A personal kitchen diary. I try new recipes and make notes on what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I can things, and sometimes I dry herbs. This is the story of my kitchen.

A Very Merri Kitchen

A Very Merri Kitchen

A personal kitchen diary. I try new recipes and make notes on what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I can things, and sometimes I dry herbs. This is the story of my kitchen.

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Pickin up Paw Paws, put ‘em in your pocket…

Pickin up Paw Paws, put ‘em in your pocket…

I remember hearing the song Way Down Yonder In the Paw Paw Patch growing up, but I never had a Paw Paw , and I’m not even sure I really knew what one was. In September, a local farm, Cary’s U-Pick, posted that they had paw paws and […]

Poached Halibut in Thai Coconut Curry Broth

Poached Halibut in Thai Coconut Curry Broth

Halibut was on sale and I wanted to do something different from what I usually do. So I texted my brother in Alaska and he sent me to Alaska From Scratch site and this recipe. It’s a favorite at their house, and now it will […]

Chicken, Tomato, and Fresh Herb Soup

Chicken, Tomato, and Fresh Herb Soup

May I call this soup?  I’m going to call this soup. Because, why wouldn’t I?

I have to blog about this because it was so ridiculously good, and completely unplanned. There is exactly one picture because there is no recipe and I had no idea how good it was going to be.

This makes one bowl.

Chicken, Tomato, and Fresh Herb Soup 

3 ounces cubed or diced roast chicken breast

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/2 cup homemade chicken stock (something like the Knorr stock pots would probably work as well, but it needs to be a rich stock no matter what you use)

1 generous handful freshly picked herbs, chopped-today I used chives, parsley and thyme)

For the microwave, place chicken, quartered tomatoes, and chicken stock in a bowl. Heat for two minutes then check the temperature. If needed, heat one more minute.

On the stovetop, place chicken, quartered tomatoes and chicken stock in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat and heat to your desired temperature. Pour into a bowl.

You don’t want to dry out the chicken. You just want to heat it and at the same time release the juice from the tomatoes. You do want it hot, though, so that when the herbs hit the broth all that flavor and fragrance will develop.

Stir the herbs into the soup.

How this happened and helpful hints 

Yesterday I had planned to have a salad that included some cold, chopped chicken. But yesterday turned chilly and I wanted something hot.

I didn’t want to just heat up the chicken on its own and started thinking about what I had that would work well with the chicken.

There was a container of Sweet Cherub tomatoes on the counter so I decided to quarter them and add to a bowl with the chicken.

Although I had some chicken broth in the fridge, I wanted something richer. I remembered that I had some homemade concentrated stock in the freezer so thawed a small amount to use.  I didn’t actually measure.  It was maybe 1/2 cup, 3/4 at the most.

Once heated, the tomatoes released so much juice that mixed with the stock there was plenty of broth.

Finally, I thought about how delicious it was when you add fresh herbs to hot dishes—cilantro to chicken tortilla soup; basil to tomato soup; Thai basil to stir fry.

My herb pots are at the end of the season, but I still have plenty of parsley, chives, and thyme. I cut a generous handful, washed them and chopped them for the soup.

I think fresh herbs are crucial here. I don’t think dry herbs would have the same impact, and this is a fast soup so you wouldn’t simmer long enough to develop flavor from dry.

The soup was incredibly delicious and full of flavor. The key is in the ingredients. I don’t think it would work well with tomatoes that aren’t as sweet; with a stock that isn’t as rich; or with anything other than fresh herbs.

This was a sort of happy accident, but one I plan on repeating.

Catching Up and Meal Prep Sunday

Catching Up and Meal Prep Sunday

My cooking and posting has been a little sporadic lately.  There was a lot going on, including some travel. I had some great restaurant meals,  but did little cooking. I go in spurts of doing meal planning, and meal prepping. Today was one of those […]

Sort of a mini Italian meat loaf?

Sort of a mini Italian meat loaf?

I wish I had a clever name for this. However, I will say that it is simply delicious.  Maybe I’ll come up with something later and edit the post. I wanted a protein to go with some roasted tomatoes and mushrooms I was making. And […]

Roasted Tomatoes and Mushrooms

Roasted Tomatoes and Mushrooms

This couldn’t be more simple, so this will be a pretty short post. This was delicious and great for a weeknight.

As often happens with me, I had produce I needed to use.  This time tomatoes and mushrooms.  So I cleaned and dried them, then spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet

I drizzled olive oil over the veggies, added some thyme and rosemary from my herb pots, seasoned it all with salt and pepper, and tossed it all to coat.

And then roasted in a 375 Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes.

Is there anything better than roasted veggies?

Roasted Tomatoes and Mushrooms 

1 Pound smallish whole tomatoes

1/2 pound largish white mushrooms

Olive oil

2 or 3 sprigs each of thyme and rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Clean and dry the tomatoes and mushrooms. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and add the herbs. Toss everything together gently to coat with the olive oil and seasoning.

Roast for 30 minutes. You may wish to toss midway through.

Slow Cooker Mushrooms

Slow Cooker Mushrooms

I am ambivalent about this recipe. The taste was great, but I don’t really like the soupiness of it. And so while I may try the method  again, what I am thinking of is trying to turn it into a mushroom soup. The recipe is […]

Blueberry Peach Coffee Cake

Blueberry Peach Coffee Cake

I had two peaches and some blueberries to use, and remembered this recipe that I had pinned from Julia’s Album. The things I did differently are minimal, so you really could just go straight to her recipe. Or you could read what I did here, […]

Dad’s Grilled Salmon

Dad’s Grilled Salmon

I grilled salmon today the way my Dad always made it, and realized I had never blogged about it. Partly because there is no real recipe.

Just salmon, butter, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and a bit of salt and pepper.

Start up the grill and let it heat up.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add a few tablespoons of butter and let it melt.

Mince the garlic and chop the parsley  Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice.

Sizzle it all over medium heat. Take a taste to see if you like it and add more of whatever you like until it tastes good to you.

I had placed my salmon fillet on a square of foil, with the edges turned up. Brush the garlic mixture on the salmon.

My grill got a bit hot, so I turned it down to a more reasonable 400 Fahrenheit. I don’t want it to cook too fast. Then place the salmon on the foil directly on the grill and close the lid

This fillet took about ten minutes total. Just check with a fork to see if the fish is flaky and done.

Its a family favorite!

Red Potatoes, Green Beans and Bacon-Updated

Red Potatoes, Green Beans and Bacon-Updated

Every once in a while I make a concentrated effort to use up what’s in the freezer or fridge. Last week, my focus was on a bag of blanched and frozen green beans from the freezer. It seems like a good time for that summer […]