Soup

Cauliflower Chowder

Cauliflower-Chowder_cauliflower-Yes,-more-please!

After enjoying these days of caloric ecstasy and extravagances, it’s hard to immediately switch to the light and healthier road. It feels like you are giving a kid a candy and 5 minutes later you change that to a cucumber… it is just plain hard. All my taste buds are still in frantic mode and my serotonin levels are a roll a coaster. But Nature is wise, and perhaps knows these facts by sprouting a great Winter abundance of greens, root vegetables, cabbages and cauliflowers among other vegetables.

These are my saviors for this caloric transitional period. I need soup to warm me up and fill up my belly with out the extra filling out of my pants.. ahem.

Last weekend at my farmers market I ran into these beauties, a warm yellow and a purple cauliflower, rainbow carrots, sweet potatoes and fresh dill. How can you not be inspired when you see all this colors? Soup it is, I was craving the creamy textures and luxurious caloric meals, but with no guilt. So I decided to make an all vegetable chowder using all these winter bounty.

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Cauliflower has a delicate flavor. When it is cooked and pureed it resembles potatoes. You would be surprised how close you can prepare it to mimic the potato. I’m sure you’ve heard of cauliflower mashed, cauliflower rice or cauliflower mac & cheese in which this humble Brassica acts like a carb-chameleon. With this premise I started my vegetable chowder by cooking and pureeing part of the cauliflower as the soup base to give that rich starchy like consistency that characterizes a chowder. I reserved some of the cauliflower into little florets which are added latter to the soup to add texture and enhance the cauliflower flavor. The extra creamy chowderiness comes from unsweetened coconut milk which gives this soup the luxurious velvety chowder texture and it adds lots of good healthy fats that are well needed at this point of the healthy road transition. Do not fear about the coconut over taking the flavor on the soup, you barely can tell is here. Carrots, sweet potatoes and onions add sweetness, texture and light flavor. Fresh dill adds a great herbal aroma to the soup and complements the cauliflower flavor in a very delicate way.

I recommend organically grown vegetables if possible. I know that’s not easy, but increasingly supermarkets are adding those options if you don’t have access to a farmer’s market. In my opinion the flavor is better and I think with a lightly seasoned dish like this one, those flavors are going to shine through.

This Cauliflower chowder will warm you up, fulfill your starchy desires, and settle down your taste buds. I would say this soup is the ticket to redemption road.  Time to tame the growling carb lions…

You also might like this recipes:

 Grilled Cauliflower with Garlic and Cumin rub or My favorite Cauliflower Ceviche …check them out!

If you want to know more about the wonderful benefits of Cauliflower, please check out this unique and complete article, written by Helen Nichols, 28 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Cauliflower  Enjoy!

Cauliflower-Chowder_how-to-cut-Florets

Cauliflower Chowder

Serves 4 or 2 hungry Vegans.

2 small or 1 medium Cauliflower heads. Any color is great about 6-7 cups of small cauliflower florets total, use organic if possible they have the best flavor.
6-7 small carrots, diced or sliced into rounds.
I used red, yellow, and orange, use what ever is freshest available at your market.
1 medium sweet potato peeled and diced.
1/2 large sweet onion
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cups vegetable stock
1 – 14oz can unsweetened coconut milk/cream
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 sprig fresh dill, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon if using dry and upon your taste.
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika or 2 sundry tomatoes**
6-8 good cranks of fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon Sea salt

Garnish with:

Fresh dill/not fan of dill?… Basil, Thyme, Chives, Tarragon are great substitutions.
smoked paprika
(Crostini or toast drizzled with olive oil and Parmesan cheese optional)

*I used water instead of vegetable stock, because I wanted the cauliflower flavor to come through. The first time I made this soup I used vegetable stock and I felt it masked the cauliflower flavor to much. Feel free to use whatever you prefer.
** Recently I made this soup adding 2 sundry tomatoes. It was a delicious variation, it gave the chowder a slight tint of color and deep of flavor.If using sundry tomatoes add them on step four so they can soften up before pureeing the chowder.

Preparation method:

1. Chop and diced your vegetables. With a small paring knife cut the cauliflower into small florets. Reserve about 2 cups of the little florets to add to the soup at last. For this soup I used the yellow cauliflower for the soup base and the purple florets to add whole to the soup, it adds eye appeal.

Cauliflower-Chowder_Carrots-and-sweetpotatoes_cooked
2. In a small pot, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Pre-cook the diced carrots and sweet potatoes for 4-5 minutes, until al-dente, rinse with cold water. Set aside.
3. Over medium-low heat in a medium size pot, add the extra virgin olive oil, and sauté the chopped onions and garlic until translucent, season with salt and pepper.
4. Once the onions are translucent, add ¾ of the cauliflower florets. Toss and add 2 cups of vegetable stock or just enough to cover the florets. Add bay leaf, thyme, fresh sprig of dill/or dry,  salt, and pepper, cover with a lid and let them cook for 7-8 minutes or until very soft and tender. Once cooked, purée them in a food processor, blender, or use an immersion blender until smooth.
5. Place this cauliflower purée back into the pot, add the coconut milk and stir well until blended. Season with celery salt, salt, paprika and black pepper. Add a bit more vegetable stock if the consistency is too thick.
6. Add the reserved mini cauliflower florets, and the pre-cooked carrots and sweet potatoes. Cover with a lid and bring to a slow simmer cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. Check for doneness on the vegetables; I like my vegetables on the al-dente side, not hard but not mushy. Taste them and decide if you like them softer keep cooking them for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve immediately into warm bowls, sprinkle fresh dill, a little drizzle of olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked pepper.  One or two whole wheat crostinis won’t hurt right?… Enjoy!

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Cauliflower-Chowder_serve-warm-with-fresh-dill

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Cauliflower-Chowder_Warm-up!-_Yes,-more-please!

 

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Cauliflower Chowder

Course Soup
Cuisine wholesome
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 small Cauliflower heads, Any color is great about 6-7 cups of small cauliflower florets total, use organic if possible they have the best flavor.
  • 6-7 small Carrots, diced or sliced into rounds.
  • 1 medium Sweet potato, peeled and diced.
  • 1/2 large Sweet onion diced
  • 2 medium Garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups Vegetable stock*
  • 1 14-0z can Unsweetened coconut milk/cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme, dry or fresh
  • 1 sprig fresh dill, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon if using dry upon your taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika or 2 sundry tomatoes
  • 6-8 cranks Fresh Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt, or more upon your taste

Instructions

  1. 1. Chop and diced your vegetables. With a small pairing knife cut the cauliflower into small florets. Reserve about 2 cups of the little florets to add to the soup at last. For this soup I used the yellow cauliflower for the soup base and the purple florets to add whole to the soup, it adds eye appeal.

