Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving in a Bowl Soup

Sorry for the long silence, guys. Oh, I’ve been cooking, but I haven’t made anything exciting in weeks. Nothing that’s inspired me to write a post that’s longer than 140 characters. (See my Twitter feed, at right, for the latest in Yulinka Cooks non-news.)

This soup is a rare exception. I thought of it while driving home from a post-Thanksgiving shopping trip, knowing I had various soup-friendly ingredients to use up. The ingredients were chicken stock, a bunch of spinach, butternut squash puree originally made for ravioli, the aforementioned ravioli, and leftover turkey.

This is how it all came together. I brought the chicken stock to simmer and added the butternut squash puree (roasted squash, a few tablespoons each of butter and whipped cream cheese, hint of sage and nutmeg--yum). In the meantime, in a skillet, I sautéed a diced onion in olive oil, and added a bunch of chopped spinach to the pan when the onion was almost cooked. The spinach was sautéed for a few minutes until it wilted. I added the vegetables to the chicken stock; then I added few handfuls of pre-frozen butternut squash ravioli to the soup pot.

I hesitate to share my ravioli recipe because a) it was something I created on a lark one Sunday night, b) I didn’t really follow a recipe and I didn’t use a pasta machine to roll out my dough, two steps usually recommended for fresh pasta-beginners, and c) I really overstuffed the ravioli and most of them didn’t seal properly. (I used this pasta dough recipe, but in the future I’ll follow this excellent, detailed guide to making fresh pasta.)

Anyway, when the ravioli were almost cooked—it only took about 2 minutes—I added some diced, roasted turkey to the soup pot. Some stirring, a bit of kosher salt, some black pepper, and the soup was done. It was creamy, slightly sweet, nourishing and filling. It was like a festive holiday meal with your family, assuming you like your family. It was Thanksgiving in a bowl, in short. I will be making this again and again.

Note: Keep in mind that you can substitute quite a lot of ingredients here—you don’t need butternut squash ravioli; just use a favorite pasta or diced, cooked potatoes (or forget the starch altogether). Instead of turkey, you could use leftover chicken, ham or diced sausage. But do make the butternut squash puree.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Apples From "R" Apples

Barthel Fruit Farm and Niemann Orchards may be the popular Milwaukee-area farms for apple picking, but my heart belongs to the little-known “R” Apples. This place does no advertising, has no Web site, and good luck trying to find its address on Google.

If you do find yourself driving past this place in rural Mequon, pop in and you could be in for some great deals on pick-your-own fruits and vegetables (see this old post about "R"Apples' tomatoes.)

In the fall, "R" Apples has 8 to 10 varieties of apples for picking. For the past two weeks they’ve had Suncrisp , Ida Red, Jonathan, Jonamac, Jonagold, Braeburn, Red Delicious and Spartan for the unbelievable price of 30 cents per pound. The Suncrisps and Ida Reds are some of the best apples I’ve had this year.

"R" Apples should be open for apple-picking through Thanksgiving on weekends, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call ahead, though—their hours can be flexible (they were closed when I showed up at 11 a.m. last Sunday, but opened by 12:30 p.m.)

"R" Apples
12246 N. Farmdale Rd., Mequon
Phone: (262) 242-0669

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


It's terrible social media etiquette to interrupt a long blogging silence just to say, "Hey, I'm in the news," but, hey, I'm in the news. Actually, I'm in Milwaukee Home and Fine Living Magazine, which published my savory mushroom pie recipe (and mistakenly called me a chef--I just play one in my kitchen).
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