The Classics: Chicken Vegetable Soup and Walking Pneumonia

I am lucky to travel the world on tour with Beyonce. However, every single time I come home I manage to get sick. It’s no surprise seeing as how many time zones and parts of the world we go through in such little time. This time it’s walking pneumonia, which is just a fabulous stroll in the park.. not. The ONLY cool thing about it, is it makes me sound like a walking zombie..which is OK in my book since I’ve been addicted to “Plants vs Zombies” (it’s a game) thanks to my Rie Chan, Rie Tsuji.

Anywho, I’m making a classic Chicken Vegetable Soup today loaded with garlic and fresh veggies and herbs to combat the zombie germs inside me..

  • 4 large carrots roughly chopped into chunks (same size)
  • 2 stalks celery roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed and peeled
  • 1 medium yellow onion quartered
  • 3 lbs skinless chicken bone in (thighs and drumsticks)
  • handful fresh thyme
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper

This is so easy to make (Thank God, since lifting a wooden spoon feels like a workout at this point). Combine all ingredients in a large pot with the exception of salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Fill with cold water until it reaches just above the ingredients. Bring to a low simmer. Cook until chicken falls off the bone. Remove chicken, remove all the bones. Add chicken back in. Season with salt, pepper. Serve. This takes about an hour.

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Let’s not forget to add a little hot sauce if you feel like an extra kick. Mine is super hot and made with cachaca from Belo Horizonte, Brazil..
 

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Seared Bay Scallop/Baby Clam Scampi: Improvising in the kitchen

Last night I put my improvisational skills that come along with being a jazz musician to the test in the kitchen. I decided to head over to New Jersey to surprise my parents for dinner. Without having stopped at the grocery store first, I took a look around the kitchen in search of something I could throw together, and it worked!

 I put a twist on your usual shrimp scampi, due to the lack of shrimp, I decided to use bay scallops and baby clams instead. I wanted some texture on the little “flavor bubbles” of bay scallops so I seared them first then tossed them in with the pasta later.
What you need:
  • 1 lb favorite pasta (I used a really fun fusilli lunghi bucati)
  • 3/4 lb bay scallops
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb baby clams
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic crushed, peeled, diced
  • 1 medium spanish onion diced
  • 2 tomatoes de-seeded. diced
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon juice
  • Handful fresh parsley chopped
Method: 
Bring generously salted water in a large stockpot to a boil for the pasta. Add pasta when ready. Meanwhile, place scallops on a paper towel to absorb any moisture. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a pan over medium heat, sear scallops for 30 seconds without touching them. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss quickly then set aside. You might have to do this in 2 batches. In order to get a good sear on something, it needs space in the pan to do so.
With a little bit of water in a large pot steam clams until they open up. Discard any clams that don’t open. Set aside.
In a large pan heat 3 tbsp olive oil over med high heat. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add onion cook until translucent. Add tomato. Cook for another minute. Season well with salt and pepper. Add white wine. Cook down for 2-3 minutes. Toss in clams and clam juice. Be careful not to pour in any sand from the clams. Once pasta is al dente (firm to the bite) toss in pan with clams and sauce. Toss in juice of 1 lemon and taste. Season accordingly. Plate. Garnish with parsley and fresh extra virgin olive oil.
Adi’s Tips:
  • Prepare everything ahead. Get all the chopping out of the way, so you won’t be stressed about pulling things together at the right time. In food and in music, timing is everything!

You can improvise:

  • Try using a different type of pasta.
  • Want to make a red sauce instead of white? Try a touch of red wine and adding a can of San Marzano tomato sauce or canned whole tomatoes then crush them with your wooden spoon.
  • Use different seafood.
This just goes to show, that you can make a dish into anything that you want, given the ingredients that you have. Be creative and confident, and it’ll work out in the most delicious way!
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Here’s to one of my favorite improvisers, Sonny Rollins!

