February 28, 2011

Simple & Light Sunday Soup

Yesterday afternoon, I was a bit hungover and still full from a big brunch of migas at The Shed. It was a surprisingly cold and really windy day (hello, beginning of the windy season in the desert!) and I was tired and just wanted to make a quick, kind of soothing dinner. I also wanted something light and healthy-tasting, so I threw together this easy Asian-inspired soup in about 20 minutes and it came out really well. It has just a few ingredients, but it's fairly flavorful due to the pepper flakes and the garlic.

lame cellphone pic
Soothing Spinach, Leek & Tofu Soup
hands on time 20 minutes
total time: 15-20 minutes

1 leek (or onion)
couple of handfuls of fresh spinach, torn
1 block of extra firm tofu, pressed
4 cups broth
1 good, heaping tbsp of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 or 2 tsps of soy sauce
sprinkle of powdered ginger (optional)
couple sprinkles of red pepper flakes
salt to taste
pepper to taste
green onions as garnish (optional)

1. Press the entire block of tofu between two heavy plates for a half an hour or so.
2. Chop the white and light green part of the leek into rounds; discard dark green portion.
3. Combine oil, garlic and leeks in a medium-sized pot; saute until leeks are soft, about 5 minutes or so.
4. When the leeks are soft, add in the spinach and stir to coat the leaves with oil. Cook until spinach leaves are just wilted.
5. Add in broth, pepper flakes and ginger; cook on low medium heat for about 10 minutes.
6. Taste; if it seems underwhelming, add in some soy sauce for a bit more flavor.
7. Chop pressed tofu into small squares and add to the mixture, cook for another 5 or so minutes.
8. Add more of the pepper flakes, ginger, soy sauce, salt and pepper, to your liking. The flavor should be noticeable, but still pretty mild.

Feel free to make this spicy if you like spicy; I always feel like eating spicy food helps me get rid of all of the toxins I take in during a night of drinking, so I made mine really spicy last night.

This would also be good with onions, bok choy, swiss chard, or any other combination of oniony-type vegetables and greens. If you don't like tofu, you could easily substitute in rice or quinoa, but I like the texture and added protein of the tofu here. I'd steer clear of noodles for this soup, as the whole point of it is that it's really light: pasta adds some some bulk that is kind of the antithesis of this soup.

What do you like to eat for a hangover? I used to swear by greasy stuff like burgers and fries, but now I feel like lighter stuff makes me feel better faster. Plus, soup is hydrating!

February 12, 2011

Goose Egg

I bought a goose egg and some mushrooms at the farmer's market today.  There's not a lot of produce there during the winter, but I managed to get some exciting stuff.  I've never eaten a goose egg, so I'm looking forward to it.
Getting back from AWP has been a huge drag on cooking but was a boost to the reading and writing life.  I also met some cool people.  Allyson Boggess writes about writing and cooking and life.  It's a nice little blog.  Carina Finn poems about poems and fashion.  It's a strange little voice that sounds nice.
Pictures of the omelet I make of the goose egg when I make the omelet of the goose egg.

February 8, 2011

Dill Dip & AWP

I've just returned from a fun but completely exhausting weekend in Washington DC for the AWP conference. It wasn't as cold as I anticipated, thankfully (I'm a complete wuss about cold after living in Southern NM for two years), I went to some interesting panels and talked my face off at the bookfair, on behalf of the NMSU MFA program and also on behalf of Carrie Murphy, poet.

Happily, the friends I stayed with are foodies who welcomed me with a spaghetti dinner, gave me German chocolate every night and sent me off to the conference in the morning after a cup of Persian jasmine tea sweetened with saffron-infused rock candy. Yup, saffron-infused rock candy. They also took me here for gluten-free pizza and beer, as well as here for Ethiopian food (see picture below).

In other words, I ate well in DC, except for the piece of so-so pizza I scarfed down under an awning in the rain before a 3 pm panel.

On a somewhat unrelated note, here's a quick recipe I made for a friend's birthday party right before I left for the conference.  I probably should have posted this in conjunction with the Super Bowl, as it is a terrific appetizer for any kind of party. This dip is a classic party recipe for me; it was served at every gathering I can ever remember my family hosting while I was growing up. The Beau Monde seasoning is my mom's special ingredient, which elevates this version of dill dip far above any other I've had. It's really good and really simple to make. Everyone loves it!

Dill Dip 
(makes enough to serve as appetizer for a small party)
hands on time: less than 10 minutes
total time: less than 10 minutes

1 small jar of mayonnaise
1 medium tub of sour cream
dill weed
Beau Monde Seasoning


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