soup

thai coconut curry soup with chicken and kale

I know. I know.
I’m sorry.

thai coconut curry soup with chicken and kale | Brooklyn Homemaker

I can’t even believe it’s been so long since my last post. Like really, where on earth did the time go? How is it even possible that multiple months have actually passed since I was here last?
My poor neglected little blog.

thai coconut curry soup with chicken and kale | Brooklyn Homemaker

Before I posted the Jamhattan recipe in FEBRUARY (!!!), I was on a lil’ break from blogging because I was tricked into doing the Whole30 by my beloved husband Russell. Even though we tried some recipes that we really enjoyed, I was just too miserable and grumpy to write about food. Before that it was the holidays. Before that, the election. Before that I was working on building out and decorating Maxwell’s. Through all of that I was still posting the occasional recipe, but I wanted to post more often and I was absolutely certain that once all the big projects and excuses were out of the way, I’d be good to go and the blog posts would start flowing again.

Once we made it through the Whole30 I got to work sampling cocktail recipes, and had grand ideas of getting back into the swing of things after a crazy, hectic 2016. I even had (and still have) a long list of post ideas that I hope, at least in theory, will be coming soon to a blog near you. Of course, as you know, things don’t always work out quite the way you have in mind. While I was hard at work editing the Jamhattan post, just a day or two before I hit publish, I was approached by some very good friends to see if I’d be interested in contributing to a project they were working on.

thai coconut curry soup with chicken and kale | Brooklyn Homemaker

As I mentioned earlier this year, I’ve been feeling anxious and overwhelmed by the current political climate here in the US, and I’ve been driving myself mad wondering what I, as a humble food blogger, could do about it. I’m no politician, no policy expert, no journalist, so what can I do? I went to DC for the Women’s March, I’ve gone to rallies in Manhattan, I’ve donated to the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood; but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there should be something more I could contribute, something uniquely mine.

That’s when my friends, feeling inspired by their youth in the 90s, decided to publish a zine combining the stories, works, and talents of their circle of friends. The project has since grown to a scale I never imagined it could or would, and they’ve compiled the work of poets, film makers, artists, musicians, actors, writers, and activists from all walks of life, all wanting to share their truths, effect positive change, and further the cause of the new American resistance movement. What was originally conceived as a 90s style homemade zine, has grown into a beautiful, powerful, and professionally-printed magazine called “Esta Tierra“, Spanish for “This Land”.
And the best part? All the profits will be divided and donated to IRC, ACLU, The Audre Lorde Project, Planned Parenthood and Honor The Earth! I could not be more honored to be involved in this project.

thai coconut curry soup with chicken and kale | Brooklyn Homemaker

Meanwhile, with Brooklyn Homemaker still on my mind, I made and photographed a soup recipe that I first tried when I was doing the Whole30 with Russell. It was so tasty that I knew I wanted to share it with y’all, and I knew that Russell and I would love eating it even after we (finally) finished with our stupid diet. I uploaded the photos to my computer, started a draft for the post, and had high hopes that I’d have the recipe up on the blog in a week or two. That was in February.

thai coconut curry soup with chicken and kale | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was so excited about my involvement with Esta Tierra that I started brainstorming my contribution before I ever got around to editing my photos or taking my post from an outline to a draft. I dove into the project head first, and before I knew it, it was all I could think about. After a false start on a cocktail recipe that I abandoned because I was unhappy with the results, I decided to share a recipe and a story that was deeply meaningful and personal to me. I revisited my great-grandmother’s apfelkucken recipe, making it even closer to the way she made it when I was growing up, and, with current attitudes toward and challenges surrounding immigration in mind, decided to tell the immigration stories of my great-grandmother and my grandfather on my dad’s side. Without giving away too much, they both immigrated to the United States from Germany, both coming through Ellis Island and settling in Upstate New York, at a time in American history when German immigrants were often met with suspicion, fear, and hatred because of World Wars I and II.
I hope you’ll consider making a contribution to Esta Tierra, and once the magazine launches I’ll let you know on social media how you can buy a copy of your own so you can read my work and see the amazing work of all the other talented artists and activists involved.

