Gorgeous stir fry! As colorful as Christmas ~

Vegetable Stir Fry

Some winter foods are so delicious and comforting, nice and hearty for a cold snowy night.    Here is one that is so gorgeous and yummy, but also low in fat and calories.

It's nothing revolutionary, but it does have tons of flavor and a bit of a kick too!

1 red pepper thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup of mung bean sprouts
1 cup of snow peas
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 - 1 jalepeno pepper, minced (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon ketchup
1 teaspoon siracha or other hot sauce
1 teaspoon of soy sauce

In a large skillet or wok, heat oil on medium/high heat.  Add onion and red pepper, stir often and cook for 2 minutes.  Add snow peas and zucchini, jalapeno, cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat  Add bean sprouts, ginger and garlic.  Stir quickly and cook for 1 minute longer.  Remove from heat, add ketchup and siracha, stir well.  Remove from heat.  Do not cover, you want your vegetables to have a crunch. 

Serving suggestion, add 1/2 cup of cooked meat or fish and either 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta.  Or for a complete vegetarian meal, serve on a pretty platter.  Voila, a beautiful and vibrant meal that will brighten up any table.

A pure taste of the rainbow ~


Ribollita ~

I love soup in the Winter.  And I love this Ribollita Soup.  It's easy to make, but it does take a lot of chopping.  So I make it when I know the weather will keep me inside for a few hours, like today.  The weather station is calling for a light snow for most of the day, not accumulating to a heck of a lot, but enough to make the roads slick.  So, I'll make the best of it ~

I first had this soup at a little Italian Restaurant in the North End, Antico Forno.  This isn't their recipe, but it comes close for me.  I read and tried lots of variations of this recipe. Some regions of Italy use bread in the soup, this one does not.  I like to thicken it with potato, which when diced really small so it disappears into the base of the soup when it's finished.

I have to say, I am very happy with the outcome of this dish.  Like most Italian soups, it's fabulous.


1/4 lb. smoked bacon, diced
2 onions, sliced thinly
4 carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 medium potatoes (yukon gold), diced finely (1/4 " inch thick)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can of ground tomatoes (I use Pastene)
1 15 ounce can of small white beans, drained
1 whole bunch of kale, washed and chopped
1/2 large head of savoy cabbage, chopped
6 cups of good chicken stock
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
Parmesan Cheese for sprinkling

Into a large dutch oven on medium heat, add oil and when it's hot, add bacon.  Saute bacon on low heat, until it's golden brown, remove and set aside.  Add onions, carrots, celery.  Saute on low to medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring every once in a while.  Add garlic, potatoes, reserved cooked bacon, salt and pepper.  Stir.  Cook for a couple of minutes and stir.  Add tomatoes and chicken stock and turn heat up to medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every once in awhile.  Add chopped kale and cabbage.  If you can't find savoy, just use any cabbage, except a red cabbage.  Place lid on the soup, but don't seal it.  Let simmer for another 15 minutes and add your drained beans.  Give every thing a stir and adjust your seasoning.  I like it a little kick in my soup, so I add a little extra pepper, both black and red.
Let soup simmer for about 10 minutes longer, turn off heat and let sit for a bit.  At this point,  I take my immersion blender and blend the soup so it's very chunky, not smooth.  And this step is up to you.  You don't have to thicken this soup at all, it's really thick enough.  But, I for one, like when soup is easy to eat, not just delicous.  So I blend it a bit. 

Serve hot with a big sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Oh, just so you get an idea of how you would like to eat this soup.  Here's a picture of it unblended and then again, once I have blended it a bit. 

Enjoy ~


Barefoot Contessa's Perfect Roast Chicken ~

This is a fabulous dinner dish, and yes Ina you were right.  It is the Perfect Roast Chicken.  I tweaked it just a bit though, I omitted the carrots and added a halved yukon gold potato.  I replaced the butter with olive oil, but that didn't change the flavor of this dish at all.  If I were serving it to company, I would stick with the carrots and make a potato dish that I like.  I didn't strain the gravy, because I like the rustic bits in the pan sauce.  But, if it weren't just for me, I would strain the gravy.

And I have these twisty tie things, that truss a chicken or turkey.  I am sure you could find them in any kitchen store.  They are much easier to use than string and can be used time and again.  And go right into the dishwasher.  My chicken looks like an alien though ~

Here is the chicken right from the oven, after I removed the twisty tie thing.  The skin comes out golden brown and crisp.  My bird was only 3lbs, so I roasted it for 1 hour and 15 minutes and it was done perfectly.

I just poured a little sauce right on top of the fennel, potato and chicken.  Yum.

And thanks Ina, you are so right, this is just perfect.

Here's a link to Ina Garten's recipe.  Enjoy ~