    2. In a small pot, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Pre-cook the diced carrots and sweet potatoes for 4-5 minutes, until al-dente, rinse with cold water. Set aside.

    3. Over medium low heat in a medium size pot, add the extra virgin olive oil, and sauté the chopped onions and garlic until translucent, season with salt and pepper.  

    4. Once the onions are translucent, add ¾ of the cauliflower florets. Toss and add 2 cups of vegetable stock or just enough to cover the florets. Add bay leaf, thyme, fresh sprig of dill or dry, salt and pepper, cover with a lid and let them cook for 7-8 minutes or until very soft and tender. Once cooked, purée them in a food processor, blender, or use an immersion blender until smooth.

    5. Place this cauliflower purée back into the pot, add the coconut milk and stir well until blended. Season with celery salt, salt, paprika and black pepper. Add a bit more vegetable stock if the consistency is to thick.

    6. Add the reserved mini cauliflower florets, and the pre cooked carrots and sweet potatoes. Cover with a lid and bring to a slow simmer cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. Check for doneness on the vegetables; I like my vegetables on the al-dente side, not hard but not mushy. Taste them and decide if you like them softer keep cooking them for another 2-3 minutes.

    *If using sundry tomatoes add them on step 4 so they can soften before pureeing the chowder.

Music Pairing:Paris Combo- Je te vois partout”

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Mariana’s Mexican Mushroom Soup – a.k.a. M-mmm Soup!

Mexican-Mushroom-Soup_Yes,-more-please!

Cold weather, soups and blankets. The time has come and I’m setting you up with the most delicious Mexican mushroom soup. I was planning to make cream of mushrooms since one of my friends asked me for a recipe I made many years ago when I was a student in Guadalajara. (Rosi, if you are reading this please make this soup I think you’re gonna love it more than the cream of mushroom…although the cream of mushroom recipe is in your e-mail by now.)

As usual my brain went in multiple directions when I was at the market. I saw the epazote, smelled it and immediately thought of the Pasilla peppers I had at home. Suddenly it evoked the smells and flavors the recipe which were in my head and I could almost taste this delicious mushroom soup.

As you can see it has nothing to do with the cream of mushrooms I had plan to made, but I have to say that when I trust my instincts and let go, a wonderful recipe arises. I think when the soup was ready, it knock me down it tasted so good and it is so easy to make.

Warm and earthy yet light at the same time, this mushroom soup has the distinct flavor of the Pasilla peppers which tint the broth with a mahogany color and a faint spice. The Cremini mushrooms’ heartiness shine through along with the epazote licorice-minty flavor. The corn masa rue gives the broth a nutty corn flavor and great consistency.
To top it off, I recommend a bit of fresh crema or a dollop of plain greek yogurt which can be added along with some queso panela or queso fresco. For a Vegan version, you can add tofu squares, and a bit of unsweetened coconut cream. If you are looking for a soup that will warm you up with a friendly calorie count this Mariana’s Mexican Mushroom Soup might be just what you where waiting for… Mmm!!!

Mexican-Mushroom-Soup_ingredients

Mariana’s Mexican Mushroom Soup – a.k.a. M-mmm Soup!

Serves 4 or 2 hungry Mexican Yetis.

1 lb cremini mushrooms, clean and medium thin sliced.
1 large or 2 small dried pasilla chile seedless and cut with scissors
1 tablespoon corn masa-harina “Maseca”
½ medium white onion small diced
1 medium garlic clove finely diced
4 roma tomatoes
4 cups chicken, beef or vegetable stock
1 glug corn oil or extra virgin olive oil (what ever flavor you prefer)
2 sprigs of epazote (if you are using Mexican epazote, use just one)
Sea salt to taste.
2-3 cranks of Fresh Black Pepper

Garnish with:

Fresh Mexican crema, crème fraîche or plain greek yogurt
Queso Panela or queso fresco
Fresh epazote

Vegan substitutions:

Vegetable stock
Garnish with: unsweetened coconut milk, and firm tofu squares.

Preparation method:

1. Cut a little cross on the bottom of each tomato. In a small pot boil your tomatoes until soft. Remove the skins. Reserve one cup of the boiling water and blend them until smooth. Set aside.
2. Remove the stem of the chile pasilla and shake to remove all the seeds and core.With the help of kitchen scissors slice the chile pasilla into an 1/8” inch thin strips.

Mexican-Mushroom-Soup_how-to-cut-Pasilla
3. Have everything ready beside your stove to start the soup.
4. In a medium large soup pot, over medium high heat add the oil, wait until warms up and then add the pasilla strips. Toss with a wood spoon for 1-2 minutes until they start looking crispy and they release their flavor. After 2 minutes the color of the oil is orange. Remove the crispy rings from oil and reserve them for garnish.
5. Lower the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of the corn-masa harina and stir until slightly golden brown. Add the diced onions and garlic, toss for 1-2 minutes, add the tomato pure, toss and season salt and pepper, bring to a boil.
6. Add the chicken stock, and the epazote sprig. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cremini Mushrooms and crush some of the fried pasilla reserved. Bring to a slow simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the broth has a richer consistency.

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7. Taste for salt and pepper. Turn down the heat and let the soup rest for 10 minutes.
8. Meantime prepare your garnishes. Warm up some corn tortillas, serve the soup and garnish with crema, queso panela o fresco, some of the crispy pasilla rings, fresh epazote, and Warm up!

Note: If you are the spicy soul like me, toast some chile de arbol with a little bit of oil and crush some of this spicy chile on top… mmm spicy!

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Warm up!

Note: Now that I think about it.. it will be delicious if you add some kale or swiss chard, even baby spinach…at the end  of the preparation…yum!

Music Pairing: Lila Downs – Llorona Frida Kahlo

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Swirly butternut squash and kale soup

Swirly-butternut-squash-and-kale-soup_Yes,-more-please!

Butternut squash is my favorite squash. Autumn has arrived and I could not wait for the cold to make this soup. This nutty winter squash has the creamiest texture and tastes like a delicate pumpkin with mild citrus aroma. In my opinion Butternut squash makes the velvetiest soup in the world!…..

Now, you know how I feel about vegetable creams or pureed soups.
I do not want my squash soup to taste of chicken therefore vegetable stock is my preference. This vegan soup enhances all the pure flavors of the kale and the butternut squash by roasting them and letting those flavors stand out. I roasted the squash and steamed the kale with coconut milk to empower their own flavors.

I love the fusion of flavors in soups, but for me there is nothing better that the awareness of the fusion. What do I mean by that? Well these two ingredients are in harmony but they do not mix until you take a spoonful in your mouth then you taste the delicious swirl and contrast in colors, textures, flavors, and even in temperature. The kale and coconut milk add an herbal note without being overwhelming. The velvety roasted butternut squash adds sweetness and evokes the Autumn season.

