Spinach and Cabbage Minestrone

What is Minestrone?  It’s said to be a soup comprised of the things you have on hand; maybe vegetables, meat, broth, beans or pasta. In Italian, minestrone, roughly translated, means the big soup. The kind of minestrone I like, is simmered for long periods of time, made with love and flavor that’s suited to my own pallet, which tends to include what I’ve recently bought at the market. I like perfectly plump white beans that have been simmered with onions, carrots, bay leaves and a slight heat from some red chili flake with tons of vegetables, cooked for different lengths of time to very textures.

I also love tomatoes in my minestrone. They bring richness, sweetness and acid, to a sometimes watery sea of vegetables. I used to make about five 22 quart containers of minestrone every week for the restaurant I used to work in, but this is not that minestrone. This is a combination of the flavors I had on hand, spices I love and flavors I adore, with an inspiration and a memory of the essence of what we used to create.
Very seldom do I keep to my old recipes, but I often try to escape new light into old favorites and this is just that. I won’t be able to tell you just how to make it, because there is no certain way to tell this particular tale in perfect soups, but know years of minestrone down the road, you’ll find the exact recipe you’re looking for and it probably won’t be written down. As you know, most of my recipes are ideas and schemes I’ve put together on the fly. I hope during these fall festivities you find yourself with a delicious bowl of hearty soup.

Ingredients I used:

Brown onion
Garlic, mashed
Diced tomatoes
Slow cooked Fresh white northern beans
Bay leaf
Red pepper flake
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Olive oil
Finishing  with best olive oil you can get your hands on
Tips and Tricks
Always cook root vegetables first, because they need the longest times to break down and develop flavor.
Soft vegetables and herbs can be placed in last minute, to maximize flavor and texture retention.
If using canned tomatoes, develop flavor by cooking them for a longer period of time with root vegetables.
Beans are never cooked with salt, because they have the tendency to lose their shape and won’t absorb water well. Cook beans aside soup base and add seasoned beans to vegetables at ¾ the way through and simmer together to increase flavor in soup.
Taste your soup throughout the process.
And don’t forget, it will taste better tomorrow.


Pozole… Happy Fathers Day Dad!

An Early Father’s Day Wish…

What does a father really need on father’s day? My dad likes peace and quiet, maybe a couple of packs of pro v golf balls,  or these days  to pitch in on his latest eBay find, some food, and a couple of cold beers which really isn’t much. My dad’s a simple man and the best one I know. More than anything my dad is a pillar of strength and stability in my family that I would never ever trade for anything in this world. I love my dad so much and he’s taught me so many lessons in my life that I can’t even begin to tell you how much he means to me but I hope that everyone out there is able to have an amazing dad, husband, father to your child, grandpa, step dad or whoever, that you love and get to say thank you and I love you to on this very special Sunday but really it’s my hope you tell them every day.

I love you Dad.

That’s my dad holding me :) oh memories!

On Sunday I’ll be making brunch of a lavish proportion; my dad has already asked me to make Pozole. Pozole is the name for larger kernels of corn that are processed to make hominy but is also the name of the dish of Mexican soup made from pork and hominy amongst other things. My dad is Japanese but maybe my mom being Mexican and Native American and his love for Mexican food had something to do with him marring her. No but seriously my dad loves Mexican food. I surprised him last year for Christmas and made homemade Pozole and he loved it and said it was one of the best he’s had and we’ve eaten a lot of Pozole. I thought so too. So here’s my recipe adapted from an amazing friend of mine and a couple of cook books and making this soup over time for Pozole and I hope you find it well.


4 pig’s feet cleaned and halved

4 lbs of pork soup bones

3 lbs of pork loin cut into large chunks

1 head of garlic outside skin removed then cut in ½

2 large white onions peeled and left whole

1/4 lb of New Mexico chiles seeded and steamed

 8 oz package of Pasilla chiles seeded and steamed

4 cups of very hot water

1 XL can of white hominy

2 tablespoons of dried Mexican oregano

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons of black pepper

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of cumin

Boiling water as necessary

This is the real deal… pig’s feet and all.  It’s a long process and it will make your whole house smell like soup. It’s not as bad as boiling tripe for though Menudo but it’s pretty pungent. The key to any amazing soup is knowing how to season it well by letting all the flavors meld and tango with one another. This process is not simple and makes a lot of soup about 12 generous portions which are very generous so make it freeze it eat some now, tomorrow and next month. The cooking times for the different portions of meat are so done in layers which helps prevent over cooked portions of pork.

Here we go…

Rinse pig’s feet in warm water about 5-7 times just to remove any last minute grit.

Place in a very large pot and add water to cover feet

Bring the feet to a boil over high heat and then reduce to medium and simmer for about an hour and a half

Removed feet and set aside reserving liquid in pot

Once meat is cool enough to handle remove meat from the bones and discard bones and skin

Add meat to liquid reserved in the pot

Now add pork soup bones and cubed slices of pork tenderloin (if you find the tenderloin is expensive you can also use pork country ribs as well or in place of the tenderloin the will be a little fattier but are a good substitute or addition for a meater soup) to pot along with garlic intact with just the waxy paper removed and cut cross ways and onions simmer over medium- low heat covered for 2 hour.

