Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Country Onion Soup May 1, 2011

I have always been fascinated by storms. I remember one summer, when I was really young, my dad pointed out a massive storm cloud gathering over the fields, and told me, “That’s where tornadoes form.” I remember Mom freaking out one afternoon because Dad had taken off to follow a funnel cloud. Ever since then, I’ve watched the clouds, curious about what makes one thunderstorm different from the cells that form tornadoes. I watched Twister so many times, enthralled by the power and beauty (only now do I realize how awful that movie really was).

Thanks to the Internet, I can do something I’ve always wanted to do–Chase storms. Ok, so I’m not ACTUALLY out in Kansas with radars on my truck, but it’s still pretty thrilling. This will be my third season watching, with Michael Phelps behind the wheel, teaching all of us amateurs/wanna-bes what is happening as a supercell develops. There’s 20-30 of us regulars who have really become a family on the chat. We always look forward to storm season, not just for the cells but also for the conversation.

This has been a particularly crazy season so far–the kind that us storm nerds both love, and hate. The storms that have hit America so far have all been in majorly populated areas, in Wisconsin, and the southeast, instead of in the middle of nowhere in the plains. As much as we love seeing the awesomeness of an F5 sighting, when it devastates an entire town, we are struck silent in the chat, we are praying, we are mourning. None of us want to hear that 200+ people are gone forever, thousands are injured and suddenly homeless. My heart and prayers go out to all those who have been affected by the storms this spring.

Minestrone di Cipolline (Country Onion Soup)

Adapted from Smoky Mountain Cafe

1/4 cup olive oil
3 small yellow onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp sage leaves, minced
1 small can of tomato sauce
6 cups chicken stock
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/4 cup red wine
10 oz vermicelli
Grated Gruyère or Parmesan

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Cook onions 8-10 minutes until golden-brown and caramelized. Add garlic and sage, cook another minute or two until soft. Add tomato sauce, cook another 2 minutes.

While onion mixture is cooking, put bouillon cubes in one cup of stock, microwave 2 minutes, or until dissolved. Add this and the rest of the stock to the onion mixture. Simmer for 15 minutes. Salt & Pepper to taste.

Bring to a full boil. Add pasta, cook until very al dente (You want to keep the pasta with some bite to it).

Serve hot with lots of shredded Gruyère or Parmesan over the top. You can broil the cheese French Onion style, only without the soggy bread.


Tortellini en Brodo March 25, 2011

Filed under: comfort food,Freezer Meals,pasta,Quick and Easy,soup — hmills96 @ 9:16 am

What a crazy week! It’s definitely has been up and down! As in our IT systems at work. We are all exhausted, stressed out, backlogged. But somehow my team just keeps pushing through it. It’s why I love working where I do. We just do it. We just get it done.

Not only have things been all over the place at work, but can you say Spring in Indiana? Monday I was at the park in shorts and a t-shirt. Today, I had to wear my winter coat to work. Last night we had some epic storms in the area. The temps dropped 30 degrees in a few hours!

To combat this craziness, not to mention the sudden plunge in temperatures, I needed something warm and comforting. This dish was just the thing. Now, I have a new friend who loves the blog and was looking forward to my next post. Unfortunately, he’s going to be really disappointed because he hates spinach. I suppose you could leave it out, but it just wouldn’t be as good. There really isn’t much to this soup, but is filling and hearty.

I would recommend using homemade broth. It may take you a few hours on a Saturday to make, but the clean, pure flavors really shine in this dish. You can use any flavor of tortellini you want, or even buy two different kinds and mix it up! But really, this is way too simple and too amazing not to make for dinner tonight.

Tortellini en Brodo
Adapted from Skinny Taste

1 Tbsp Butter
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
Rind of Parmesan (I actually used Guyere Rind because that’s what I had)
2 pkgs tortellini
10 oz Frozen spinach
Pepper, Nutmeg, and Salt

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and garlic. Cover and cook on low heat for about 6-8 minutes, until carrots are tender.

Add broth, water and rind and crank the heat up to medium high. Bring to a boil. Season broth with salt (taste it, if you’re using store bought, you won’t need as much), pepper, and nutmeg. Add tortellini and spinach. Simmer until pasta is al dente.

