Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Random Bites- Ginger's Apple Pie, Rachael's Tortilla Soup and D'Bronx's Mighty Slice

I have to look for those warm, delicious bright spots during these days of bitter temps and the flurry of holiday moments certainly provide them in spades. Here's a random run of some soul-nourishing samplings that lifted the chill from my ever-creaky bones:

-Dinner at Ginger and Jim's featured a light yet hearty homemade minestrone. The kicker was the soup tureens from which the minestrone was served. These deer-shaped dishes were conversation pieces, for sure, but ladling from the belly of the ceramic beast was a tad challenging. The minestrone was so good I was willing to clumsily knock the ladle around trying to get seconds. Dessert was a delicious apple pie that Ginger made from a Julia Child recipe. It was a perfect blend of tart and sweet with Granny Smith apples and I can't wait to make it myself. Rest assured, that during this meal, I paid tribute to Dad by dribbling water down my shirt in full view of all. I'm thinking of looking into designer drool buckets for future dinner parties....I wonder if Louis Vuitton makes one?

-D'Bronx is an authentic New York-style deli and pizzeria here in KC. My discovery of the passionate following folks have for this thin-crust pizza is unique. A few years back, following an exhausting wedding show in Overland Park, I was traveling back to the hotel with my cohorts Stacie and Lacee. A very pregnant Stacie was driving and a fairly significant snowstorm was raging, so it was a slow crawl back to our place of employment. Stacie decided she was craving pizza and not just any pizza, but D'Bronx pizza. The very mention of it lit up Lacee's eyes, but I had no frame of reference as I had never visited D'Bronx. The nearest D'Bronx was way off the beaten path but the craving took hold and we found ourselves driving way out of the way through that heinous weather just to get to that pizza. I thought the girls had lost their last remaining tether to sanity and I was inundating myself with images of us stranded on the side of the road, Stacie going into labor and me screaming that I didn't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies. We did, however, plow our way into the Crown Center location and settled in for a slice. One bite of that thin-crust goodness and I got it...that pizza is sooo good. I learned a valuable lesson that day on the power of pizza and pregnancy cravings.

Keith and I visited the original 39th street locale on Saturday. This location is less sparkly, yet much more atmospheric. After taking in some local art, we entered and instantly noticed that graffiti covered everything....the booth, the tables and the walls. The staff was boisterous and entertaining. My favorite moment was when my pizza was delivered and the server said 'Shazam!' It probably wouldn't have been as entertaining for me if the food didn't back up the frivolity but yes, it surely did. The pizza was better than ever and Keith had what I would now consider the Best Pork Tenderloin Sandwich I've Ever Eaten....perfectly spiced and battered on crusty bread. Check them out at http://www.dbronxkc.com/.

-The Cookbook Challenge called for some steamy soup to combat the wicked wind chills. I consulted Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats cookbook and chose a Chicken Tortilla Soup with Lime. Two odd things about the recipe in the book: it called for two teaspoons of hot sauce and the juice of two limes but didn't clarify when to add these ingredients. I added them both at the end and the soup was delicious. It was spicy and nourishing. We used our remaining bread dough from Cookie Sunday and made two more loaves of that crusty French boule bread to accompany our soup. I highly recommend this soup....the fresh lime really sets it off. This is Cookbook Challenge #14 and here's the recipe:


2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 pounds chicken tenders (not breaded)
Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 large Onion, chopped
1 Jalapeno pepper minced (don't touch your eyes after cutting pepper until you have washed your hands)
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 cups yellow corn tortilla chips (about 4 handfuls)
2 teaspoons hot sauce such as Tabasco
1 quart chicken stock or broth (store bought works fine unless you want to make it homemade)
1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish
Zest and juice of 2 limes combined
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (chopped)
4 scallions (green onions) thinly sliced (use both the white and green parts)

1. Preheat a medium soup pot over medium high heat and add the olive oil ... a couple times around the inside of the pan should be fine.
2. Chop the chicken tenders into bite size pieces.
3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the hot soup pot.
4. Lightly brown the chicken for about 3 to 4 minutes, then add the garlic, bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, celery, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
5. While that is cooking place the tortilla chips in a food processor and process until well ground. I f you don't have a processor place the chips in a plastic storage bag and crush with a rolling pin....I did this.
6. Add the ground tortilla chips to the soup pot and stir to combine.
7. Add the chicken stock and bring the soup to a simmer.
8. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes
9. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the sour cream. Pass the lime zest, chopped cilantro, and sliced scallions for each person to add to taste.


Kylee said...

You were in our 'hood on Saturday eating @ OUR favorite pizzeria and you didn't call?? Shame on you!! (good too see you on Sunday, but let us know next time you get a d'Bronx craving and we will meet you there) :-)

Confounded Cook said...

You're on, Kylee....maybe I won't make the baby cry this time, lol. It was great to see you, too. We need to go for tapas again, too!

willie said...

Greg, just picturing the childbirth scene made me laugh out loud! Thanks much!

Anonymous said...

That soup sounds amazing.

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