Spicy Black-Bean Soup

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 fresh jalapeño (2 inches), seeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 (19-ounces) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • Accompaniments: chopped cilantro; lime wedges; chopped white onion

    1. Heat oil in a 4-to 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté onion, garlic, and jalapeño with chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until onion is beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beans, water, and bay leaf and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until soup has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
    2. Transfer about 2 cups soup to a blender and purée (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to pot and reheat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Discard bay leaf. Season with salt.

Poblano Cream Soup

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* – from Gourmet Magazine

INGREDIENTS

    • 1 1/2 pounds fresh poblano chiles (8 large)
    • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
    • 1 whole clove or 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 4 whole allspice or 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/4 cup mild olive oil
    • 1 medium white onion, chopped (1 cup)
    • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
    • 3 to 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 cup heavy cream

PREPARATION

  1. Roast chiles:
    1. Roast chiles on their sides on racks of gas burners, 1 or 2 per burner, on medium-high (or on rack of a broiler pan about 2 inches from heat), turning with tongs, until skins are blackened all over, 4 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, then cover and let stand 20 minutes. Peel chiles, then stem, seed, devein, and coarsely chop.
  2. Make soup:
    1. Heat spices in oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, until fragrant and oil begins to simmer, 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add roasted chiles and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
    2. Purée chile mixture with cilantro and 3 cups broth (total) in 2 or 3 batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), about 2 minutes per batch.
    3. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and add cream. Bring to a simmer, adding more broth to thin if necessary, and season with salt.

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Elite Event: Lettuce Be Healthy at Fresh Millions

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This was the perfect Yelp Elite event to start off the new year. Especially after two months of holiday parties. Fresh Millions is a fast-casual “eat healthy” concept food chain that has endless combinations available from their menu. They offer lunch or dinner entrées that include made-to-order gourmet salads with a variety of mix-ins, hot bowls, soups, and grilled paninis. They first opened in 2015 and locations have been popping up all over the Valley since then. People love choices these days and Fresh Millions allows you to choose what you want on your entrée. You basically order on one side of the stainless-steel counter, pick your toppings, pay at the other side of the counter and take your food to a table. For bowls, you choose your base (brown rice, noodles, spinach, romaine, etc), a protein (chicken, shrimp, steak, tofu), a sauce (basil pesto, Thai peanut, green curry, etc) and four mix-ins. You can even go half-and-half base and do rice and romaine/spinach. The cooks will mix and sauté up your creation and you can watch the magic happen right over the counter as they are an open kitchen. For the little ones, they have a healthy fresh kids’ menu. If you are in a hurry and don’t want typical unhealthy greasy fast food, this is the place to go.

We had a Yelp Elite event at Fresh Millions to celebrate their grand opening location in Gilbert. I love these events that introduce me to new places around the Valley. I also love getting more acquainted with my fellow Yelp Elites as these are the people with the most knowledge of where the best eats are in the Valley. We were given sandwich and salad samples and able to create our bowl. For dessert, we had a table full of yummy cookies to choose from. This was a fun event and I look forward to a return visit.

 

Fresh Millions Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sausage and White Bean Soup with Winter Greens

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  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package (12 oz) chicken sausage, sliced
  • 1 can (16 oz) white beans
  • 1 can (15 oz) “no salt added” diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 1 can (15 oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped baby kale, spinach or chard
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add sausage slices and cook 2 minutes. Add undrained beans, undrained tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Add greens and cook just until they are bright green and tender, about 2 minutes. Season with pepper to taster.

Black-Eyed Pea Soup

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I met Joanie Simon at the Devoured Culinary Classic last year during a Restaurant Live Arizona presentation with Chef Justin Beckett. She has been posting recipes of some of her dishes she makes on her monthly email. This one looked really good. She cooked this Black-Eyed Pea soup in a pressure cooker. I don’t own one and made this in a pot instead. It was super delicious and a fun dish to make to start off 2016.

Ingredients
16 ounces black eyed peas, dried
1 yellow onion chopped
12 ounces chopped carrots
2 tsp Better Than Bouillon Chicken
¼ tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
1 Tbs Sriracha
1 tsp paprika
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs oil
8 cups water
12 ounces chopped Andouille sausage
3 cups chopped collard greens

 
Instructions
Put dried black-eyed peas in a container and cover in water, 1 inch higher than the beans and allow to soak overnight.
The next day, drain the beans, rinse and place in the pot of an electric pressure cooker. Add in chopped onion, chopped carrots, bouillon, caraway, garlic powder, seasoned salt, Sriracha, paprika, balsamic vinegar, oil and water. Set pressure cooker at 6 minutes on high and allow to cook.
Once the 6 minutes is up on the cooker, release the pressure and add in the sausage and collard greens. Cover the pot again and pressure cook for 2 minutes on high.
Once cooking is completed, keep on warm until ready to serve. Add more salt to taste.
Serve with chopped scallions.

Ceramics

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My new bowl!

DSC04091A couple of times a year Mesa Community College holds an evening that the ceramics students display and sell their work that they made in class. Basically you buy a bowl and get a bowl of soup with it. This was fun for me for two reasons – I got a couple of degrees from MCC and I’ve always had it in the back of my mind to take a ceramics class.

The Farm at South Mountain

The Farm is this unique tranquil place at the base of South Mountain that is home to ten acres of pecan trees. It is a popular place to host events and weddings. It is also home to the Morning Glory Cafe, the Farm Kitchen and the Quiessence restaurant. I took my mother to the Farm Kitchen for lunch for her birthday today. They serve up sandwiches, fresh soups, salads and made-from-scratch baked goods in picnic baskets. We had a nice quiet lunch while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

The Farm Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gazpacho

Trader Joe’s recipe

The theme for summer is light. This is a refreshing light soup that is served cold and is perfect for the hot summer days. Gazpachos are a tomato-based, vegetable soup traditionally served cold, originating in the southern region of Andalucía.

  • 4 cups (one 32 oz carton) creamy tomato soup
  • 2 cups peeled and coarsely chopped cucumber (2 medium cucumbers)
  • 3 tbsp lime juice (juice of 2 limes)
  • 1 green bell pepper, stems and seeds removed
  • 1 cup soup & oyster crackers
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 2 tbsp cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a blender, saving a bit of cilantro or a few cucumber slices for garnish. Purée until smooth. Chill and serve cold. * – You can also make a pesto gazpacho by puréeing the tomato soup, 2 tbsp basil and 1/2 cup raw pine nuts.

Dilly’s Deli

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The Humdinger

Cream of Potato Soup

Cream of Potato Soup

Dilly’s Deli is a local gourmet sandwich chain here in the Valley and sister company to another local favorite Floridino’s Pizza & Pasta. I love the fresh sandwiches and especially the soups. My favorites are the Humdinger (pastrami, pepper jack and cole slaw) and the Reuben. This has always been one of my favorite stops to meet up with friends as it is close to home.

Dilly's Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato