Need an easy weekend breakfast treat? Or something to sweeten the deal when you go apartment hunting? Homemade muffins are the way to go!
A sweet treat to celebrate life's small victories. Like a successful apartment hunt. Yay!
Last Christmas my Mom gave an amazing gift to the women in the family: a compilation of family recipes she'd been given by her sister, hand-written and ranging from favorite childhood lunches to elaborate dinner party dishes. One of the recipes is for a lasagne that is insanely rich, filled with béchamel sauce, cheese, noodles...
This isn't that recipe.
I need to get myself back on track with healthy eating, and parties are a consistent saboteur. So instead of creating something indulgent, or creating nothing (and having no other sweet options than other's rich offerings), I've found it's best to bring my own. But that should never mean sacrificing flavor.
In high school, when my family lived in Southern California, I began keeping a small container garden on our back patio (which I sometimes referred to as a "pot garden," before I remembered that had a completely different meaning in SoCal). There were five large pots, one for herbs, and two each for tomatoes and zucchini. The herbs and tomatoes did well, but wow! Those zucchini wouldn't stop growing! I let every flower grow into a zucchini in the first year for fear I'd pluck all the flowers and be left with nothing. Well, that year we grew tired of zucchini bread and zucchini salads and sautéed zucchini, and every morning it seemed I would go out to find a giant specimen as big as my forearm hiding under the leaves, though I could have sworn it was not there yesterday.
Anyway, the second year I began to eat the blossoms. And I'm glad I did!
As a March baby, my birthday coincides perfectly with lamb season.
Fusion cupcakes with a crazy-long name, moist crumb and delicious frosting.
I am not a chef. My culinary education is haphazard, divided amongst learning from family and friends of varying skill levels, an occasional formal class, reading recipes, and plain old experimentation. Most times things tend to work out within an acceptable variance from expectations.
Saturday was not one of those days.
A pile of dishes in the sink. Not one, not two, but three last-minute runs to the store for supplies or store-bought replacements for what I had hoped to be homemade recipe components. An egg splattering on the floor. Throwing away more food in one day than I had done in an entire year at this apartment.
It all started with a cake.
Mirepoix is a classic blend of chopped carrots, celery, and onions used as a flavoring agent in many French soups, stews, and sauces. Proportions vary - a common standard is two parts onion, one part carrot, and one part celery. Despite selflessly offering their flavors, the mirepoix is normally removed before serving.
What waste! What tragedy!
The components of mirepoix are some of the cheapest fresh vegetables you can find, and are time-tested complements to each other. This inspired me to make a soup which let's them take center stage, and preserved the high fiber and nutrient content of the vegetables.
This soup plays with the proportions a bit (okay, a lot): an entire bunch of celery, 2 pounds of carrots, and one onion. After being cooked and blended together, you'll end up with a big batch of delicious soup with a low calorie content - 1/6 of the recipe (which is a big, heaping bowl!) is only 130 calories, with 6.2 grams of fiber, 8.7 grams of protein, and 1390 mg of potassium! Woah!
To make it a meal, serve with fish and warm, crusty bread for dipping. This is a very versatile soup, and you can experiment with different spice combinations depending on your preferences. It's great as leftovers reheated in the microwave.