Archive for Recipes

Greek Chicken Soup Made Easy

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This recipe was originally published as part of my food column on Prince of Petworth here.

It’s that time of year in DC. Fall is creeping up on us, making it difficult (for us ladies) to completely put away summer clothes and fully transition into our Fall/Winter wear. It’s also the time of year that my mind and stomach turn to thoughts of soups and stews. One of my favorites is chicken soup. I mean who doesn’t love chicken soup? It’s like a big hug or a cozy blanket.

Growing up Greek, I only knew one kind of chicken soup – Avgolemono soup. The word “Avgolemono” is a combination of the Greek words for egg and lemon. As far as my brother and I are concerned, it’s the best kind of chicken soup. Don’t try to convince us otherwise.

Avgolemono soup starts with the same ingredients one normally associates with a traditional chicken soup — carrots, celery, onions, rice, and chicken. However, its key distinguishing feature is the finishing “sauce,” which is made of . . . you guessed it, eggs and lemon juice.

Now, I know this may sound like a strange way to finish off a soup. And I know that it may be too early in our relationship for you to trust me. But you should. Make this soup once and you’ll never want to go back to regular chicken soup. It’s addictively good. It’s lemony and hearty. It’s a big hug and a cozy blanket on a comfy couch all wrapped up in one bowl. (You won’t taste the eggs.)

My mom and grandmother make this soup the hard way. They start with a whole chicken, which they submerge in cold water and simmer with carrots, celery, and onions. Two hours later they end up with poached chicken and homemade stock. That’s just the first step!

I don’t have the time or patience to do that — to my mother’s great disappointment. So, I’ve tweaked the recipe in order to streamline the process. Those who know me know that I don’t sacrifice flavor for anything. This is gonna be good and so easy!

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Two for one: My long overdue reviews of Seasonal Pantry & SUNdeVICH

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It just didn’t feel right to take pictures.  I felt like I needed to preserve the sanctity of these two places, to the extent a food blogger can.  I’m talking about SUNdeVICH and Seasonal Pantry.  Long overdue, I decided to make my initial trek to these two stores, nestled in Shaw in a somewhat quiet neighborhood and right around the corner from each other.  The trek was worth it and I’m definitely going back.

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Rocco DiSpirito’s Now Eat This!

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I recently downloaded Rocco DiSpirito’s Now Eat This!  In this cookbook, Rocco takes “150 of America’s favorite comfort foods” and remakes them into dishes that clock in at under 350 calories a piece.  Following each recipe, Rocco provides the calorie and fat content of both the traditional and revamped versions of each dish.  It’s really quite impressive just how many calories and grams of fat he shaves off.  Could it be too good to be true?

I decided to find out.  Also, I was curious to see whether the dishes would actually come out looking like the pictures in the cookbook.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about the five recipes I tested.  On the one hand, I was able to eat a wedge salad with bacon and blue cheese dressing, a healthy portion of jambalaya and a brownie for about 600 calories and 21 g fat.  According to Rocco’s numbers, the traditional version of these dishes would have clocked in at close to 3000 calories and 185 g fat.  That can’t be right.  Could Rocco be inflating some numbers here?  I don’t know and I guess it doesn’t matter.  I felt full and somewhat satisfied after this meal.

On the other hand, everything I made, except for the jambalaya, was not quite right in terms of texture and/or flavor.

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Pork and kimchi dumplings — from scratch

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My first attempt at making dumplings was a little frustrating.  I made the dumpling dough from scratch. It turned out to be quite difficult to keep it from sticking to my rolling pin unless I used a lot of extra flour to roll out each dumpling wrapper.

Regardless, they turned out great! I think they were worth the trouble. But just in case, I added a glass of wine as an additional reward.  (Yes, I’ve already started rewarding myself from the looks of the wine level in that glass.)

If you want to try to make these yourself, I used a recipe from Food & Wine magazine, available here: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pork-and-kimchi-dumplings.  If you have better luck with the dough, let me know!