Ham, Lentil and Vegetable Soup (Pressure Cooker Version)

Have you ever finished off a spiral cut ham and wondered how to turn it into an amazing soup?  That was me after the holidays.  A leg of ham, a lot of leftover vegetables and a desire for a warming soup.

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Hasselback Potatoes in a Cast Iron Pan

This is a great way to use a large quantity of potatoes and feed a large crowd.  In this case, I had a mix of about 10 medium sized red and yellow potatoes and wanted to do something besides making them into a pink mash.

Hasselback potatoes cooked in a cast iron pan

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How to Make Whole Wheat Tortilla Pizzas

Before two kids were in the house, there was a lot more time to plan out and prepare a weeknight dinner.  So finding ways to cook something everyone likes (e.g. pizza), that's healthy and kid friendly....and can be ready in under 30 minutes is a never-ending quest.

Oh, one more thing.  No compromising on quality.

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French Onion Soup

When it's Winter and it's freezing cold outside, who doesn't want a warming cup of soup?  French Onion Soup, like Chicken Noodle, is one everyone can agree on.  The trick is, there really aren't any shortcuts to French Onion Soup.  You really need to take the time to cook down the onions and build up the flavor.

Stack of onions sliced on a mandoline for French Onion Soup

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Tortilla EspaƱola

We can't go to a Tapas restaurant without ordering at least one Tortilla EspaƱola.  And it turns out that there isn't a lot to it.  Just 3 ingredients: eggs, potatoes and onions.  Though somehow I've never really been able to make it as good as they do in a restaurant....until I did some research on how to do it right
Tortilla Espanola

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Corn Cashew and Carrot Chowder

Corn, Carrot and Cashew Chowder

For a couple of weeks this summer, our CSA was delivering a crazy amount of fresh sweet corn each week.   And since there's only so much corn on the cob we could eat, I sought out a good corn chowder recipe.

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Toasted Corn Stock

In my quest to make a most excellent bowl of corn chowder, I was struggling with getting enough corny flavor.

The first batch I made was with water as the base.  It was good, but it needed a little more complexity

So I tried chicken stock next.  It definitely had more body, and more meaty flavory, but it was still missing a big corny punch.

Then I remembered that in Modernist Cuisine at Home there is a recipe for toasted corn stock.

The fun part about this recipe is that it uses all of the parts of the ear of corn that you'd normally discard. After you cut the kernels off of the cob, you'll use them to make stock.

It even uses the husks.  You'll toast them in the oven while getting everything else ready.

It does require a pressure cooker, however.

I had imagined that the final product produced by the corn stock recipe would be this sweet, intensely flavored corn juice.  Sort of like a glass of fresh carrot juice.  It's not, really.  Probably because it's made from husks and cobs.  Seriously.  There's a reason why we don't eat husks and cobs.

What it does though, is round out the corn flavor in your chowder, making it more complex and full bodied.  And it's not that much extra work, considering you already have all of the ingredients on your counter when making corn chowder, anyway.

And if you need a good recipe, here is my Corn, Cashew and Carrot Chowder to try, which naturally uses this stock as the base.

If you're interested in other pressure cooked stock recipes, check out this one for a Pressure Cooked Beef Stock made with short ribs

( Recipe adapted from Modernist Cuisine at Home)

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Toasted Corn Stock (Pressure Cooked)
A great base stock for corn chowder
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 3-4 cups
  • 6 Ears of Corn
  • 5 Cups Water
  1. Remove the husks from the ears and place on a sheet pan. Place a wire rack on top of them and toast for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Check on them and continue toasting until they have a nice golden color
  2. Cut the kernels from the cob and reserve in a bowl (especially if you'll be making chowder)
  3. Place the husks in the pressure cooker and cover with the cobs. Pour in the water.
  4. Pressure cook for 15 minutes
  5. Strain into a bowl
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Grilled Chicken Shwarma with Peppers & Onions

Grilled Chicken Shwarma with Grilled Vegetables

My favorite eat-out lunch is easily anything Mediterranean.  Luckily, in the Chicago Loop where I work, there seems to be more Mediterranean lunch spots than Starbucks.  And nearly every one of these restaurants makes some variety of Chicken Shwarma.  While the spices may vary, it's typically always marinated and grilled.  This is what I've attempted to make at home

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Garlic Bread with Cheddar and Parmesan

There are two great things about day old baguette.  One is croutons.  The other....garlic bread.  It's stupid easy and will make you wonder why you ever bought something like this pre-made and frozen.

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