Soul Taker Secrets: Something Warm To Come To

Even though The Council of Twelve isn’t depending on the weather at home, most of the time they have to go out for their work, it takes them to sometimes inhospitable areas on Earth. Despite their powers and their immunity to cold or heat, occasionally, a chill can be caused by a situation, or a happening, rather than weather caused.

In such a case, our consorts have a soup prepared that dispels the cold and chill from their millennia-old bones and lifts their spirits.

Katie’s and Simin’s favorite is this one:

Spicy Blue Hubbard Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Blue Hubbard or kabocha squash
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided, plus more for serving
  • 1 medium leek 
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Mexican crema 
  • Queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese)
  • Thinly sliced serrano chiles
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a sharp knife, remove stem from squash, and discard. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and pulp with a spoon, and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside. Brush cut sides of squash with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and season evenly with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Place squash halves, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast until squash is tender, about 1 hour.
  2. While squash is roasting, separate squash seeds from pulp and transfer seeds to a small bowl; discard pulp. Cut greens from white part of leek, and reserve greens for another use or discard. Cut white part in half lengthwise, and thinly slice to equal ¾ cup.
  3. Remove squash from oven, and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Using a spoon, scrape flesh from skin, and transfer to a medium bowl, along with any pan drippings from baking sheet. Discard skin. Set scraped squash aside, and reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large stockpot over medium. Add leek and onion to pot. Cook, stirring often, until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add coriander, cumin, roasted squash and pan drippings, and vegetable broth to pot, and bring to a boil over medium. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced and has thickened slightly, about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, toss together squash seeds, chili powder, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl until well combined. Transfer seasoned squash seeds to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast at 300°F until fragrant and seeds begin to pop, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting. Set aside.
  6. Remove pot from heat, and pour half of squash mixture into a blender. Secure lid on blender, and remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process until smooth, about 1 minute; transfer mixture to a clean saucepan. Repeat process until all squash mixture has been pureed. Bring squash mixture to a simmer over low. Whisk heavy cream and remaining 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper into squash mixture; cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  7. To serve, ladle soup into 6 bowls, and drizzle Mexican crema over each serving. Top with crumbled queso fresco, roasted squash seeds, thinly sliced serrano chiles, fresh cilantro leaves, and black pepper; serve immediately.

(Source: Spicy Blue Hubbard Squash Soup (southernliving.com))

Picture courtesy of Southernliving.com

Soul Taker Secrets – A Rich Family Dinner

It was one of these days when Katie invited the family to an informal dinner. As usual, she had her head full of work and came home late. And here she was, panicking. We all know she’s not the best cook between Heaven and Earth, and being late and not having an enormous choice in the pantry, made her hyperventilate.

She was lucky to have Zepheira peeking in and finding her, almost in tears. Zye, helpful as ever, jumped in and found whatever was around. Together with Katie, she created a wonderful, rich dinner for The Council Of Twelve and their consorts:


Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken (a rotisserie chicken works great for this recipe)
  • 2 cans (10 ounces, each) cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen broccoli florets OR 2 cups fresh steamed chopped broccoli
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add the cooked shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Then add in all the remaining ingredients. Gently stir to combine mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread out evenly. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with cooked rice or egg noodles! (we prefer the rice)

Soul Taker Secrets – Valentine’s Dinner A La Katie

Lately, we celebrated Valentine’s Day, the day for loved ones, and the ones that mean the most to us. Katie decided to have the Council Members over with their respective consorts. We know, our consorts love to cook together, but unfortunately, this year, the only one who had time to help Katie, was Simin. Sundance had to answer a call and Zepheira needed to take over a tracker class. That left our two consorts Simin and Katie with the dinner preparations.

They decided to take it easy and keep it light and served Easy Lemon Butter Fish with rice for dinner. Of course, the mandatory tiramisu followed the main course, but that goes without saying.

The ladies were complimented on their cooking, and the fish was excellent (because Simin made it). Since Katie took responsibility for the rice, it was a bit dry, but our Council members didn’t expect anything else and ate it like warriors do: without complaints or groaning.


