I made two tasty things this weekend, and I don’t think I have posted these recipes before. Both were inspired by fairly different dishes at restaurants.
Carrot and Ginger Soup
based on the Carrot and Ginger Soup at the Hershey Hotel buffet lunch… their soup was smooth and creamy and the sort of thing where the directions tell you after cooking to put everything through a processor and strain it. I so don’t understand why people think it is such a good idea to transfer boiling hot soup through several different containers and processes, so this one all went into a Cuisinart (because the kitchen I was using had one!) before being added to the soup.
Step 1: Soak a cube of Knorr’s vegetable bouillon in 2 cups of hot water. (Or have real stock available, but we didn’t at the time.)
Step 2: Melt butter in stockpot (minimum of 2oz, but feel free to add a lot more). Chop 2 medium onions in Cuisinart and 1 clove of garlic (only 1 because I don’t think the original soup had any, but I found myself unable to make savoury food without any garlic). Dump onions into pot and rinse the Cuisinart.
Step 3: Peel carrots (7? A bagful? A bunch o’carrots) and put them in the processor (ETA: in retrospect, it would be better to precess the carrots after. There were tiny grainy bits (that weren’t a bit deal but could be improved) in the final product). Peel ginger (1.5-2 inches), slice it against the grain to break up the fibers, and put that in the processor. Dump into the pot. Stir around to just fry it all in fat a bit and then add the stock/bouillon.
Step 4: peel half a normal-sized sweet potato (or one small one), put it in the processor, and then add it to the soup for smoothness. Peel, process, and add one apple, too.
Step 5: Let cook covered until there is no resistance on your tongue.
Step 6: Reduce heat, and finish off with whole milk and/or cream until it looks sexy to you.
Mediterranean Lemon Chicken
inspired by those Moroccan nine-course dinner places with belly dancers… usually one course is really sexy chicken, and this is the closest I can get to the flavour.
Garlic – as much as will – a minimum of 3 pods, but one of those large jars of peeled garlic cloves will be very useful here
8-10 olives (not in vinegar, not in cans, and not in jars either – go somewhere with a fancy olive bar and look for wrinkly black olives in oil that smell dark and musky – they should add a nice flavour to the chicken without making it olivey)
optional fresh herbs (rosemary works well, and you only get to pick one herb and stick with it for the dish)
Choose a casserole dish that will fit your chicken pieces laid out flat – and deep enough to hold juices.
Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with peeled garlic cloves. No, that’s not enough, I said *cover* the bottom – 1 solid layer.
Put chicken in dish. If you are using both dark and white meat, but the white meat to the center and the dark meat around the outside (and, I have a theory that if you are doing both, the dark meat should be pulled from the fridge and the breasts from the freezer, but I haven’t tested that theory yet).
Scatter olives evenly among the meat.
Slice the lemons into slices of any thickness, leaving the ends chunky. cover the surface with lemon slices and put the ends around the edges of the dish.
If you want, take some herbs, still on the stems, and just lay them over the chicken and tuck them under some of the lemon slices.
Add a little white wine to give it some juice as it starts cooking, but no more than will cover the layer of garlic.
If your meat is predominantly white meat, then drizzle some olive oil over the top as well.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake until it is cooked. If you have all thighs, then you might need to check it halfway through and see how the level of liquid is doing… you might need to drain some. After it is cooked though, uncover it, and let it go a few more minutes to get some color.
Furthermore, these dishes have been given the AprilKat seal of approval.