I woke up in a mood on Monday. It was gloomy. I had two new breakouts on my cheek and I had to take Amelia to the vet. Somehow her vet visit ended up being twice as much as it should have been (she’s ok, just a normal check-up).
On my way home from the vet, lights on my car’s dashboard started going off like crazy which forced me to pull over into a grocery store parking lot and call Josh for help. While I was in Josh’s car, explaining what had happened to my car his car battery died. It was one of those days, one of those Mondays…
I’ve been trying to snap myself out of my annoyed, shade-faced of a mood for the past couple days. I feel like my face has been in a permanent state of this.
My cure is cheese. And a soup that is so simple, you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before.
Asparagus is bursting at the super markets and farmer’s markets. If you’re lucky, you’ll find some delicious super fresh asparagus for like $2.50 or $3 a bunch. If you do, buy two bunches and eat it with everything. Like all good things in life, it only lasts for so long.
I’ve been writing this blog for SO long that I feel like some of my all-time favorite recipes are sort of in the dark depths of the archives…with terrible, terrible photos. From time to time during this year I’m going to be re-shooting these recipes, giving them a bit of a re-do.
The first one up is the childhood soup that was a staple in my house: Aguadito. I feel like every type of cuisine around the world has its own version of chicken soup. They’re all meant to heal, warm and nourish you when you have the sniffles, are hungover, feel under the weather or when you’re just really fucking cold.
Back to reality, back to alarm clocks and emails and to-do lists and hashtag goals. Can we just all go back to bed? The goals thing is giving me a headache.
This break was maybe my favorite. I slept a lot, thought a lot, wrote down dreams and hopes, hung out with Amelia and Josh and my mama and friends.
And though the vacation flew by and I wish I could do it again, I’m super excited about 2016. I love fresh starts. I love clean and bright things and this new year feels hopeful. I’m kicking this whole “let’s eat healthy” phase we’re all going through with a healthy-ish recipe.
I’m not all that great with healthy (although I’m starting this thingy tomorrow, plz keep me in your thoughts) so it’s not outright healthy just healthy-ish.
Ribolitta is a Tuscan soup often thickened with bread. Some people put bacon or sausage or meat in it, but I prefer a veggie version.
I like lucinato kale and sweet carrots. I like this with more broth than what’s typical because I love slurping soup. And I love the lemon juice. I think it’s essential, though totally untraditional. And I love, love a lot of crushed red pepper. The soup is flavorful and deep yet very light.
I’m about to say something incredibly controversial. Are you ready?
Pumpkin spice lattes are fucking gross. They taste like chemicals. They taste like fake syrup. They taste like fake pumpkin. And while they usually don’t make me all that mad, they’re kinda irking me right now because it’s hot in Los Angeles and I’m sort of not ready for fall just yet. Too much pumpkin spice latte advertisement–calm down!!!
(If you like pumpkin lattes just know that we are still friends. I like you.)
During this strange seasonal transitional period, I like to make things that are flexible in terms of time spent in the kitchen and actual temperature. This soup is cold. The broth is cold, the noodles are cold, but if you’re feeling a bit chilly or want to make this in a few months, then eat it warm! It’s delightful piping hot.
Like, it was so good that it made me want to make batches of it now and then freeze it, so I can eat it when it’s cold(ish) out. I am not at all a freezer person. I know people who have whole meals in their freezers. Nope, not me. There’s something about piles of freezer-burned food that just grosses me out. But I’m contemplating doing this before the summer is over because this soup is THAT good.
For the recipe and more photos, go to PBS Food. I’ll be back next week with…popsicles!!! YAY!
Gazpacho has a special place in my heart. It reminds me of being a kid, sitting on our brown flower sofas, watching Pedro Almodovar movies with my parents and them laughing hysterically. I probably got about thirty percent of the jokes in his movies—I was way too young!
There’s a famous scene in Women on The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown when the main character finally recites the ingredients in her ex-lovers famous gazpacho: tomates, pepino, pimiento, ceboillia, una puntita de ago, sal, vinegar, pan duro y agua. I remember my parents being like whaaaa, pan duro?! Translation: stale bread. The secret ingredient to any gazpacho, green or red is bread. Always.
That movie inspired my parent’s journey to making the best gazpacho ever. They did it. We had gazpacho every summer because of that movie. Today, I bring you a different version.
I made this green gazpacho in my new . I’m not gonna lie, I’ve always been a bit shy about pulling the trigger on investing in a Vitamix. I could always justify the cost because I cook so much, but the space was tough for me. My kitchen is small and some sizes are super large. But not this one! It’s smaller, can easily fit in my cabinets, has a container for smoothies, which I use daily, and the power behind this machine means my soups and sauces are super smooth! Since this machine has entered my kitchen, I’ve actually stopped using my food processor. I just use this Vitamix for everything: pesto, hummus, pulsing dry ingredients like freeze-dried strawberries. It’s my go-to.
