Avgolemono Soup

Avgolemono Soup

The last few weeks have been a complete blur to me.  Between a quick trip to NYC for a wedding, our cat on the brink of survival (but has come back!), being without a washing machine for almost 3 weeks, and within 48 hours of school ending then taking our kids to overnight camp – all while working like a crazy woman – it is no wonder I feel this way.  Thank goodness that I am finally able to catch up on life.

It is definitely quiet in the house right now – this is the first time the girls have gone to overnight camp, and they will be gone for 10 days.  I remember going to overnight camp for the first time – although my mother had to remind me that as we were arriving, I decided I didn’t want to go anymore – but thank goodness they didn’t fall for that.  I remember having the time of my life.  I also remember coming home and begging to go back…it was certainly one of the highlights of my childhood.

Back then there were no computers, no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – and now I can get updates from all of those places – and even send my kids emails.  Although they don’t allow any electronic devices (how would I survive??) they will scan a handwritten letter and send it to you via email (for a small cost of course) so your kids can reply to the email letters they receive.  Amazing.

I learned that their first meal at camp was grilled cheese and tomato soup – sounds perfect.  Funny that I was thinking about another soup – this delicious lemony rice soup – perfect for summertime.  My trusty market basket came with all the ingredients to make this amazing soup, and I know that makes a big difference – using fresh lemons and farm fresh eggs.

Before I forget – we have a winner in the prAna dress giveaway!!  Congratulations to Mari!  She has been a faithful reader for quite sometime, and am so glad I am able to show her some gratitude curtesy of prAna.  Mari – I will be in touch with the details!


  • 8 cups Farm & Larder chicken stock
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 4 eggs
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper


Bring stock to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and stir in rice; cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

Whisk eggs and juice in a bowl until frothy, add 1 cup of the simmering stock and whisk to combine; transfer back to the pot.

Cook, while stirring, about 2 minutes more; season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

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Sweet Corn Chowder with Red Pepper and Onion

Sweet Corn Chowder with Red Peppers

It’s hard to believe that I have been home for a month already.  Not one day goes by that I don’t think about my wonderful summer.  Fortunately I happen to live in a food city, because I swear I don’t know what I would do if that were not the case.  Right now the farmer’s markets are just filled with amazing fall produce.  More on that later…

One of the surprises I had coming back to Seattle after almost 3 months away, was the number of new restaurants that had opened while I was gone.  It was fun adding new places to my list – and I finally updated my favorites on this blog.  The other weekend at the Food Blogger’s Conference, we were fortunate enough to have a tasting fair with many of Seattle’s most popular restaurants, cooking us delicious bites.  It was almost too good to be true.  It was not too crowded, and you could try whatever you liked.  There were 3 restaurants that really won the prize that night in my book.  One of them you might notice is on my favorites list already…

  • Skillet Diner made their incredible chicken and waffles – crispy fried chicken on top of a delicious tender on the inside and crispy on the outside waffle, with a delicious maple syrup drizzle – I am telling you, it is comfort food at it’s finest.
  • Hot Cakes had this drinking chocolate that was out of this world – people were latterly standing there in awe – among the other treats of deliciousness that they were handing out.
  • Molly Moons served their vegan coconut ice cream – yes, I have had this before, but it still amazes me that it is dairy free, yet so creamy and rich.

So there you have it – if you happen to be in the area, you can’t go wrong with any of those places.  Now back to the markets.  My market basket is just wowing me with amazing produce every week, and last week they sent me with all the ingredients to make this delicious vegan soup (and the recipe!).  I wasn’t sure that it would really taste like chowder without any dairy – but it certainly did.  It was such a nice treat to come home after work, and so quickly be able to warm up this soup for a wonderful meal.  There is no doubt that France is a special place for food, but until I get back there, I am lucky to be right here in Seattle.


  • 3 cups corn kernels, shucked from ears
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 Topepo Rosso peppers, seeded and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Sea salt


Heat the oil in a 4-quart pot until shimmering. Add the onion and peppers and sauté until lightly tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the corn, sage and chile pepper flakes; saute for 1 minute. Season with salt to taste. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until vegetables are all tender, about 5 minutes.

Carefully pour half the mixture into a blender and purée until smooth (remember the soup is hot, so be careful). Stir the puréed mixture back into the pot with the remaining soup. Taste the soup and add more salt, if desired. Ladle into bowls, garnish with a few chile flakes and serve hot.

