One Last Hot Soup for Winter 2015: Chicken Curry Noodle

Recently I fell ill with a pesky respiratory ailment and as I got sicker my body craved that old folk remedy: chicken noodle soup.  But, I was tired of the same old chicken soup which, lately, seemed light on flavor and not very exciting. I saw this recipe somewhere; frankly I was pretty ill and can’t even remember where I spied it.  Last weekend I just had to give it a try. It’s a humdinger of a spicy, flavorful brothy soup and just the ticket for whatever ails you or maybe you want to add a new flavor to your soup repertoire. It sure is not my usual chicken noodle!

This was one time I got adventurous with the Madras even though I am not a huge curry powder fan.  The spicy combination of hot peppers (I used a medium hot yellow hot one, an even milder green hot pepper and part of a sweet red pepper) and curry powder was great for opening my sinuses. The coconut milk pulls the flavors together to play nicely.  I used only one can of it but the original recipe used two. I could taste all the flavors, even stuffed up.   I loved every spoonful and felt better after imbibing!

I made my soup with some butternut squash which was already cooked and relaxing in my fridge. The original recipe used cooked cubes of red skinned yam, I plan on trying that version soon.  It also had fresh basil leaves shredded on top of each bowl; feel free to add some, There was no fresh basil around so my soup is without it.  I used some skinny rice noodles; the original recipe called for some weird sounding bean noodles.  I might use wider rice noodles in my next version or gf egg noodles.  You might use chicken breast if that is what is in the fridge or freezer. Add more chili garlic sauce if you love it hot; I went with the lesser amount; go as high as 2 tsp. if you dare!  I added the zucchini for more vegetable impact, add or subtract a vegetable of your choice….

That’s the one thing I want to stress in this post; you don’t have to have every single ingredient to make a soup recipe, its okay to make substitutions.  This is not baking, where you need to be more exact.  The only thing I ask is: don’t complain all over the place if you dislike the dish after you made huge changes to the ingredients.  I see that on foodnetwork.com and epicurious.com all the time and it makes me nuts.  No whiners!

So have fun and throw a different and spicy soup that will warm you totally up, it’s really not that spring like today and your body will thank you.

choco chip muffin, leekpotato soup 006

Just after adding the zucchini slices.

 

choco chip muffin, leekpotato soup 007

Ready to spoon out into the bowls.

Curry Noodle Soup Recipe

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups of cubed cooked butternut squash or yams
7-ounce rice noodles, skinny or wide

4 cups gluten free chicken stock (I like Kitchen Basics)
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
¾ pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced

1 small zucchini sliced into half rounds

1-2 red, yellow and/or green chilies, thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into half

Directions

Roast a butternut squash which you have cut in half the long way and seeded.  I place the halves cut face down on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, bake at 375 or 400 degrees until soft; 30-40 minutes, depends on the size and thickness.  Another option is 1-2 yams roasted and cubed.

Add the rice noodles to 1 ½ cups boiling hot water, turn off the heat and let stand ten minutes. Drain.

In a soup pot, combine the chicken stock, coconut milk, curry powder, and chili garlic sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Add the sliced chicken thighs and cook for 10 minutes. Add the zucchini at the start of the last 4 minutes. You don’t want them overcooked, still a tad crisp. Add the squash or sweet potatoes and the soaked noodles and heat through. Add the chilies and green onions and squeeze in the lime juice.

choco chip muffin, leekpotato soup 009

Serve the soup making sure you get some of the pepper chilies slices and green onions in each bowl.

Servings: four to six depending on bowl size.

Cranberry Blueberry Muffin Treats

muffin close up 002

Oh nuts, we are out of muffins….again.  That’s no good! I didn’t go far from my favorite recipes to make these, possibly my favorite muffins of all time. This is a riff on my fall of 2014 take on a muffin recipe out of Annalise Robert’s cookbook; Gluten-Free Baking Classics; her blueberry muffins but with a special topping. If you are looking for a great source recipe book this is it: her gf quick breads are particularly delicious, all my gluten loving friends and family enjoy them.  I made her brownies this past weekend; always perfection and rapidly devoured.

I have a confession to make: I have never been a big fan of cranberries.  Until this winter! I decided to experiment with them and found that they play very well with a variety of fruits for muffins, tarts, pies and crisps.  The cranberries brighten the flavor and add a lovely rosy color.  Do look beyond your prejudices to their sharp flavor and give them a second try.  I am so glad I did.

