Monday, October 24, 2016

Meatball soup!

Meatball soup!

I have been making this soup for a few years now.  It's a weekly go-to for me during the colder months, for so many reasons.  Very filling, warming, and tasty.  And it's nice to have for lunch, for a couple of days after.  It just gets better if it sits for a day or two in the refrigerator.


2 medium sized onions.
4 tbsp butter
1 pound of your favourite Italian Sausage.
4  cups chicken broth (I use bone broth.)
1 28 oz tin of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup of a good red wine*
3 TBSP smoked paprika
1 TBSP dried basil
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 TSP dried thyme
1 TBSP granulated garlic, or a fine mince of about 4 fresh cloves
1/2 TSP celery salt.
Your favourite cruciferous vegetable.  I love Broccoli Rabe in this, but kale, regular broccoli, cauliflower, and even chard work well.


 Chop onions in half, then slice into about 1/4 inch slices.  Roll your sausage into balls, and place them near the pot you will use.  I have discovered over the years that I prefer to just make meatballs from the sausage, and not add any binding agent.  They really don't need it, and the texture just seems to turn out better.  I also like to be sure the tomatoes and broth are ready at this stage.  Onions need babysitting, so the more you get done first, the better.

On high heat, sautee the onions in the butter until barely caramelized.  If using fresh garlic, stir this in, just before adding tomatoes.

Reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes and wine, and stir, to deglaze a bit.

Add paprika, basil, oregano, thyme, garlic, (if using granulated,) and celery salt.  Stir.

Add broth, stir, then add meatballs.

Cover, and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes.

Add your vegetables, cover for another 2 minutes, and serve.

I like to chop a large amount of vegetables for this soup, store the rest, and only use what I think I will eat when served.  That way, when there are leftovers, I can add fresh vegetables to the soup, each time.  No grody, overdone veggies, ever!!!

Serves 6.

*The wine adds a richness to it, but can be left out.  I have been leaving it out lately, since I haven't been able to tolerate it.  At any rate, if you do add it, be sure to use something that you'd like to drink.  Nothing ruins a recipe quite like rot-gut.  :)


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hedy's Shakshouka! Say it! You know you want to. Shakshouka! Shakshouka! Shakshouka!

Shakshouka is pretty delicious, and you can do a lot of different things with it.  This one is a loose North-African adaptation, but I don't claim to be 100% anything, so I added some of my own spin on this.  It's also a perfectly easy Tuesday night meal, or for whenever the heck you want.  Hell, have it for brunch.  Throw some vodka on top.  It's like a bloody, without all the cups.

OK, don't really do that, but I guess you could.

Report back.


1 tbsp butter
2 red bell peppers
1 good sized red onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
5 white button mushrooms, sliced
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup of very good, flavourful stock.  Your choice.  Don't use possum.
A nice big handful of kalamata olives, pitted
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, or the equivalent of concasse, if you feel like doing all of that stuff with tomatoes.  (I don't really think it makes a difference, but whatever floats your grandma down the stream, while she sings...)
2 tbs cumin
1 tbs coriander
2 tbs curry powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
8 eggs
Salt to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roast peppers for about 20 minutes, maybe more, maybe less.  I like them to have a good char on the outside, but not be dried out, on fire, or burnt.  Once they are out, set them aside to cool enough to be handled.  DO NOT PEEL.  Once cooled sufficiently to the touch, place in food processor, or blender, and blend.  Set aside, until ready to use.

Finely chop onion, garlic, and olives.  Separately, please.  (The olives don't actually go into the pan for quite some time, but it's just better to have everything chopped up and ready to go beforehand, so you DON'T BURN THINGS.)  Slice mushrooms.

Place butter and onion into the pan.  Saute until they are all sweaty and wanton looking.  Then, add the mushrooms.  Do the same to them, until it looks like some kind of obscene orgy.  Yeah, baby, this is when you add the garlic.  Do the garlic thing for a minute, then add the spices, except for the cinnamon.  You want these to toast, but again, DON'T BURN ANYTHING!!!  DON'T DO IT.  AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!

Where were we?  Oh right.  Next, add the stock, and lime juice.  This will deglaze the pan a little, getting most of that sweet, toasty goodness off of the bottom.  Add the tomatoes, and the peppers.

