Friday, May 21, 2010


Soupies we have moved here:
Please visit us! And change us in your google readers and what not.

Thanks for ladling us into your bowls,
Alayna & ML

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Appetizer Party

Appetizers. They're delicious. Everyone loves them. Plus it seems like you can go a little more crazy with trying to make an exciting appetizer because it's not the same sort of commitment as a whole meal, or entree. Having a whole party surrounded by appetizers (and cake) is a great idea to shake up boring February. We recommend. Invite your friends to bring their favorite appetizer dish, and if they don't have any ideas what to bring, scroll down.

  • melt about 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan with one bay leaf and one sprig of fresh rosemary
  • add 3/4 pound of chicken liver and cook (stirring occasionally) for about two minutes, then add a splash of whiskey (about a shots worth)
  • cook a few more minutes until still pink in the middle, but not bloody... this should take a total of less than five minutes
  • let cool for a few minutes, then put liver and juices into the food processor with some salt and pepper and blend until smooth
  • scrape into a dish, cover with seran wrap and let cool for a few hours until solid
  • enjoy!

Walnut Jam Cake
  • toast 1 1/4 cups of walnuts in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 350
  • butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans
  • once they are cooled, crush your walnuts in the food processor with about 2/3 cup of sugar and transfer to a mixing bowl
  • add 1 stick of butter, cut into pieces, and beat thoroughly
  • then add 4 large eggs, beating again
  • last but not least, mix 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, a few shakes of salt and some allspice in a separate bowl, then beat into the mix
  • pour into your buttered pans
  • cook for about 30 minutes at 350, checking to see if a toothpick comes out of the center clean
  • cool for about 20 minutes in the pan, then flip out of the pans to cool the rest of the way
  • once cool, decide which half will be your bottom, and spread a thick layer of jam (I used a blackberry/blueberry chunky one) on top
  • top with the other cake, and serve with a dollop of whipped cream* on top
* to make whipped cream: whisk a small carton of heavy cream until stiff (you can make a ravine with your finger and it stays), add about 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and whisk in... done!

Roasted Pears with Goat Cheese
  • peel, halve and core about 4 pears (any kind)
  • mix the juice from half a lemon with about a teaspoon of vanilla and in a separate bowl, about 1/3 a cup of sugar with a few shakes of ginger and allspice
  • drizzle the lemon mixture onto your pears first, then sprinkle with the sugar mixture, finishing the lemons by dotting each one with a small tab of butter
  • roast at 375 for about 45 minutes, flipping halfway through and occasionally basting with the juices
  • Serve warm with the cup filled with goat cheese

Clementine Cake
  • cover about 6-7 small, thin-skinned clementines with water and bring to a boil, then down to a simmer, cooking for about an hour (longer for thicker skinned fruit) until very soft. Take out of the water, and once cool, de-seed and then mush them in your food processor, skins and all
  • butter and line an 9inch cake pan (I used a square one) with parchment paper, cutting to fit
  • in your food processor (or by hand), grind about 2 cups of almonds, and mix them in with 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • beat 6 eggs in your mixing bowl, and add in dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly, followed by the clementine pulp
  • Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, checking to see that a toothpick comes out clean from the center

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vegan Ethiopian Magic Meal

Diners of the week!

Friday dinner’s is BACK with a vengeance! I am finally done with my grad school applications and realized that, you know, I have friends. So this weekend I invited over some people I know from Amigos de las Americas, a volunteer organization I’ve been working with for about a decade. They’re all wonderful adventurers with great stories, and, more importantly tend to like things like ‘nature’ and ‘vegetarianism’.

Now, because AMIGOS vegetarians have a lot of experience eating in other people’s houses in North, Central and South America while working on development projects (and usually those other people don’t have a ton of extra food to go around) I think they are a little different from other vegetarians because they’ll eat pretty much whatever you put in front of them. That said, when someone says they are “veggie with vegan leanings”, I take them seriously.