This swirly butternut squash and kale soup is fun to make its easy and it looks appetizingly gorgeous. Whether its lunch with you alone, your friends, or a family get-together this soup is easy to portion and delicious…and it happens to be vegan! Enjoy!

Swirly-butternut-squash-and-kale-soup_ingredients

Swirly butternut squash and kale soup

Serves 4 bears or 2 mom and pop bears..

For the Butternut squash soup:

1 medium Butternut squash cut into cubes
½ medium size yellow or white onion
1-2 glugs of mild extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cups Vegetable stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½-1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (start with 1/2 teaspoon taste and add more if you like… I love it with 1 whole teaspoon!)
1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Freshly black pepper to taste.

For the Kale swirl:

8 Curly-leaf kale leaves deveined.
¼ medium yellow or white onion
¾-1 cup coconut milk
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Toppings:

Roasted Walnuts roughly chopped
1-2 pinches Smoked paprika

Preparation Method:

Preheat oven at 450F
1. Peel and cut into small cubes the Butternut squash. Slice the onion.

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2. On a baking pan lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper, toss the Butternut squash, onions, salt pepper nutmeg and one glug of olive oil all in one layer. Roast in the oven at 425F for about 30-35 minutes, shake the pan every now and then, until the little cubes are fork tender, and toasty.
3. Remove pan from the oven, and in a medium size deep pot, add the roasted butternut squash, add the 4 cups of vegetable stock, salt, nutmeg, pepper, and puree with the help of an immersion blender, or use a regular blender.
4. Check for thickness and if needed add another cup of vegetable stock. This is up to your preference, however I like my soup with a lot of body, and therefore I usually use 4-5 cups. Feel free to add a little more if its too thick or to add some almond milk for an extra nutty flavor.
5. Let your soup warm up on a low low heat, and stir constantly.

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6. For the kale swirl: in a small pot place the leafy parts of the kale, discarding the main vein.
Add the coconut milk, roughly chopped piece of onion, garlic, salt and pepper.
7. Cover the pot over a slow simmer for about 7-10 minutes until the kale feels soft, and turns bright green. You can taste a little piece to check for doneness, you want it soft and cooked but not over cooked.
8. Remove from the stove and using an immersion blender to puree the kale mixture. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. The consistency should be creamy and light. It should look like a deep bright emerald green.

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9. Roast the walnuts, sprinkle a little smoked paprika and salt.
10. Serve 2-3 ladles of the butternut squash on each bowl and then add the kale swirl. Sprinkle some roasted walnuts, and a pinch of smoked spanish paprika for best flavor. Enjoy!

Note: Remaining soup keeps well for 3-4 days and although it diminishes in flavor, extra portions can be frozen and stored for 30 days or so; this minimizes waste if you happen to make too much or have a desire for homemade soup next time you’re too busy to cook.

Swirly-butternut-squash-and-kale-soup_swirl!Swirly-butternut-squash-and-kale-soup_ready-to-serve_Yes,-more-please!

Enjoy!

Music Pairing: For this recipe our dear friend Ana Ferper plays

a beautifully classic guitar melodie by  J.S Bach Allemande Suite No.1

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Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

 

Mexican-Shrimp-Cocktail_Yes,-more-please!

Hold your horses! Hide the children! What you are about to see is food rated “R” at its best! My Mexican Shrimp Cocktail is to die for. Fresh, delicious, and savory; it’s the perfect simple light meal for a hot summer afternoon. This juicy cold and light savory cocktail is a meal in itself. What makes it Mexican style? Well the whole combination of vegetables, accoutrement, and the cold broth. It’s a savory broth made with shrimp shells and seasoned with fresh orange and lime juice, ketchup, and some dashes of hot sauce. The result is this light fresh savory broth that goes incredibly well with the shrimp. In my opinion there’s no need to buy those bottled clam juices when you can get the most natural flavor out of your shrimp!
This Mexican Shrimp Cocktail is an entrée rather than an appetizer with a dipping sauce as served in the States. In Mexico, this cocktail is typically served on the coastal cities as an iconic refreshing staple and a must have if you are spending your day on the beach. In the city, shrimp cocktail is widely known as the number one ‘hangover elixir.’
There are many variations in which more than one shellfish is added to this concoction. Common ingredients include octopus, clams, oysters, baby scallops. It is called “Vuelve a la vida” which translates to “come back to life” because its invigorating attributes. That, I can not guarantee, however I assure you that it will refresh and invigorate you on a summer afternoon. In my case, I just love the simplicity of flavors and the way the shrimp skins cooked as a base produce a magic broth with depth and character!

Prepare this dreamy cocktail for yourself ! You can make it in advance, since it is served cold on chilled glasses. For parties you can serve it with all the vegetable accoutrement on the side which allows your guests to customize their own. Keep it ice-cold at all times. It is truly a great summer crowd pleaser. Enjoy!

I can assure you this recipe will be part of your repertoire for many years to come.
Happy Summer, Enjoy!

Mexican-Shrimp-Cocktail_ingredients

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

Serrves 2 sailors 4 mermaids

This cocktail is light and refreshing, it can serve two as a meal or four to six as an appetizer. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled upon family size, or a friendly party crowd.

1 – ½ lbs. Jumbo or medium large shrimp, peeled save the skins and deveined.

For the shrimp stock:
The reserved skins from the shrimp.
2 celery stalks
¼ wedge of a white onion.
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Seasonings for the cold cocktail broth:
The juice of one small Valencia orange
3 large limes + 1 or 2 more to garnish.
¼-1/2 cup ketchup sauce
A few dashes of your favorite Mexican Bottled Hot Sauce, I prefer Cholula, Valentina or Huichol.

Prepare cocktail with:
2 roma tomatoes, small diced
1 small white or purple onion, small diced
1 medium cucumber seedless such as jade or English cucumber, small diced. 
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
1 chile Serrano or Jalapeno with seeds.
1 small Hass avocado

Serve with:
Saltine crackers or Tostadas
Plantain Chips
And a really cold light Mexican beer (I prefer Modelo Especial or Victoria oh yeah!)

Preparation Method:

1. Place two glass serving bowls in the freezer. (Mason jars, or glass mugs will work too.)
2. Peel and de-vein the shrimp, reserve the skins and leave 4-6 unpeeled, tail-on shrimp for garnish.Mexican-Shrimp-Cocktail_peel-and-devein-the-shrimp
3. In a non-reactive pan place the shrimp skins, along with the celery stalks, onion wedge, thyme, a pinch of sea salt and some cracked black pepper. Add 3 cups of water and simmer for about 15- 20 minutes.

