Category Archives: stew

Holiday Chicken Sausage Soup


While most people absolutely love the holidays, they aren’t always my favorite time of year. I wouldn’t call myself a grinch, but I find the energy can be a little crazy.  The Christmas music, advertising, and holiday media tornado can be overwhelming.

In reality a lot of us don’t have stress-free holidays.

That being said, if I ever feel stressed or sad, I tend to enjoy cooking it off. :-]

I love any reason to make a hearty soup. The soup I made yesterday I got from Oprah Magazine (the only “women’s magazine I tend to read). It’s a Kale Soup with Chicken Apple Chardonnay Sausage. It calls for Andouille Sausage but I changed the recipe.


6 lightly packed cups chopped green curly kale, stems and ribs removed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 links chicken apple chardonnay sausage (Trader Joe’s)
1 tbsp thyme
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 can chopped or diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt plus more to taste
1 tsp honey (optional)
4 cups slightly undercooked brown rice


1. Bring 10 cups water to a boil in large Dutch oven or heavy pot.
Add kale and boil 5 minutes. Drain in colander and set aside.
2. In a pan warm olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion to and cook until onion is translucent, 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, peppers and sausage, and cook until peppers soften, 5 minutes. Mix in thyme and allspice, stir and cook 1 minute.

sausage and peppers

3. Cook your brown rice til somewhat soft.
4. Add rice and all ingredients and put in slow cooker on high for 4-6 hours or on low 6-8 hours.

We enjoyed this with a loaf of batard Sourdough bread purchased at my favorite local grocery called The Pasta Shop on College Ave in Oakland. It’s nice to serve the soup with Sourdough because the bread soaks up the juices like a sponge. Add a pinch of margarine (or you can use butter) which tastes absolutely flavorful and melts in your mouth.


Slow Cooked Smokey Barbecue Chili


I tell you this every time I post a recipe, but I’ll tell you again. I love to cook because it’s creative. There are generally so few activities that get us away from the computer, and allow us to use our hands. That is precisely why the kitchen is a welcome breath of fresh air.

Yesterday was a quiet day at home. I spent the morning with the ladies from Team In Training going for a Saturday morning jog, brunch and then drifted through my favorite local Farmer’s market at Lakeshore in Oakland.

On a Fall day with three hours to do as I choose there is no greater joy than pulling out the slow cooker and losing myself in some heavy duty chopping.

Dish purchased at Cost Plus World Market

Slow cooked food always tastes better. The dish soaks up all kinds of flavors given that it has more time to marinate. That being said, slow cooked chili is one of my favorite things to make. It opens up your pores just as much as a salsa dancing class would. And if you like spice and flavor, there’s no shortage of variations you can do. I like to kick the heat and spice into high gear. You can control how spicy the dish is with the optional ingredients listed below.

You don’t have to make this in a slow cooker but it adds a lot of flavor.

Smokey Chili Recipe Ingredients:

1 lb heirloom tomatoes (the fresher the better)
1/3 cup of smokey barbecue sauce
1 lb extra lean beef (organic if possible)
1 green bell pepper chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
1 yellow onion chopped
1 can of Cuban black beans
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup low-fat cheddar cheese
2 cups low sodium chicken broth

Optional Chili ingredients:

1 cup Israeli cous cous or another grain to serve with
chili powder or chipotle seasoning [check out the Rancho Gordo Chili Powder found at the SF Ferry Building or Farmer’s Market]
2 Habanero Peppers


1. Spray pan with olive oil spray or pam. On medium heat saute the chopped onions in garlic. Chop green pepper and add. Once soft, add ground beef and break up the meat in the pan. You might add some of your chicken broth to avoid having to use olive oil and keeping the meat moist.
2. Heat slow cooker and add in all chopped ingredients stirring every 45 minutes or so. Add water if soup is too thick. Heat on high for about 4 hours on high, or 8 hour on low.
3. Serve with Israeli cous-cous and a spritzel of cheese on top garnished with cilantro or fennel.

I always just use what I have in the fridge or pantry. There’s no sense in starting your car up and driving to the market for one small ingredient.

I garnished my soup with fennel rather than cilantro. Fennel, while probably an uncharacteristic garnish, still tastes wonderful. Frozen cilantro went into the soup but wouldn’t have looked very becoming on top of the meal.

I took one bite of this soup and melted on the kitchen floor. The fresh heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market and all the spices made this dish an absolute pleasure to eat.


To dress the table for your meal, depicted below are a feast of Dahlias.

