Since we first posted our yogurt recipe (really more of a method), we’ve made a few changes.
First, we no longer let it “yoge” in the oven. After forgetting that it’s in there and baking it once too often, we’ve started culturing it in the microwave. This works great!
Second, we’ve been whisking in the culture once the milk cools to 130 degrees, rather than 120 degrees. This seems to result in a creamier yogurt. I’m not sure why, but it might be because the temperature is kept slightly higher while culturing.
Third, after we melted the lid of our regular yogurt container (see comment number one), we switched to using a quart jar. It works really well, except that you have to start with 3-3/4 cups of milk, rather than an even 4, so that the jar doesn’t overflow.
I hope you’ve at least given the yogurt thing a try. If you need an extra push in that direction, read this short NPR article, which includes a couple of yummy sounding recipes in addition to the author’s own yogurt method. Happy culturing!
Now that I’m entering the home stretch of pregnancy, I’m hit with a double whammy. I’m too tired to cook many nights, but I also want to make sure we have a good store of freezer and pantry meals ready for the little one’s arrival in a month or so. This has resulted in a lot of boring, but nutritionally sound, meals that just aren’t that much fun to talk about. Mostly, a TON of soup. Since most soup recipes serve 6-8, one batch will yield enough for Erik and I to eat for two meals plus one or two quart jars of soup in the freezer. Not exciting, but very practical.
We finally did hit on a meal that is both. This wild rice soup is based on a recipe from the very “ladies who lunch” River Room at Dayton’s in St. Paul. Yep, Dayton’s. It was hard enough to call it Marshall Fields, although I finally got used to it, but I am NOT calling it Macy’s. Anyway…I digress. We’d sometimes meet my dad there for lunch on special occasions when we didn’t have school, but he had to work. I always felt pretty special and grown up. This is, hands-down, the best wild rice soup out there. It’s not overly rich, but is nonetheless silky and delicious. If you’re feeling very indulgent, make some popovers and have a real River Room experience.
Note I: I’ve tweaked the recipe to use a very unattractive leftover roast chicken.
If you don’t happen to have one sitting in your refrigerator, you can use homemade or canned chicken stock and some sort of pre-cooked chicken – grilled or poached breasts or thighs would work well. You could also pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner and then make this the next day. The possibilities abound!
Note II: You’ll need to pre-cook the wild rice. My favorite way to do this is to mix 1 cup of wild rice with 3 cups of water in a covered baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour to an hour-and-a-half or until the rice has absorbed the water and is nice and fluffy. This will give you WAY more rice than you need for this dish, but I happen to like having extra in the refrigerator. It makes a quick side dish or an interesting addition to oatmeal in the morning.
Minnesota Wild Rice Soup
Makes about 6 servings
||Or 6 cups of chicken broth and about 1-1/2 cups of chopped meat (see Note I)
||Stillman’s at the Turkey Farm
||Substitute chicken fat, if you’ve got some handy from that leftover roast chicken
||Stillman’s at the Turkey Farm
||Red Fire Farm
||Whole Foods from Pennsylvania
||Red Fire Farm
||Cooked (see Note II)
||Care package from my parents in Minnesota
||Red Fire Farm
- Pull the remaining meat off of your roast chicken. Aim for about 1-1/2 cups, but more or less won’t ruin anything. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Combine the chicken bones and 8 cups of water in a pot or slow cooker and simmer for as long as you can. In the slow cooker, I aim for 8 hours on low. On the stove, I let it go for at least a couple of hours, but it depends on when I have to leave the house or go to bed.
- Strain the chicken broth through a colander to remove the large bits and then a lint-free towel to catch the smaller pieces. You should end up with about 6 cups of broth. If you have more, hurray! Save it for later. If you have less, just add a bit of water to make up the difference. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Chop up all your vegetables.
- In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onions. Saute over medium heat until the onions have started to soften, 5 minutes or so.
- Add the scallion, mushrooms, and carrots to the onions and cook until softened, about another 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir until the flour and butter form a paste coating the vegetables, about a minute.
- While whisking, pour the chicken broth into the pot. The flour will help thicken the broth, but could also make it chunky. Whisking and slow pouring help to create a smooth soup. Simmer for 20 minutes (more or less…this is soup, after all, not wedding cake).
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until warmed through, another 5 minutes or so. Enjoy!
Am I ever glad that fall has arrived! I know that’s a little controversial, but hear me out. First – cooler weather. Maybe not such a big deal to you gestationally normal out there, but, for me as a pregnant lady, it’s huge. Second – food!!! We’re awash in peppers, pears, corn, tomatoes, grapes, even an early pumpkin or two. Third (or maybe second-and-a-half) – cooking is fun again. This one’s obviously linked to points One and Two, but there’s something about the changing seasons that reinvigorates me in the kitchen. So, whether or not you agree, hurray for fall!!
The recipe below does not actually involve any seasonal produce, but it is tasty and certainly easy. I’m not usually a huge fan of chicken dishes. I generally find them a little blah and would rather spend my budget (financial and caloric) on more satisfying fare – like duck or eggplant. However, I was watching the Cooking Channel and caught this show about a woman who has a tiny restaurant in her Parisian kitchen. She made this lavender-lemon roasted chicken and made it seem so effortless and delicious. Maybe it was the British accent and perfect red lipstick…maybe it’s a weird pregnancy craving like the cucumber ice cream, but I opened up my Amazon app in a flash and ordered her cookbook. We’ve since made quite a few recipes out of this book and have been delighted each time.
If you start with a cut-up chicken, it’s definitely a weeknight meal, but the complex tart-sweet-herbaceous flavor is truly dinner party worthy.
Sorry for the lack of photos! Totally forgot.
Lavender-Lemon Roasted Chicken
Makes about 6 servings, but it depends on the size of your chicken and your appetite
- Combine all the ingredients except for the chicken and salt in a small bowl and whisk to blend.
- Arrange the chicken pieces in a container in a (mostly) single layer. Pour the marinade over the top and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
- Once the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Dump the chicken and marinade into a baking dish and sprinkle with the salt. Bake (uncovered) for 45 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the temperature at the thickest point is 165 degrees (or the juices run clear when you slice into the thickest part).
This was so tasty, I’d lick my plate, but I don’t have my licker license. I love you and miss you already, Grandpa!
We’ve posted before about how a frittata is our go-to dish for getting vegetables out of the refrigerator. In the late summer we have a second play out of that same playbook to use up vegetables that, quite frankly, aren’t our favorites.
I’m talking about eggplants, summer squash, and those bitter purple peppers. We have good recipes for all of them (maybe not the purple peppers), but sometimes out CSA just drops too . . . → Read More: How to Make Ratatouille: The Late Summer CSA Leftover Disposal
Hi folks! I am so happy that our heat wave has finally broken. It has been miserable here! Given the weather (and my pregnancy…have we mentioned that?), I’ve been eating a LOT of ice cream. A LOT of ice cream. But not nearly enough to make me sick of it, unfortunately. In an attempt to avoid strange ingredients and unnatural dyes (green mint chocolate chip, anyone?), I’ve been making a lot of it at home. . . . → Read More: Getting Creative with Cucumbers