Mexican-Shrimp-Cocktail_save-the-skins-to-make-a-broth
4. Meantime, prepare all your vegetable accoutrement. Dice and chop the tomato, cucumber, onion, serrano or jalapeno peppers, limes, avocado and cilantro. Set aside.
5. Check on your broth. With a slotted spoon, remove the skins and all the vegetables from the broth. Add the peeled and deveined shrimp to the hot broth and simmer the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes or until they change color and curl up.~Shrimp cook very fast so be attentive! You do not want rubbery overcooked shrimp!~

Mexican-shrimp-cocktail_how-to-boil-shrimp-
6. With a slotted spoon, pull out the shrimp a little before you think they are ready. They will keep cooking with their residual heat. Place the shrimp on a plate with ice underneath. (see picture below).
7. Fill a bowl halfway with ice and place a metal or glass bowl on top of the ice. Place a fine sieve on top of the bowl and drain the broth. With a wooden spoon, start whisking to cool off the broth until the temperature of the broth feels fresh and cooler.

Mexican-Shrimp-Cocktail_cooling-the-broth
8. You should have around 2 to 2-1/2 cups of broth left, transfer the broth into a liquid measuring cup if you have more than 2 ½ cups discard the extra broth.
9. Start seasoning the broth. Squeeze the juice of 3 limes, the juice of 1 small Valencia Orange, add Ketchup (I used my favorite: Sir Kensington’s spicy ketchup!) add a couple of dashes of hot sauce, the sea salt, and whisk. Taste and adjust flavor for salt or pepper.

Mexican-Shrimp-Cocktail_Season-the-broth
10. Pull out the frozen glass serving bowls and start arranging your cocktail. Start by layering the ingredients and add the seasoned broth at the end. No rules here! You can add as much or as little veggies as you want. Avocado is a must, highly necessary!, A little extra squeeze of lime juice, sprinkle some cilantro and an extra dash of hot sauce…Prepare for the stampede!.. you are gonna love it. Enjoy!
Mexican-Shrimp-Cocktail_ready-to-serve!Mexican-Shrimp-Cocktail_authentic

You know you want it!

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

www.yes-moreplease.com

Refreshing, light this Mexican cocktail its perfect for a pool party or a weekend of leisure at home. remember to have a very very cold beer, Ceveza bien fria! Enjoy!

Course Brunch, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 4 sailors or 4 mermaids

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 ibs. Jumbo Shrimp, peeled, save the peels and deveined

For the shrimp stock:

  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 wedge of a white onion.
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Seasonings for the cocktail broth:

  • 1 the juice of one small Valencia orange
  • 3 large limes, plus 1 or 2 more to garnish.
  • 1/4-1/2 cup ketchup sauce
  • A few dashes of your favorite Mexican Bottled Hot Sauce, I prefer Cholula, Valentina or Huichol.

Garnish with:

  • 2 roma tomatoes small diced
  • 1 small white or red onion, small diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, such as jade or English cucumber. small diced
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1-2 Chiles Serranos or jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1 small Hass avocado

Serve with:

  • Saltine crackers or Tostadas
  • Plantain Chips
  • And a really cold light Mexican beer (I prefer Modelo Especial or Victoria oh yeah!)

Instructions

  1. 1. Place two glass serving bowls in the freezer. (Mason jars, or glass mugs will work too.)

    2. Peel and de-vein the shrimp, reserve the skins and leave 4-6 unpeeled, tail-on shrimp for garnish.

    3. In a non-reactive pan place the shrimp skins, along with the celery stalks, onion wedge, thyme, a pinch of sea salt and some cracked black pepper. Add 3 cups of water and simmer for about 15- 20 minutes.

    4. Meantime, prepare all your vegetable accoutrement. Dice and chop the tomato, cucumber, onion, serrano or jalapeno peppers, limes, avocado and cilantro. Set aside.

    5. Check on your broth. With a slotted spoon, remove the skins and all the vegetables from the broth. Add the peeled and deveined shrimp to the hot broth and simmer the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes or until they change color and curl up.~Shrimp cook very fast so be attentive! You do not want rubbery overcooked shrimp!~

    6. With a slotted spoon, pull out the shrimp a little before you think they are ready. They will keep cooking with their residual heat. Place the shrimp on a plate with ice underneath. (see picture below).

    7. Fill a bowl halfway with ice and place a metal or glass bowl on top of the ice. Place a fine sieve on top of the bowl and drain the broth. With a wooden spoon, start whisking to cool off the broth until the temperature of the broth feels fresh and cooler.

    8. You should have around 2 to 2-1/2 cups of broth left, transfer the broth into a liquid measuring cup if you have more than 2 ½ cups discard the extra broth.

    9. Start seasoning the broth. Squeeze the juice of 3 limes, the juice of 1 small Valencia Orange, add Ketchup (I used my favorite: Sir Kensington’s spicy ketchup!) add a couple of dashes of hot sauce, the sea salt, and whisk. Taste and adjust flavor for salt or pepper.

    Pull out the frozen glass serving bowls and start arranging your cocktail. Start by layering the ingredients and add the seasoned broth at the end. No rules here! You can add as much or as little veggies as you want. Avocado is a must, highly necessary!, A little extra squeeze of lime juice, sprinkle some cilantro and an extra dash of hot sauce…Prepare for the stampede!.. you are gonna love it. Enjoy!

    Happy Cooking!

Music Pairing: Vereda Tropical-Esquivel

 

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Caprese Tomato Spinach Soup

Tomato-Spinach-Soup-'caprese-style'-ingredients ~Yes, more please!ingredientsIs it Spring time yet?!!!…Well the thermometer is still going up and down like mad in Austin. And since yesterday was on the chilly side, I was craving tomato soup. I know I have to wait at least one more season to get great tomatoes at the farmers market. In the meantime what do you do when it seems only greens are in season?

So I had to improvise. I had two routes:
1. Try buy the best tomatoes I could find at the supermarket, roast them and enhance them…the problem with this solution, (even if it sounds the most viable route) is when you are truly committed to getting fresh organic produce you go to the supermarket and often the tomatoes look good but since your can’t sample them you get a lot of variation in flavor and sweetness. In my experience and in my opinion they often look better than they taste when out of season.

2. The short easy route: to buy a can of roasted organic tomatoes…
Well, sometimes you just have to use a salvation can when tomatoes are not in season and your frozen tomatoes are gone! If I know something for sure it is that I will learn how to can tomatoes for this coming season… fortunately there are plenty of options in canned tomatoes: from organic, no salt added, and no preservatives, (and in the case of Muir Glen, among others, no BPA’s if that concerns you , check this product list)  I find these canned options to have a more consistent quality if I can’t get them in season.

