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Chicken Noodle Soup

October 20, 2017

I’m so excited to bring you week one of a four week wellness series of some of my favorite TLC recipes for my family. First up, Chicken Noodle Soup.

Fall has descended upon Santa Fe in all its glory. The gold and amber leaves fall from the trees with every windy gust, and the watermelon sunsets settle into darkness earlier with every passing day. In other words, the time for slippers, warm blankets and cozy bowls of steaming soup has arrived and I could not be happier about it.

With the change of the seasons, my four year old son River, brought home some kind of preschool cold and within two days, all four of us had come down with it. By some miracle I had the leftovers of a roasted chicken in the fridge. (Thank goodness!!). Then I had a few standard items I always try to keep on hand: carrots, celery, onion, garlic. There were lots of kale still growing out in the yard and I found some dried linguine pasta in the pantry.

I knew I just needed an hour to power through and make a pot of chicken noodle soup for us. Honestly, it felt more like a healing tonic eating it over the next few days. It brought us so much nourishment and warmth.

It can easily be made without chicken or even noodles. Just use vegetable stock instead and increase the veggies, maybe adding some additional vegetables like potatoes, peas, mushrooms, squash, extra greens or even diced tomatoes.

I hope this recipe of chicken noodle soup keeps your family warm and cozy in the chilly months ahead.

Ingredients
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion (red or yellow), diced
4 stalks of celery, diced or sliced
2 big carrots, diced or sliced
2-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 T. fresh rosemary, finely chopped (or thyme or both)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
8 c. chicken stock (or vegetable broth)
2 c. cooked chicken meat, picked from bone or diced (white, dark or combo)
2 c. cooked noodles, cut into bite sized pieces if needed
2 c. fresh greens, torn or sliced (kale, beet greens, spinach, chard, etc.)

Method
1.) Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot over medium heat.
2.) Add onion, celery and carrot. Cook for a few minutes stirring occasionally. If you want a richer, carmalilzed flavor, let the vegetables (aka mirepoix) cook until they pick up a bit of color.
3.) Add garlic and rosemary. Stir and cook another minute being careful the garlic doesn’t burn.
4.) Add lemon juice and zest. If you let your vegetables carmelize, use a wooden spoon to scrape any goodness from the bottom of the pan (aka deglaze).
5.) Add chicken stock and cooked chicken meat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
6.) Check seasoning. Add salt and pepper as needed.
7.) Five minutes before serving add cooked noodles and greens to the pot.

Simple Roasted Chicken

October 1, 2017

As soon as the weather starts to cool, there are few things as efficient or satisfying as a simple roasted chicken. Most often I will make a perfectly complete dinner, cooking the chicken on all kinds of combinations of root vegetables and citrus, (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, parsnips, lemon or orange, peppers, etc.) which acts almost like a roasting rack lifting the chicken off the bottom of the dish or pan. But if you want a really crispy skin on the roasted chicken, roast on it’s own in a roasting pan so steam from the vegetables doesn’t prevent crisping of the skin.

The beauty of this dish is in its simplicity and longevity. After you eat the chicken the first day, throw the chicken in a large pot with a halved onion, a couple carrots and stalks of celery. Cover with cold water and simmer on low heat for a half hour. Drain and reserve the chicken stock, save the vegetables for a snack and pick all the meat from the chicken bones. Let the stock and picked chicken meat cool to room temperature then transfer to the fridge. The next day you have a wonderful bowl of chicken and stock for a soup or stew.

The inside of the bird imparts a lot of flavor. So you can absolutely get creative and throw herbs, garlic, lemon, etc. inside the chicken before roasting. Just be aware that this creates steam and steams will effect the crispy skin. There is no right way/wrong way here. It’s all about what you feel like cooking a that particular moment.

My favorite way to serve the chicken? With a little bowl of honey herb butter to pass around for spreading. Yes, on the crispy skinned chicken:)

Ingredients
One whole chicken
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
kitchen twine
I know it seems crazy, but no other ingredients are needed…for real.

Method
1.) Preheat oven to 450 F. If your oven has a convection setting, this is the perfect time to use it.
2.) Dry chicken very well with paper towels, inside and out. Make sure to remove the bag of giblets before roasting. The neck is sometimes included in the bag and is a great addition to throw into the stock.
3.) Sprinkle around one T. of kosher salt inside the chicken.
4.) Cut a piece of kitchen twine and crossing the drumsticks over each other, tie them together tightly.
5.) Generously season the outside of the chicken with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
6.) Cook in the oven around an hour or until the chicken reads 165 f. on a thermometer when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. If you don’t use a thermometer, you can also check to see if the chicken is done by making sure the juices run clear when pierced with a knife. Keep in mind the chicken will continue to cook for a few minutes after it is removed from the oven.
7.) When completely cooked, remove chicken from the oven and let rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes before serving.

