Thursday, October 4, 2012

Easy Unprocessed Dinner: Roasted Chicken, Veggie Purée, and Wheat Bread

Super Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe 
It's part of a completely unprocessed dinner in honor of October Unprocessed!

Here's what I did:

Decide to make a big batch of Martha Stewart's vegetable soup (recipe below)
Decide that potatoes must not be that important, and skip them because there are none in the fridge
End up making more of a purée instead
Freeze the soup/purée in individual containers for later in the week.

Make a couple loaves of whole wheat bread.
Add either too much yeast or not enough flour and make bread that's kind of heavy, but still tasty and edible.

Defrost a chicken breast and roast it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs of your choosing (I chose oregano, basil, and dried onion).

Eat a perfectly unprocessed dinner on Thursday night. :)

as always, it's tastier than my picture suggests

Here's the simple soup recipe. The great thing about it is that you can add in other vegetables. :)

Pureed Mixed Vegetable Soup
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cooking School

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion
1-2 peeled garlic cloves
other aromatic options: leeks or shallots

12 ounces (1 or 2) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
6 ounces (1/2 head) broccoli, florets separated and stems cut into pieces
6 ounces (2) carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
8 ounces (1 bunch) spinach, stems removed
other vegetable options: peas, chard, kale, watercress, or sorrel (added during the last 5 mins)

3-4 cups of basic chicken stock (optional -- you can also just use water, which is what I did)
salt and pepper

Finishing options: buttermilk, heavy cream, or mozzarella (I chose mozzarella)


Melt butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Add in onion, garlic, and any other aromatic options that you're using. Stir constantly until they soften (about 3 minutes).

Add the potato, broccoli, and carrots with enough stock or water to just cover them. Add salt, pepper, and any spices that you're using and bring it all to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add spinach and any other greens you're using and cook until vegetables can easily be mashed with a wooden spoon (another 3-5 minutes).

Reserve 1 cup of the soup to thin the soup at the end. (If you skipped the potatoes like I did, this is not necessary). Purée the rest of the soup in a blender or food processor. If necessary, blend in batches.

Return the purée to a clean pot and set over low heat. If you're using buttermilk or cream, add it now. Then add in enough of the reserved, unblended soup to create the consistency that you want. Test the flavor to see if you need any more salt and/or pepper.

Optional: Serve with shredded mozzarella on top.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Brazilian Fish Stew (NOT Moqueca)

My student taught me this recipe for a fish stew using a fish called pescada. (The English name is of the fish is weakfish or sea trout, but I imagine that any thin white fish filet can be used.) My student even took me to the farmer's market to meet her fish guy!

I'll try to type out the recipe as simply as possible so you can see how easy it really is.

You have 3 options for the fish:
1. You can add it directly to the stew and boil it with the vegetables
2. You can fry it on the side and treat the "stew" as a side dish.
3. You can skip it all together, or you can add chicken or another protein.

This recipe explains Option #2, with a simple note to guide you if you choose to make #1.

Pescada Stew

4-5 Pescada filets (they look like this, and the fish guy at the market will cut the fish for you)
2 fresh tomatoes (see picture below for chopping ideas)
1 can of tomatoes (or just more fresh tomatoes, chopped up in the food processor so they're liquidy)
5-6 cloves of garlic (more or less, depending on your taste)
2 onions
1 large eggplant
1 small green bell pepper
A few olives
1 lime
Olive oil

If you're frying your fish, you'll need flour and  fubá  (a.k.a. fine yellow cornmeal)
Feel free to add more spices that you like.

Optional: Rice, to serve as a side dish


1. Marinate the fish in the olive oil, lime, salt, pepper, and oregano. Marinate it for 1 to 8 hours.

2. Heat up some olive oil and add in the garlic, onion, and fresh tomatoes. Heat them until they're soft.

3. Add in your can of tomatoes, if you're using it. Heat and mix. Heat and mix.

4.Add in the salt, oregano, pepper, eggplant, green bell pepper, and olives. Cook covered until the eggplant goes soft. Stir occasionally.

5. If you're adding the fish directly to the stew, do it now. You only need to cook it for about 3-5 minutes.

6. If you're frying the fish, dip the filets in a mixture of fubá (cornmeal) and flour (4 parts cornmeal to 1 part flour). Don't use egg. Then fry them in a generous amount of hot olive oil (not completely covered in oil, but you're not just lightly grilling them, either).

Then serve it all together:
Ta-da! It tastes much better than my picture looks, I promise.