Spring Onion, Barley and White Bean Soup

What do you do when you have spring onions from the farmers market and a big bag of arugula from your neighbor’s garden? Well, I start thinking about soup, the swirl of greens in a hearty mix of beans and barley, and bacon. It’s hard to go wrong with ingredients like that! The soup is a meal in itself but would also be good served with garlic bread or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Recipe very loosely adapted from The New York TimesBarley and Spring Onion Soup With Fava Beans.

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 oz bacon, diced
1/2 lb spring onions, sliced (bulbs and stems)
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup barley
5 oz arugula (or baby spinach)
salt
pepper

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the bacon until the fat renders and the edges start to brown. Add the spring onions and cook until they are slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, beans and barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until barley is tender, about 1 hour.

Stir in the arugula and cook until wilted and the soup starts to simmer again, about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Spice O’ Life A-5-B Saucepot, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 402 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 401 Round Mixing Bowl

7 Layer Chicken Chili and Cornbread Dip

A few years ago I came across a Food Network recipe for an eight-layer chicken chili dip and whipped it up for a Super Bowl party. It was fantastic, but so much work! It required a ton of chopping and prepping, and that got me thinking of ways to cut corners without sacrificing taste. For example, instead of dicing tomatoes, why not use pico de gallo salsa?

So for this year’s Super Bowl I’ve made the dip again, but with my own tweaks. I’ve swapped out ingredients for things that are easier to chop or don’t require chopping at all. And I’ve scaled up the recipe a bit to fit in a basic salad/mixing bowl. I’m pretty happy with the result! It’s still a little time consuming, but definitely easier than the original, and pretty tasty.

The dip is best served with a big spoon, so that you can scoop all the way through the layers, transfer to a plate and eat with tortilla chips.

Serves 16

Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (roughly 1 whole chicken)
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 bunch chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems (about 1 1/2 cups)
zest of 2 limes plus about 1/4 cup juice
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 bunch green onion, chopped
2 heaping cups crumbled cornbread (about half a batch of cornbread from the Jiffy boxed mix)
1 16 oz container pico de gallo salsa, drained
1 14-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the onions in the vegetable oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, salt and cayenne, then add the chicken broth and simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shredded chicken and stir until well mixed. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, cilantro, and lime zest and juice. In a separate bowl, stir together the corn and green onions.

In a straight-sided salad or mixing bowl, layer the dip in the following order: cornbread (tamped down gently), pico de gallo (use a slotted spoon so that you leave behind as much liquid as possible), black beans, cheese, cilantro-lime sour cream, chicken chili, corn and green onion mixture.

Chill, covered, for at least 1 hour or overnight. Serve with tortilla chips.

Pictured: Fire King Sunbeam Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-322 Square Cake Dish, Pyrex Spring Blossom 442 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex 532 Measuring Cup, Assorted Pyrex Round and Cinderella Mixing Bowls

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Recently we had family coming over for dinner, but we were going to be away from home all afternoon. Perfect scenario for a slow-cooked meal! I decided to make white chicken chili with all the fixings, and it was a big hit. One nice thing about this recipe is that it’s relatively mild — despite the three jalapeños (they mellow out a lot when cooked). Then you can spice it up to taste with toppings.

Adapted from the White Chicken Chili in Slow Cooker Revolution.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped fine
3 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp canned fire-roasted green chiles
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
salt
pepper
1 tbsp masa harina
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions and jalapeños until translucent and slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in cumin, coriander and green chiles. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the broth, scraping up any browned bits, and transfer to slow cooker.

Add the beans and 2 cups more broth to the slow cooker and stir. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker, making sure all the pieces are mostly submerged. Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender and falls off the bone easily, about 4-6 hours.

Keeping the slow cooker on, remove chicken and shred into bite-size pieces (discard the bones). Once the chili has settled, remove as much fat as possible by skimming the surface with a large spoon. Stir back in the shredded chicken and let sit a few minutes until hot.

