Sunday, April 4, 2021

An Easter Day Round Up of Avogolemono Soup (Greek Lemon, Egg and Rice Soup) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Happy Easter! I took the day of from soup-making because it was a long week and I was feeling lazy and wanted to stay out of the kitchen. Still, with over 600 soups on this blog, I think we can always share some favorites. 

Easter makes me think of Greek Avogolemono Soup. Maybe it's the egg, or the lemony rice vibe that smack of spring. Either way, here's a few avegolemono soups I have made over the past 13 years of blogging. I actually thought there would be more than seven--it seems like I eat it more often than I post it, but here are a few for any kind of eater that I think you will enjoy!

Ruth Reichl's Avgolemono is a favorite, so good I made it in March of 2017:

And then again in October of 2018:

Mark Bittman's Avegolemono Soup (With Pearled Couscous) from July 2020


A couple of vegan versions like Greek Creamy Lemon Rice Soup ("No" Govlemono) by Terry Hope Romano from December 2012. 


Another vegan soup is Vegan Avgolemono (Creamy Lemony-Rice Soup) from February 2015 from Shape.com


Here's a twist: Creamy Lemon-Rice Soup with Mini Meatballs from March 2010 from Sunset Magazine. 


Greek Avgolemono Soup from December 2009 from Vegetarian Times Magazine


Let's see who is here in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week: 

Simona of briciole took inspiration from our recent round of Cook the Books and made this pretty Roast Beet, Avocado, Blood Orange and Daikon Radish Salad, saying "To me salad bowls are experiment benches: I mix and dress, toss and taste and tend not to repeat twice. For the photo op I kept the ingredients separate, but then everything is tossed and eaten in the purple juice of red beet and blood orange. The citrus (agrumi) offset beets' sweetness and the blue cheese (formaggio erborinato) gives the salad a bit of a tang, while the daikon adds some zest. 


Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen shared Black Eyes Peas and Tomatoes in Peanut Sauce called Kunde and said, "Kunde is the Swahili word for black eyed peas. It's suggested in the book to eat it with rice, but we just had it as is - like a beany thick soup.  It was lovely; ad to be honest, after eating the Kunde, we were rather full and not in need for more food for the rest of the day."

 

Thank you to Simona and Shaheen for joining me this week!
 
(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

 Have a healthy, happy week and Happy Easter!

 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Quick Riff on Aarón Sánchez's Sopa Seca (Dry Soup) for Cook the Books Feb/March Pick: "Where I Come From"

As usual, I am wildly behind for the month and for my submission for Cook the Books February/March pick, Where I Come From: Life Lessons from a Latino Chef by Aarón Sánchez, hosted by Claudia of Honey From Rock. (See the intro post here.) I'd love to tell you that I carefully crafted one of the chef's recipes from the book or on the web. The truth is, I tossed together my dish using shortcuts, and while listening to the last of the audio book, the night before our deadline. 

Lest you think I regret this, I have to say I don't because it turned me on to Sopa Seca, which might just be my new favorite flavorful pasta dish--whether you make your own salsa or not. But first, let's talk about the book.


I have always liked Aarón Sánchez, mostly from his show with Chris Cosentino, Chefs vs. City, where they traveled around to different cities competing with local chefs in food challenges. It only ran two seasons on Food Network, but it was a favorite. I also liked him on Chopped, MasterChef, and The Next Iron Chef. I actually received a copy of his memoir last year as part of #AbramsDinnerParty from Abrams Books. I was a bad participant though because I got behind and never even started it. I was very happy when Claudia selected it for Cook the Books and although I looked into my copy for photos and recipes, I mostly listened to the audio book (read by the author) which popped up as a Audible Daily Deal a while back.

                                         Where I Come From: Life Lessons from a Latino Chef: Sanchez, Aaron:  9781419738029: Amazon.com: Books

Where I Come From follows the chef from his childhood with Zarela Martinez, his single mother who was a renowned restaurateur, cookbook author, and authority on Mexican cuisine. He floundered a bit in his teenage years, causing his mother to send him to an Outward Bound-style camp one summer and to apprentice with celebrity Chef Paul Prudhomme. His twin brother was more the scholar and ended up a lawyer but Aarón knew he belonged in the kitchen. The book goes through his early years, his time working in and eventually owning his own restaurants, his personal life and battles with depression, and his celebrity and Food Network years. I liked listening to him tell his story, as his passion for food and family shine through--although the man does like an F-bomb a little too much. 