Mean while Removed stems and seeds from chilies add them to large bowl and cover with very hot water allow to rehydrate for 25 minutes

Now check to see that all the meat is tender and remove large pieces from pot as well as the garlic and onions and set the vegetables aside from the meat.

Squeeze the garlic from its wrapper into a blender add the cooked onions to the blender as well add the presoaked chilies and about 1 cup of the water they were soaking in

Blend in blender till smooth then pour through a sieve so that any leftover seeds are not in the final puree

Return mixture to the pot.

When the meat is cool enough to handle shred apart with the grain into larger pieces discard any large amounts of fat or bone from the pork soup bone mixture.

Return meat to pot add black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and Mexican Oregano and cook for 30-45 minutes to allow spices to bloom in broth

(When you salt this soup it’s going to take a good amount of salt to penetrate the natural development of flavors in the chiles and meat, add salt in small quantities and mix making sure not to over salt because prepared hominy has salt in it already. Allow to cook for remainder of time and readjust seasoning at the end before serving)

Finally add the large can of hominy drain and rinse from contents of the can and cook for 20 minutes or longer uncovered. If necessary add extra water to cover meat.

The longer the Hominy sits in the soup the more flavor it will take on but the 20 minutes will make sure the hominy does not overcook and loose its texture.

Cool and let Soup sit over night in fridge for maximum flavor but who are we kidding you just spend about 5 hours on a soup!

eat some right away!!!!! it will still be amazing, just the next day it will develop even more flavor!

Pozole is known for amazing condiments

Thinly sliced green or red cabbage

Minced white onion

Sliced green onions


Lime wedges

Extra Mexican Oregano

Red Chili flakes

Sliced Avocado

 Sliced Radishes

All make amazing additions to this wonderful soup! I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does.


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I’d like to thank foodgawker and tastespotting for featuring my grilled corn on their sites. Very awesome

My blog had record number of views for some entries lately so I want to thank everyone so so much for being here and supporting me and my food writing as well as my food.

Lastly I’m going to be in Chicago for a week… eating and ravaging the city. So I don’t think I’ll be blogging very much if any while I’m gone. I maybe able to get in a couple of blogs before I leave but please keep up to date with me on Twitter and Facebook and I’ll be back with many tales of food adventures!

Lots of love my friends and much gratitude!

Thanks again for being amazing people

Cream less Clam Chowder


Cream less Clam Chowder

How can it be you say?

Well it can be and it’s actually delicious and complex. Also the addition of smoky pancetta also makes it rich and inviting. I love pancetta… salty delicious peppery pork. When one day I have a closet that I can devote to charcuterie I will make me own pancetta. Right now my sister would kill me if there was a huge piece of hanging pork in my bed room.  I can see it now, can I barrow those shoes, go in my closet and scream bloody murder. I will avoid that for now.

Cream less clam chowder came about in the process of thinking I wanted clam chowder but I didn’t want to feel like I was a fat lump after eating it. It’s so rich and delicious which is what I think about when I think about eating clam chowder but I wanted to change it a little make it a little less abrasive and refine the little nuances of clam and vegetable marriage in a pot. Well with Italian bacon to back it up. So I was wondering around whole foods looking at their breads and I bought a loaf of sourdough. They must have been running low cause the bread section was kind of eh not really jumping out at me like buy this I’ve seen so many beautiful breads online and in the three bread books I’ve been bouncing around in that grocery store bread just nothing special. But I wanted sourdough and I can’t just whip that out in an evening so I decided that would be good enough. I walked through the market; it’s a special occasion if I go to whole foods. It’s not really in a normal budget for me but some things I desire like excellent organic spring mix, more exotic veggies, organic stocks or soups, seafood, or certain kinds of cheeses I have to go there to get them.

Thank god for living in a place where I have so many amazing markets to get things from top of the line to local farmers out here it’s pretty high living for a foodie out in Southern California. I used to frequent the particular Whole Foods I was in quite often when I lived in that area but I was passing through on my way back from the library and I found myself just browsing seeing what was nice. I knew I wanted to get some clams. They had a nice batch of them and I bought pancetta, and some veggie stock and while I was in the soup isle, which is rare for me to buy boxed soups because I make my own just fine but my best friend used to always have these things in the kitchen when we were living together. She loved them almost lived by them, along with lots of lettuce, cans of tuna, blueberries, and soy ice cream. I love you dude.

But anyway I thought of using this creamless organic potato leek soup made by Imagine as part of the base of the clam chowder. Now I’m sharing this particular recipe to show you that you really can build a lot of flavor from things that you never really thought of using. I was running low on time for dinner and had to make two things because my brother in law doesn’t eat clams so I used this soup as a base for flavor. That’s one of the things that makes restaurant cooking different from home cooking they have 24 hours (maybe less depending on how early they open and how late they close but you get what I’m saying) to develop flavors from stocks and sauces and ingredients that a lot of home cooks don’t have access to. So making your own stocks one day and freezing them is an amazing way to build flavor but if you can’t I like using organic veggie stock from Whole foods.

