POTATO SOUP WITH SPICY SHRIMP

I suppose this could be some type of a personal record. I’ve had this recipe on my list of “must make” for 9 years. I know that for a fact because I used to subscribe to Food and Wine magazine and when I got that issue I could not wait go to the kitchen and make it.  Apparently I was wrong. I can wait like a pro. But better late than never, I share with you a recipe that is quite simple to put together, and results in a creamy, satisfying soup that surprisingly does not have a single drop of heavy cream. I hope you’ll give it a try.

POTATO SOUP WITH SPICY SHRIMP
(adapted from Food and Wine magazine, December 2010)

1/8 cup + 3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
Kosher salt
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
One 8-ounce baking potato, peeled and cut in chunks
4 cups chicken stock
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and halved horizontally
2 teaspoons rose harissa (or regular harissa)
parsley leaves to serve (optional)

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the shallots and celery and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, until barely softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Strain the broth into a bowl and transfer the veggies to a blender. Add 1/8 cup of the olive oil and 1 cup of the broth and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot. Stir in the remaining broth and season with salt. Bring the soup back to a simmer over moderate heat.

In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with the harissa and the remaining  tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt. Add the shrimp to the soup and cook just until they are pink and curled. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the parsley and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I have not stopped kicking myself for taking so long to try a recipe that I knew was going to be a winner. The blending of potatoes with the olive oil gives the soup such a luscious texture that you will swear there is a cup of heavy cream in there. But… there isn’t.

We had this soup on my beloved’s Birthday, it felt truly festive and special. We also had lobster tails on the grill, and there were leftovers of both soup and lobster. Guess what? Next day this turned into a Spicy Lobster Potato Soup. And it was outstanding too.  I see some crab in a future experiment.

Final comment: the soup calls for two types of potato. Yukon Golds are not very starchy, but have great taste. The baking potato brings the starchy component that helps thicken the soup, so don’t omit it.

After getting a comment from the one and only Dangerspouse, I should mention that you should consider making a quick shrimp stock to use in this soup, if you’d like to pump up the seafood flavor.  I shared a quick recipe for it not too long ago.

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Rose-Harissa Chicken Thighs

TWO YEARS AGO: Caramel-Chocolate Tartlets

THREE YEARS AGO: Chicken Korma-ish

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sunday Gravy with Braciola

FIVE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, February 2015

SIX YEARS AGO: Avocado and Orange Salad with Charred Jalapeno Dressing

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Green Olive, Walnuts and Pomegranate Salad

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Romanian Flatbreads

NINE YEARS AGO: Ziti with Artichokes and Meyer Lemon Sauce

TEN YEARS AGO: Blasted Broccoli, Stove-top version

 

 

AVGOLEMONO SOUP, MY WAY

At the risk of being blocked from entering Greece, I share my version of this legendary classic. I took a few liberties with it, so be prepared. I hope they won’t confiscate my passport because Greece is one spot of this planet I want to go back to. My only visit was too long ago, back in 1994, with my very dear friend Gabi. That was one week that I can live to be 100 and will never forget. How fitting that this post is published on her day…  Happy Birthday, Gabi!

AVGOLEMONO SOUP
(inspired by Jeff Mauro’s The Kitchen)

2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup rice
1/4 cup red quinoa
2 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon lemon zest plus 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley
fried shoestring carrots for topping (optional)

In a large stockpot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and then lower to a simmer. Simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes; remove to a bowl. Once cooled, shred the chicken and reserve.

Add the rice and quinoa to the pot with the chicken stock and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and most of the lemon juice, reserving some to add later. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Once combined, ladle in some hot stock to temper the egg mixture, whisking constantly and adding the hot liquid slowly. Very slowly, add the warm whipped egg/lemon mixture into the pot, whisking constantly to prevent any curds or clumps from forming. Continue to cook over medium-low to medium heat, whisking, until the soup thickens, about 5 to 8 minutes more.

