Archives for the month of: February, 2012

I’m wondering how many more weeks of winter we have left in St. Louis, because I’m wondering how many more weeks I can make a pot of soup without looking weird. It’s been a very mild winter, and so here we are, Feb. 22nd, and my tulips are already starting to grow. I am holding back on working on the garden until mid-March as I would expect that we have a few more frosts (possibly even one more snow) to go until growing season is in fully effect.


With that rationalization, I am still making my weekly soup. After all, Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now still has plenty of recipes for soup and hearty cold-weather braises. Here is a delightfully healthy soup I adapted from her book.

Potato, Leek, and Parsnip Soup adapted from Cook This Now
Serves 4-6

5 tbsp unsalted butter
4 leeks, white and light green parts
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and chopped
32 oz unsalted chicken broth
3-4 springs of thyme, or about 1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp crushed red pepper

Melt the butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Add leeks and cook for about 5 minutes until tender. Add celery and cook for additional 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another mi ute, or until fragrant. Add root vegetables, stock, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cook for about 25 minutes or until root veggies are cooked through. You may want too add a cup or two of more water as this is cooking to make sure there is enough liquid. Once veggies are cooked, remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaf, puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Add crushed red pepper.

Serve with a hunk of crusty bread and enjoy! It’s filling and healthy! Great for those of us who are (still) working off those pesky Christmas treats. Heading downstairs for some TurboFire as we speak.



I’m totally excited to be a newbie starting the next Tuesdays with Dorie. I was especially excited when my copy of Baking With Julia came in the mail last week.

While I missed the first week, I totally joined at the right time to get to make this chocolate tort. I had a little trouble working the dough; while the directions said it should be crumbly, I did add a little more ice water to get the dough to come together (and make it easier to roll out since I used my 10 inch tart pan).

20120220-220647.jpg (still crumbly!)

The filling for this tart is delightful. Rich chocolate, with more chunks of chocolate and crushed amaretti cookies mixed in. (DH and I enjoyed the leftover cookies as well). Dee-lightful.

20120220-221109.jpg Chocolate and butter!

20120220-221137.jpg Chocolate and cookies

How’d it turn out? I had to bake both the crust and filling a little longer since I made a 10 inch tart instead of the smaller tartlettes. But all in all – this was delicious.

20120220-221448.jpg. Still some white chocolate pieces, which helps make the tort creamy.

Want to see the recipe? Visit the sites of this week’s hosts who all have lovely blogs (and whose photos will do this amazing desert justice!), Jessica, Jaime, Spike, and Steph

Very happy to be doing this project! Here’s to learning some lifelong baking skills!


On most Sundays in the winter, I try to cook a big pot of soup to eat during the week. It’s a healthy way to eat something filling and comforting during the dark, dreary days in winter. And it’s a good excuse to pull out my favorite stockpot.

DH always asks the eternal question, “why do women love soup?” I do not have a great answer on behalf of womankind, but I think the combination of healthy and comfort food might have something to do with it.

Last week’s soup was a simplified adaptation of a recipe featured on the kitchen. Its stars are chickpeas and some mild chorizo. I decided to make my own chickpeas from dried beans in order to cut out the extra salt.

Chickpea, Chorizo, and Kale Soup
Serves 4-6


1/2 lb dried chickpeas
14 oz package of chorizo
1 medium onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tbsp dried thyme
1 can of other beans (I used black, but white beans will be good too)
4-6 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 large bunch kale
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Place chickpeas in water to soak overnight. After soaking, drain and rinse them, then boil them in a large saucepan until cooked through. (This may take up to an hour). Alternatively, you can open a can or two of chickpeas and rinse them. 🙂

Take chorizo out of its skin and place in the bottom of the stock pot. Brown the chorizo, breaking it up as it cooks. Remove from pot.

Add onion to the stock pot and chorizo drippings. If too dry, can add a little olive oil. Cook the onions until translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, the chickpeas and beans. Heat for 1 minute to get fragrant. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down so the soup simmers, cover and cook for half an hour.

Wash the kale and pull bite-sized leaves off the stems. Gradually stir into soup, allowing the kale to turn bright green and become wilted. Stir in the vinegar and the olive oil, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Sometimes after a few day of a soup I get tired of them, but this was one I looked forward to eating all week! Enjoy!