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.
SAUSAGE-WHITE BEAN 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:
ASIAN CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
2 TABLESPOONS CANOLA OIL
2 SMALL ONIONS, MINCED
4 CLOVES GARLIC, MINCED
2 STALKS LEMON GRASS, CUT IN ONE INCH PIECES
1 TABLESPOON RED CURRY PASTE (THAI)
1 TABLESPOON FRESHLY GRATED GINGER
2 LIMES, ZEST GRATED, JUICE RESERVED
2 QUARTS CHICKEN STOCK
2 CANS (13OZ EACH) UNSWEETENED COCONUT MILK
2 POUNDS BONELESS, SKINLESS CHICKEN BREASTS, CUT INTO 1/4-INCH SLICES
3 CUPS SHITAKE MUSHROOMS, CUT INTO STRIPS
1 PACKAGE (8 OUNCES) LINGUINE, COOKED, DRAINED
4 TABLESPOONS ASIAN FISH SAUCE
6 SCALLIONS, SLICED DIAGONALLY
1/2 CUP MINCED CILANTRO
IN LG STOCKPOT, PLACE OIL OVER MED. HEAT. ADD ONIONS AND GARLIC AND SAUTE 5 MINUTES. ADD LEMON GRASS, CURRY PASTE, GINGER, AND LIME ZEST; COOK 3 MINUTES MORE. STIR IN CHICKEN STOCK AND BRING TO A BOIL. REDUCE HEAT AND SIMMER 15 MINUTES. ADD COCONUT MILK, CHICKEN, MUSHROOMS AND COOKED PASTA. COOK ABOUT 10 MINUTES UNTIL CHICKEN IS DONE. REMOVE FROM HEAT; STIR IN RESERVED LIME JUICE AND FISH SAUCE. GARNISH WITH SCALLIONS AND CILANTRO. MAKES 8 SERVINGS.
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.