Serve warm, but be careful, the insides of those tortellinis will be lava hot!


Boeuf Bourgenion January 6, 2011

Filed under: Beef,comfort food,Fall/Winter,Freezer Meals,Mushrooms,soup,wine — hmills96 @ 9:05 am

Yesterday was one of those days where I was REALLY mad, for NO reason at all. It was ridiculous. All day long I was in a sour mood. By the time I got off work, I was exhausted, and planning to just go home and put my feet up, maybe get absorbed into No Reservations. But, all the way home I was thinking about the mushrooms that I had bought that I needed to use. By the time I got there, I was already thinking about Boeuf Bourgenion–more specifically, Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourgenion.

It was not as hard a recipe as I had imagined. It just takes a really long time to cook. But after three hours, I went to take it off the heat to cool overnight. Somehow, in that process, I ended up with a fork in my hand. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Oh man, this is gooooooood. There are some recipes that I think “Ok, that’s decent, but I probably won’t make it again.” Then there are SOME recipes that are just so incredible that you just can’t stop eating. This is one of those recipes.

Make this, and soon. You can eat it the day you make it, but I’m told it gets better if it sits overnight. So I’ll be having it for dinner tonight. I cannot wait!

Boeuf Bourgenion
Adapted from Julia Child

3 lbs stew beef (1 inch cubes)
Olive Oil
3 large carrots, sliced
1 large onion, diced
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp Flour
3 cups red wine (something full-bodied, preferably Burgundy)
4 cups beef stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 crumbled bay leaf
2 cups baby pearl onions
2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
2 Tbsp Butter

In a dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over med-high heat. Add meat and brown. (It’s best to do this in stages, the meat will brown better if you don’t add it all to the pot at once.) Remove to a large bowl and set aside.

If needed, add more olive oil to the pot. Sweat onions and carrots until onions are translucent.

Add meat back to pot. Season with salt and pepper, then add flour. Toss to coat the meat, and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add wine, stock, thyme, garlic and bay leaf. Simmer (NOT BOIL!) for 2 1/2-3 hours until meat is tender.

While meat is stewing, prep pearl onions and mushrooms:

Add pearl onions to a large skillet. Cover with water. Bring to boil for 2-3 minutes. Pour off water and set onions aside to cool.

To the same skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Add mushrooms and sautee until caramelized. Set aside to cool.

After the 3 hours, remove meat and veggies from the pot with a slotted spoon. Simmer sauce for 2-3 minutes to reduce.

At this point you have two options:

1. You can add everything back to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes to bring everything to temperature. Then serve over rice or with crusty bread.

2. OR you can add only the meat and carrots back to the pot, and keep the mushrooms and pearl onions separate. Cool in the refrigerator over night, and then when ready to serve, add everything to the pot and put it back on the stove to warm. Again, serve over rice or with crusty bread.

****Had the final product for dinner last night, with a bit of crusty french bread. The sauce was thick and rich, the meat and veggies were tender. Oh man. This stuff is GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.****


Garlic Soup with Shrimp December 7, 2010

Filed under: Asian,Freezer Meals,Quick and Easy,shrimp,soup — hmills96 @ 7:52 pm

Holy Crap! 3 blog posts in 4 days?? What is going on??

I TOLD you guys once I got my groove back you’d see a lot more of me again. Here I am! Thanks for being patient with me. Hopefully I can keep up the mood I’ve been in and the desire to cook.

I’ve been on a HUGE Asian food kick lately, ESPECIALLY Japanese. Once I discovered sushi, it was all over. However, my addiction is expensive, and I cannot go out EVERY night. So, I must learn to make some things at home. I love Japanese-style soups, which I think I mentioned before when I made my ramen knockoff.

I’m not sure if this was originally an Asian-style soup but that’s what it felt like to me. The original recipe tells you to toast french bread and pour the soup over it, but I’ve never been a big fan of soggy bread in my broth (ie French Onion Soup). So I left that out, and poured it over ramen noodles instead. I think adding instant Udon to the broth when it’s simmering would be amazing as well. Just don’t add the shrimp until the noodles are almost done cooking.