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Parmesan Crisps

Parmesan Crisps

Cheese is on my short list.  The short list of things I must consume as much as possible of while in France. Fortunately for me, what I was hoping for actually happened.  In the US, I can’t really eat dairy without taking a lactaid pill – and even then, it doesn’t always work.  So, for the most part, I stay away from dairy as best as I can – but as you can tell from my blog, it doesn’t always stop me.  Then I just suffer the consequences – if the handy pill decides not to work.

Here, it is a different story…whatever it is, dairy agrees with me just fine.  It definitely begs the question of what is done to our dairy in the US.  I can eat all the cheese I want here, and I am fine.  I can even drink a nice glass of milk – what a bonus.  My husband thinks it is the fact that I am under no stress here – I think it is the quality of the food.  Whatever it is, I am enjoying every minute of it.  One more reason why this is the place for me.

The other night we were out at one of the cutest places ever – Buvette – where I am absolutely in love with everything there, the boxes filled with fresh fruit just waiting to be made into a tart, the adorable bar with top quality liquors, and the food that is exceptionally fresh and delicious.  The girls each got a Croque Monsieur, and the cheese on the top was so crusty, it was amazing.  It reminded me of these parmesan crisps I made before I left – recipe from Cooking Light.  They were the perfect accompaniment to the tomato fennel soup we were enjoying.  Although they are just as good on their own.  Now if you could excuse me, I have some more cheese to eat…truffle cheese from the farmer’s market.  Yum!


  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)


Preheat oven to 350°.

Spread 2 teaspoons cheese evenly into a 2-inch circle on a parchment-lined baking sheet; repeat 5 times, leaving 1 inch between circles. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes or until golden. Remove pan from oven; carefully lift crisps from pan with a spatula, and place on a wire rack. Cool cheese crisps completely.

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Fennel and Carrot Soup

Fennel and Carrot Soup

We have had a very mild winter here – there is nothing to complain about – in fact, when I look at what has been going on back east, wow, we have really been in a different land.  Normally we get a little snow, maybe one storm a year (which shuts the city down), but fortunately this year, it was all sun and rain.  So normally about this time I am sick of making soup, and ready for the sun to come out – but that has not been our experience.

I haven’t had a lot of time to cook lately – in fact, there is so much going on right now, I can barely think about the blog.  I am almost to the point though where I can see the forest through the trees….just a few more months and I will get a really nice break.  Time to recharge and energize…more on that later.

The last couple of days have been damp and cold – ok, maybe not in east coast standards, but compared to what we have been dealing with.  Soup was just calling me – and so was this recipe that I found in Bon Appetit.  Of course with fennel as the first ingredient, you know it has to be yummy.  This was a super simple soup, and oh so delicious.  Just the perfect warm-me-up for a cold damp day.


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1 small Yukon Gold potato, peeled, halved
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth


Heat 4 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy pot over medium. Add fennel, onion, carrots, potato, thyme, and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed, until vegetables are soft but not browned and have released their moisture, 45–60 minutes (this will give them deep flavor).

Add broth, bring to a boil, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until potato is falling apart, 8–10 minutes. Let cool slightly. Remove herbs.

Working in batches, purée in a blender until smooth. Strain into a clean pot; season with salt and pepper.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Fennel and Carrot Soup

Roasted Fennel, Red Pepper, and Tomato Soup

Roasted Fennel, Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Before I get into my post tonight, I wanted to remind everyone to vote for your favorite Girl Scout Cookie Recipe!!  There are only two days left (the voting cuts off at 10:00pm PST on Friday night), and my girls are really hoping to watch me on TV – or maybe even get on TV themselves.  So, if you haven’t already voted, and you would be so kind, just remember – Samoas Ice-Cream Pie!!

There is nothing more satisfying to me than making something new out of leftovers – or what I call, making something out of nothing.  I hate wasting food, and I love the problem solving (or as some might call creativity) that it takes, and that wonderful feeling when it actually works.

As I have mentioned many times, I am obsessed with Fennel – I love it in just about everything – even cocktails.  Lately I have been slicing up fennel with some red pepper strips and tomatoes, then putting some chicken thighs on top and roasting the big pan in the oven until the fennel is soft, and the chicken is crispy on the outside, but moist on the inside.  It is delicious – a one dish meal complete with a flavorful pan sauce.  It is a weeknight dinner to be proud of.  Well, last weekend I had a bunch of fennel leftover, and some chicken stock and rice in the refrigerator that I had to use up – and it hit me.  I got out my favorite kitchen appliance as of late (I swear that Ninja Blender is amazing), and in a matter of minutes, I had a perfect lunch.  My husband even tried it, and loved it.

So here you go, whether you expand the recipe and start off with some roasted chicken first, or you just go for the soup, I know this will make you a healthy and satisfying meal to be proud of.  Now go vote!!


