Cold Szechuan Noodles with Chicken

Boston is under siege! A couple weeks ago an oppressive wave of heat and humidity descended upon the city sending our “feels like” temperatures into the triple digits. I know, I know, I should feel bad complaining about this having lived in New York, DC, and Kansas where the air is soupy enough to swim in come August, and in Texas where the dry, scorching heat will melt the skin off your face most months out of the year. But I’m a Northerner now, and us Yanks just can’t handle the heat. Continue reading

Roasted Red Pepper, Asparagus, & Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

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Thanksgiving is less than one week away and for all of you, like myself, who are just starting to put together your Turkey Day menus, let me offer a suggestion; why not try something new this year? It’s crazy, I know, to break away from tradition and consider something other than the obligatory stuffing (or dressing, if you’re not putting it into the bird), but I’ve got something else in mind for you. This incredible side dish will go with whatever meat or meat substitute (Tofurky anyone?) is the customary centerpiece at your table. (Side note: I just learned that many Texans serve ribs on Thanksgiving. How awesome is that?!) Anyway, regardless of what other lovely foods grace your plates next Thursday, this savory bread pudding will make you and your tastebuds very thankful. Continue reading

Harvest Soup

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Okay, so Harvest Soup isn’t the actual name of this soup. It’s proper name is Mushroom and Hazelnut Soup, but since my mom only made it on Thanksgiving, my sister and I started referring to it as this (and be grateful, because the runner up was Pilgrim Stew). This is yet another recipe that’s been in the family for years, and we have no idea where it originated, other than one of my mom’s cooking magazines from way back. You see, at one point in the early 90’s (about the time Martha Stewart hit the scene), my mom decided that she wanted to fancy up our Thanksgiving dinner by serving courses. She was looking for something seasonally appropriate for the first course and felt that hazelnuts and mushrooms sounded autumny and elegant. It was an immediate hit with our guests, who, nearly 20 years later, ended up becoming my in-laws; that’s how magical this soup is! (Just kidding. Kind of.) Anyway, since that fateful Thanksgiving, this soup has made a return appearance every single year, but ONLY on the fourth Thursday in November. Continue reading

Golden Applesauce

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Okay, for those of you good sports playing along with yesterday’s trivia quiz, the answer to the question, what do we always serve with pork chops, is applesauce, of course! As Bobby Brady said in a terrible Humphrey Bogart impression, “We’re having pork choooops and applesaaaauce, that’s swell.” Just so you know, in my entire experience as a home cook, I don’t think I’ve ever once made pork chops without applesauce; that’s how much of an impact this wacky Brady Bunch quote made on my young, impressionable mind. But this isn’t your typical flavorless, out-of-the-jar applesauce, this version is the real deal! Sweetened with golden raisins and honey, and spiked with cinnamon and ginger, this tart little number (and I’m not referring to myself here), will make you reconsider every other applesauce you’ve ever eaten. Cross my heart. Continue reading

Fireside Mussels

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Almost two years ago my parents decided to add a deck onto the back of their kitchen, and somehow in the planning process, my dad miraculously talked my mom in to allowing him to build a brick pizza oven along with it. I don’t know how he managed to convince her, but I’m pretty sure a bottle of Merlot was involved. Regardless, I was delighted. By association, I became the proud owner of a beautiful cooking device that I use almost of every time I’m home. In addition to crafting homemade pizzas (of which we’ve made dozens), we use it to cook calzones, empanadas, and, just recently, mussels. Now, I realize that a brick oven isn’t something you can just go out and buy, like a waffle iron or a ice cream maker, so I’ve also included cooking instructions for these Fireside Mussels using a regular outdoor grill (which is how I cook them whenever I’m not visiting my parents). No matter what vessel you use to bake these succulent bivalves, they’re going to taste amazing! Just promise me you’ll serve them with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the extra cooking liquid – believe me, you’ll thank me for it! Continue reading

Shrimp Ceviche

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Ceviche is a traditional Peruvian dish made of chopped seafood (usually shrimp, scallops, or geoduck), citrus juice, and a few other salsa-like ingredients. It’s delicious, it’s refreshing, and it’s really easy to make. So easy, in fact, that it cooks itself! You see, by combining citric acid with raw seafood, you’re able to cure the shellfish in a flavorful lemon/lime bath and essentially “cook” it without actually using heat, making it the perfect summer snack food during these hot August days. Now, I’m not sure what it is in the acid that causes the little fishy proteins to magically change, but it’s pretty cool to watch the uncooked shrimp slowly turn pink before your very eyes. I considered doing some extensive online research on this cooking method and then blowing you away with my vast knowledge on the subject, but that sounded exhausting. Instead, I’m including a link for some extra credit reading for those of you really interested in learning something new today. Continue reading

Tomato-Watermelon Gazpacho (with a kick!)