These muffins did not disappoint: delicate texture yet slightly crunchy outside with a great fruity flavor and just enough sugar for me.  To measure I poured about ½ cup of blueberries and added the rest of the measure out of the bag of cranberries. I used frozen fruit; easy to get in the winter, don’t defrost them before adding. The streusel topping insures that they look straight from a gluten free bakery.

There are walnuts in there so you get some really great nutrients from the fruit and nuts.  Not much guilt in eating one of these treats! You can swap the white sugar for coconut palm sugar which is very low as far as raising blood sugar.  I am out of it so I had to go with what was in my pantry.

I like to test eat a muffin from the batch while they are still warm out of the oven, at the moment of perfection.  This version is perhaps my favorite of every single muffin recipe I have tried.

It is smart to freeze any you won’t eat in two days time; a zip lock freezer bag works great.

Here are the pictures I took while making these muffins. From the outside they look somewhat plain so I took one shot of a cross section so you could see the baked fruit inside this yummy breakfast treat.

turkey meatballs, cranberry blue muffins 003turkey meatballs, cranberry blue muffins 002

turkey meatballs, cranberry blue muffins 005turkey meatballs, cranberry blue muffins 004

Cranberry Blueberry Muffins

2 cups brown rice flour mix (see below)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. xanthan gum

¼ tsp. salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries and blueberries

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

2 large eggs

½ cup milk, 1 or 2 percent

½ cup canola oil

Topping: Mix the following in a bowl, make sure the butter is in tiny pebbles; use your fingertips to blend.

½ cup rolled oats

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. almond meal

1½ tbsp. butter

¼ tsp. cinnamon

——-

Directions: Heat your oven to 375 degrees, placing the rack in middle of oven.  Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.  One batch makes 12-16 muffins.  I got 16 when I made them.

Mix all dry ingredients in bowl of stand mixer or big bowl Add fruits and walnuts; stir to coat them with dry mix.  Combine milk and oil.  Beat in eggs, add vanilla.  Add liquids to big bowl; stir just until blended.  It is a very thick batter.

Fill muffin pans 2/3 full.  I use a big serving spoon and fill it about half way to dump in each muffin space. Sprinkle the top with the topping. Press it in a bit so it won’t flake off after baking. Bake 21-23 min until golden brown. Do not over bake or they will taste dry.  Remove immediately from the pans and cool on a rack.  They freeze well for a few weeks, if they last that long.  Keeps in fridge (well wrapped) or an airtight cookie jar for 2-3 days.

Brown Rice Flour Mix base mix 

(This mix is the same as King Arthur’s blend)
2 c brown rice flour (must be finely ground: I spin mine a while in the blender cup by cup to improve its texture.)

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

 

Yummy Lemon Sauced Turkey Meatballs

lentil stew, turkey meatballs 006

Okay, it is still winter and pretty cold but spring looms with daylight savings time beginning plus I am a tiny bit weary of posting soups.  I do enjoy other sorts of food you know! There is this recipe I’ve been making for years. The other day I was chowing down my lunch and someone said, “What is that lovely roasty smell?” and I was able to say with a smile that it was my turkey meatballs with lemon gravy.

They are not fancy; the recipe, which I tore out of a woman’s magazine a decade ago, said they are supposed to replace regular meatballs as healthier but I just like them for their homey taste and the excellent sauce!  You can also make them with ground chicken; very good as well. I never seem to have enough sauce so you could make even more of that and be happy with the amount.  I used to have them over noodles all the time but now that I am gf I occasionally use white or brown rice, both work very well with this sauce.  I am guessing quinoa would be nice as well.

It is the lemon that makes them taste so good but I also like the carrot and scallions in the sauce.  Home flavors and pretty healthy, this is a satisfying meal with a starch and a veggie added on.  And you can put it together in 30 minutes. Perfect for a week night supper.

lentil stew, turkey meatballs 002lentil stew, turkey meatballs 003lentil stew, turkey meatballs 004lentil stew, turkey meatballs 005

Lemon Sauced Turkey Meatballs

1 lb ground turkey

1 medium onion, minced

1 large egg

¼-1/3 cup gf bread or cracker crumbs

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce.