Now that I’ve finally submitted my contribution and the magazine has gone from accepting submissions to fundraising for publication, I can finally get back to blogging. Who am I kidding though, chances are just as good that you’ll see a new post here next week as they are that I’ll get distracted by some shiny new project and won’t be back for another 3 months. Lately I’ve been doing some work in our back yard and finding that pretty distracting, so who knows?

thai coconut curry soup with chicken and kale | Brooklyn Homemaker

Either way, this soups is seriously delicious, and even though soup season is basically over, I promise that you don’t have to be on some silly fad diet to enjoy it. It’s packed with the warm, tropical flavors of ginger, lime, coconut, and Thai curry; all of which pair beautifully with chicken breast, sweet potato, and Lacinato kale. This soup is so flavorful and delicious that you’ll totally forget that it’s good for you too! Go ahead and make a pot of it today before it gets too hot, or save the recipe to make on some chilly, rainy day to come.

thai coconut curry soup with chicken and kale | Brooklyn Homemaker

Thai Coconut Curry Soup with Chicken and Kale

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 to 4 carrots, sliced into coins/disks
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups chicken stock
1 bunch Lacinato Kale, ribs removed and leaves roughly chopped
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1 to 2 limes

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large heavy stockpot or dutch oven. Cook the chicken breasts, flipping at least once, until cooked through. Set aside to rest.
Add remaining tablespoon of coconut oil to the pot, along with chopped onions and carrots. Brown for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping up any browned juices from the chicken breasts with your spoon as you stir. Add garlic, ginger, and curry paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sweet potato and chicken stock, cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
While the soup is coming to a boil, cube the cooked chicken and add to the pot.
Once the soup comes to a full boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and tender.
Add the coconut milk, chopped cilantro, and juice of 1 lime. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If desired, add the juice of another lime and garnish with more cilantro.

 

 

hearty kale and lentil soup

Back in my college days I was a vegetarian. I mean, who wasn’t a vegetarian for at least a little while in college though, right?

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

I grew up in a strictly meat and potatoes (and dessert every night) kind of family, so straying from that formula was definitely a learning experience. I was on my own for the first time and I wanted to express myself as the “independent” young adult that I was… or something like that.

I don’t know.
I was 18.
Who are you to judge me?

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

I think that out of my whole family my grandmother had the hardest time wrapping her head around my new dietary choices. I mean, most of the family was sort of just like, “why?”, and rolled their eyes, but the first time I went home for Thanksgiving my poor grandmother was completely beside herself.

This was well before the bacon-ization of America and most of the sides at the table were totally vegetarian friendly, so I bellied up to the table and piled my plate high with squash and beans and potatoes and biscuits and corn and all sorts of amazing things. Grandma just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) accept that I was satisfied or full without having turkey and stuffing and gravy. She kept asking if I was okay and offering to go get me something else to eat.
Personally though, I was thrilled with all the different sides and it was one of the best meals I’d had in a long time. Grandma wasn’t buying it though.

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

Back at college I was doing my best to try new things, and was eating all sorts of things that I was unfamiliar with up until that point.

Crispy fried bean curd (basically general tso’s tofu) was one of my new favorite things at the Chinese restaurant on Main St., and a vegetarian chili made with TVP or “texturized vegetable protein” at the neighborhood health food store was a lunchtime staple in my diet. I also ate a lot of BK Whoppers without the meat. No veggie burger, just a Whopper with no meat. Don’t knock it till you try it.

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

One thing that I never quite got into though, was lentils.

Something about lentils just conjured images of dusty old hippies gnawing on sprouted mung beans in some commune somewhere. While I was actually really into Phish and the Grateful Dead, the lentils (and the mung beans) didn’t appeal to me.

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

It wasn’t until much later, after meat found it’s way back into my life, that I tried lentils. My years as a vegetarian taught me a lot about how to make a tasty & filling meatless meal, and that I should always be open to trying new things.

There was a time shortly after I moved to Brooklyn when I was out of work for a little bit and a good friend found herself out of work at the same time. We decided to save money by cooking big cheap meals together that we could share and eat for a few days. We came across a recipe for a pureed french lentil soup, and given that lentils are like a buck a bag, we decided to go for it.

It was love at first bite and for years that was my go to lentil soup recipe.

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

Lately though, I’ve been wanting to try something different. Something new. I figured that I might add some diced tomatoes to the soup for a bit of brightness and acid, and throw in some lacinato kale for texture and color and to make the soup feel even healthier and more substantial.

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

This is just the kind of thing I crave this time of year. A hearty, healthy, filling soup to warm my old bones on a cold winter night. Tender veggies, earthy al dente lentils, chewy dark green kale, bright acidic tomatoes, a bit of heat from the chili flakes, and fresh green parsley. Just perfect.