We’re so deep into May. How did we get here? How is it Monday? How did Mother’s Day go by already?! Ahhhhh! Also, it’s peony season in case you didn’t know.
Ok, we’re gonna put my anxiety about time moving too quickly to the side because today we’re making the most carrot-y carrot soup on da planet. Ready?
It’s been a lil’ brisk in LA, which I am not complaining about one bit because I just know this summer is going to be ratchet. I’m taking full advantage of the cool temperatures and rainy weather while I can and that means soup. HOT SOUP!
A few days ago it was cloudy and drizzling. Amelia was all bummed out because when it rains I make her wear her raincoat. And I had a few bunches of carrots in the fridge with no plan so I sliced them up and cooked them slowly in butter and a strip of kombu. HEAVEN.
Lately I’ve been in search of warmth of all kinds. I’ll call my mom and listen to her ramble on about her day because I like the sound of her voice regardless of what she’s actually saying.
I’m currently obsessed with Amelia’s warm chubby paws. She has soft hair growing in between the pads of them hat sometimes the groomer trims down, but I sort of like when he forgets and it grows super long. The warmest of places is the corner of Josh’s shoulder where I retreat after a particularly terrible day. No place feels warmer.
And the thing I want to eat when it’s cold and damp and sucky is this bowl of green pozole. It comes from Ashley Rodriguez’s new book, Date Night In, which is a super pretty book all about my favorite day of the week: DATE NITE.
December is for cookies and pies and appetizers, specifically meatballs. I love meatballs.
January is for recovery. Honestly, I always feel a little silly and cliche posting healthy recipes at the beginning of the year, but right now I’m actually craving vegetables and broth and nourishing foods. December wrecked my body. I ate and drank a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it (no regrets!), but this state of recover is really necessary.
Enter: this potlikker (pot liquor?) soup.
I first learned about potlikker while watching PBS’s A Chef’s Life with Vivian Howard. Have you seen it? Oh man, she’s my new obsession. Every show ends and I’m so inspired to make the stuff she’s making. She’s fun to watch, too. Vivan strikes this perfect balance of being knowledgeable, relatable, and vulnerable. And all her ideas are really smart and interesting…even if she doesn’t think they are at first.
You know when you’re hungry but the idea of cooking and actually having to deal with yourself and said hunger seems like SO much work that you feel like you might die? Not actually die, but being super hungry makes everyone melodramatic. You know what I mean. You feel me!
This dish is perfect for the moment I’m describing. It is the simplest of simple dishes. It’s cheap, CHEAP to make. Every poor college student should have this recipe in their repertoire. And it’s COZY. It’s sweater-weather soup.
If you’ve never heard of this soup, let’s discuss. Let’s gossip about this soup.
It’s an Italian egg-drop soup. Stracciatella is what you’d consider peasant food, only requiring a few ingredients in its purest form: water, Parmesan, spinach and egg. Of course, I think adding a bit of chicken broth, lemon juice and a teeny bit of pasta make it a bit more interesting and filling.
But really even this version you see is only slightly more complicated than the original. There’s nothing fussy about this soup, which is exactly what you want when you feel like you’re on your ‘hangry deathbed’.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serving Size: 4
*1/2 cup mini fussili pasta
1 cup water
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Juice from 1/4 lemon
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano, plus more for garnish
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach
Bring a medium saucepan filled with salted water to a boil. Add the fussilli and cook until very al dente, about 5-7 minutes. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
To the same (empty) saucepan (no need to clean it out), set over medium heat, combine the water, chicken broth and lemon juice. Bring the broth mixture to a simmer. Salt and pepper the broth to taste. I used very low-sodium broth so I had to add a pretty generous amount. Also, take note that Parmesan is salty so keep that in mind.
Turn the heat to low. Just a heads up: the next few steps go very quickly so be sure to get ready. Mix in the finely grated Parmesan. Next, create whirlpool with a spoon in the broth. In one slow and steady stream, pour in the beaten egg. Mix in the fresh baby spinach and give it a good mix. You should see the eggs in little cooked bits. Add the reserved fussili pasta. Give it one last taste and adjust the salt according to taste.
Divide amongst bowls. Garnish each serving with more black pepper and additional strips of Parmesan.
*Use whatever pasta you like! For this dish, I prefer pasta that's small in size. Just a personal preference.
*Use other greens besides baby spinach, if you like. I've thought about playing around with dandelion greens, mustard greens and kale. I bet they'd all be amazing!