And so I present.... a totally vegan Ethiopian feast. Most entertaining part? You lay the ingera (traditional Ethiopian flatbread) on your plate and ladle your stew onto it, then use another piece as a spoon/fork. No silverware needed! I will say, I wasn’t going to make ingera at all because it looked too hard/time-consuming until my wonderful co-worker Jolie suggested just buying some from my local Ethiopian restaurant.... brilliant girl, that Jolie. And I’m pretty sure my hand-purchased bread tasted a lot better than my hand-made would have.

So without further ado, the stews that celebrated international soup day!

Also, these portions could have served eight people.

Green Lentil Stew

• Rinse about 2 cups of lentils then place in a large saucepan with 2 cups of water, 1 large white onion chopped, 6 chopped cloves of garlic, and some generous shakes of red chile. Also add teaspoon, nutmeg, cardamom salt and pepper
• Bring to bubbling, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until lentils and soft and onions have more or less disintegrated. Stir periodically and add more water if needed.
• Add in a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (or red wine, which is what you’re actually supposed to do and cook for 10 more minutes... add more salt and pepper if needed
• .... keep it cooking for another hour or so if you want, but on a simmer. It will make the lentils nice and soft, and you won’t have to think about them!

Sweet Potato Stew

• Heat some olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté one large chopped onion, 6 pieces of chopped garlic, and about two inches of chopped ginger for 10 minutes, until onion is a nice golden color.
• Add 3-4 chopped sweet potatoes and one roughly red pepper and sauté for 1 min.
• Add a mix of paprika, allspice, cinnamon, coriander, and some ground fenugreek and fry for 1 minute. Don't worry about things sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add 1.5 cups of water to deglaze the pan, then add 2 tomatoes, half a cup of lentils, and two big handfuls of chopped green beans. Mix well.
• Bring to bubbling, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes, until lentils and potatoes are soft. Stir occasionally. It is even better of you can let it cook on a low heat for an hour or two. Add more water if stew gets too thick.
• Stir in a handful of parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper

Eggplant Stew

• Heat a large non-stick pan (cast iron preferred) over medium heat. Add in 3 smallish red onions (chopped) onions and fry for 30 minutes, stirring regularly, until a nice golden brown. When onions stick too much, deglaze the pan with a splash or two of water.
• Add in 3 chopped cloves of garlic, about an inch of chopped ginger, and a mixture of allspice, pepper, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, paprika, and chile powder (also known as a bastardized version of berbere, which is a real Ethiopian thing) and mix well, until spices are fragrant.
• Add in ¼ cup of margarine. When it melts, add one large carrot (diced) and one large eggplant (thinly sliced). Fry for 5-7 minutes, until eggplant begins to soften.
• Add two tomatoes, about 1.5 cups of water, and two handfuls of chopped green beans and mix well. Bring to bubbling, then loosely cover and let simmer. The lentils will cook in 20 to 30 minutes, but you can cook longer. Salt and pepper to taste.

Happy dining (and soup day!) friends!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Timbale, Hey!

Dinner Menu:
Arugula Salad with apples
Roasted Acorn Squash with brown sugar and butter
Timbale with Smokey Roasted Tomato and Chile Sauce

Banana Cake

Figuring this stuff out isn't easy. A glance into our heads:

me: name for friday's dinner? for the post
Alayna: oh Timbale Hey!
not oh timbale...
Timbale! (Rhymes with Hey!)
i dont' knwo
or dinner
me: got it
Alayna: i know
me: uhm, we'll see
Alayna: like the song
me: yeah, got it
Alayna: c'mon
me: i can't believe that was your blog title break through idea

Might not be the best title but this dinner is da bomb diggity. Everyone should roast an acorn squash for dinner, it makes your dinner plate look really pretty and it's cheap and it's delicious. What more could you possibly want?

I encourage you to copy this dinner party and impress you're own friends.

