Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup

I just got to Seattle for Thanksgiving break, and I am surprised that it is way colder (and freezing) in Seattle than in Connecticut. I feel like winter is finally here and I can’t believe that I still have not shared one of the soups that has become a part of my regular weekly meals over the last year and a half. I love this soup because a) it’s made in a slow cooker – it literally takes 10 minutes of prep, and then you can leave it in the slow cooker to cook for 6-7 hours b) it consists of some of my favorite Mexican flavors c) it’s incredibly soothing yet filling during the New England winter.  Though I have been in love with the slow cooker ever since I have acquired one, this is truly one of those meals that you can prep before leaving home during the day, and come back to a find a fragrant, delicious meal waiting to be eaten!

Chicken enchilada soup

Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups good-quality chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 cup (or 1 10-ounce can) red enchilada sauce (my personal favorite is Rick Bayless’ Frontera Red Chile Enchilada Sauce)
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
  • Half of a (15-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more/less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Chopped fresh cilantro,
  • Diced avocado
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Tortilla chips


  1. Add all ingredients to a slow cooker except for the cilantro, avocado, cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips, and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 hours on high heat or 6-8 hours on low heat, until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily. Use two forks to shred the chicken.
  2. Serve warm, with garnishes such as cilantro, avocado, cheese, and tortilla chips.
  3. You can also refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 5 days

Peach and Lemon Ice-Cream

I seem to have jinxed this extended summer weather by getting excited about the lack of cooler temperatures in my previous post. And even though the air is much cooler now, there are still a ton of peaches from apple picking at Lyman Orchards last weekend that I have to eat or bake. This peach and lemon ice-cream is great for wrapping up the summer. It’s quick, does not require a custard as a base, and hardly requires any active prep time.

And, of course, since I’m still in denial about the onset of pumpkin spice season, my next post will focus on making a quick peach and strawberry tart.

Peach & Lemon Ice Cream

Recipe adapted from the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book


  • 2 cups freshly peeled ripe peaches, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • Equipment: Ice-cream maker


  1. Combine the peaches, 1/2 cup sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring the mixture every 30 minutes or so. This step is very essential, so do not shorten the time – the peach juice is more likely to mix with the lemon juice the longer they stay in this mixture.
  2. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, around 2 minutes. Whisk in the remaining sugar, a little at a time. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend. Finally, pour in the peach juice and blend.

    Whisking the peach juice into the cream mixture

    Whisking the peach juice into the cream mixture

  3. Transfer the mixture to an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Once the ice cream starts stiffening (around 5 minutes before it is complete), add the peaches, then continue freezing until the ice-cream is ready. The ice-cream may additionally need to be stored in the freezer in a container for about 30 minutes before it completely firms up.

Tomato Soup with Arugula, Croutons and Parmesan

I couldn’t be happier about the delay in cooler temperatures during this New England fall. One of the things it means is that we get to enjoy summer fruits and vegetables for much longer than usual – this tomato soup uses some ripe, juicy, beefsteak tomatoes from Connecticut. I also got to pick  juicy yellow peaches from Lyman Orchards this week, which I have never spotted any of these past years when I have gone apple picking. While I’m excited to try and use the bounty of apples and peaches that we picked for some desserts during the coming weeks, in this post I want to concentrate on the last (and yet, pretty good) summer tomatoes that are still around.

This soup does not use any cream or much fat, so it’s great for a light lunch or as an appetizer. The sharpness of the arugula compliments the sweet, acidic, juicy, ripe tomatoes and the croutons provide great texture. This dish is also great for using bruised or over-ripe tomatoes.

