Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category

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We’re Baaaaaaaaaaack!

June 19, 2012

It has been 4 long months since the MHK went on an involuntary hiatus of sorts; I won’t bore you with the details…so that’s the end of that sentence. But we are back in full force to bring you recipes, reviews, and other tasty posts to satisfy your online foodie needs. But the good news is that even without any new posts, this little blog continued to generate hits – in fact, we surpassed 100,000 hits a few days ago! Thanks so much to everyone for stumbling across the MHK while drunk at 3am…or so I assume. But now it’s back to business, so let’s get cooking!

A heat wave is hitting the Northeast tomorrow, but luckily we have the perfect recipe to keep your kitchen cool and your taste buds happy. From Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, this soup combines my favorite of flavor juxtapositions – sweet and spicy. The sweet combination of raspberries, bananas, and orange juice is offset by the hot jalapenos in a very delicious way. Some may prefer a smoother soup – in that case, blend the jalapenos with the rest of the ingredients and then strain it. We served this with grilled corn on the cob for a fresh and colorful meal – perfect for summer! Enjoy.

Chilled Raspberry-Chile Soup

(serves 6)

4 cups fresh raspberries
4 ripe bananas, peeled and cut up
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 (6 -oz) carton plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, minced
Whole or sliced fresh raspberries (optional)
Sliced fresh jalapeno or serrano peppers (optional)

In a blender combine the  4 cups raspberries, bananas, orange juice, yogurt, and syrup.  Cover and blend until smooth. Stir in minced jalapeno peppers, then refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve the soup in small bowls.  Garnish with raspberries and sliced chiles, if desired. Eat!

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Souped Up Corn Chowder

January 17, 2012

After our recent post about a recipe from the Sriracha Cookbook, the book’s author Randy Clemens commented on that post. I love this internet thing. Anyway, on to today’s recipe which we adapted from – guess what – the Sriracha Cookbook by Randy Clemens! It’s another soup; this time a spicy take on corn chowder that’s full of flavor, with some delightful heat. The onions, bell peppers and Sriracha give it a robust orange-red color, and the roasted corn kernels really enhance the dish. The amount of cream is fairly small, so it’s not a heavy soup at all. You can of course adjust the amount of Sriracha – the amount listed here makes it quite spicy, but not lip-burning spicy. It’s perfect for these cold weather nights. Enjoy!

Fire Roasted Corn Chowder

(serves 4)

3 ears fresh sweet corn, husked
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup Sriracha
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup heavy cream
Smoked paprika, for garnish
Torn leaves of fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Roast 2 ears of corn over a direct flame (on a preheated grill or over a gas burner) until the corn kernels begin to blacken, turning every few minutes until all sides have roasted. After the roasted ears have cooled, scrape the kernels from the cobs, and reserve. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and onions and cook until softened slightly, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, scrape the corn kernels from the remaining ear of corn. Add the raw corn kernels and garlic, and cook until the garlic is aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the stock, Sriracha, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. About 10 minutes before the soup is finished, gently heat the cream over low heat, keeping it just below a simmer. Once the soup has cooked for 30 minutes, discard the thyme and bay leaf. Puree the soup using an immersion blender. (A food processor or blender can be utilized with caution, pureeing the hot liquid in small batches.) Mix in the warm cream and add the reserved roasted corn. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until thoroughly heated. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a generous sprinkle of smoked paprika, and torn cilantro or parsley leaves. Eat!

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The Sriracha Cookbook is 2 for 2!

January 12, 2012

The MHK was gifted what looked like it would be a fantastic cookbook for Christmas this year: the Sriracha Cookbook. If you love spicy food, then just the title of that book should make you drool. Sriracha, or “rooster sauce” as it’s fondly termed because of the drawing of that combed fowl on every bottle, is Thai and Vietnamese in origin, and packs a nice, flavorful wallop to many dishes. We’ve made two recipes from the book so far, and both were really tasty. Today’s is the Thai chicken coconut soup, and the broth is so good you’ll want to plug it intravenously into your vein. Tangy lime, sweet coconut milk, and a healthy dose of Sriracha combine in a beautiful and fiery way. It’s very easy to make, and the chicken could certainly be switched with tofu (and use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth) for non-carnivores. Adjust the Sriracha to your taste; the amount in the recipe is quite spicy, but in a great way if that’s your thing. And remove the lemongrass and ginger before serving. Enjoy!