So I bought a can of tomatoes to satisfy my tomato soup craving. And here’s where I put my twist on things. I enhanced it with some dried herbs,sun-dried tomatoes, and aromatics. The result was scrumptious. It was good ‘ol tomato soup to warm us up on these strange cold March days. I added dried basil, a pinch of thyme, garlic, shallots and sun-dried tomatoes, plus a little Balsamic vinegar to balance the soup’s sweetness. I also added some sautéed spinach and mozzarella Ciliegine (cherry size mozzarella balls) as toppings before broiling in the oven. It turned out amazingly good. It reminded me of a caprese salad in soup form!.. I hope you like it as much as we did! And stay warm!

caprese-tomatoe-spinach-soup-yes-more-please

Caprese Tomato Spinach Soup

Serves 4

1 can (28 0z.) Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes (I used Muir Glen organic) this is a must! the fire roasted tomatoes give all the flavor to the soup.
3-4 cups water or vegetable stock …start with 3, then add more to desired consistency.
2-3 glugs extra virgin olive oil
5-7 Sun dried tomatoes, chopped.
2 small shallots finely chopped
1 medium garlic clove thinly sliced
½ teaspoon dry basil
1 good pinch dry thyme
1 large bay leaf
½ teaspoon celery salt
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Toppings:

6-8 hand fulls of spinach
1 shallot
Extra virgin olive oil to saute
Salt and black pepper to taste.

Fresh Mozzarella Ciliegine
(if you can not find the Ciliegine, you can cut the mozzarella into small cubes)

Preparation:

1. In a medium soup pot over medium heat, warm up the extra virgin olive oil. Add in the chopped shallots, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, bay leaf saute for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the dry basil, thyme salt and black pepper, saute for another minute.
3. Add the can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes, and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium.
4. Add the water, stir until well incorporated, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low, simmer for 6-8 minutes. With an immersion blender puree the soup. ( I love this gadget in the kitchen, it is so practical and easy to puree your soup on the same pot!)

Tomatoe-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-sautee-base-for-soup
5. Once its pureed, add the Balsamic vinegar, taste, adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Bring to slow simmer, turn off the heat, cover with a lid and keep it warm.
6. Quick Saute the spinach in a skillet over medium -high heat, heat up some olive oil, add shallots, garlic and saute for 15 seconds then add the spinach and toss until they are partially wilted, and coated with the hot oil, add salt and pepper. Set a side.

Flash-sauteed-spinach~-Yes,-more-please!
7. Using oven friendly soup bowls, scoop 2-3 ladles of tomato soup, add some of the sauteed spinach and top with the mozzarella buccatinis.
8. Place bowls onto a baking sheet and broil the soups for about 4-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly crust. Be careful to watch them so they don’t burn.

Tomato-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-assambling-the-soup-

Tomatoe-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-broil-your-soup

9. Serve with some toasted ciabatta or crusty bread slices and rub some garlic on the bread for extra flavor… Enjoy!

Tomatoe-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-rub-garlic-on-toastTomatoe-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-toasty,-melty,-Yes,-more-please!Tomatoe-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-Yes,-more-please! Caprese Tomato Spinach Soup

Music Pairing: Frank Sinatra,  “Fly me to the moon”

https://youtu.be/mhZ2X9znPxM

Tomatoe-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-Yes,more-please!

 

Caprese Tomato Spinach Soup

Course Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 28oz can Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes, I used Muir Glen organic) this is a must! the fire roasted tomatoes give all the flavor to the soup.
  • 3-4 cups water or vegetable stock, start with 3, then add more to desired consistency.
  • 2 glugs extra virgin olive oil
  • 5-7 Sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil, if fresh use about 5-6 leaves
  • 1 good pinch dry thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic Vinegar

Toppings:

  • 6-8 handfulls fresh spinach
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • extra virgin olive oil to sautee the spinach
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh Mozzarella Ciliegine, or frsh mozzarella cut into small cubes

Instructions

  1. 1. In a medium soup pot over medium heat, warm up the extra virgin olive oil. Add in the chopped shallots, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, bay leaf saute for 3-4 minutes.

    2. Add the dry basil, thyme salt and black pepper, saute for another minute.

    3. Add the can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes, and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium.

    4. Add the water, stir until well incorporated, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low, simmer for 6-8 minutes. With an immersion blender puree the soup. ( I love this gadget in the kitchen, it is so practical and easy to puree your soup on the same pot!)

    5. Once its pureed, add the Balsamic vinegar, taste, adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Bring to slow simmer, turn off the heat, cover with a lid and keep it warm.

    6. Quick Saute the spinach in a skillet over medium -high heat, heat up some olive oil, add shallots, garlic and saute for 15 seconds then add the spinach and toss until they are partially wilted, and coated with the hot oil, add salt and pepper. Set a side.

    7. Using oven friendly soup bowls, scoop 2-3 ladles of tomato soup, add some of the sauteed spinach and top with the mozzarella buccatinis.

    8. Place bowls onto a baking sheet and broil the soups for about 4-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly crust. Be careful to watch them so they don’t burn. 

    Serve with some toasted ciabatta or crusty bread slices and rub some garlic on the bread for extra flavor… Enjoy!

 

View Post or View Comments 25

Pozole Verde a.k.a Pozolillo

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo_ingredients~Yes,-more-please!

Pozole is a soup usually made with hominy, pork meat, spices and fresh garnishes that create a wonderful one bowl meal warm soup. Let’s say Pozole Is kind of the Mexican Pho. There are a couple of variations upon regions and availability of ingredients, red chiles , green tomatillos and poblanos, or just garlic and onion. There’s even not so traditional versions using chicken or turkey to make the soup a little lighter and healthier; even vegetarian versions using button mushrooms instead of meat, in my opinion all equally delicious in its own way.

Another variation on this dish would be the fresher version also known as ‘Pozolillo’, that uses fresh white corn in the cob kernels like in Michoacan and Guerrero. Which is the version I prepared.

The hominy used in Pozole is freshly made from dry kernels that are transformed into ‘nixtamal’ this process involves soaking the dry corn kernels  in water and limestone to burn and cook the skin. It is an intense preparation more commonly used in the South of Mexico, Sinaloa, Jalisco, Michoacan, Guerrero, State of Mexico and Distrito Federal. While in the norther mexican states like Sonora, Monterrey, Chihuahua, the proximity with the border has a not so preferred commodity, hominy on a can which to my taste is hard to equal the good flavor from the freshly made.

 Despite the regionalism, Pozole is a classic soup among mexican families, every family has its own recipe and a style; whether is white, red or green, a grandma, sister, mom or aunt who makes it; It is always a great comforting meal that brings family and friends together.

In my family, My Grandma, from my father’s side is my Pozole Guru. She will start to cook the Pozole two days in advance by soaking the dry corn-nixtamal with a bit of lime stone to lose the skins on the kernels, rinse it infinite times and slow cook it for a couple of hours. Grandma Mago used pork shoulder and very meaty pork cuts. Her Pozole was white, meaning she would not add any chiles to tint and flavor the broth, the flavor came from the cosmic union of the extremely well prepared artisanal hominy, tender pork, garlic and onion. Amazing, simply amazing.

On the other side of my family, the Pozole Guru is my Aunt Paloma, she makes the BEST Red Pozole. Absolutely delicious, she uses also pork and red chiles like ancho and guajillo which are very mild chiles that flavor the broth transforming it in this aromatic and savory broth you almost want to use a straw to drink it. Scrumptious.

