This soup is based on a recipe from Better Homes And Gardens that Ayun Halliday posted on her facebook page. I have made it a lot but lately I feel like I’m really nailing it. As you’d expect based on its provenance, it is not the authentic posole that your abuela or Diana Kennedy would recognize as such. It’s just spicy chicken stew with hominy in it. YUM!
This is a lazy soup. I have made it after drinking up to 3 glasses of wine and it’s still come out great. My method is that I start with 3lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs, season them heavily with a mix of kosher salt, cumin, cayenne and oregano, then throw them in the dutch oven and brown them in olive oil. Then I fish them out, sautee a mix of chopped carrot, celery and onion in the spicy oil, add a package of precut butternut squash cubes after the onion wilts, add the chicken back plus a big can of white hominy (drained and rinsed), then add water to cover. You could add chicken broth but I think unless you have a light homemade broth around you’re better off with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer partially covered for as long as you can stand it, ideally til both squash and chicken are falling apart. I mean at least an hour. Then add a bunch of chopped washed greens — kale, chard, or mustard greens are all good — and cook til the greens are soft. Serve with radish slices, lime squeeze, or even greek yogurt though that is sort of gilding the lily (but is very good.)
Some highlights from the first issue, Holiday, and more information about the quarterly (including a recipe from for a perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving centerpiece dish) can be found here—or, you can download and subscribe here!
Free to download, $13.99 for a year of feasting. If you love Lukas’s recipes, or if you’re a vegetarian or even a sometimes-vegetarian, you NEED this.
“My cousin’s wife, a hardworking and elegant person, claimed for years that she did not apply heat to food, but she knew how to shop and, what is more, she knew where. Brunch at my cousin’s is the only meal I have ever had at which everyone gets as much smoked salmon as they want.” — “Starting Out in the Kitchen,” from More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin
That line has always stuck with me, mostly because I never believed that such a feast could be possible. But the break the fast Jen Snow and I hosted last night proved that it is. I ate leftover salmon roe just now. Leftover salmon roe.
Not pictured, even: two kugels, chocolate chip brioche pretzels, honey pecans, a giant amount of babka.
I have been eating variations on this dish since I first read this Smitten Kitchen post that contained the revelation that you can blanch green vegetables at the same time that you cook pasta, thereby cutting the time between getting home and putting food into your body by half. However I did notice, at some point between the first and the 400th time that I made pasta + chard, kale, broccoli, broccoli rabe, etc, that sometimes this technique resulted in slightly soggy vegetables. But I finally cracked the code when I incorporated the Ottolenghi approach to chard, which is: you boil water, blanch the greens, run them under cold water to stop the cooking, then wring them out like a wet bathing suit until they are completely dry. I wouldn’t try this with some delicate little spring fronds, but for the overwintered and tough stuff you are likely finding in the farmer’s market right now — or for any chard, anytime, chard is hardcore — you can really squeeze it a lot and the leaves will keep their silky texture and the stems will keep a little tiny bit of crispness.
Ok, so, you can’t boil the greens and the pasta at the same time, but what you can do is cook them in the same water and that saves almost as much time. You just have to keep the leaves whole so that you can fish them out more easily. You can chop them finely after they’ve been chilled, drained and wrung out. Then while the pasta cooks, sautée the chopped greens in some chile-garlicked-up olive oil, and when the pasta’s done, combine it all with whatever cheese situation you have on hand. I used ricotta plus lemon zest and a tiny bit of mint and that ruled. I also spritzed on lemon juice at the end because I used this pasta and it kind of only tastes good if you put lemon on it for some reason. Wheat ish aside, quinoa-corn spaghetti is a boon to people like me who consider a box of dried pasta single serving size, because you can just plain eat a lot more of it without getting full. Healthy!
Once upon a time I was going to have a Manhattan launch party for my book and it was going to be awesome. Then there was a damn hurricane and there was no power in this city and it got cancelled. But we have another chance now, people, to make this magic happen. For there is a paperback to be launched. And the topics of Jews, Food, & Your Mom are ETERNAL. See you there!
