Posts Tagged ‘Bay leaf’

Today was exactly the kind of day, this hearty soup would be an excellent choice.  Yesterday it was 61 degrees in New York City and this morning it was gray and foggy.  By noon the sun was full out  shining brightly and the temperature zoomed up to the mid-60’s BUT by the time I walked home around 6pm, the temperature was dipping into the 40’s  – And that’s why you’ll want to make this Fish Chowder!

Speedy and Smokey Fish Chowder

Speedy and Smokey Fish Chowder

This is one of those recipes that calls for you to use your own judgement as to how much of each item to use.  We start with just a bit less than a pound of fish and then you’re on your own but don’t worry, I think the familiarity of the ingredients will dictate the amount to use.  It’s a matter of personal preference and taste.

Dice some bacon if you’re a meat eater, or melt some butter if you are not (or both if you are reckless), and sauté some onions, carrots and diced potatoes in the fat and meat until the onions have gone translucent. Hit the mixture with some salt and pepper and a flash of smoked paprika if you have it. Some of the ears of tiny chowder-corn that are in some farmers’ markets would be a fine addition, so too would be a cup of frozen corn.

Do you have any fish stock? No? White wine? Surely you have water. Add enough that the potatoes are almost swimming, then a bay leaf, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the chowder to bubble along until the liquid has reduced by a third and the potatoes are tender. Add a splash or two of milk or cream and allow it to heat and thicken slightly.

Now cut the fillets into chunks and stir them in gently. Five minutes later: chowder. Serve with crusty bread.

I found this recipe in the NY Times Cooking Newsletter

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"Cover Coughs, Cover Sneezes" - NARA...

“Cover Coughs, Cover Sneezes” – NARA – 514081 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s almost April and where is that lamb that’s supposed to escort March and the cold weather out of here?  I’m surrounded by people who are sneezing, coughing, dripping and chilled.  Today I had to ask a co-worker to please not lean over my desk and breathe on me – she looked awful and had been home for two days sick and with a fever.  GREAT – just what I need.  I have never gotten over the cold/sinus infection I caught from one of my Mah Jongg players who coughed and sneezed all over the tiles and that was in February!  I walked to work today and by the time I got there, the wind had caused my eyes and nose to run, quite the sight walking in.  So what’s a person to do?  Two words – COMFORT FOOD.  This Tasty Tidbits Tuesday recipe comes from PureWow Recipes.


Makes 6 servings

Start to Finish 1 1/2 hours


1 TBS olive oil

1 sweet onion finely chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped

3 celery stalks finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 TBS tomato paste

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

8 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

2 thyme sprigs

1 serrano chile, seeded and minced

2 cups chopped cooked chicken meat

1 cup egg noodles

6 eggs, poached or fried, for garnish

Roughly chopped parsley, for garnish


1. In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot and celery, and sauté until tender, 7-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and serrano; continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute more.

2. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the chicken broth, bay leaf and thyme. Bring the soup to a simmer.  Simmer until a good flavor has developed, 15-20 minutes.

3. Stir in chicken and noodles.  Continue to simmer until chicken is heated through and the noodles are tender 6-8 minutes.

4. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with egg. Season the egg with salt and pepper, and garnish the soup generously with parsley.  Leftover soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

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Tunisian one pot chicken dish, spicy green sauce,

Tunisian One-Pot Dish as Spicy as You Like It

I prepared this dish last night, the recipe was in the New York Times.  It was a bit complicated, BUT, BUT, it was delicious and I took some shortcuts that I will share with you.  And we ate the leftovers tonight, even better! I’m going to write out the recipe the way I made it and not exactly as it was written.  If you want the original please go to http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/25/dining/chicken-with-couscous-sauce-on-the-side.htm

4-6 drumsticks (next time I am going to use skinless)

3 cups canned chick peas (rinsed and drained)

1/2 lb small white turnips – peeled and cut into wedges

1/2 lb carrot sticks (or cut into 2″ batons)

1 small onion – peel, insert a few cloves. (I didn’t have any cloves so I used ground cloves, about 1 tsp.)

1 bay leaf

1 tsp coriander seed – I used ground powder about 1 1/2 tsp

1 tsp cumin seed – I used ground powder about 1 1/2 tsp

1 tsp caraway seeds – I crushed them between two spoons.

1 tsp cayenne pepper

salt and ground pepper

1 large onion – chopped to = 2 cups

6 garlic cloves minced

1 -2 TBS olive oil

ground cinnamon (recipe calls for 1 stick – too expensive)

Spicy green sauce (recipe below)

Cooked and buttered couscous or rice

Put the chickpeas in a medium sauce pan with about 5 cups of water, add bay leaf, and onion with cloves (or sprinkle the ground cloves into the water), season with salt.  Bring to a  boil and then leave to simmer while preparing the other ingredients. 

Mix the spices together (cumin, coriander, caraway, cayenne pepper)

Rinse chicken legs and pat dry-season generously on all sides with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the spice mixture on the chicken legs and rub into the meat.

In heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken legs and brown gently until golden, about 4 minutes a side.  Remove legs and set aside.  In same pot, add diced onions and a little salt. Let onions soften and color for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, and scraping up any brown bits.  Add cinnamon and garlic and cook for a minute more.

Drain chick peas and reserve broth. I kept the onion in the broth.  Return the chicken legs to the pot and pour in 4 cups of the chickpea broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook covered for about 25 minutes.

Add the chickpeas, carrots and turnips and cook, covered, for 15 minutes more.  Let rest 5 minutes and skim excess fat.  Serve with the broth, spicy green sauce and buttered couscous.

Spicy Green Sauce

1 preserved lemon or the grated zest of 1 lemon.  I got a jar of preserved lemon at an Indian grocery store but I believe the zest would just as good, since the recipe calls for using only the skin.

1 garlic clove smashed with a little salt to make a paste.

1 or 2 serrano or jalapeno chiles, very finely chopped. Use less for a milder sauce.

1 cup of finely chopped cilantro, leaves and tender stems

1/3 cup olive oil

3 scallions finely chopped

If using preserved lemon, remove from brine, rinse well and chop the peel in 1/16 inch cubes. Reserve pulp for another use. Put cubes aside.

In a small bowl, mix the garlic paste, chiles and cilantro in a blender or food processor, keep a small amount of cilantro out.

Stir in the olive oil, scallions and diced lemon or zest.  Taste and add salt or more oil if necessary.  Once sauce is made and in a small serving dish, you can mix in the rest of the chopped cilantro which gives the sauce texture.

This one-pot meal was excellent and even better the next day although we had eaten all the chicken the night before!

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Yes I do like to cook…BUT not always!  After all, living in NYC, the capitol of take-out and delivered food makes it really easy to never have to cook.   Not to mention the late late serving hours in many restaurants and the neighborhood Coffee Shop that’s open 24 hours.  Can you imagine how liberating and indulgent that is?  If you can’t sleep and you think a Belgian Waffle would hit the spot, you can just pick up the phone at 3:00 am and in 15 minutes you can be pouring maple syrup over a steaming hot waffle.

Ok I digress…this past week, I’ve been cooking every night and one of the main reasons is economics.  I’m not making Beef Wellington, or Lobster Bisque.  I served up some yummy food and none of the meals cost a lot.

I started off making a batch of Butternut Squash Soup.  This savory version of a root vegetable soup came from the latest issue of Wegman’s MENU magazine.  It’s not as thick and rich as some other recipes, however, it has a flavorful twist.   Here it is:

1 TBS olive oil

1 cup of chopped onion

1 cup of thinly sliced leeks

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1 TBS chopped garlic

2 bay leaves

2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

2 pkgs of cleaned, cut butternut squash (20 oz ea.) or 3 lbs bulk squash cut in 1 inch dice

2 cartons of vegetable broth ( I used chicken broth)

2 TBS amber maple syrup

pumpkin seed oil ( I didn’t have any)

toasted pumpkin seeds (had those and toasted them)

You’ll need a stockpot and a blender

Heat olive oil in stockpot on MEDIUM.  Add onions, leeks, celery, garlic, and bay leaves;  season with 2 tsp salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring, 10 minutes till softened bu not browned.

Add squash and stock.  Increase heat to MEDIUM-HIGH.  Bring to a simmer, cover, vented.  Reduce heat to LOW; simmer 20-25 minutes.

Turn off heat.  Remove bay leaves.  Stir in maple syrup.  Working in batches, add soup to blender.  Puree till smooth, pouring pureed soup into another pot.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

Ladle soup into warmed serving bowls, garnish each with 1 tsp pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil.

The next day I got the stockpot out and made one of favorite winter Wegman’s recipes;  Slow-Cooked Beef Minestrone.  I  posted this truly economical and delicious recipe previously -see post at https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/slow-cooked-beef-minestrone/

On another night  we had veggie burgers and as a side dish I made Pan Steamed Cauliflower, also a Wegman’s MENU magazine recipe.  This is a great way to prepare  vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp chopped garlic

1 anchovy fillet (in the jar, not tin) or 1  1/2 tsp capers

1 – 1  1/2 lb trimmed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, romanescu, brocoletti, green beans)

1/2 cup water

1 tsp salt

cracked black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil, garlic, and anchovy on MEDIUM-LOW.  Cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes (until anchovy dissolves).

Raise heat to HIGH.  Add vegetables, water, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer; cover.  Cook, stirring occasionally 8-12 minutes or until water is evaporated. 

Season to taste with pepper.  Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, grated cheese or red pepper flakes, if desired.

My husband loves pasta so we don’t go too many days without a pasta night.  I decided to make a special sauce – Wegman’s San Marzano Tomato Sauce.  This was Soooo Goooood.   I will post the recipe for you but not today because I just previewed this post and it’s already getting long.  And to finish up my Wegman’s Week,  I prepared Chicken Breasts with a Lemon Caper Sauce -I’ll post that one later too.

Wegman's brand,

San Marzano Tomatoes

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