In a small pot, simmer masa in 1 cup of chicken broth for about 10 minutes to thicken, then add to the slow cooker. Stir in cilantro and add salt to taste. Serve with an array of toppings.

Toppings:

  • lime wedges
  • sliced jalapeños (fresh or pickled)
  • shredded cheese
  • chopped green onions
  • sour cream
  • hot sauce (Tabasco or similar)
  • red pepper flakes

Pictured: Pyrex Butterfly Gold 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware French White F-15-B Oval Casserole, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-81-B Menuette Saucepan, Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-41-B Petite Pan (x4)

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

The best thing about making your own hot chocolate mix is you have total control. You can go with whatever type of cocoa you like, use more or less sugar, add a favorite spice — the possibilities are endless. The basic ingredients are sugar, cocoa powder and salt, but I was inspired by Alton Brown’s Hot Cocoa Mix recipe to add a little cayenne. And it’s seriously good! It’s not enough to taste spicy, but adds a layer of flavor that really enhances the chocolate.

 

Ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar (baker’s sugar is nice because the grains are finer — but it’s not essential)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne

For the mix: Whisk all the ingredients together until well combined. The recipe can be scaled up to make a bigger batch if desired.

For making hot chocolate: In a small pot over low heat, whisk 2 tbsp of the mix into 1 cup of milk (or scale up in the same proportion) until hot and smooth. Don’t allow the milk to boil.

Extras:

  • Make a chocolate marshmallow latte: Decrease the sugar in the mix to 1 1/2 cups. When serving the hot chocolate, add enough marshmallows to form a foamy layer at the top of the mug.
  • Make it spicy: Increase the cayenne in the mix to 1/4 tsp (or more to taste).
  • Make it Mexican: Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon to the mix.
  • Make it boozy: Spike with your favorite liqueur (can’t go wrong with Baileys Irish Cream or Kahlua) or vodka.

Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 442 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex 508 Measuring Cup, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-81-B Menuette Saucepan, Corning Ware Snack-It Plate

7 Must-Have Pyrex and Corning Ware Dishes

Much as I would love to collect every piece of vintage kitchenware that I come across, space constraints demand a more practical approach. I try to buy things that I will actually cook with, and if they have multiple uses, even better. Of course, I must admit I own more ovenware than any one person really needs, because I also collect dishes that interest me or that have a pattern I haven’t seen before. I’ll get around to using it all … eventually!

That got me thinking about which pieces I really couldn’t live without. I managed to narrow the list down to seven items that get the most use in my kitchen:

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Pyrex 404 Round Mixing Bowl (pictured in Verde)
This is the largest of the nested mixing bowls (4 quarts) — perfect for batters and doughs. It’s also a nice size for serving salads, rolls, chips, etc. Plus it’s ovenware, so you could totally bake a casserole in it.

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Pyrex 024 Round Casserole (pictured in Holiday Casserole)
I’ve used this shallower bowl (2 quarts) for marinating chicken, as a serving piece, for storing leftovers in the fridge, and for baking casseroles. Plus: It seems fairly easy to find lids in this size.

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Pyrex 472 Round Casserole (pictured in Spring Blossom)
This is my favorite size (1 1/2 quarts) for hot or cold party dips, or small side dishes like cranberry sauce. You could also eat out of it.

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Corning Ware A-5-B Saucepot (pictured in Spice O’Life)
This is Corning Ware’s largest pot (5 liters), great for soups, chili, roasts and the like.

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Corning Ware A-10-B Skillet (pictured in Pastel Bouquet)
This one shares the same lid with the A-5-B, which is handy. I’ve put it to use as a frying pan, for braising meats in the oven and as a baking dish.

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Corning Ware A-3-B Casserole (pictured in Country Festival)
This holds about the same amount as a 13x9x2 pan (3 quarts; the conversion works better for casseroles than for cakes). It’s an all-around nice size for cooking and serving.

