Warm Winter Minestrone Soup
It’s an especially cold day in the The City, and I am not in the “create a large meal” kind of mood. As I have mentioned in the past, I really like soups. The great thing about soup is that while there can be a fair amount of preparation, it mostly cooks and tends to itself. And if you choose the right kind of soup, it can serve as the main course. What better soup for a main on a cold night than Minestrone.
I am never in any kind of shortage of dried or canned goods in my pantry. Pasta, lentils, check! Onions, garlic, lemons and herbs are always hanging about as well. Canned tomatoes, beans, and chiles are also part of my regular stock. So hitting the store on my way home is easy enough. All I really need are some fresh herbs and kale.
Part soup, part pasta dish, Minestrone is, at the very least, a meal you should be having twice a month during the winter. Make a double batch and freeze leftovers the first time, you will only have to re-heat it the second. Perfect for those night where you REALLY don’t want to cook. Warm, toast bread, done and yum.
Butternut Squash & Cauliflower Soup with spicy Pepitas & Scallions
Soups. Soups. Soups. I love soups. Living in San Francisco there is often weather opportunities, which make it a perfect time to enjoy a cup or bowl of soup. I came up with this one after a weekend in Tahoe, and had unused butternut squash earmarked for vegan tacos. (They are really delicious and a favorite of Tacolicious patrons)
I also had a head of cauliflower I had to use up before it went bad, and since there was no dinner in the next few days that called for either, soup! Soup is a great solution when you need to use up vegetables that you have the best intentions for, but deep down inside you know you will not get to them. Hopefully this recipe will inspire you, and lead to your own creative soups.
Salty and spicy. Mmmmm. Nothing goes better with a beer. These little guys are a quick easy treat that can be eating along side a cold one or used to top your favorite soup, salad, or even a taco.
I encourage you to make these ASAP. Throw them in a jar and they will keep for a very long time. Ready to bust out when you have an amigo over for an after work cerveza. Enjoy!
French Farmhouse Table
Ever since we moved into our new place with a formal dining room, I wanted a French farmhouse dining table. Big, heavy & rustic. We brought over a round butcher-block kitchen table with us from our small one bedroom apartment in Pacific Heights, however, it is more of a kitchen table. It’s a great table, but it didn’t even come close to filling the room. At most you can fit 4 people (tightly) at it for dinner.
After doing some searching online to price them out, I quickly got discouraged. The prices were anywhere from $1,200 to $10,000. Most of the time that didn’t even include chairs!
So I got it in my head that I was going to try and build my own. Ok. I have no tools. I have no prior experience in building a birdhouse let alone a table. No tools, no know how, no problem. There were plenty of websites with videos, designs, step-by-step instructions on how to build a table. Tools. I can just buy what I need along the way.
I have a plan!
Blistered Shishito Peppers
Brewpubs are popping up all over San Francisco. So, as a foodie and beer lover it is my duty to check out all these new places as they pop up. You know, so I can report back to inquiring minds. Ahhhh , I really do love beer.
I am fortunate enough to have one of these new Brewpubs open up two blocks from my front door (one of the advantages of living in a city). Barrel Head Brewhouse opened up almost two years ago. Their beers are fantastic and the food isn’t too shabby either.
Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company, located in the Outer Sunset, has been open less than a year. They too have great beer on tap, delicious food, and a Sunday brunch that is not to be missed.
I happen to visit both of these fine establishments within a week of each other. Purely coincidental. They both had Blistered Shishito Peppers on the menu. And both times I had them as a fantastic accompaniment to my fine ale. I really enjoyed the flavors and simplicity of this dish and decided I had to have it at home.
The recipe is super easy, and super fast. 5-10 minutes.
Homemade Vegetable Stock
I’m the type of person who seems to fill up the compost twice as fast as any other receptacle in the kitchen. Even with all the wine and, cough…cough, beer bottles, I am running down the compost 37 steps (and then back up!) to the garage 3-5 times a week. Ehh, it’s good exercise I guess.
So I was reading through the Thug Kitchen’s cookbook, and came across a simple recipe that makes great use of those scraps that keep over flowing in my small compost bin.
This is such a great idea. I usually just buy a few quart size boxes of veggie stock because it’s cheaper than buying vegetables that you don’t even eat, but boil and throwing away. And for what? Flvored water! It’s expensive and wasteful. I mean, I was doing it with chicken and beef bones. Why wouldn’t I do it with veggie scraps?
It also puts some nice variety in your stock. Each batch is going to be different and extremely flavorful. It is a much richer version of the store bought kind. The recipe is so simple.
Your soups and stews for the cold foggy San Francisco nights will be far more endurable!
Keep and gallon size zip lock bag full of your scraps in the freezer. As you cook through out the week, keep filling the bag up. Be sure to wash ALL of the parts of the vegetables. Try to avoid anything bitter like broccoli or brussel sprouts. Don’t use anything moldy or veggies that are just completely gone. Try to be honest with yourself. Did you buy a bunch of cilantro for your homemade salsa, and now the rest is just wilting in your fridge? Just add it while its still good!!!