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!
I despise talking about the weather, but excuse me while I talk about the weather. This past weekend it was a cool, brisk and a very perfect temperature of 65 during the day and in the 50s at night. This is the kind of spring weather that inspires one to wear shorts with a sweater. It’ll inspire you to make a big batch of soup and eat it outside with a blanket draped over your shoulders. It’s dreamy weather, really.
Los Angeles is currently experiencing some freakish heatwave at this very second and if only I could go back to the dreamy blanket-over-shoulder-while-eating-soup-weather. I’m not going to complain about Los Angeles weather because that’d be silly. Instead, I’m going to wait for it to pass, so I can revisit his soup which is oh so perfect.
The weather right now in Los Angeles is cool and drafty and every pink bush, tree and flower has decided it’s time for its debut (evidence here). I’m headed to New York at the end of this week and decided to take a gaze over at the ol’ weather channel, thinking, hoping, expecting for temperatures to be very Spring-like. You know, 50s and 60s. Umm…New York is gonna be crazy cold. (Not polar vortex cold but you know…) I’m staying with my friend Tre, and I have plans to make him a big pot of soup in his barely-stocked kitchen. This recipe doesn’t require much. Just a pot and a blender, warm socks and some hope that Spring is so very close.
This recipe is a part of McCormick’s Go4Gourmet challenge. It goes like this: McCormick sent me a box of three ingredients (in this case it was their California garlic powder, chicken stock, and basmati rice) and I used these ingredients, plus any root vegetable of my choosing to create a recipe. These are the results!
Yesterday I ate 1/2 of gigantic big bowl of guacamole, pet a bird, ate 1/4 of this spinach dip and then had a gigantic plate of Feijoada. (The Feijoada was beyond epic and it’s now my goal to make it for this here space.)
Basically what I’m saying is that I overate. Probably more than Thanksgiving. A dinner of just appetizers is like a dream for me. It reminds me of My-So-Called-Life when Rayenne complains about always having frozen appetizers for dinner and her mother has no idea what she’s talking about.
Eating just appetizers reminds me of afterschool snacks and tapas in Spain and my favorite television series of all time.
In an alternate universe, I have long hippie-flowing hair, I can wear long dresses (I’m so very short) and have the super power to go on walks in the forest and name every single flower I come across. I can gather a random medley of flowers, take them home and effortlessly arrange them in one of those antique-y looking vases. In this alternate universe where I’m a flower-whisperer, I’m guessing I probably HATE sunflowers. (I feel like most florists whom I’ve met do.) I’m a flower snob, guys.
In my non-alternate universe, I kinda like sunflowers. They’re definitely not my go-to flower at the market, but I like them in fall. They’re so warm and cheery and harmless. I will admit, they’re definitely homely, but I think that’s part of their charm. For the longest time I had no idea what that sunchokes were related to sunflowers. Honestly, for a long time I had no idea what the hell a sunchoke actually was. I thought it was an artichoke. I dunno. When I found out the two were related it all made sense. Sunchokes do sort of taste like nutty, the way a sunflower seed tastes. You can eat them raw, shaved in salads or pan sautéed and thrown in a hash with an egg, but I love them in soups. They make the creamiest, silkiest of soups.
I live and die for this Acorn Squash Soup with Cheesy Croutons. It’s a throwback from 2011 and one of my favorite fall things to make. The soup you see pictured is like its very interesting cousin who reads a lot, is well traveled and went to a fancy college. Sometimes I just want something to be easy and cheesy and comforting and other times I want things that make me think. This is the latter. I like it A LOT.
Sage and curry need to come together more often. I’m an enormous fan of butternut squash, but sometimes I think it’s too sweet. I think the sage and curry serve as really awesome savory elements that balance out the sweetness perfectly. This soup is easy to make; I’m talking 30 minutes tops and it’s perfect for days. The full recipe for this grown-up soup is over on PBS Food.
On another super random note, do you guys know the UP Series? Have you seen it? If you’re unfamiliar, I’ll be quick: it’s a series that started in the 60s with 14 kids from different social classes and backgrounds. The kids were interviewed, talked about their hopes and dreams for the future, and every seven years they were interviewed. Initially the series was supposed to be a study about class division in England, but over the years it’s turned into so much more. The movie is really beautiful, sad and heartbreaking at times and just totally fascinating. Today on PBS the “56 UP” aires! WUUUT! All of the kids are now 56. I’m so stoked to watch it. I cannot get enough. If you haven’t seen it, please do! It’s one of my all-time favorite movies.