winter stew

well it’s still cold, but unlike last night, it’s stew time. for us, it’s venison stew. if you’ve read this blog, you know how much venison is in our freezer. but if you don’t have venison because you’re a normal person, you can make this with a different red meat.

adapted from epicurious.

makes 4-5 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lbs vension roast (or other red meat), cut into 1/2 – 1 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into big pieces
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

heat olive oil on high in a large pot. add in meat with pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and flour. brown meat for about 10 minutes.

add in garlic, onion, and carrots and scrape the brown bits of meat off the bottom of the pot. cook for another 10 minutes.

add in bay leaves and red wine. give the bottom of the pot a final scrape and then add in broth. simmer for an hour and a half, on medium-low. add in potatoes and corn starch and simmer for another 30 minutes.


tomato bisque

most of my pre-professional life was spent working in restaurants, and back in college, i spent a good portion of my time at the orpheum in madison, wisconsin. the restaurant has since closed its doors due to lots of unfortunate drama. regardless, for those of us that worked there, there are some things we just can’t forget: tini tuesdays, eating leftover brunches after busy sundays, and the tomato bisque.


while i’m sure this isn’t the perfect recreation, this is my ode to the tomato bisque soup that so frequently was my dinner during night shifts.

makes 4-5 servings

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups high quality canned tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tomatoes, largely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill

heat olive oil in large pot. saute onions, carrots, celery, and garlic until soft. add in tomato paste and stir until well mixed. add tomato sauce, water, bay leaf, and honey. season with salt and pepper. cook down for 10-15 minutes, until starting to thicken. add in cream and tomatoes. mix well and cook for 10-12 more minutes. finally, stir in dill. serve with crusty bread.*


*oh if i could only get my hands on the bread recipe from the orpheum, i would be so very, very fat and happy.


i bookmark recipes on a daily basis, but every once in a while you come across one that you need some extra support to accomplish. i wanted to make bouillabaisse, a french fish stew which requires (recommends, for ultimate triumph) the making of your own fish stock using fish bones obtained from a seafood market which you have to call ahead for. i mentioned this to my friend anne, who teamed up with me to spend the majority of a sunday afternoon cooking dinner for ourselves and husbands/future husbands.


we used the recipe outlined by the amateur gourmet, sticking pretty closely to it. it breaks the process into four parts:

  • the fumet
  • the marinade
  • the aioli
  • and the actual bouillabaisse

each piece builds upon the last, until you have a classically complex french meal. the fumet is the fish broth, which is made by boiling down fish bones with a vide variety of vegetables and a hint of pernod. it starts out like this:


the marinade is simple, and can be made relatively quickly and set aside. the aioli is to die for – so garlicky but you could eat it by the spoon full. and then the bouillabaisse itself starts with a solid-free portion of the stock and then gets a healthy dose of vegetables and of course, the mussels, clams, and fish:


in between the prepping and boiling down you get to enjoy a little bit of champagne. this part is not required but highly recommended:


and in the end, you get to serve this:


with some good hearty bread and good friends, it’s the ultimate culinary accomplishment.

chick stew

when i lived in spain, i used to eat chickpeas out of the jar with a spoon, about half a jar at a time. that was six years ago, and while the urge is still there, i decided to put them to better use. chicken and chickpea stew – which i’ve cutely nicknamed ‘chick stew.’


this recipe is adapted from bon appetit.

makes 4 servings

  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 chicken thighs, skin optional
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

in a large pot, heat olive oil. place chicken thighs in pot and heat until they start to sizzle and turn brown. flip and repeat on other side. the chicken doesn’t need to be fully cooked at this moment, just browned. remove from pot.

add garlic to pot and cook in the chicken’s juices and olive oil. add cumin, tomato sauce, red pepper, salt and pepper. it should form a paste. add in white wine, bring to a boil. add in chicken broth, bay leaves, and return chicken to the pot. turn heat on low and let it simmer for 20 minutes.


remove the chicken once again. into the pot, add chickpeas and red pepper. on a cutting board, shred the chicken using two forks. i find this to be remarkably therapeutic, i don’t know why. add the chicken back into the pot, for the third time. don’t worry, you will not have to take it out anymore.


add in lemon juice, and let the stew cook on low heat for another 10 minutes to combine all the flavors. sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with a baguette (we still have baguettes left over from my accidental over-estimation of necessary dough, the recipe for which you can find here.)

kale and white bean soup & tomato and mascarpone tart

i know it doesn’t make sense to make a cold tomato tart in january, but this has been on my list of things to try for quite some time. so i paired it with a very winter soup. it seemed to hit the right balance.

kale + white bean soup


adapted from love & lemons

makes 3-4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, halved
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoons chives, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan cheese, shredded or grated, to taste

in a large pot, heat olive oil. saute shallots until translucent. add mushrooms, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper. cook until mushrooms start to release their juices, about 10 minutes. add sherry and white wine and scrape the vegetables off the bottom. let the liquid reduce for about 10 minutes. add in the white beans, vegetable broth, and rosemary. bring to a boil. finally add kale and lower heat, simmering for about 15-20 minutes. serve soup with chives and parmesan and some good bread.

tomato mascarpone tart


adapted from food52.