(Of course, the Council of Twelve with consorts, is a group of 16 people… but this recipe I decided to show you for a group of four instead)

Ingredients

  • 4 good-sized firm white fish fillets, about 6 inches long, 1-inch thickness (cod, halibut, or mahi would work well.)
  • 3 TB melted butter (I use salted, but unsalted is fine)
  • Juice and zest from 1 medium lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • freshly chopped basil or parsley leaves, for garnish and flavor
  • extra lemon slices for serving

Instructions

  1. Use paper towels to thoroughly pat-dry excess moisture from fish fillets – this step is crucial for fish to brown nicely in pan. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine melted butter, lemon juice and zest, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Stir to combine well. Taste and add a bit more kosher salt, if desired.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 tsp kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Evenly press spice mixture onto all sides of fish fillets.
  4. In a large, heavy pan over medium high heat, heat up the olive oil until hot. Once your oil is sizzling,  Cook 2 fish fillets at a time to avoid overcrowding (allows for even browning.) Cook each side just until fish becomes opaque, feels somewhat firm in the center, and is browned – lightly drizzle some of the lemon butter sauce as you cook, reserving the rest for serving. Take care not to over-cook, as that will result in a tougher texture. Season with extra kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Serve fish with with remaining lemon butter sauce, basil or parsley, and lemon wedges.

Notes

** Be sure to use coarse kosher salt, not fine table salt. Kosher salt is much milder and less salty. ** The actual cook time varies, depending on type, cut, and starting temp of fish. Katie typically cooks about 3-4 minutes per side. She checks for doneness by lightly pressing fillet centers for firmness. Once it feels somewhat firm, it’s usually done. ** She served it with white lemon rice with parsley.

Picture courtesy of ‘Chew Out Loud’. Full link below

(Recipe Source: https://www.chewoutloud.com/easy-lemon-butter-fish-15-minutes/)

Soul Taker Secrets – Exotic Salad For Busy Council Members

In the past ‘Soul Taker Secret’ posts, we learned that Katie loves cooking, not only for Raphael but all Council members with their consorts. Now, Katie is an enthusiastic cook, but not a particularly good one, even though she made progress by constant learning and her consort friends’ help.

With the help of her ‘sisters,’ Katie developed an exotic salad for the busy members of the ‘Council of Twelve.’

I heard they all loved it – and so do I.


Ingredients:

  – 1 1/3 cups brown rice

  – 5.29 ounces salmon (steamed)

-   2 slices fresh pineapple

-   1 mozzarella (ball)

 – 1 bunch fresh thyme

 – grated lemon peel (as needed)

 – salt

  – ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Cook the rice in a stockpot full of boiling salted water for approximately 45 to 50 minutes.
  2. Drain the rice and allow it to cool.
  3. While the rice cools, prepare the dressing by steaming the salmon with lemon peel and thyme.
  4. Cook the salmon for approximately 10 minutes, let it cool slightly, then break it up delicately into small pieces.
  5. Next cut up the mozzarella into cubes and place it on a paper towel for 10 minutes.
  6. Peel the pineapple and cut two slices into small cubes.
  7. Plate the salad by placing the cooled rice in a large bowl, add the salmon pieces, the diced mozzarella and pineapple, some grated lemon peel, salt and pepper to taste, and the fresh thyme.
  8. Refrigerate the salad for a few hours before serving.

Picture courtesy of: Yummly.com

(Source: https://www.yummly.com/recipe/Exotic-Salmon_-Mozzarella_-and-Pineapple-Salad-632343)

Soul Taker Secrets – Katie Cooks With Help

 

We know that Katie loves to invite the ‘Council Of Twelve’ over for dinner. She cares for each one of the Council members and wants them more to feel like a real family. Now, we also know, Katie isn’t a naturally talented cook. But occasionally she gets help in the kitchen. If that happens, the Council members get dinner like that one:


