Soup, Glorious Soup!

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I love soup.  I know I’ve mentioned this before–like every January, but January seems to be a good time for soup.  At least in the Northern Hemisphere.  Of course, I’m one of those weird-can-eat-soup-any-day-of-the-year people so I don’t necessarily need cold weather to indulge, just a spoon.  This is very handy when one is experiencing an unseasonably warm “winter” in NYC and one loves soup so much.

The other day I had some amazing wonton soup from Ginger’s in Midtown (for anyone in, around or visiting NYC).  It was so delicious.  The broth was seasoned perfectly and adorned not only with wontons so fresh they were practically falling apart, but also spinach which added an extra layer of goodness.  The irony of it all, is that I rarely get wonton soup–I almost always get egg drop but on a whim I went with the wonton and here I am at 7:30am wondering what time Ginger’s opens and if I can work it into today’s schedule.  Now, if that doesn’t speak volumes as to how good this soup is, nothing but tasting it will!

It did remind me that it’s been awhile since I’ve posted about soup.  In looking back at some older posts, I realized that I owe you an up date on my Kaliflower Soup, which I am determined to get juuuuuust right and I think I may have finally solved the “too much” kale debacle (hint: baby kale!).  There is another soup from a health store on the Upper East Side that I’d also like to try my hand at: it’s a veggie soup with yellow lentils, so it has a creamy rather than brothy base that accompanies most veggie soups.  The result is an extra-hearty veggie soup that could easily be a meal all on its own!  I also promised April an actual Roasted Asparagus soup recipe other than Jaime’s vague instructions…

I guess I need to get cooking!

But before I go, I thought I’d leave you with some links to earlier soup posts, in case you’re in the mood to do a bit of cooking on your own and needed some inspiration (and before you argue, stew is a soup and who cares what you call it, it has Guinness so just try not to shovel it in too fast and burn your mouth!):

Bon appetito!

shiner soup

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MWWC #19: To Wine Or Not To Wine?

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I know you’re thinking “what a silly question,” but an appropriate one for this post…because a) wine why not? and b) Elizabeth of Traveling Wine Chick, the winner of the last Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, selected the theme for this month’s Challenge to be CHOICES.

wine stain

Everyday we make thousands of choices–some are subconscious, some are instinctual, some are habitual, some regrettable, some are hard, some are easy, and a lot are somewhere in between.  But I have a confession about these choices that I hope doesn’t get me lynched by my lovely wine blogging superstars: I don’t always choose wine, in fact, I rarely do.  That is not to say that I don’t enjoy, love, cherish, and revel in wine–because I do all the above.  I just…well…usually…pick beer.  I’ll give you a moment to sob uncontrollably while going through all the stages of loss.  I only ask that when you get to the anger stage and are threatening to smite me, you leave the Princess out of it…

Now before you gather the pitchforks and angry villagers, let me just say that it’s not that I like beer better than wine.  It’s that beer is easy.  And really, it’s the “easy” part that attracts me to the B-word.  I know what I like and while I also like to try new beers, I have certain go-tos that are non-negotiable.  If I go into any establishment (other than sporting events) and either Stella or Guinness are not on the menu, chances are I’m making a u-turn and heading out before you can even say “well, do you have…”

But this is not true with wine.  I mean, I have my favorites–but a lot of them are Texas wines and you can’t find them anywhere but the great state of Texas and my wine rack (and perhaps other wine racks–but most people are generally opposed to you walking into their house and pilfering their wine selection, especially if they don’t know you!).  So then it becomes a gamble of “is it worth $10-15/glass” for something I’ve never heard of?  Sometimes it is.  When out at a nice meal, especially when that meal is Italian or steak, wine is non-negotiable.

At home, the choice is probably about 50-50.  That is to say about 50% of the year (aka spring and summer), my choice is beer and 50% of the year (aka autumn and winter), my choice is red wine.  Part of the issue is that–as I’ve mentioned before–I’m not a big white wine drinker and when it’s 96F with 87% humidity, red wine is just too heavy.  I can’t lie, I’ve never spent 2 hours doing yard work and thought “mmmmm, I just want a nice glass of chardonnay.” [note: I almost NEVER pick chardonnay, so if you hear those words come out of my mouth, you should just assume my body has been taken over by aliens and consider locking me up!]

At home beer is also easier choice because at any given moment I usually have two maybe three kinds in the fridge: Shiner, Guinness, and whatever struck my fancy one day, usually like a cider…mmm…Stella Cidre

Ahem, anyway, the point being that my choice with beer is pretty easy.  With wine, it’s not so clear cut.  I currently have 19 bottles of 8 different varietals, so then I get stuck in the details: do I want something I can drink by itself?  Or something I can drink with a snack plate or something big and bold and in your face?  Do I want to wait while I chill a viognier?  Am I overthinking?  Perhaps, but it’s wine!  And these things can’t be taken lightly, unlike beer (because apparently, I’m trying to get the die-hard beer nerds to lynch me as well!) 😉

Pot of Gold

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guinness

now THAT is a true pot of gold 😉

Sunday Comics #25: Vegetarian

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green beer

just kidding…you know Guinness is my Irish drink of choice 😉

Thirsty Thursday #9

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In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way). As such, I’ve decided rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind.

