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August 2015
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Chicken and Vegetable Miso Soup

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David was under the weather last week and I wanted to make a nourishing meal that would help him feel better, but I didn’t want to make boring ol’ chicken noodle soup. Think of this soup as chicken noodle’s more fun, flavorful and healthy cousin. I adapted the recipe to make it easier by using cooked rotisserie chicken instead of cooking chicken in the soup. I also had a hard time finding baby bok choy that didn’t appear to be on the way to the old produce bin, so I substituted a healthy dose of swiss chard which I thought worked very well. We both loved the soup and I will definitely be making this again, whether we are sick or perfectly healthy. The soup was quite delicious by itself, but it really tasted amazing with a (large) spoonful of chili paste and a squirt of lime juice stirred in.

adapted from: Bon Appetit
serves: 4

1 medium onion, chopped
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
3 heaping tablespoons white miso (fermented soybean paste)
6 cups low-sodium chicken and/or vegetable broth
 

shredded meat from half of a rotisserie chicken
4 heads baby bok choy (about 12 oz.), trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces , or a couple handfuls swiss chard, cut into bite-size pieces
sliced avocado, lime wedges, hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek), and cilantro leaves (for serving)

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Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, mushrooms and celery; season with salt. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are somewhat softened and beginning to turn brown, about 5-8 minutes.

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Add broth and miso and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let mixture simmer for a few minutes. Add the shredded chicken and greens to the pot and cook until the greens are wilted, about 3 minutes.

Serve soup with avocado, lime wedges, chili paste and cilantro.

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Effortless Vegan Overnight Oats

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This is an easy version of muesli that I love, because it tastes good and gives me a burst of energy in the mornings. There are a myriad of ways to make muesli, with any combination of raw or toasted cereals, dried fruits, nuts, bran, and wheat germ. Muesli can be sweetened if desired and served with fruit juice, yogurt, or your favorite milk. There are many types you can get at the supermarket these days, but this is a great one to make at home. The chia seeds add an extra-healthy dose of nutrients.

slightly adapted from: The Oh She Glows Cookbook
serves: 3

1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 large banana, mashed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

topping ideas

fresh mixed berries
granola
toasted nuts
hemp seeds
pure maple syrup or agave nectar

In a small bowl, whisk together the oats, almond milk, chia seeds, banana, and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight to thicken.

In the morning, stir the oat mixture to combine. If the consistency is too runny, simply stir in more chia seeds. If too thick, stir in more almond milk. For a nice presentation, serve the oats in a jar or parfait glass, alternating with layers of fresh fruit and whatever other toppings sound good to you. If you’re hungry and/or lazy like me, just plop everything in a bowl and eat.

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Water Lily

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Looking back, I haven’t made a cocktail to share with you in a while. This summer it’s been all about Pinot Gris, Viognier and of course my usual Michigan IPA’s. I’ve also made David’s summer by getting into Belgian style beer, something which I have never liked before and am now wondering how that was so. (I find it endlessly interesting how ones taste buds can change over time to like new things or dislike things you used to think were the cat’s meow. I never thought as a young child I would ever like something as nasty as the tomato. :) ) Having not made a cocktail in quite a while I checked our spirits inventory and flipped through the PDT  book (see admonition below) and chose the Water Lily. Crème de Violette is not a spirit commonly used in the cocktail world but it lends delicate floral and sweet notes and a pretty violet hue to cocktails like the Aviation, Blue Moon, and this cocktail.

slightly adapted from: The PDT Cocktail Book (Do you enjoy cocktails? Do you like making cocktails? Have you bought this book yet? If not, shame on you.)
makes: 1 cocktail

3/4 ounce gin (London dry style- by the way, Detroit is pretty awesome with it’s award winning distilleries. See below.)
3/4 ounce Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette*
3/4 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice- strained through a fine-mesh strainer
orange twist for garnish

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Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe.

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Detroit City Distillery– I used their small batch gin for this recipe.

Two James Distillery-2 award winning whiskeys, and other spirits like vodka, gin, bourbon, and now absinthe.

Valentine Distilling– Valentine has received multiple awards for their vodka, gin and whiskey.

* Rothman & Winter’s Crème de Violette is produced from careful maceration of Queen Charlotte and March Violets in “Weinbrand” (this distilled from grapes), with sugar cane added for sweetness. You may see Crème de Violette and Crème Yvette side by side on the liquor shelf, but they are not the same. Yes,  Crème Yvette is made with violets, but also has berries, cassis, honey, orange peel and vanilla and is much more red in color. It is great in other things, but you will not get the appropriate hue for an Aviation, and definitely not for a Blue Moon.

