Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recipe: Avoglemeno Greek Wedding Soup-Originally Posted 1.16.09

My first soup recipe!

I originally got this recipe from Rachel Ray-her Greek Wedding Soup. I changed it just a little, added chopped kale and I made it avoglemeno. Avoglemeno is a traditional Greek sauce made of eggs and lemon that is added to soup. Avoglemeno soup is usually made with chicken and rice (that's how my Dad used to make it for me when I was little, anyway) but the sauce itself can be added to any soup that you like.

5 cups of chicken stock (or beef, whatever you have on hand)
1/2 lb of ground beef
3/4 C orzo pasta
1 C chopped Kale (or other leafy green veggie, like spinach, chard, or collards)
2 eggs
1 lemon
1/2 C of breadcrumbs
1 tsp Parsley, dried
1 tsp Oregano, dried
2 tsp garlic
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Drizzle some olive oil (about 1 TB) into a pot large enough to hold 5 cups plus of liquid. Remove the inner stem (unless you're using spinach) from the leafy green of your choice and chop into small pieces. Saute the greens for about 5 minutes, and add the orzo. Saute for another few minutes, until the pasta starts looking like it is toasted (5 minutes max!). Add the stock and turn the heat to high. While you wait for the liquid to boil, make the meatballs.

Mix together the ground beef, breadcrumbs, 1 egg, garlic, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper. Once the stock is boiling, turn the heat to medium so that the liquid stays as a simmer. Form the meat mixture into balls with your hands and drop them one by one into the simmering liquid. Then, start on the avoglemeno.

Crack the remaining egg into a medium to large sized bowl, and scramble. Add the juice of 1 lemon and scramble again. Next is the tricky part. If you have ever made egg drop soup, you will know that if you add egg to a hot liquid the egg will curdle. That is NOT what we want. So the trick is to mix the lemon and egg sauce with one hand while you carefully add little bits of hot stock, about a 1/4 cup at a time. I usually use a big soup spoon, or a small ladle. Continue to add the hot stock a little bit at a time until you have added at least a cup of stock (I prefer to add 2 cups just to be sure) to the egg mixture. Then, turn off the heat to the soup. While the heat is off, stir the soup with one hand and add the avoglemeno and hot stock mix with the other. Once the two have combined, turn the heat up again to about medium and let the soup come to a boil, stirring the entire time.

Turn the heat off and check the seasonings, adding more pepper, salt, lemon, what have you. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Recipe: Beef Stroganoff Skillet-Originally Posted 12.18.08

This is my favorite meal idea right now. It's quick and super-delicious. I got the original recipe from but I don't use the actual recipe anymore, and the one below isn't verbatim.

1/2 Lb ground beef
1 pkg (16 oz) of egg noodles
1TB olive oil
1 tsp (ish) of some kind of grill seasoning, like McCormick's or Old Bay
1/4 C of sour cream
2 cups of beef stock
1 tsp flour, optional
1 small onion (or half of a large one)
4-5 cloves of garlic or jarred equivalent
ground pepper
This dish is made on the stovetop, and all in one pan, so make sure you grab a pan large enough to fit everything. You'll also need either a lid or a lid-like device to cover.
Chop the onions. Pour the olive oil into the pan and set the heat to medium-high, then add the chopped onion. Sauté the onion until slightly translucent, then add the onion and the ground beef. Cook the beef until browned, but still pink.
Add the grill seasoning to the meat and stir. Add the egg noodles and the beef stock, lower the heat, and put the lid on.
Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the noodles have been cooked enough to be able to stir. Stir and cook until the noodles are tender. At this point, add the sour cream and stir again.
This is where the flour comes in! If the sauce looks too thin, add the flour to thicken. Simmer until the sauce is as thick as you would like. Add the parsley and stir to combine. Put the noodles into individual bowls and top with cracked pepper.


This isn't exactly healthy, but it is SO DELICIOUS and hey, it's homemade! If you're feeling especially guilty you could serve alongside some steamed veggies like broccoli or green beans (I keep frozen green beans in my freezer for just this reason).


My Sad Tomato-Orig. Posted 12.6.08

I live in San Francisco. This summer, I wanted a garden very badly. So I picked up my copy of "You Grow Girl" by Gayla Trail, and read the sections on urban and container gardening obsessively.
On my fire escape, I had baby popping corn, strawberries, bell peppers, and tomatoes. They were all doing marvelously, until they all died.
The corn grew and grew until it came down with some kind of nasty fungi.
The strawberries never flowered, and thus never bore fruit, and eventually just kind of gave up and dried out.
The bell peppers were infected with aphids, and NOTHING I did cured them of this affliction. I eventually just threw them away.
But the tomatoes, oh the tomatoes.
They survived, somehow, and even managed to bear some fruit. One fruit, to be exact. This fruit.
Close up.
It's looking much more red now, but you get the idea. I am very protective of my little tomato. I put him on the balcony during the day so he can get some sun, and I bring the whole pot in at night when it is cold.
It's a little ridiculous, actually, but I refuse to let the damn thing die. I'm becoming a little attached, actually. I'm not sure I'll be able to bring myself to eat it!

In other news, I bought a christmas tree this year. It's not a real christmas tree, it's a rosemary bush trimmed to look like one.
See the tag?
I made the cranberry and popcorn garland myself. My boyfriend and I are having a foodie-themed christmas.
The rosemary has already come in quite handy (rosemary potatoes, anyone? Yum!) and I figure if I can keep it alive, I can just trim it back into a tree shape and use it again next year.

The problem with that logic is that I've never managed to keep rosemary alive for longer than a few weeks, so wish me luck!