I found myself more interested in his account of the early Food Network and the early "chefs as celebrities" days and his restaurant experiences than I did his personal life--especially his teenage machismo stories, but he does spin a good story and isn't afraid to give all of the dirty details. He also describes food so well that I spent the book craving really good Mexican food which I wish was closer to where I live. There are about a dozen recipes in the book and they all sounded very good and seemed accessible to the home cook. Overall, I enjoyed the book and it reaffirmed my feeling that Aarón Sánchez is a talented chef and a good guy.  

On to the food. As mentioned, there is plenty in the book. From the included recipes, I was most interested in making the Sautéed Hominy with Pico de Gallo and Oregano, which I will make someday soon with the cans of hominy I like to keep around for soups and such. I decided to move away from the book and find a recipe online that might be quick to make. The recipe that popped up most frequently when I was Googling was a pasta dish called Sopa Seca which translates to "dry soup" and involves toasting pasta and cooking it with salsa and broth on the stove. In the Food Network recipe, Aarón makes a Roasted Tomato-Chile de Arbol Salsa but since I was under the gun for time and cooking after work, I chose a good medium-heat jarred salsa instead, making this dish ready in under 30 minutes. 

Aaron Sánchez says, "Pasta? That's not Mexican, right? Think again. You see it in homes throughout Mexico, one of the many foreign foods that we have welcomed into our cuisine and something I ate growing up. We call this Mexican comfort food, funnily enough, sopa seca, which means "dry soup." 

Sopa Seca
Slightly Adapted from Aarón Sánchez via FoodNetwork.com
(Makes 2 Servings)

1/4 cup canola oil (I used olive oil)
1 cup small shaped pasta such as melon seeds, orzo, or alphabets
1/2 cup salsa (The Chef's Roasted Tomato-Chile de Arbol Salsa, recipe at Food Network, or your favorite jarred or fresh salsa)
2 cups chicken or veggie stock
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
handful of shredded cotija or queso fresco or pecorino, Parmesan, or lightly salty feta cheese
(I added some tiny tomatoes labeled "Sprinkles" from the grocery store)

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or medium pot over medium-high heat until it ripples. Add the pasta and cook, stirring constantly, until the pasta is golden, about 3 minutes.

Scoop out and discard 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the salsa and cook for 2 minutes, stirring the whole time. Pour in the chicken stock and let the liquid come to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook, stirring once in a while, until the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

Divide the pasta between two bowls and garnish with the cilantro and cheese (and tiny tomatoes).

Notes/Results: I was pleasantly surprised at how good this simple dish is--rich, comforting, satisfying and flavorful. And to think it came from just spending a few minutes toasting the pasta and then stirring in salsa and letter it simmer away. I had no trouble devouring my bowl and plan on eating the leftovers for lunch today and then making it again. I am sure it's even better with the chef's freshly-made salsa, but if you have small pasta and a jar of salsa in the pantry as I usually do, this is a quick and tasty weeknight dish. The fresh cilantro, crumbly (feta in my case) cheese, and the tiny "tomato sprinkles" I added gild the lily, but it is delicious on its own. Sometimes last minute, low effort is a big win. 


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event  being hosted by Marg at The Adventures of An Intrepid Reader. It's a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. You can see this week's round up post here.
 
The deadline for this round is today and Claudia will be rounding up the entries for Cook the Books on the website in a day or two. If you missed this round and you like books and food and foodie books, join us for our April/May pick, Honeysuckle Season by Mary Ellen Taylor, hosted by Debra of Eliot's Eats

 

 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Ethiopian Lentil Stew (Misr Wot): Exotic Comfort Food for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I have been cooking and reading along with the #FoodandLit group on Litsy, my favorite book social network. So far we have visited Brazil and Vietnam, and for March, our country is Ethiopia. I am a bit behind on my reading but should finish Open My Eyes, That I May See Marvelous Things by Alice Allan shortly, and the book is set in Addis Ababa. 


For my bookish dish, I went with Misr Wot, a spiced Ethiopian Lentil Stew and I found a recipe from Saveur Magazine. The issue also had recipes for the nit'r quibe, a spiced clarified butter, and berbere, the traditional spice mix but I ended up ordering them on Amazon because it's been that kind of week. Traditionally, this stew would be served with injera, a bread made from teff and used to scoop up the stew by hand, but although I have tried it, it's not a taste/texture I have fully acquired, so I ate my curry with rice. 


Ethiopian Lentil Stew (Misr Wot)
(Serves 4 to 6)

Saveur Magazine says, "The small lentils (variously called red lentils, pink lentils, Egyptian lentils, and, in South Asia, masoor dal) used for this dish turn yellow when cooked. The recipe for this version comes from an Ethiopean cook, Alemtshaye Yigezu, who cooked this dish for us while visiting her home."

