It’s that time of year. After Halloween, after daylight savings time, when it’s dark by 4pm and we’re all anticipating our winter hibernation. Suddenly it’s perfectly acceptable to eat comfort food for 3 meals a day. And what is better comfort food than mashed potatoes? Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes.…
I won’t lie, it’s been a tough few weeks. I’ve been down and out sick and just getting out of bed in the morning has been a real challenge (and we’re talking getting out of bed to go lie on the couch). My poor husband has been keeping things rolling and picking up the slack with the kids and around the house. I haven’t been able to visit Holly and our newest addition to the With Two Spoons team (born October 6th!). I even spent Halloween holed up in bed while my dad handed out candy so my husband could take my little out. We’ve eaten pizza for 4 of the last 5 meals. But today, today I finally felt like maybe I could tackle dinner. And whenever you are struggling, go back to the beginning. Back to Balsamic Pork with Gnocchi….
I’ve been looking for this dish for a long time, and didn’t even know it. I’ve substituted many things, but this, this Mushroom Bourguignon is the real deal. So, just like so many awesome things in my life, this dish came in to my life by accident. Completely by accident. Well, really it was due to a minor mistake by my husband-but really, the best mistake possible. For real. …
This Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut Shrimp was course number 3 in our epic dinner party. (P.S.-don’t worry if you’re having a hard time following along with our dinner party menu reveal, I promise to post the entire menu in order, with links, in a few weeks. And if you just can’t wait, it was already posted on twitter so you can check it out there!). We knew we wanted a soup course to follow our Pomegranate, Squash and Apple salad. While we were initially dreaming up plans for our blog we had a lot of “business” lunches at Lakeshore Grill at Macy’s in Ridgedale (which has been totally redone, and if you haven’t checked it out you definitely should!). Their summer soup was a carrot scallion soup that was so good, I would order it for lunch and then order a cup to take with me to my evening shift at work. Looking around the internet for a soup that would be similar to this one, brought us to this Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut Shrimp from Food and Wine. Holly made the soup first, and interestingly enough, this soup is not really similar to the carrot scallion we loved-but it is fabulous in its own right, so fabulous that we decided to add it to our dinner party menu. Sometimes you find exactly what you need, exactly when you need it!
I first made this soup for some friends while up at my cabin. My friends loved it and the soup was given rave reviews. This soup is creamy and bright, with a hint of heat that is well balanced by the coconut shrimp. It is ridiculously simple to make and yet tastes complex. We served our soup not only with the coconut shrimp, but also with a peanut-cilantro gremolata. So delicious, your guests will thank you!
And if anyone has a recipe for a good Carrot Scallion soup, please let us know, we are still looking!
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, diced
- ¾ pound carrots, diced
- 1 Tablespoon ginger, grated
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon asian sesame oil
- 1 cup skim milk
- ¼ cup light coconut milk
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons salted peanuts, chopped
- 16-30 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
- Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a dutch oven until shimmering.
- Add onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes until onion is softened.
- Add carrots, ginger, and crushed red pepper, and sauté for 6 minutes.
- Add chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil.
- Turn heat down and simmer the mixture for approximately 20 minutes until the carrots are tender.
- Take dutch oven off of the heat and add in soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, peanut butter, and sesame oil.
- Using an immersion blender (or you can transfer the soup to a conventional blender), puree soup until smooth.
- Add skim milk and coconut milk.
- Season to taste taste with salt and pepper.
- You can eat the soup immediately, or refrigerate overnight and plan to eat the next day.
- When you are ready to eat the soup, reheat if not eating immediately.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Thaw the shrimp if frozen.
- Combine the shrimp with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil until lightly coated.
- Roll shrimp in sweetened, shredded coconut.
- Spread the shrimp on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- We sprinkled an additional Tablespoon of coconut onto shrimp on the baking sheet.
- Roast in the oven at 425ºF for 5-8 minutes keeping an eye on the shrimp to ensure it it is pink but the coconut is not burning.
