Sunday, March 29, 2009

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Now that is a century- (ies) old question. Does it really matter? I don't think so. We love both around our place. Apparently we are not the only ones who love chicken. Three nights ago our beloved hen was snatched out of her home by something that burrowed into her cage. The only one left the next morning was Sam, the rooster. Nary a trace of Penny, not even a feather. A part of Nature that I am not fond of, but perhaps she fed some babies in the woodland next door.
I have a recipe to share that is not your mainstream deviled egg. The recipe has a secret ingredient that will keep your guests guessing. The recipe has been researched back to Bombay to a cookbook published in the 1940s. It was under the heading of "Italian Eggs". See what you think, they are very good!

Parsi Deviled Eggs
source: San Francisco Examiner

6 large eggs, hard cooked *
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise

serves 6

Shell the eggs, cut them in half, lengthwise, and put the yolks in a small bowl or **zip-lock bag. Set the whites aside. Add all or the remaining ingredients except the mayonnaise to the yolks, mashing well. Be sure the honey is well distributed. Mix in the mayonnaise and taste for lime and salt, adjusting if necessary. Spoon into the whites, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Let come to room temperature before serving.You can play with the seasonings, using more butter, lime, and/or jalapeno, as you like.

to hard cook the eggs, set them in a saucepan just big enough to hold them, then cover with water. Slowly bring the water to a boil. Cover the pan and remove from heat. Let the eggs sit in the pan of water for 14 minutes. Child’s and Pepin’s technique is then to plunge the eggs into a bowl of ice water and let them sit for 20 minutes. Eggs will then peal easily and there will be no green rings around the yolks.
* If mixing in a zip lock bag, snip a corner of the bag and pipe the mixture through the snipped hole into the egg white.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Can You Say Cruciferous?

We all know the health benefits of certain vegetables. Broccoli and cauliflower are loaded with vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. Eating nature's bounty raw is a great way to obtain the vitamins and minerals that cooking diminishes. Everyone knows to eat healthy, but a lot of us don't apply our knowledge. The marinade in this recipe is popping with garlicky, dilly flavor. Tomatoes and mushrooms pretty it up and offer their health benefits as well. Leftovers are equally delicious to snack on. To Your Health: Marinated Veggies. Check out the other great ideas for speedy, healthy meals over here at Gelskitchen No Time To Cook.

Marinated Veggies

1 Cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
1 Bunch Broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1 carton Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
1 carton Cherry Tomatoes ( I use Roma Italian, sliced thin, about 4)

1 cup Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 cups Canola Oil, or EVOO
1 Tablespoon Dill Weed (dried)
1 Tablespoon Accent (optional, and I usually leave it out)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon each granulated garlic powder, black pepper, and salt

Wash and prepare the veggies. Place in a large bowl. Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour over the veggies. Mix until the veggies are coated with the marinade. You may serve immediately, but flavors actually improve the next day.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Has Sprung, a picnic would be nice

The photo of the lady says it too, so it is officially here. My photo did not do justice to the display. If you look closely, she has coils of springs for hair, multi-colored coils, I might add. Her sign says Spring is in the hair. She was hilarious and she made us laugh. She was on display this week end at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens located in Gainesville, Florida.

"Hot" Indian Coleslaw

This slaw is easy, and is full of those great Indian Spices. The spices are warmed, then the slaw is sauteed. You can adjust the "heat" of the dish by upping the ante on the Jalapeno, if you are looking for a firey dish. This one can be served hot, at room temperature or cold. By the way, Gelskitchen is showcasing quickly prepared recipes this month, appropriately labled No Time To Cook. Check it out.

