July 22, 2015

See Jane Cook is a free weekly Internet food newsletter written by Jane Snow and published by Mimi Vanderhaven. Sign up here to have newsletter appear every Wednesday in your email in box. Join us!

Dear friends,

Broth bowls seemed like the perfect winter warmer when I discovered them several months ago, but now I know they’re warm-weather food, too.  Broth bowls, I’ve learned, may be tailored to any appetite and any weather.

The bowls are basically a mound of whole grains, vegetables and meat surrounded by a light broth. They aren’t soups. The solids sit squarely in the center. The broth is essentially the “sauce” that ties the elements together.

The bowls are great for those who want quick yet healthful dinners. Just prepare some quinoa, lentils or brown rice to keep in the fridge and portion out with the seasoned broth and vegetables, which may be prepared in advance, too. Varying the meat or vegetables will keep things interesting.

SUMMER BROTH BOWL

DSCN1633(1)
•    2 plump boneless, skinless chicken breasts
•    Salt
•    Olive oil
•    Sweet soy sauce (kekap manis)
•    2 1/2 oz. (small handful) fresh green beans
•    1/2 cup julienned carrots (see note)
•    2 cups lightly packed baby kale
•    1 cup cooked quinoa
•    Ginger chicken broth, reheated if necessary (recipe follows)
•    Juice of 1/2 lime

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each breast crosswise to make 4 chubby pieces of chicken. Season liberally with salt. Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, film the bottom with oil. When the oil shimmers, brown chicken for 1 minute. Turn and brush with half of the sweet soy sauce. After 1 minute, turn over and brush with remaining sauce. After 1 minute, turn and sear final sauced side. Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, place green beans in a pot of boiling water and boil 5 minutes or until tender, adding carrots and kale for last minute of cooking. Drain.

Place 1/2 cup quinoa in the bottoms of two shallow bowls. Arrange vegetables around the quinoa. Top quinoa with chicken. Ladle some of the broth around the quinoa and meat. Sprinkle with lime juice. Makes 2 servings.

Note: To julienne carrots, cut wide strips the length of the carrot with a vegetable peeler. Stack the strips and cut narrow strips with a sharp knife.

GINGER CHICKEN BROTH

•    2 cups chicken broth
•    4 quarter-sized pieces of fresh ginger
•    Zest of 1/2 lime, in strips
•    1 tsp. sweet soy sauce (kekap manis)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, stirring well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove ginger and lime strips with a slotted spoon and discard. Makes about 2 cups.

TIDBITS

Dear Tony,
If my memory fails when I am old, relegating me to the dark, sad world of dementia;
If your handsome face and beloved voice cannot pull me back;
If neither books I’ve read nor music I’ve loved can penetrate the fog
Then take me to our blackberry patch on a summer afternoon
And feed me berries warm from the sun.
I’ll remember.

MAILBAG

From Marilyn F.:
In this week’s newsletter, there were NO directions on assembling the salad.

Dear Marilyn and others who wrote: A technical glitch caused the directions for the Mediterranean Couscous Salad to vanish. The Mimi Vanderhaven team is so sorry for the inconvenience. Here are the directions:

Place couscous, water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a medium serving bowl, combine 1/4 teaspoon salt and the olive oil. Mash anchovy filet into the oil until pieces are very fine. Whisk in vinegar. Toss couscous in the dressing with remaining ingredients. Chill. Stir before serving. Makes 4 servings.

From Mel:
My recipe calls for organic lavender. Can I use the lavender in my flower garden or it that something else? It’s for a tea bread, one teaspoon. Thanks.

Dear Mel: Yes, you can use your lavender, as long as you haven’t dosed it with insecticide.

From Carol Button, Cuyahoga Falls:
In response to your column on the high price of beef, I would suggest that people take this as an opportunity to eliminate it, or most of it, from their diet.  Beef is 10 times more damaging to our environment than any other meat in terms of land use, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions.  My husband and I gave it up years ago, which is not hard to do, since there are so many alternatives.  (By the way, we are not “nut cases” about it.  We do succumb to the occasional hamburger, if it’s really special!)

Dear Carol: I hear you, and your reasoning makes sense.

From Trudy:
Just wondering with corn coming into season can you share a corn soup recipe you might have?

I went to Chez Francois in Vermilion and the chef there makes a fabulous one.

I was there recently for a pharmaceutical industry dinner (I am a nurse at the Cleveland Clinic) and we get invited to dinners there sometimes.

I had the pea soup with a Quail Egg in the middle… delicious. Wish I knew how to make that too!

Just thought maybe you would have some summer soup recipes.

Dear Trudy: My first taste of this summer’s corn came Sunday at Seiberling’s Farm in Norton. I stripped an ear and bit in right at the corn wagon. The tender, sweet kernels were half gone by the time I bagged the rest of the dozen and paid.

If the corn is very fresh, it doesn’t even need cooking. If you make it home with most of the dozen, you can turn it into this corn soup, from Emeril Lagasse. He starts it like a typical seafood chowder, with bacon rendered in the soup pot to yield a crisp garnish and flavorful fat. Aromatics – onion, garlic, carrots and celery — are fried in the fat along with diced bell pepper and carrot. This base intensifies the flavor of the broth, a combination of chicken broth and cream (I use half and half or whole milk).

Lagasse thickens the soup with a roux and stocks it with fresh corn kernels and cubed potatoes. He garnishes the soup with the bacon and chopped fresh parsley, although I often substitute basil.

EMERIL’S SOUTHERN CORN CHOWDER

•    4 oz. bacon, chopped
•    1 cup finely chopped onions
•    1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
•    1/2 cup finely chopped celery
•    2 tbsp. minced garlic
•    3/4 cup finely chopped red bell peppers
•    5 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 7 ears)
•    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
•    2 quarts chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
•    1 1/2 cups 1/2 -inch cubes peeled russet potatoes
•    1 tbsp. salt
•    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
•    1 cup heavy cream
•    Finely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Place an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat and cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bell peppers and corn to the pot and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
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