Thursday, January 31, 2013

52 Soups/Salads in 2013


And Chuck made some yummy braided rolls!

On a scale of 1 - 5, we rated Soup #5 Potato and Bacon with Cheddar - 4.35

We loved this soup! In our opinion the only flaw in this soup was it was a little too thin for us. Next time we make it we'll make it a little thicker. Very good soup!

Potato and Bacon with Cheddar
(Recipe from The Soup Sisters Cookbook. . .thanks for the cookbook, Sarah!)

4 slices bacon, diced
1 1/2 cups washed and sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only
1 1/2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced (we used red potatoes as that is what we had)
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup shredded aged cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Saute the bacon until crispy.

Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Saute the leeks in the bacon fat remaining in the pot over medium-low heat until the leeks are softened.

Stir in the potatoes and thyme.

Add the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low.

Simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese and sour cream. (We added some of the hot broth to the sour cream first and then returned to the soup). Add salt and pepper to taste.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Gertrude!

Today our good friend Gertrude is having a birthday!

Gertrude (on right) with a friend
 Summer of 1963

Happy Birthday, Gertrude! We hope you have a wonderful day.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Thanks, IKEA!

While we were in Denver over Christmas, we visited IKEA. Upon entering this huge store, you can pick up a map and a big yellow bag for all your goodies. Then follow the arrows and wander through the store. We thought the kitchen items were reasonably priced and good quality. Along the way, we found a display of containers full of . . . pigs.

And they feed you too! For $3.99 you can get 15 Swedish meatballs with cream sauce, mashed potatoes and lingonberries. Really good!

Our IKEA deal of the day. . .8x10 black picture frames for $.99 each with no limit on quantity. We stocked up and so did Sarah. We might have gone a little crazy!

Our new wall of photos in the dining room. Love them! Thanks, IKEA!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

52 Soups/Salads in 2013

Oops, forgot to include the potatoes, flour and Mexican oregano in the photo.





 We thought cornbread would be a nice compliment to the stew. . .and it was!

On a scale of 1 - 5, we rated Soup #4 Green Chili with Pork - 4.12

The overall flavor of this soup was wonderful, but a little too "spicy". Next time we'll use less of the hot Hatch chilies and more of the mild. The cornbread was very good also.

Green Chili with Pork
(adapted from several recipes)

2 lbs. pork roast, cut to bite size pieces
2 tablespoons lard or cooking oil
1 large chopped onion
4 to 5 teaspoons minced garlic
6 tablespoons flour
1 (15 ounce) can tomatoes, drained (we used 2 cups of frozen tomatoes)
3 cups roasted Hatch chilies (we used 2 cups mild and 1 cup hot), puree 1 cup chilies and dice the others
3 large tomatillos, husks removed and coarsely chopped
5 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons vegetable base (optional)
1 cup fire roasted red peppers
2 potatoes, diced 1/2"
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Australian Aussie pepper mix
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon salt

Brown pork and set aside. In the same pot, saute the onions and garlic until tender. Add flour until the fat is absorbed. Add the broth and vegetable base. Stir until mixture comes to a boil and is slightly thickened. Add pork, drained tomatoes, chopped tomatillos, Hatch chilies, fire roasted red peppers and spices. Simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. Add diced potatoes 30 to 40 minutes before serving.

Friday, January 18, 2013

In Search of Eagles

While in Lawrence last week, we decided to see if we could spot a few bald eagles around Clinton Lake on our way to Carlena and Barney's.

 First, we were greeted by "Duck Friend"

Hundreds of Canadian geese

 The white pelicans were impressive

We did see a few bald eagles at a far, far distance

Sorry about the blur. . .think we need a larger telephoto lens.
 We were treated to a beautiful sunset

Thanks for the great soup, Carlena (and the Jayhawks won)!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Flashback Memories

Rita's maternal grandparents, Frank and Ellen Reardon.

Grandpa Reardon was born on January 16, 1889 (124 years ago today). He spent many Sunday afternoons teaching us to play cards -- pitch and pinochle were our favorites. I had forgotten the story of "Doggie" until I recently found this clipping. . .

Sunday, January 13, 2013

52 Soups/Salads in 2013



For the meatballs:

 These meatballs are wonderful!

For the soup:

On a scale of 1 - 5, we rated Soup #3 Italian Wedding Soup - 4.75

We loved this soup, especially the chicken meatballs. We doubled the meatball recipe and froze the extras. (Note: there weren't that many extras as we kept snacking on them as the soup was cooking.) Looking forward to leftovers for lunch today. We'll make this soup again!

Italian Wedding Soup
(Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)

For the meatballs:
3/4 pound ground chicken (As we couldn't find ground chicken, we used a whole chicken, deboned it and ground in a food processor.)
1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed (we used Italian Chicken sausage found at Sam's Club)
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
10 cups homemade chicken stock (we used store bought as we didn't have enough homemade)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
1/4 cup minced fresh dill (we only used a tablespoon as we thought 1/4 cup might be too much dill)
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed (we used a 6 ounce  package as that is what we had)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.