Chicken and Snow Pea Noodle Soup

I joined a new-to-me CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) recently and got my first box of fresh produce this week. The box included: collards, red Russian kale, red leaf lettuce, strawberries, spring onions, and snow peas. Off to a good start. I am so excited to see what the next 11 CSA boxes hold.

I created this soup recipe to use the snow peas and a spring onion from this week’s CSA box. Spring onions are not the same as green onions (AKA scallions), but if you can’t find spring onions I think green onions are an acceptable substitute. This article is a nice explanation of the difference between spring onions, green onions, and scallions.

I used a couple of shortcuts for this soup. I used ginger paste from a tube that I got at Trader Joe’s and pre-cut matchstick carrots I got at Publix. It’s okay to use the shortcuts. It’s okay to make your life easier when you can.

Chicken and Snow Pea Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 clove garlic, made into a paste
1 tablespoon of ginger paste (or 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, made into a paste)
1 – 3 tablespoons sriracha or sambal olek, to taste
1 medium-sized spring onion, white part and some green, thinly sliced
8 cups chicken broth
2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 carrot, julienned (or about 1/2 cup of matchstick carrots)
8 ounces snow peas, trimmed and halved
juice from one lime (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons of fish sauce, or to taste
rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to package instructions and drained
cilantro (mint and Thai basil would be nice too)
fresh chile, thinly sliced

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic paste, ginger paste, and sriracha or sambal olek. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the sliced spring onions and cook another minute or two. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken to the simmering soup and cook until no longer pink. Add the carrots and snow peas. Bring the soup back up to a simmer. Add the lime juice and fish sauce and take the soup off the heat.

Serve the soup over cooked rice vermicelli noodles. Top with fresh cilantro leaves and sliced chiles, if you would like.

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Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs

These Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs are so good. That’s all you need to know. Make them.

Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs

6 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
3 slices of bacon, cooked
2 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
1 – 2 tablespoon(s) mayonnaise
1 teaspoon brown mustard (or Dijon)
2 fresh jalapeños, 1 minced (remove seeds first), 1 sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the boiled eggs in half lengthwise. Gently spoon the yolks out into a bowl and then mash them with a fork. Set the egg whites aside. Add the cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, and mustard to the mashed egg yolks and mix well. If you would like a creamier consistency, add the additional tablespoon of mayonnaise. Crumble 2 slices of the bacon and fold into the yolk mixture. Add the minced jalapeño to the mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Break the last piece of bacon into 12 pieces. Garnish each deviled egg with a piece of bacon and a jalapeño slice.


Steak and Guinness Stew

Each year I make this stew (or a version of it) to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It is delicious and totally worth the time it takes to babysit it so that it does not burn.

This year I served it with mashed red potatoes and fried cabbage.

Steak and Guinness Stew

2 pounds stew beef
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 14.9 ounce can of Guinness
4 tablespoons cornstarch
salt and black pepper, to taste

Puff pastry squares (measuring about 4 inches by 4 inches), baked according to package directions.

Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Brown the stew beef. Add the chopped onions and cook until softened. Add the sliced mushrooms and garlic. Next, add 1 cup of the beef broth and the Guinness. Mix the cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of beef broth and add to the other ingredients. Bring the stew to a slight boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cook on low for 2 hours, stirring very often, until the beef is tender. The stew has the tendency of sticking to the bottom of the pot, so be sure to stir often. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, spoon the stew onto a plate, and top with a pastry square.

 


Low Country Boil

Low Country Boil is a classic one-pot meal from the coastal region of South Carolina and Georgia (the Low Country). Also known as Frogmore Stew or Beaufort Boil, Low Country Boil is a simple, yet delicious meal that is a lot of fun to eat. This particular recipe serves about 4, but by increasing the quantity of ingredients, you can feed a crowd. You can even find Low Country Boil calculators online to determine the amount of ingredients you will need to feed a particular amount of people.

This is a basic recipe, but you can do your own thing. I have seen recipes that include crabs, crab legs, clams, green beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc… I added mushrooms to my Low Country Boil, as seen in the picture. Serve with crusty bread and cold beer.