While this soup would probably fall under the “healthy” category, I promise that it doesn’t taste like health food. No dusty hippie communes here, just bright, delicious, hearty soup. And even though this soup is technically vegan, you won’t miss the meat at all. This soup is so thick and hearty it’s practically a stew!

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

Hearty Kale and Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced onions (1 large onion)
1 cup sliced carrots (about 3 carrots)
1 cup sliced celery (about 3 to 4 stalks)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
one 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup dried green or brown lentils
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 bunch Lacinato kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large heavy stockpot or dutch oven. Add onions, carrots, and celery, & season with salt and pepper. Sauté until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté one minute more. Add tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes to concentrate their flavor. Add lentils and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kale and parsley and simmer 5 minutes more. Check that lentils are tender. Add vinegar, taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and some nice crusty bread. A bit of parmesan cheese could be a nice touch too.

chicken tortilla soup

When I was in college my mom sent me a DVD of a movie called Tortilla Soup, and to this day I still don’t really know why.

chicken tortilla soup from scratch | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was really into cooking even then, and I was taking a few culinary courses for my degree, but as far as I understand it my love of cooking was reason enough for Mom to think I’d LOVE a movie about soup. She’d apparently rented it, liked it, and since it was about cooking, thought I’d like it too. Rather than telling me to rent it for myself though, she bought a copy and mailed it to me.

chicken tortilla soup from scratch | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’d never heard of the film, and having lived a pretty culturally sheltered life, I’d never heard of the soup either. It took me a while to get around to actually watching it, and when I did I found it pretty unremarkable. I liked it okay, and I told mom so, but I never watched it again and today I have little memory of what it was even about (besides soup).

chicken tortilla soup from scratch | Brooklyn Homemaker

A few years ago, when I started my first recipe based pinterest board, I started seeing recipes pop up for this soup that I’d largely forgotten all about. Suddenly my interest in the soup (but not the film) was sparked anew. The only problem was that whenever I clicked on any of the recipes, most of them called for loads of canned ingredients and seasoning packets and other fun concoctions loaded with sodium. While the idea of the soup sounded good, the recipes I was seeing never looked good enough to bother.

Then, earlier this summer the siren song of New York’s Green Markets got the better of me and I suddenly found myself wanting to put sweet corn and tomatoes and peppers in everything. It seemed like the time was just right and I needed to finally make it happen. I searched the internets for tortilla soup FROM SCATCH (I don’t know why it never occurred to me to do this before) and finally found one that sounded great.

chicken tortilla soup from scratch | Brooklyn Homemaker

The first recipe I tried was overflowing with tons of vegetables and only called for one canned ingredient: crushed tomatoes. I know it’s tomato season right now but I really hate peeling them so I’ll save the fresh ones for tomato sandwiches and reach for the can when it comes to soups.

Anyway, this soup was absolutely delicious but the torn corn tortillas used for thickening didn’t break down enough for me and just seemed kind soggy and weird. I mentioned this to a friend who, unbeknownst to me, turned out to be a tortilla soup connoisseur. She told me that she’d recently learned the trick to making what was now her favorite “authentic” tortilla soup. I assumed this would be some time tested family recipe handed down through generations and just passed on to her by her great aunt, but when I asked for the recipe instead of a stained and faded recipe card she sent me an email with a link. A link to a recipe from ABC’s “The Chew”.
Say what?

The main difference here is that rather than just tearing and tossing the tortillas in to the soup to break down and thicken, they’re ground up in a blender with some stock and onions. That would definitely solve the soggy tortilla chunk issue, and would probably make for a thicker soup, so I decided to give it a go. If it was good enough for my friend, it was good enough for me.

Rather than just using the recipe as is though, I decided to just steal the thickening technique and use it along with all the fresh veggies from my first recipe.

chicken tortilla soup from scratch | Brooklyn Homemaker

Oh boy oh boy. This recipe sure is a keeper. I definitely see why someone might want to make this in the slow cooker in the dead of winter using a bunch of canned goods and salt, but you’ll never beat how amazing this soup can be when made with super fresh ingredients in the height of summer. By the way, this is a perfect way to put some of your end-of-summer produce to good use.

The soup itself is rich, hearty, and loaded with fresh vegetables. The broth is thick and tomatoey, with just a touch of heat from the jalapeño. A squeeze of fresh lime juice and sprinkle of chopped cilantro really add a wonderful brightness to everything.