Tomato Soup with Arugula, Croutons and Parmesan


Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit – August 2015 issue


  • 2 thick slices country-style bread, torn into bite-sized pieces (I used ciabatta)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp thyme leaves (or 2 tsp dried thyme)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs beefsteak tomatoes, cut into large wedges
  • Hot sauce (though I used my favorite Pirate Blend seasoning – highly recommended for adding heat to any dish!)
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1 oz Parmesan, shaved


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Toss bread with 2 tbsp olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt. Toss after 3-4 minutes and bake for 4-5 minutes more, until golden brown and crunchy (total time of 8-10 minutes). Set croutons aside.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onions are brown, around 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until they release their juices – about a minute or 2.
  5. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil.
  6. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture. Or alternatively, transfer mixture to a blender and blend until soup.
  7. Taste and add hot sauce or other spicy seasoning. Season with salt and pepper as needed
  8. Serve soup topped with arugula, shaved Parmesan and croutons.

Chocolate Dutch Baby with Caramelized Peaches

Summer is nearly over and having just gotten back to the East Coast 10 days ago, I am eager to make the last of summer fruits such as peaches, tomatoes, pears, and berries. A dutch baby is a crossover between a pancake and a popover, and unlike a pancake, it is more light, fluffy, and falls soon after being taken out from the oven. This chocolate one is a good choice for those craving more fruity flavors along with the more traditional chocolate craving, and is a great brunch item that will easily serve at least 4 people. It is incredibly easy to make (unlike traditional pancakes that one has to keep an eye on), so it is easy to experiment with different flavors if you like this style – I am eager to try a vanilla dutch baby with sprinkling of lemon sugar for my next brunch.

Chocolate Dutch Baby with Caramelized Peaches

Recipe adapted from Chocolate + Connie


  • ¾ cup milk (I used 1%)
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (modify depending on the sweetness of your peaches)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Slices of peeled peaches
  • Brown sugar

Special equipment needed

  • Cast iron skillet


Caramelized Peaches:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spread out peach slices on baking tray lined with parchment
  3. Sprinkle brown sugar over the peaches
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until peaches are soft
Chocolate Dutch Baby
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a 9-inch cast iron skillet in the oven.
  2. Whisk milk, flour, eggs, cocoa, salt, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Take skillet out of oven, add butter and return to oven until butter is melted and sizzling.
  4. Carefully pour batter into hot skillet, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges start rising and are browning on the sides.

    Taking the Dutch Baby out of the oven

  5. Top with caramelized peaches and serve immediately.

The Manhattan Cupcake

Rich chocolate cupcakes with a hint of orange bitters, topped with a smooth, velvety, bourbon-infused buttercream frosting and a maraschino cherry – these cupcakes are a take on the classic Manhattan cocktail and are perfect for a celebration. My partner’s favorite drink is the Manhattan, so I made these cupcakes for his birthday last month, but these are also really great for a rich post-dinner dessert, the holidays, or any kind of celebration. You can add a few more dashes of bitters to the batter if you want something to cut the richness of the cake and the frosting, but the frosting has a strong and distinct bourbon flavor already, which will be very hard to miss. I’d also suggest whipping up a Manhattan for yourself as you are baking this, so you know what sort of flavor profile to aim for.

These are best eaten the day of so that the cake does not dry out. But if you want to serve them later, I would recommend making the frosting later so that it still has the right consistency when you serve it. Or you could do what I did, which is whip an entire batch, and then use the leftovers for some much-needed energy boost, which was pretty useful as we packed furniture as part of our move from Charlottesville to New Haven (more soon on some of the lovely places that I will miss eating at in Charlottesville). For now, here’s the recipe to convert a classic cocktail into a beloved dessert.

The Manhattan Cupcake | Who Needs a Diet

Ingredients (makes 10-11 cupcakes)

Chocolate cupcake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup cold brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 tsp bitters (optional)


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioner sugar
  • 2 tbsp good Bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Maraschino cherries


For the cupcake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a muffin pan or put cupcake liners into the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the eggs, coffee, buttermilk and oil. Mix until smooth; the batter will be thin. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

For the topping:

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and the confectioner sugar together until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the bourbon and vanilla and beat until icing is thick and smooth.
  3. If the icing seems too thick, add in more bourbon, a tablespoon at a time until it is the right consistency.
  4. If it is too thin, add in more confectioner sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until it is the right consistency.
  5. Transfer the icing to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Once the cupcakes are out of the oven and have cooled, ice the cupcakes (the icing will start melting if you try to top hot cupcakes). Top each cupcake with a maraschino cherry.

