knoephla soup

We have had a great big week! On Friday, we wrapped filming and ate a bunch of fried food to celebrate. It was so sad to see everyone go, but unlike the past two seasons when I didn’t know if the show would be renewed or not before wrapping, this time I knew they’d all be back in July! And they’ll be able to meet Poppy Seed! Over the two weeks of filming, Poppy Seed grew soo much and also flipped to be head down. For a little while I kept patting what I thought was her head but then we went to the doctor and confirmed that I’d been patting the butt this whole time. Hehe. Even though the counter became further and further away, my carpal tunnel symptoms luckily subsided (there will be a lot of pre-chopped vegetables in these episodes!) but then my brain turned to mush! Toward the end of the run it sometimes took me like six attempts to explain the simplest things like how to put sprinkles on the rugelach. And I dropped an entire tray of choco tacos. But thankfully I was able to hold onto my energy for the most part and avoid back pain, which were my two greatest fears other than over baking the potato bagels. On my evenings and days off, I recharged by swimming, watching figure skating, and descending deeper into my bachelor obsession. 

After wrapping, Eggboy and Poppy Seed and I were thrown the most beautiful baby shower by our moms (soon to be grandmas!), sisters (aunties!!!), and friends. It was sprinkle and hotdish themed, and they took my fear of baby shower games seriously so it was a lovely afternoon of eating confetti petit fours and tater tot hotdish, hanging out with friends from near and far, writing funny things on diapers, and unveiling the sweetest gifts that ranged from ultra practical (mountains of diapers!) to ultra homespun (like cousin Elaine’s hand knit sprinkle cupcake hats!!) to ultra hippo. I’m obsessed with this hippo. He’s sitting right next to me and I can’t stop looking at him and giggling. Eggboy and I felt soo loved and got even more excited to bring Poppy Seed into our extremely rad mishpocha. 

Continuing on with my list of foods that I plan to stock in our freezer for my maternity leave, I have to share this soup with you that is the best kept secret of the upper Midwest. Knoephla soup is right up with tater tot hotdish as my favorite new food that I’ve learned about since moving here. Knoephla (neh-fla) are little chewy dumplings that made their way to this area with German immigrants and are most commonly enjoyed in creamy potato soup, but can also be sautéed with sauerkraut and sausage or put into hotdish. They are kind of like plumper smoother spaetzle and the frozen store-bought ones look a lot like mochi bits. Knoephla soup is traditionally made without meat, just potatoes, vegetables, a bit of cream, and my favorite (from Dakota Harvest, r.i.p.) had the most warming hit of nutmeg. The texture of the dumplings and the pure comfort of it all makes this the kind of soup that I just shovel into my mouth with abandon. We had it at our wedding and for years now I’ve wondered why it hasn’t seemed to pick up that much popularity outside of the upper Midwest. The #knoephla hashtag is my favorite hashtag to follow on IG but all of the posts are from North Dakota! Many of them are from Kroll’s dinner, which has a killer version that you can supposedly buy by the bucket (?!), just in case you find yourself at one of those. This is probably one of the only areas where you can buy frozen knoephla at the grocery store, but not to worry, they are very easy to make. I have a recipe in Molly on the Range for knoephla soup but this is a new and improved version because over the past couple of years I’ve started adding more herbs to it, including an egg in the dumplings for added chewiness, and making a much bigger batch so that I can freeze some. I’m not sure if adding dill would be considered the most traditional move, but as I become closer and closer to being a Jewish mother, I’m more inclined than ever to channel severely dill-y matzo ball soup vibes into, like, everything. So while it’s still winter, make a gigantic batch of this and then eat it on the couch from under a fluffy blanket. 


knoephla soup

Serves 8-10

instructions

3 tb unsalted butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

kosher salt and black pepper

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp nutmeg

10 c chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 tsp dried thyme

2 sprigs dill, chopped

4 sprigs parsley, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 lb (680g) red potatoes, chopped into 1/2” pieces

1 1/2 lb (680g) store-bought frozen knoephla or homemade knoephla (recipe below)

1/2 c (120g) heavy cream

clues

in a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. add the onions, carrots, celery, a good pinch of salt, and a few turns of black pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. add the garlic and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes, until fragrant.