Thai Chicken-Coconut Soup

(makes 4 large cups or 2 large bowls)

3 cups chicken stock

2 tbsp. fish sauce

1 stalk lemongrass, white part only

1 small knob ginger

1 tbsp. lime zest

14 oz. coconut milk

1/3 cup Sriracha

1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes

Juice of one lime

Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

In a medium stockpot over high heat, combine the stock, fish sauce, ginger, lemongrass, and lime zest and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Increase heat to high, add the coconut milk, Sriracha, and chicken, and return to a boil. Lower the heat again and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with cilantro. Eat!

 

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Cajun Up Your Kitchen

October 17, 2011

Well first of all, hello everyone. Some of you may have noticed a lack of posting the last couple of weeks – this month the MHK owner’s day job is quite hectic, hence the lack of posts. But we’re still at work here as well, and we are happy to share today’s recipe with you. We have made mention a few times of the lack of spicy food in this area, but this recipe, a nice surprise from the Hannaford Supermarket magazine, packs a marvelous wallop – and we didn’t even have to enhance it ourselves! This is a pretty classic Cajun recipe, from the “holy trinity” – onions, peppers and celery, the base of many Cajun dishes – to the Cajun seasoning, but the addition of the chipotles is a nice twist. If you don’t have pre-made Cajun seasoning, you can make it yourself – here’s a general recipe: ¾ cup salt, ¼ cup ground cayenne pepper, 2 tablespoons ground white pepper, 2 tablespoons ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons paprika, 2 tablespoons onion powder, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 1 tablespoon thyme. You can add chili powder or oregano too. We removed the whole chipotles from the soup before serving, but you could chop them up instead of leaving them whole for even more spiciness. The beer adds some nice depth to the dish, and the rice makes it a hearty meal. Plus it’s vegan and it will fill you up – healthy and hearty, can’t beat that. This recipe will serve 8, but we cut it in half. Enjoy!

Fiery Vegetarian Gumbo

(serves 8 )

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 bell peppers (any color), diced

2 celery ribs, diced

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

¼ cup all-purpose flour

12 oz. bottle dark lager beer

4 cups low- sodium vegetable broth

14.5 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

7 oz. can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

2 cups rice, cooked

5 oz. spinach leaves

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, peppers, and celery. Sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add Cajun seasoning and flour and stir to combine. Add beer and deglaze the pan by scraping up the brown bits from the bottom. Add vegetable broth and stir to combine. Add diced tomatoes and chipotle peppers, with sauce. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low to maintain a low simmer. Add spinach and simmer for 10 more minutes. Divide rice evenly into soup bowls. Ladle gumbo into bowls and serve immediately. Eat!

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Boom – Roasted!

April 4, 2011

As promised in our last post, today’s recipe is the first one we ever made from our hero Rick Bayless.  The amount of flavor in this soup just blew us away, and we knew immediately that we needed to learn more about this man and his food.  This soup only has eight ingredients, yet the flavors make it seem like it’s a lot more complex – and this is what Bayless does so well, creating dishes that taste way more complicated than they actually are.  Roasting tomatoes and chiles (or rajas) really brings out their intense flavor in a sweet and smoky way. This recipe calls for beef stock, but using chicken or vegetable instead will do just fine.  If queso fresco is unavailable where you live, Monterey Jack should do the trick.  Allow enough time to roast, cool, and peel the tomatoes and chiles.  Enjoy!