Add the shredded chicken and any reserved juices to the soup. Add the lemon zest and season with salt and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper. Taste and add additional lemon juice if needed. Add parsley and serve with fried carrots on top, if so desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

Comments: This recipe was featured in a recent The Kitchen show, and I was intrigued by the fact that it is supposed to taste super creamy while being quite low in fat. The full amount of soup contains only two egg yolks. No butter, no cream, no sour cream, nothing. It is also very lemony, therefore the name avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup. The chicken and rice would almost be bystanders. Think of an egg drop soup, but one in which the eggs form a nice emulsion with the broth. Jeff Mauro started “messing” with the classic by adding orzo instead of rice. I say, if he can do it, so can I! Into mine went some red quinoa. But the real shocker came when I topped it with air-fried carrots.

 

This was so so good, I am glad I tried it. To be completely honest, credit should go to my beloved partner. I had planned to serve the carrots on the side just as added fun to our dinner. He grabbed a bunch and topped his soup with it. It looked interesting, and then his reaction made me do the same. Big wow moment!  If you have an air-fryer, consider preparing a bunch of these carrots to add to soups. Or salsas, or whatever. They are tasty, and addictive. Perhaps not as Greek as Pythagoras, but I bet he would have enjoyed them on top of his avgolemono…

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Sourdough Chocolate Twist Bread

TWO YEARS AGO: Dan Lepard Times Three

THREE YEARS AGO: Turkey Portobello Burger

FOUR YEARS AGO: Raspberry Ricotta Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2014

SIX YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lemony Tomatoes and Spinach

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Blood Orange Duck: A work in progress

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Grilled Mahi-mahi with citrus marinade

NINE YEARS AGO: Memories of Pastéis

 

LENTILS AND RADICCHIO? YES, PLEASE!

I bet many of my readers will consider clicking away from the blog right now, because… lentils? Not the most popular item in the pantry. Radicchio? Not the veggie that jumps into the grocery cart of most shoppers. Both together? Thanks, but no thanks. Can I ask you to trust me on this? Actually it’s not even me you should trust, but someone with a lot more gastronomic fame: Melissa Clark. And credit should actually go to my beloved husband who not only found the recipe but made it for our dinner. So basically I am  giving to charity from other people’s wallets. But hey, I am the resident blogger. So there!

LENTIL SOUP WITH RADICCHIO SLAW
(adapted from Melissa Clark)

for topping:
half a radicchio head, thinly sliced
drizzle of olive oil
lemon juice to taste
1 avocado, diced very small
salt and pepper to taste
for soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup green lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Make topping and reserve in fridge by mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Make the soup: In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and sauté for 2 minutes longer.

Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.  Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot.  

Stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup and add a generous amount of radicchio slaw on top.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This soup was excellent served with a mixed olive sourdough (recipe published not too long ago in the blog, click here if you’ve missed it). I find it a bit hard to decide if the topping made the soup or if it would shine as brightly on its own. A perfect combination. We had leftover radicchio slaw, and found ourselves munching on small amounts once our bowls of soup were appropriately empty. Next day we improvised a full salad with the other half of the radicchio head, adding a bunch of goodies we had in the fridge.

We mixed radicchio, tomatoes, olives, and avocados together. Dressing was kept simple again, olive oil and lemon juice, right before serving we added a tiny touch of white balsamic vinegar. OMG this was good. Later on we decided that capers would have been perfect, and of course some feta cheese or other sharp cheese of your choice.


Simple dinner… Red snapper, a little rice and this tasty salad… 

The secret with radicchio is to allow it to sit with the dressing for a little while, or warm it up very very briefly to soften the leaves. But that is another method that I intend to share in the near future. The great thing about this preparation is that leftovers keep very well in the fridge for 24 hours. My lunch next day was this salad with a fried egg, sunny side up. I was a happy camper.

