Showing posts with label soup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soup. Show all posts

Monday, December 27, 2010

Croquer: Farm Table

Let's be honest, anyone who drools over food as much as I do has a little dream somewhere in there to open their own cafe someday. When Catherine told me about a group of like-minded friends in San Francisco who got together and did just that, my heart ached with a tinge of jealousy - and hope. While walking the pug one afternoon, we stopped in at their extremely quaint (read: TINY) Farm Table to sample this dream team's wares.
With one table inside and barely enough room to stand and order one of the 3 or so items from the daily changing chalk board, I began to understand the realities of "starting small." At our sidewalk patio table Catherine explained their mission to get a Pavement to Parks type of extended seating platform over the parking spaces in front of the cafe - the wave of the future for urban San Francisco.
The fennel and English pea soup was light but layered with complex flavors, drizzled with fruity olive oil and cracked black pepper, served with incredible crusty sourdough bread.
I fell in love with the meatloaf sandwich, coarsely ground quality beef and sweet tomatoes with house aioli on the same thickest, softest sourdough bread... It was hard enough to share with Catherine, I had to apologize to the dog, there simply weren't any leftovers.

754 Post St. San Francisco, CA 94109; 415.292.7089
Farm:Table on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Croquer: Yatai Ramen Twist @ Breadbar

In a moment when mobile eateries are king, an even more transient trend is burgeoning just under the surface: the pop-up restaurant. Pioneered over the years by underground dinner parties like Portland's Family Supper and high-brow "guerilla" residencies such as LudoBites, pop-ups may not be anything new, just surprisingly rare in this city obsessed with the next best meal. That's why I was so delighted to see West Third bakery/cafe Breadbar's schedule of takeovers throughout the summer. I recently made it to Chefs Kazuo Shimamura and Noriyuki Sugie of Ironnori Concepts' "Yatai Ramen Twist", now in its last week for their classic versions -and modern twists- on the popular Japanese street food.
Through July 24th, (Mondays - Saturdays from 5-10pm), Shimamura will create authentic fresh ramen dishes, from classic Shio Ramen to indulgent Foie Gras Ramen. Also on the menu are Gyoza, Boba Tea, and Sugie's own fair-trade Kuromame ("black bean") coffee.
The summer evening I visited Yatai was rather cool, so soup felt refreshingly appropriate. While I waited for my friends to join (who stopped to pick up beer per my server's suggestion - Breadbar is BYO), I ordered the Kale Gyoza, which were extra crispy and earthy delicious.
From the Twist Ramen menu I chose the Ox tail Ramen, a pungent broth scented with truffle oil, carrying marinated eggs and a sheet of nori atop a massive section of bone-in braised tail. The meat tenderly fell from the bone and was rather lovely, but overall the intense fermented flavor profile of the dish did not win over my palate. I respectfully ordered another ramen, this time the Spicy Pork Curry, a rich consommé broth loaded with delicious shredded pork. Britt's Shoyu Ramen was robust from the aged soy, while Ashley's Tomato Ramen (the one veggie option) was light and somewhat underwhelming.
The stellar service however is what set this experience apart from other bittersweet dining ventures. The two servers running the entire shop were deft, graceful, and light-spirited, casually joking when appropriate, and quick on their feet to satisfy every need of ours. It truly felt like a family supper in the end, all the way to our departure at closing time, catching the two dancing while they tidied up inside. As we stood up from our patio residence chef Shimamura appeared to ask us if we enjoyed ourselves. We had, and with that the scale was tipped. The walk to the car was one of satisfaction, loaded with the added privilege of a glimpse into Yatai's authentic beating heart.

Space is limited for Yatai | Ramen Twist.
Call 310.205.0124 or visit for reservations
Monday-Saturday from 5-10pm until July 24th
8718 West 3rd St. 310.205.0124
Yatai Ramen at Breadbar in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Recettes Secrètes: Megan's Albondigas

The day after Christmas, my family got together with my brother-in-law's family to take my niece on a hay ride to view Christmas lights in Tucson's most notoriously lit-up neighborhood, fittingly called Winterhaven. My sister invited us over to their home for a light dinner beforehand, and the Albondigas she whipped up was probably the best I've ever had. Below is how she makes it..

Megan’s Albondigas
Okay- this is kind of a mix between tortilla soup and albondigas. Sometime I make it and just add shredded chicken instead of the meatballs and call it tortilla soup. It can be served over tortilla chips or just with warm fresh tortillas on the side. And any or all or none of the toppings can be used. Adjust everything to taste and add or subtract whatever sounds good to you…
PS… it keeps for at least a week and re-heats well…and freezes really well.

In a large pot…
Olive oil
1-2 white onions chopped (large pieces are fine)
3-4 carrots chopped (large pieces are fine)
Once the above are getting soft:
Add 3-8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed or halved
1-2 tsp oregano (Mexican is best)
1-2 tsp (or more) New Mexico chili powder
1-2 tsp (or more) ground cumin
(can add any other Mexican spices if you want…cayenne, pato sauce etc)
Stir a bit more, then add:
½ -1 bunch cilantro (whole, stems and all)- reserve some for meatballs and topping too…
Chicken stock (as much broth as you want)- I do a huge pot and use 8-12 cups
1 can diced (or petite diced) tomatoes (optional)
1-2 limes juiced
Cover and let simmer for 20 min to 2 hours….

