Smoky Pepperjack Potato Soup

I know, I know. This is another “smoky” soup that owes it’s flavor to smoked paprika. What can I say? That shit is awesome and I just can’t get enough of it. I intend to make regular old soups, but then remember that everything is better after you’ve added smoked paprika. I have spice jars in my cabinet that have remained full for over 5 years, but I’m on my 3 bottle of smoked paprika this year alone. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t be upset if Santa put some in my stocking.

Speaking of spices – I cleaned out my spice cabinet this week and threw away anything that I knew had been there for too long. The determining factor was if I could remember having bought the spice in college, and I’m not going to say how long ago that was but it’s enough time to make me feel old. And to want to throw those spices out stat. I’m struggling to remember why I bought cumin seeds (the bottle is so full it’s almost overflowing), and I also cannot comprehend why I have 2 bottles of ground ginger and 3 bottles of curry powder.

Until I can figure out what to do with all that ginger & curry, please enjoy this soup from the Smoked Paprika files.

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Super Simple: Feta Potato Salad

Ya’ll, I had planned on writing a post about how I had this feta potato salad at The Corner Kitchen in Asheville last summer and it totally rocked my world and I had to come up with my own recipe and so I made this and it was awesome and I hope want you all to enjoy it too. But then I found out today that I have to have a ROOT CANAL. TOMORROW. And so instead of an entire post you just get one really long run on sentence because I can’t focus on anything else.

This is totally lame and I should be able to focus better and write what I had originally planned. And I actually am feeling better now that I found out I’m going to have to pay less than I originally thought, because when the girl this morning gave me the itemized list of my expenses she left out a period, and so instead of one item reading $24.20 it read $2420. Punctuation counts kids, stay in school.

Of course, maybe someone who knows more about dentistry would know that an item that should only be $24.20 couldn’t possibly cost over 2 grand, but I don’t know this and so basically every time I go to the dentist I feel like a prime candidate for financial rape. Like, if she had told me that it would cost $10,000, and if I got it to them in cash by this afternoon they might be able to save my life, I probably would have been screaming at a bank teller within the hour. Same goes with my car – I can’t help but feel violated every time I leave my mechanic. I mean, how can a fucking battery cost $400?? But then of course they make me feel like if I don’t pay the insane cost they’ll give me back my defective car, and my breaks will probably fail and I’ll end up killing some poor pedestrian or myself and it will all be because I didn’t pay the $200 ransom for the battery. So I pay. Every time.

(This is probably not something I should be writing on a public site. It’s like I’m asking for it. Like, in a financial sense I have just put on a skimpy red dress and left my drink unattended at a party. A party filled with my future dentists and mechanics)

Sorry, this has absolutely nothing to do with feta potato salad. But this potato salad is really good and you should totally make it. And please don’t associate it with root canals. It’s probably best if you just look at the photos and forget this post ever existed.

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Smoked Salmon Breakfast Stacks

It’s Resolutions time people! Now, some of you out there (Chase) might be against New Year’s Resolutions because you believe that they are never achieved and are therefore a waste of time. I think that you just don’t know how to make the right kinds of resolutions. There are a couple of things to consider:

1) It needs to be something that is totally within your control (yeah, I would totally love to land a job as Ryan Gosling’s sex slave assistant but damn if he won’t return my phone calls)

2) It needs to be something you kinda sorta actually want to do. See, if all you say is “I want to eat healthier” that is first of all really obvious and also gives the impression that you are going to have make some crazy changes to your diet, which can sound scary and induce ice cream cravings. But if you say, “I want to eat fruit at least once a day” then all you have to do is focus on the fact that you just need to eat some strawberries or maybe a mango, which is totally not scary at all. And what do you know, suddenly you’re eating healthier and you didn’t even see it coming.

Also – a lot of this is a mental game so it’s more important that you succeed at small goals than fail at large ones. If you want to start going to the gym, give yourself the goal of going at least 1-2 times a week. Then when you go 4 times, you’ll feel like a total badass, and being a badass can really up your motivation to keep it going. And when you have a crazy schedule and only make it once you won’t feel like a total failure. Cause failure is what makes me decide to stay on the couch and watch Sister Wives marathons instead of putting on my sneakers.

That all being said, here’s my list of goals for 2012:

1) Read at least 1 non-fiction book a month. This was also my resolution last year and I totally kept it. It gave me an awesome excuse to chill on the couch during the weekends, and I am way smarter now. Fo shizzle.

2) Cook with dried beans once a month. Sorry if this seems uber random, but cooking dried beans is just not my thing. Until I actually¬†eat beans that did not come from a can, and then suddenly dried beans seem super awesome. This year I’m determined to make cooking them not-scary.

3) Go hiking every weekend, weather and travel schedule permitting. Basically, if I’m in LA and it’s not actively raining, I’m doing this. Runyon Canyon – we’re about to be BFFs.

4) Cook more varieties of breakfast foods. Cause I have made scrambled eggs and grits one too many times. And breakfast has so many delicious possibilities.

Take ¬†this smoked salmon stack as an example. When I first ate this in a restaurant it had poached eggs on top, which is probably prettier, but I am a huge fried egg fan and still haven’t gotten the guts to take on poached eggs. This would really work with any style of eggs you prefer, and this couldn’t be any simpler to assemble. Seriously, you just grate some potato, fry them in a pan, top with smoked salmon and then some eggs. Voila! See – my resolutions are off to a fabulous start!

What are your resolutions for the year?

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Best Potato Salad

When I first started writing for A Cozy Kitchen I wrote a post about how I hated mayonnaise. So much so, in fact, that I came up with a potato salad recipe that was mustard based instead of mayo. Although I still stand by that recipe and would eat if for breakfast, lunch and dinner if people wouldn’t look at me like a crazy person, I have to rescind my earlier mayonnaise comments, cause I have just discovered the BEST potato salad, and lo and behold, it is covered head to toe in mayonnaise.

I mentioned this as a suggestion for the 4th of July, then I took my own suggestion, then congratulated myself on being so smart to suggest this. It was a good day. I can sum up why this is so delicious in five words: pickles, whole-grain mustard, fresh dill. I’m pretty sure if you put that combo of ingredients on anything it would taste delicious. Even ice cream. I stand by that.

Well… I can at least say with 100% certainty that if you mix all of that into some mayonnaise and pour it over potatoes it is HEAVEN. I think you should give this a try. Like, now.

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