Veggie Noodle Soup

Can you hear that? It’s the sound of my family collectively groaning and lamenting that this recipe would be so much better if I would just add the chicken back into it. Sorry everyone, but I don’t eat chicken anymore, and my life has continued on just fine.

That being said, I have been on a quest for this soup since meats have disappeared from my diet. Chicken noodle soup used to be one of my favorite comfort foods, and it’s one of the only things that I really missed. Sure, there are vegetable noodle soups, but most of the ones you see in restaurants are catch-alls for cooks that are trying to use up vegetables that are about to go bad. Nothing I’ve ever seen has been the kind of soup that I want to curl up with on a cold day in winter.

The key to creating a great noodle soup, and the element that has caused me the most frustration, is in the broth. Most vegetable soups incorporate tomato which tends to dominate the taste and is nothing like the simple taste of a basic chicken broth. However, once I discovered Jennifer Perillo’s corn broth, I had finally found a simple base for a delicious veggie noodle soup. I made a big pot early one afternoon and ended up eating it all day long – I absolutely couldn’t get enough. It completely embodies the comfort food I’ve long been missing in the winter months, and is the perfect companion for a chilly day.

Bring it on winter. Bring. It. On.

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This only happens in small towns

While hiking recently, my friend Mary told me a story about her parents that was so hilarious that I A) was laughing so hard I had to stop walking B) Felt I had to share with you all.

Mary’s parents are new to drinking in public. Meaning that until recently they viewed drinking as a shameful activity that shouldn’t be done in places where they could be seen by people they know. In the past this caused them travel to neighboring cities to go to beer festivals where they only drank  a couple Yuenglings before heading back home. (For those who aren’t familiar, Yuengling is a beer that is so common in North Carolina you can buy it at any gas station. There is no reason to drive more than half a mile to get one and why it is even served at a beer festival is beyond me.) Recently Mary’s parents came out of the drinking closet and decided it would be great fun to enjoy a beer before seeing  a movie. So far I’m in total agreement with this plan, except that I only have cocktails after movies, because otherwise I spend half the film getting up for pee breaks. Fact: when I know I’m to the movie theater I try to arrive slightly parched so I can sit and watch, undisturbed by my bladder.

Back to my story – Mary’s parents’ plan for beer before a movie sounds great except for the fact that the town mall with all the restaurants is on one side of a busy street, and the movie theater is on the other side. They refused to go to the restaurants across the street because then they would be drinking and driving (!) afterward. I asked Mary why they couldn’t just walk across the street, and she said it just wasn’t something they do. This goes to the small town mentality that big busy streets are scary places that can only be traveled by car. Also, how drunk are these two really planning on getting before they go to a movie? I mean…I’m pretty sure that most people should be able to drive across the street after one beer.

This was all turning out to be quite a conundrum until Mary’s mother realized that a Chuck-E-Cheese was right next door to the theater. Yes, exactly. They decided they would go to Chuck-E-Cheese for their pre-movie cocktails. At this point I interrupted Mary’ story to ask if Chuck-E-Cheese even served alcohol. “Oh yeah, my mom even called ahead to find out.” Think about that for a second. The whole Chuck-E-Cheese decision was not a crime of passion and opportunity, but a pre-meditated decision.

So, these two wild and crazy parents go to Chuck-E-Cheese to have their adult beverages and get up to the drink counter in front of a long line of parents that you know, actually had children with them, and ask for two beers. And the teenage clerk is like, “Beer?” because apparently even he wasn’t even aware they served alcohol at Chuck-E-Cheese. So then all of these parents who are waiting to get food and drinks for their, you know, CHILDREN, are having to wait while the staff of Chuck-E-Cheese determine that yes, they do serve beer,  locate where it’s kept under lock and key, locate the key, unlock it and bring out what I’m sure were two incredibly old Bud lights to serve to Mary’s parents.

And then – Mary’s parents take their beers and enjoy them in the wonderful setting of…Chuck-E-Cheese… which if you’ve never been, pretty much consists of kids running around screaming and playing loud video games so they win tickets which they use to buy cheap crappy toys that their parents could just go buy them for a fraction of what they spent in tokens for the games, but that would obviously be less fun. Oh, and all the while the kids are running back and forth from the game to their table where they get loaded up on bad pizza and soda. The parents are doing…I’m not sure what. Now that I think of it I’m not sure why they don’t serve more alcohol there.