ONE YEAR AGO: Tres Leches Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: The Joys of Grating Squash

THREE YEARS AGO: Auberge-Pecan Walnut Bread

FOUR YEARS AGO: Gluten-free and Vegan Raspberry Bars

FIVE YEARS AGO: Lasserre, a French Classic

SIX YEARS AGO: Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Dates

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Braised Brisket with Bourbon-Apricot Glaze

EIGHT YEARS AGO: The Real Vodka Sauce

NINE YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin and Blue Cheese

 

 

BOUILLABAISSE FOR A CHILLY EVENING

Bouillabaisse is a classic Mediterranean dish. Not to brag or sound like a pain-in-the-butt snob, but I once enjoyed a bowl in a wonderful restaurant in Nice. One of those unforgettable meals in which the setting, the company, the food, all conspired together to make you feel on top of the world. Or close enough. Where we live we have access to the very best beef you can dream of, but seafood? Not so much. So I realize that calling my humble seafood concoction “Bouillabaisse” is a bit of a stretch. The fish was previously frozen, same goes for the shrimp. I know that nowadays the frozen stuff is processed almost immediately upon fishing, but still… Cooking seafood in the middle of the country always seems a bit strange. However, I must say we were very pleased by how tasty it turned out. Not the same as sitting down for a beautiful meal in Nice, but… being at home with the fire-place going, and the three pups all cozy near us has its charm also.

A SIMPLE BOUILLABAISSE
(adapted from several sources)

3 pounds of mild fish, cut into large pieces (I used cod and red snapper)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 pound clams
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions (I omitted)
1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp saffron threads
2 tsp salt or more to taste
1 cup shrimp stock (made with shrimp shells, lemon and onions)
1 cup clam juice (store-bought)
fresh thyme
orange zest and a bit of juice
parsley leaves, minced

Make the shrimp stock.  In a sauce pan, add the shells, cover with water, juice of half a lemon and half an onion. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain, reserve the liquid to use in the bouillabaisse. In a small bowl, mix a couple of tablespoons of the shrimp stock with the strands of saffron, rubbing them between your fingers to release the oils.  Reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and fennel. Stir to coat the vegetables with the olive oil. Cook on medium heat until softened and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Do not let it brown. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, the saffron infused shrimp stock, salt, orange zest and juice. Simmer gently for 10 more minutes. 

Add the pieces of fish, the shrimp, the reserved shrimp stock and the clam juice. Bring to a gentle boil,  add parsley, simmer covered for 5 minutes. Add the clams, cook for 10 minutes or so until they open and are cooked through. Keep the heat at a very gentle level.  Remove bay leaf before serving, adjust seasoning.  Wonderful with a nice piece of sourdough bread.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Traditionally, Bouillabaisse is served with a rouille on top. Think of a sauce made from hearty bread, olive oil, and other tasty suspects. I omitted, we had a slice of sourdough with it instead. I added a generous squirt of lemon juice to my bowl, it’s something I find myself doing so often, it always seem to make the food shine a bit brighter. If you want to simplify things even further, you can use just clam juice and water as the cooking liquid, but making shrimp stock is so simple, and it does intensify the seafood flavor in the soup. If you can find sea bass, definitely use it. It is the best fish, in my opinion, but as you can imagine, not easy to find in our neck of the woods.  And when we do find it, we must be ready to shell some serious cash for it.


The smell as this soup-stew cooks is something! The main thing to pay attention to is not to overcook the delicate seafood, and keep the heat at a very gentle simmer, because shrimp in particular tends to toughen up easily. I had considered cooking the shrimp sous-vide separately and just add it to the soup when serving, but ended up going the more traditional route. If you have a sous-vide gadget, keep in mind that it makes absolutely perfect shrimp, with a texture you cannot get any other way.

The resident oyster-shucker made sure we have the perfect appetizer to open this meal…

Totally off-topic: today marks my first anniversary of…..  braces!
One year down, one more to go (sigh)

ONE YEAR AGO: Bergamot-Cherry Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Roasted Veggies with Queso Cotija Dressing

THREE YEARS AGO: Creamy Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole

FOUR YEARS AGO: Maple Walnut Biscotti

FIVE YEARS AGO: Barley Risotto with Peas

SIX YEARS AGO: Oatmeal Fudge Bars

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Cauliflower Steaks

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Soft Spot for Chevre

NINE YEARS AGO: Quick sun-dried Tomato Crostini

 

 

SOUP SATURDAY: SPRING HAS SPRUNG!

