Tag Archives: Rachael Ray

A Letter to Taylor: No Fail Soup Recipes

My dearest, darling Taylor,

You are so very good at so many things. I know this because we went to college together and were in the same sorority (yes, y’all, Kappa Deltas are ballin’). You write a touching, yet hilarious, blog about motherhood and witty articles in actual publications. And, oh yeah, you’re mom to an adorable little nugget.
Taylor and Wee Connor

Come on. Is there anything cuter?

Look at his delight at the pho. This boy loves soup!

Look at his delight at the pho. This boy loves soup!

Wee Connor loves vegetables and hates bananas. I love Wee Connor.

Wee Connor loves vegetables and hates bananas. I love Wee Connor.

But apparently, dear Taylor, you are not the best at making soup.
IMG_7877
I haven’t tasted your soup. I fear you may be hard on yourself. Cause surely if you can make a human, you can make a soup, right? To be fair, I don’t exactly know how you make humans. It’s in a stock pot, right?
Winter is coming and without soup, you may die in Chicago. So, I’ve got three recipes for easy soup handpicked for you. I could say they’re foolproof, but you ain’t no fool. Friendproof? Eh, I’m still working on that one.
AOT,
Bethany
PS. If anyone else is eavesdropping with their eyeballs, aka eyvesdropping, these recipes will probably not work for you. These will literally only work for Taylor.
This is my Gramma’s recipe for her vegetable beef soup. No Grammas were harmed in the making of this soup. The most time consuming thing is the vegetable choppery. This is soup from an Indiana woman, so you know it’s going to keep you guys warm in the wintertimes. Plus, bonus: it’s delicious.
Say what you will about Rachael Ray (I hate when she calls it EVOO. There I said it.) But some of her recipes are really great. This is one of my favorites. It’s a simple, quick, stick-to-your ribs kind of soup. Plus, it’s easy to double and freezes well for up to 2 weeks.
Don’t be daunted by stock makery. I made the stock, but I had time to make some stock. I think there are places where you can easily take shortcuts. Buy a rotisserie chicken and use that. Buy boxed/canned stock instead of making your own. Would it be better to make your own at home? Eh, maybe. But ain’t nobody got time for that.
For the soup:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows
  • 8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

For the Chicken Stock:
  • 1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
  • 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 2 large white onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 1 turnip, halved
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

Yield: 2 quarts

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Facebook Pie: Atlantic Beach Pie

If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you do it?

If I’m being completely honest, I’d at least consider jumping off the bridge. Maybe there’s a big trampoline beneath the bridge. Or maybe there’s a beautiful lake filled with mermen. Sure, you MIGHT plummet to your death, but what if you were plummeting whilst being surrounded by the gorgeous vistas of the PCH?

The point is, just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s a bad thing (e.g., reading Twilight, watching Twilight, admitting you’ve read/watched Twilight). But it really isn’t always.

A few weeks ago, my friend Shaun told me about this pie she’d heard about on NPR called the Atlantic Beach Pie. It was a pie that was made at seafood restaurants in North Carolina back in the day. The theory was if you ate seafood, you really shouldn’t eat dessert because it would make you deathly ill. All desserts, except for this one.

Then I saw the recipe posted on Food52. I posted it to Shaun’s Facebook page and I started noticing it EVERYWHERE. Everyone was making it. Anna made it (and then made it again), then Alison made it, and so on and so forth. My friend Seton’s mom even called her, saying she was going to make ‘the Facebook pie.’ We were all jumping off the proverbial bridge together. And landing in a creamy, delicious pool of citrusy custard and whipped cream.

You want to believe that this pie is going to be weird. It has a saltine cracker crust. But one of my favorite treats is saltine toffee, which is simple, rich and salty-sweet goodness. (Note to self: make saltine toffee soon.)

Start with softened butter, smooshed up saltines and sugar and knead it all together into a ‘dough.’ I couldn’t get the saltine crumbs to come together. So I added a little more butter. Than a little more butter. Than it was almost another whole stick of butter. OOPS, MADE IT MORE DELICIOUS.

After a brief rest in the fridge, you bake the crust off, whisk all the remaining ingredients together, pour and rebake.

Seriously, I think the hardest thing about this pie is waiting for it to be cold enough to eat.

Go ahead, make this pie. Everybody’s doing it.

Pre-Whipped Cream. Or, Pre-Perfection.

Pre-Whipped Cream. Or, Pre-Perfection.

Atlantic Beach Pie, via Food52

For the crust:

  • 1 ½ sleeves of saltine crackers (about 6 ounces or 60 crackers)
  • ½ cup softened unsalted butter
  • tablespoons sugar
For the filling:

  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • egg yolks
  • ½ cup lemon or lime juice or a mix of the two
  • Fresh whipped cream, for garnish
  • Coarse sea salt, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust. You can use a food processor or your hands. (Just use your hands) Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an 8-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

While the crust is cooling (it doesn’t need to be cold), beat the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. It is important to completely combine these ingredients. Pour into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced. Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Second piece. I ain't ashamed.

Second piece. I ain’t ashamed.

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