Episode 2 “Jam Session” Featuring Hailey Niswanger

Sweet Potato French Fries
  • Sweet potatoes cut into wedges (the smaller they are the quicker they cook)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheets with foil. Toss sweet potato with generous amounts of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and enough olive oil to lightly coat the potatoes. Spread them out evenly amongst the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or more depending on the size of the pieces.
 Salmon Sandwiches with a garlicky herb aioli
Serves: 6
For the aioli: 
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp water
  • 2 cloves garlic made into a paste
  • 1/2 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil combined
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil
  • squeeze of lemon
Whisk together yolk, salt, and water in a medium sized bowl. Add garlic. Line a pot slightly bigger than the bowl with a towel so your whisking bowl stays put, or have someone hold the bowl. Slowly whisk in oil mixture. A squeeze bottle is ideal for this, if not a cup with a spout. Continue whisking while mixture emulsifies. If mixture breaks you can start over and pour in the previous mixture. Continue pouring oil and whisking until it reaches desired consistency. Season accordingly. If aioli is too thick, you can add water to thin it out. Add a tbsp full of thyme, a tbsp full of chopped basil, and fresh lemon juice.
For the salmon:
  • 2 lbs salmon cut into fillets
  • Salt
  •  Pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 challah buns (or your favorite kind of bun/roll)
  • 3 plum tomatoes sliced
  • 1 head Boston lettuce
  • 3 roasted shallots (roasted with the sweet potato french fries)
 Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. On baking sheets season fillets with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. Bake salmon for 12-15 minutes until they are cooked through. 5 minutes before you take out the salmon toast the buns in the oven. Take everything out of the oven and construct your salmon sandwiches!

 

You can improvise:

  • adding different fresh herbs to the aioli
  • adding different herbs/spices to sweet potato fries like rosemary
  • Dressing the sandwiches with your favorite toppings

Land of the Kiwis

I am happy to announce that Mr. Bear and  I now have a new traveling buddy (thanks to my sister Katty and her hubby Keyon)… Meet Mr. Kiwi! Yahoooo! Straight from the first stop on the Mrs Carter Show Tour with Beyonce.. Auckland, New Zealand!

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And since this is Adi’s Jazz Kitchen and it’s about food and music, I had to get a picture of LT in the background eating the very delicious chicken teriyaki from catering. Speaking of catering, I have to say New Zealand takes the best catering award of the tour so far. The food has been absolutely delicious here. Everywhere I’ve gone the food was on point. What I loved most about it, is it is simply made and all of the ingredients were able to stand out on their own and really come through in the dish.

Our very first day here Rie, Jennita, and I went out to a great restaurant that we found on the “where chefs eat app”, called Coco’s.

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Coco’s is a really hip spot with a Brooklyn-ish charm that serves rustic italian food. We ended up ordering a few different entrees and antipasti and sharing family style (of course, that’s the best way to taste everything!)

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Bruschetta with mashed broadbeans, pea, mint, and faggotini (ricotta stuffed mozzarella). Bruschetta is such a great vehicle to try out new flavor combinations,. You can go the traditional route of tomatoes, a lovely olive oil, basil, etc.. or you could.. do I even dare say try making dessert bruschetta (you know, you gotta expand your nutella horizons) or even maybe try a savory sweet combination like brie cheese and semisweet chocolate chips? Any takers?

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Grilled cod over panzanella with smoked paprika aioli. I’m a total seafood junkie, especially when we’re somewhere with the clearest and prettiest blue green water I’ve ever seen. Yum. By the way, New Zealand is home to the largest mussels I’ve ever come across.. they almost scared me.

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Asparagus with Pecorino Romano, lemon, and fried garlic chips. Fried garlic friend garlic fried garlic. ESPECIALLY while on tour.. Besides garlic’s amazing health properties.. I’m 13,000 miles from my boyfriend in New York City? I don’t think he can smell me from here. 😉

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An amazing pile of homemade spaghetti… enough said.

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Last but not least,  a perfectly cooked Veal Scallopine with capers. THE END of  a beautiful dinner. mmm mm mmm! Go to Coco’s on K street next time you’re in Auckland!

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Also in that adventure filled day we hit up a quaint, rustic bakery and the most amazing museum!

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For those who are not Kiwis, did you know that NZ is mostly made up of volcanoes?! Don’t worry, the last one erupted 550 years ago.. So Rie and I climbed to the top of one, Mt Victoria!

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The view doesn’t get any better than that! Rie and I had to take a ferry to get over there:

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I would like to conclude this post and my first trip EVER to Auckland, New Zealand with the yummiest lamb burger I’ve ever tasted in my life:

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Thanks for such a blast New Zealand! It was so nice to meet you and experience your culture! I hope you enjoyed the Mrs Carter Show!

Much love,

Adi

PS- Melbourne, I’m comin’ for you next! 😉