Low Country Boil

1 gallon water
1 lemon, halved
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into eight wedges
2 pounds baby potatoes
1 sausage rope (about 14 ounces), cut into bite-size slices
4 ears corn, shucked, cleaned and cut into fourths
2 pounds fresh shelled shrimp

melted butter
cocktail sauce

Bring the water, lemon, Old Bay, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves to a boil. Add the onion and potatoes, return to a boil, and cook 10 minutes. Add the sausage and corn, return to a boil, and cook 10 more minutes. Check to see if potatoes are tender. If so, add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 3 minutes. If the potatoes are not tender, cook a few more minutes before adding the shrimp. Drain and serve on a large platter (or on newspaper in the middle of the table) with melted butter and cocktail sauce.


Hot Water Cornbread

 

This is another favorite from my childhood. It’s a Southern classic. My Dad used to add in shredded sharp cheddar cheese, minced onion, and minced jalapenos to his hot water cornbread mixture before frying. Experiment with the add-ins. The possibilities are endless. I like my hot water cornbread simple, plain. I’ve been known to dip mine in ketchup, but others like them drizzled with honey are maple syrup. They go great with a nice pot of pinto beans.

Hot Water Cornbread

2 cups cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
2 cups boiling water
oil for frying

Add about an inch of oil to a cast iron skillet. Heat oil over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal and salt in a bowl. Add the boiling water and mix well. Let the mixture cool slightly. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, shape into patties by forming a ball with about 2 or 3 tablespoons of the mixture and then flattening it into a 1/2-inch patty with your fingers. Fry the patties in the hot oil in small batches, turning often until golden on both sides. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.


Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

This Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie is so quick and easy. There is also minimal cleanup involved. Yay! The cookie comes out soft and delicious. It is awesome on its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cast iron skillets come in a variety of sizes and are usually numbered. The skillet number is often marked on the bottom of the skillet or on the handle. The numbers range from 0 – 20. The 0 skillet in tiny, while the 20 skillet is humongous (and hard to find). The numbers are not universal and depends on the cast iron skillet’s manufacturer. I have a vintage number 8 (which is about 10 1/2 inches in diameter) and a Lodge number 10 (which is about 12 inches in diameter). For this recipe, you want a basic 10 – 10 1/2 inch cast iron skillet.

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2  large eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Melt the butter in a number 8 cast iron skillet (which is about 10 1/2 inches in diameter) over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars and vanilla. Add the eggs and mix well. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture in the skillet. Mix well. Gently stir in the chocolate chips and spread the dough evenly in the skillet.

Place in the preheated oven. Bake 25 minutes at 350º F, or until golden brown and cooked through. Let cool about 15 minutes before slicing.


Shrimp Risotto

Shrimp Risotto

Risotto takes a little time, but is very easy to make (and hard to mess up) and it always seems to impress. You can add a variety of ingredients to a basic risotto recipe to create endless combinations. Shrimp is my favorite, but I also like mushroom, or a combination of fresh vegetables. It’s a great way to incorporate seasonal vegetables into your menu. Asparagus and baby peas in the spring. Corn, tomato, and zucchini in the summer. Wild mushrooms in the fall. Winter squash in winter. It’s all good.

Shrimp Risotto

1 cup arborio rice
1 pound shrimp
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced (or substitute 1 small onion, finely chopped)
½ cup dry white wine (or vegetable broth)
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tablespoons heavy cream (half and half will work too)
salt and pepper

Have the vegetable broth simmering in a pot close-by before you begin.

In a large skillet with a heavy bottom, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the arborio rice and sauté with the shallots, stirring often, until the rice starts to get some color, about 5 minutes. Carefully add the white wine (or vegetable broth) slowly, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Once the rice has absorbed the wine (or broth), add 1 cup of the vegetable broth, continuing to stir often. Continue to add the broth (about ½ cup at a time) as the rice absorbs the liquid and the pan becomes dry, until all the broth is absorbed. This should take about 20 minutes (the risotto will become creamy). About 3 to 4 minutes before the risotto is done (about the time you add the last bit of broth), add the shrimp and cook until pink. Stir in the butter, Parmesan, and heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Top each serving with additional Parmesan cheese.