well.

– Serve on a bed of rice, top with scallions and sesame oil

Wednesday Quickie: Hot Steamy Catch – Fish Edition

Another heat wave in NYC, we can probably sear a fish on a rock.  In the mean time, let’s leave the stone ages behind and experiment with another great way of cooking fish, steaming!  Quick, easy, and healthy, this cooking method retains the fresh taste of any protein and maximizes the juiciness – wowzers.

Steamed Salmon with Roasted Potatoes and Greens

Steamed Salmon with Roasted Potatoes and Greens

The best “steamer” I found is in fact this stove top smoker. It is well built and doubles as a smoker (bonus!), but most importantly, the length gives you the flexibility to steam a whole fish or chicken. Serve a filet-o-fish with a fresh salad on the side and some oven-baked taters, you’re all set with a complete summer meal!

Ingredients (Serves 2 – time to table <30 minutes):

– 2 Pieces of ½ Pound Fish Filet (Salmon, Cod, Branzino are all great choices)

– Salt and Pepper to Taste

– 2 Wedges of Lemon to Serve

Directions:

– Fill the steamer baby up with water just below the rack; lightly grease the tray.

– Place steamer (lid off) on medium heat.

– In the mean time, salt and pepper the filet to taste.  Place fish on tray in steamer once water begins to boil <— IMPORTANT!!!!

– Close lid and steam for about 10 – 12 minutes until flesh is opaque and cooked through (Quick Tip: Steam time per pound of fish is 10 – 12 minutes, so adjust accordingly).

– Serve each filet with a wedge of lemon, garnish with fresh dill as desired.

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)