Third Saturday of the month, it’s time to share a post about soup. For this month our hostess Camilla picked a very nice theme: Spring Has Sprung… we should make and blog about a soup to celebrate a favorite season of mine. Unfortunately this year spring is taking its time to enter our universe in all its colorful glory, but little by little the harshness of the winter is fading away.  My soup centers on zucchini, makes it a bit more toothsome with a nice helping of cauliflower, and more mysterious with a swirl of tahini right before serving. Mysterious? Quite an adjective for foodstuff. But if you don’t tell your guests what’s the “unusual” ingredient in the soup, they will never be able to guess. So mysterious it is…

ZUCCHINI SOUP WITH TAHINI
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small shallots, minced
4 medium zucchini, sliced
1/4 of head of cauliflower, florets only
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, juiced (divided)
2 to 3 cups water
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup yogurt
additional yogurt and Sriracha for serving (optional)
toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Add the shallots, season lightly with salt and pepper, cook until fragrant. Add the zucchini and cauliflower, saute in medium-high heat until soft and the cauliflower starts to develop some golden color.

Add the water, half of the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, cover the pan and reduce heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Reserve 1 cup of liquid. Transfer the vegetables to a blender or food processor, and blend until fully smooth.  Return the pureed soup to the pan, add the reserved liquid until it reaches a consistency you like. Add yogurt, tahini, mix, and simmer just to heat through. Add the remaining lemon juice just before serving.

If desired, add a dollop of yogurt and Sriracha on the serving bowl, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I am thrilled to participate of this month’s soup event. I was not sure I could make it, as – putting it mildly – life has been a bit stressful lately. But here I am to share a delicious soup which was perfect  for a Friday lunch with a lot of sun and even more wind. I tell you, we get constant reminders that we live in tornado alley. When the wind blows in Kansas, it doesn’t hold anything back. Note to self: get some ruby slippers…

To see the soups my virtual friends cooked for this month’s event, click on the link at the end of the post.

Wendy, thank you for organizing Soup Saturday Event,

and

Camilla, thanks for hosting!

ONE YEAR AGO: Black Sesame Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Fine Tuning Thomas Keller

THREE YEARS AGO: Cauliflower Tortillas

FOUR YEARS AGO: Majestic Sedona, Take Two

FIVE YEARS AGO: Secret Ingredient Turkey Meatballs

SIX YEARS AGO: Swedish Meatballs and Egg Noodles

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Italian Easter Pie

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Black Olive Bialy

 

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SOUP SATURDAY: SAY GOODBYE TO WINTER

Since it’s the third Saturday of the month, it’s time to enjoy the soup event organized by Wendy. This month yours truly is hosting, and I chose as my theme a farewell to the season that tortures me: Winter.  My apologies to those who like to shiver, who enjoy having to cover their feet, hands, ears and nose before heading outside, and don’t mind a heating bill in the triple digits at the end of the month.

We still have a few evenings here and there with ungodly cold temperatures, and for those evenings, a soup that warms body and soul is the best thing in the world. So I made it smokin’ hot. Literally. Remember my new toy  from last Christmas, the electric smoker? We’ve been using it a lot, I just did not have a chance to blog about it yet, but now it’s the perfect opportunity. I made a smoked tomato soup. Very simple in terms of number of ingredients, but incredibly flavorful due to the subtle applewood smoke component.

SMOKED TOMATO SOUP
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

10 large Roma tomatoes, halved
olive oil spray
salt and pepper
applewood chips for smoker
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 shallot, minced
zest and juice of one blood orange
1 cup of chicken stock
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Turn your smoker to 250 F and place a few applewood chips in the chamber, according to the instructions of your smoker.

Drizzle the tomatoes with a little spray of olive oil, and season lightly with salt. When the smoker reaches the right temperature, place the tomatoes, cut side down, on the tray. Close the chamber and allow them to smoke for 40 minutes. At the end of the smoking time, remove the skin, that should peel off easily.