  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 14.5 ounce jar petit diced tomatoes with roasted garlic
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups pre-cooked rice


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the thinly sliced fennel and red bell pepper into a 9×13 glass baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray.  Slightly drain the jar of tomatoes, and scatter around the fennel and bell pepper.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast the vegetables in the oven for about 45-60 minutes, or until the fennel is really soft.

Place the vegetables with the chicken broth in a blender – you may have to do this in two batches (use half the chicken stock and half the vegetables) and puree until smooth.  Add the cooked rice, and season with salt and pepper as necessary.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:   Roasted Fennel, Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Fennel Blossom Soup

Fennel Blossom Soup

Is it seriously Sunday already?  Where did my relaxing weekend go?  I guess that’s what happens when you have a child with the flu, Thanksgiving, a Birthday celebration and a sleepover with 4 tweens all in one long weekend.  I should have known it was going to end like this, but for some reason I was hoping for a little quiet time somewhere in between all that.  If I can make sure the rest of the family doesn’t get the flu, then maybe everything will be ok.

Nothing is as it should be right now.  It is hard to explain – but even my husband agrees that my universe is just plain off.  The reasons why are just too difficult to explain, but even he had no advice to offer.  He just shook his head.  The conclusion that we came to is that we just try too hard, and it is time to stop.  Sometimes it is best to just let it go and have some fun – playing hard to get might just be a good thing.  Fortunately I can always count on food – healthy, fresh and locally grown.  And there is no need to play any kind of games.

Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables of all time – and it is not often that it gets center stage.  Usually I use it in a recipe with other main ingredients – but this time I wanted it to shine.  This recipe came to me through my weekly CSA basket – along with some delicious fresh fennel straight from the farm.  This soup captured the beauty of the vegetable completely.  Every bite was better than the last – and the fennel flowers on top as the garnish was the icing on top.  What a wonderful healthy soup to look forward to at the end of a long day.


  • 3 cups fennel, diced
  • 2 cups leeks, sliced, white part only
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons fennel blossoms, plus additional for garnish
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper


Cook the leek in the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the leek wilts. Add the fennel bulb and chicken broth. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Stir in the fennel blossoms Purée the soup in two batches in a blender until very smooth. Be very careful when doing this – fill the blender no more than half full so that the hot soup does not splash out, and pulse it in quick spurts before switching it on continuously. Pour it back into the saucepan and reheat it until it simmers. Taste the soup, season with pepper, and add salt as needed. Serve hot or chilled, garnished with a small pinch of fennel flowers.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Fennel Blossom Soup

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet potatoes are a bit of an enigma to me.  I always thought that sweet potatoes were orange, but then one day I bought some and was surprised when I peeled one that the flesh looked just a tiny bit more orange than a regular potato.  It was the skin that was different.  For some reason I thought the magic would happen when the potato cooked – but seriously, I am not sure what I was thinking.  The cooked potato looked exactly like the raw one – and it wasn’t orange.

The next time I was in the market to buy some sweet potatoes, I noticed how the yams were different – the flesh actually looked orange.  So, that’s what I bought – and sure enough, it was as orange as can be.  And absolutely beautiful.  Ok, so I know that sweet potatoes and yams are supposed to taste the same, but for some reason the orange yams taste better to me.  It is amazing what a little color can do to your taste buds.  Ok, this has got to just be in my head.

I found this recipe in Cooking Light and it was the color that attracted me.  I am not a huge sweet potato soup fan, but I knew that with a color like that, and some bacon crumbles – how could I not love it.  It was a very simple soup – one of the simplest I have made – but the recipe was all wrong.  It called for sweet potatoes, and I knew that if I really used them, it would have no color at all.  So – I used yams – and sure enough, orange like the sun.  This soup was not only delicious, but as my neighbor described it – velvety – and that was exactly the texture.  The bacon crumbles gave it a nice salty taste that was a perfect balance with the sweet soup.  The only thing left to change now, is the name…but Creamy Yam Soup just doesn’t sound as good, right?


  • 2 pounds yams, halved lengthwise (about 2 large)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)


Place potatoes, cut sides down, in an 11 x 7-inch microwave-safe baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly; discard potato skins.

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 1 minute or until translucent. Stir in cumin and red pepper. Add stock to pan; bring to a boil. Place half of sweet potato and half of stock mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters); blend until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining sweet potato and stock mixture. Stir in salt. Divide soup evenly among 6 bowls; sprinkle cooked bacon and Parmesan cheese evenly over top. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Creamy Sweet Potato Soup