Tag Archives: molly and jamie

Chicken Tortilla Soup!

~Molly & Jamie At the Green Market~

From Food Stylist Molly:

This spring I took a trip to Texas with my mom. Having never been to Texas before, I enlisted the help of the little Miss Texan herself, Jamie Beck, to help plan our travels. We went to Fredericksburg in Texas Hill Country, visited the old dance hall in Gruene and ended our trip with a few days in Austin. Before my mom and I had even left Jamie and I decided we had to do a Texas themed post and share some favorite part of Texas culture with y’all

Needless to say, much of the food in Texas is heavily influenced by Mexican cooking. We had a BBQ pulled pork sandwich in Luckenbach, TX that may have been the highlight of the trip. But really, we were eating tacos and tortillas all the day long.

You can find just about anything in New York if you look for it. Some things are a little tricky to find. The Mexican influence on this side of the country however, is not. A quick trip on the 7 train to Queens and Jamie and I found a strong dose of local Mexican culture just a few subway stops away. Ok, it was quite a few stops! But between the Mexican bakeries, hair salons and shops overflowing with piñatas and Mexican candles, it was, quite literally, one of the most colorful neighborhoods I have ever visited in New York. 

Jamie and I had quite the adventure. We had a little lunch at Tortilleria Nixtamal and bought some of their incredible homemade corn tortillas to fry up for our soup; we chatted with some locals in the bakery and had some delicious flan for dessert; and met some lovely local ladies who sold Mexican candles. These women told us about the mystical power of the candles and graciously gave me some rose petals and a pink candle to cure me of my single-girl-in-new-york-city-curse. We’ll see if it works… 

For our post, we decided on a little Tex meets Mex. Chicken tortilla soup is one of my favorite things. Not exactly sure how authentic it is, but it is delicious and certainly a staple at Mexican restaurants in the US. Forgoing our farmer’s market for a Mexican market, we were able to get a local chicken (heads and feet intact!) and all the fixings for our soup. Much like eggs, this is the best time of year to buy chicken. Most people don’t think of meat as a seasonal ingredient, but it absolutely is! Spring chickens are especially tasty and local chickens are everywhere this time of year. Definitely seek them out next time you’re at the greenmarket or your local butcher!

I’m not going to lie, this soup is a lot of work. It has a bunch of steps and is a bit time consuming. But as with all cooking, I believe it is a labor of love. This is a really delicious, light and spicy soup and the toppings are the best part. A little ode to Texas, Mexico, and our beloved New York. 

Stock:

  • 1 whole chicken (head and feet not required), about 4 pounds
  • 1 white onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • cilantro, few springs
  • peppercorns, small palmful
  • 1 bay leaf

Place all of the ingredients in a large stock pot. Add enough cold water to cover the chicken by 1”. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Skim any foam that may rise to the surface. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through and starting to fall from the bone, about 1 hour. 

Soup:

  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 dried chile de arbol
  • 2 dried chipotle chilies (or more, if you can take the heat!)
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped

Toppings:

  • 8 Corn tortillas, cut into strips, fried and salted (or store bought corn tortilla chips)
  • Avocado, diced
  • Queso Freso
  • Cilantro, chopped

Meanwhile, bring a medium size pot of water to boil then reduce to a light simmer. Remove the stems from the chilies and make a cut lengthwise down the side of the chile. Using the end of a small knife, gently scrape out the seeds and veins. Be careful! The chilies (seeds, in particular) are extremely hot and will burn burn burn your eyes and skin if you’re not careful. Use gloves or be sure to wash your hands with soap and water after you’ve seeded the chilies. In a small saute pan over medium heat, carefully toast the chilies. Constantly move them around in the pan just until they become fragrant, about 30 seconds. Place the chilies in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Cover with cling wrap and leave to fully rehydrate, about 15 minutes. 

Make sure there is enough water left in the pot to cover the tomatoes. If not, add water as necessary and keep at a low simmer. Mark the bottom of each tomato with a small x and place in the simmering water very briefly, about 15 seconds. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, peel the skins from the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half, remove the seeds with a spoon and discard, then roughly chop the tomatoes. Place the chopped tomatoes, garlic and rehydrated chilies in a food processor and puree until completely smooth. Set aside.