Despite being in loooooooooooooove with wine, in my very heart of hearts if I have to pick an adult beverage of choice (and let me make it VERY clear I would very angry with whomever would make me actually choose a side), it would have to be beer (but honestly, it’s like asking a parent to pick a favorite child).

Of course I have my favorite beers, like Shiner, Stella, and Guinness, but when traveling out and about I also love to try the local beers.  As such, I drank a lot of Key West Sunset Ale during our long weekend.  It was light and smooth, but had a slight bite on the finish…you know, not enough to be considered bitter but enough to let you know you were drinking beer and not that dreaded water-crap.

Here are TK, James, and I at one of the many watering holes Key West has to offer, enjoying our Sunset Ales.  Cheers!

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Birthdays Galore!

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Yesterday started my birthday week. By that, I don’t mean it’s the week of my birthday, but rather: starting yesterday, I have at least one birthday a day until the end of the month (and yes, I know it’s technically 8 days, but channel your inner Beatles and work with me here people!). The only day in this week missing a birthday is the 29th. Anyone out there with a birthday on the 29th? My OCD is wanting the day to be allotted to a birthday! Of course, I have 2 birthdays the day before and 2 birthdays the day after, so I don’t reeeeeeeeally neeeed another birthday…

What birthday week has reminded me is that I’ve been slacking in the post dept! Remember last year’s birthday week? It was a bit crazy–fun, mind you–but crazy. Here they are again, if you wanna relive the magic! Hopefully they are properly linked to magically take you to the original post when you click on it. If not, yell at the technician (that’s me, btw, but alas I’m currently not taking complaints!).

Come To The Dark Side…
The Ruff Life of a Beach Dog
A Toast to Vegemite
Serefe, Coffee
The National Beer of Texas
Yo Quiero Tequila
Wicked Fun
An Apple a Day
Lions and Bears and Hiking...

I think birthdays are special–they are the one day a year that’s all about celebrating you. Unless, of course, you are Desire’, who also celebrates her half birthday. Her birthday is in February. February, in case you are unaware, is NOT conducive to sitting outside in NYC, drinking margaritas, eating Mexican food, and not getting frostbite–so we celebrate her birthday in August, when we can do all those things sans the frostbite!

Regardless of when you celebrate, do it in style: like we’ve done in the pic below! It is the pie we ordered for my boss’s birthday: sour cream and apple–The Little Pie Company’s best seller! And for good reason: while it sounds slightly weird, the flavors all meld beautifully together for a heavenly slice of pie…especially when enjoyed a la mode 🙂

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Why Do Irish Eyes Smile?

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Because they have Irish Coffee!

What?  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Of course, everyone knows my position of coffee (nectar of the gods–in case you’re new here!), but when you add cream and whiskey, well, kids, it just becomes magical!

There are several theories as to who created this wonderful drink.  The most accepted theory was created in 1942 by Joe Sheridan who added whiskey to the coffee for passengers stranded at Foynes airbase.  When someone asked if the coffee was Brazilian, good ol’ Joe responded with “no, it’s Irish Coffee.”  He even coined the following when asked for the recipe:

Cream – Rich as an Irish Brogue  
Coffee – Strong as a Friendly Hand
Sugar – Sweet as the tongue of a Rogue
Whiskey – Smooth as the Wit of the Land.

Just don’t tell Joe Jackson that, he claimed to have created it year before Sheridan’s famous airbase interaction.  I personally think a nod to both Joes are in order, then again, maybe that’s why we call it a cup of joe?

With St. Patrick’s day only a day away, if you have never indulged in this delectable treat now it the time.  For the rest of us, Sunday brunch is as good of time as any!

How to make it?  Well, everyone tweaks it here and there, but the base is what good ol’ Joe Sheridan described.  The National Irish Coffee Day website breaks it down for us:

and in practical terms here’s how to make one:  Pre-heat a clear stemmed glass with very hot water. Empty the water, and add 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Now add some freshly brewed rich coffee and stir. As soon as the sugar is melted, add a generous measure of Irish whiskey (about 4 to 6 teaspoons). Stir again, and then wait for the brew to still. Now take a hot teaspoon and pour gently whipped fresh cream slowly over the back of the spoon. The cream should be not too stiff and not too liquid. A perfect Irish Coffee should look pretty much like that other famous Irish drink – Guinness! And remember never stir it because the coffee is meant to be enjoyed as you sip the warm, sweet nectar through the luxurious cream.

