It’s winter again and that means it is soup season. It has been kind of warm in San Francisco, but that hasn’t stopped me from whipping out the pots and cooking it up anyway. Any excuse to make soup, is what I always say. Soups are easy, tasty and last for more than one meal.
This soup is based on a curried zucchini & leek soup from the book, “for the love of SOUP” by, Jeanelle Mitchell. Her soups always start out pretty good, but I feel that they lack flavor. The vegetable combinations work very well together and then I add some extra seasoning.
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 Large leeks, white parts only. Cut lengthwise then thinly sliced.
1 tsp. curry paste (I like Patak’s hot curry paste)
2 Cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp. ginger minced
1 Large Russet potato peeled and cubed
2 Large or 4 small zucchini halved and cut in to 1/2″ pieces
4 Cups stock or broth (I use chicken broth or homemade stock)
1 tsp. salt
1) In a medium size pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute for 6 minutes. Add garlic and ginger cook for 2 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook for another 2 minutes.
2) Add zucchini, potatoes and broth or stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Let soup cool.
3) When cool puree soup in pot with immersion blender, or transfer to blender or food processor in batches and blend until smooth. Once soup is blended return to the pot, add salt, and simmer until heated.
Since having my beautiful daughter pizza has been off the menu. As it turns out, she is lactose intolerant. Her pediatrician says this is common, and that she should outgrow it by the time she is one. All of this is well and good, but it doesn’t change the fact that I love pizza and miss it tremendously. For me it is a limitation, but for many, living dairy-free is a choice. There are a few options out there that are both gluten-free and dairy-free, and Bold Organics is one of them.
I had never heard of Bold Organics until I was contacted by them and asked to try their pizza. Their pizza can be found in most Whole Foods stores and at Rainbow Grocery, in San Francisco. Since Rainbow does not sell any meat products, they only sell the vegetarian version. That is the one I chose. Never having had a non-dairy cheese I was a little nervous about what to expect. Nevertheless, I tried the pizza desperate to have an old favorite food of mine. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The crust was possibly the best gluten-free frozen pizza crust I have ever had. I do not know if it had anything to do with cooking it on a pizza stone, but it was crispy. Many frozen pizzas, non-gluten-free included, have a doughy bit in the middle even when they are heated through. This pizza did not. The vegetables were a good consistency, not soggy, and the mushrooms were nice big pieces. The sauce for the pizza was also pretty darn tasty. The only part of the pizza I did not really enjoy was the cheese. It was gooey, the texture was right on the money, but it wasn’t very flavourful. I am not sure if this is consistent with all dairy-free cheese, or that I prefer cheeses with strong flavors and a bite rather then American cheese or shredded mozzarella in a bag. I suspect it as being the latter, since the rest of the pizza was very good.
If I was going to be living dairy-free the rest of my life, it is a pizza I would put in to my rotation. For now though, Bold Organics definitely goes in to the category of going to try again. This time however it will be the one with meat.
Now that I have a new baby I simply do not have time to cook. I cut up lettuce and other salad makings when I have a free minute and I try to figure out easy veggies to serve with the protein of the night. My husband and I often cook on the weekends and freeze meals, but that doesn’t always cut it. For a nice hot meal that I can quickly make I turn to chicken thighs. From start to finish it takes me 30 minutes to make and they are just about impossible to screw up, because of how juicy thighs are.
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp. kosher salt
black pepper (from the grinder to your taste)
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. sumac
1/2 tsp. seasoning powder/salt of your choice
Wash & dry chicken thighs thoroughly. Season both sides of chicken. Heat pan over medium heat until pan is hot, but not smoking. Spray with cooking spray then add chicken. When you add the chicken the pan should sizzle. Cook chicken for 5 1/2 minutes and flip. Cook for another 5 minutes then remove from the pan. The chicken should be a beautiful brown color when you remove from the pan.
I serve my thighs with a nice big salad, because like I said, that is always cut up and in the fridge. Mashed sweet potatoes are a nice side dish as well.
Filed under Recipes, Salad
I love salads, but not when I am at home. The only reason I’ve come up with for why I feel this way, is that I can never find a yummy salad dressing at the grocery store. Well enough with the excuses and on to making my own. Below is a delicious recipe I found in a salad dressing cook book called “Salad Dressings” by Jessica Strand. It is super easy, incredibly flavorful and lasts in the refrigerator for up to one month.
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 medium garlic clove, minced
3 teaspoons good Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
3/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
In a medium bowl combine the vinegar, garlic, mustard and sugar. Wish a fork stir in to a paste. Mix in lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and thyme. Whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Have you ever found yourself saying, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing?” I sure know I have, and yesterday at Bobby G’s Pizzeria was one such occasion. I have been to Bobby G’s before, and I have eaten the entire small gluten-free pizza before, so I knew what I was in for. Nevertheless I have issues with restraint when it comes to pizza.
My first experience at Bobby G’s was a few months back. D and I each ordered our own small pies, me gluten-free and him not. We both loved our pizzas so much that yesterday we headed back for our second time. The first thing that I noticed was that they get their crusts from Mariposa Bakery. Mariposa sells their crusts to many establishments around the bay area, so the level of deliciousness really rides on what the place does with the crust. In my opinion Bobby G’s makes the best pie with Mariposa’s crust. My first pie was the pizza Bianca, Extra virgin olive oil, fresh mozzarella, aged parmesan, garlic, and fresh herbs. It had a crispy crust and they used great ingredients.