Back to the stock. When ready, place a colander over a large bowl. Strain the stock into the bowl. Give the soup pot a quick rinse and scrub, then pour the stock back in to the pot. When cool enough to handle, discard the solids and pick through the chicken discarding any skin or bones. Tear the meat into bite size pieces and return to the stock pot. Taste for seasoning, adding salt as necessary. Bring back to a light simmer. Add the chile and tomato puree and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Add the chopped white onion and simmer for another 2 minutes. 

Finally! Ladle the soup in to bowls. Top with chunks of avocado, crumbled queso fresco, chopped cilantro and crispy corn tortilla strips. Eat immediately!

~ Recipe and words by Food Stylist, Molly Shuster. Photography FromMeToYou.

An ongoing collaboration, please do see more recipes from our series!

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Eggs and Potatoes

~Molly & Jamie At the Green Market~

From Food Stylist Molly:

Springtime at the farmer’s market is always an exciting thing. The reemergence of things that are green! And flowers! And sunshine! Somehow, year after year, the novelty never wears off.


Eggs, which are at their peak this time of year, are everywhere! It’s very easy to find all different kinds of eggs at the market: chicken, duck and quail are generally around. You can also find pullet eggs which are the smaller chicken eggs only available this time of year. I get so taken away with all of the different shapes and sizes and colors that I generally buy a sampling of them all!


Eggs are particularly awesome because they are a cheap source of protein and quick to make. They’re a good thing to have in your back pocket. If you know how to cook an egg, you’re golden.

Here we’ve made some old-school eggs and potatoes, dressing them up just a bit. We had some duck fat in the kitchen so we fried our potatoes in the fat to make some especially delicious breakfast potatoes. You can sometimes buy duck or chicken fat at poultry purveyors at farmer’s markets or in specialty stores. If you don’t have or want to use duck fat then olive oil will work just as well.

We’ve cooked our eggs sunny-side-up, but feel free to make them however you (or whoever’s lucky enough to be getting breakfast in bed) like them. 

Breakfast Potatoes:

  • 2 potatoes (we used Russet), cut into rough 1” cubes
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • few springs thyme, leaves removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • duck fat (or olive oil)
  • salt and pepper
  • eggs- however you like ‘em


Place the cut potatoes in cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside.


Heat a skillet or saute over medium-high heat. Add a spoonful of duck fat or a glug of olive oil. Add the onions and saute, stirring only occasionally, until they have softened and have some nice dark charring. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add another hefty spoonful of fat to the skillet and add your boiled potatoes. Cook until golden and crispy on all sides, about 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Return the onions to the pan and add the thyme leaves, cayenne and paprika. Stir to incorporate and cook until just heated through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Meanwhile, cook your eggs to your liking.

Place on top of the hot, toasty potatoes and dig in!

~ Recipe and words by Food Stylist, Molly Shuster. Photography FromMeToYou.

An ongoing collaboration, please do see more recipes from our series!

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Local Catch: Sea Bass

~Molly & Jamie At the Green Market~

From Food Stylist Molly:

Flipping through the channels recently, I stopped on the Discovery Channel and watched an incredibly depressing show about the harmful effects of industrialized commercial fishing. After 60 minutes of this program, I vowed never to eat canned tuna again! But all in all, it left you feeling slightly optimistic and made some great suggestions about how to purchase seafood while keeping in mind sustainability. For all you tuna lovers, look for tins with the Certified Sustainable Seafood label (www.msc.org) for tuna that is pole caught. For the rest of your seafood needs, buying things that are caught locally makes a world of difference.

In this spirit, Jamie and I wandered down to the Greenmarket to see what our local fishmonger had on hand. Some beautiful local Sea Bass caught our eye, so we bought them whole and brought them home to fillet. We also picked up some baby carrots and a head of cauliflower to cook along with our fish. It might look like a lot of work, but this is actually an incredibly simple, fast dinner. Once you get everything ready to cook, it comes together in no time!

Feel free to use whatever fresh, local fish you’re able to find. You should be able to cook it just the same, but keep in mind that the cooking time may vary.


