Sunday, July 31, 2011

Asparagus Cilantro Soup (Recipe)

Another throw together recipe here. I had some aspargus that I needed to use up and what better way than in a soup! The preparation for this recipe is fairly short and easy- I made it on a "school night."


1 bunch of asparagus cut in pieces, separate out the spears
1/2 Spanish onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 of lemon (juiced)
1 carrot, chopped
1 potato, diced
4 cups vegetable broth
small hand full cilantro, chopped (to taste)
grapeseed oil (or other veg oil)
just a drop (or so)  of a white wine
1/4 to 1/2 cup of almond milk
bay leaf
adobo seasoning
hot chili pepper powder


In a heated stock pot, drizzle oil thrown in onion, garlic mix until translucent. Throw in bay leaf potato and carrot. allow to cook for 5-10 minutes while moving ingredients so as not to burn. Then add vegetable broth and asparagus. Allow to simmer for 30-50 minutes, stirring periodically. During that time feel free to add spices to taste.

At this point, remove from the heat and, using your handheld blender, blend the soup well. Add almond milk, lemon juice and wine. Place back on heat and allow to simmer another 10 or so minutes. Add the asparagus spears previously placed a side and cilantro. Cook soup another 10 minutes.

The soup works well with a sprinkle of chihuahua cheese.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Open-faced Quesadilla Breakfast Recipe

Every now and again, bored from the run of the mill eggs, potatoes and toast breakfasts that normally suffice, I try to get a little creative. Last weekend was one of those times. I had some bits of veggies and such just waiting for a creative spark. Here's what I came up with...


Open-faced  Quesadilla breakfast:

2 potatoes (cubed and boiled)
3-6 eggs
1/2 of a red pepper, diced
1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
fist full of corn
1 can of refried black beans
1/2 jalapeno pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves
Soyrizo (or if you are a meat eater, chorizo, a Spanish sausage)
corn tortillas
approx. 1 1/2 cups Chihuahua cheese, grated
approx. 1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
Mexican seasoning (chili pepper, paprika, cumin, oregano, garlic powder)


red onion
jalapeno pepper
Mexican seasoning
adobo seasoning
salt and pepper


In a pan, using a little oil (your choice, maybe grapeseed) saute the onions and the garlic until translucent. Add the peppers (including the jalapeno) and potatoes to the pan making sure to stir. Add seasoning. Continue stirring. Add corn and Soyrizo.

On a cookie sheet, place several tortillas well spaced. This recipe should make about 4 well covered tortillas. Spread the refried black beans on to the tortillas. Then, dish out, evenly, the Soyrizo/potato mixture on each tortilla. Sprinkle the Chihuahua/cheddar cheese mixture on top of the Soyrizo/potato mixture. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

While the tortillas are baking, prepare the eggs. I tend to go with scrambled (adding a little salt and pepper) because the are easiest, but this would work well with a sunnyside up egg as well. If you are doing sunnyside up then you will only need 4 eggs- one per each tortilla. Also, I reuse the pan that I just cooked the Soyrizo/potato mixture in. It picks up some of the spices left in the pan.

Once the cheese has melted, remove from oven. Plate the tortilla. Add the eggs on top of the Soyrizo/potato mixture and place a little tomato salsa on the side. If you have avocado, you can add a little of that as well.

...and voila! A nice twist on a regular breakfast.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Around Town this weekend: Printers’ Ball

This weekend is the 7th annual Printers' Ball in Chicago. Live performances, readings, costumes, etc. how can you go wrong? And, Its FREE!!!!!


Friday, July 29, 2011
6 pm to 11 pm
The Ludington Building
1104 S Wabash Ave, Chicago

if you have some free time this Friday you should definitely check it out. There are also some pre-ball events starting tonight.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Visitor (short story- fiction)

Only parts of me survived being hit by that train- the ugly parts, those previously well hidden behind the mask of beauty. A gentleman walks passed me smiling and I can only garishly flash my teeth at him, unable to conjure up normal social politenesses. They are overrated- that is what Ann says anyway.

In the elevator, I face the corner, like a naughty child, safe in my small space, alone. Thoughts never cease within the quiet times, but instead control me racing me in circles until I am too tired to resist them and my confidence falters. I reach my floor, my door, my prison. I enter willing. I am both the prisoner and the executioner and for this I am thankful as only I know the cruelty within and what can break me.

I am not ready, but time has a way of moving regardless of whether one is ready.

He enters. “What a lovely apartment you have!”

I robotically respond, “Thank you and thank you for coming.”

I mention, no it isn’t rented, but owned. He is surprised. I cannot decide if he is surprised because I own it or because he realizes how little he knows about me.

We fall into a workable silence. It is a silence that crashes over me breaking into pieces only to pierce my brain. I want to scream, say something, anything to break the silence between us. But, I do not. I cannot. There is not enough air in this apartment of cheery walls and photographs that are not mine but someone else’s that never existed.

He senses something, maybe the flat air or my refusal to look at him again for fear of betraying myself. The subject changes to open cafes and the gentrification of the neighborhood. I relax into the evening. Wine and food, comfort I know. He chatters on about this or that, avoiding the recognized forbidden topics. Tip toeing around them like an adept dancer beautifully weaving in and out creating art out of nothing but sensitive words and well placed pauses.

He leaves. And a relief returns calming my nerves knowing that what was left out remains still intact and safe. Curling up on my favorite chair I release myself to my thoughts that bind me, control me.

(J.Smith 2011)