"Hot" Indian Coleslaw
Inspired by Fine Cooking Magazine and 4everykitchen

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves 4-6
1½ tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp canola oil
¾ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp curry powder
½ jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (if you like things spicy,
leave the seeds and ribs in, if not remove them before
1 bag "coleslaw" mix (already shredded cabbage, carrots, etc)
2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1½ tsp sugar
½ cup fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped
3 tbsp lime juice (1-2 limes)
1. Toast the cumin seeds in a small dry skillet over high heat.
Shake the pan frequently. This only takes 3-5 minutes. You'll
smell the wonderful aroma. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Grind
to a fine powder. You can use a mortar & pestle, or, if you're
like me, you'll have a coffee grinder that's easy to clean.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add
the spices, jalapeno and cook for about 40 seconds. Add the
coleslaw mix and toss.
3. Cook until the cabbage beegins to soften, tossing
occasionally (about 5 minutes). Add the sugar, toss, taste and
adjust the seasonings. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice and

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Staff of Life

Bread has fed the masses for longer than any of us can conceive of. I don't know about you, but I love those Artisan loaves that cost an arm and leg in the bakeries and grocery stores these days. Making bread at home couldn't be easier. It does take a little bit of your time, but you will have a little extra cash to spend on something else. The real bonus is the taste, the smell, the sense of accomplishment.

Gruyère-Stuffed Crusty Loaves
From King Arthur Flour


1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup cool water
all of the starter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Pizza Dough Flavor (optional)
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
*Use the greater amount of water in winter, when conditions are dry;
and the lesser amount in summer, when the weather is humid.
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, or the grated/shredded cheese of
your choice (a mixture of provolone and mozzarella is tasty)
1 tablespoon garlic oil (optional)
1 tablespoon pizza seasoning (optional)

1) To make the starter: Mix the 1 1/4 cups flour,
salt, yeast, and 1/2 cup water in a medium-sized
bowl. Mix till well combined; the starter will be very
dry. Cover and let rest overnight at room
temperature; it'll become bubbly.
2) To make the dough: Combine the risen starter
with the water, salt, flour, and yeast. Knead—by
hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle
—to make a smooth dough.
3) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 1/2 to
2 hours, till it's nearly doubled in bulk.
4) Gently deflate the dough, and pat and stretch it
into a 3/4"-thick rectangle, about 9" x 12". Spritz with
water, and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
5) Starting with a long side, roll it into a log, pinching
the seam to seal. Place the log, seam-side down, on a
lightly floured or lightly oiled surface.
6) Cover it and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it's puffy though not
doubled in bulk. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
7) Gently cut the log into four crosswise slices, for
mini-breads; or simply cut the dough in half, for two
normal-sized loaves. Place them on one (for two
loaves) or two (for four mini-loaves) lightly greased or
parchment-lined baking sheets, cut side up. Spread
them open a bit, if necessary, to more fully expose
the cheese. Spritz with warm water, and immediately place them in the
preheated oven.
8) Bake for 20 minutes (for the mini-loaves), or 35 minutes (for the full-
sized loaves), or until the cheese is melted and the loaves are a very deep
golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

*Note: cooked, diced bacon, diced Pepperoni, or other thinly sliced cooked meat would be a good addition. I did not have Gruyere on hand, so I subbed freshly grated Parm and Manchego. **The below recipe summary does not include the rise time for the bread dough.

**Recipe summary
Hands-on time:
25 mins.
Baking time:
20 mins.
Total time:
45 mins.
4 mini-loaves or 2 standard-size

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring: How Do I Love Thee?

Let me count the ways

All of nature is flashing new babies, new blossoms,new leaves and a promise for all things to be renewed and re-generated. Life is good! While you are out enjoying the glorious weather and what Nature has to offer, you could be making this Pot Roast, in case your come in tired and hungry. Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or your choice of any other gravy holders, 'cause it makes a lot of gravy.

Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast


* 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
* 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix (or 1 large onion cut in half)
* 1 1/4 cups water
* 5 1/2 pounds pot roast


1. In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture.
2. Cook on High setting for 3 to 4 hours, or on Low setting for 8 to 9 hours.

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Mushroom Risotto, too good not to share

Risottos are so creamy and delicious.   I have never minded standing at the stove and stirring and stirring anything that tastes so good, like a roux, a custard, a risotto.  You know they require patience and constant attention.  But, in the case of this risotto, you can make it in only seven minutes, and even better, your attention can be given to whatever you are serving with the risotto.  It happily prepares itself and the results are amazing.  Hope you like this one.