As you can see I have a mayor task here, So far I’ve cooked both Pozole styles, white and red, I love them equally. And yes, it is the cook hand, what we call “sazon” that makes a dish your dish and the only way to exceed at it is practice,  practice and more practice my little grasshopper.

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo~-Green-tomatillos-~-Yes,-more-please!Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo_warm-corn-mexican-soup~Yes,-more-please!

This time I’m attempted to recreate a Pozole Verde or Pozolillo. First time I had this green gem soup was at a friend’s house she was from Michoacan. I inmediatelly fell in love.
This Pozole Verde is made with white corn kernels instead of hominy and uses tomatillo, serrano and poblano peppers to flavor the broth. What is so special about it? the broth in this Pozole Verde It’s light, fragrant, almost has a herbaceous flavor, and the green tomatillo adds a bit of a thickness to the broth without making it heavy to the palette. The corn kernels make this Pozole a great fresh taste, really unique and very achievable if you lack of a mexican Grandma, Aunt or good quality hominy.

In this recipe, I used sweet corn. Why? Well, Ian is more familiar with the corn flavor than with the hominy. Not a lot of people likes hominy and I strongly believe is because what they have tried is from a can. So what you do? What did I do?..I used what I had freshest available. This week I ran into a good corn sale at the market, it was fresh and tasted sweet, juicy and crunchy good enough to make it into a soup.
Now, I know some people will crucify-me about using sweet yellow corn but, I have to say that the variation came out tasting really good.
Do your best with what you have, use what is freshest available to you, if you find white corn this will be my first option, and if you prefer Hominy, I will encourage you to find “Rancho Gordo hominy”.
This Rancho Gordo California farm grows heirloom beans and grains, the quality and flavor resembles a lot of the hominy you can find in Mexico. Sometimes I can find them at Whole foods or Traders Joe’s. If you plan ahead of time, order them on-line. absolutely divine. http://www.ranchogordo.com/index.htm

Last option will be Juanita’s Mexican style hominy. Yes this particular brand has the best texture, and 3 ingredients, water, hominy, lime stone. Making it the best option. If can is the only option you have, this will taste good.

I used chicken one of my favorite chickens from Smith & Smith Farms, I know chicken again!!! well I do not mind when the quality of it is so good In fact, every other weekend I’ve been buying a whole chicken from this farms, there are so good I crave chicken!.. ridiculous I know…

Any how, easy recipe, one pot wonder, it keeps really well, I have not attempted to make this Pozole Verde on a crock pot, I see no reason why not you could use it. Please, if you do, let me know how it goes.
Keep warm and EAT your SOUP, do not lick the bowl, use a straw!.

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo~Yes,-more-please!

Pozole Verde a.k.a. Pozolillo

Serves 4 Mexicans 6-8 Green coats.

8 cups /2Lt. chicken stock
3.5-4 lbs. Whole chicken or the meat of a roasted chicken shredded.
6-8 ears of white corn preferable or yellow corn de-kernel
2lbs green tomatillos.
3 poblano peppers remove seeds and deveined.
2-3 serrano peppers
1 large bunch cilantro
½ teaspoon mexican dry oregano
1 medium white onion
1 small head of garlic
2 teaspoons Sea Salt.

Garnish with:

Iceberg Lettuce shredded
Radishes
White Onion finely chopped
1-2 Lime wedges
Mexican Crema
Avocado
Corn Tostadas

Salsa toasted chile de Arbol:

1/4 cup Corn, Sunflower or Vegetable oil
14-20 Dry chiles de Arbol- (remove stems, include seeds)
1-2 medium garlic cloves
1 pinch of sea salt.

Toast in Oil about 14-20 dry red chile de arbol, until they have this mahogany dark color, remove from heat, add 2 garlic cloves cut in half and a good pinch of sea salt. Blend all this until a coarse puree. Add a dash of dis paste when ready to eat.The heat in this sauce-paste is mild, due to the toasting of the chiles, it makes it smoky and mild heat.

Preparation:

If you are using the whole chicken:

1. In a large pot add 8 cups of water ½ medium onion, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ head of garlic ½ bunch of cilantro, 2 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme, 2 carrots, 1 sprig of celery, 2 teaspoons sea salt. Add the whole chicken, skin on, cut in pieces, for faster cooking. Bring to a slow simmer; with a ladle remove the white foam that forms as it cooks. Cook for about 35-45 minutes. Until chicken is tender.
2. Once the chicken is cooked, Remove the chicken, herbs, onion, garlic, sieve the broth.
3. Let the chicken to cool down until riches a comfortable temperature to remove the skin and shred the chicken meat. Set aside.

If you are using a Roasted Chicken:

1. Remove skin from roasted chicken and shred. Save the chicken carcasses and set aside.
2. In a large pot add 8 cups of chicken stock, ½ onion, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ head of garlic ½ bunch of cilantro, 1-2 teaspoon salt and the chicken carcasses from the roasted chicken. Bring to a slow simmer; with a ladle remove the white foam that forms as it cooks. Cook for about 20-25 minutes. Until chicken is tender.
3. Once the chicken broth is seasoned and cooked, Remove the chicken carcasses, herbs, onion, garlic. sieve.

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo_how-to-cut-Corn-kernels-from-the-cob~Yes-more-please!-Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo_corn_~Yes,-more-please!

4. Remove the tomatillo husk, wash them and cut in halves. Cut poblano peppers in half remove the green veins, and seeds. In a blender add the tomatillos, poblano peppers, the other ½ onion, 3-4 garlic cloves, the other ½ bunch cilantro, salt, 2-3 serrano peppers. Add one serrano at a time and taste in between blending so you can measure how spicy it is. The serranos in this recipe are used to add flavor not spice, they act like black pepper. Add a little of the chicken broth from the pot to help blend all this. Blend until is pureed.
5. On a large deep pot add 1 tablespoon sunflower oil until oil is hot. Add the tomatillo blended sauce to the oil and cook for 5 minutes (careful it will splatter). Now that the sauce is sautéed, add the 8 cups of chicken stock, along with corn kernels. Bring to a slow simmer. Cook for about 25-35 minutes.The broth will change color from emerald green to a bright sage green. At this point taste to adjust for salt. Add your shredded chicken to warm through.

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo_ingredients-for-the-sauce~Yes,-more-please!Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo_Green-tomatillo-Sauce~Yes,-more-please!

7. Serve piping hot and garnish with shredded lettuce, chopped onions, slices of radishes, squeeze of lime and a dollop of crema. Enjoy!

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo-Warm-delicious-soup!~Yes,-more-please!

Pozole Verde~Yes, more please!

