Tuesday, October 27, 2009

¡Tortilla Soup!

I think the best Mexican Food in Chicago is actually in the close burb of Lincolnwood — Wholly Frijoles (I know, what kind of a name is that?!) But it's super delicious. And here's the kicker, with every entree you get a bowl of their tortilla soup. It's everything you ever wanted out of a soup and a meal and sometimes your day. Seriously. So, yesterday, Chris and I decided to try to recreate it. After looking at several blogs for their tortilla soup recipes, making a list, then leaving the list at home, and a quick market trip we were ready... The outcome was really close to Wholly Frijoles and also super delicious! (Please note that this was a season as you go recipe, so the amounts are estimates, season to taste...)

Tortilla Soup
Makes about 6-7 bowls
  • 1 large spanish onion
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 3 limes
  • 1 jalepeno (they seem to be very spicy right now, so one should bring enough heat)
  • 2 mexican zucchini
  • 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatos
  • 3 14.5 oz can of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of cilantro
  • 2 cups of crushed tortilla chips
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground corriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 dried red chilis
  • olive oil to saute

  1. Saute onions and 4 cloves of garlic, chopped, in olive oil until soft
  2. Add 1 jalepeno and 2 zucchini, diced. Add 1 tsp. soy sauce. Saute for another minute or two
  3. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper and ground corriander and the juice of 2 limes. Cook for another few minutes.
  4. Add broth, tomatos, bay leaves, dried chilis, 2 more cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup of cilantro. Bring to a boil. Then turn down to low heat and let cook for an hour. (You could probably cut this time, but we wanted the flavors to blend well.)
  5. Remove the bay leaves and dried chilis. Blend 3/4 of the soup with the tortilla chips, the juice of 1 more lime, 1/2 cup of cilantro and 1 more garlic clove
  6. Return blended mixture to pot, add cheese and cinnamon and cook 10 more minutes on low heat to let flavors blend.
  7. Serve with the toppings of your choice – tortilla chips, cheese, avocado, sour cream, etc...

Monday, October 19, 2009


I make Snickerdoodles probably twice a year (even though Chris wishes I would make them every week). I use the Martha Recipe from her Holiday Cookies 2006 magazine, which is different, for some reason, than the one on her website. Recently, I've started substituting one banana for the 2 eggs called for — And I think they are even better! The banana helps them stay really soft and you can definitely taste the banana flavor in the cookie, it's like it's been rolled in cinnamon and sugar... Yum! For those that don't like banana flavor, I'd stick to the eggs (or another egg substitute).

Bananadoodles (aka Snickerdoodles with Banana)
Makes about 24
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
  • 2 large eggs (I substituted 1 large banana finely choopped)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or if you are sans mixer, like me, just use a large bowl, a rubber spatula and your arm muscles), combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs, or banana. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Shape dough into balls (about the size of a golf ball); roll in cinnamon sugar. Space 3 inches apart on baking sheet lined with parchment.
  3. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden and the center begins to crack (they will not brown), about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to coo. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.