Mushroom Risotto Pressure Cooker

Yield: 6 servings
Time: 7 min (10 min prep)

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onions (I use 3 shallots, when available)
2 cups arborio rice
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

In pressure cooker, simmer chopped onions in hot olive oil and butter for three minutes, stirring often. Do not brown.
Add mushrooms and Arborio rice and stir constantly for additional minute.
Add broth and wine; stir.
Close lid and bring up to high pressure and cook for 7 minutes.
Release pressure using cold-water release.
Stir thoroughly, adding in grated Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thank You Cook's Illustrated for Crunchy Baked Pork Chops

Please try this recipe, but please get ready for an awesome, juicy on the inside, crunchy on the outside chop, full of flavor. I would call this recipe a little messy and dish dirtying, but worth it. Because our chops were on the large side, the cook time was a little longer---that is where your instant read thermometer comes in handy.

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops
Cook's Illustrated, Best of 2009
serves four

4 (6 to 8 ounce) boneless, center-cut pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
4 slices high-quality white sandwich bread, torn into 1 inch pieces (I used day old french bread)
1 shallot, minced (3 tablespoons)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large egg whites
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Lemon wedges, for serving

1.. Preheat oven to 350 with the oven rack positioned in middle position
( If your purchased chops are enhanced, skip this step.) Dissolve 1/4 cup of salt in 1 quart of water in a gallon sized zip-lock bag.
Brine chops for 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Pulse the bread in the food processor until coarsely ground (about 8 1-second pulses) You will need about 3 1/2 cups crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a rimmed baking sheet and add the shallot, garlic, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss until the crumbs are evenly coated with oil. Bake until golden brown and dry, about 15 minutes, stirring twice during baking. Do not turn off the oven. Cool the crumbs to room temperature. Toss the crumbs with the Parmesan cheese, thyme and parsley.

3. Place 1/4 cup of the flour in a pie plate. In a second pie plate, whisk the egg whites and mustard until combined, add the remaining 6 tablespoons flour and whisk until almost smooth. Pea sized lumps are okay.

4. Increase oven temp. to 425 degrees. Spray a wire rack with vegetable oil spray and place in a rimmed baking sheet. Season the chops with pepper. Dredge 1 pork chop with flour and shake off the excess. Coat all sides of the chop with the egg mixture, then in the bread crumb mixture, pressing gently so that a thick layer of crumbs adhere to the chop. Transfer the chop to the prepared wire rack. Repeat with the remaining 3 chops.

5. Bake until an instant- read thermometer registers 140 degrees when inserted into the middle of the thickest part, about 17-25 minutes. Let rest on the rack until thermometer reads 150 degrees, about 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

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Healthy, Tasty and Versatile Lentil Salad With Herbs and Fennel

I love the fact that you can take a base recipe and get creative with additions, you know, whatever you have at hand, whatever strikes your fancy. You can serve this as a main course, or, as we did, an accompaniment to Crunchy Baked Pork Chops. I love the crunch and flavor Fennel gives this recipe. I suppose you could sub celery, but Fennel gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Hope you like it as much as I do. Oh, I have also included Cooks Illustrated's recipe for Crunchy Baked Pork Chops, also very delicious!

Lentil Salad with Herbs and Fennel
From the Matthew Card collection

3 qt. water
8 garlic cloves, peeled
3 bay leaves
1/2 onion, peeled but intact
Kosher salt
2 cups lentils du Puy

2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
Large pinch of sugar
8 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and ground pepper
1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme or savory
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large fennel bulb, minced

1. Combine the water, garlic, bay leaves, onion, and 1 tablespoon salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the lentils, return to a simmer, and reduce the heat to medium, or just enough to maintain a slow but steady simmer. Cook until the lentils are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Drain, discard the onion and bay leaves, transfer the garlic cloves to a small bowl, and spread the lentils onto a baking sheet to cool.
2. With a fork mash the garlic cloves to a paste. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar and whisk together; whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled lentils, thyme, parsley, and fennel. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the lentils and fold the mixture with a large rubber spatula until well blended.

Suggested Additions: sliced radishes, chopped tomatoes, Feta cheese, walnuts, pickled onions. I loved the addition of tomatoes, Feta and walnuts. Taste and adjust the salt and acidity prior to serving.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Surprise, there is really no recipe. Trim the sprouts and removed any blemished leaves, then slice the sprouts in half. Cook two slices of bacon until crisp, remove from skillet, saute the sprouts in the bacon grease, add one teaspoon minced garlic, sprinkle lightly with salt . Continue cooking on medium heat until sprouts are lightly caramelized. Toss crumbled bacon on the sprouts.

