Category Archives: Soups/Stews

Southwest meets Northwest: Green Chile and Smoked Salmon Chowder

roasted green chile and smoked salmon chowder

My freezer is stocked with New Mexican green chile after a trip home over Thanksgiving, so I’m about as content as a Southwestern girl can get.  I have plans for all that chile–it absolutely shines in soups and stews, and it’s high season for big ‘ol batches of soup in the Northwest.  This is the only time of year my slow cooker maintains its own place on the counter and my freezer is full of soup ready to defrost and heat, perfect for dinner when it’s dark by 4:30pm.
You won’t need your slow cooker for this chowder since it’s so fast and easy.  Most of the work is in chopping up all those veggies.  If you’re pressed for time, a few pulses in your food processor will do the job.  If you’ve had a particularly frustrating day then sharpen your knife and get to chopping.  Sometimes food prep can be the most meditative and centering thing you do in single a day.  Breathe in, breathe out…chop chop chop.  Get into the rhythm and take solace in the fact that you’re creating a delicious dinner and will soon bask in the warmth of a perfect bowl of chowdah.

And abandoning modesty for a moment–this is one of the best things I’ve made this winter.  Ivar and Duke can kiss my green chile.  Enjoy!

Squash-a-palooza: Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

Oh my squash.  This chowder is truly, simply, really delicious.  And fast and easy to make!  You can also prepare it vegan or vegetarian by subbing the milk and omitting the bacon, see instructions below.  It’s the perfect summer segue into fall and uses the best of the passing season’s bounty.  Get your soup bowls ready!

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Surprisingly Vegan African Sweet Potato Stew

I can’t believe it’s already March.  As we look forward to Spring by sowing seeds for lettuces, planting peas, starting leeks and basil, and planning another compost delivery, there are a few Fall/Winter things that are still looking beautiful in late-blooming Seattle.  Squashes and sweet potatoes are some of those things, and evenings are still chilly enough to enjoy a warming, hearty stew.  This particular recipe stands out because it’s vegan and very, very delicious–the flavors are beautifully balanced.  It also looks pretty nice served up in a squash bowl, something that my husband is fanatical about.  I’m not sure why, but when he sees round squash he instantly thinks “bowl”, and then proceeds to tell me that squash is so cool because it’s delicious, stores forever, and can be used as a container.  Who am I to deny him this small pleasure?

So here we are, in March, and I’m using my last opportunity to post a winter-centric dish until the weather becomes cold again, which I refuse to think about.  Enjoy, all you soup lovers!

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Oh So Versatile Tomato Base

I don’t know why the saying is “Easy as pie”.  Pie is not easy.  They should say “Easy as slow cooker tomato sauce”, because trust me, this is e-a-s-y.  And quite delicious.  And infinitely versatile.

As the sun graces us with its presence for a few more seconds each day, we’re easing into spring by starting some leeks and basil in the kitchen window, with lots more veggies to come soon:

I’m also in spring cleaning mode, so watch out freezer!

Last year was the first time I attempted to freeze tomatoes.  We grew over 100 pounds of gorgeous heirloom varietals so we lived in salad heaven for a while, canned a bunch, and gave away even more.  Towards the end of summer I was sick of canning (apparently it’s possible) and a friend told me I could freeze them to use for sauce later.  Eager to get them off the counter, I stashed them in the freezer where they’ve patiently waited for the past few months.  But spring is right around the corner, which turns into summer, which brings backyard bbq’s, fishing, and more recipes to experiment with.  It’s highly likely that summer will also bring an ice cream maker.  I need that freezer space back. Continue reading

Potato Leek Soup and Pierre

Dan planted leeks towards the end of last summer, hoping they would over-winter and grow nice and big by spring.  Because our growing season in Seattle is so short, we’ve learned that anything we put in the ground after May is going to have a difficult time.  But, we had our fingers crossed for an Indian Summer since we kind of got ripped of during normal summer (similar to the previous year).  Although we did have a nicer-than-average fall, the leeks still didn’t get very big.  We decided to go ahead and dig them up before the snow and, although it wasn’t a spectacular harvest, we ended up with more than enough for a nice pot of Potato Leek soup. Continue reading

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