So this recipe will sound a little weird, it’s not a conventional clam chowder, its full of clams and veggies but see if you can take what I’ve done and maybe one day when you’re feeling a little adventures make your own chowder, I’d love to hear how it comes out.

Cream less clam chowder

The Stuff

¼ of an inch thick slice of pancetta cut into small dice

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1 box of organic potato leek soup

2 cups of veggie stock

1/4 lb of clams(i used a combo of all kinds of different clams, the smoke form the oil packed clams is nice, the texture of fresh clams always rivals any kind of boxed or caned clam though) If you want to do all fresh clams go for the gold

1 small can of shelled clams (used wild caught baby clams in water and drained them)

1 small box of smoked clams

3 carrots peeled and diced small

2 sticks of celery diced small

½  small white onion minced

1 clove of garlic

1 teaspoon dried parsley

½ teaspoon of dried thyme

Salt to taste which should be very little considering the pancetta and the stock which has sodium in them

Black pepper to taste

4 small Yukon gold potatoes washed and sliced in ½ then in ¼ and then ¼ inch thick pieces

The Way

Take clams and rinse them in cold water so that any sand that may be there is cleaned away, if any of your clams are open discard them they are dead and not good. For storing clams keep them in the fridge with a couple of paper towels that have been soaked in water and ringed out so that they are not sopping wet, over the top, never keep clams immersed in water you’ll kill them.

In a small sauce pan place 2 cups of stock over medium high heat and bring to a boil

Chop vegetables and pancetta in about the same sized pieces if you want this to be done faster cut the veggies and potatoes into very small pieces (I like the texture of large/medium sized pieces of veggies in this soup)

Mean while in a larger pot or pan whichever you have on hand you can also do this in a Dutch oven place the olive oil at the bottom of the pan on medium heat till glistening then add pancetta be careful not to walk away from it because it will burn and you have to throw it out. Mine came out a little crispier then I had hoped but it was still good. You want it to release all the flavors of the pork into the bottom of the pan so if it sticks a little that’s just fine it will lend to the flavor of the soup. Now when they are nice and golden take the pieces of pancetta out of the pan and set them aside on a small folded over paper towel.

Add in the onions and sauté till the onions have sweat and are translucent, then add the garlic and cook till soft, then add carrots and celery and potatoes cook for about 5 minutes till everything is incorporated and fragrant.

After this is done the stock should be boiling, place clams inside small sauce pan with the stock  and simmer with a lid on till all the clams have opened, turn off the heat and take the clams out of the stock and if you’d like de-shell the calms and discard shells. You can also keep a couple in the shell for garnish if you’d like. (why do I do this you say to yourself? Well I guess you could not do this and then toss the clams in at the end but I like the extra element of clam juice simmering with the veggies when they cook and not over cooking the clams at the same time)

Now add the box of potato leek soup and the rest of the stock from when you steamed your clams to the vegetable mixture and simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are at the tenderness you’d like them to be.

Now add dried parsley, ½ teaspoon of dried thyme, drained clams, and smoked clams mix together and simmer for about 7-9 minutes till the soup takes on the clam flavor

In the last 2 minutes of cooking add ½ to ¾ (depending on how much you want for garnish)of the fresh clams to the soup along with adjustments of seasoning

Ladle out and top with some of the fresh clams and crispy pancetta and a nice piece of toasted sourdough or any other kind of bread you’d like, and maybe a little salad.


**if you don’t want to use potato leek soup, you can double the amount of potatoes you use and add about 4 cups extra stock, after you steam the clams add the potatoes to the stock cook them till their falling apart use a steam want and blend till thickened and smooth, the soup will have a different texture but still good

** vegetarian option. This can easily be a nice vegetable chowder just don’t use the pancetta and skip out on the clams, adding a couple different types of potatoes, some bell peppers, and corn will really make this soup a lovely vegan or vegetarian option. I’d boost up the herbs in this with a little fresh parsley and some fresh thyme slow simmering and adding the vegetables at different times during the cooking process to vary the textures will make for a really delicious healthy dish



Happy Chowder Eating


My blog will be promoting the Online Bake Sale for Relief in Japan
hosted by Thetomatotart.com

This bake sale is a over 40 blogger event to band together to do what we do best baking/cooking and help Japan in the process.The bakesale will feature people all across the globe reaching out through the food blogger community to show the people of japan they have not gone unnoticed.

An auction has been set up by Sabrina at thetomatotart.com which will give you the opportunity to bid on these wonderful food bloggers creations and have them sent straight to your home. All proceeds will go to Second Harvest which aids in offering food to those in need.

To meet the bloggers who will be baking for this amazing opportunity to help the people of Japan
please check out this link or click the banner below


I’ll be promoting this on my blog till the auction ends on March 30th and within the next couple of days, I’ll post what I’ll be contributing to the sale.

If you have any ideas of what you’d like me to make, please post a comment. I’ll be happy to take into consideration anything my readers have been wanting but haven’t been able to make themselves and wouldn’t mind bidding on, save japan and get a treat.

Baked from my hands with love.
Thank you

If you could spread the word please do so!


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