 

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Salmon Rolls

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I had the greatest pleasure of eating my first hot lobster roll in Boston this past June. The experience was delightful and I reached a blissful state of nirvana with my mouth full of fresh lobster and hot butter dripping down my chin. I think the illustrious lobster roll could be one of the most satisfying meals one can eat. A few simple ingredients coming together to make something that angels sing about. Plump (and plentiful) chunks of lobster, a grilled or steamed top-split bun and of course an ungodly amount of hot drawn butter. I am now lost in happy food-memories…where was I? Oh yes, this blog entry. I must be honest and say these salmon rolls are very good, but don’t really reach the heavenly heights of that hot lobster roll. However, they are delicious in their own right and are similar to a traditional lobster roll (cooled lobster, mayo, celery etc.) and perfect for a picnic spread. I chose to use grilled salmon, and I’m glad I did, as the grilled flavor complemented in a big way. My one criticism, I felt there should be a little pop of something tangy or zesty to keep the salmon salad from being too one-note in flavor. (On the other hand, that can be a good thing about salmon, chicken, or tuna salad-sometimes simple is just fine). If you do want a piquant pop, add some chopped pepperoncini or diced red onion that has been pickled in lime juice for 15 minutes. Another idea is to top the salmon rolls with crushed potato chips.

adapted from: Food + Wine
serves: 4 (mega-stuffed like lobster rolls) or  8 (smaller, punier sandwiches)

1/2 cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
3 to 4 inner celery ribs with leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped chives or green onions
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds salmon, flaked & cooled, about 4 loose cups (grilled salmon tastes great here, but roast salmon works too)
8 high quality hot dog buns or pretzel buns
melted butter for brushing

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Lemony Chickpea Salad

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I have made a lot of summer salads lately, but they are one of my favorite things to eat when it’s hot outside. This salad has been one of my favorite things to eat for lunch lately. The flavor it yielded was delicious, and it held up well for 3 days.

adapted from: Food + Wine
serves: 6-8

1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 or 4 celery ribs, finely diced
finely shredded zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2-4 tablespoons finely chopped pepperoncini (I love these, but feel free to use less or more according to your tastes)
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
crumbled feta cheese (optional)

In a large bowl, soak the red onion in the vinegar for 15 minutes. Drain, discarding the vinegar. Return the onion to the bowl and add the diced celery, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, chopped rosemary, oregano, and pepperoncini. Add the chickpeas and olive oil: season with salt and pepper. Fold in the parsley and serve.

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make ahead: the chickpea salad can be refrigerated overnight. Add the parsley just before serving.

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Spicy Sausage and Heirloom Tomato Salad

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Grilled spicy sausage is just one of those foods that is so satisfying in the summer, especially when one is inclined to dine outside. Here, it is paired with fresh heirloom tomato, hearts of palm, kalamata olives, cilantro, and lime juice. David and I loved it so much I can’t wait to make it again. I think this might become our go-to when asked to bring something to a party or picnic. The combination of flavors is very pleasing-you get smoky, spicy, fresh, citrusy, and salty and it made our mouths happy!

adapted from: Food + Wine
serves: 8

5 Calabrese (Italian hot sausage) or fresh chorizo, or spicy sausage of your choice
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, cut into chunks (I prefer to seed them)
one 15-oz can hearts of palm, drained and sliced
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt

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Whiskey Peach Smash

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I apologize for the length of time between this and my last post. I should have been better prepared with something to post from afar, as David and I have kind of been all over the place lately enjoying old friends, new friends, and family from Ohio, Canada, Boston and everywhere in between! Summer is such a fun and busy time that I often let myself get caught up in the whirl while leaving the Ruby Spoon on the back burner. No more! Things have settled down and I’m really excited to make some summery things for the blog. I think some various barbecued meat, fresh fruit, homemade ice cream, and cold drinks should be on the menu now that the temperatures are where they should be. So here’s the first cold drink of the summer-a lovely bourbon smash with the sweetness of good peach jam and honey, and some cooling, fresh mint. The peach bitters was my own personal addition which David and I both felt made it better, but feel free to omit it if you have no peach bitters or do not care for them. This one’s in honor of you, American Pharaoh!

adapted from: Food 52
makes: 1 cocktail

2 ounces bourbon
1 heaping barspoon of peach jam
1 barspoon of honey (I used wild carrot honey)
2 to 3 dashes of peach bitters
1 fat lemon wedge
4-6 mint leaves, plus more for garnish

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