stir in the stock, herbs, bay leaves, and potatoes, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. if using store-bought frozen dumplings, add them when the soup reaches a boil. if using homemade dumplings, begin making them when the soup reaches a boil and then add them for the last 20 minutes of simmering.

stir in the cream. taste and adjust seasonings as desired. remove the bay leaves before serving.

enjoy!

to freeze, let cool and transfer to freezer safe containers. freeze for up to three months and defrost in the microwave or overnight in the fridge, and then reheat in the microwave or on the stove.

knoephla

3 1/4 c (422g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

black pepper

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 c (236g) water

1 large egg

to make the knoephla:

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, a few turns of pepper, and the nutmeg. stir in the water and egg and mix to form a shaggy dough. turn it out onto a clean work surface and knead it for a few minutes, adding flour as needed, until you have a smooth and stiff dough. roll it into 1/2”-thick blob, cut into 1/2”-3/4” squares, dusting with flour so they don’t stick together, and drop them directly into simmering soup.


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett! dutch oven by great jones!

ginger scallion chicken and dumplings

Hello, hi!! How are you all January-ing and coping with the Monday of Months/post-holiday slump/dry weather? Warning, I’m about to be the overly cheery person in the room but once I re-arranged my open shelves with all of my pink and purple kitchenware to be Valentine’s Day themed and also splurged on a tube of Kiehl’s coriander hand cream, I remembered how I’ve actually become kind of obsessed with January. I used to dread it soo much but that was back in college when it’d still be dark when I emerged from the practice room and then have to schlep around the streets in the dirty slush if I wanted to do anything social. These days, however, winter means Eggboy’s version of summer, which means we can go on more trips and stuff! It’s the most fun time of the year. And I want to tell you about our most recent adventure, our Great Midwest road trip!!

We drove from Grand Forks to the cute town of Red Wing, MN, to Chicago, to Kalamazoo, MI, and then up around the Upper Peninsula, through Wisconsin, on to Duluth, and then back home, by way of Bemidji, for pizza. We stuck to smaller roads and searched out historic and one-of-a-kind places that bursted with personality. It was delightful and tasty and we saw so many adorable cute towns that all felt like they came right out of a snow globe.

Here were some of the best places we went:


Red Wing, MN

St. James Hotel- A beautiful historic hotel in the little cute town of Red Wing. It was so beautiful that I didn’t even care that it was exactly the type of place that would be a little bit haunted. We’d seen it a bunch of times from when we’d pass by on the train from Grand Forks to Chicago but this was our first time inside and we loved it.

Hanisch Bakery- The coziest homiest bakery, with a killer sprinkle donut and orange slices as a side to their breakfast sandwiches. The donut had like a sprinkle crust. It was perfect.

St. Ignace, MI

Bentley’s Cafe- Ok, I don’t know whose idea it was to take a pasty tour of the U.P. in the dead of winter (oops, it was my idea…) but basically the first four stops on our tour were closed for the season and Eggboy and I got soooo hangry, I don’t think we’d ever been that hangry before. Finally we found Bentley’s and they had pasties! OMG they were amazing. Their crust was extra buttery and flaky and the veggie one had lots of cheese in it. I would eat this pasty again and again. 

Marquette, MI

Landmark Inn- Another beautiful historic hotel! (We hit the beautiful historic hotel jackpot on this trip.)

Lawry’s Pasties- Amazing pasties!! The crust was way sturdier than the one at Bentley’s but in a really satisfying way.

Jean Kay’s Pasties- More amazing pasties!! Between Lawry’s and Jean Kay’s, these had a higher ratio of vegetables to meat, but I couldn’t choose a fave, they were both delicious. 

Pence, WI

Reinerio’s Sausage- Secret basement sausage!!! This was recommended to me by my instagram friend Britt and it was just a little bit out of our way, in the itsy bitsy unincorporated town of Pence, WI. The owner makes sausage in his basement and it’s so good! We came home with a cooler full of fresh salami, breakfast sausages, other sausages, and a giant chunk of Asiago. 

Duluth, MN

Duluth’s Best Bread- This is new since we were last in Duluth (on our mini moon four years ago!) and I’m so glad we went. We bought a giant soft pretzel for the road and crusty loaves of flax seed bread and wild rice bread to take home that I have been toasting up in the morning to have with the Asiago from the secret sausage man.