Heirloom tomatoes, golden beets, carrots and cucumbers from Lakeshore Farmer’s Market.  Fresh veggies make all the difference. Once you get your veggies directly from the farmers you won’t ever want to get your veggies from a plastic case at Trader Joe’s again. I promise you this.

Moon Mushroom Burgers

Today I came home to Jacob who was starving.

I am pretty zany about mushrooms. They are dense with rich flavors and can make any dish creamy without the fat from heavy dairy.

That being said, yesterday I made Dreamy Mushroom Stew. This is perfect for a winter night I suggest you get your tupper-ware ready because you will have leftovers.

After I made Dreamy Mushroom Stew–I decided to turn my concoction into a vegetarian burger lunch for Jacob and myself.

Here’s what ya need for Part 1 for Dreamy Mushroom Stew

1 crock-pot (if you don’t have this you can just use any old big pan).
1 chopper or blender.
2 Cups interesting mushrooms (shitake, portobello, porcini).
1 square of mushroom bourguignon cube (I purchased this and the mushrooms from here).
1 cup skim or light milk.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour.
1 serving rice noodles (optional).
spices (salt/pepper).
herbs (if you have oregano, some basil, some cilantro).
handful of shallots.
fresh garlic (or I get mine jarred from Trader Joe’s).
olive oil.
1 giant leek (half chopped, half left whole).

1.Sautee the mushrooms in the shallots+olive oil+garlic.
2.Pour a cup of water into the heated crock pot.
3.Blend mushrooms (not too pureed).
4. Add leeks, chopped in addition to big leek for flavor.
5.Put in crockpot with all other ingredients and set on high for 3 hours stirring intermittently and tasting for seasoning.

Part 2: Moon Mushroom Burgers

The stoup I made (cross between a stew and a soup) was good but it was A LOT. So when it came time for lunch I turned a Moosewood CookBook recipe for lentil walnut burgers into my own creation.

This is VERY EASY!

Extra ingredients you need here is 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 cup bread crumbs (regular or Panchenko is fine too) and 2 egg whites.

1.Get one handful of Dreamy Mushroom Stew (should be very thick from the rice noodles) and pack it into a ball two inches in diameter.
2. Roll this in the egg whites.
3. Roll in a generous amount of bread crumbs until skin of stew is covered in bread crumbs.
4. Put in olive oil and roll around until all sides are nicely browned.
5. Repeat!

I served this with a lovely light salad and condiments of Ketchup, Japanese Hot Sauce, and Brown Grain Mustard.

Use your imagination here….and Enjoy!

Indian Inspired Hot Lamb Stew


Yes I eat lamb–it was one of the traits from New York that I didn’t leave behind. Red Meat. When I came to New York I was a vegetarian for six years.

Now that I’ve gone lamb I can never go back.. ;-]

Ingredients for Blake’s Indian Inspired Lamb Stew

Curry Powder (buy at your local Farmer’s market or Cost Plus)
Masala powder (buy at a local Indian Market or Cost Plus–goldmine for rare spices)
Garlic Powder
Kosher Salt
Two large flank steaks of lamb
olive oil or rosemary oil
Indian potato barata (bread)
Mango Chutney (Indian Market)
Raita (indian yogurt)
Veggies->cabbage, leeks, broccoli, kale, carrots and any other greens
Fingerling potatoes

Rice (preferably long grain)
Soy Vey

Pomegrante (optional)

Don’t be overwhelmed by all of these items. You don’t need every spice nor do you need every vegetable. Be creative. Spice as you go (and as you taste). I generally do things in spritzels (generous sprinklings) or teaspoons.


1. Wash lamb, cut off the bone, cut fat off.
2. Take onions and carmelize them in the garlic and the oil. When soft add chunks of meat.
3. Add curry powder, masala, garlic powder and pepper.
4. When brown add into heated crock-pot (high heat).
5. add all veggies (after washing, cutting into bite-size pieces).
6. Add all spices in generous amounts (no dumping but you know what I mean).
7. Cover the top of the crockpot and leave on high heat for a minimum of three hours.
8. Continue to check on stew making sure flavors are rich.
9. Boil rice. When cooked, add Paprika and Soy Vey for flavor (rice is bland on its own-in my high maintenance opinion).
10. Add pomegranate seeds to rice.
11. Top rice with lamb stew.
12. Add Raita and chutney (a dollop of each).
13. Toast Barata bread.

ENJOY! (mostly veggies, lean lamb and lots of spices makes this a guilt-free meal).

Please excuse this poorly iphone shot photo–my boyfriend thinks I need to add authentic pictures…I will get a better camera for you all ;-]
Hopefully the poor quality makes this look more DIY and adds value. Anyway good food should be a lil messy!