Category Archives: Easily Multiplies to Feed a Crowd

Minestrone, or, My Biggest Pot of Soup

This is a soup with a story.  It’s essentially a minestrone, so you might think that our tale is going to start in Italy, with a grandmother tending a simmering pot for hours—and you’d be partly right.  Except that this story is about my good friend’s great-grandparents, and the pot was simmering on a stove in a bar in Sacramento, California.

Now, Sacramento has a long history as a drinking town.  So from the first days of the California Gold Rush, to the speakeasies of prohibition, to—I can only imagine—the indulgences of today’s state government bigwigs, there has been a steady stream of drinking establishment clients in need of a little something to help them sober up.

Our story, this soup’s story, takes place in the respectable post-prohibition era.  So it’s the 1930’s, maybe, and later the 1940’s.  The bar is remembered in family lore only as “The Joint,” which may or may not have been its name.  It resided within what was, at the time, the oldest standing building in Sacramento.  A watering trough waited outside the door for customers arriving by horse and buggy.  And my friend’s great-grandparents, the proprietors, always kept a pot of this minestrone soup behind the bar.  The recipe, needless to say, has been passed down through the generations. Continue reading

Savory Oatmeal with Curry, Greens, and Caramelized Onions

Welcome to Emmy Cooks!  You can see some of my favorite recent recipes by clicking the “My Favorite Recipes” category on the sidebar (here are July, August, and September).  If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email, add the RSS feed to your own reader, or follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Seasoned readers of this blog will probably not be surprised to learn that most of my photographs are taken standing on one leg while I use the other to block my children out of the frame.  This dish was so irresistibly good, however, that I failed entirely.The baby (should I start calling her something else now that she boxes me out to dig into a dish of curried oats and caramelized onions?) could not keep her (meaning my) spoon out of the bowl.  And I can’t say I blamed her at all. Continue reading

Lentil Chili

At this time of year, I have chili on the brain.  It’s is basically everything I want in a winter meal: hot, filling, a little spicy, and a perfect vehicle for avocado.  I know that in the meat-chili world, there is a beans-or-no-beans question.  That question does not exist in my vegetarian chili world.  Yes, there will be beans (or, in this case, lentils).  Continue reading

How to Make Applesauce

I have a book in which I record, from time to time, the big and small adventures in our family’s life.  I mean to write in it every day, just a sentence or two.  More often, weeks or even months go by between entries.  I try to catch the important stuff, though, when I do sit down to write–milestones and anecdotes from our daughters’ lives, travels we want to remember, loving moments with our extended family.  And, of course, what’s happening in the kitchen.Our family’s book begins with applesauce.  It was an October when I started the family journal (abandoning, in the process, my girls’ individual baby books) and we had just turned our three trees worth of apples into a year’s worth of applesauce.  So in a way, I think of making applesauce as the beginning of each new year.  At this time of year I often flip back through the years contained in my book and marvel at how fast life changes.  And how each chapter is even better than the last.

Applesauce, though, is a constant in our lives.  Every year we lighten the groaning branches of the apple trees in the fall, piling box after box of apples into the house.  We sort the apples, setting aside the unblemished best for eating and sharing.  We eat and bake and dry as many apples as we can.  And the rest become applesauce for the year ahead. Continue reading

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

Have you made this tomato sauce?  People swear by it.  People LOVE it.  People think it’s genius.  I am completely undecided.

The sauce has only four ingredients.  One of them is butter.  The sauce was so fine-textured that it clung delicately and evenly to each individual noodle.  Its flavor was the summer flavor of the good tomatoes I used, enriched with butter and salt.

With very little effort, this recipe produced a refined and tasty dish.  Which made me notice that refined and tasty aren’t necessarily enough for me.  Continue reading

Caramelized Onion Hummus

I see, scrolling down the page here, that I haven’t been feeding you anything too substantial lately.  A little of this, a little of that.  A few different kinds of bites cobbled together can make a meal, though.  Especially when of the little bowls on the table is a bowl of hummus.This caramelized onion hummus is light and a little sweet.  It’s addictive by itself but it also keeps nice company with a spread of tzatziki, tomato jam, and a pile of pita bread.  A salad on the side–hopefully a Greek salad, in these last days of good tomatoes and peppers–and dinner is served.  If you want to get fancy, serve a few stuffed grape leaves as well.

Now is a time that you’ll be happy to have cooked chickpeas on hand.  If you don’t, start a pot now or open and drain a can.  If you have caramelized onions defrosted from the freezer, you can have this dip on the table in five minutes.  Otherwise give yourself an hour and five minutes to allow time to cook those onions nice and slow before you make this otherwise-quick dish. Continue reading

Green Olive Cream Cheese

I like to cook, but I love it even more when people feed me.  We had dinner at a friend’s house recently and devoured a pile of peppers stuffed with a mixture of green olives and cream cheese.  This morning I spent three minutes making a bowl myself and ate it for breakfast scooped onto sweet pepper slices.  I suppose it would be fine on a bagel instead, if that’s your thing.  Or spread onto whole wheat bread for a veggie sandwich.  Or piped into celery sticks.  Or served with crackers at a party.  Or…I’m going to have to make another bowl.

If you got to choose, would you want to cook or being cooked for?

Continue reading

Chilled Beet and Yogurt Soup

I know, I know.

I was posting hot soup recipes in July and August and now that it’s October I’m coming at you with a cold one.  I’m untraditional like that.  Let’s roll with it.

This is a beet lover’s beet soup.  And while I’m exactly not a beet lover anymore, I still speak the language.  And as beet preparations for non-beet-lovers go, this one has a lot to recommend it.  The beet’s sweet earthiness is tamed a bit here by the tang of yogurt and lemon.  And there are only five ingredients.  And oh, the color.  Continue reading

Peach and Ricotta Crostini with Basil

Have you entered the Food in Jars Cookbook giveaway yet?  Do it now.  It’s not just for canning enthusiasts, although it might turn you into one.

The entire point of today’s post is to entice you to run out to the farmers market and scoop up a final case of late-September peaches.  Are you convinced?  Because this weekend we are making jam, probably for the last time this summer.  Saffron Peach Jam.  Yes, it’s as intriguing as it sounds.  Yes, you will want to cook along.  And yes, a side benefit of having peaches in the house is that you can eat them on ricotta-slathered toast for breakfast. Continue reading

Basil Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta and Tomatoes

I found this picture on the camera the other day:I asked J, “Why did you take this picture?”

J asked me, “Why did you put a glass of basil in the cupboard?”

Well, for about a million reasons, of course!  First, you all convinced me that I should keep my basil on the counter in a vase of water–and hey!  That really works!  Second, the counter was messy and I needed a little more space.  Third…well, ok, two reasons.

When there’s more basil than I have room for, it’s pesto time.  At this time of year, if you have a glut of basil yourself, consider making a big batch of pesto and freezing it in ice cube trays.  (Not because you’d limit yourself to one cube of pesto, of course–just because it defrosts more quickly than if you freeze it in a bigger block.)  And if you’re making pesto to freeze, it might as well double as dinner, right?This is, to me, the perfect pesto.  It’s saucy and flavorful with no one component overwhelming the others.  It tastes like summer, which we’ll appreciate with nostalgia soon.  But for the moment, why not enjoy it with whole wheat pasta and summer’s perfect Sungold tomatoes? Continue reading