Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brothy Tomato and Bean Soup

A couple of weeks ago we had chicken salad sandwiches from a leftover roast for dinner and I wanted a light soup to complement them.  A can of tomatoes, chicken broth and Great Northern beans and an adaptation of Marcella 
 Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter laid the the groundwork for this.

For the tomato sauce:
1   14.5 ounce can plum tomatoes, crushed
3 Tbl butter
1/2 cup roughly chopped onion
1 garlic clove, halved
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until thick.  Set aside.

For the soup:
1/2 pound Great Northern beans which have been soaked overnight and the cooked for about 45 minutes until done.
1 cup of the bean broth, reserved from the cooked beans
4  1/2 cups chicken broth
1 large sprig fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chicken broth and thyme sprig in a medium soup pot and simmer for about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile place the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup bean broth, and 1/2 cup cooked beans in a bowl or blender and blend until smooth.  If using a bowl, blend with an immersion blender.
Remove the thyme sprig from the broth, add the tomato mixture, the remaining bean broth and the beans.  Simmer for another few minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Monday, November 28, 2011

boulangere's First Night in Florence Spaghetti....

This photo is mine but the recipe belongs to fellow FOOD52er boulangere, a native Californian who now lives and works in Montana.  She's a chef, culinary educator and caterer who creates awesome food.  She spent some time in Florence this past summer and brought back this fabulous recipe.  I've made it a few times and just love it!  She's graciously allowed me to share it with you and when you take a look, please read the story behind the recipe and peek at all of the wonderful recipes she's created for FOOD52.  Thanks so much boulangere!!

Go here to see this amazing recipe: 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Lesson in Carving

Son Matt picked up some valuable tips from his "Papa" Thursday on how to carve a turkey....a fun time was had by all...and the turkey wasn't bad either!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving Day and don't forget, the cook has worked very hard - DON'T MESS WITH THE COOK!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Meatloaf 101

This is a basic meatloaf mom's meatloaf recipe, plain, simple and covered with bacon.

1 pound ground beef chuck
1 pound ground beef sirloin
1 pound ground pork
1 cup diced onion
1 cup dry seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup ketchup
2 eggs
1 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
8 slices bacon

In a large mixing bowl using clean hands, mix all ingredients except the bacon together until well combined. Refrigerate the mixture for about 2 hours.
Shape the mixture into a large loaf and place in a parchment lined baking pan about 9x13 inches. (Parchment for easy clean up)
Place the bacon strips around and on top of the loaf.
Bake, uncovered for about and hour and a half at 350F or until internal temperature reaches 160F.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

FOOD52 Finalist

My Gingered Lemon Punch recipe is a finalist in the FOOD52 contest for Your Best Holiday Punch.  I'll post it here in the next couple of days, but in the meantime see it here and PLEASE vote!! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Sauerkraut

For as long as I can remember there has always been sauerkraut on our Thanksgiving grandmother made it, my mom made it and even after I took over Thanksgiving over 30 years ago, my mom brought it.  After mom passed away I decided that even though not everyone cared for it , it had to be.  I lightened it up by adding fresh cabbage instead of straight sauerkraut, but otherwise the recipe is about the same.  I made some last week to go with sausage and potatoes and for Thanksgiving I'll probably double this recipe that  serves 4 to 6.

2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl turkey drippings or olive oil
1 cup rough chopped onion
6 cups chopped cabbage
2  1/2 cups shredded sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
2 Tbl Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 to 2 tsp salt (depending on the saltiness of the sauerkraut
2 cups turkey or chicken broth

In a large saute pan heat the butter and oil or drippings, add the onion and saute for a few minutes until the onion softens a bit.
Add the paprika, salt and pepper and stir.
Add the cabbage, stir it around and add one cup of the broth.
Continue to cook down and after the cabbage begins to wilt, add the sauerkraut and 2nd cup of broth.
Transfer to a small baking pan, cover and bake covered for about 20 minutes at 350F.  Uncover and bake about 15 minutes more. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another Roast Chicken

I enjoyed the flavors of sdebrango's (from FOOD52) turkey so much that I decided to adapt it to my slow roasted chicken recipe.  Her compound butter is so fragrant yet subtle and fills the house with "home cooking".  Here's what I did:

For the compound butter:
6 Tbl softened butter
2 sage leaves, minced
The leaves of 3 thyme sprigs
The zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 cloves crushed garlic
Thoroughly combine all ingredients and set aside

For the chicken:
1  4 to 5 pound whole chicken
6 cloves garlic, halved
The compound butter
Salt and pepper

Using your hands, push 4 tablespoons under the skin of the breast of the chicken, pushing it around to even it out.
Place the garlic cloves in the cavity of the chicken
Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter all over the chicken and  then liberally season with salt and pepper.

