Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Chilled Pea Soup

Another great Brooklyn recipe from The New Brooklyn Cookbook that I love so much. This recipe is from The Farm At Adderley, a great farm-to-table restaurant out in Ditmas Park. It's a bit of a schlep to get out there for a meal from Manhattan or even Park Slope, but boy is it worth it - one of Brooklyn's best restaurants.

What I love about this recipe for chilled pea soup is how easy, simple and healthy it is. Most of the delicious soups I have made or have had out have heavy cream, or at the very least chicken broth, or some combination of the two. This recipe captures the essence of the fresh peas that I used to create it. Sure fresh peas are not in season right now, and I am sure it would have been even better if they had been, but I was able to get good quality, non-frozen english peas from Fresh Direct.

Farm At Adderley's Chilled Pea Soup with Fresh Lump Crabmeat
6 T Canola Oil
1 small onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups of fresh English peas
1 tsp of sugar or 3/4 tsp agave nectar
1/2 pound lump crabmeat, about 1 1/2 cups loosely packed, picked over
grated zest of 1/2 lemon, plus 1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
grated zest of 1/2 lime, plus 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 or 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Heat 3T of the canola oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and add the diced onion. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until translucent but not brown, which will take about five minutes.

Prepare an ice bath. Bring a large pot of water with salt to boil and add the peas to the boiling water. Blanch in the boiling water for two to three minutes and then transfer to the ice bath for one minute, before draining. Combine the peas with the onion and a cup of water in a blender, and puree until smooth. With the motor running add the rest of the canola oil, and season with salt and pepper. If you used fresh peas like I did, add the sugar or agave nectar.

In a medium bowl, combine the crabmeat with the zests, and lemon and lime juices, as well as the oilve oil. Season with salt and pepper. If you prefer you can cook the crab (I confess, I did), or you can simply place two tablespoons of the crab mixture in each bowl of chilled soup.I served with some bread and a lemon wedge.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Chili Con Carne

So, I have not been feeling great this week, hence the lack of cooking and lack of blog posts. But, I figured I could share one that was a winner that I have not yet had the time to write about. 

Last time I wrote about chili, it was my recipe for turkey chili which my husband and I both really enjoyed as our first foray into chili making. This time, we tried out a recipe for Chili Con Carne from Bon Appetit, which I followed with a couple of modifications. It was also delicious and another terrific meal with plenty of leftovers. I made half of the recipe in the link (which is posted below) and it was still enough for us to get two meals out of it. Yummy!

Chili Con Carne (based on Bon Appetit recipe)
2 T Canola Oil
2 pounds lean beef chunk, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 of a head of garlic (about eight cloves), peeled and diced
1/4 cup ancho chili powder
1 T cumin
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
6 oz dark beer (I used Guinness)
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tsp dried oregano
1 T tomato paste
3 T masa (or pureed frito chips, which worked just fine)
grated Shelburne Farms 2-year Cheddar
chopped fresh cilantro to taste
chopped fresh tomatoes, to taste
fat free sour cream, to taste
pinch of pepper to taste
1 cup of water

Heat the canola oil and sear the beef cubes, half at a time. Cook until browned, stirring, for about three minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add a bit more canola oil if needed, and saute the onion for about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another two minutes. Add the ancho chili, cumin, allspice, pepper, and cloves and stir until fragrant, another minute or two. Add the beer and stir for a minute, before returning the beef to the pot. Then, add the tomatoes, a cup of water, oregano and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover partially with lid ajar. Simmer for about 1 1/2 to two hours, until the meat is tender. Cool for about an hour.

Then, simmer again over medium heat. Stir in the tomato paste and pureed fritos/masa, which will thicken the chili. Simmer until thickened, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, adding a quarter cup or water or so if the chili becomes too thick.

Top with cheddar, chips, sour cream, and diced tomatoes.

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