To fillet:

1. Make a deep cut just behind gills until you hit bone behind the head of the fish.

2. Run the tip of your knife along the spine, cutting about 1/4 inch deep all the way down to the tail. 

3. Starting back at the top of the fillet where the first incision was made, slide your knife under the fillet and work your way across the belly and down to the tail. Make long smooth strokes, using the bones as a guide. You want your knife to graze the bones so you’ll come out with a beautiful, smooth fillet.

4. Continue these long cuts until you have fully made your way under the fillet. Run your knife through the bottom of the tail, fully severing the fillet from the fish. Turn the fish over and repeat on the other side.


Refrigerate until ready for use. Bones may be discarded or saved to make fish stock.

Cauliflower Puree:

Cut one head of cauliflower into florets. Over high heat, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until fork tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and place in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep in a warm place until ready for use.

Sauteed Carrots:

Wash and scrub two bunches of baby carrots (if you’re using regular carrots: peel, halve and slice the carrots into 2 inch pieces). Heat a saute pan over medium-high. Add a couple glugs of olive oil, enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the carrots and cook, only turning occasionally, until lightly charred and just tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm until ready for use.

Sea Bass:

Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add a couple glugs of olive oil, enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan (you know the drill). Season the fillets on both sides with salt. Cooking in batches, place the fillets flesh side down and cook until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes per side (however, cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of your fillets).

Dollop some pureed cauliflower on a dinner plate. Place the sea bass over the cauliflower and add a generous serving of sauteed carrots. Eat immediately!

~ Recipe and words by Food Stylist, Molly Shuster. Photography FromMeToYou.

An ongoing collaboration, please do see more recipes from our series!

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Coeur a la Creme

~Molly & Jamie At the Green Market~

From Food Stylist Molly:

It wasn’t until I moved to New York that I started drinking milk from local dairies. I was so excited when I found glass bottles of locally produced milk in the regular supermarket. The pretty, retro glass bottles were enough to entice me to buy it, and the milk was so much fresher, creamier and tastier. I couldn’t believe the difference! There are a bunch of small, local dairies that are supplying the city and its farmer’s markets with wonderful milk, cream, yoghurt and other dairy products.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I decided to make a Coeur a la Creme. French in name and origin, Coeur a la Creme is an incredibly simple, yet lovely and refined dessert. You only need a handful of ingredients and can make both the cream hearts and raspberry sauce in advance. Fresh cream and cheese are the stars of this dessert, so the quality and freshness of your dairy ingredients are essential to your success. Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers. And for all you single girls (and guys), go for it! There is no reason why we can’t have our cake and eat it too.

Coeur a la Creme

Special Equipment: Four 4” Coeur a la Creme molds, cheesecloth

• 1/2 cup farmer’s cheese

• 1/2 cup creme fraiche

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

• 2/3 cup heavy cream, very cold

Line each heart mold with a piece of cheese cloth so that the cloth hangs over the sides of the mold by about 2 inches. Set aside.

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the farmer’s cheese, creme fraiche, sugar and lemon juice until well blended. Remove the paddle and replace with a whisk attachment. Add the heavy cream and whip until you have the texture of whipped cream (this happens quite quickly- don’t over whip!)

Spoon the cream into the lined molds. Fold the cheesecloth over the top so that the entire surface area is covered with cloth. Place the finished molds on a plate and refrigerate overnight.

Raspberry Sauce

• 4 pints raspberries, rinsed and drained

• 1 cup sugar

• 1/2 lemon, juiced

Place half of the raspberries in a bowl and muddle with a fork. In a medium saucepan, combine the muddled raspberries, whole raspberries, sugar and lemon juice. Place over medium low heat and gently simmer until the raspberries have softened and begun to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Cool completely and set aside or refrigerate until ready for use.

To Assemble:

Place a large spoonful of the chilled raspberry sauce on a plate. Take a heart mold and peel the cheesecloth from the top of the cream. Carefully invert the heart onto the center of the plate and gently peel away the cheesecloth. Repeat with the remaining molds and serve immediately.

~ Recipe and words by Food Stylist, Molly Shuster. Photography by me.

An ongoing collaboration, please do see more recipes from our series!



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