Chinese Bone Broth with Asian Pears

I’m really trying to get hyped up for Chinese New Year.  Aside from some flowers I brought into the home, CNY lacks its usual red & gold luster, feeling more like the dreary snowy Monday that is New York today.  BUT in an effort to stay true to CNY traditions of 除舊迎新 “out with the old (crap) and in with the good”, I’m going to refrain from talking about the absolute insanity of work in January, my forever cold, and my wistful thoughts of childhood past. Continue reading

Smokin’ Chipotle Corn Soup

Oh my cob!  I was at the farmer’s market this past weekend and was devastated by the dwindling supply of plump corn.  Folks, corn season is quickly coming to an end (and dare I say… so is summer?), gahhhhh! Naturally, we need to celebrate this quintessential summer treat and this summer’s bounty with another soup recipe (duh).

CHOW’s Chipotle Corn Soup recipe brings in just the right amount of spice and smokiness to highlight the sweetness of the star ingredient. I served this with a simple tomato, cucumber salad with sliced grilled chicken. UM UM UMMM!

Chipotle Corn Soup with Grilled Chicken Salad

Chipotle Corn Soup with Grilled Chicken Salad

I took out the scallions in this recipe so I can use leftover avocados to garnish the dish.  I regretted that decision.  The creaminess and taste of the avocado was lost in the soup.  So I’m posting the original recipes here with scallions, with notes and modifications. Lastly, straining the mixture made for a super silky soup, but hubby likes the grittiness of the corn puree, so we left his bowl unstrained and it was still tasty!

INGREDIENTS

– 8 ears white or yellow corn, shucked <I used 5 big ears of bi-color corn>

– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)

– 1 teaspoon minced chipotles in adobo sauce

– 2 teaspoons kosher salt

– Freshly ground black pepper

– 6 scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)

– 1 1/2 cups whole milk

– 1 1/2 cups water

INSTRUCTIONS:
– Remove the corn kernels from the cobs.
– Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the chipotles, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, a pinch of black pepper, and about two-thirds of the scallions. (Set aside the remaining scallions to use as a garnish.) Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 3 minutes.
– Add the corn kernels, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, milk, and water and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the flavors have melded and the corn kernels are crisp yet tender (not mushy), about 15 minutes.
– <Skip this step if you like the grittiness of corn> Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large, heatproof bowl. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. Pour the blended soup through the strainer, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula; discard the solids.
– Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper as needed. If serving chilled, refrigerate the soup until cold, at least 3 hours. Garnish with the remaining scallions and serve.

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.

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)

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.