1 cup red lentils
4 Tbsp nit'r qibe (Ethiopian Spiced Butter) or unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp berbere (Ethiopian Spice Mix)
1 small tomato, cored and chopped
kosher salt, to taste

Rinse the lentils in a sieve under cold running water and set aside.

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the reserved lentils, 1 tbsp. of the berbere, tomato, and 4 cups water to the saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and the lentils are tender, 45–50 minutes. Stir in the remaining berbere and season generously with salt. Serve immediately.


Notes/Results: A tasty curry with warm spices and surprising layers of flavor from the butter and the spices. Thick and satisfying, and it smelled exotic and heavenly as it simmered away. The berbere spice is warm rather than spicy hot, and you can taste the cinnamon and fenugreek, along with the other spices. I have more butter. lentils and spices and I will happily make this stew again. 


Let's see who is here in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week: 

CraftyGardener is here with a classic Chicken Soup saying, "Chicken soup is a favourite in our house. This time I used an extra chicken breast that had been poached, added stock and veggies and had a delicious soup in no time. ... A delicious soup for a chilly day or a not so chilly day."


Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen was also feeling the red lentil this week and brought Red Lentil and Thyme Soup, saying, "Its been a while since i've both eaten and cooked with red lentils.  I am missing both my mothers and sister-in-law's Red Lentil Dal. Yes, i know it is pauper food, but when made really well, it is most delicious comfort food, and this vegetarian does appreciate humble food.  This Red Lentil Soup is nothing like dal though.  It was tame soup enhanced with thyme and tomatoes to give it a bit of depth."


Thank you to Crafty Gardener and Shaheen for joining me this week!
 
(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Friday, March 26, 2021

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Poet" by Lisa Renee Jones, Served with a Recipe for Mac-and-Cheese Popcorn

Happy Aloha Friday! I am happy to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for the new thriller, The Poet by Lisa Renee Jones. Accompanying my review is an recipe for a bowl-full of tasty Mac-N-Cheese Popcorn inspired by my reading. 


Publisher's Blurb: 

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.” -Jean Cocteau

Some call him friend or boss.
Some call him husband or dad.
Some call him son, even a favorite son.

But the only title that matters to him is the one the media has given him: The Poet.
A name he earned from the written words he leaves behind after he kills that are as dark and mysterious as the reason he chooses his victims.

One word, two, three, a story in a poem, a secret that only Detective Samantha Jazz can solve. Because he’s writing this story for her.

She just doesn’t know it yet.

Mass Market Paperback: 368 Pages
Publisher: Entangled: Amara (March 9, 2021)

My Review:

Detective Samantha Jazz is back at her job after counseling since she witnessed the death of her Police Captain and "dirty" cop" father when he was gunned down by a criminal he once put away. Sam is a poetry student and fan, a trait that she got from her grandfather, so when the detective investigating a murder at a poetry slam abruptly asks for a transfer to another city, Sam gets the case. When a second murder happens and a poem is left, it's clear they have a serial killer case and that The Poet has some personal interest in Detective Jazz.  

I was in the mood for a good thriller, especially one with a strong female main character and some FBI profiling so The Poet basically worked for me. I say basically because the author had me hooked all through the book but the ending seemed rushed and didn't quite hit home the way I wanted it too. Still, there's a lot to like in Sam Jazz, her detective partner Lang and her love interest, FBI agent Wade. Some other good side characters that will have me picking up the next book. I'd like a deeper dive into the different characters, and into Samantha's too. It had a good level of tension, and enough twists and red herrings thrown out to keep me guessing through at least 3/4 of the story. A good creepy-level too, I read it mostly at night and did have to make sure the door was locked the drapes were shut. If you like mystery-thrillers, procedurals, dark and twisty tales, and books with strong female leads, you will enjoy this one. 

-----

Author Notes: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with.

In addition to the success of her INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa’s other bestselling series include: DIRTY RICH and WHITE LIES.

Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

You can Connect with Lisa on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

-----

Food Inspiration:

There's a fair amount of food in The Poet, mentions included chocolate-covered glazed donuts, Godiva chocolate bars and chocolate in general, red wine, popcorn, Chinese food, coffee, pre-made protein shakes, hamburgers, hot salty fries, Diet Coke, Diet Sprite, sandwiches, tea, milk, bourbon, a tequila and lime cocktail, takeout from a late night taco place, Frosted Flakes, Starbucks "green tea drink" and venti skinny white mochas, egg salad sandwiches, pancakes, cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate, mac n cheese from Old Chicago Taphouse, cold gourmet pizza, and birthday cake.