- Combine the chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts to form the gremolata.
- Ladle the soup into bowls, top with gremolata and serve with shrimp.
Ravioli with Rosemary Mushroom Sauce, makes me hungry just thinking about it! You may have heard about our epic dinner party this week, and if you haven’t, trust me you will, as we plan to explore the art of the dinner party in a blog post coming up soon. This was an old fashioned dinner party, complete with eight plated courses. Six guests (plus Holly and I), sitting at a large table, enjoying a delicious food experience. The dinner party is an art that it is high time we resurrect! (The complete dinner party menu is up on Twitter-so if you are unable to wait, you can check it out @withtwospoons)
As Holly and I were going over plans for this dinner party, we decided we wanted to serve a pasta dish before our main course. What to do, what to do? Preferrably, something not too difficult. We really wanted the course to look elegant. The pasta had to taste exceptional. That is when a ravioli presented with a simple sauce rose to the top of the list. Unfortunately the first recipe I tried did not work as written and we didn’t have much time to figure something else out. We had to take a leap of faith and stick to what we knew-wine and butter. Turns out, sometimes, out of the simplest ingredients, comes the most divine flavor! And thus Ravioli with Rosemary Mushroom Sauce was born!
Not only was this simple to make, we also found you could stick the sauce in a small crock pot, set it on low (or even warm), and serve it when the time was right-perfect for a multi-course dinner. Topped with some parmesan cheese and a garnish of rosemary, this ravioli received high praise at our dinner party. I promise you this one is truly simple and quick to make. Hmmm…might even make a nice dinner for Valentine’s Day!
- 2 pounds cheese ravioli
- 8 Tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 8-ounce containers of fresh cremini mushrooms, chopped into small bite site pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus extra for seasoning if needed)
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of white wine
- 3 Sprigs of rosemary
- grated parmesan cheese for garnish
- shaved parmesan cheese for garnish
- 8 tips of rosemary sprigs (approximately 1 inch pieces) for garnish
- Start water boiling water for pasta in a deep pot. Add salt to pasta water (optional).
- Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
- Melt 4 Tablespoons of butter in hot pan.
- Saute mushrooms and salt in the melted butter and olive oil for approximately 3 minutes
- Add rosemary sprigs, shallots and garlic to mushrooms and sauté until shallots are soft, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add wine and reduce until wine is reduced to ¼ cup.
- While wine is reducing, add pasta to boiling water and simmer according to directions on ravioli package.
- Drain ravioli and keep warm.
- After wine is almost fully reduced (to a ¼ cup or less), remove mushroom mixture from heat.
- Taste and add salt if needed.
- Remove rosemary sprigs from mixture.
- Add remaining 4 Tablespoons of butter and allow to melt.
- Place desired amount of ravioli on a plate (or in a bowl), add a spoonful of rosemary mushroom sauce, garnish with a sprinkle of grated parmesan, a few shreds of shaved parmesan, and the tip of a rosemary sprig.
- Serve and enjoy!
What sounds better to eat on a snowy evening than Chicken Wild Rice Soup? All I have heard about this week, on social media, TV, radio, everywhere, is tales of the blizzard. Blizzards don’t normally catch my attention since I do live in Minneapolis, where a blizzard is a pretty common winter experience. This one, though, where the drifts were over my head in New York and they had more snow than us in Washington D. C., seeped into my subconsciousness. Frankly, I was kind of jealous (for a few minutes), because it feels like we haven’t gotten much snow lately! So today when the flakes started coming down (much more gently here than on the East Coast), I was inspired to make one of my favorite cold weather foods. Chicken Wild Rice Soup is one of those foods that, in my mind anyway, has it all-vegetables, protein and that always comforting cream.
