Tag Archives: oakland

Holiday Chicken Sausage Soup

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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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Velvety Butternut Squash Soup

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Looking for a soulful and soothing soup for cold winter nights? Look no further.

This Butternut Squash recipe is incredibly easy to make, not to mention satisfying for the taste buds. It is sure to win over any dinner guest and it’s a great way to feed a small group of friends given how few ingredients this dish requires. This Butternut Squash soup is a perfect recipe for a dinner party, or as a starter for Thanksgiving dinner.

Jacob and I go to the Grand Lake Farmer’s Market pretty much every Saturday without fail. When you buy local and cook seasonal, everything tastes better. If you go to any farmer’s market this season you will start to see butternut squash, pumpkins, broccoli rabe, pears, crab apples and more! I love fall don’t you?

In an effort to eat healthier, I’m now the Soup (Wo)man. Soup is very filling, and according to Runners Magazine it’s a great choice after a long run. Butternut Squash Soup’s name represents its flavor profile. This Butternut Squash recipe is velvety, creamy and contains no butter (unless you prefer to use butter instead of olive oil). Either way!

Jacob doesn’t generally like “sweet” food but he loved this soup. It’s not too salty and not too sweet. Indulge your senses!

Ingredients for Butternut Squash Soup:

3 butternut squash, sliced and cubed
1 small white onion, chopped
1/2 tablespoon garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon allspice
1 container chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 medium-sized carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced

Optional

4 small potatoes, cubed
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
2 tablespoons Fage yogurt (plain)
1 piece Fennel


Directions:

1. Put large soup pan on medium-high heat, and carmelize onions in olive oil and garlic.
2. Add in your butternut squash, and all other ingredients.
3. Cook on medium heat for about 45 minutes or until cubes of butternut squash are soft.
4. Allow soup to cool. Puree in blender or food chopper until smooth.
5. Serve with dollop of yogurt, and a small piece of fennel on top.

Autumnal Jujube Jam

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I was walking through the Lakeshore farmer’s market one day and these circular brown apple impersonators caught my eye. They were hiding in a bin looking forbidden, so of course I went right over, picked up a handful, and asked myself what I could do with this forbidden fruit.

The jujube is a Chinese date that looks like a small brown apple and tastes just as sweet and a little tart.

Speaking of dates, this fruit is quite the charmer.

Apparently throughout Chinese history the fruit was believed to make teenagers fall in love. In the Himalaya and Karakoram regions, in order to impress the ladies, men would skip cologne and put the Jujube flower stem in their hat.

So perhaps all you fellas out there reaching for your Hugo Boss cologne, you might actually find what you are looking for at the farmer’s market.

Lastly I now know in a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, historically the jujube was used in the newlyweds bedroom as a good luck charm for fertility–an invocation to “have an honored child soon.” In the Jewish religion we just brake a glass. Everyone has their tradish.

Jujubes are a great way to cleanse the palate after a meal. They are are rumored to help with sleep and stress. So with check marks in the love, rest and overall health category, you really can’t go wrong with the Jujube.

Today for you I made a Jujube Jam recipe. Say that three times fast.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 30 Jujube fruits
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon flour or quick-cooking tapioca
  • Grated zest of one lemon (juice of half a lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt (if you have lavendar salt use that-not completely necessary)

Jujube Jam Recipe Instructions

1. Chop jujubes so you cut the stems and seeds out.
2. Combine Jujube fruit in a steep pot or slow cooker.
3. Add all ingredients and cook on medium heat stirring every few minutes. Use lid if necessary.
4. Once jujubes are soft and mixture looks ready, take off the heat and let sit to cool
5. When the mixture is cool, put in food processor and mix on chopped. Grind down until smooth.
6. Serve

Here you see the jam served over greek plain yogurt with a small blueberry muffin. Eat on toast or, if you are throwing a party this season, serve with cheese and salty crackers! Enjoy.