 

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Pho Ga Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Pho-Ga--Vietnamese-Chicken-Soup_warm-delicious-soupOne of the dishes that can be found in almost every culture is chicken soup. Chicken dumplings, Chicken noodle soup, Mexican Caldo de Pollo, Avgolemeno (Greek) , Penicillin (Jewish), Kerala (Indian), French using aromatics and herbs, German creamy chicken and potato soup. You name it, Chicken soup is the queen of soups.
Vietnamese cuisine features one favorite chicken soup, Pho Ga Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup . This cosmic broth can bring the use of all your tastebuds at once. There are two styles of this soup; Pho from Hanoi- phở bắc or “Northern Pho” and Saigon Pho-phở Sài Gòn from the south, both have two ingredient variations. Pho Ga (Chicken), Pho Bo (Beef).
Hanoi Pho uses a wider noodle, lots of green onions, vinegar and spicy chilies to garnish the dish. Saigon Pho uses a thinner noodle. The broth has lots of aromatics and slightly sweeter taste. For garnish they use a wide variety of fresh herbs, soy bean sprouts, lime, and chilli “rooster sauce” (Sriracha).

Saigon style is the one I’m more familiar with. I’ve made a little variations on this recipe. Usually Chicken Pho “Pho Ga”is served with a clear broth flavored with charred onion, ginger, and coriander seeds. While the Beef version “Pho Bo” the broth has notes of cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, and of course the flavor of roasted bones intensify the broth.

I added a few more notes to my chicken broth to accent the chicken flavor and give a little more depth of flavor. I hope you enjoy it. I think it is a fantastic dish, light and great for January with its cold weather. This would be a good recipe for a weekend since it requires a couple of hours worth of preparation and cooking. Now with all the big holiday dinner parties and big calorie dishes gone, I’m craving lighter dishes with a punch of flavor and fresh herbs or vegetables, Pho Ga Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup is my cosmic route.

Pho-Ga--Vietnamese-Chicken-Soup_ingredientsPho-Ga--Vietnamese-Chicken-Soup_-herbs-and-noodles

Pho Ga Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

~Saigon Style~

Serves 4-vietnamese portions

For the Broth:

1 ½ medium large yellow onion
1-2 fresh ginger arms about 3 inches long (choose the plumper ones.)

1 whole chicken 3.5-4 lbs. (2-2.5 Kg)
2-3 lbs. extra chicken parts like wings, backbones, neck or any other bony chicken parts.
(if you do not have the time or prefer the short route you can buy no-salt or low sodium organic chicken stock, you will need about 32 oz which equals 1 quart jug of stock)
I cook organic chickens which I purchase locally from the good folks of Smith & Smith farms:
smithandsmithfarms.webs.com

4 quarts of water
5-7 star anise (around 30-35 picks)
10-12 cardamom pods
4-6 cloves
1 tablespoon Coriander seeds
2 sticks Saigon cinnamon
½ teaspoon whole black pepper
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1/4-1/2 cup fish sauce (I like this kind)
1-1/2 tablespoons sea salt
1 piece of cheese cloth and cotton string or a large tea ball.

 

For the Bowls:

1 1/2–2 pounds small flat rice noodles (bánh phở), dry or fresh
Cooked chicken, sliced or shredded at room temperature
1/2 yellow onion, sliced paper-thin, rinsed in cold water, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
or 1 shallot thinly sliced.
4 to 6 scallions, thinly chopped include greens
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leafy tops only
To Garnish:
4 cups soy bean sprouts
10 to 12 sprigs mint
10 to 12 sprigs Thai basil (if is not in season you can use regular)
12 to 15 fresh culantro leaves
2 or 3 Thai, serrano or jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced
2 or 3 limes, cut into wedges
“Rooster sauce”- Sriracha.

Method:

1. Rinse the ginger pieces with the skin on and cut the onions in half leaving the skins on. Place them in a cast iron pan and roast them in the oven at 450F/230C for about 15-20 minutes. Broil them for 2-3 minutes to charred the outside. If you have a gas stove, use direct flame until well charred. Set aside to cool them and peel and remove the ginger and onion skins.
2. Toast your spices, star anise, coriander, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, pepper until they start to release their aromas. Using a piece of cheese cloth, a linen bag or a large tea ball, make a pouch and attach this to the pot making sure the bag is immerse in the water.

Pho-Ga--Vietnamese-Chicken-Soup_toasted-spicesPho-Ga-vietnamise-noodle-Soup_how-to-make-a-spice-pouch

3. Rinse chicken inside and out roughly with warm water. Pat it dry. In a large pot add 4 quarts water.
Add your chicken and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Clean and remove the foam that forms on the top constantly until it no longer forms .This will ensure you to have a nice clear broth. At this point add the pouch of spices, the charred onion and ginger, add sugar and fish sauce,
4. If you are using the extra chicken parts, par boil them in a separate pot for about 15 minutes. At this point toss the water, rinse the chicken parts and add them to the main pot along with the whole chicken. Bring to a slow simmer and simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes. Using a ladle remove any extra foam that might form from the chicken broth. Once that the broth is cleared, cover and simmer for at least 15more minutes.
5. Short Alternative: There are a lot of good quality organic chicken broths available at the super markets. If you prefer to use something already made my only suggestion would be to buy organic and no-salt added or low sodium so you can control the amount of salt in your broth If you are using this route , just add the 32oz. jug of chicken broth to the main chicken and water pot. Bring to a slow simmer with the whole chicken, the pouch of spices, the charred onions and ginger. Simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes. Using a ladle remove any extra foam that might form from the chicken broth. Once that the broth is cleared, cover and simmer for at least 15 more minutes.
6. At this point, the chicken is cooked it should feel firm and juicy. Use a pair of tongs to grab the chicken and transfer it to a large bowl. Rinse the chicken with cold water and drain well. Cover and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes until it is cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, keep the broth at a steady simmer.
7. When the chicken is cool enough to handle remove all the breast meat, leg and thighs keep the flesh in big pieces so it does not dry out, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate. And remember to bring it to room temperature before assembling your noodle bowl.
8. Return carcass and all other attached parts to the stock pot and keeping in it under slow simmer. Cook the broth for at least one more hour. Adjust salt.
9. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve, discard the solids. Use a ladle to skim the broth if it has to much extra fat. Usually if you are using an organic chicken the fat content is way lower than chickens that had been in a faster grow diet. That’s why I will 100% recommend you to use an organic chicken which have less fat and stellar flavor! Return the broth to the stock pot and keep it at a slow simmer. At this point you should have about 4qts to 16 cups of broth left.
The broth should look translucent amber color, glistening and a bit saltier to compensate and balance the saltiness when you add the noodles.

10. Slice, chop, rise and dry your herbs and garnishes, place them in little side dishes on the table so everybody can customize their soup.

