Tips & Tricks

5 Tips for Fabulous Homemade Soups

You know the feeling. This time of year, you’re simply dying for a bowl of something warm, comforting, and full of vitality. But as painful experiences may have shown you, good intentions and a throw-whatever-vegetables-you-have-into-the-pot approach doesn’t always work so well.

For a simple, clean-out-the-fridge soup, I will point you to my Everything Soup. It’s the ultimate guide to soup improv that you can tweak to your heart and fridge’s content, with recommendations for optimizing flavor profile, plus must-haves and must-nots.

Once you have these basics down, here are some more tips for fabulous homemade soups, which will turn any pot you make into a seductive winter dish that will have your spoon quivering with excitement.

Stay in season

It’s not just about the carbon footprint, the mood of the weather, or the tradition, though of course these things count. It’s also that in-season vegetables taste significantly better, and if you want a soup that shines with flavor, you gotta have good vegetables to begin with.

And as luck would have it, winter vegetables are perfect candidates, with their starchy textures and sweet, earthy notes. Can’t remember what’s in season? I have a free seasonal produce guide for you.

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10 Kitchen Resolutions for a Happy, Delicious Year

Happy new year! I’ve always loved the blank-slate feel of early January: while it’s a great time to reflect on everything you’re already doing right (you rock!), it’s also an invitation to form new and better habits to shape the year ahead and improve our lives.

So I offer you 10 kitchen resolutions, inspiring but approachable, to make you a better cook and eater this year. Please add yours in the comments below, or share on social media with the hashtag #cnzresolutions, and I will retweet and repost my favorites.

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How to Spatchcock a Chicken

If you’re ready for some adulting in the kitchen*, you have got to learn how to spatchcock (a.k.a. butterfly) a chicken.

This simple technique consists in opening the bird like a book, so that it lies flat in a roasting pan or on the grill.

In this configuration, the chicken cooks faster and more evenly — a double win — and it is much easier then to achieve the amazingly flavorful, perfectly roasted or grilled meat you are longing for.

A really fun recipe to put the technique in practice is this chicken “under a brick”, which I make often, but you can also simply marinate the chicken and roast it straight in the oven (see picture of the finished product below!).

But before you get to that, here’s a video I made with Anne to show you how to spatchcock a chicken — much simpler than it sounds:

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Juices and Smoothies: My Best Tips

I have been the proud owner of both a juicer and a blender for a while now. I’ve had a bit of a learning curve with both and I imagine I’m not alone, so let me pass along some of my best tips for juicing and smoothie-making.

If you want to report back on your own experience and share tips of your own, I would love for you to do so in the comments! I’ll be interested to compare notes with you, and other readers will benefit as well.

When is a good time to drink juices and smoothies?

My initial resistance in adopting juices and smoothies was this: I couldn’t quite see how they would fit into my daily eating habits. I wasn’t really looking to consume more food than I already was, and wasn’t too keen on trading any of my favorite eats (vegan lunch bowl, anyone?) for a tall glass of anything.

But! Those tall glasses quickly won me over and they are now most welcome, on three occasions in particular:

  • Smoothies as a standalone breakfast, which I can sip on while getting ready for work, or sitting on the couch watching my kids punch each other — mostly in good fun — with my boxing gloves. (I took up boxing, people! It’s so fun! Have you tried it?) Because I add filling elements (see below), a 7am smoothie holds me over until lunchtime, even through pretty active mornings.
  • Cold-pressed juices as a complement to my lunches. I love my weekday lunch bowls and they are typically vegetable-heavy, but some days it’s faster to make myself a quick sandwich, and round it out with a green juice.
  • A smoothie or a juice is an amazing afternoon pick-me-up. It’s energizing and refreshing, and serves the double purpose of feeding and hydrating me.

I don’t, however, make it an obligatory or daily thing. Some weeks I crave them every single morning, other times I feel like eating other things instead. Or my schedule gets busier and I can’t get my act together to prepare them. It’s all good.

Pink Smoothie

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DIY Cake Stand (Genius Trick!)

Today, I have the neatest idea ever to share with you: how to turn any dinner plate into a DIY cake stand.

I was at the coffee shop the other day, waiting at the counter to pay for my Ethiopian filter coffee (so good), and I noticed the barista rearranging the baked goods in the display case. He picked up a plate of small cakes, slipped an upturned bowl underneath it, and all of a sudden, before my very eyes, a cake stand appeared!

I stared at him, speechless with wonder. What a genius trick! (He shrugged one shoulder, all “doesn’t everybody do this?”)

I was so excited I couldn’t wait to tell you about it; I even did a video and animated gifs to show you.

DIY Cake Stand

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