Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A soup to combat the cold weather!!

It's cold out... which usually means that I'm cold. Here's a soup that helps to bring back the warmth!

Chicken Sausage & Vegetable Soup
I begin by sauteeing some onion and garlic in olive oil. When the onion is tran
sparent, I add sliced carrots, diced celery, and chicken sausage bits (I quarter each link, then slice before adding to the pot). I saute until the veggies and sausage begin to caramelize. I add a handful of frozen green beans and stir everything together. I then add salt, pepper, and a few herbs (maybe oregano and thyme, or parsley) before adding chicken stock. I simmer the soup for at least 15 minutes (to let the flavors marry!). A few minutes before serving, I add a bit of orzo pasta. When the orzo is al-dente, serve away!

Soup tips!
  1. For a richer broth, I often add a chunk of parmesan cheese (after I add the stock) to the pot. Or, if you have the real deal, you can add the parmesan rind. Just make sure you fish it out of the pot before serving!
  2. For a flavor booster, add fresh chopped parsley to the pot right before serving.
  3. For soups with Italian or Spanish flavors, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over each bowl of soup.

Monday, November 5, 2007

T-day Menu

This is the first official release of my Thanksgiving menu. As is customary for me when it comes to holidays, this menu has been in the planning stage for weeks already. Here it is:

Turkey, roasted and stuffed with Citrus and Herbs
Sage Gravy
Stuffing with Chestnuts, Apple, Celery & Onion
Roasted Local Winter Squashes
Green Beans, roasted with Shallots and Hazelnuts
Potatoes, mashed with Roasted Garlic and Fresh Herbs
Biscuits or Rolls
Cranberry Orange Relish
Pecan & Squash Pie
Cranberry and Apple Crisp

Little Bites in Boston!

My dad surprised me recently with an invitation to a tapas restaurant... Last week, when I travelled to Boston with my parents, we stopped off in Somerville for tapas at Dali (Restaurant & Tapas Bar). Here is what we enjoyed:

  • Warm homemade bread with a garlicky chickpea spread
  • Plato Mixto - a selection of Spanish cheeses, Serrano ham, salami and roasted peppers
  • Tortilla Española - warm potato and onion omelette... my favorite Spanish food
  • Pimiento del Piquillo - delicious red peppers with a shrimp stuffing
  • Lomito al Cabrales - thin pieces of pork tenderloin in a light and creamy sauce of Cabrales and mushrooms... my favorite dish of the night!
  • Conejo Escabechado - red wine braised rabbit
  • Langostinos a la Plancha - perfectly grilled prawns
We washed everything down with fruity sangria (and for my mom, a cerveza). For dessert, we enjoyed Flan de Leche de Cabra... Flan made with goat's milk. Rich, creamy, sweet and delicious. Served with a berry sauce, it was the perfect ending.

Indian brunch!!

Earlier today, my boy and I enjoyed brunch at a local Indian place. Shalimar of India is a small family-run restaurant that serves delicious Indian dishes. The brunch is all-you-can-eat and happens every Sunday (11.30am-3pm). The buffet includes: both meat and vegetarian dishes (usually 6 dishes in all), pullao (basmati rice), bread, salad, little bites (like samosas or pakoras), all of the necessary sauces and chutneys, and a sweet rice dessert. For drinking, there is coffee (and maybe tea), and the never-ending glass of water. I also suggest the mango lassi, which is a fruity yogurt drink. It's creaminess helps to offset the spicyness of some of the dishes. I basically love this place.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sometimes a chef's salad can save the day...

During junior year of high school, I ventured to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Liechtenstein with a group of fellow students. Of course, we did the necessary tourist-y activities, including a trip to Schloss Neuschwanstein (pronounced "noy-shvon-stine"), a castle in Bavaria. To get to the castle, you have to walk up this long (and sometimes very steep) road. Of course, once you get there, there are no elevators, so one must walk up and down the stairs to get to all of the famous rooms. Since we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the castle, I have scanned a postcard that I purchased in the gift shop.

Anyway, learning about crazy King Ludwig (and of co
urse, all of that walking) really helped me work up an appetite. In fact, I was starving. After finishing our tour of the still-unfinished castle, we retreated to the bottom of the hill for some lunch.

At the closest restaurant, I chose the chef's salad because I couldn't bear to wait any longer for my food. As expected, it came out incredibly fast from the kitchen, and I think it was the best meal that I had in Germany. I know, it's odd to give such credit to a salad, but I hadn't eaten a salad yet that week, and I was feeling a veggie deficit...

The salad was incredible!

Mixed greens, micro-greens, herbs, radicchio, endive, tomato, pepperoncini, hard-boiled eggs, German potato salad, and tuna (the Italian kind that comes canned in oil)... All dressed with oil and vinegar. What more could a girl want?
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