Elimination Diet Vegetable Soup

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After returning home from a little trip to Las Vegas, I was feeling leery about returning to the kitchen. Little sleep, the hot desert weather and one red-eye plane ride later, I began to think I forgot how to cook. But after indulging in too much good food & drink, my body was craving some healthy home cooking (and also a few more In-N-Out burgers but since we don’t have them on the East Coast, I quickly got over that urge…)

This is the last Gwyneth Paltrow recipe for a long time, I promise!!! This is a part of her “elimination diet” recipes. You can read more about it at her website: Goop.com. And after days of eating in excess, this vegetarian, easy on the stomach meal was BADLY needed. Badly.

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Banana-Nut Oat Bars

Cool shadow! I took this photo at 7am on a rainy day...

Cool shadow! I took this photo at 7am on a rainy day…

After a long smoothie obsession, I have finally succumbed to the early morning laziness I have long been fending off. I used to not mind spending 5-10 extra minutes every morning making smoothies before heading off to work, but now it feels more like a chore. Especially after my last smoothie creation: banana papaya with almond milk kept congealing into an inedible texture! (But thank goodness for those protein shaker balls–worked like a charm in making the smoothie a normal consistency!)

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Simple Mushroom Soup

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Since winter is refusing to go away much to my dismay, hot foods are remaining a necessity to me.  The only silver lining is that the cold weather is at least offering me tons of opportunities to make soup!

This is a riff on a mushroom recipe I found on 101 Cookbooks. I’ve changed it enough, but the basic elements should be credited to her recipe. I just wanted a simple, no frills soup with chunks of potatoes in it. The original recipe only called for water but I wanted to bump up the volume a bit with vegetable broth. I only substituted half of the water for broth so I could make sure I retained the mushroom flavor.

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Cheesesteak Egg Rolls

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I live only a few blocks away from a few of Philadelphia’s favorite Cheesesteak shops but I rarely indulge in our signature sandwich. I’ve only had the famous Pat’s 1 time and have I never even tried Geno’s! I do have my personal faves of course: Dalessandro’s Steaks in the Roxborough neighborhood is awesome and I’ve always loved me a Jim’s cheesesteak on South Street. But this city has so much more great food that just this sandwich, that I never seem to be jonsing for one!

Years ago I tried an appetizer I had never heard of: cheesesteak egg rolls and was blown away! I never ordered anything else from that particular restaurant until recently when it seemed that the egg rolls were popping up on restaurant menus all over the place! Is this just a Philly thing or do they have these in like Ohio?

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Spinach and Zucchini Soup

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For the holidays, we got a whole bunch of new kitchen gadgets and I’ve managed to use most of them so far except for the immersion blender! I was waiting until I found the perfect, healthy soup that would require one. I turned to the healthiest food blog I know for this one: 101 Cookbooks for her Spinach and Zucchini Soup!

It tasted so fresh! I’m not a huge fan of cilantro unless it’s concealed enough within other ingredients that it doesn’t takeover my taste buds. In this soup, it literally made the soup taste fresh and clean. I think my body felt better after consuming so much “good for you” food! The only bad thing in here was salt…and of course the bread and butter…but this was a conscious choice to ruin a perfectly healthy meal with the obvious accompaniment…and I don’t regret it. Even if it takes away some of the healthy cred I tried to establish with posting this recipe!

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This soup is hardy enough to eat as a meal, I think. I was full after one bowl….and many pieces of the beget (maybe that’s why I was so full…) Either way, this soup is delicious and chock-full of healthy ingredients that your body will love. I think anything that’s green has to be good for you right? And the soup turned out to be the prettiest shade of green I’ve seen! As always, my terrible iPhone pictures do it no justice…

Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • big pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups potatoes (2 medium) cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups zucchini (2 medium), loosely chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 cup cilantro, loosely chopped
  • one lemon

Directions: 

In a large, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot (but not smoking) add the garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes along with pinch of salt – just until they soften up a bit. Stir in the potatoes and zucchini. Add the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are soft throughout, roughly 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the spinach, and wait for it to wilt, just ten seconds or so. Now stir in the cilantro. Puree with a hand blender until smooth. Whisk in a big squeeze of lemon juice. Now taste, and add more salt if needed. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

Ginger Scallion Egg-Drop Soup with Chicken!

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I woke up feeling a little under the weather last week and was feeling a little  very helpless. I had that awful feeling in my throat that you feel right before you’re about to get the dreaded cold. So I took some Robutussin, ate a clove of garlic raw (oh, yes it’s as terrible as it sounds), took ibuprofen and finally downed some Airborne. I wish I could say I didn’t do this all at once, because I sound really fucking crazy…but it was all within a few hours.

STILL. That wasn’t enough. Everyone knows the benefits (perhaps mostly psychological) of chicken soup when you’re getting a cold! Well, I found this chicken soup recipe from Gourmet on Epicurious. It has the goodness of good old fashioned chicken noodle soup and a muted version of the aroma of a bowl of Pho! Win-win.

I felt better within hours. Was it the soup, the litany of the other things, or an amalgamation of it all? Who knows, who cares. The only thing I care about it that I’ve only made soup from scratch once before so I was glad it turned out tasting good! And it’s really fun to pour a  beaten egg into simmering soup and watch it cook!

Ingredients

  • 6 scallions, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (2-inch) piece peeled ginger, sliced
  • 1 skinless boneless chicken breast half (6 to 8 ounces)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (optional)

Directions

Smash 3 scallions and cut into 2-inch pieces, then put in a 2-quart saucepan with water, broth, ginger, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, then poach chicken at a bare simmer, uncovered, until just cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let broth steep, covered, 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop remaining 3 scallions and shred chicken.

Discard scallions and ginger from broth and bring to a brisk simmer. Add beaten eggs in a slow stream, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in scallions, chicken, and white pepper (if using). Serve drizzled with sesame oil.

Smoked-Out Charcuterie

Not only is Charcuterie a fun word to say, but it’s also a word I love because is means delicious cheeses and meats. I am a snacker at heart–I love standing around the kitchen making mini-cracker sandwiches or slicing at cheese piece by piece while paging through a magazine I’d otherwise have no interest in reading.

It also happens to be the perfect snack for a summer day or to graze on while you bake, or both! I got some apple wood smoked Gouda along with Americano uncured salami from Whole Foods while picking up some of their best cocoa for a baking project I was working on that day.

The Gouda and salami were great but after a few pieces, I was smoked-out. The salami was labeled as “sweet” so I thought, “COOL! Smoky and sweet? That sounds like a great flavor combination!” But I didn’t account for the fact that the salami would be sweet and smoky and with smoky cheese–ohhhh wowwwww. I felt like I was eating a wood-burning fireplace. But in a good way?

Anyway, both foods were delicious…but together? Ehhhh. I’m learning about flavor profiles as I go. I’m a foodie-wannabe after all!