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Last week I made this amazing soup. It was so bright and summery, and perfect on a night that was just a bit crisp. For fresh herbs, I only had parsley and a little bit of basil on hand, but it made for a fantastic pistou (the french version of a pesto), and with just a squeeze of lemon in each bowl, I was in love. And it was still fresh and delicious the next day after a quick zap in the microwave and a mix-in of the pistou and lemon at work. I forgot to take a picture of the masterpiece, but the original one is so gorgeous, I just had to share. After browsing a bit, I think Love and Lemons might be one of my new favorite food blogs. I didn’t even notice most of the recipes were vegetarian or vegan, everything just looks so good! Click through the link below for the full recipe!

soup au pistou

image via love and lemons

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I had a seriously craving for corn chowder this week. And a little extra kick! So I hit the produce stand, grabbed a couple of peppers and got to work. I also substituted cilantro for the traditional parsley, which I loved with the flavor of the peppers. It ended up not too spicy, but just with a bit of bite, so if you’re looking for a real kick, feel free to pile the peppers on!

corn chowder

Four Pepper Corn Chowder
adapted from food52

6 medium ears of corn
6 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 medium poblano pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small celery rib, finely chopped
2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 cups light cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons Corn Meal OR Masa
1/4 cup Water

Add bacon to a pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook for a few of minutes until it just starts to brown. Throw in the diced onion, poblano, jalapeño, bell pepper and celery and stir, cooking for 5 to 8 minutes. Add butter and melt. Add the potato and saute with the vegetables for an additional minute. Add the corn. Stir and pour in chicken broth and salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Pour in the cream. Combine cornmeal (or masa) with water. Stir to combine, then pour into the chowder. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over low heat. If chowder needs more thickening, add another tablespoon of cornmeal mixed with water. Cook for another ten minutes. Serve with crusty sourdough bread or even torilla chips!

It snowed last night here in Seattle. And the answer to snow is always a hearty soup. We made this a little while back on a cold, cold night and it really hit the spot. Packed with veggies and greens and sausage and lentils, this is definitely a meal in a bowl. The sizzlling garlic oil addition at the end adds just the right kick of flavor. Definitely satisfies all my winter desires.

lentil soup with sausage chard and garlic

Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard & Garlic
via smitten kitchen

1/2 cup olive oil, divided
4 large links of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced (reserve half for later in recipe)
Kosher salt
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to finish

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pot) in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, first two garlic cloves, a pinch fo salt, and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water (6 cups is, conveniently, a little less than 2 empty 28-ounce cans, so you can get any tomato pulp you missed), more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. (It might be necessary to add more water if the soup gets too thick, though we preferred ours on the thick side). When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more. Discard the bay leaves.
To finish, divide soup among bowls, then add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 garlic cloves to a small skillet and heat over medium until the garlic softens and hisses. Drizzle this over soup bowls, and top with fresh Romano, passing more at the table. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.

Trying to get back on the paleo wagon this week with a hearty stew to start us off. Fresh, meaty and bright! The lemon added just the right amount of acid to this hearty, delicious dish.

chicken-meatballs-with-braised-lemon-and-kale

Chicken Meatballs with Braised Lemon and Kale
via bon appétit

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium shallots, minced, divided
1 scallion, minced (all parts), plus thinly sliced green tops for garnish
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound ground chicken meat (or turkey)
1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more
1 lemon, very thinly sliced and seeds removed
2 cups chicken broth
1 large bunch curly kale, destemmed

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add shallot, scallion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly until softened and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add 1/3 of ground chicken and cook just until cooked through, breaking up any clumps. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Add remaining chicken meat, salt, and several grindings of black pepper. Mix just to combine. Wipe out the pot and add the remaining tbsp oil. Heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Form meat mixture into 8 meatballs each about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter and add to pot (mixture will be soft). Cook until light golden brown on all sides, 6-8 minutes total. Remove meatballs to a plate; set aside.
Add remaining shallot and lemon slices and cook until lemon slices are tender and starting to turn light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and return meatballs to pot. Bring to simmer, lower heat and cover. Cook meatballs until cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Add kale to pot, and cook until tender and bright green, 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Divide kale and sauce among 4 shallow bowls, topping with meatballs and lemon slices. Garnish with sliced scallion tops and serve.

 

So… not everything is a winner. Pretty much every recipe I post here is one that I have truly loved, but let me tell you, sometimes I’m making some flops at home that don’t make it on the blog. This, for me, was one of these flops (husband swears it was fine and yes he ate about three bowls in the end, but sometimes I think his senses are going!). Maybe it’s just me. I love fish, but I can be a little sensitive to its flavor. I loved the textures here, and the heartiness, but it was a bit too fishy, too tangy. Maybe I just didn’t get the flavors right. Sorry Martha. I’m definitely going to keep trying to introduce fish into my diet, but if you find a way to better this recipe, please let me know! I so wanted to love it.

manhattan fish chowder

Manhattan Fish Chowder
via martha stewart

4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (1 cup)
28 ounce can plum tomatoes in juice
16 ounces clam juice
2 medium baking potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound skinless tilapia fillets, cut into 2-inch chunks
Coarse salt and ground pepper

In a large 5-quart pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon off and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat. Add onion and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juice (breaking tomatoes up with a spoon), clam juice, and 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil. Add potatoes and thyme; reduce heat to simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender, but not falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes. Add tilapia; cover, and cook until opaque and flaky, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. With a ladle, spoon solids and liquid into six soup bowls; serve immediately.

Stine Adele Christiansen
Hope your weekend has been restful! Here’s a little link love for a lazy Sunday:

The sweetest striped shoes.
A simple and savory soup for a cold night.
The ultimate Alice in Wonderland wedding.
On the declining use of the phone call. I’m guilty.
Trying to get organized in 2014 with The January Cure.
DIY sweet and scripted pillow cases.
Obsessing over these booties a bit.
I’ve a serious soft spot for cannoli and these look unbelievable.

Have a new calendar yet? Here’s a sweet illustrated one for 2014.

image via stine adele christiansen

This was my course from new year’s eve! I was really nervous it would be too bland, but it turned out wonderfully. I was so pleased! This soup was the perfect creamy balance after the amazing and slightly spicy scallops we started with, and the perfectly bright and citrusy salad that followed.

creamy butternut squash soup with sherry

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Sherry
via food52

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or preferred cooking oil
1 large leek, white and light green part only, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 3-to-4-pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons dry sherry, plus more to finish
2 to 3 cups chicken stock (or veggie if you prefer)
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for serving

Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened—this should take about 5 minutes (if leek starts to brown, add a tablespoon or so of water). Add the squash, nutmeg, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sherry and cook for a couple of minutes to reduce, then add enough chicken stock just to cover the squash (if you have added all of the stock and still need more liquid, add some water). Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Using a blender or a food processor, blend the soup with the milk in several batches, adding more liquid if necessary. Return to the pot and heat until just simmering. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in another splash of sherry and the cream just before serving, adding a drizzle of cream to garnish each bowl if you like (we tossed on a sprinkle of parsley too).