Garlic Soup with Shrimp
Adapted from Serious Eats

1/4 cup EVOO
10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground paprika
4 cups chicken stock or shrimp stock
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Sriracha sauce, to taste
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Pour oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, flipping often, for about 10 minutes. Watch the heat, as garlic burns easily.

Add the stock, cumin, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, and Sriracha. If using Udon or Ramen, add the noodles as well. When noodles are almost finished, add in the shrimp and cook until pink, about 2-3 minutes.

*****This makes about 4 cups. I kept one more bowl for lunch tomorrow, and froze the other two cups in individual freezer bags for later.


Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup with Chicken October 3, 2010

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, well, you’re probably thinking, OK HALEY ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

You also know that I’ve been SUPER productive this weekend. I’ve been in a cleaning frenzy. Operation Take Back My House. The mess had literally taken over and it had gotten to the point where I had just given up. I started cleaning yesterday around 9 and did not stop until about 4 pm today. I still have a little bit to do before my mom will be allowed in the house, but the MAJOR stuff is done, the hard stuff.

While I was working on the kitchen yesterday, I also decided that I would make a pot of stock. My stash had run out and I was using the boxed stuff, so a batch was way overdue. (I also made a jar of homemade BBQ sauce, but that really has nothing to do with this post, other than it was one more thing that I did haha!)

I had planned on making a huge pot of chili to freeze in smaller batches. Since I’m only feeding myself now, most nights I don’t feel like cooking a huge meal. I want to have easy meals on hand so I can just make something quick. But, since I had a bunch of fresh stock, I changed my plan and made a pot of this soup instead. It was good, but a little bland. Next time I’ll add more than just thyme, and maybe some Worcestershire.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup with Chicken
Adapted From Cooking Light October 2010

4 cups chicken broth
1 package quick-cooking wild rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup carrots, matchstick-cut
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp butter
2 packages shiitake mushrooms
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast
Salt & Pepper to taste

Boil 1 1/3 cup broth in medium sauce pan. Add rice. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Set aside.

Heat oil in Dutch oven over med high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, carrots, garlic, and thyme; saute 3 minutes. Stir in butter and mushrooms, saute 3 more minutes.

Add remaining broth, rice, chicken, salt and pepper. Cook 3 minutes more.


Udon Noodle Soup September 25, 2010

Oh my GOD you guys. The soup I am eating right now. I couldn’t even wait until I finished eating to write about it. My bowl sits in front of me, half finished. I pause every few sentences to slurp down another noodle. Make this recipe. Lunch, dinner. Hell, I had made it at 10 am in the morning.

Yes, I made Udon soup for breakfast. I have been seriously craving Asian food in the mornings lately. I don’t know if it’s watching Anthony Bourdain gulp down bowls of Pho in the early hours or reading of the savory broths Asian cultures often serve for the first meal, but cereal has lost it’s appeal. Unfortunately, in Indiana, it’s not so easy to find hot and sour soup at 7 am.

I’m not alone either. The Kitchn just featured an article this week about having Miso soup for breakfast. When I read that yesterday, I knew I could resist no longer. So this morning, when I woke up with that craving, I had to create something. Luckily, I had made homemade ramen a few weeks ago, so I still had some (albeit, a little frozen from being stuck in the back of my crisper) Chinese cabbage and ginger. I also had some Udon noodles! I EVEN had one more container of my homemade chicken stock, just waiting for soup from scratch.

Guys, this is seriously good. My version may not be the most traditional. It should be made with dashi stock, and I’d love to have some mushrooms and eggs (of which I was unfortunately out). But, this may have been the best breakfast I’ve ever had. And anyone who knows me knows that I do NOT eat breakfast. I will be doing this again. I might make it ahead of time to keep in the fridge.

Oh, and if you would rather eat a strawberry poptart every morning with a Diet Coke (hehe, you know who you are. I love you.), all the power to you. But make this for lunch at least.

Udon Noodle Soup
Adapted from The Kitchn

2-3 cups chicken stock
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp diced ginger
1 package udon noodles
1 cup bok choy or Chinese cabbage
1 small shallot, diced
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Sriracha sauce, optional

In medium pot, simmer stock. Add cinnamon and ginger and simmer for 1 minute.