Pho-Ga--Vietnamese-Chicken-Soup_brothPho-Ga--Vietnamese-Chicken-Soup_warm-broth-and-rice-noodlesPho-Ga--Vietnamese-Chicken-Soup_warm-delicious-soup

Assembling the Pho Bowls:

1. For dried noodles: cover them with hot tap water and let soak for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are pliable and opaque. Drain in a colander.
For fresh rice noodles: untangle them, place in a colander, and rinse briefly under cold running water.

2. Slice or shred the chicken removing the meat from the leg bones, remove the skin. Set aside.
3. Warm your bowls in the oven at a low temperature make sure your bowls are oven safe. This is an extra step, but very important if its cold and you want your soup to stay warm longer when its served. I love my white authentic ceramic pho bowls they keep my soup warm!
4. In a large pot bring enough water to a boil and blanch your noodles. Strain them in a colander. And serve immediately into the bowls. (For best results follow the directions on the package. The key point is to leave them al-dente they will keep cooking in the broth when served.)
5. In a warm bowl place the blanched, strained, noodles, top with slices of chicken, sprinkle some green onions, finely sliced yellow onions or shallots, crack some fresh pepper. Add 2-3 ladles of the simmering hot broth or until the broth covers the noodles. Serve immediately and top with the extra garnishes at the table. Enjoy!!!

Pho-Ga--Vietnamese-Chicken-Soup_warm,-delicious-and-rewarding-soup-

Warm up!

View Post or View Comments 11

Chicken Tortilla Soup “Mariana Style”

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'`Yes,-more-please!

In this global world we are living, what is authentic anyway?…

I think as I get to know more people from different backgrounds, cities, expatriates, cultures, beliefs, culinary eccentrics, purist, creators; the more I conclude that authenticity is not a place, a language, a heritage, a culture, or a belief.
I think authenticity comes from within. Who you are at this right moment, in this place and at this time; and the one that you want to become…. that’s authenticity for me.

It reminds me of a monolog phrase in the movie “All about my mother” from Almodovar’s
and one of the characters in the movie quotes the following:
“… because you are more authentic the more you resemble what you’ve dreamed of being” – “La Agrado’s” monologue (All About My Mother) Almodovar.

And you are wondering what does this has to do with tortilla soup?,
In the culinary world, I’ve always questioned myself about  what is considered an authentic dish? Perhaps it is the dish that resembles more to the people who created it?
For example, If you are from Mexico; is the soup that your grandma prepares more authentic, than my grandma’s soup?.. No, I really don’t think so.
I believe you embrace the flavors that make you happy and satisfy, that make you re- create a memory a flavor, an aroma and you create the soup you want to eat and share with your loved ones… It will be hard to imagine Mexican grandmas cooking for the authenticity sake! I believe you can cook along the way with tradition and make it your own with a few touches.

In this Chicken Tortilla Soup, I wanted to evoke the aromas, textures, flavors, freshness, from the cooking style in Guadalajara, Jalisco the city I’m originally from. This soup re-creates a little memory of my home city, easy on the condiments and full of flavor…
I hope you like the soup as much as I do. So let’s cook!. Enjoy.

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'ingredients

Chicken Tortilla Soup “Mariana Style”

Serves 4-6

For the chicken stock:

1 whole chicken 3.5-4 lbs. I’m in love with the chickens from Smith & Smith Farms
1 medium size with onion
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 roma tomato
1 head of garlic
3-4 sprigs of thyme
2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano
1 teaspoon dry epazote or mint
1 tablespoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 ears of corn- cut the corn of the cob
(my preference is white corn if I can find it, but yellow is ok too)

For the sauce:

2-3 dry Pasilla chiles slightly toasted
4-6 dry Guajillo chiles slightly toasted
1-2 dry Arbol Chiles slightly toasted
4 Roma tomatoes
¼ piece of onion
1 garlic clove
4 tablespoons of corn or sunflower Oil
Salt and pepper.

4-5 cups Chicken stock previously made… or the best option you have available.

Garnish with

8-10 Corn Tortillas cut into 1/2-1/4” wide strips.
½ to ¾ cup Canola Oil

1 ripe avocado, cut in slices or cubes
1 cup queso fresco crumbled
½ cup Mexican style crema or Creme fraiche
½ cup diced onion
2-3 Limes
2-4 dry Arbol Chiles toasted with a little bit of oil, until they look dark. (see photo below)

 

Preparation:

1. Start by preparing your chicken stock on a 7-8 qt pot. Place the whole chicken and add all the stock ingredients, add water enough to cover the chicken. Bring to boil and then lower down the heat to a slow simmer cover with a lid and cook for about 45 minutes.

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'

2. Mean time slightly toast your chillies on a pan, small comal or cast iron pan.
3. In a small pot boil the toasted chillies and the tomatoes.
4. Once they are soft, place the chillies, tomatoes, onion & garlic into a blender or food processor and puree.
5. Using a strainer, strain the chilli puree to eliminate the seeds and pieces of skin. (see picture below)

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'how-to-make-the-broth

6. Cut and Fry the tortilla strips. Once fried place them on a plate with a paper towel to remove the oil excess. Sprinkle with salt while they’re warm.

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup'Mariana-Style'-frying-tortilla-strips
7. Check on your chicken stock, the broth should look translucent, no foam on the top, vegetables soft and onion translucent, chicken fork tender. If it is done remove at least 4 cups of chicken stock and strain. Take out the chicken, place it on a bowl and cover with some aluminum foil wait a bit until ready to handle, remove the skin and shred the chicken.
I usually use about ½ a chicken to serve 4. you can save the rest for tomorrow’s enchiladas…hehehe
8. In a medium size pot add 4 tablespoon of canola, or sunflower oil, once is rippling hot add your chilli-tomato puree, and cook the sauce in medium low for about 4-5 minutes.
9. Add chicken stock, and corn kernels season with salt and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
10. Taste the soup for salt and paper.

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'_making-the-soup

11. Chop and prepare your garnishes

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'-Garnishes
12. Serve on a deep bowl place the shredded chicken 2 to 3 ladles of the chilli broth place a good handful of the fried tortilla strips, and garnish with the cream, crumble cheese, avocados, and some of the chile de arbol fresh or toasted with a little oil for more heat.

 

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup'Mariana-Style'-close-up

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup'Mariana-Style'-bowl~yes,-more-please!

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup'Mariana-Style'-ready-to-eat~yes,-more-please!

ENJOY!!!

Smith&smith-chicken I’m in love with the chickens from Smith & Smith Farms, it is a small family operated farm, they specialize in  pasture raised meats that are hormone and antibiotic free. They  raise Dorper Lambs, all different breeds of laying hens, Cornish Rock meat chickens, Red wattle hogs, and Broad Breasted White Turkeys. All of the animals on their farm are free range and roam around every where! They are all as happy as can be, and you can taste the happines when you cook them. Delicious!

If you live in Austin, check their website for hours and farmers markets locations at: http://smithandsmithfarms.webs.com

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