Timbale with Smokey Roasted Tomato and Chile Sauce
  • Grate one small (or half of a large) zucchini with a cheese grater, then put into a colander and toss with salt. Let sit for half an hour then squeeze out the excess water before using
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and then add one finely chopped yellow onion, followed by the kernels from 3 ears of sweet corn and small handfuls of chopped parsley and cilantro, followed by the zucchini
  • Add 4 shots of tequila (or 1/4 cup of white wine) and let it simmer until the liquid has cooked off, add a small handful of chopped parsley and cilantro to the sauce when it's simmering
  • Beat 5 eggs in a separate bowl, adding 2/3 a cup of heavy cream, adding the vegetables when they have cooled and a few shakes of hot pepper, black pepper and salt
  • Pour the mixture into a deep 8 inch souffle pan (I used an 8 in baking dish instead) that is liberally coated in butter and bread crumbs
  • Cook at 325 for about 45 minutes (the top should be golden brown and the custard should not shake if you tap the center)
  • Let cool for a few minutes before serving
Smokey Roasted Sauce
  • Cut 6-8 very ripe tomatoes in half and place face down on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 350 for about half an hour until skins peel of easily and bottoms are a little burnt
  • In a separate dish, cut the tops off two cloves of garlic and place them in a pan with 4-5 dry passilla peppers. Put in the oven (I did this while the timbale and squash were cooking) and take the chiles out when they have puffed up (about 15 min) and the garlic out when it is good and soft
  • When everything has cooled a little, peel the garlic and de-seed the chiles, blending the mixture in a food processor, then put in a saucepan at a low simmer until you're ready to serve it on top of the timbale
Arugula Salad
  • Cut up two apples (I used one red delicious and I believe a braeburn... you want things that are crisp and tangy!) and put on a generous bed of arugula with a sprinkling of hazelnuts
  • For the dressing, mix grapeseed oil with balsamic vinegar and fresh rosemary and a dash of cinnamon to taste.... dress right before serving

Roasted Acorn Squash
  • Halve acorn squashes (one half per guest), empty out the seeds with a spoon and put in the oven at 350 for about 30-40 minutes (longer if you cook them at 325 with the timbale)... they are finished when you can easily stick a fork through the flesh
  • Serve with butter and brown sugar so guests can season to taste

Banana Cake
  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Cream 1/2 cup of butter, 1 cup of white sugar and 3/4 cup of brown sugar until light and fluffy
  • Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time
  • Mash 4 ripe bananas thoroughly and add to the mix
  • In a separate bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups of floor with 1 tablespoon of baking soda with some salt, about 2 teaspoons of black pepper and some cinnamon
  • If you don't have buttermilk on hand (who does?) make it by adding about a tablespoon of lemon juice (half a lemon) to heavy cream and letting it sit for five minutes
  • Beat in the flour and milk mixtures thoroughly by alternating between the two
  • Stir in about half a cup of hazelnuts, half a cup of macadamia nuts, and a handful of craisins
  • Bake for 40 minutes until top is browned and a toothpick comes out of the middle clean
  • Serve with home-made whipped cream (mix some whipping cream with an eggbeater until you can make a ditch with your finger that holds, then add a teaspoon of vanilla and sugar to taste)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

End of Summer Delight

A sad sad sad end of summer dinner, even though the company was lovely. Our menu was bacon wrapped prunes, roasted tomato and zucchini tart, a spinach salad, sweet potato mashed potatoes and apple cobbler for dessert. Overall, there was a touch of autumn, but the the flavor of summery goodness. AND my brand new dish set has been broken in! So here it is, our end of summer dinner party...

Bacon-Wrapped Prunes
  • Wrap each dried prune in about half a piece of bacon, securing with a toothpick
  • Place on a tin-foil covered baking sheet and bake at 400 for about 10-12 minutes (until bacon is crispy)
  • Serve!

Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Tart:
  • First, thinly slice a large onion and saute in olive oil over low heat to carmelize (this will take a while, so let it hang out while you're preparing the other veggies). In the last few minutes you'll add about 3 cloves of thinly chopped garlic
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 and slice up 2 medium zucchini in thinish rounds and 3-4 plum tomatoes. Lay them on baking sheets and, using a pastry brush, lightly coat them with olive oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper before roasting them in the oven for about 10 minutes per side (are ready when the zuch is golden brown)
  • While your veggies are roasting, make your crust (same crust as the summer tomato tart! It's just so delicious!
  • Pulse 1 stick of cold butter (sliced), 1.5 cups of flour, some salt, lemon zest from one lemon & .5 cup of Parmesan cheese together in a food processor, hand mixer or by hand. When it has formed a coarse meal, add water slowly until the dough binds. Can either be used immediately, or made ahead and refrigerated(let it soften to room temp for 30 min if chilled).
  • Roll the dough out to about a 12 in circle (or any other shape... we did a rectangle!) Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a greased pan. If your crust breaks in the move (like ours did), just push the pieces back together with your fingers on the baking tray
  • Put the carmelized onion and garlic onto the tart crust, then arrange the roasted zucchini and tomato nicely, and slice about half of a big ball of mozerella to layer on the top with some fresh thyme leaves. Leave about an inch from the edge of the crust so that you can fold and pinch it up to keep all the juices in. Pinch closed any weak spots or holes and bake for about 30-40 minutes (crust should be golden brown before you take it out)
  • Let cool a little and serve!

Sweet Potato Mash
  • Boil peeled sweet potatos
  • Drain and mash them, adding a little salt, some fresh goat cheese and a brown sugar to taste
Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing
  • For salad, toss baby spinach, walnuts, red grapes and fresh goat cheese
  • For the dressing, mix balsamic vinegar, stone mustard (or any mustard), olive oil, a dash of cinamon and some rosemary with a touch of sugar or honey. Let sit for a little while and adjust to taste.

Apple Cobbler
  • Thinly slice some apples and place in a baking dish
  • Mix about 1/2 a cup of sugar, with 3 tablespoons of flour and some sprinkles of dry ginger and cinnamon. Pour over the apples in your baking dish
  • mix 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/3 a cup of flour with some more shakes of cinnamon, then cut in about 6 tablespoons of butter until it looks like chunky bits (not too big, but there shouldn't be dry mix left behind)
  • sprinkle onto the apples and cook at 375 farenheit for about 45 minutes

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ceviche & Elephant mugs et al.

Oh, we know we know we know... we haven't given you a Friday dinner in forever, and now that we are, it's a cheat, because it's easier to make on Saturday (ceviche has to sit for a while!).

But! You'll be happy to know that it was a wonderful dinner. Highlights included (but were not limited to) cooking with acid (as in, lime juice), the premier of my elephant mugs, Carrie and Amal figuring out how to make a free clear plastic poncho look hot, and general wonderfulness.

And we promise now that people are trickling back into town for their weekends, we'll be much better at updating.

Without further ado, a four part dinner for your pescatarian friends!

watermelon salad

  • before you start the salad, mix a few glugs of balsamic vinegar (basically as much salad dressing as you need) and a big spoonful of honey. if you are fancy, you can reduce this concoction. if you are tired, you can just give it a bit of time to dissolve, stirring occasionally
  • take one bag of arugula, and put it in a bowl
  • chop about 1/4 of a big seedless watermelon (or half of a small) into bite-sized pieces, and put onto the arugula
  • top with feta cheese and your dressing

  • cut the very bottom of the stems off of a bunch or two of asparagus, and then chop the remaining stems in half (so they fit better and are easier to stir)
  • put into a big flat pan with a little (about an 1/8 inch) water on the bottom, and cook on medium heat, stirring occassionally, until all of the asparagi(??) are bright green
  • turn off the stove and drain the water
  • add a few tabs of butter in the pan with a few spoonfuls of capers and caper juice and the juice of one lemon. to be fancy, serve with lemon slices on top
  • cut about a pound and a quarter of grey sole fillets (or any other white fish) into bite sized pieces and put into a bowl... not too big or they'll need to "cook" longer
  • cover with fresh lime juice (about 10 limes)
  • add the following, all diced, and stir: half a red pepper, a jalepeno pepper (or two, if you like spicey), a handful of cilantro, about half a small red onion, 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • top off with some salt and pepper, and let sit in the refrigerator covered for at least 3 hours
  • when the fish is done being "cooked", it looks just like regular fish! white and opaque... if eating alone, it can be eaten on saltines or tostados, on leftover rice and beans or plain
rice and beans

