Sunday, March 30, 2008

GF croutons and 2 different kinds of soup.

This weekend here in LA...chilly. Saturday morning, we headed on down to the farmers market and picked up some of the usual produce. J is finally feeling like eating vegetables and such, so I was happy to hear that.

So, J wanted to have potato leek soup and we got ingredients for that as well as some other things I was thinking of making.

I don't think I've ever posted a potato leek soup recipe, but it's really, really easy. I've made it a bunch of times and like a lot of the things I've made more than a few times(this doesn't include baked items), I don't need to follow a recipe. It's all in my head somewhere.

Here's an older post with pictures of the potato leek soup with chives as a garnish.

Sometimes I'll add a few shallots to the recipe just for fun as I did in that above link. Just go to Google and do a search for a potato leek soup recipe and you'll be in good hands.

So, after I made the potato leek soup, J had the good idea of making GF croutons. We had bread that we had made and it was in the fridge. So, she cut them into slices and then into cubes. Olive oil into the skillet, when hot, add the bread and make sure the heat isn't too high because otherwise, they'll burn. She also added dried oregano. garlic powder and sea salt to taste. -(Make sure that you cook one side of the croutons FIRST before adding the herbs and seasoning. )- Why? Well, if you add it early, nothing will stick to the bread and it'll all fall off into the skillet and burn. If you cook one side first, the bread is coated in olive oil and everything will stick and add flavor.

After making sure one side was browned, she turned them over to brown the other side. Seem like a lot of work? Well, not really. The results are fantastic and any really GOOD restaurant should make their croutons in the restaurant, not order them in.

Crunchy, tasty GF croutons with potato leek soup. I'm glad she wanted to make croutons because it adds a contrasting texture element to the soup as well as some really good flavor. Very warming for those cold days like Saturday was and it actually rained Saturday night.

A Meyer lemon comparison.

Growing up, we always had lemons in the backyard from a lemon tree my grandfather(carpenter/fisherman/gardener extraordinaire and one of the greatest people I know) planted a really long time ago. When I was a kid, I never knew why the lemons in our backyard had 4-5 times more juice than lemons from a grocery store and weren't as sour. Well, enter the Meyer Lemon.

My mom gave us a bunch last week and they were used for various culinary delights, but I used almost all of them for freshly made lemonade. Each of the home-grown lemons easily had 5 tablespoons of juice.

So, below....the Meyer lemon on the left is from the FM and the one on the right is from my parents' backyard. No, there is nothing wrong with the color calibration on your monitor. The FM lemon is actually orange like an orange and the one from my parents' is a deep, bright yellow. They both taste the same.

J didn't believe me when I told her that I saw orange Meyer lemons a month ago at the FM. Now she does.

Ok, so on to the second soup! This one in particular is menudo(Mexican tripe soup)-inspired.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that tripe is one of my favorite things to eat and I like it most in menudo or made chinese style with ginger, some soy and thinly sliced scallions on top. I know...gross you say! Well, to me if you eat ANY kind of animal protein, you had better be eating and enjoying almost everything on the creature. To not do so disrespects the thing that died in order for you to eat and it's boring. Severely boring. I can go on all day and night talking about that, but let's get back to the soup!

I didn't take a picture of all of the ingredients, but I'll list them here:

-3 Tbs of olive oil
-1 large can of hominy
-tomato paste
-tomato sauce
-4 to 5 large, chopped carrots
-1/4 small cabbage, thinly sliced
-4 to 5 garlic cloves(adjust to your personal preference, I like a lot of garlic)
-3 shallots(or half an onion), finely diced
-1 container of GF organic, low sodium, chicken broth
-Sea salt to taste
-2 Tbs Ground Mexican oregano(you can find this in LA easily at most stores in the 'ethnic' aisle)
-4 Tbs Ground New Mexico chiles(you can find this in LA easily at most stores in the 'ethnic' aisle)
-Mexican hot sauce(optional) I use Cholula or Tapatio in addition because I like really spicy food.
-Cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil in the pot at medium heat and add shallots, garlic and carrots. When shallots are almost translucent, add hominy and cabbage. The extra water from adding the hominy will prevent the garlic from burning(also why you should cook over medium heat). Add the ground oregano and chile as well as season with some salt to taste.

After carrots have softened and the hominy is partially cooked through, add the entire box of chicken stock (and water if you wish to thin the soup). Also add 2 Tbs of tomato paste and 1 cup of tomato sauce. Stir until paste is broken up and incorporated. Let simmer for 15-20 more minutes or until carrots are cooked through and no longer crisp.

Pour soup in a bowl, add a squeeze of lime and add chopped cilantro on top for garnish.


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