Monday, November 21, 2011

Honey Cornbread Muffins, and My Thanksgiving Meal

I am sure this post will find most of you in full-force preparation for the big Thanksgiving Day feast - maybe you are doing last minute shopping, fine-tuning your menu with new dishes, or arguing with Aunt Sarah about who's stuffing recipe is better.  Or maybe you aren't a planner, and are just counting down the days and dreaming of golden brown turkeys covered with rich gravy, gooey sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.  Either way, I feel pretty certain that you are awaiting the big day with major anticipation.   

Me?  I am doing none of the above, because I already had my big Thanksgiving meal this past weekend.  Since I wasn't able to head home to be with my family this year, I knew I had to gather together with my San Diego family to eat, drink, and be merry.  For me, Thanksgiving really isn't Thanksgiving unless I am seated at a table, surrounded by people I love, laughing and smiling while I eat warm, filling food.  

My friends were more than happy to accept my invitation for dinner, and for many of them, it would the the first of two Thanksgivings.  Knowing they would be able to have turkey again took some of the pressure off as far as cooking goes, but anyone who knows me, will tell you that I can't help but go all out.  So I brought a little fall spirit inside with festive table decorations, I made the most of the space in my tiny apartment, and I cooked up a storm.  I even got a special Turkey Day Feast meal for my favorite little puppy.  We crowded as many people as could possibly fit around my table, and we dug into the feast.

Here was my Thanksgiving Menu: 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Spicy Chorizo, Cippolini, and Tomato Soup

Oh man, it is getting chilly here in San Diego!  And of course, by chilly I mean highs in the mid sixties during the day, and lows of high forties at night.  I know, some of you have snow already, and I feel for you.  I really do.  But I swear my blood has thinned after living in Southern California for six years now.  After dealing with Midwest winters and living in the snow belt for most of my life, you would think I would be tougher.  And I can be pretty tough, but right now, I am just cold.  

So here is what I have been doing lately - eating a hot bowl of creamy oatmeal for breakfast, wrapping my hands around a steaming cup of coffee, wearing thicker socks and comfy sweaters, and cuddling up on the couch with my sweet little puppy.   Oh, and I have also been eating lots and lots of soups.  

Cippolini onions.

I have been filling up on pho and chicken noodle soup from some of my favorite restaurants, but when it comes to tomato-based soups I would just rather make it at home myself. (Call me picky, but I always find tomato soups from restaurants to be sort of bland, not nearly tomato-ey enough for my taste.)  I have had the idea in my head for awhile now that I wanted to make a batch of nice and spicy tomato soup, and I knew I wanted to heat it up with chorizo.  I had seen a recipe for including Spanish chorizo in a sort of thick stew-like soup, but I wanted to experiment with the Mexican chorizo since that is more readily available and less expensive around here.  Normally, Mexican chorizo is used in tacos and the like, but I thought it could definitely be used in soup too.  But I just couldn't decide what to pair with the chorizo... 

And then, as usually happens, I got inspired by a visit to the farmers market.  As I was browsing around last Saturday at the Little Italy Farmers Market, I happened upon these adorable golden cippolini onions from Schaner Farms.