Rick Bayless’ Roasted Tomato Soup with Rajas

(serves 4)

1 lb. tomatoes

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium white onion, halved and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

½ tsp. oregano

3 medium poblano chiles

4 cups beef stock

Salt

4 oz. queso fresco, cut into 1-inch cubes

Preheat broiler. Broil tomatoes and poblanos in a shallow baking pan, turning as needed until blackened on all sides (the chiles may take a little longer).  Let cool.  When cool enough to handle, scrape skin off the poblanos, halve, remove seeds, and cut into ¼-inch strips.  Peel tomatoes over a food processor (to catch the juices), then coarsely puree tomatoes and juice. Heat oil in heavy saucepan over med-high heat.  Add onion and cook until browned on edges, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and oregano; cook for 1 minute, stirring.  Add poblano strips and stir until heated through, about a minute. Add tomato puree and stir frequently until thickened and heated through, about 7 minutes. Stir in stock and bring to a boil. Boil uncovered, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt. Divide soup into bowls and scatter cheese over the top. Eat!

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Scratch Your Soup Itch

March 9, 2011

For a long time, before the MHK was created, we thought canned/boxed soups were pretty good.  They save time and come in a variety of flavors.  Then once our passion for cooking arose and we began making soups from scratch, we realized how much those canned soups paled in comparison.  Some may think making soup from scratch is a daunting process, and in some cases it’s true; but many soups can take a mere 30 minutes to create, with astounding results.  So today we proudly present this recipe, based on one from MHK readers Khris and Jason.  Their recipe called for shredded chicken, but we decided to go vegetarian with our version (but the chicken would be great if you need to satisfy your inner carnivore).  We added the jalapenos for a little heat and extra flavor, and to save time we didn’t strain the soup at all. If you don’t like little bits of food in your soup, go ahead and strain it after the food processor step.  The addition of the chopped tomatoes and avocado after serving the soup in bowls is fantastic; it gives the soup freshness and great texture, plus the avocado just melts in your mouth.  Serve with chips and salsa for a healthy, delicious meal.  Enjoy!

Roasted Green Chile Bisque

(serves 4)

4 large poblano peppers, stemmed, halved lengthwise and seeded

2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, halved lengthwise and seeded

1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch slices

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups half and half

1 tbsp. salt, or to taste

2 ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped

2 ripe avocados, chopped

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat broiler on high. Place peppers, skin side up, and onions in a 9×13 baking pan. Roast until skin blackens and onions brown, about 10-15 minutes, turning onions so both sides brown.  Let peppers cool, then scrape off skin.  Place peppers and onions in food processor with 2 cups broth; blend for 30 seconds, scraping sides if necessary.  Add mixture to a pot; add remaining broth, half and half, and salt.  Heat on medium until heated through, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 minutes.  Ladle soup into bowls, then top with even amounts of tomatoes, avocado and cilantro.  Eat!

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Souped Up Vegetarian Food

February 22, 2011

Vegetarianism has come a long way in the last 30 years.  People who didn’t eat meat used to be considered freaks, unnatural weirdos, Communists, etc.  Outside of Asian restaurants, finding tasty vegetarian options on a menu was a rare thing.  But as healthy eating became more of a necessity than a lifestyle choice, vegetarianism has become much more rampant. Pretty much every restaurant has meat-less options these days, and there are many restaurants that now cater exclusively to those who don’t eat meat.  To create a change in perception about vegetarian food, it became necessary to not just offer vegetarian options, but to also make dishes that could fill you up and taste great; the uneducated masses believed vegetarians  ate bland beans and rice all day.  Luckily today we can find a plethora of delicious vegetarian dishes; here at the MHK we go meat-less at least once a week, sometimes more.  Today’s recipe, from Vegetarian Times, is a great reason to let your inner carnivore take a night off – this healthy soup combines the earthiness of carrots, the sweetness of banana and coconut milk, and the tang of lime juice; plus the cayenne leaves a nice, slight burn on the back of the throat.  Serve it with some fresh bread and it’s a healthy, tasty meal.  The cows and chickens will thank you.  Enjoy!

