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The Cookstr Weekly: Chicken Soup

October 12, 2015
 

 

As we settle into fall, it’s time for sweaters, scarves, soup – and yes, the occasional cold-weather sniffles. At the first sign of a sore throat (or just of leftovers from a great roast chicken), I pull out the biggest pot I own and get to work on a big batch of chicken soup.

Chicken soup is a cross-cultural phenomenon. There are times I crave fluffy matzo balls and times when only udon will do. Sometimes I want a soothing, saline broth, but depending on the diagnosis (a cold, a flu, or just the seasonal blues), a kick of spice might be called for. What’s your go-to chicken soup recipe, when a remedy is required?

Warmest regards,

Kara Rota

Editorial Director
by Judith Finlayson
The addition of a flavorful whole grain, leeks and a hint of ginger is a particularly delicious spin on classic chicken and rice soup. I like to make the stock a day ahead so it can be refrigerated, which makes easy work of skimming off the fat. This makes a great light dinner accompanied by whole-grain rolls and a tossed salad.”
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The Cookstr Weekly: Squash Season

October 5, 2015
 

  Acorn! Butternut! Kabocha! Delicata! Spaghetti! Just those words speak to me of golden-orange insides, buttery-caramelized mouthfuls, and the hearty satisfaction of a mostly plant-based meal that still manages to be comforting.

Not everyone adores winter squash. But if you like it as much as I do, you’ll agree that it serves equally well at the center of the dinner table as it does as a side dish. Paired with beans, whole grains, and proteins, squash deserves its annual time in the spotlight.

 Warmest regards,

Kara Rota
Editorial Director
by Julie Peacock
“The bursts of orange butternut squash contrast beautifully with the earthy shades of the chickpeas and farro, livened up with a tableside drizzle of chili oil. Using dried chickpeas here is key, because the base of the soup is their cooking liquid. If you’re new to farro, it’s a nutty, chewy, low-gluten ancient grain and can be found in most supermarkets near the grains or bulk/dried goods.

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The Cookstr Weekly: Apples Sweet and Savory

September 25, 2015

Nothing tastes as much like Autumn to me as the crunch of a fresh, juicy apple – not even the ubiquitous pumpkin-and-espresso combination. But you might not want to eat more than an apple a day out of hand, and it would be a mistake to relegate the versatile fruit to pies.

Paired with the earthy and savory flavors in ingredients like squash, brussels sprouts, chicken, and pork, apples make a welcome addition in soups, salads, and main courses, as well as desserts. And of course, don’t forget the apple and cheese combo that’s beloved for everyone from after-school snackers to Midwest pie enthusiasts.


Warmest regards,

Kara Rota

Editorial Director
by Amy Pennington

 “This recipe is super simple to make and highlights the flavors of each ingredient. Pairing bitter Brussels sprouts with sweet fall apples creates a nice contrast. The secret to this dish is allowing the Brussels sprouts to brown, coaxing out their sweetness. Apple bits are tossed in during the last few minutes of cooking-just enough time to cook the fruit through without it breaking down. All in all, you are aiming for a perfectly al dente dish here, where natural flavors reign. The addition of toasted pine nuts warms it up and adds heartiness.”

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The Cookstr Weekly: Soups & Stews for Early Fall

September 14, 2015

Although it’s still hot and humid in parts of the country, the calendar is creeping towards fall and I’m beginning to think about slow cooking, roasting and braising to replace my summer standbys (I think all I’ve eaten this week are marvelous end-of-summer tomato and cheese sandwiches).

Ease the transition with chilis, soups, and stews that are laden with flavor and with produce. They’ll go well with the end of the season’s berries for dessert, or maybe with half of a tomato sandwich. 


 Warmest regards,

Kara Rota

Editorial Director
by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds
For this spin on a classic dish, creamy, beefy soup, loaded with mushrooms and gilded with a touch of Cognac, is ladled onto tender bites of steak and silky egg noodles. Make sure you don’t skimp on the cut of meat – tough steak will ruin the luxurious effect.”
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The Cookstr Weekly: Effortless Labor Day Recipes

September 14, 2015
   Featured Recipe: Mixed Berry Crumble by Jennifer Katzinger
 

 

The end of the summer is a bittersweet time. Goodbye to long, late dinners and sunlight stretching well into evenings. Hello to turning leaves and a chill in the air and, just out of reach, a whiff of pumpkin and cinnamon on the way.

Make this last long weekend count with recipes that celebrate summer in all its effortless glory. Enjoy the ripest tomatoes and the most succulent summer squash just as they are meant to be served: with very little done to them. We’ll be dreaming up ways to liven up root vegetables soon enough.


Warmest regards,

Kara Rota

Editorial Director
by Jamie Oliver

 “This is one of those great dishes that you can really make your own by using whatever vegetables are in season – it’s particularly nice with broad beans (fava beans), asparagus or little halved cherry tomatoes. The fish doesn’t take long to cook, so you can blanch your veg accordingly and then finish them off in the tray with the fish. It makes life a lot easier if you’re cooking for the family or a large group of friends.

The Cookstr Weekly: Pack That Lunchbox!

September 3, 2015

Back-to-school season is officially underway, and whether you’re sending kids off to the classroom or not, it’s a perfect time of year to revamp your lunchbox routine.

If you have access to a microwave to reheat, hardy leftovers like chili and stuffed potatoes give you a midday treat to look forward to. Vegetable-laden pasta and rice salads are delicious served cold and at room temperature. And don’t forget dessert! Nothing says back-to-school like brownie crumbs at the bottom of the lunchbox.


Warmest regards,

Kara Rota

Editorial Director
by Lisa Leake
“If you’re looking for a way to make over your kid’s lunch (or your own!), here’s the answer. Sandwiches are no longer a bore if you just switch out the regular bread and use Cinnamon-Raisin Quick Bread, waffles, or even apples! Apple sandwiches are easier than they look, plus you can mix things up by using any small cookie cutter shape to cut out the core. A heart on Valentine’s Day would be adorable!”

The Cookstr Weekly: Cooking Away From Home on Summer Vacation

September 3, 2015

Cooking during a vacation, whether you’re camping (or ‘glamping’) in the wilderness or renting a beach house with friends, has one major rule, in my book: each meal must be a breeze to shop for and well worth the effort.

I believe vacation cooking should be simple but luxurious: it is lobster and duck in easy, unfussy preparations, but it is also a perfect tomato sandwich on great bread. The kind of late-August fare that makes every last bite of summer count.


Warmest regards,

Kara Rota

Editorial Director
by Dina Guillen

“Munching on this pizza makes me happy. It’s not just the flavors of the melted chocolate and gooey, golden marshmallows. It’s because even as I sit in my backyard hearing the traffic whiz by, I feel like I’m camping in the forests of Tahoe, where my family spends a lot of time in the summers. The smell of the wood smoking and the flavors of this pizza might have the same effect on you. It’s cathartic. Just don’t Zen out too quickly because marshmallows and chocolate burn easily – be sure to check the pizza after a few minutes of grilling.”

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