Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter in the Woods

In honor of Alex's last weekend without school, we decided to head up north this past weekend for a little time out of the city. We didn't really have a plan, but figured we would make use of the car and have ourselves an adventure.

We ended up in the adorable little town of Cold Spring, about 1.5-2 hours north of NYC, where we had previously come to go hiking. I was thinking there would be lots of snow and was hoping we could enjoy perhaps some cross country skiing or snow shoeing or something of that sort. However, to our surprise, there was very little of the white stuff to be seen anywhere.

We decided instead to spend a late afternoon up in the hillside taking a similar hike to what we had done earlier in the fall. It was only icy in a few spots, but there was a good deal of ice on the creek which made for some fun photography.







A fun day had by all.

Parsnip Apple Soup: Eating Local in January


Living in NYC means we're lucky enough to have access to a farmers market year round. Though the selections certainly are few, there are still many tasty goodies to be had. Meats, cheeses, eggs, root vegetables, and apples; piles and piles of apples! I just learned that apparently New York is the second largest producer of apples in the country.


Today I picked up a few of those apples along with some parsnips and onions and headed home to see what I could make. I was originally going to make our usual soup with ginger and carrots and such, but then looked through the new cookbook I got for Christmas, The Cafe Brenda Cookbook, and found this recipe instead. (I know Cafe Brenda is closing or now closed, so I'm happy to have snagged this cookbook, as there are a lot of tasty recipes in here!)



This soup was a little different, but both Alex and I really enjoyed it. The savory of the parsnips blended perfectly with the tartness of the granny smith apples. It was light, but still a warm winter soup.


Parsnip Apple Soup
The Cafe Brenda Cookbook

2 TBS Butter
2 medium onions, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Cups peeled and chopped parsnips (About 3 large Parsnips)
1 large tart apple, chopped (about 2 cups)
4.5 - 5 Cups stock (chicken or veggie stock)
salt and pepper to taste


Saute onions and garlic in butter for 3-5 minutes, until tender. add parsnips and apple, saute for an additional 3-5 minutes. Add soup stock. Simmer, covered, over low heat until veggies are tender, approximately 20-30 minutes.

Blend until smooth. ENJOY!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Black Bean Crockpot Soup

So, the blogging has been a little sporadic lately, my apologies for that. It turns out moving, particularly in a city like New York, is quite the ordeal. Especially moving from a very large apartment to an itty bitty one.

Needless to say, there's still lots to be done, but, amidst the unpacking, we still needed to eat. I was so ready for a home cooked meal... and then found out our stove didn't work. Well, it works, I mean, it's brand new, but, there is no gas to cook with. Turns out, that's a problem.

Our landlord actually had no idea this was going to be an issue, they didn't know the gas line wasn't labeled and didn't have a meter, etc. Apparently the tenants before us were actually the New Yorkers who never once used their stove, so never had gas installed. Anyhow, it's being fixed and hopefully we will be able to cook by this weekend, and in the meantime apparently aren't paying full rent, so that's good.

But, Alex and I could neither afford to eat all our meals out nor wanted to just use the microwave. (I'm sure there's some mighty find cooking that can be done in a microwave, but I don't have skills that reach beyond defrosting meat and reheating leftovers.)

So, crockpot to the rescue! I've actually managed to meet my goal of finding new vegetarian recipes and using my slow cooker all in one shot thanks to not being able to use the stove. This recipe was from a cookbook I've been meaning to use, but never got around to. It was super tasty, easy, just the right amount of spiciness, and incredibly cheap if you're looking for that sort of thing. This goes great with a green salad or some garlic toast.

So without further ado:

South American Black Bean Crockpot Soup

Adapted from 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson

2 onions (on the smaller side) finely chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped (I have taken a lead from KNG and stopped peeling my carrots)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 finely chopped jalapeno, seeded and ribbed
1 tsp dried thyme
1 TBS cumin
1 TBS dried oregano
Sea Salt to taste
A few grinds of black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 TBS tomato paste
6 Cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
the juice from 1.5 limes
Topping: Sour cream and cilantro if desired.

Chop all your veggies and add to the crockpot, along with spices, tomato paste, beans, and stock. (The original recipe says you should cook your veggies first in a skillet until tender, but I thought if you're cooking for 10 hours in a crockpot, that was highly unnecessary.) Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Add your lime juice. Puree everything with an immersion blender. Serve with a healthy dollop of sour cream.

*Apologies for the terrible photo... I've realized the new kitchen lighting is pretty poor for photos, and didn't really feel up to digging through boxes for my flash.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

To New Beginnings

From this weekend...

To New Beginnings

Today I was happy. I was happy to be where I am. I was happy to walk where I live.

Today I woke up after a quiet night’s sleep that was not punctuated by loud voices, and sirens, and car alarms.
Today I bought fresh beautiful produce from a local independent grocer.
I discussed my purchase of a pasture raised chicken and drooled over the delicious looking prosciutto and grass fed steak cuts with the butcher at New York’s oldest meat shop.
I admired the local neighborhood park, and thought about reading a book there in the springtime.
I checked out a vegetarian cookbook from the library that wasn’t even reserved for me.
I went for a run by the waterfront and was never yelled at or given a funny look.
I purchased a beautiful wedge of delicious manchego.
I partook in a free wine sampling.
I perused the local community bookstore.

All within a few blocks of my apartment.

Today I finally felt the exhaustion of the past 16 months begin to lift.

Today New York made sense.