Sweet and Spicy Carrot Bisque

(serves 4)

1 Tbs. canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbs. curry powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds (4 cups)
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced (1 cup)
1 tsp. salt
1 13.5-oz. can light coconut milk, divided
2 ½ Tbs. lime juice

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and pinch of salt, and sauté 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Stir in ginger, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add curry powder, cayenne, and ¼ cup water. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to coat onion and ginger with curry powder. Add carrots, banana, salt, and 4 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes, or until carrots are soft enough to be pierced with fork.  Remove from heat and puree soup using an immersion blender, or in batches in blender or food processor. Return soup to pot, and stir in 1 cup coconut milk and lime juice. Simmer remaining ¾ cup coconut milk in small saucepan over medium-high heat 10 minutes, or until reduced by half.  Ladle soup in bowls and swirl each serving with coconut milk reduction. Eat!

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Get Down with the Sickness

January 5, 2011

Cold and flu season is in full effect, and as some of you might be lying ill in your beds, we are reminded of the phrase “Feed a cold, starve a fever.”  Medical experts seem to agree that this advice is sound, though mildly so.  Feeding a cold helps keep your body’s nutrient levels up, which helps fight off a virus.  Starving a fever is a bit exaggerated, although many of us don’t feel like eating much anyway with a high temperature; loss of appetite is your body’s natural defense against fevers, as it helps the immune system focus its energy on fighting the illness.  But fluids will also help fight the fever, so try and drink as much as you can; but doctors do agree that if you’re hungry, you should eat.

But what foods are good to eat when you are ill?  The first thing that springs to mind is chicken soup.  Does this actually work?  Doctors say yes.  Chicken soup has cysteine, which is an amino acid released by cooked chicken; it reduces inflammation by working with the other ingredients in the soup. Mucus can be lessened by the salty broth.  What else is a good “cold” food?  Yogurt is great, as the bacterial agents (probiotics) help fight colds.  Hot tea is another great idea – it’s full of antioxidants and fights viruses.  If you squeeze a lot of lemon juice in your tea, that will increase your vitamin C, and adding dark honey gives you another boost of antioxidants.

One other potential remedy can be found by eating very spicy foods…I mean really spicy, not just the hot chicken wings down at the bar.  We’re talking food that makes you sweat when you smell it.  By eating food that makes you sweat, you’ll release the toxins plaguing your body and get rid of that illness quickly.  Obviously this method is not recommended for people with sensitive stomachs or people who can’t tolerate pain; but for those who can, it may work wonders.

Once you do get better, make sure you load up on fruits and vegetables to boost your immune system, so you don’t have a relapse.  Let us know if you have any sure-fire foods you like when you’re sick.  Have a healthy winter from the MHK!

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Powerful Soup

November 17, 2010

The MHK would like to thank reader Drew for alerting us to this article from Yahoo News.  It’s more about the dish itself than its connection to our president, but hopefully you foodies will find it interesting.  We will attempt the recipe for this dish soon, and of course, you will be the first to hear about the results, so stay tuned.  Enjoy!

CAPITAL CULTURE: The soup Obama loved as a child

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama may have carried a message of unity and tolerance during his visit last week to Indonesia, but it was his love of meatball soup that got the local headlines.

“Bakso, nasi goreng … semuanya enak!” or “Meatball soup, fried rice … it’s all delicious!” Obama said during a state dinner in Jakarta. The president spent several years of his childhood in the country.

Bakso, a savory soup of meatballs and noodles often garnished with bok choy, wontons, tofu, crisp fried shallots and hard-boiled egg, is Indonesia’s national street food, a go-to dish sold from pushcarts to hungry students, midnight revelers and just about anybody who wants a satisfying snack any time of day.

“When people hang out at night and they feel hungry, they go for bakso,” says Djoko Supatmono, executive chef at Satay Junction, an Indonesian restaurant in New York.