In a bowl, mix (but don’t over work)…
1 lb ground beef (or Turkey) – this will make about 4-6 servings, I usually do 2- 21/2 lbs and if I have extra, I can eat them later.
1-2 eggs (depending on amount of meat)
¾- 1 ½ cup dry bread crumbs (homemade, plain from can or Italian seasoned from can)
Ground cumin to taste (1 tsp or more)
Chili powder to taste (1 tsp or more)
Mex oregano to taste (1 tsp or more)
Pato sauce to taste (if you want it spicey)
Minced garlic to taste ( 1-4 cloves)
Minced cilantro and/or Italian parsley ( half cup?)
Lime juice to taste (a squeeze or so)
Salt and pepper to taste (or garlic salt or whatever you want to add)
If you want- make a small patty (a tablespoon or so) of the mixture and cook it up on high heat for a minute or so in a small fry pan to taste and see if seasoning need adjustment.

Once mixed, form into uniform size balls- a few larger ones, or lots of little ones…and place on ungreased bar pan (Stone with sides). Cook in oven at 375 until browned maybe 20 minutes or more. You don’t need to turn them if you cook them in the stone. When done, drain on paper towels.
When stock is ready, strain into a new pot (or bowl and then back into original pot). SAVE the carrots if they are still somewhat hard (if they are mushy-discard). If saving the carrots, dice them into smaller bite size pieces and put back in the broth. If the carrots are mush…dice a few new uncooked carrots into bite sizes and add to stock and simmer till tender.

Soup- add to stock
Black beans (optional- to taste)
Corn (optional to taste)
Zucchini and/or yellow squash cut up (how ever much you want)
1 more can diced tomatoes (strained- or fresh diced tomatoes)
1 small can green chilis (optional- I didn’t have these that night, sometimes I add them)
Cooked rice –
(Now…I usually cook my rice separately before hand and then add it to the soup. You CAN add it uncooked to the soup and let it cook in the soup.. BUT it will use a cup or two of your broh, so if you add it uncooked, you may want to add more chicken stock). Sometimes I will add some of the cooked rice to the meatballs too!
I have also in a pinch used a diced potato or two in place of rice (cooked either before or cooked right in the soup).
Simmer until all the veggies are tender and you are ready to serve. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Add more Pato or other hot sauce if you want more kick.

Optional toppings:
Shredded cheddar or mex mix cheese
Crumbled Cojita cheese
Lime wedges
Sour cream
Minced Cilantro
Pato/hot sauce
Tortilla chips
Warm tortillas
[That's totally not my photo]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Recettes Secrètes: Beer Soup!

'Tis the season for hearty soups and packing on our winter layers (yes, I mean pounds). Beer piques our palates as the weather grows colder, and what better way to enjoy it than as added depth of flavor in seasonal stews?
Here are a few rich a tasty options, from Eastern Europe to Mexico to the Midwest.

Bratwurst and Beer Stew

3 (12-ounce) bottles dark beer
2 pounds fresh bratwurst sausage links
4 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into thin strips
4 cups sliced onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup chicken stock
1 pound small red potatoes, halved
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch sticks
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour 2 bottles of the beer into a medium (oven-proof) Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Using a small knife or fork, pierce each sausage link several times. Add bratwurst links to the beer, turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside to cool slightly. Reserve the sausage-cooking liquid. Slice the sausage links into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
Add the bacon to the Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add the sliced bratwurst to the bacon drippings and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring often, until lightly brown and wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Stir in the reserved sausage-cooking liquid, the remaining bottle of beer, chicken stock, potatoes, carrots, thyme, salt, pepper, and bay leaf to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, and cover.
Place the Dutch oven in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprig. Stir the crispy bacon into the stew and serve hot with crusty bread.

Sausage 'n Stout Cheese Soup

4 potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups water
2 (12 fluid ounce) bottles cream stout beer
2 pounds kielbasa sausage, sliced thin
4 green onions, diced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1 pound shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups milk

Bring potatoes, water, and beer to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the sausage, green onions, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, and liquid smoke. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are completely tender, about 15 minutes.
When the potatoes are tender, stir in the Cheddar cheese until completely melted, then add the milk. Heat through, stirring until cheese has melted but do not boil.

Mexican Sausage Stew

1 tb Canola oil
1 Bottle Mexican beer
1 lb Beef brisket; cut into
1 c Water
1/2 lb Hot sausage; cut into chunks
1 Sweet potato; peeled, sliced
1 c Sliced onion
1 Box (10-oz) frozen corn
2 Cloves garlic; chopped
2 tb All purpose flour
1 ts Ground cinnamon
3/4 c Shredded Monterey Jack
1/2 ts Ground allspice
2 tb Chopped cilantro
1 cn (13-oz) beef broth

Heat oil in large dutch oven. Working in batches, saute brisket and sausage until browned, approx. 10 minutes. Transfer to plate. Add onions and garlic to drippings in pot, cook until tender, about 8 minutes, being careful NOT to burn the garlic. Stir in cinnamon and allspice, cook 1 minute. Return meat and sausage to pot. Reserve 1/4 cup beef broth. Stir in remaining broth, beer and water. Cover and simmer until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Sitr in potatoes, cook until potatoes are tender, 15 minutes, stir in corn, heat through. Whisk flour and reserved 1/4 cup brothe in small bowl. Stir into pot. Cook stirring until thickened. To serve.... ladle stew into bowls. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese. Garnish with cilantro, accompany with tortilla chips.