Filet Mignon with Baked Potatoes and Garlic/Lemon-Broccoli

Picture and recipe courtesy of http://www.selfproclaimedfoodie.com

Ingredients

16 ounces filet mignon 2 steaks, about 2 inches thick, room temperature

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper freshly ground

2 tablespoons butter Kerrygold recommended

2 cloves garlic smashed

2 sprigs rosemary

2 sprigs thyme

Instructions

  • Take steaks out of the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to cook them to allow them to come to room temperature. Coat both sides with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Add butter, garlic, rosemary, and thyme to oven-safe stainless steel or cast iron pan.
  • Heat over medium-high to high heat. You want the pan to be as hot as you can get it without burning the butter. Allow butter to melt, swirling frequently to prevent burning. The more you move the butter around, the less it will burn.
  • As soon as the butter is melted, add both steaks to the hot pan. Sear 2-3 minutes on both sides, constantly spooning the hot butter onto the steaks, and only turn once after they get nicely browned. Do not let the butter burn – keep it moving. Insert the thermometer into thickest part of the steak and transfer pan with steaks to the hot oven.
  • Finish cooking in the hot oven. Remove when internal temperature reaches 120 degrees F for rare, 125 degrees F for medium-rare, and 130 degrees F for medium. This should take around 10 minutes. Allow steaks to rest in pan for at least 5 minutes (temperature should rise another 5 degrees).

Picture and recipe courtesy of http://www.spendwithpennies.com

Ingredients

4 russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Scrub potatoes to remove any dirt or debris. Dab dry.
  • Poke holes over potatoes with a fork in about 5-6 places per potato.
  • Coat the outside of each potato with olive oil and salt.
  • Place potatoes directly on the middle rack of your oven and bake 50-60 minutes. (I place a small piece of foil on the rack below to catch any drippings).
  • Serve hot with your favorite toppings.

picture courtesy of Google.com / recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

Ingredients

2 heads broccoli, separated into florets

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon lemon juice

 

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, toss broccoli florets with the extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper and garlic. Spread the broccoli out in an even layer on a baking sheet.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until florets are tender enough to pierce the stems with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and transfer to a serving platter. Squeeze lemon juice liberally over the broccoli before serving for a refreshing, tangy finish.

Just in case you plan to cook Katies meal, let me know how it tastes, please. 

Soul Taker Secrets: Katie’s European Cooking

Katie got a hint from one of the top angelic chefs in the warrior’s kitchens. With his help, she cooked an unusual kind of casserole in European style. Needless to say, the entire Council Of Twelve enjoyed that particular dinner enormously. Zachariel even went as far as to smirk and say: “This doesn’t taste half bad. Maybe there’s hope for your wife, Rafe.”


The pot:

This recipe needs a very particular European style pot, the so-called “Romertopf”. The pot can be ordered on Amazon. It isn’t a cheap product. But it’s a fantastic way to cook healthy and collect the food’s own taste.

Check out the Romertopf (and order) here

Picture courtesy of Amazon.com


The casserole:

You will need:

1 pound of potatoes (or baby potatoes)

3 or 4 big tomatoes

1 big onion or 10 – 12 scallions

1 pack of dried apricots

6  chicken drumsticks

1 cup chicken broth

1 tsp unsalted butter

salt, pepper, paprika


Instructions:

  1. Take the pot: read its instructions carefully: if it’s a pure clay pot, water it sufficiently before starting to cook. If it’s glazed, like mine, just butter it with the tablespoon of butter. It’s easy to clean. (But NOT dishwasher-proof!!)

2.  Prepare the potatoes. Wash them, peel them and cut them into cubes. (or do it as I did with the baby potatoes, which I didn’t peel and cut them into 4 to 6 pieces.  Cut the tomatoes into pieces, peel the scallions, or peel and cut the onion into small pieces. Prepare the cup of chicken broth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Prepare the chicken drumsticks, unpack them, wash them, dab them dry and season them with only a bit of salt, pepper, and paprika, on both sides. You can also buy a whole chicken and cut it into 4 – 6 pieces. (I decided on drumsticks because, as much as I like chicken, I’m not a doctor and autopsies aren’t my favorite thing to do.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Fill the bottom of your pot with the small cut onion, the potatoes, the dried apricots, and the broth. On top put the drumsticks. Cover the pot and put it into the cold oven. Heat it up to 425 degrees F and leave it for 50 minutes.

5. After these 50 minutes, add the tomatoes to the pot, cover it again and leave it for another 15 – 20 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Remove the lid of the pot and leave it for about 10 minutes in the oven, uncovered.

7. Remove it from the oven, prepare a few plates and serve it. Enjoy.