For my bookish dish, I was considering something chocolate--which Detective Jazz and her tech guy are VERY fond of. Then I was going to recreate a pub style mac-and-cheese after Jazz's love interest brings her some from his visit to Dallas but my thoughts turned to popcorn which seems to be a common dinner for our detective, and it is for me too. Since plain popcorn wouldn't be much of an effort, I started thinking, "what about mac-n-cheese popcorn?" and looked online. It turns out that sprinkling dry Kraft or other brands (I had Annie's on hand so that's what I used) Macaroni & Cheese powder on popcorn is out there. Then I saw a recipe from the Rachel Ray Show that has you blend the powder into melted butter first which to me sounded better than dry sprinkles, so that's what I did. (After all it was Chef Richard Blais who made it on the show!) ;-)


Mac-N-Cheese Popcorn
Slightly Adapted from the Rachel Ray Show
(Serves 4

1 packet of mac-and-cheese powder flavoring from a box of mac-and-cheese
1 stick butter, melted
black pepper
popped popcorn, freshly popped, 10-12 cups or more

Whisk the mac n’ cheese powder with the melted butter. Add in a little black pepper. Pour mixture over the popcorn and toss to coat. 


Notes/Results: Simple cheesy, buttery goodness that tastes like childhood. I like mixing the cheese into the melted butter because it isn't a funky powdery texture, and because it's not sauce, it retains the crunch of popcorn with extra butter. I mixed up a half-batch with about 6 cups of popcorn and found myself needing to go put it away because it borders on addicting. I recommend using plain, or just salted popcorn so it doesn't get too buttery (yes, here I think it could be "a thing!") ;-) It's not for cheese purists of course, but if you occasionally indulge in comfort food from your childhood that comes in a box, this is a fast and fun (and slightly messy) movie or one-handed book reading snack that I'd make it again. (And, in case you were wondering, I'll probably cook the pasta from the box and throw it into a salad with some tuna so I don't waste it!) ;-) 

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event  being hosted by Marg at The Adventures of An Intrepid Reader. It's a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. You can see this week's round up post here.


Note: A review copy of "The Poet" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.   
 
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here. 

 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Ten Favorite Soups with Greens for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Rare indeed is the Sunday where I don't make soup but I just wasn't feeling it today. I'm sure come Wednesday when I am packing up lunch and wondering what I am going to take, I'll regret it but right now I am lounging and reading and perfectly happy not being in the kitchen. 

Since we just had St. Patrick's Day this week and our I Heart Cooking Clubs theme was "Eat Your Green(s), I thought I'd do a little Souper Sundays recap of some favorite green soups or soups featuring greens or green ingredients from some of the 21 chefs we have cooked along with.
 
Yotam Ottolenghi's Herb, Chard and Feta Soup is one of my all-time favorites, full of glorious green-herby flavor.
 


Mark Bittman's Creamy Spinach Soup is easy, quick and really tasty.


Nigel Slater's Easy Summer Miso Broth with Greens is that light and simple soup you want when the weather is warm. The lemongrass paste makes the soup in this one.


Julia Child's Hot or Cold Cream of Cucumber Soup is refreshing and tasty with tarragon and dill and good no matter what temperature you eat it at.




Heidi Swanson's Thai Green Curry Zucchini and Noodle Soup is great when a Thai food craving hits. 
 

Giada's Artichoke Soup with Fresh Mint is tangy and delicious and quick to put together. 
 

Tessa Kiros Portuguese Purslane Soup is one I will make again when I find more purslance leaves--so good!


Jamie Oliver's Watercress and Sweet Leek Soup Horseradish & Crème Fraîche Croûtes is peppery and bright and the little toasts on the top are fun.


Nigella Lawson's Green Curry Spinach and Coconut Soup with Grilled Shrimp is pleasantly spicy and really delicious with the grilled shrimp. 


I'm linking up these great green-filled soups to I Heart Cooking Clubs Eat Your Green(s) post this week. 

 
Let's see who is here in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week: 
 
Shaheen from Allotment2Kitchen is here with a Leek, Potato and Lavender Soup, saying "I was motivated by a recipe whilst flicking through a cookbook and remembering that i had some dried lavender in a jar.  Lavender is very potent, so be careful to stick to the quantity recommended.  On eating though, I could hardly taste it, but I could smell it  and it had somewhat of a calming effect on me, unless i was imagining it.  It was also very rich, in thickness and leek flavour which i guess should not have been surprising, as they were literally harvested less than an hour or two before cooking.
 
Thank you to Shaheen for joining me this week!
 
(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Have a happy, healthy week!