Monday, August 17, 2009

California Italian Wedding Soup

California Italian Wedding Soup

I have GOT to get some better lighting!

One of the great things about cooking is when you can get children involved. They are so happy to help in the kitchen. Making a simple meatball becomes a wondrous occasion and a happy family memory.

My daughter Sage wanted to get more involved in Mommy's hobby, and decided to help make Italian Wedding Soup. Turns out, she pretty much made the whole thing herself, it was that simple.


1/2 pound extra-lean ground beef (I actually used a mix of lean meat and sweet Italian sausage)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped Italian flat leaf parsley (optional)

2 green onions, sliced (optional)

5 3/4 cups chicken broth

2 cups finely sliced spinach
1 lemon, zested

1/2 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta), uncooked

grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Mix together the meat, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, basil, parsley, and green onions; shape into 3/4 inch balls.
Pour broth into a large saucepan over high heat. When boiling, drop in meatballs. Stir in spinach, lemon zest and orzo. Return to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cook at a slow boil for 10 minutes or until orzo is tender, stirring frequently. Serve sprinkled with cheese.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Green Bean Salad with Corn, Basil & Black Olives (and chicken too)

Today was one of those days where I just really wanted something fresh and easy to make. I have recently discovered the wonders of fresh vegetables... yes, as a grown adult. Sadly, I have a feeling that its not that strange of a concept. In my life, I have always thought of veggies came straight from the can, in their squishy goodness. Thankfully I have a great husband that happens to love fresh veggies and has steered me to the light side.

So I found a recipe from Eatingwell (one of my fav sources of veggie recipes) and decided to give it a whirl.

serves 8 or 4 very hungry people :)

2 pounds green beans, trimmed
3 ears corn, husked
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped

2/3 cup sliced black olives
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
Hot sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste (I actually used a little bit of chili sauce)
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Fill another large pot half full with ice water. Blanch about half the green beans in the boiling water just until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into the ice water. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining beans. 2. Return the water to a boil. Add corn and blanch until tender but still crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water. Cut the kernels off the cobs. 3. Add the corn to the beans in the bowl. Add bell pepper, onion, olives, basil, oil, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic; toss to mix well. Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper.

Because I am one of those people that need meat with their meal, I decided to take some chicken and add one of the best rubs I have ever purchased, Rub with Love. I got it from central Market a while back with one of their Foodie Freebies, and love it. Its the chicken version with Brown sugar, smoked paprika, salt, ancho, black pepper, turmeric, coriander, garlic, cinnamon and star anise.

Just rub the chicken, sear it on each side for a few minutes, until brown and pop into the oven for 15 min or until juices run clear. Easy and simple enough not to steal the show from the salad :)

Add garlic bread and all is well with the world.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Just testing the Culinary waters

Just setting this up for my own personal pleasure. My goal it to mix my culinary (used loosely) skills with my photography (again, used loosely) skills and end up with a hell of a hobby.