Northern Waters Smokehouse- We ate here on our anniversary and it was the tastiest most casual anniversary there ever was. I ate a pastrami sandwich that had the perfect amount of mayo (aka a gigantic load of mayo).

Uncle Loui’s Cafe- A perfect diner. In my storyboard for the Duluth curling team Olympic gold medal movie, at least two important scenes take place here.

Bemidji, MN

Dave’s Pizza- We finally went here after hearing about it for years! I’d been craving classic Midwest square cut cracker crust pizza (I know, I know, shame on me for talking smack on square cut pizza, I knowww, I’m terrible) and it was perfect. Finished it off with a spumoni.

Chicago, IL

We spent time at some of our old trusty favorites: Russian Tea Time, Christkindlmarket, and Furama!

Things I learned on this trip: 

-Using a real paper map is wayyyy more fun than a cell phone map.

-Sometimes places that are the cutest and have the most personality and history (and that I end up loving the most) have lower star ratings on the internet than newer hipper places. So I’m learning not to put so much weight on star ratings on Yelp and stuff.

-I will never take another road trip without my Birdling Weekender. It’s set up like a clothing bento box, with different compartments that you can access quickly and easily. We stayed in a different place each night on our trip and I was not *once* stressed out about packing/unpacking/locating my underpants. 

-I like my pasties with both gravy and spicy ketchup.

-Small cocoon-like bedrooms/hotel rooms rule. We stayed in two very large rooms and I barely slept those nights. The best sleep was in the smaller rooms.

-Ok, yes, I LOVE square cut cracker crust pizza.

-Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker is bananas!!

-Trips where you only bring sweatpants are the best trips.

In other news, I have to tell you about this miraculous recipe that I have been obsessing over since I first read it. It’s in Cynthia Chen McTernan’s book, A Common Table, which was a book that I was counting down the days to because I have been a fan of Cynthia and her delicious blog for years and years and years. She makes all of my favorite foods: mochi, steamed buns, potstickers, black sesame things, matcha things… and she makes them all look so darn beautiful! One time we shot a bacon and sweet corn ice cream sandwich blog post together and it was the best day ever. Cynthia is truly just as sweet and awesome IRL as she comes across on her blog and now in her book, I am definitely a good candidate for president of the Cynthia fan club. My copy of A Common Table is filled with bookmarks and dates scribbled into recipes that I’ve already made. We had her bulgogi on New Year’s Eve, mochi pancakes for the premiere of GMF season 2, and I’m planning to make like all of her sweets. I just love how her recipes tie in her heritage with her southern upbringing and beautiful stories, and they’re all so playful and fun too! I think it goes without saying that if you like good food and also fun, then you need her book. 

Here is my favorite recipe from her book. I like it because its ingredients produce the 1 + 1 = 3 magic. You’ve seen the magic in Melissa Clark’s salt and pepper chicken recipe, it’s the thing that happens when a stunningly short list of simple ingredients produces a thing that explodes with flavor and awesomeness. After making Cynthia’s chicken and dumplings once, I had the recipe memorized. It’s ginger, scallions, and chicken. Just memorize that! Then you make chewy rustic dumplings which are like thick potsticker wrappers and, holy smokes, I could eat them all day. It’s nourishing and strikes a perfect balance between comforting and not too heavy. Eating it makes you feel like you’re curing ailments you didn’t even have. I’m so in wuv.


ginger scallion chicken and dumplings

from cynthia chen mcternan’s a common table

serves 4

ingredients

2 lbs chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin-on and bone-in

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

3 or 4 scallions, sliced into 1” pieces (about 1/2 c)

3 inches ginger root, peeled and sliced into 1/8” pieces (about 1/3 c)

6 c water

1 c (130g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

soy sauce, for serving

chili garlic paste, for serving

clues

make the soup: season the chicken generously with 1 teaspoon salt. place it in a medium pot with the scallions, ginger, and water. (if desired, tie the ginger in cheesecloth to make it easier to remove later.) bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low, keeping the soup at a bare simmer.