  • for six people, I made about a cup (dry) of rice.... the ration for rice is 1c rice to 2c water
  • in a medium pan, sautee 5-6 cloves of garlic, the other half of your red onion, and some chili pepper
  • once they transparent, add 2 cans of drained black beans
  • toss in 1-2 chopped tomatos and a handful of chopped cilantro and season with salt and pepper, and simmer slowly for as long as possible so all the flavors mix without the beans getting too soupy
  • serve on top of the rice!
blueberry cobbler

  • in a mixing bowl, cover 2 boxes of blueberries with about 1/2 to 3/4 cups of sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour and some sprinkles of allspice and stir until coated. pour into your pie pan
  • mix 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/3 a cup of flour with some more shakes of allspice, then cut in about 6 tablespoons of butter until it looks like chunky bits (not too big, but there shouldn't be dry mix left behind)
  • sprinkle onto the blueberries and cook at 400 farenheit for about 30 minutes
  • eat! maybe with ice cream?


Monday, June 22, 2009

Friendly Fajitas

Alayna called me to tell me to come home because she was having a dinner party but sadly I had to tell her I was on the LIRR headed to a house with a pool and secret hiding closets.

Still I was sad I missed it. And I was REALLY sad when I saw these pictures. How good does this look? Mexican & Vegetarian wonders!

By the way, sorry I have to interject. Are Alayna and I the only ones on earth who watch "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here?" We started watching because all the shows we used to watch during soup night had their season finales. I just want to give a shout out right now to Holly and Sanjaya. My new all time favorite couple. I'm not kidding. I think Holly might be kicked off because she can't drink the Dung Beetle Nut daiquiri that fast and Alayna can testify that I'm sort of teary-eyed.

Right. This meal is NOT made of Dung Beetle Nuts. So there's that.
Okay friends, lets eat!

  • first wrap your tortillas (the big kind) in a slightly damp, clean dishtowel and heat the oven to 250, popping them in on a cookie sheet, so that they get warm without getting dry
  • slice up 6-8 cloves of garlic and coarsely chop about half a red onion and saute in olive oil, adding a couple of red (hot) peppers, chili powder, AND, the secret ingredient, a couple of shakes of CINNAMON
  • add a sliced up zucchini, cut into 1/2s or 1/4s and cover pot (keep covered through-out)
  • add about 3 mushrooms (I keep everything but the very end of the stem) cut into pinky width slices
  • add in half a pepper each of red, yellow and green (or any combination)
  • once everything is cooked through, take out your tortillas and serve with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and the guac!

  • cut two avocados into fourths, then slice the fourths and pop the avocado out into a bowl
  • finely dice 4-6 cloves of garlic and throw in
  • finely dice about 2 pinky-wide rings of red onion and toss them in too!
  • do the same to about 1/2 a red pepper
  • and some plum or cherry tomatoes
  • toss in some coarsely chopped cilantro while you're at it (some people... eg, Bagel, dislike cilantro... apparently it can taste like soap to people with certain genes, so you might want to get a gene check on your guests before they come)
  • squeeze the juice from 2 limes into your bowl
  • add some salt and pepper
  • now MASH! or make your nearest available, most hyper-est guest do it if you are too lazy to cook before people get to your house because you are a collaborative person who like sharing in the experience, as well as the food ;)

  • get the blackest plantains you can find (the blacker they are, the sweeter, which means more caramelized awesomeness)
  • slice into pointer finger thickness, and place into the frying pan of olive oil while the oil heats up
  • flip fairly frequently so that they don't get burnt and take out when they're a nice golden brown (or black for more carmelizyness)
  • can be served plain, or with fresh goat cheese. both are delicious. one is fancier.

Oooh, Alayna, nice plate!