Mark your calendar — free drinks, get your Middlesteins paperback (even if you already own this book, another copy is a great thing to have on hand as a last-minute gift because literally anyone you give it to will love it), support Housing Works with your purchase, all these cool people will read, and I will read a tiny snippet from my book that’s coming out next year.
My beach retreat is almost over. There’s one more day, which I’ll spend cleaning and doing laundry and replacing various household items that I used up and ate. At the beginning (last Tuesday) Keith drove me to a Wegman’s the size of several city blocks, where I bought $200/worth of groceries, which I have almost completely eaten. I’m impressed with myself about this. Mostly I cooked myself normal, healthy meals. There was one weird bean improvisation whose leftovers I unrepentantly trashed and one pretty lackluster baked chicken thigh dinner but 90% of the time I was a good host to myself. I am happy to be self-sufficient in this one tiny way. Oh but at one point I did put yogurt on pasta, let’s not discuss it.
Other than today, when I dicked around on the Internet on my phone for hours in the morning, I have been disciplined about getting through my revisions. I also took a lot of long, weird, deserted walks through the charming/eerie beach suburb where I’m staying, went to yoga three times at the local studio, and spent several blissful hours checking email and planning Emily Books things at a pretty cafe I was especially grateful to find after having previously done my wifi time in a coffeeshop slightly closer to my digs that had signs saying they would happily pray for you. Yikes! Also the second place brews La Colombe, my favorite. And there’s a vintage/custom jeans store across the street where I ran into the only person I know who lives even slightly near here, which seemed like magic, and I talked to him for probably much too long. As usual it took me about 10 minutes of solo isolated living to become a terrible spaz who has no idea how to interact with other humans. I encountered a broad spectrum of sociableness in my Asbury/Ocean Grove interactions, too, though. Some people seemed just as starved as I likely did, as if I was the only person who’d come into the shop in days (which, possibly, yes.) Others, the Christian coffeeshop owner among them, were downright cold. Maybe they could sense my desperation for chat/distraction.
I saw several eastern towhees, a hermit thrush, and of course a lot of shorebirds. This morning I saw a seagull eating a piece of styrofoam and made it stop, then had to carry around the trash in my hand til I found a trashcan, much later.
I thought about the Alanis song where she accuses the listener of being petrified of silence, then offers up a few bars of dead air. “Did you think about your bills, your ex, your deadlines, or when you think you’re gonna die?” Like all her songs this is a pretty goofy one. However I did think about all those things. I also thought about my book. It’s bizarrely short right now. The scenes I’ve cut from it are probably longer than it. A lot of those scenes, especially the ones I’ve worked on over multiple drafts, seem like *things that happened* to me now. I’m glad they’re gone, but it’s odd to have them in my head still, all these fake memories, like dreams.
The boardwalk in AP is still under construction and I didn’t feel like walking all the way to the one functioning staircase, which is in the middle, so instead I climbed over the railing at one end. The Italian restaurant there has outdoor speakers that blare Classic Rock all day and at just that moment they were playing “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane. I was the only one on the whole boardwalk except one distant jogger and one slow-walking couple. I felt like I was in not a dream but a dream sequence, specifically one of Tony’s Atlantic City recurring nightmares. I laughed out loud as I walked off the boardwalk and back towards town while behind me the song’s final exhortation blared: “FEED YOUR HEAD! FEED YOUR HEAD!”
Damn, I am in love with Jerusalem. I haven’t been this into a cookbook since the Momofuku cookbook came out and I put ginger-scallion sauce on everything short of ice cream for a year. Part of why I love it is that a lot of the dishes I’ve cooked so far are 2.0 versions of things I cook all the time anyway: I made a chicken and rice dish on Friday that was a cardamom + currant-flavored variation on the Doree chicken that’s been a staple of my repertoire since she first tweeted about it, and last night I made this swiss chard + tahini-yogurt sauce with buttered pine nuts thing that is basically the platonic ideal of my go-to nothing’s in the fridge dinner, which is: garlic spinach on steamed white rice or polenta with a poached egg on top.