make the dumpling dough: after the soup has been simmering for about 30 minutes, start the dumplings. in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. ladle about 6 tablespoons broth and trickle it into the bowl of flour while stirring the flour with chopsticks or a silicone spatula. a wet dish towel under the bowl may help keep it in place while you stir. after you’ve added all the broth, continue to stir until the flour mixture becomes pebbly and the water is evenly incorporated. make sure the dough is a comfortable temperature to touch, then use your hands to knead the dough until smooth and taut, 5 to 10 minutes. the dough should be fairly firm, not tacky, and should not stick to your hands or the bowl. if it does, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is firm. place in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag and allow to rest while the broth simmers for another 25 to 30 minutes (for a total of 1 hour altogether).

skim any scum off the top of the broth and remove the ginger, if you’d like. transfer the chicken to a plate or cutting board and use a fork to pull the meat from the bones. return the meat to the pot and let the soup continue to simmer gently while you make the dumplings.

form the dumplings: by now, the dumpling dough should be nice and pliable after its rest. the traditional method of preparing flat dumplings is to roll the dough out to a large rectangle, 1/4” or less in thickness, and then slice the rectangle into 1” x 2” strips. alternatively, you can form them the way noodles are torn for kimchi sujebi: pinch off a tablespoon of dough and pull it in half so that it forms 2 flat pieces. flatten the pieces to about 1/4” or less, if needed, but otherwise the pieces need not be uniform. roughly torn edges create a nice texture. repeat until the dough is gone.

bring the soup back to a lively simmer over medium heat, then drop the dumpling pieces into the pot. simmer until the dumplings float to the surface, 1 to 2 more minutes, then serve, with soy sauce and chili garlic paste on the side, if desired.


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett!

roasted butternut squash soup with almond ricotta and coconut bacon

whoa, book parties are like weddings! everybody is sooooo nice and you get to schmooze until your face feels like it's gonna fall off, and when you you can no longer stand upright in your party shoes or speak clearly because you were singing sia as aggressively as sia herself, you and the other late-night survivors go sit in a booth at your old old standby in korea town to eat kimchi pancakes and bulgogi. and then the next morning even though you're still kind of full from kimchi pancakes all you want is a plate of greasy eggs with cheese and hot sauce and squishy bread, and by gum, it is good.

it's peak amazingness paired with hurty feet and exhaustion, and i wouldn't have had it any other way. 

my book tour has officially begun, but i am home now! for about 72 hours before lift off to boise, and it is so cold here. which is good because for a while last week it was too warm to harvest the beeties. and then it poured, so it was too rainy to harvest... as crazy as this past week was for me in new york, it was even crazier for eggboy because this harvest is one of the most insane it's ever been, apparently. the fields are so wet and eggboy is constantly having to stop to clean mud off of the harvester. oyoyoy. it's a good thing we have a freezer full of soup!

before i left for new york, i made a very large pot of squash soup from ali's new book, inspiralize everything. it is so perfect for this weather right now. it gets a beautiful creaminess from coconut milk (it's vegan!) and has just a bit of spiciness. it's officially one of my very favorite squash soups and i couldn't have discovered it at a better time because our garden is bursting with butternut squash. in ali's book, she adds spiralized apple noodles to this soup, but for this run, another of her squash recipes inspired me--it paired butternut squash noodles with coconut bacon and almond ricotta. ok: coconut bacon is good!!!! my knee-jerk reaction to most fake meat is negative, but i recently bought some coconut bacon and it's so good, sweet, and addictive. it's like smoky candy. i'm so glad i know how to make it from scratch now since when it's store bought it's like a million dollars. so this recipe is a combination of two of ali's recipes and it screams **autumn** in every single way. and it's perfect for sukkot, which is right around the corner! yay!!!! go, ali!!! 


roasted butternut squash soup with almond ricotta and coconut bacon

makes 4 servings

adapted from ali maffucci's inspiralize everything

clues

for the almond ricotta:

in a high-speed blender or food processor, combine the soaked almonds and water. puree until mostly smooth, with some texture but no large chunks remaining. place a fine-mesh strainer or colander over a bowl and line with cheesecloth. add the almond mixture and drain for 8 hours. discard any liquid that collects in the bowl. transfer the ricotta to it and season with salt, pepper, and the herbes de Provence.