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Oven Roasted Asparagus With Fried Capers

All lined up like little green soldiers on the plate, but not for long. The fried capers give this dish a slightly salty, pungent kick that makes it interesting and according to Chef Gold, "startling".


¼ CUP Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 425 if spears are slender, 500 if thick

Remove woody bottoms of asparagus. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil on rimmed baking sheet. Place asparagus on sheet and roll in oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast 8 min., shaking pan several times. Transfer to warm platter.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 T oil in small skillet. Fry capers over high heat for 1 minute. Top asparagus with capers, pass the peppermill at the table. May be served hot, room temp, or cold. To make this side dish a complete meal, top with a fried or poached egg and Canadian Bacon on the side.

Serves 4

From: Cooking 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold

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Country Chicken Casserole

When you are looking for a wholesome, healthy dish and you have a busy schedule, because you are the Kid taxi, the worker bee, the CEO, or because you want to kick back with with a good book----or a good man/woman, or for any other reason, this recipe will help you pull it off. You can assemble the meal, refrigerate for later use or bake it right away. Either way, you will have Cuisine Rapid

Country Chicken and Veggies Casserole (adapted from Linda Larsen)

1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1 (16 ounce) jar four cheese alfredo sauce (I used Bertolli)
2-1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 Cup each, broccoli florettes, cauliflower, carrots slices, or 1 (16 ounce) package frozen broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower
1-1/4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg

In heavy saucepan, cook onion in olive oil over medium heat until tender. Add flour; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add milk;
cook and stir until thick.
Remove from heat and add Alfredo sauce, chicken, 1-1/4 cups Cheddar cheese, and the fresh or frozen vegetables; stir gently.
Place in 2 quart casserole. At this point, you could cover and refrigerate up to 8-24 hours or follow below instructions.
When ready to eat, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place casserole, covered, in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until warm. Meanwhile, in small bowl combine flour, baking powder, 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, and egg and mix with a fork until crumbly.
Uncover casserole and crumble this topping evenly over the top. Bake for 20-30 minutes longer, until filling bubbles and the topping is golden brown and crisp.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

 Vegetable Tian

I have made this many times and it is delicious. Because it is so colorful and pretty, it is eaten with the eyes first, especially for someone who loves vegetables. I wish I could remember which cookbook to credit. It was one that I checked out of the public library. If you will give me a little more time, I may remember. Hmmm...

 Vegetable Tian

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, quartered lengthwise, rinsed well, and cut into 1/4 inch slices (1-1/2 cups)

1 garlic clove, minced

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 zucchini, unpeeled, very thinly sliced (1 cup)

1 yellow squash, unpeeled, very thinly sliced (1 cup)

2 plum tomatoes, very thinly sliced (3 cups)

1 small Italian eggplant, very thinly sliced (1 cup)

1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Grated parmesan, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leek and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about four minutes. Spread in a 9 inch gratin or round baking dish.

Arrange vegetables on leek in slightly overlapping circles, alternating zucchini with squash, tomatoes, and eggplant. [This is the point at which you would stop, if you were making this in advance; just cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. The eggplant may brown a bit but it will get brown when you bake it anyway.]Top with wine, 1 tablespoon oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bake 30 minutes. Drizzle with remaining oil. Bake until vegetables are tender, 30 minutes more. Serve with Parmesan.
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Ragoût of Pork and Mushrooms with White Wine

This is a classic pork stew that Beth Hensperger adapted for her cookbook of company worthy slow cooker meals. She gave credit to a 1984 Junior League book named Private Collection. I made a couple of changes, using a Boston Butt, fresh rosemary, and Vermouth. From the way it smells, I would say that it would most certainly be suitable for company. You be the judge.