½-3/4 tsp. lemon zest

½ tsp sea salt and same of pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup plain low fat or full fat yogurt

2 tbsp. gf flour of your choice

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 carrot grated fine

2 scallions chopped into small rounds

1/3 cup celery leaves chopped fine, optional

Directions:

Mix the meatballs up in a large mixing bowl; dump in the ground turkey, add the onion, crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest, sea salt, pepper to taste and egg.  Mix until fairly well distributed. Form into 12-16 meatballs.

Heat the oil in a wide Teflon or cast iron pan.  Add the meatballs.  Brown them on all sides, turning carefully with a spatula and a fork. When browned add the broth and cover.  Cook 12-15 minutes, add up to ½ cup more broth if needed; there should be at least ½ cup left when they are cooked.  Add the flour to the yogurt, stir and add to the pan.  Add the lemon juice and stir in the carrot, celery if using it, and the white parts of the scallions.  Cook 2-3 minutes.  Add the rest of the scallions and stir.  If it seems too thick add some more chicken broth.  I like this new concentrate I found; by Kitchen Accomplice, makes 28 cups, it is a small squeeze bottle of liquid. Very handy and GF.  Perfect when you need less than 15 ounces of broth.

choco chip muffin, leekpotato soup 004

 

Serve the meatballs and sauce over rice or noodles. I have been experimenting lately and served a topping of pickled red onions; really nice zingy addition…up to you.  For that I cut up part of a red onion and top with cider vinegar to cover, let stand at least 30 minutes. Will keep overnight in fridge.  It is a fun topper on salads too.

Another Storm, Another Soup Potato Leek to the Rescue

What a wicked nasty winter….speaking objectively… I keep posting soup ‘cause it keeps snowing! Cold winter nights and days mean my tummy craves thick comforting soup.  Satisfying and filling after a harrowing drive home from work.  This leek potato soup fits the bill and then some.   It is also known as vichyssoise: the fancy French name for pureed leek and soup. My mom used to make it when I was a teen, in the summer she served it chilled and in the winter it is perfect hot from the pot. Both versions are awesome.

choco chip muffin, leekpotato soup 018

I love to make this recipe as it gives me the opportunity to yank out my boat motor blender and let it go!  It is a small, hand held immersion blender that is fun and effective although it often leaves a few chunks of potato and leek in my soup which I kinda like.

This soup uses half and half to make it creamy.  The original recipe says heavy cream but I wanted to lighten the fat load and I sometimes pour in plain whole milk.  I have a friend who makes it with nonfat milk, in my mind that is going a tad too far in that austere direction.  Don’t use less than 2 percent if you want a rich creamy texture and great mouth feel. You could mix some cream and some milk.  Whatever works for you or is in the fridge!

You can guild the lily by sprinkling this with chopped fresh chives, nice but not necessary.

Mom’s Potato Leek Soup

Ingredients

2 tbsp butter

1 medium onion, diced small

3 leeks; white and pale green parts only, chopped into small rounds

3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced

3-4 cups chicken broth

¾ cup half and half

¼ tsp. mace or nutmeg

1/4-3/4 tsp. sea salt

Directions

I use my heavy bottomed small soup pot.  A heavy metal bottom helps things cook evenly and lessons the possibility of burnt soup at the bottom of the pot which is never a happy thing.

Heat the butter, add the onion bits and leek slices. Cook 4 minutes.  Add 3 cups gluten free chicken broth.  I really prefer Kitchen Basics; says GF on box and tastes great.  Heat to boiling, add the diced up potatoes, cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are done.  Add more broth if it seems low in liquid.  Pour out the half and half into a measuring cup and let it warm to room temperature while the soup cooks. I usually poke the potatoes with a fork to check for almost falling apart status.  Turn off and let stand 10 minutes.

choco chip muffin, leekpotato soup 014choco chip muffin, leekpotato soup 013choco chip muffin, leekpotato soup 015choco chip muffin, leekpotato soup 017

Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. Can also use a blender or a food processor for this action but in any case, be very careful not to burn yourself with a splash of hot soup. Add half and half, the mace and salt to your taste.  Blend them in until it is smooth.

choco chip muffin, leekpotato soup 018

Great hot or well chilled once we reach that lovely season of summer heat that makes a chilled soup seem fabulous.  Right now, it is the LAST thing I want to eat…cold soup.  NOOOOOOoooo.