Component in Action
-Serve just as it is for one of the best dinners out there:)
-Serve with tortillas and your favorite taco toppings for a chicken taco feast.
-Combine cooled chicken meat with plain greek yogurt, red grapes, red onion and celery for a perfect chicken salad.
-Save all the bones and throw in a pot with cold water, carrot, onion and celery. Simmer for around 30 minutes and then strain to make chicken stock. Pick the rest of the meat off the bones so nothing goes to waste.
-Make a bone broth by just continuing to simmer the stock for 24 hours on very low heat, skimming any foam (impurities) off the top as needed. Strain and use as you would chicken stock.

Christmas Kale

January 6, 2017

Happy New Year! I know, a perfectly belated time of year to share the recipe that I’ve affectionately named Christmas Kale, but as I considered renaming, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. And then I thought, much like the days where I “accidentally” add the Carpenters Christmas Album to my playlist shuffle, this might be just the dish to add a bit of Christmas to meals throughout the year.

Chestnuts are such a seasonal ingredient, they are of course optional. You also can find them in many grocery stores cooked and peeled throughout the year in the bakery or canned section. In the fall you can find them fresh and in the shell, and roasting them yourself is an easier adventure than you might expect. Some heat, patience and a sprinkle of salt is pretty much all you need to enjoy one of fall’s most delicious, satisfying, and hand warming treats.

So why Christmas Kale? Because, and it’s really as simple as this…why not? In fact, the entire dish could be a reincarnation of your favorite Christmas song, only you can eat it. Bacon adds a smoky depth so maybe think of this as the candle studded wine bar with a baby grand tucked in a corner. The onion and garlic play their part as a stand up bass. They are a whisper in comparison to the bold sweetness of the dates and chestnuts. but are actually an invaluable savory anchor, grounding the entire dish. The coconut? Well, let’s just think of this as the melody and texture…here is a music equivalent of it’s perfection.

Ingredients
1/2 c. thick cut bacon (diced)
1 medium red onion (sliced or diced)
3 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
1 c. chestnuts (roasted, peeled and rough chopped)
1 c. dates (seeded and rough chopped)
1 can coconut milk or cream (unsweetened)
8 c. kale (washed and roughly cut into bite size pieces)
salt (to taste)
red pepper flakes (optional/to taste)

Method

1.) In a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, cook bacon over low heat until caramelized and the fat has rendered. I love using a thick cut applewood smoked bacon.

2.) Increase heat to medium. Add red onion and cook until onions wilt and start to caramelize.

3.) Add garlic and cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly and making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

4.) Add the chestnuts and dates. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.) Deglaze the pan by pouring in the coconut milk (or cream) and scraping (releasing) all the caramelized bits of bacon, onion and garlic goodness off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. This ensures that all of this flavor makes it into the final dish and doesn’t get left behind for whoever is on dish duty.

6.) Bring coconut milk to a simmer. This is a great time to taste the sauce and season with salt and red pepper.

7.) Add the kale. Stir. Cover pot and cook until kale wilts and is tender (about five minutes).

8.) Give it a taste to check salt and pepper seasoning. Make any additions if needed. Enjoy!

Component in Action

  • replace kale with any other green veggie you want! (brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli, etc.)
  • use as a saucy side dish with spicy sausage or chicken or even pork chops
  • serve over a bed of quinoia or brown rice
  • leave out the bacon to make vegetarian and vegan friendly

Meat Pie (Italian Easter Pie)

November 9, 2015

There are time in life where a specific taste launches you back in time, flooding your heart and mind with memories. Watermelon blow pops remind me of road trips, Constant Comment tea reminds me of my mom, sister, and cold Ohio winters, and Meat Pie reminds me of Grandma Mary.

This is her recipe. She would make one for me on my birthday. Years later with a single bite, I can remember every detail like it was yesterday; the flaky crust holding layers of sliced salami, ham and cheese, her beautifully wrinkled hands holding the white box tied with red and white butcher string, and her aquamarine ring sparkling in sunlight as she presented me this treasured gift.

Now, each year on River’s Birthday, I make a Meat Pie. I feel so many memories and so much love in the simple act of making it. I feel so happy that this family tradition hasn’t been lost. I wonder if someday he will want to learn how to make the pie with me, someday passing this on to his children, making memories and traditions of their own.

This is a perfect example of how food transforms into so much more than just a piece of pie on a plate. You probably have your own Meat Pie’s in your mind, those dishes that remind you of people, places, and moments in time.

You will notice this recipe calls for store bought pie dough. In this instance, I allow memory to trump technique and don’t waste a single minute feeling bad about it. Here it is, Meat Pie exactly like Grandma used to make it.

I should also mention that this pie is decadent and delicious served warm, but Grandma would serve it cold and at this temperature it tastes amazing and slices beautifully. We like to eat it cold for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is also super convenient on the go in a packed lunch, maybe with a little Dijon mustard on the side.

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