In a large saucepan, saute the shallot and yellow bell pepper in olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper. When soft and fragrant, add the zest of the blood orange add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a potato masher.  Simmer in medium heat for 5 minutes, add the chicken stock, cover the pan and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender, blend until smooth. If you like a very smooth soup, pass through a sieve to remove the tomato seeds.  If too thick, add some chicken stock or water. Pour back into the pan, add blood orange juice, heavy cream, simmer a few minutes, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with a drizzle of blood orange juice on top.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Talk about flavor!  What we’ve learned so far from our adventures with the smoker is that you don’t need that many added spices, in fact, it is best to mellow down the spices, so that the smokiness can shine. Even when tomatoes are far from their peak, the brief encounter with the smoke intensifies their flavor quite a bit. Very nice. If you don’t have a smoker, I suppose grilling the tomatoes could do a good job too. In that case, add some smoked paprika to the soup, while you are sauteing the veggies. If blood oranges are not available where you live (here, let me offer you a hug), you can use regular oranges, and decorate the soup with a drizzle or cream or yogurt.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be saying goodbye to winter!  If you’d like to see what my virtual friends made for our Soup Saturday event, click on the link at the end of the post. Stay warm!

ONE YEAR AGO: Manchego and Poblano Soup

TWO YEARS AGO: A Smashing Pair

THREE YEARS AGO: Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

FOUR YEARS AGO: Crispy Chickpea and Caper Spaghetti

FIVE YEARS AGO: Spring has Sprung!

SIX YEARS AGO: Chickpea and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Double Asparagus Delight

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Sun-dried Tomato and Feta Cheese Torte

 

 

 

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SOUP SATURDAY: FRENCH SOUPS


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It’s the third Saturday of the month, and we have the soup event organized by Wendy!  Guess what? This month yours truly is hosting, and I chose as my theme French Soups… Why? Because we’ve had so many great soups while living in Paris. Yes, French Onion soup is a classic, and I am sure someone in our group will feature it in a blog post, but one very fond memory I have is a fennel soup I enjoyed very late at night in a bistrot near our apartment, Le Café du Marché. It was comforting, soothing, luscious, yet it seemed so simple. On a side note, the word for fennel in French is a tricky one for me to pronounce, so I would always get in to hyperventilation mode when ordering anything in a menu containing it. Once you get traumatized by a word, it’s pretty hard to overcome the anxiety to say it out loud. But, I digress. This (deep breath) fenouil soup is wonderful! If one day I materialize my desire of serving soup shots for guests as they enter our home for a dinner party, this will be in their little cups.
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FENNEL SOUP WITH ALMOND-MINT TOPPING

(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 medium size fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
1 shallot, chopped cup chopped onion
1 celery stalk, chopped  
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
2 ½ to 3 cups water
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (about 7.5 ounces)
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons small fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon fresh fennel tops, minced
lemon rind to taste 

 Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add fennel, shallots and celery, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, cook for a couple of minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and cook 6 minutes or until crisp-tender (do not brown), stirring occasionally.

Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, a little black pepper, 2 ½ cups water, white wine vinegar, and beans. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Transfer the contents to a blender and puree until smooth. If needed, do it in two batches. Taste and adjust seasoning. If soup seems too thick, add a little more water.

For the topping, combine almonds, mint, fennel tops, and lemon zest. Ladle soup in bowls, and top with the crunchy almond mixture.

ENJOY!

 to print the recipe, click here
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Comments
: The original recipe from Cooking Light used a full can of beans, but I held back a little, felt that it could overpower the delicate fennel taste. I really like the way my soup turned out, it was creamy, with just a subtle hint of the cannelini around, the main flavor of fennel definitely shinning through.  As to the topping, you can use a heavy hand as in the first photo, or add just a touch.  Whatever rocks your boat…
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Before I leave, let me invite you to see the collection of French Soups made by my virtual friends.
Click on the InLinkz below, and get ready to fly to France!
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 Sweet memories by the Seine….
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ONE YEAR AGO: Eataly

TWO YEARS AGO: Spaghetti Squash Perfection

THREE YEARS AGO: Skinny Eggplant Parmigiana

FOUR YEARS AGO: Supernova Meets Wok

FIVE YEARS AGO500 Posts and The Best Thing I ever made

SIX YEARS AGO: Back in Los Angeles

SEVEN YEARS AGO: White House Macaroni and Cheese

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Korean-Style Pork with Asian Slaw

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