Rosé Sangria

Some of my favorite summer foods are fruits – and the sweet and juicy berries and peaches that I’ve been finding in Virginia are almost enough to make me not miss Indian mangoes. But a few weeks ago, I finally gave in and decided to buy some mangoes, knowing full well that it would not measure up to the mangoes I was used to. And while that was true, it did help me fulfill my craving, and I barely missed their usual lack of juiciness when mixed in with some sangria. And speaking of favorites, sangria is one of my favorite summer drinks – it’s not only delicious, but also incredibly easy to throw together. When making sangria, do not bother using fancy wine – any mediocre bottle of wine will do. The only trick is to let the fruits rest in the wine for at least a few hours so that the wine can acquire some of the sweetness and acidity from the fruits. I use a combination of blackberries, raspberries and mangoes in this recipe, but feel free to substitute peaches, blueberries and nectarines.

For this sangria, I decided to go with some rosé wine. I am usually not a huge fan of rosé – they can sometimes be a little too dry for me and I usually prefer sweeter and floral whites. But lately, in tasting several wines for our wedding, I’m hooked to the 2014 Norton Rosé from Keswick Vineyards and so I feel underwhelmed by most other rosés. And fortunately, we always have the option to make sangria with underwhelming wines!

Rosé Sangria


  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry rosé wine
  • 1/3 cup triple sec
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (if desired)
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 large mango, diced into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 and 1/2 cups seltzer water (I used peach-flavored seltzer water)


  1. Pour the Rosé into a pitcher. Stir in the triple sec and lemon juice.  Add the fruits.
  2. Chill for a few hours (preferably at least 3-4 hours). Taste, and add sugar if desired.
  3. Right before serving, add the seltzer water to the pitcher, then pour the sangria into glasses.

Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables & Goat Cheese

After a few months of hearty, filling, and warming soups and stews, I’m looking forward to the freshness that Spring ingredients are bringing to the table. Having spotted some farro, I decided to give it a try – a lot nuttier and chewier than rice, farro is also a higher-protein alternative (even to brown rice), that goes along well in an otherwise vegetarian meal. The nuttiness also adds a great texture to the softer, roasted veggies and overall, the dish keeps you feeling full for hours. I found that the salad tasted even better the next day once the dish had time to absorb some of the flavors, so it makes for a great portable and healthy lunch as well. And in my next post, I’ll explore farro’s colder-weather counterpart, wheatberries, which is the star of some great dishes that I’ve now had at Caseus and August in New Haven.

Before cooking this recipe, it is important to keep in mind the kind of farro you’re using. As Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen points out,  “Farro comes whole/unpearled, semi-pearled (semi-perlato) and pearled (perlato); pearling describes how much of the exterior bran is removed, but packages are not always labeled. If your package says it will cook in less than 15 minutes, it’s probably pearled; if it takes around 30 minutes, it’s probably semi-pearled. And if it takes 60 to 80 minutes, it is whole or unpearled.” Just as a reference, I got pearled farro from Trader Joe’s which took between 10-12 minutes to cook.

Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables & Goat Cheese

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn


  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 and 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 8-10 cremini mushrooms, cut into small chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 cup diced eggplant
  • 2 cups farro
  • 3-4 ounces goat cheese
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I used blood orange balsamic vinegar)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, zucchini, and onion in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, crushed red pepper and lemon pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper, and roast for 15 minutes, stirring once.
  3. Cut eggplant into slices. Spread slices onto a paper towel and lightly salt. Let sit for 15 minutes to absorb excess water. Blot dry. Grill them on the electric griddle until slightly browned or roast in a separate pan with the rest of the vegetables.
  4. Meanwhile, rinse and drain the farro. Bring 2 cups of water to boil, season with salt, and add the farro. Cook according to instructions.
  5. Combine the cooked farro and vegetables, then add the goat cheese. Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, seasoning with salt and pepper, and drizzle over the farro mixture.

Liked this dish? Click here for more farro recipes!