Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Spicy Mexican Corn Soup

     I love soup.  I am the self proclaimed soup queen of southern New Jersey.   I really would eat it anytime of year,  but as the chilly weather kicks up I'm known to eat soup 10 days straight.  Wonton soup being my favorite,  but I don't make that myself. 
I don't order wonton soup everyday for several reasons:
1.  I'm broke 
2. I don't have the carb intake ability to allow for that kind of daily splurge without gaining 200 pounds,   
3.  I don't want Golden Garden to judge me if they see me picking up wonton soup everyday.  We have a business working relationship,  and I'd like to maintain that in a judgement free zone.  I wont judge the fact that they have children working there and it's so cold they have to wear coats in the place in the winter,  if they don't judge my love of soup.

    So,  my point is,  I make a lot of soup.  Soup is awesome to keep on hand for the week, and in my opinion there is literally no better way to spend 4:00pm then in my pajamas in the winter eating soup.  I'm not too fond of cream based soups,  so I tend to eat a lot of vegetable and meat soups.    I also don't eat a lot of soups with noodles,  because I tend to like getting carbs from vegetables-- and the more vegetables I throw in my soup the more food I get to where I'm headed with this?

So, without further a due:  

Spicy Mexican Corn Soup
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Serves: 8 for a main course, 10-12 as a side

1 pound chicken thighs
1 quart water
Two yellow onions
6 large carrots
Six celery stalks
Two green peppers

4 Fresh Corn Stalks
2 limes 

3 bay leaves
One can black beans, rinsed
One can cannelloni beans, rinsed
Two 8 ounce cans diced tomato with jalapenos
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 tablespoon Chili Powder
1 tablespoon Goya chicken seasoning
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
2 teaspoon Turmeric

1 tbsp Red Pepper Flakes 
2 Teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

1.  First begin by making stock:  In a large pot,  place 1 pound of chicken thighs at the bottom.   On top of the chicken,  place one yellow onion cut in half (keep the skin on),  3 large carrots cut in half (don't even worry about dicing them or removing the outer layer), one lime cut in half,  and three stalks of celery (just cut in half and throw the leaves and stalks in).   

2.  Cover this with one quart or so of water.   

3.  Allow stock to first come to a bowl,  then turn the heat to medium and allow the stock to cook for 1 1/2 hours.   Throw in three bay leaves for cooking.

4.  While the stock is cooking,  assemble all of your spices into one shallow bowl.  Set aside.
5.  Dice remaining vegetables:  2 green peppers, 3 stalks of celery,  and one yellow onion. Rinse beans,  and put in the bowl.   Put your corn one at a time with the stalks removed in a bowl with another small bowl turned upside down in it,  and cut off the corn kernels. Place in the bowl.  Set aside. 

6.  Remove chicken from stock and set aside to cool.
7.  Place a pot underneath of a strainer,  and strain the entire contents of your stock through the strainer.   The stock vegetables have done their job,  so toss them. 

8.  Return the stock to the pot.  Add in all of your new diced vegetables and beans,  and a lime cut in half. 

9.  Shred chicken and return to the stock pot.
10.   Stir in spice mixture and the diced tomatoes. 

11.   Allow to cook on medium high  for 30 minutes if you don't like the veggies to be too mushy,  one whole hour if you like really mushy vegetables.  Remove the lime halves before serving.  

Garnish with cilantro leaves,  and serve.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Roasted Tomato and Sweet Garlic Sauce

            This recipe is the epitome of farm to table.  Fresh and made with local ingredients, it really is a crowd pleaser.  I love cooking with the ingredients of the season, and I am holding onto tomatoes as long as I can before winter steals the good ones away.  I picture this sauce over fresh vegetables and chicken, almost like a Primavera (sands the pasta) or over a big fat juice meatball right from the oven.   Make this the same day you plan to have guests over, because the smell is intoxicating while the tomatoes and garlic roasts.  The smell permeates the whole house,   and makes everyone’s mouth salivate.

                These tomatoes are actually handpicked---by me.  My Aunt Diane always gives me her CSA when she goes away.  The last two weeks has required me to “u-pick own cherry tomatoes”.  This meant I had to be out in the middle of tomato field at 5:00pm in the 90 degree weather, picking tomatoes in my work pants and sandals.  I am so glad I got my ass out there and did it, because the beautiful result was this spicy and sweet sauce.
                The spiciness comes from the red chili tomato paste and red pepper flakes, the sweetness comes from the roasted garlic.  Did you know that?  If you roast tomato just right for just long enough it will become sweet.  It’s divine. 
                I am freezing this, because I don’t need it right now but didn’t want my tomatoes to go bad.  When I reheat it I may add a touch of milk, and chopped fresh basil leaves.  If it’s too thick, add a little chicken stock.

                And…It’s okay that it’s bright orange, that’s normal from pulsing the seeds and skins and everything together.  You won’t even know it’s there.  It actually makes you kind of wonder what do the canned tomato companies put in your food to make it red? Scary.

Roasted Tomato and Sweet Garlic Sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45-55 minutes
Serves: 3-4

3 pounds tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red chili tomato paste
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
1 tablespoon onion powder

1.        Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2.       On a large baking sheet with a lip, place all of the cleaned whole tomatoes.  It doesn’t matter what kind of tomatoes you use---but if they have leaves on the top rip or cut them off.  I wouldn’t recommend plum tomatoes because they don’t have a lot of flavor.
3.       In the middle of the tomatoes put the 4 peeled garlic cloves.
4.       Coat everything with 2 tbsp. of olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
5.       Place tomatoes and garlic in the oven at 425 degrees for about 50 minutes, checking to see if they are blistered around 45.  If they aren’t, let them go until 50 minutes, if they are taking them out then would be fine.
6.       Allow to cool on the counter for 20 minutes.
7.       In a large blender add the tomatoes and garlic.
8.       Next add red pepper flakes, herbs de Provence, onion powder, 2 tablespoons red chili paste, and a touch more salt and pepper for seasoning.
9.       Pulse for about 1-2 minutes, until tomatoes are completely dissolved. 

Serve over basically, anything, even card board, it’s that damn good.