When I created this blog nearly 8 months ago, I was living in Kansas and knee-deep in one of the bitterest winters the Mid-West had seen in years. At the time, my family and I were surviving on weekly soups and hearty meals to keep ourselves warm, so it seemed perfect to name my food blog SoupBowlRecipes! It was an obvious choice for someone who was freezing and didn’t have the foresight to consider that they would eventually move to one of the hottest states on the planet, where, for at least 6 months out of the year, the thought of making soup is unbearable. And now here we are in Texas, in mid-August, where the temperature for the past few weeks has been hovering around 100°F and shows no signs of breaking. So what’s a girl supposed to do? Well, what every good soup blogger does when life hands them lemons – make lemonade! Or in this case, I’m taking my farmers’ market tomatoes and making a refreshing gazpacho! Continue reading

Olive Stuffed Arancini

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Arancini is a traditional Sicilian dish made of little balls of rice that have been rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs, then fried in oil. Yum, right?!  The rice (or risotto) can be left as-is or stuffed with a variety of tidbits like cheese, ham, peas, or my personal favorite, olives. The first time I tasted one of these mouthwatering flavor bombs was on a walking food tour through Greenwich Village while I was living in Manhattan. I was handed this crispy round thing that looked a little bit like a hushpuppy, but was so much better. Since then, I’ve seen them on menus at the occasional Italian restaurant, but not nearly as much as I’d like to (seriously, these things need to become more mainstream!) – so I decided to make them myself. And share them with you. Because I’m nice like that. Continue reading

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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Last weekend my family was invited to and outdoor gathering where I was asked to bring an appetizer. Easy enough, I thought; I have tons of appetizer recipes that I’ve been wanting to try out. The trick, however, was figuring out what to make that didn’t require last minute cooking, yet could stand up to our sweltering Texas heat. A quick rummage through my pantry turned up a jar of roasted red peppers and a can of chickpeas, and I instantly knew that I had the beginning of an awesome summer dip. Using my homemade hummus recipe as a base, I only had to tweak a couple ingredients to create a whole new flavor. Zestier and smokier than the original, this hummus dip will help brighten any BBQ or potluck – rain or shine! Continue reading

Baked Southwest Egg Rolls with Creamy Salsa

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I have a major weakness for Southwest egg rolls. It’s my kryptonite. Just one whiff of them can bring me to my knees, and every time I see them on a menu (and that’s a lot since our move to Texas), I have to order them. I’m not sure who it was that first came up with this Asian fusion work of art, but they should be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for brilliance in food discovery. Alright, maybe that’s going a bit too far, but that’s how much I love them. Now, with that being said, I realize that these fried little goodies aren’t the most nutritious things you can put into your mouth, and with bikini season still in full swing, I’m not yet willing to abandon my healthy eating habits and devour these by the handful, like I inevitably do once sweater season strikes. But just because the weather is warm and the clothing trends skimpy, doesn’t mean I should completely sacrifice my favorite go-to appetizer, right? At least that’s what I was thinking last weekend when I was having a serious snack-attack. Hungry for something savory and satisfying, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own less fattening version of the Southwest egg roll. Made with brown rice, lean chicken, and baked instead of fried, I feel better (at least a little bit) about attacking these guys with reckless abandon. Which I did. — Don’t judge.

Baked Southwest Egg Rolls

Makes 14

  • ½ cup dry brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1½ cups corn kernels, fresh or canned
  • 1 cup precooked rotisserie chicken (white meat, skin removed), roughly chopped (*omit to make this a vegetarian dish)
  • 1 bell pepper (red or orange), chopped
  • ½ cup jarred salsa
  • ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 Tbsp diced canned jalapeños (substitute mild diced green chills for less heat)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 14 flour tortillas, fajita size
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
  • parchment paper

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Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Once boiling, add rice and stir for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until rice is soft and all the water has evaporated from the pot. Once rice has finished cooking, fluff with a fork and set aside.

Meanwhile, pour half of the black beans into a medium bowl and mash with a fork until most of the beans are crushed.IMG_9237

To the same bowl, add cooked rice and all the other remaining ingredients (except the tortillas and egg wash), and stir until combined.IMG_9254

Fill a ¼-cup measurer with egg roll filling and drop it into the center of a tortilla.IMG_9259

Bring 2 sides of the tortilla upward, then use your other hand to press on the outside of the tortilla, forming the filling into a log running down the center of the tortilla, stopping ½-inch from each end.IMG_9260

Fold the bottom of the tortilla up towards the center, then fold both sides inward, creating an envelope.IMG_9261

Brush the open end of tortilla with the egg wash and fold inward, sealing the egg roll.IMG_9266 IMG_9263

Place egg roll seam-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then brush the top of the tortilla with egg wash, covering the entire surface.IMG_9265

Repeat with the remaining tortillas.IMG_9268

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until egg rolls are golden brown and crispy to the touch. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve with Creamy Salsa for dipping (recipe below).IMG_9270

Creamy Salsa

  • 1 cup jarred salsa
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • smoked paprika for garnish

Mix salsa, sour cream, and salt together until smooth. Sprinkle with smoked paprika. Creamy Salsa can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.IMG_9287

Sidekick: Serve with a light and refreshing beer, preferably of the Mexican variety: Pacifico, Modelo, Sol, Dos Equis, Victoria, or Carta Blanca.