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eat local challenge: a market in a bowl

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By foodorleans · June 1, 2013 · 0 Comments ·
Hello NOLA locavores! For today's lunch idea, I've concocted a simple, restorative soup that showcases a rainbow of fresh market vegetables. Soup is one of my favorite things to eat for lunch, and is a great way to get lots of nutrients and stay hydrated.  I've also been thinking of those doing the Eat Local Challenge who might be wondering how they can get a locally sourced meal during a workday lunch hour--make some soup on the weekend and take it to work for several days! And if you don't have a microwave at work for heating up soup, look up recipes for chilled soups like gazpacho, cucumber-yogurt, or even curried corn chowder. I bet you'll find something that floats your boat.

I made a chicken stock for this soup, but if you don't think you'll have time for that, just grab some pre-made chicken stock at Cleaver & Co. It's made from local chickens so it's acceptable for the challenge!  And if you don't want chicken at all, just make a vegetable stock, or buy one (it might not be local but hey, everything else will be).  Feel free to substitute different vegetables or herbs according to what you've got.  This is a fairly light soup, so for a meal, I'd add some cheese and bread or a salad with fruit and nuts.

If you want to make a chicken stock but don't know how, here's the method I used. First, I roasted a chicken I bought at Hollygrove Market. I rubbed butter all over it and pushed some butter under the breast skin; seasoned all over and in the cavity with salt and pepper; and stuck some onion chunks, lemon quarters, and thyme sprigs inside the cavity. I tied the legs together, stuck the wingtips under the body, and roasted (uncovered) at 400 for 10 minutes, then reduced the heat to 375 for 60 more minutes. It's done when the juices run clear at the thigh bone.

I let the chicken cool a bit, then tore all the meat off the bones and set it aside to use in the soup later. I threw the whole chicken carcass, with skin (minus the lemons from the cavity) into an 8-quart soup pot. I added a few carrots, a few celery stalks, an onion, a tablespoon of peppercorns, some bay leaves, and thyme sprigs to the pot, then covered it all with water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 3 hours, adding more water halfway through if necessary to end up with 3 1/2 quarts of stock.  Strain through a sieve and return to the soup pot.


summer market chicken soup

  • 3 1/2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
  • 2 leeks, washed well and thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded kale, loosely packed
  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 2 bay leaves
  • thyme sprigs, about 4
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • snipped chives, for garnish

  1. Heat the chicken stock in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the leeks and carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the bell pepper, zucchini, squash, and garlic and saute until nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the contents of the saute pan to the stock, along with the kale, chicken, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and let the flavors meld for about 10 minutes at a gentle simmer. Check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper.
  4. Top each serving with chives.

makes 6 large servings

5 easy pieces, part 2: roasted potatoes and turnips

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By foodorleans · November 28, 2012 · 0 Comments ·
There's nothing easier than roasting vegetables, and this is a great combination that yields crispy red-skinned potatoes, caramelized sweet potatoes, and robust little baby turnips whose tops become crunchy after a long baking time.  I love to cook vegetables this way; it's an easy side dish that will go with just about anything, needs hardly any seasoning at all, and will look after itself for most of its oven time.  Sometimes I'll pop a pan of veggies in the oven and THEN decide what the main course will be for dinner, while they're baking.  

You can season roasted roots however you want: salt and pepper, fresh or dried herbs, spices such as curry powder or paprika.  There are no rules! I've never tried a roasted vegetable I didn't like.  Lagniappe: Make a really big batch, then puree the leftovers the next day with chicken stock for roasted vegetable soup!

roasted potatoes and turnips

  • 3 medium red skinned potatoes, cut in 1" chunks
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, cut in 1" chunks
  • 1 pound baby turnips, tops trimmed (or regular turnips, cut in 1" chunks)
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste (plus any herbs and/or spices you like)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. In a large, shallow baking pan, combine the potatoes and turnips.  Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat and distribute the oil evenly, spreading everything out into a single layer.  Add more seasoning if necessary.
  3. Roast for 40 to 60 minutes, until browned and tender, stirring once or twice throughout the cooking process. 

serves 3 as a side dish

See part 1 of 5 Easy Pieces: smoked salmon breakfast pizza

un petit tour de france: ratatouille and rice gratin

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By foodorleans · July 23, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

Yesterday, I was inspired once again to buy local, seasonal produce and see what I could make with it.  The inspiration came from this wonderful French documentary, Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution (more on that below*).  When I got to the store, I wasn't set on a French menu by any means, but I just did this staring thing I've been doing lately--I stand in front of the produce wall and stare straight ahead.  I soften my eyes and don't try to focus on anything, and see what colors stand out to me.  This is not unlike the way I look at a painting by Monet or Renoir--there's that Frenchiness again.  This time, eggplant and squash called to me.  And that one plump red bell pepper, all alone.  So I was struck with the solution of ratatouille, and just went all-out French and bought a whole chicken to roast.  Why the heck not?

[veggies roasted and ready for layering]

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