Stir this for a few minutes, until it thickens up.  Add the cinnamon.  I like to add this, this way, because I just want a whisper of cinnamon (yes, I did just impersonate Niles from "Frasier" as I typed this out.)  I don't want the cinnamon to be too intense in this.

Add the finely chopped olives, then salt to taste.  Do this now, before the eggs go in.  It's hard to salt things when they can't move.

At this point, I like to turn the heat off, and transfer half of the mixture into a separate pan of the same size.  You can, of course, reserve half of this for another day as leftovers if you are only serving 2 people.  (This recipe serves four with a bit of sauce left over.)

Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then begin to make wells in your sauce, with the back of a large serving spoon.  This will serve as the sweet little cradle for your egg.

Crack your eggs, one at a time, into a small custard cup, or ramekin.  This ensure you have good eggs, and also ensures you don't break your yolks, trying to get them into the pan.  Slide the eggs into the little wells, until you have what you want.

I like to grate a little manchego cheese on top of each egg, but you could also use parmesan, or some other salty cheese.  Feta is fabulous with this, as well.

Place lids on each pan, and turn the heat to medium.  Check every couple of minutes or so.  You want the tops to be set, but the yolks to be a bit on the liquid side.  It's OK to err on the side of undercooked here, because the sauce will be very hot, and the eggs will continue to cook for a wee bit longer, once you bowl them up.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Barium Walk...

Today, I got to try barium for the first time.  It tasted like a vanilla Shaklee Meal Shake from the '80s.

They took quite a few pictures of my guts, then they gave me a different type of barium with some bitter digestive shit that tasted like aspirin.  It still was not the worst thing I have ever had in my mouth, but I'm glad I don't have to do that again, any time soon.

For the last part of the exam, I had to drink the bitter stuff, then walk around for an hour while it worked its way through my system.  They grabbed me once during that hour, took gut pictures, then made me walk for another half hour, taking more gut pictures.  My guts are surprisingly not that weird looking, which I suppose is a good thing.

Anyway, while I did my laps, I made friends with a few techs.  We hi fived a few times, but I tried not to make too big a deal of it, because they had their jobs, and I had my really boring one.

I decided to make up a little song:  I call it "The Barium Walk"  I... may have stolen the tune of "Word Up!" from Cameo.  Whatever.

Anyway, here ya go:

Big booty baby, walk down the hall...
Turn right, then right, then right, and then right.
Stop in the middle, and do your dance,
Shake your booty left and right to make the barium go down.

It goes down, it goes down, keeps going down,
just keep walking to the beat and keep a turning to the right.

Walk around, walk-a-round, do your dance now
Mama come on baby do the Barium Walk!

Barium!  Everybody say!  When you hear the call you got to get your x-ray...

Yeah, I'm kind of a dork.


Monday, February 29, 2016

Two recipes in one post! ZOMG!!! Hummus, and Baba. Yeah, baby!

I'll start with my hummus.  I used to be really obnoxious and elitist about this stuff, but I've changed my tune, mostly.  See?  This used to be a three day process.  I'd sprout my garbanzos for three days.  Then?  I'd boil them.  Then?  I'd shell them, and make the hummus, from there.

Who has time for that?  Not me.  At least not anymore.

I do still insist on shelling the garbanzos, though.  There is a restaurant here that I won't name, but many know... for their beer.  They do have excellent beer.  Buy the beer.  Skip their hummus.  Trust me.  The hummus is rough and boring.

Anyway, if you have buddies, or kids, put them to work!  More hands make less work, and take less time.  Just make sure everyone washes them well first!  :)

OK.  So, here is my recipe.  Of course, you can still do it the way I used to.  It's really beautiful stuff made that way, too.  I just don't really prioritize beans the way I used to.  This is a treat, after all.

Hedy's Hummus
Equipment you will need:

3 bowls.  Or two bowls, if you throw things on the floor, or table like a wild animal.  I don't know...
Food Processor
Rubber Spatula


2 14 oz cans garbanzo beans.  (I use Trader Joe's OG.)
1/2 jar Alexis brand tahini, if you can get it.  Otherwise, whatever reliable, extra smooth tahini you can get your hands on, will do.  I also like Arrowhead Mills.
3-4 lemons, depending on size.  Last time, I used 4 small lemons.
4 cloves fresh garlic
2 tbsp cumin
1/2 cup water, or more, depending...
1/2 cup olive oil or more, depending...
1 tsp salt, or more to taste.
Sumac, or smoked paprika for finishing.