Ragoût of Pork and Mushrooms with White Wine
(adapted from NOT Your Mother’s Slow Cooker recipes for Entertaining)
by Beth Hensperger,

1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups dry white wine Sauvignon Blanc recommended (can use Vermouth)
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary (I used 3 sprigs fresh rosemary)
1/4 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound fresh white or brown mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Coat the inside of the crock with nonstick cooking spray. Layer the onion, carrots, and garlic in the slow cooker.
Pat the meat cubes dry with paper towels and heat skillet over medium high heat with half of the oil. Brown half of the meat on all sides, taking about 4-5 minutes. Remove browned meat and add remaining oil and meat, allowing meat to brown on all sides. Place all of the browned meat in the cooker. Sprinkle the oil remaining in the skillet with the three tablespoons of flour and stir for 1 minute. Add the broth and 1 cup of wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper; cook and stir with a whisk until thickened. Pour over meat and vegetables in the cooker. Cover and cook on low until the pork is fork tender, 7-9 hours.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and gently cook the mushrooms, stirring until soft. Add to the slow cooker along with the remaining 1/4 cup wine, the parsley, and the lemon juice; cover and cook for 20-30 minutes. Serve hot with egg noodles. Serves 6
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Raw is a great way to get your veggies

and they go down real good in this recipe. You know why, don't you? It's called Bacon. Oh, and throw a little mayo and a little sugar. What's not to love. As my dear husband says: salt, sugar and grease, key ingredients for a surefire winner. Our friend Cleo introduced us to this delightful salad. Take it as your contribution to a covered dish outing and I'll guarantee you won't have leftovers and everyone will want the recipe. You can experiment with the type dried fruit and your preference of toasted nuts.

Broccoli Grape Salad:

1/4 lb  Bacon - cooked and broken into bite sized pieces
1 Bunch Broccoli - blanch the flowerets if you like, I don't
6 Small Green Onions - chopped
1 Cup Celery - chopped(optional)
1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds (or Sunflower kernels or what ever you think is good, toast to make crunchy)
1 Cup White Raisens ( or Craisens)
2 Cups Grapes - red seedless(if the grape is large, I cut into halves)
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Milk
1 Tlb Vinegar
1/4 Cup Sugar

Mix and pour dressing on when ready to serve
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Monday, March 2, 2009

What kids do, oh to be a kid again---or a dog---or a cat

Buck really tries hard to engage Max in a little ball play.

Mariam never misses an opportunity to play in the pond, mud works for her when there is no water. Mud pies, anyone? Oh wait, is that Pop Pop's boot?
Max, as a puppy would drop for a nap, especially if there was a sunbeam anywhere around
Buck and Buddie love lounging with each other
Even Kelly has been known to be dropped by a sunbeam

Central Florida has been on a weather rollercoaster just like most of America in recent days. All I can say is we haven't planted our tiny tomato and squash plants yet and I am glad, they wouldn't survive the frost we are expecting tonight. My potted citrus trees are covered in blooms and tender leaves, so we have lugged them in-- again.
I love soup, so I guess I can put up with a little more cold weather. The soup I want to share with you is big on flavor and comes together in less than an hour. I have always gotten great reviews and willing eaters of said soup.



* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 1/2 pounds sweet or hot Italian sausage, in the casing
* 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto ham, minced
* 2 medium onions, in medium dice
* 2 medium carrots, peeled and in medium dice
* 2 medium celery stalks, in medium dice
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
* 3 (15.8 ounce) cans great Northern or other white beans, undrained
* 1 quart chicken broth (carton or can)


1. Heat oil in a large, deep saute pan or soup kettle over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add sausages; cook, turning once or twice, until well-browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. (Sausage will not be fully cooked at this point.) Remove from pan. When cool enough to handle, cut into slices 1/4-inch thick.
2. Add prosciutto, onions, carrots, celery and thyme to the empty skillet; cook, stirring often, until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. In a small bowl, mash one can of beans with a fork into a chunky puree. Add broth, whole and mashed beans, and sausage; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, partially covered, to blend flavors, 20 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes; serve.