I guess that Mary’s parents had a successful night in the end. Although I do find it striking that the same people who used to be embarrassed to drink at all in public now find nothing wrong with going to Chuck-E-Cheese for the sole purpose of ordering beer. Cause you know, two adults getting inebriated in Chuck-E-Cheese voluntarily without a child doesn’t seem the slightest bit strange/weird/creepy at all.

Tomato and Parmesan Benedict

Seriously, this post was meant to go up like, a month ago. But no one told me it was September so I just totally missed it. I mean…it was August for a minute and then I wake up and suddenly it’s the middle of October. Ummm…is there someone I can blame for this? Shouldn’t a memo have gone out or something??

Thank goodness this recipe is just as good in October as it was in August. Roasting the tomatoes means that this will taste good year round since it develops the flavors of even the most bland grocery store tomato. And honestly, anything tastes good if it’s drowning in a cheese sauce, am I right?

I’ve been hesitant of making a benedict due to the fact that recipes with more than 3 steps often overwhelm me. However, this dish might seem complicated, but it looks much scarier than it actually is. Let’s do this, shall we?

First we’ll discuss the one step I don’t have a picture of since I just spaced out on the whole “photos/camera” thing: roasting the tomatoes. I would do this first since it takes the longest and the tomatoes can be set aside until you’re ready to use them.

Slice a tomato into 1/4 inch slices. Lay flat on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 450˚F for about 25-30 minutes, or until they have cooked down and are beginning to caramelize. Set aside until you’re ready to use them.

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Politics we can all agree on

Okay, this isn’t a real post at all. I swear I’m going to have a real post soon, but my friend just uploaded this on her Facebook page and I’m so horrified that I need to share it with someone. It’s like when you see something really gross on the sidewalk, like puke or dog diarrhea or a dead bird and you just have to grab your friend standing next to you and go, “OH MY GOD!! Look at that REALLY GROSS THING over there! Please look at it so we can both share in HOW AWFUL it is!”

That’s pretty much my reaction to this video.

PS – If you’re one of those people who don’t point out gross things to people because you actually have class, I really admire you.

PSS – I would like to make it clear that I’m not taking a political side with this video. I’m pretty sure that even Romney fans, or Romney himself, would think this girl is a fucking moron.

Happy Monday

I’ve spent the last week in North Carolina, primarily to attend a wedding of some dear friends, but also to lay groundwork for our upcoming move. A week in the mountains during October was perhaps what I needed most at this moment. The air was clean and crisp, the landscape lush green with patches of bright orange and red poking through the trees, thunderstorms woke us up as rain splattered down on the roofs, and all I could think was how much I have missed the autumn season.

Maybe this move won’t be so bad after all.

Savory Baked Pumpkin Ravioli with Caramelized Onion Dip

I’m currently writing from my parents’ home in North Carolina where I’m spending the week visiting with family before Chase and I head to a wedding. It’s been nice to be reminded of how fall is actually supposed to feel like: brisk during the day with a chill at night with falling leaves covering our yard and driveway.  Los Angeles apparently hasn’t gotten the memo, since it insists on maintaining temperatures of 100 degrees or more, which ultimately led to a clothing strike in which I stated that I would only be wearing yoga pants and loose tank tops until the weather decided to change her tune. I have never in the past been a girl who looked forward to cool weather, which is one of the main reasons I moved to LA in the first place, but for the first time I find myself gazing longingly at my jeans and scarves each morning and wishing I could wear either without melting away in pool of sweat and iced coffee.

To try a different approach with the weather, as a food blogger I feel the need to offer up a recipe to the pumpkin spice gods that come around each year and pepper the internet with everything imaginable you can do with pumpkin. Admittedly this looks awfully similar to what I made last year, but I really wanted to try and find something savory to add to my recipe list; something to serve before a meal instead of after it. I realized that this was a winner after I ate so many raviolis that I had a stomach ache for an entire afternoon. Next time I’ll be sure to have friends and family around to help me clean the plate.

Alright, there’s something with pumpkin on my blog. Can you hear me, weather? It’s time to ditch those 100 degree heat waves for some chilly nights that require jackets. I hope we’ve come to an agreement on this one.

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