I know most people like to finish tortilla soup with grated cheese and sour cream, but I think a few slices of ripe creamy avocado are all that’s needed to make this soup feel rich and decadent. Of course, the crunch of a few crispy tortilla strips can’t hurt either.

chicken tortilla soup from scratch | Brooklyn Homemaker

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Adapted from “The Chew”

olive oil
2 to 3 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed with a sharp knife
2 medium bell peppers, seeded and diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
4 carrots, sliced into thin disks
Salt and pepper
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, divided
9 to 10 corn tortillas, divided
6 cups of chicken stock
one 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 to 3 cups of pulled or cubed cooked chicken
lime wedges
avocado

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil a large heavy bottom stock pot or dutch oven. Add corn kernels, celery, carrot, and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 10 minutes. or until vegetables are beginning to soften and get some color in the pan. Transfer to a bowl and set aside, scraping everything out of the pan.

Heat 2 more tablespoons of olive oil in the same pan and add onion, garlic, jalapeño, & cumin. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of cilantro leaves and sauté for 5 minutes more, or until onions are soft and translucent.

Scrape onion mixture into the pitcher of a powerful blender and add about 1 cup of chicken stock and 3 to 4 torn up corn tortillas (depending on how thick you want the soup). Purée the mixture until well blended and free of lumps. Transfer back to the pan and heat until it bubbles and just begins to thicken. Add crushed tomato, chicken stock, and cooked vegetables from before. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cooked chicken and cook for 10 minutes more.

While soup simmers you can make your tortilla strips by slicing 6 remaining tortillas into strips and crisping in a cast iron skillet over high heat with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir very frequently and try to promote even browning. Once well browned and crisp transfer to a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Alternatively, you could just crunch up a few tortilla chips.

Serve the soup with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, a sprinkle of torn cilantro leaves, a few cubes or slices or avocado, and a few tortilla strips.

roasted cauliflower and cheddar soup

Spring is finally in full swing and the dogs and I are over the freaking moon.

roasted cauliflower and cheddar soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

While the trees are bursting with buds and daffodils are blooming like it’s their job, local produce hasn’t seemed to catch up just yet. New York’s farmers markets boast plenty of local meat and dairy, and tables overflowing with brightly colored annual flowers, but sweet juicy berries and bright green vegetables still need a few weeks to soak up the warm sunshine.

roasted cauliflower and cheddar soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

True to form, this spring has been toying with me and my frail emotions. Temperatures one day are soaring into the 70s, and the next they’re dipping back into the 40s. One day we have ample sunshine, the next it’s pouring rain.

roasted cauliflower and cheddar soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

On one of the cold and rainy days I was craving soup, as one does. With no local produce to choose from, I was off to the grocery store to try to find something fresh-ish and hopefully organic that I could turn into a warm satisfying soup. I also had a healthy stash of amazing Irish cheddar that was leftover after a book signing event at work, so I wanted to try to incorporate some of that cheesy goodness.

roasted cauliflower and cheddar soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

It didn’t take me long in the produce aisle to come up with a plan. What better vegetable for a thick warm filling soup than cauliflower? It’s available year round, goes great with cheddar and warm flavors, and is perfect for a rich and roasty soup.

roasted cauliflower and cheddar soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

This soup is really simple to make and definitely hits the spot on a rainy day, no matter what time of year. The fresh woodsy thyme adds a touch of green herbal freshness, and the white wine adds a crisp brightness that feels very appropriate for spring or summer. Roasting the cauliflower before pureeing it deepens and concentrates its earthy flavor, and the sharp cheddar adds a nice zippy tang without feeling heavy or overwhelming.

Pull up a bowl, tear into a nice crusty loaf of bread, and park yourself in front of the window and watch the rain come down.

roasted cauliflower and cheddar soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup

  • Servings: 6 to 8 -ish
  • Print
2 heads of cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium to large onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
5 to 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup dry white wine
6 cups low sodium chicken stock
8 oz sharp cheddar, grated

Preheat oven to 400. Chop cauliflower into rough large florets. Toss in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and arrange in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast until brown and golden, about 30 or 40 minutes.

Preheat a stockpot over medium high heat and bring butter to a sizzle. Add onion, cayenne, paprika, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until tender and translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add white wine and reduce by at least half. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add roasted cauliflower, bring back to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and remove thyme sprigs. Add cheddar and puree until silky smooth, using either an immersion blender or working in batches in a standing blender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a small handful of grated cheddar, and a big hunk of crusty bread.