Roast the chicken uncovered at 250F for three hours and then crank up the heat to 275 for 1  1/2 to 2 hours (depending on the size of your chicken)  Let the chicken rest while you add a little chicken broth and flour to those pan drippings to make an excellent gravy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Retro Pear and Brie En Croute

With the Holidays soon coming it's time to think about appetizers, new drinks, extra special roasts and sides.  Here's an oldie but goodie appetizer..

Makes 1 eight ounce round

1 Tbl raisins
2 Tbl plus 2 tsp pear brandy or liqueur
1 nice firm ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut into a 1/2 inch dice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbl sugar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 8 ounce brie round, very cold
1 sheet of puff pastry from a 17.3 ounce package, thawed if frozen
1 egg beaten with 2 Tbl cold water

Soak the raisins in 2 Tbl of the pear brandy for about 30 minutes. Drain
In a small sauce pan, place the raisins, diced pear, cider vinegar, sugar and cayenne pepper and simmer for about 5 minutes until the pears have softened but have still kept their integrity.  Set aside and cool.
On a parchment lined baking sheet lay down the pastry sheet.  Spoon the pear mixture in the center of the sheet keeping it about the size of the brie round.
With a fork, poke holes on one side of the brie round all over and then sprinkle the remaining 2 tsp brandy over.  Let the brandy settle in and then place the poked side on top of the pear mixture.
Wrap the round with the pastry cutting off any excess and seal carefully.  Flip the round over so that the seamed side is on the bottom.  Use any scraps of dough to decorate the top of the pastry.
Brush the round lightly with the egg wash.
Bake for about 25 minutes at 400F until golden.  Let rest about 20 minutes before serving.
Serve with fresh pear slices if desired.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Easy Weeknight Slaw

This is my "go to" slaw recipe, the one I always make when time is short.  It's very easy and very tasty!

4 cups shredded cabbage
1 medium onion
1 medium carrot
1/2 cup mayo
3 Tbl rice vinegar
2 Tbl sugar
3/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the shredded cabbage in a mixing bowl.
Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the onion and carrot into the bowl of cabbage and mix.
In a small bowl whisk the mayo, vinegar and sugar until smooth and add it to the cabbage mixture.  Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate before serving.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cornish Hens on Bok Choy Pilaf

We love Cornish hens now and again and I like to pair them with some kind of rice as almost a one pot meal.  This time we had our veggies in the rice and truly only used one  "pot".

2 Cornish hens about 1  1/4 pounds each, split, backbones removed
Salt, pepper and paprika to season the hens
2 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl butter
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp fennel powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1  1/2 cups raw long grain white rice
10 to 15 small baby bok choy or Shanghai bok choy cut crosswise in 1/2 inch pieces
3 cups chicken broth

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large shallow pan with a lid that is oven proof.
Season the hen halves liberally with salt, pepper and paprika.
Brown the hens on each side until golden and remove from the pan temporarily.
To the same pan add the diced onion and garlic and saute until the onion softens a bit. 
Stir in the fennel powder, salt and pepper.
Stir in the rice, add 2 cups of the chicken broth and simmer the mixture for 4 or 5 minutes.  Stir in the bok choy and then push the mixture around the rim of the pan.
Nestle the hens, skin side up, in the center of the pan and pour the remaining cup of chicken broth over all.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 350F oven  Uncover, stir the rice a bit (adding more broth if the rice is dry) and continue to bake 20 to 30 minutes more until the hens are done.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Salmon on Avocado Cream with Salsa Fresca

Here's a nice salmon dish that can be prepared ahead and has cool Mexican flavors.  Makes 4 servings.

For the salmon and avocado cream:
4  six to eight ounce boneless, skinless salmon fillets
2 limes
1 Tbl salt, divided
3 jalapeno peppers
2 medium avocados
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup half and half
Olive oil for brushing the baking dish.
Prep the salmon by brushing a little olive oil on the bottom of a 9 x 12 inch baking dish.  Place the salmon fillets in and sprinkle with the juice of one lime, half the salt and one finely diced jalapeno.  Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile make the avocado cream by placing 2 chopped jalapenos, the avocado meat, the juice of the second lime, 1  1/2 tsp salt, the sour cream and the half and half in the bowl of a mini food processor and process until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap by placing the film directly on the cream and refrigerate.
In a 425F pre heated oven, roast the salmon for about 15 minutes.  Cool and then refrigerate.

For the salsa fresca and service:
2 cups seeded, cored and finely diced tomatoes
1  1/2 cups finely diced red onion
3 finely diced jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup minced cilantro
Juice of one lime
1 minced garlic clove
Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate for at least an hour.
When ready to serve spread 1/4 of the avocado cream on a dinner plate, place a salmon fillet on the cream and spoon some of the salsa over.  Repeat three more times.