Set your bowls out in front of you.  Grab a handful of garbanzo beans, and pinch them until the pea pops out of the skin, into a clean bowl.  Piiiing!  Deposit your skins into the other bowl.  Keep going until this is all done.  Trust me.  You want to do this.  This is why it is so smooth.

Squeeze those lemons, baby.  Until the juice runs into the bowl...

Smash your garlic cloves to peel them.  Ha-chapa!

Place shelled garbanzos and 1/2 of your jar of tahini into the food processor.  Start to blend, adding water as you go.  It will start to emulsify beautifully at this point.   You want the entire mixture to move, but not to get too thin yet, so keep an eye on this.
Add lemon juice.  Blennnnnnd.
Add garlic and cumin.  Blennnnnd.
Stream in the olive oil and add the salt.  Blennnnd...

Turn it out into a nice, pretty bowl.  Top with a small amount of olive oil, and sumac, if you can find it.  If not, use a small amount of smoked paprika.

And that's a-hummussss!!!

Hedy's Baba Ganoush

Equipment you will need:
Food Processor
Rubber Spatula
Baking dish


1 medium sized male eggplant.  (This one has a round spot on the bottom, rather than a slit.  Fewer seeds, less bitter than the female counterpart.)
1/2 jar of Tahini.  I prefer Alexis Brand, but any tahini that has proven to be very smooth will work.
3-4 lemons
1/4 - 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup, (Or possibly more) olive oil.
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cumin
4 cloves garlic


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Chop your eggplant into cubes, and pour a bit of olive oil into the base of a 9 X 13" baking dish.  Add your cubes of eggplant to the dish, and toss around in the oil to coat.  Try to evenly coat these to avoid too much oil saturation.  Add a bit of salt, and roast at 425 for about 20 minutes.  Check on them at about 15, just to see where they are, and whether or not they need to be turned.

Allow to cool completely.

Add eggplant and tahini to your food processor.  Start processing, and stream in a small amount of water.  Once this moves well, add the rest of the ingredients, except for the oil.  If the mixture is very thick, add a bit more water, and then stream in the oil slowly.

And there you have ze baba, baby!


Friday, January 8, 2016

Hedybean's brown butter acorn squash soup

Today I was not feeling it.  Didn't want to go to the grocery store.  There weren't many veggies in the house, but I did have a few... things.  So, I decided to make a butternut squash soup, but with acorn squash, since that's what I had.  There really isn't much difference in taste and texture between the two.  I also figured it would make for a smaller pot of soup.  Just enough for the three of us, with a bit left over for someone to have for lunch tomorrow.   I happened to have squash, onions, chicken, and stock available.  Don't look in my fridge right now though.  There was not much else.

I'll fix that later.

So, I baked off the squash this morning while I did my yoga, and then I left to get the kids from school, as it is their early release day.  They get out at noon on Fridays, so I have a choice.  I can grocery shop and stay on that end of town, or I can come home and work out, and then sprint right back over there.

Today, I chose the yoga.

Anyway, without further ado, I give you:

Hedybean's Acorn Squash Soup.

Mise en place:

1 roasted acorn squash
20 ounces chicken stock
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp TJ's curry powder
3 tbsp salted butter.  I like Kerrygold.
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (Optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Recommended tools:

Dutch oven sized stock pot.
Good, sharp vegetable knife/cutting board.  (Hey, I don't know your kitchen.  May as well recommend erthang.)
A blender that can handle hot soup, or an immersion blender.
Grill pan, for cooking chicken.


Roast your acorn squash at 375 for about 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven.  (I say this because my oven runs very hot.  I really set mine for 350, but it reads... a scant 25 degrees higher.)

Salt and pepper, place chicken on grill pan.

Sweat and lightly toast your diced onion in about 2 tablespoons of salted butter.  Once they are a lovely light brown, and the butter has browned (Homer Simpson is drooling off in the distance somewhere...) add your chicken stock.

Stir until simmering but not boiling and add your roasted squash, seasonings, and remaining butter.  Use your blender of choice to blend until smooth.

Cut cooked chicken breasts into cubes, and add to your bowls of soup.  (Yes, of course, you can cook the chicken ahead of time, or use rotisserie chicken.  Just be sure it's going into the bowls hot.  I'm sure it will also work well!)


Serves 6 normal people.

Serves... about 4 ravenous raccoon girls.