Speaking of National Irish Coffee Day, which is a real thing, it’s on January 25th–plenty of time to hone your Irish coffee making skills! Slainte!

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definitely a Guinness resemblance!

Top 10…ish Things To Do in Ireland

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So, my grand idea of the Top 10 Things to do in Ireland is marred by the fact that everyone has a different list and each list is vastly different…so…here’s some of the most popular.

I’m quite sure NONE of you, providing you pay attention, will find #1 shocking.  But in all my research, the thing that made me smile the most was the Galway Hookers (fishing boats, people–get your minds out of the gutter!)  Of course, as a reminder since I’ve never been to Ireland all the pictures have been lovingly borrowed and if you click on them, you’ll be magically taken to the link where I got it.

Of course, this doesn’t include cities like Galway, Cork, Dublin, Limerick and, really, everywhere…no snakes, remember?  I think anywhere you go is going to be flipping fabulous.

As if you didn't know that this was going to be first on MY list!!

As if you didn’t know that this was going to be first on MY list!!

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

Blarney House, Stone, and Castle

Blarney House, Stone, and Castle

Sligo Beach

Sligo Beach

Rock of Cashel

Rock of Cashel

The River Shannon as it winds it's way down the isle (as seen here in Limerick)

The River Shannon as it winds it’s way down the isle (as seen here in Limerick)

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Castles! Castles! and more Castles!  This one is Kilgarven, btw...

Castles! Castles! and more Castles! This one is Kilgarven, btw…

Glendalough Monastic Site

Glendalough Monastic Site

St. Patrick's in Dublin...but I feel that anywhere named after their patron saint is going to be spectacular!

St. Patrick’s.  This is in Dublin, but I feel that any church named after their patron saint is going to be spectacular!

The Burren

The Burren

Luck O’ The Irish!

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I can’t fault you for thinking we might be visiting Texas this month.  However, I mentioned cliche’ last month, and I think that in terms of cliches and March–we definitely need to go to…Ireland.

That’s right, home of Guinness, Bono, Liam Neeson, Irish Coffee, Maureen O’Hara, Jameson, the Blarney Stone and, of course, Guinness (yeah, I know–I said Guinness twice.  That should tell you how much I love it!).

Even Kayak.com agrees, as the other day they sent an email featuring vacations to Ireland.  I was sooooo tempted to buy one immediately, but my bank account laughed at me and reminded me that we just started a new job so we will all have to live vicariously through the interwebs.

Ireland is definitely on my bucket list of places to go, because, well, as mentioned before: Guinness.  But of course that’s not the only reason to travel across the pond to the 20th largest island on the planet. It’s a snake-free island–thanks to St. Patrick!–so honestly, why I don’t already live there is beyond me: NO SNAKES! WHISKEY IN COFFEE!! LOTS OF GUINNESS!!! I’m already in love 😘

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Slainte!

Soup is Simple, Stupid…

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Before you yell at me, the title was a quote from a chef at a wine bistro at which I used to work. The chef had a way with food and was the polar opposite with people.  Definitely a bear of a man.  He always only ever wore a black t-shirt, cargo shorts, and vans.  But man, could he create.  I once ate his chicken truffle lasagna every single night for a month.  My eyes still roll back in my head thinking about it…

BUT! that’s not why we’re here (and he never shared that recipe…dammit! probably out of fear that I’d turn into a chicken truffle lasagna!)…we’re here for soup.  Jaime made the best soups–his piece de resistance on his soup line-up was definitely his asparagus soup.

soup is simple, stupid.  you season and roast your vegetables, you put them in stock, puree, add cream and more seasoning and done.  even you should be able to handle that.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jaime.  I went home and tried it and, holy crap, who knew  roasting could make it that much more amazing!!!!!!!!!!

I have always been a lover of soups.  They’re warm and hearty and can be very healthy (unless you add 1lb of velveeta, in which case they’re UBER DELICIOUSLY CHEESY!).  Plus they’re great for clearing out whatever vegetables that need to be eaten!

Here are two of my favorites that I’ve written about so far (yeah, TOTALLY cheating here, but they’re great–so definitely worth a revisit!)

  • Guinness Stew (soups/stews…same thing…ish…it’s good, just try it!)
  • Tortilla Soup (and in revisiting this post, I realized that I’ve already told you that I’m a lover of soups, but eh well…)

So, let’s hear it from you: what’s your favorite soup?  Mine?  Hard call because it’s like having to pick a favorite child.  Okay, maybe not that hard.  Then again…

Probably if I have to narrow it to only one, I’d pick Tortilla Soup (but pumpkin and veggie soups are right up there!!).  One type I’m not a fan of?  Gazpacho.  Weird, I know.  But cold soups just don’t do it for me.  They’re just too cold and uncaring (in my humble opinion–I’m sorry if I just stepped on your gazpacho loving toes!).

Although Jaime did make a cantaloupe soup once…