makes 4-6 servings

for the tart:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup butter

to make the tart, mix the dry ingredients in a mixer or food processor. slowly add in water. cut in butter. mix until it forms big chunks. combine with your hands. on a floured surface roll out the dough so it will fit into a 9 inch round pan with a removable bottom. lay the dough into the pan, cutting off the edges to make it even. put the dough into the freezer for at least 30 minutes (this will help the tart not bubble up or shrink). pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until brown.

for the filling:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 2 table spoons olive oil
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes

using a food processor, chop up the garlic and basil. add olive oil and lemon juice, and pulse to blend well. then add in the mascarpone cheese. pulse until mixture is even. using a spoon, spread filling into tart (after it has cooled). thinly slice tomatoes and place on top.

wild rice and mushroom soup

it’s the last meal of the weekend cooking marathon. wild rice and mushroom soup, it’s a good hearty winter soup.

adapted from the kitchn.

makes 6-8 servings

  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, halved
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 cheese rinds
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

cook wild rice according to instructions. rice will burst open when fully cooked.

in a separate pot, heat olive oil. saute onions, celery, and garlic. once translucent, add in mushrooms. let mushrooms cook down and release their juices, turning the mixture a nice deep brown color – about 20 minutes. add in oregano and flour and stir. pour in wine and scrape the vegetables from the bottom of the pot. let the mixture reduce a bit, then add in the cheese rinds, bay leaves, and broth. bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. finally, add the rosemary, cream, cooked rice, and cider vinegar. continue to reduce until soup has thickened, about 20 minutes. salt and pepper to taste and serve.


minestrone with tortellini soup

the making of this soup almost hit disaster twice:

  1. we lost our can opener at a badger tailgate earlier this year. every time i need to open a can, i summon jason and he uses a swiss army knife. well he wasn’t home. i found the swiss army knife, and after finding what i was pretty sure was the can opener, i managed to make three large holes in the top of the can, but i couldn’t quite figure out how to actually use it to open the can. i found this video, it wasn’t helpful. luckily jason was home within 10 minutes so crisis was averted, but man, i did not know how to use that thing.
  2. while the soup was simmering, i gave jason clear instruction on the necessary steps to finish the soup (stir and remove from heat in 30 minutes) and went to the gym. he did not remove from heat, so it boiled down significantly. but i recovered by adding more broth.

adapted from food52.

makes 5-6 servings

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yukon gold potato, peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 9 ounce package of cheese tortellini
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan cheese, grated, to taste

heat olive oil in a large pot. saute bacon until it starts to brown. add in garlic, onion, and leek and cook until translucent. add in carrots, celery, zucchini, and potato. cook for 5-7 minutes. pour in stock, chickpeas, and tomatoes (including the juice). salt and pepper to taste. bring soup to a boil, then reduce and let simmer for 30 minutes. finally, add in kale and tortellini and simmer until tortellini is cooked through, about 6 minutes. serve garnished with parmesan cheese.

chicken curry soup

what to do on a cold rainy fall day? make soup, naturally. this chicken curry soup takes some time, but it’s worth it. my advice, chop up everything ahead of time, then throw it in the pot and step away.

i got my face in the picture as jason was trying to capture the amount of things that went into this soup from above. clockwise from the upper left on the left hand cutting board that is garlic, cilantro, shallots, peppers, mushrooms, jalapenos, ginger and scallions. the other cutting board contains corn fresh off the cob, shredded chicken, and lime juice/zest. not pictured is the chicken stock, coconut milk, and curry paste.

adapted from food52.

makes 4-5 servings

for soup:

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (take the seeds out for less heat)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 scallions, very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2-3 medium sized chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • zest and juice of 1 lime

for garnish:

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped for garnish
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • lime wedges, for garnish

heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan. add chicken breasts and cook until cooked through. move chicken to cutting board. using 2 forks, shred the chicken breasts.

in a large pot, heat the remaining olive oil. add in all the vegetables and herbs under the “soup” ingredients. cook for 4-5 minutes, until fragrant. add in broth, coconut milk, and curry paste. mix well. bring to a boil, add in chicken, and reduce heat. cook for 25-30 minutes on low heat, or until the soup has thickened.

serve with garnishes on the side or in the soup, depending on your preference.

turkey soup with mushroom and sage

i love fall for many reasons, and one of them is because i love soup. tonight, it turkey soup with rice, mushroom & sage.

adapted from the cookbook “soup” which i cannot find any reference of online.

makes 5-6 servings

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 25 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 3/4 lb ground turkey
  • 3 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup pinto beans
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • parmesan cheese, as garnish
  • sage leaves, as garnish

in a dutch oven, melt 3 tablespoons butter and saute onion, celery stalks, and sage leaves. add in flour and stir until onions are well cooked. add in chicken stock, one cup at a time, stirring to make sure everything is well mixed. bring to a boil. add in uncooked brown rice. partially cover and cook the rice for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

meanwhile, cook ground turkey in a medium sized pan. set aside. melt remaining butter in pan and cook mushrooms. set aside. after rice is cooked in main pot, add in the turkey meat and mushrooms. pour heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. finally, add in pinto beans and spinach. turn down heat and let the soup simmer for 10 min. serve with parmesan cheese on top, and a little extra sage if you’ve got it.