Add noodles and cabbage, cook for 2 minutes.

Add rest of ingredients, cook for 2 more minutes. Serve hot.

**Note–If you want to add an egg or two, add to stock just before it comes to a simmer, cook for two minutes before adding noodles and cabbage. Be gentle when adding the other ingredients so you do not break the eggs.


Homemade Ramen August 29, 2010

Filed under: Asian,Chicken,garlic,Mushrooms,pasta,Quick and Easy,soup — hmills96 @ 7:11 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m trying to get back into my cooking mojo. I went to the grocery store this weekend and bought a ton of great ingredients (and actually stayed within budget somehow). I’ve got some great recipes to test out. I even butchered a chicken myself yesterday, just to get into the spirit. But more on that tomorrow.

I’ve been eating a LOT of chicken ramen lately. As I told you in my last post, I really have not felt like cooking at all. I went home two weekends ago and my sister kind of got me hooked on ramen. She is really picky, and has stomach issues that don’t allow her to eat many things on top of that. She has this favorite flavor of ramen, Creamy Chicken, that for a long time, was discontinued. While I was home, she found it in the store and bought an entire case of it. She was heading off to college that weekend, and while she was nervous about her first time living away from home, she said it would be ok now because she had her food. Well after a full weekend of talking about ramen, I had to pick some up myself. And because I haven’t felt like cooking, it’s pretty much all I’ve been eating. Which means I’m more bloated than day old roadkill. Ugh.

Because of this, when I was thinking about my grocery list, I knew I had to include Food Mob‘s Ramen. I’ve talked about Food Mob on here before, when I made chili. I love their show, I watch it religiously every week. A few weeks ago Niall made homemade ramen. With fresh veggies. And real tuna! It looked sooooooooo good. I knew I had to make it soon.

J has started a new job, which means a lot more money for him. However, it’s 4 am-3:30 pm 3 days a week (Saturday, Sunday, Monday). It’s a crazy schedule, and he just started yesterday, so he is wiped out. However, I was REALLY looking forward to cooking this ramen tonight. So I was pretty bummed when he said he just wanted a snack and bed. After sitting here for about 15 minutes, I decided by golly I’ll make it for myself! It made a ton, which means I have plenty of food for lunch this week. But at least it’s a lot healthier for me than the packaged stuff! And a LOT more delicious.

Instead of the tuna, I used chicken, and it was great. This will definitely be a go to meal from now on. It took only about 20 minutes from start to finish, including cooking the chicken. A tip on that–butterfly your chicken breast so it is thinner. It will cook much faster that way.

Homemade Ramen
Adapted from Food Mob

1 large chicken breast, butterflied
1 chili pepper, the long red skinny kind if you can find it (I used a habanero because I had it, but it was a little intense)
1 red onion, sliced
1 pint mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp soy sauce
Splash of Sesame Oil
Splash of Rice wine vinegar
Splash of lime juice
1 package straight to wok noodles (or just plain ramen, no seasoning)
3 cups Chinese cabbage (it was called celery cabbage in my store)
1 cup sugar snap peas, cut on the bias

Preheat oven to 500. Preheat a skillet with oil. Also preheat a large pot with oil.

Salt and pepper both sides of chicken.  Place in pan. Saute for 2-3 minutes on both sides (I chopped my veggies while waiting on the saute). Move to oven.

While chicken is cooking, toss onions, peppers, and garlic into the hot pot. Saute for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and ginger. Let cook for another minute.

Add chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar. Add noodles, stir to break up. Add cabbage and sugar snaps. Let this boil while chicken is cooking, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When cooked through, remove chicken from oven. Slice into bite sized chunks. Add to soup. Let cook for 1 minute to soak up juices, serve hot.

**Note–this is not going to taste anything like the packaged stuff, so don’t expect it to. It is so much better than that, savory, spicy, and so full of healthy veggies. Seriously, go make this. Only don’t use a habenero. Trust me on that. PS–Fig Newtons are really good at calming the burn.

**Note #2–Go watch the video of Niall making this. Yum!