for the soup:

preheat the oven to 425ºf. line a baking sheet with parchment paper. put the butternut squash cut-side up on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle the inside of the squash with the coconut oil. rub it in with your fingertips or a brush. season with salt and pepper. flip over the squash and bake for 45 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork. let cool for 5 to 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and transfer it to a bowl, discarding the skin.

while the squash cooks, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. when the oil is shimmering, add the shallot and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

transfer the shallot and garlic to a high-speed blender. add the squash, nutmeg, chili powder, broth, coconut milk, and salt and pepper to taste and pulse until creamy, about 1 minute. taste and adjust seasoning to your preferences.

for the coconut bacon:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

in a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, liquid smoke, and tamari. add the coconut flakes and stir to coat. season with salt, then spread the coconut flakes over a prepared baking sheet, spacing them apart. bake for about 10 minutes.

divide the soup among four bowls and top with pepitas, ricotta, coconut bacon, and more pepper.

ingredients

for the almond ricotta:

2 c raw blanched almonds, soaked in filtered water overnight, rinsed, and drained

1 c filtered water

salt and papper

1/2 tsp herbes de Provence

for the soup:

1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), halved lengthwise and seeded

1 tb coconut oil, melted

salt and pepper

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 small shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (just a pinch)

1 tsp chili powder

2 c low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 (15-ounce) can lite coconut milk

for the coconut bacon:

1/2 tb maple syrup

1 tb liquid smoke

1 tb tamari or reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 c unsweetened coconut flakes (not shredded)

salt

for serving

1 tb roasted and salted shelled pepitas

pepper


-yeh!

chickpea flour matzo ball soup

Passover is right around the corner! Do you have your menu planned out yet?? It's ok, neither do I. Luckily i'll be spending my holiday with mum and stoopie this year, so I'll let them do the menu planning and then just appear when it's time to eat matzo balls and hide the afikoman (otherwise how will I know where to look when it's time to find the afikoman???).

I have to tell you about these matzo balls! They're from Lindsey's beeeeeautiful new book, Chickpea Flour Does It All, and they are made with--you guessed it--chickpea flour instead of matzo meal. So they're completely gluten-free and they are so gosh darn similar to the real thing. I gasped out loud when I tasted them the first time. They are a bit lighter and fluffier than the matzo balls of my youth (the kind I ate **ravenously** after even the most condensed of seders), but boy are they good. And they come together so easily with just a few ingredients. Lindsey plops them into veggie broth and serves them with roasted carrots (I've been dying to try Izy's carrots with black garlic) and I made these last week with a ginger lemongrass broth for a nice little mashup sitch. This weekend I might have to go the classic route with my favorite roasted vegetable stock

Anywho, check out Lindsey's book! It has her signature breath-taking photography that I love so very much and it proves, through cakes and pizza and matzo balls, that chickpea flour really is a renaissance man of an ingredient. It also came out with perfect timing since 2016 is the international year of pulses! p.s. have you signed the pulse pledge (aka a commitment to eat more pulses this year) yet?? If not, get to it! 


chickpea matzo ball soup

from lindsey love's chickpea flour does it all

makes 18 matzo balls

ingredients

1½ c (180 g) chickpea flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs
3 tb extra virgin olive oil
6 c (1,440 ml) vegetable broth
2 tb chopped dill

clues

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, to taste. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil until just combined. Make a hole in the center of the flour mixture and add the egg mix. Fold together with a rubber spatula until thoroughly incorporated; the batter will be very thick and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Fill a large lidded pot three-quarters full with water and bring to a simmer. Place the broth in another large pot and bring to a simmer, cover, and turn the heat to low.

While the water is heating, remove the matzo ball batter from the refrigerator; take about 2 teaspoons’ worth of batter (roughly 20 to 22 grams) and, with wet hands, roll the dough between your palms to make balls. Bring the simmering water to a boil. Gently drop half the matzo balls into the water; when the balls rise to the surface, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 20 to 22 minutes, until the matzo balls are cooked through and the centers are light. If the center is hard and dark, cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the center is cooked and light. Transfer to the warmed broth, and repeat with the remaining matzo balls.

Bring the vegetable broth and matzo balls to a simmer. Serve one to two matzo balls per serving; garnish with dill.


-yeh!

Thank you so much to USA Pulses and Pulse Canada for sponsoring this post!