Tag Archives: comfort food

Chicken Noodle Soup from Scratch

19 Feb

Here’s the chicken noodle soup where I used my chicken stock made from scratch. Yeah, that’s a lot of work. But you can skip making stock from scratch if you want, and just use some high-quality store-bought stuff.  We both thought the soup tasted delicious! Can’t wait to make it again!

chicken noodle soup


  • 1 ½ cups chicken
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 carrots, cut ½ inch thick
  • 2 ribs celery, cut ½ inch thick
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 8 oz. extra wide egg noodles
  • salt, pepper, fresh parsley to taste



  1. Cook chicken, put in separate bowl
  2. Brown onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, about 6 minutesdsc05967
  3. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil
  4. Add noodles, simmer until tender, about 5 minutes
  5. Add chicken back into soup
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste
  7. Serve, sprinkle with parsley if desired



Warm Up With French Onion Soup

21 Feb

It’s still cold in New England…which means it’s time for soup! I’ve always wanted to make French onion soup, but held back because I don’t own broiler-proof soup crocks. As it turns out, a toaster oven’s broiler will do the trick (another reason why toaster ovens rule!)

DSC01876Because a large part of French onion soup is beef broth, it’s important to use high quality broth, preferably low-sodium (otherwise a bowl of soup might leave you feeling parched). I scoured the grocery stores and found these two lower sodium options:

  • Swanson 50% Less Sodium Beef broth, available in large grocery chains (400 mg sodium per cup broth)
  • More Than Gourmet Beef Culinary Stock, available at Russo’s in Watertown, MA, and online (270 mg per cup broth)

If you can find something like More Than Gourmet, I definitely recommend it – the “Gourmet” really makes a difference. Its ingredients include carrot and celery stocks rather than juices, for example, in addition to veal stock, beef stock, and red wine.

This recipe makes 8-10 servings


  • 2 quarts low sodium beef broth
  • 6 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • ½ cup cooking sherry
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 baguette
  • 1/2 pound Gruyere or Appenzeller cheese, shredded

Appenzeller cheese is a a fondue cheese like Gruyere and Emmental. It’s a raw cow’s milk cheese from the region of Switzerland. I bought black label (“Extra”) Appenzeller cheese, meaning it’s been aged 6 months or more. It has a strong smell, but its flavour goes really well with onion soup. And it’s easy to cut into with a spoon (no one wants to pull all the cheese off the bread when trying to get a spoonful of French onion soup.)


  1. Cook onions on medium-high heat in butter until translucent, about 10 minutesDSC01879
  2. Sprinkle in sugar
  3. Reduce heat to medium and cook until onions are caramelized, about 30 minutes
  4. Add garlic and cook 1 additional minute
  5. Stir sherry into the onion mixtureDSC01882
  6. Transfer onion mixture into a slow cooker and pour in beef broth. Stir in thyme and bay leaf. Cover cooker, and cook 4 to 5 hours on HIGH.
    ** Alternatively you can bring the soup to a boil on your stovetop, then reduce to a simmer for 2 hours.
  7. About 10 minutes before serving, preheat the toaster oven’s broiler. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet.
  8. Broil bread slices until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
  9. Top each bread slice with cheese and broil until cheese is bubbling, about 3 minutes.
  10. Fill bowls 3/4 full with onion soup and top with bread slices.
  11. Enjoy!

French onion soup

Hipster brunch: Skillet, Columbus

23 Apr

Skillet is a hipster spot  in Columbus’ German Village  that serves “rustic. urban. food.” Yes, with the punctuation. The place is a square room with small black booths, metal chairs like a classy diner, and wooden tables branded with the restaurant’s name. The menu changes daily but you’re sure to find something mouthwatering. We went on a Saturday for brunch, and found comfort foods like poutine, pain perdu, and a grilled cheese sandwich.

Skillet - Huevos rancherosHuevos Rancheros – a fried egg, black beans, cheese, and pulled pork  on two corn tortillas

Veggie pan roastThe Veggie Pan Roast – A  veritable garden of vegetables, including slices of patty pan squash, chanterelle and lobster mushrooms, tomato “gravy,” and topped with a poached egg.

apple galetteHoneycrisp apple galette with hard cider syrup and whipped snowville cream. This was my only disappointment –  it was more like a danish than a galette, and it wasn’t warm. I definitely expected more bang for my buck here.


IMAG1504The Final Word: Creative food with fresh ingredients in a simply decorated restaurant.  If you’re a visitor to the Columbus area, the German Village is a great neighborhood to visit, and Skillet should be your go-to brunch spot.

Info: Skillet, 410 East Whittier Street, Columbus, OH, 43206 USA
Skillet, Rustic. Urban. Food. on Urbanspoon

Creative Comfort Food: The Gallows, Boston

22 Feb

My boyfriend and I hit The Gallows in Boston’s South End just before 6:30 PM on a Friday night. After a brief wait, we were seated in the cozy restaurant, lit by candles at each table, and glowing birdcages hanging from the ceiling. The Gallows has a bar at the front, with windows on two sides, one facing Washington Street. Come here late and you and your date will have to sit side by side at the stools facing the window. And by late, I mean around 7 PM. That’s when all the tables were filled.

We started with two appies – the Scotch egg and a stuffed corn muffin. The Scotch egg was a soft boiled egg wrapped in a thin layer of sausage, crunchy on the outside. The yolk was a deep orange, gooey, and oozing slightly as I cut into it.

The Gallows - Scotch egg

The pulled pork stuffed corn muffin was sooooo good. The muffin itself was soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. The pork was delicious, both smoky and sweet. A jalepeno pepper jelly added both sweetness and spice, cooled by the avocado, and kicked up again by pickled cabbage.

The gallows - stuffed corn muffin

We saw several orders of poutine pass by our table. Served in large, deep bowls, theses are a great for four people to share, or a most indulgent heart attack for one. There’s even a vegetarian version that replaces gravy with Bearnaise sauce.

The Carpet burger – topped with a fried oyster – was definitely creative. The burger itself arrived a juicy medium-well as we requested, with melted American cheese and pickles. The fries were nothing special, but they did come with a barbecue-like ketchup.

The Gallows - burger with fried oyster

The Fish Special was a Portugese stew – three plump and peeled shrimp, scallops, mussels, and lots of fava beans in a tantalizing tomato-based broth. Two garlic butter-soaked toasted focaccia triangles completed the dish – you definitely want to soak up all that amazing broth.

The Gallows - seafood stew

Everything was delicious, but the appetizers were really amazing. We overheard that even the Brussels sprouts are good! We skipped dessert, as our server explained, The Gallows is a “one dessert place”. The dessert that night was a bananas foster peanut butter fluffernutter – that is, a peanut butter mousse with bananas foster and marshmallow fluff. Definitely intriguing but not exactly my type of thing.

The Final Word: I’m definitely coming back, for the hip atmosphere, the creative food, and especially the awesome appies.

Info: The Gallows, 1395 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118 USA

The Gallows on Urbanspoon

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