For my second visit I absolutely had to go for a pepperoni pizza. Pepperoni is my all time favorite pizza so to really judge a place and give a fair review it is imperative that I order one of these. Well my friends I have to say that it was AWESOME!!!! The crust was crispy from first bite to last crumb. The sauce was tangy and flavorful with a perfect ratio of sauce to ooey-gooey, tasty cheese. Another fantastic aspect of this pie was that the pepperoni was in abundance, but without grease pooling in the center. I loved this thing so much in fact that I once again uttered the words, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” I mean look at the crispy edge of the crust, how could I not?
The pies aren’t cheap, but nothing gluten-free is. What I can say is that they are fantastic and worth every penny. Nom, nom, nom this pizza gets to thumbs up.
Bobby G’s Pizzeria
2072 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
The holiday season and the start of 2012 has been tough on me, I have been sick and tired. With illness comes sluggishness and with sluggishness comes the lack of blog posts. I apologize for being deficient, but now I am back and with a brand new soup review.
During this downtime I did sample another one of my Kettle Cuisine soups. The soup I chose was their chicken chili with white beans. I was super excited to try this soup, because I am a huge fan of chicken chili especially the one at Neiman Marcus, in downtown Dallas. Compared to the other two soups I’ve tried from Kettle Cuisine the chicken chili with white beans has substantially more fat and calories (320 calories 15 grams fat), but is no more filling. Since this soup is meant to appease the palate of people all around the country it didn’t have nearly enough kick or spice for me. I actually found it to be a little sweet. The texture of the chicken was good and soup itself was rich and creamy, but again I found it lacking a sufficient amount of salt. I added salt, hot sauce and pickled jalapenos and it was okay
In the end I thought the calorie and fat content were too high, because I wasn’t full at the end and I had to eat a little something else to fill my belly. I liked the three bean chili better and I am more inclined to buy it in the future.
When D and I arrive home from work around 7:30pm-8pm, the last thing either one of us wants to do is cook. Now that the autumn chill has really set in we have both been craving something warm and delicious. When we get the chance we cook soups and stews on the weekend and freeze them for the week. Recently we have both been working so much that cooking for the week hasn’t been an option. We sometimes pick up food on the way home, something D can easily do, but there are far fewer options for me. Luckily I have the Kettle Cuisine soups in my freezer.
Last night when I rolled in from work dog tired D was nowhere to be found. I figured he was working late so I checked my stash of Kettle Cuisine soups. I still had five left and grabbed the Three Bean Chili. Just like the chicken and rice noodle soup the chili was low in fat and calories (220 cal. 3.5 g. fat). This meant that I could have some yummy lentil chips and a little shredded cheese on top.
The chili smelled delicious when I poured it from its heating container in to the bowl. When I tasted it I thought it had a nice touch of heat, but it was a little sweet, and needed more salt. After adding the salt I tasted it again and the sweetness was now balanced. Since I like spicy foods I added some pickled jalapenos and a little shredded cheese.
I liked the Three Bean Chili. It is a good size for lunch and with a salad a decent size for dinner.
As much as I love to cook I don’t always have the time. When I’m grocery shopping I’m also on the lookout for gluten-free products that are quick, easy, reasonably healthy, and hopefully taste good. As luck would have it a gluten-free company with products matching those requirements came and found me!
A few weeks ago Kettle Cuisine, a soup company founded over 20 years ago, contacted me. After visiting my blog and reading my product reviews they asked if I would like to review their soups. Given my love of soups, who was I say no? I accepted right away and arranged to have them shipped to me the following week. Since Kettle Cuisine soups are sold frozen someone had to accept the delivery of the six soups and put them in the freezer.
The first soup I decided to try was good old-fashioned chicken noodle soup. I use chicken noodle as my baseline for prepared soups. If you can live up to my expectations here then I have high hopes for your other soups. I pulled the box from the freezer and my first reaction was great bowl, good serving size, and decent fat and calorie count (140 calories 3 grams fat). I put the bowl in the microwave and heated it for 4 minutes. The soup was piping hot and I was ready. I took my first bite and found the broth to be bland, but I’m a salt person so I seasoned it. After adding salt and pepper I could taste the flavor and I thought it was good. I also liked that the chicken was not rubbery and the size and consistency of the carrots. The noodles were decent, but not as firm as I like. I’m wondering if microwaving the soup less time would change that? All in all this was a pretty good chicken noodle soup. Next time I’ll heat it 3:30 instead.
Check back in a few days for another Kettle Cuisine soup review!
While in search of the Hallelujah Chicken Chunks at Whole Foods, which it appears they no longer carry, I found Bell and Evans chicken breast tenders. They are expensive for the amount of food you get, but since I couldn’t find the chicken chunks and I don’t I don’t like Ian’s gluten-free chicken nuggets I bought them anyway.
The chicken tenders are uncooked and frozen. There are 2 servings per box and 3 tenders per serving. There is always more than one way to cook frozen foods, but anything with breading turns out better in the oven. I cooked my tenders in a toaster oven for 22 minutes, turning halfway through. I found the breading crispy and the chicken tender. Thus far these are the best gluten-free breaded chicken fingers on the market. Well done Bell & Evans!
If you are a chicken tender person then I recommend these over any other brand I have tried. You can find other Bell & Evans products at Whole Foods as well.