Then there is this favorite, so, so delicious:




Then there is this favorite, very similar to the Asian Chicken Noodle Soup sans noodles:

Gai Tom Ka

1 stalk lemongrass, remove outer sheath and the hard ends.  Hit the stalk a few times with the back of a knife or a heavy frying pan, cut into three pieces.
1 TBS canola or vegetable oil
1 medium onion finely minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. Thai red curry paste -( Maesri brand is good)
six slices of galangal (fresh or frozen) or ginger. Unpeeled, slice into six 1/8" thick slices
3 kaffir lime leaves, preferably fresh
4 cups of good chicken stock
3/4 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast sliced into strips
2 cups of shitake or early winter mushrooms, chopped in eighths.
1 can of unsweetned coconut milk
Juice of 2 limes
2 TBS Nam Pla (fish sauce)
3 scallions trimmed and sliced on the diagonal
1/4 cup minced cilantro

In a medium heavy saucepan add the oil, garlic and onion, turn heat to medium.  Cook for a minute, stirring and then ad the lemongrass, curry paste, galangal and lime leaves. 

Cook stirring often for about 3 -4 minutes.  The onion should begin to soften.  Add the stock and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. (At this point you can either refregerate the soup or shut it off for approx 1 hour to let the flavours develop.
Bring soup back up to a simmer and add the coconut milk and then the chicken and mushrooms.  Cook for about 5 minutes or just until the chicken is cooked.  Add the lime juice and Nam Pla.
Place in bowls and sprinkle with cilantro and scallion and have extra lime juice to squeeze on.

French Onion Soup
Then finally (for today anyway) there is this end all, be all Onion Soup that is the ultimate comfort soup.
I love two methods for preparing the onions, one is a long, slow ride in a crock pot (see link) and the other is a skin- on roast in the oven. Either way, no standing, stirring at the stovetop to caramelize the dudes.

Oven Roasted Garlic and Onion ( an alternate method for onion soup prep)
4 brown onions, halved but unpeeled
1 head of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place the cut onions and garlic in a baking paper lined tray. Drizzle over with olive oil, turning the onions & garlic over to ensure they are well coated before placing the onions cut side down on the tray. Bake for around an hour until they havesoftened. Let them cool slightly in the pan. Remove the onion skin and the next layer and cut it into thick pieces. Squeeze the garlic from each clove - mash it roughly with a fork. Continue with the recipe found in the link above.
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

This one is for you, Marie

Marie is on the lead horse, out on an Osceola ride a few years ago. Actually, she goes every year on this planned ride of several days through the the heart of Florida. She is out right now on this year's ride with her mare, Tellaco. She is a natural born horse woman and knows just about everyone in the world, well, at least the horse world. Marie feels the same way we do, life is just better on the back of a horse, out enjoying what God and nature gave us. Speaking of enjoy, if I had to associate the word enjoy with the word Marie, hands down, first thought would be horse, second would be marshmallow. She is the only person I know that will eat Fluff right out of the jar. Naturally, when I came across this recipe, I thought of Marie. Enjoy your ride, enjoy your marshmallow. Life is short, Life is good! Happy Trails to you.

Choco-Mallow (King Arthur Flour)

Ingredients :
2 2/3 cups chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon espresso powder
13 marshmallows, halved around the circumference , use 18 if omitting the nuts)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted if desired

1) Line an 8" x 8" square or 9" round pan with
parchment, and grease the parchment. If you don't
have parchment, use waxed paper or plastic wrap.
2) Combine the chocolate, cream, espresso powder,
corn syrup, and vanilla in a microwave-safe bowl.
3) Heat the mixture in the microwave (or in a
saucepan set over low heat on the stove) till the
cream is hot and the chocolate has softened.
4) Remove from the heat, and stir till the chocolate
has melted and everything is smooth.
5) Spread about 3/4 cup of the melted chocolate in
the bottom of the pan.
6) Space the marshmallow halves atop the chocolate.
Distribute the walnuts evenly in the spaces between
the marshmallows.
7) Spread the remaining chocolate atop the
marshmallows and walnuts, spreading to the edge of
the pan so that everything is covered.
8) Refrigerate for an hour or so, to set the chocolate.
Remove from the refrigerator, and loosen the candy
from the edges of the pan.
9) Bring to room temperature, and leave in the pan,
covered with plastic, till you're ready to cut into

Hands-on time:
10 mins. to 15 mins.
Yield: About 3 dozen small squares
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