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Corning Ware Grab-It Bowls (I’ve only ever found these in white, although some patterned versions do exist)
These make great everyday tableware — for cereal, soup, salad, etc — but they are also a perfect size (15 oz) for individual casseroles like pot pie. And being Corning Ware, they can go under the broiler, in the freezer and everywhere in between. How can you beat a cereal bowl that you can also put on the stovetop to heat up soup, melt butter or fry an egg? Grab-Its also have both glass and rubber lids available, making them handy for storing single-serving leftovers.

Braised Cardamom Chicken

One of my favorite cookbooks is Raghavan Iyer’s 660 Curries — our family loves Indian food, and every single thing we have tried from the book has been pretty fantastic. I should note that the recipes aren’t all “curries” in the traditional Americanized sense, meaning they don’t all have heavy sauces. There’s a terrific array of rice dishes, for example.

One dish we have made again and again is Iyer’s Cardamom-Scented Chicken with Ginger and Garlic. And while it’s great as is, we have also branched out and used the same spices in other ways. Here I’ve adapted the recipe for an oven-braised version.

This recipe requires a trip to an Indian grocery store — if you have one nearby, it’s well worth a visit. You’ll find a ton of good quality spices in large quantities, usually at much lower prices than other stores, and a lot of them (cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, etc.) cross over into other types of cooking. And you’ll find stuff that’s hard to get anywhere else. (You can also shop online from a store like Kalustyan’s — I have not tried it, but it was recommended by The Kitchn.)

In particular, you’ll need some whole red chiles (spice level: medium to hot) and green cardamom pods:

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Cardamom pods are sometimes used whole, but for this recipe you open up the pods and extract the black seeds. Your reward for a few minutes of work is seeds that are much more pungent and aromatic, and they are one of the main flavors of the dish.

The recipe also calls for ghee, a type of clarified butter that you can buy from an Indian grocery or make yourself. Making ghee is super easy: Alton Brown has a recipe here on the Food Network website.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tsp whole cardamom seeds
6 whole Indian red chiles
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp canola oil
8 chicken drumsticks or mix of drumsticks and bone-in thighs, skins removed
1 tbsp ghee
3 bay leaves
2 whole cinnamon sticks
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Grind the cardamom seeds with three of the chiles (a coffee grinder works best if you have one strictly for spices; otherwise you’ll need to start with ground cardamom, chop up the chiles yourself and grind with a mortar and pestle). Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, salt and oil and stir to form a paste. Rub the chicken with the paste and marinate for at least two hours (preferably overnight).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large oven-safe skillet over low heat, melt the ghee. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and remaining chiles. Top with the chicken and onions. Move the skillet to the oven and bake until the chicken braises in its own juices and reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees and is almost falling off the bone, about 1 hour. Top with cilantro and serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Spice O’ Life A-10-B Skillet, Pyrex Royal Wheat 063 Divided Dish

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Cornbread

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve been thinking about cornbread — and more specifically, cornbread stuffing. Cook’s Illustrated has a great cornbread stuffing recipe that I tried a few years ago, and this time around I’m curious about making a whole wheat version. My first step: testing out a whole wheat cornbread recipe.

The whole wheat flour gives this cornbread an earthiness that’s especially tasty topped with good local honey. I’ll definitely be making it again for cornbread stuffing next month.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated‘s Golden Cornbread for Stuffing (The New Best Recipe, America’s Test Kitchen 2004)

Ingredients

3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
4 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 13×9 baking dish (or equivalent — I used two 8-inch square dishes).

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, buttermilk and milk in a separate bowl. Pour the egg/milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in melted butter.

Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake until the top is cracked and golden and edges are pulling away from the sides, about 30-40 minutes.

Place the baking dish on a wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Pictured: Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition A-2-B Casserole (x2), Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-81-B Menuette Saucepan, Pyrex 532 Measuring Cup, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 404 Round Mixing Bowl