Anyway, enjoy it hot this chilly March.  This recipe is an adaption from The Joy of Cooking, a handy resource volume for classic recipes like this one.  Great taste never goes out of style.

Lemon Marmalade Is A Fantastic Topper

Greek yogurt is the latest power dairy snack, favored by teachers, moms, office workers and many others seeking a portable tasty yet healthy snack.  I eat it too.  But sometimes I want a more basic, yet way above average, yogurt.  My little secret for great yogurt is the brand; Stonyfield Organic.  I buy the large 32 ounce container of plain unflavored; cheaper than small ones and I can use a bit for cooking and the rest for lunch or snacks.  I usually get the one percent low fat yogurt.  Organic milk makes amazingly creamy flavorful yogurt, far superior to any made with non-organic milk.

Occasionally I treat myself to Stonyfield’s whole milk yogurt. This is thick, creamy and oh so delicious.  The top layer is like cream yogurt; crazy yummy!  I eat a dish of this yogurt with fresh jam, all that jam that I don’t eat on toast anymore.  I know, whole milk. But sometimes you have to enjoy the best that life can give you and frankly experts say that non-fat yogurt is less healthy than yogurt with some fat.  Go on, live wild and try this fabulous organic yogurt.

yogurt and apple crisp 028

You can also enjoy this yogurt with honey drizzled on top.  Sprinkled with my homemade granola it is very healthy, filling, and delightful tasting.  It is also a great topping for apple crisp, smooth delicate flavor to match with the spicy crisp.

My latest version is with homemade lemon marmalade spooned on top.  Simple, clean tasting and tangy, a perfect after work snack before doing afternoon tasks.

yogurt and apple crisp 001

Here is the lemon marmalade recipe if you want to whip up a batch.  It is much in favor with my friends and family. Great on toast too.  I bet it will taste great made with regular lemons too.  It is pretty easy to do; lots of chopping up lemons and stirring the preserves as they cook.  But the effort is well worth it as the lemony flavor is outstanding and buying some at a store will set you back quite a bit for a small jar. Yours will have more fruit in it and less stuff; two ingredients if you don’t count the water!  Make your jam reputation on this winter treat!

lemon delivery box 001

Lemon delivery from my brother Robert in Texas. Yumm!

Meyer lemons are very fragrant and have a less sour taste.  The rind is quite edible. I make candied lemon peel sometimes after making lemoncello.  That is another blog post though!

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Ingredients

6 or 7 Meyer lemons (1 1/2 pounds)

4 cups water

4 cups sugar

Special equipment:

Cheesecloth or small fabric bag to put seeds in

Kitchen string

The day you can it up:  you will need 6 half pint Mason jars, heated to boiling in a big pot of water.  Along with the lids and rings also heated.  The lids must be new ones.  You shouldn’t boil them more than a few minutes; turn down to low.

Directions:

Halve lemons crosswise and remove seeds and reserve them. Quarter each lemon half and thinly slice. Tie seeds in a cheesecloth bag.  Combine with bag of seeds and water in a 5-quart nonreactive heavy pot (I use my cast iron enamel coated pot) and let mixture stand, covered, at room temperature 24 hours.

Bring lemon mixture to a boil over moderate heat. I leave the seeds in for this part too.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 4 cups, about 45 minutes. Remove seeds; let the liquid drain off into the pot; full of pectin so your marmalade sets up!

Stir in sugar and boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam, until a teaspoon of mixture dropped on a cold plate gels, about 25 to 40 minutes.  I scoop out any seeds that got in by accident!

Ladle hot marmalade into jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of top. Wipe rims with dampened cloth and seal jars with lids and rims.

Put jars in a water-bath canner or in a deep pot. Add enough hot water to cover jars by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Boil jars, covered, 5 minutes and transfer with tongs to a rack. Cool jars completely. The lid should vacuum seal within minutes of you setting them to dry and cool.

lemon marmalade 001

This is two batches together. That white stuff is gf flour mix on my cutting board.

I like to let it ripen for 3 or 4 weeks before opening a jar. The jarred marmalade keeps a year in a cool dry place out of the sun; basement shelf works great.

Any extra marmalade that isn’t enough for a jar goes in the fridge and gets eaten within a few weeks.  Original recipe came from epicurious. com.