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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Savory Zucchini Pie

Savory Zucchini Pie

Savory Zucchini Pie is great for a light lunch or dinner. Since it is very quiche-like, it is also perfect for breakfast. No matter what meal you eat it for, it is sure to become a favorite. Jazz it up with the addition of herbs. Basil, cilantro, or oregano are all delicious additions to this pie.

Slice of Savory Zucchini Pie

Savory Zucchini Pie

1 prepared pie crust (I just use store-bought)
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 medium-sized zucchini, halved lengthwise and then thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded cheese (I like a combo of cheddar and mozzarella, but feel free to use your favorite cheese)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375º F.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, stirring often. Add the sliced zucchini and continue to sauté until tender. Add the shredded carrot and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Combine the beaten eggs, cheese, and a little more salt and pepper together. Add the egg and cheese mixture to the zucchini mixture. Pour into the pie shell. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the pie comes out clean.


Southern-Style Green Beans

I’m 45 years old and until recently have never really cooked green beans with bacon. I don’t generally think vegetables need meat (or extra fat) added to them, but maybe the years of living in the South have rubbed off on me because here I am adding bacon to my green beans and cooking them until they are super tender. They taste great this way and are a nice variation to the way I usually prepare green beans (toss them into some salted boiling water and cook about 10 minutes until they are crisp-tender).

Southern-Style Green Beans

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 pound fresh green beans, washed and ends trimmed
2 cups water
1 bouillon cube (vegetable or chicken)

Cooked the chopped bacon in a pot until crisp. Remove the bacon, leaving the bacon fat in the pot. Set the bacon aside. Add the green beans, water, and bouillon cube. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and then cook for about 1 hour or until the green beans are very tender. Stir in the reserved bacon and serve.

Shown here:  Southern-Style Green Beans alongside baked chicken and hashbrown casserole.


Summer Vegetable Tart

Summer Vegetable Tart

This is an easy tart to utilize all those summer vegetables. If you have a small eggplant, that would be a nice addition in the roasted vegetable mixture. A balsamic reduction would be excellent drizzled over the finished tart.

Vegetable Tart

Summer Vegetable Tart

1 sheet puff pastry dough, defrosted
1 large sweet onion, sliced into rings
1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into strips (or rings)
1 large zucchini, ends removed and sliced
8 ounce package mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas), cleaned and sliced
olive oil
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon capers
handful fresh basil leaves, torn
salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the sliced onion, red bell pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Line the baking sheet with a fresh sheet of parchment paper. Unfold the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, gently roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle (try not to get it too thin). Place the puff pastry on the lined baking sheet.

Place the roasted vegetables on the puff pastry, leaving a border. Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese, capers, and torn basil over the roasted vegetables. Drizzle the tart with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Summer Vegetable Tart (before baking)

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the crust is golden. Serve warm.


Zoodles with Peanut Sauce

I bought a spiralizer at a school fundraiser yard sale for $1 and now that it is summer and zucchini is pleniful, it’s a perfect time to use it to make zoodles (zucchini noodles).

I haven’t had much luck with growing zucchini in my garden. This year, I planted some zucchini in a bucket on my deck and so far have only gotten 2 zucchini from it. They were kind of funky-looking, but tasted great as zoodles.

I have worked on perfecting my Peanut Sauce for years and I think I have finally nailed it. This stuff is great on all kinds of noodles (rice noodles, spaghetti, zoodles, etc…) and as a sauce for grilled chicken (think Satay) and Summer Rolls.

The Peanut Sauce recipe includes a paste made from a clove of garlic. This is an excellent tutorial on how to make garlic paste with a knife. This is how I do it:

Zoodles with Peanut Sauce

Special tool needed:  spiralizer

1 tablespoon (or less) of mild-tasting oil (I used canola)
4 medium-sized zucchini, ends trimmed, spiralized
1 carrot, peeled and grated
prepared Peanut Sauce (recipe below)

fresh cilantro
crushed peanuts

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spiralized zucchini and shredded carrots and cook, tossing often with tongs, until tender (but not mushy). Turn off the heat and add the peanut sauce to the zoodles. Toss to coat. Serve topped with fresh cilantro and crushed peanuts. Can be eaten warm or cold.

Peanut Sauce

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced and made into a paste with the side of the knife’s blade (see tutorial video above)
1 – 2 teaspoons sriracha
juice of 1/2 lime
warm water (about 1/2 cup)

Combine the peanut butter, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic past, sriracha, and lime juice. Add water, a little at a time, until you reach a somewhat thick, but pourable consistency. You want it just so that it coasts the noodles but isn’t too thick or too thin. Refrigerate any leftover sauce.


Chicken with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

Chicken with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

One of the blueberry bushes in my yard is heavy with blueberries right now. Being a fan of savory fruit sauces, I used some of the fresh berries to make this dish for dinner tonight. It was really, really good. Served alongside some roasted fingerling potatoes, this was a meal worthy of a special occasion.

Fresh Blueberries sm

This recipe makes enough sauce for four generous servings. If you are cooking 2 chicken breasts, only use half of the sauce and save the remainder for another time. I think it would be excellent on salmon.

Chicken with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

2 – 4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion (or favorite sweet onion)
1 cup fresh blueberries (frozen should be a fine too)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (you may want to add an additional tablespoon of honey if your blueberries are not very sweet – taste the sauce and adjust as necessary)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add to the skillet. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides. Place the seared breasts in a baking dish and place in the oven.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet the chicken was seared in (no need to clean it out). When the butter is melted, add the finely chopped onion. Cook, stirring, until softened and starting to caramelize. Add the blueberries and cook for 1 minute. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Keep warm.

Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken breasts and return them to the oven until cooked through, about 10 more minutes.

Serves 2 – 4.


Cream of Cabbage and Potato Soup

Cream of Cabbage and Potato Soup

Cabbage. So much cabbage. I have gotten 4 or 5 heads of green cabbage in my CSA boxes this season. I’ve been struggling to come of with new ways of using it. I have fallen back on old favorites like stir fries, Fried Cabbage, vegetable soups, Southeast Asian Cabbage Salad, Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup, and Coleslaw. I also made Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (which I will blog later). And, I made this soup.

I was really happy with how the soup turned out. It was delicious! It reminded me of my Cream of Cauliflower and Potato Soup. That is a good thing.

I sprinkled a little shredded cheddar cheese over my first bowl of soup. It’s a wonderful compliment to the flavors of the cabbage and potatoes. The soup is also wonderful without cheese.

Cream of Cabbage and Potato Soup with Cheese

Cream of Cabbage and Potato Soup

3 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and shredded
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 large potatoes (or 6 smallish), peeled and diced
7 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1 cup half & half or cream
salt and pepper, to taste

cheese (cheddar, Swiss, Edam, etc…), shredded (optional)

In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cabbage and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the diced carrot, diced potatoes, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the half & half and season with salt and pepper. Serve. Sprinkle with shredded cheese of your choice, if you desire.