Chicken Wild Rice Soup was one of the first foods I ever cooked for my husband. I had him over to my tiny apartment while we were dating, and I made a pot of something very loosely resembling Chicken Wild Rice Soup. Did I mention before that when I met my husband I did not cook? At all. What in the world tempted me to make chicken wild rice soup? One of the world’s great mysteries! Sadly, my attempt was a flour-y, chunky, overcooked chicken disaster. I’m positive I do not have enough space in a blog post to explain what went wrong, but suffice to say, it is a testament to my husband’s love for me that he choked some down (and married me anyway).
Luckily, fast forward 20 years since our “dating” days, and I think I now have this one down. I poach my chicken so it does not get dry or overcooked. I use homemade stock (you surely can use store bought and I promise it will still be good, but if you have homemade stock-this is the place to use it!). I use the traditional Minnesota wild rice. And, although almonds may seem like a strange addition to a soup, I can attest to the fact that they are the loveliest addition, think crunch and flavor all in one bite. So, if the snow is falling in your area, or you are in need of a comfort food, try this one.
- ½ cup butter
- 1 finely chopped onion
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 8 cups chicken stock (I used homemade, store bought would work equally well), divided
- 2 cups of cooked wild rice
- 1½ pound chicken tenders (or chicken breasts)
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 1 cup of slivered almonds
- 3½ Tablespoons cooking sherry
- 2 cups half-and-half
- To Poach Chicken: Place chicken tenders (or chicken breasts) in a saucepan with 2 cups of chicken stock, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground pepper.
- Simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Allow to cool.
- Chop chicken to be used in soup.
- To Make Soup: Melt butter in a dutch oven or large stock pot.
- Stir in the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for 7-10 minutes or until soft.
- Add the flour and stir until mixed in.
- Slowly add 6 cups of chicken stock, stir continuously while adding.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.
- Add the rice, chicken, 1½ teaspoons salt, curry powder, mustard powder, parsley, ½ teaspoon ground pepper, almonds and sherry.
- Add the half-and-half.
- Simmer for 1-2 hours until all flavors have melded.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Note: If reheating, you may need to add a small amount of stock to thin the soup, it does thicken upon cooling.
We are squarely in that time of year when the winter chill has set in and comfort foods – soups and stews, chili, and rich pasta dishes – are what I reach for again and again. After all of the indulgence of the holidays, this chili is a great balance of healthy(-ish) and hearty.
I’ve been making a version of this chili for years. It started with a recipe from the great Ellie Krieger (find the original here), and over the years has morphed into something a little spicier and a little richer, without totally sacrificing the nutrition. My husband likes it served with generous amounts of shredded sharp cheddar and some sour cream. I think it’s great on it’s own. It freezes well and keeps, refrigerated, for 3-4 days.
Most chili recipes are fairly flexible and can be adjusted to fit your personal and family tastes. If you’re nervous about the heat from the chipotle peppers, remove the seeds but don’t eliminate the peppers entirely. They give a beautiful, rich, and almost smoky flavor that is really worth trying. I also recommend taking the extra time to puree whole, canned tomatoes instead of using the more typical crushed tomatoes. I particularly love Muir Glen Fire Roasted San Marzano style tomatoes, but if you’re wanting to save time and dishes, go ahead with regular crushed tomatoes.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2-3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly diced
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 2 heaping teaspoons cumin
- 16 ounces lean ground beef (grassfed, organic if possible)
- 2 teaspoons of adobo sauce (from canned chipotle in adobo)
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 16 ounces good stout beer (I prefer Guinness)
- 1 (28 ounce) can of whole, fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven
- Add the onion, carrot, and bell pepper and saute until just softened, about 10 minutes
- Add the cumin and stir until fragrant, about one minute.
- In the same pot, brown the ground beef until no longer pink.
- Add the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, removing the seeds if you prefer less spice.
- Puree the tomatoes in a blender and add to the chili mixture.
- Stir in the beer.
- Mix in the oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Allow to simmer, partly covered, approximately 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Remove the lid and stir in the beans. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning and serve with your favorite toppings.
What are your go-to comfort foods in the winter?