The chard dish takes a little bit more advance planning and, non-negotiably, the acquisition of some good pine nuts. I hate to perpetuate food weirdo-ness, but the chance that you could have a taste in your mouth like you’re "sucking on a wad of tin foil soaked in vinegar" for several days seems like a good argument against Chinese pine nuts to me, even if the risk is small and the savings are large. Other than that, you just need two large bunches of chard, some tahini, some greek yogurt, garlic, lemon, butter and olive oil, and white wine (or beer, which is what I used bc of my extreme classiness.)
You combine the tahini with yogurt and lemon juice plus one crushed garlic clove and set it aside, then blanch the sliced chard, rinsing it in cold water and then wringing it dry with your hands. Then you fry the expensive, non-poisonous pine nuts in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and one of butter for 3 minutes, scooping them out of the pan into a bowl when they’re golden. Add some sliced garlic to the pan, let it go for a minute, then deglaze with booze. After that you add the chard + 1 tablespoon of butter back in, heat it thoroughly, and serve topped with the sauce and nuts. You don’t have to serve it with rice, I just wanted it to be more of a main course.
Jami reminded me the other day that the name of this Tumblr is Thing I Ate That I Love, not Screenshots From Lesbian Novels That I Loved. Well, she put it more nicely, anyway, this post is for Jami! Hi Jami!
The most important thing about an easy chicken soup recipe is that it has to be so easy you can make it when you’re sick. This eliminates, right off the bat, any recipes that involve making homemade stock as a first step of the recipe. Of course, if you have homemade stock sitting around in the fridge/freezer you can sautée some vegetables and chicken, insert stock, simmer til everything is tender and move on with your agenda of watching Veep on your laptop via stolen HBO GO.
Stock/broth from a box is a no-go, though. I’m not being a snob, I’m looking out for your tastebuds. Stock from a box is ok as an ingredient in some things, but not a soup that’s primarily broth. It is wack and also why does it cost $4? It probably costs $.13 to produce. It tastes like the smell of a nursing home. You are seriously better off, in a dire pinch, using this stuff, which doesn’t taste great but also doesn’t taste vile. If you’ve been sick to your stomach a cup of this, sipped daintily from a tiny spoon, is a great first food to eat (drink.)
Anyway, here is my soup hack when you have no stock on hand. It results in a soup that is a little oily but that’s ok, it’s good for your sore throat. (You can skim the layer of fat off the refrigerated leftovers tomorrow when you’re feeling better.)
3 leeks, sliced
3 medium carrots (or one big thick carrot), cubed
3 small parsnips, cubed
3 cloves garlic, smashed
sprig fresh thyme (optional)
2 lbs chicken parts, skinless if poss, some with bones if poss.
In a dutch oven, brown the chicken in some olive oil. Remove to a plate, then add all the vegetables and cook in the olive/chicken oils til the leeks are wilted. Add the chicken back in plus enough water to cover, then simmer gently, covered, (ie don’t boil the eff out of it) til the chicken is cooked through. So you are sort of poaching the chicken during this part of the recipe. Remove the cooked but not rubberized chicken and allow to cool while the soup continues to cook, partially covered. When it’s cool enough to handle, shred the chicken and give small manageable pieces of its skin and gristly bits to your cat and put the good parts back in the soup. Then: eat! Heal thyself!
This is the most recent iteration of a recipe I have probably published on the internet 40 times btw, but this is the best version.
Everyone loves the idea of turning a page while reading, but the reality is often very different: inconsistent paper quality, unhygienic saliva, and the frustration of inefficient turnover. The challenge: to find an easy, efficient means of turning a page while maintaining the classic reading experience. The solution: as it turned out, the secret to pleasurable page-turning lies in Swiss-milled oak-pulp paper - and a judicious application of gelatin.
Today my cookbook club created a novelty tumblr celebrating our inside joke about what if everything in life was described in the highly specific manner of a Cook’s Illustrated recipe headnote.