Like many dishes that bubble up through the masses, bakso has endless variations. The meatballs — which vary in size from golf balls to tennis balls — can be made with beef, chicken, pork or even fish. Ditto for the stock. The noodles can be made from mung bean starch, rice or wheat.

“This soup takes on many guises, but it always has meatballs, it always has noodles, it always has broth,” says Ken Woytisek, chef instructor in Asian cuisines at the Culinary Institute of America’s St. Helena, Calif., campus. “It’s really a multicultural society, so there are lots of variations. But it’s mainly the meat in the meatball that changes.” For instance, Muslims, who form the majority in Indonesia, do not eat pork.

Like most street food, bakso has an air of mystery. The soup and the noodles probably originated in China, but the meatball, Woytisek says, may have come from the Dutch, who colonized Indonesia in the 19th century. And then there’s the fact that it’s street food.

“While it’s generally accepted that meat, in some form, is involved in the balls, the rest is unclear,” says James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine, and author of “Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.” “Frankly, I don’t know what goes into them, and probably we’re better off not knowing. It’s like the hot dog.”

Meatball soups are found throughout southeast Asia, but aficionados like Oseland especially prize bakso. “The Indonesian version really does tend to be the king, the real granddaddy of all of the southeast Asian beef ball brethren,” he says. “It’s the whole idea of Asian beef balls taken to a higher realm. They’re just better tasting.”.

But even Indonesians split hairs. “People will take you to task if you say ‘I really like this vendor,'” Woytisek says. “They’ll say ‘No, no! You have to go this vendor.’ They never tire of arguing over who’s got the best.”

But what are the criteria? Al dente noodles and perfect meatballs.

“What makes a great bakso is a springy versus rubbery ball,” Oseland says. “And there’s some sort of gentle spicing. There’s always this perfect balance between the spicing and the meat that separates the good ones from the mediocre.”

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Recipe of the Week!

October 11, 2010

Next week the Mouse House Kitchen will be one year old, and up to this point, I’ve been lucky in that no one has told me to “keep my day job.”  Unfortunately my day job is the one that pays the bills, and if you’ve noticed the lack of posts on the blog lately, my day job is to blame.  Sporadic posts will be the norm until the end of the month, so thanks for bearing with us here.  But today at least, I present a marvelous Recipe of the Week for a delicious soup, perfect for the cool weather.  It’s from the California Pizza Kitchen of all places, but it’s delightfully pizza-free.  I’ve made two versions of this soup; the way it’s listed here, which is great; but I’ve also made it without pureeing it, leaving it chunky-style, and that way is great too, so you pick.  The flavors are terrific; adjust the spiciness by leaving the jalapeno seeds in or out.  Substitute veggie broth for the chicken stock and it’s a vegetarian delight.  Enjoy!

CPK’s White Corn Tortilla Soup

(serves 4)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ seven-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch squares

1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh garlic

2 tablespoons minced white onions

1 ½ teaspoons minced jalapeno peppers

1 lb. white corn kernels

1 ½ lbs. plum tomatoes, chopped

1/3 cup tomato paste

2 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

½ teaspoon chili powder

1 ½ cups water

1 quart chicken stock

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Corn tortilla chips, crushed (optional garnish)

Over medium-high heat, fry tortilla squares in olive oil until they begin to crisp and turn a golden yellow. Add garlic, onion and jalapeno; cook 1 to 2 minutes, until onion becomes translucent. Add half the corn along with all other ingredients (except cheese, cilantro and chips), reserving other half of corn to be added at the end. Bring the soup to a low, even boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove soup from heat. Use a hand-held propeller blade processor to process in batches to the consistency of a course puree. (You can also process in batches in a blender). Return the soup to the burner and add the reserved corn. Bring the soup to a boil once again being extremely careful to avoid scorching or burning the soup. Serve, garnished with crushed corn tortilla chips, cilantro and sharp cheddar cheese.  Eat!