Tuesday, March 26, 2013

52 Soups/Salads in 2013

On a scale of 1 - 5, we rated Soup #14 Chicken Barley Soup - 4.35

A good, hearty soup on a cold "spring" day! We'll definitely make this soup again.

Chicken Barley Soup
(Adapted from recipe from Taste of Home website)

1 broiler/fryer chicken (2 to 3 pounds), cut up (we used a Sam's rotisserie chicken instead)
8 cups water (we made our own chicken stock from the rotisserie chicken carcass - recipe below)
2 T. butter
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup medium pearl barley
1 cup chopped mushrooms
2 t. chicken bouillon granules
1 t. salt, optional
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. dry lovage, optional
1/2 t. poultry seasoning (we made our own poultry seasoning - recipe below)
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. rubbed sage
2 T. chopped parsley

In a large stockpot, cook chicken in water until tender. Cool broth and skim off fat. Set chicken aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones and cut meat into cubes. We used a Sam's rotisserie chicken and made our own broth from the carcass. See recipe below.

Saute carrots, celery and onions in 2 T. butter. Add broth, chicken, barley, mushrooms, chicken bouillon granules, salt (if using), bay leaf, lovage, poultry seasoning, pepper and sage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until vegetables and barley are tender. Discard bay leaf and add parsley before serving.

Chuck's Chicken Stock
1 rotisserie chicken carcass
3 to 4 celery tops with leaves
2 carrots, peeled and chunked
2 small potatoes, peeled and chunked
1 large onion, chunked
1/2 t. dried garlic
10 to 12 peppercorns
16 cups water
2 to 3 T. chicken base
1/2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup dried wild mushrooms
1/2 t. sea salt

Simmer for 6 to 8 hours. Strain liquid and make some soup! Freeze extra stock.

Homemade Poultry Seasoning
2 t. ground sage
1 1/2 t. ground thyme
1 t. ground marjoram
3/4 t. ground rosemary
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. finely ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Store in clean used spice bottle, tightly covered.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Old Bottles

A number of years ago, the property that had originally been owned by my great grandparents, William and Jane Conley Sheehan, was purchased by a kind lady named Judy. This farm is about a mile north of my childhood home. She visited with Dad several times regarding his memories of the farm and then painted her and Dad's vision of the farm as the house burned to the ground many years ago. Here is a photo of her painting. . .

Several months ago, Judy called my sister Katy and asked if we wanted some old bottles that she had found on the property. After cleaning the bottles the best I could, they are real treasures.

After seeing an idea to place photos inside old bottles, here are the results. . .

Judy's painting of the Sheehan Farm in 1900

Dad on a John Deere tractor 

William and Jane Conley Sheehan, my great grandparents who owned the farm where the bottles were found, and a photo of Dad and Mom 

 Jim McNerney (Grandma Sheehan's brother), Grandpa and Grandma Sheehan, Dad, Uncle John (Joan's dad) and Uncle Leonard holding the dog. Dad's other brother, Bernard, was serving in WWII.

Thanks so much Judy, for our new "old" treasured memories!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

52 Soups/Salads in 2013

On a scale of 1 - 5, we rated Soup #13 Irish Stew - 4.60

It was a very good stew and perfect for St. Patrick's Day! The Irish Soda Bread was also delicious but next time we'll add less sugar and maybe soak the raisins in Irish Whiskey. . .hmmm. . .

Irish Stew
(recipe from Simply Recipes website)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 large garlic cloves, minced
6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
1 T. beef base
1 cup of Guinness beer
1 cup of fine red wine
3 to 4 T. tomato paste
1 T. sugar
1 T. dried thyme
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 T. (1/4 stick) butter
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
Salt and pepper
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and saute until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add beef stock, beef base, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

While the meat and stock are simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots, saute vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew has simmered for one hour.

Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.

Irish Soda Bread
(Recipe from Brother Rick Curry, The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking)

5 cups sifted all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
2 1/2 cups mixed light and dark raisins, soaked in water for 15 to 20 minutes and drained (we only used 1 cup light raisins but will soak in Irish whiskey next time)
3 T. caraway seeds (we only used 1 T and that was plenty)
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, slightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter two (9 by 5-inch) bread pans.

Stir together the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in the butter and mix very thoroughly with your hands until it gets grainy. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.

Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture. Stir until well moistened. Shape dough into 2 loaves and place in the pans.

Bake for 1 hour. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Cool in the pans for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's St. Patrick's Day


On this cold, rainy St. Patrick's Day we are making Irish Stew and Irish Soda Bread. The bread has been baked and it's yummy. . .

We'll make the stew later today and will post photos with the recipe. It's one of our favorite stews!

Happy St. Pat's Day to everyone!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Pete!

Our nephew Pete is having a birthday today. Happy Birthday, Pete!

Hope you have a great day. Give Laura a hug for us.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Song that made Chuck smile today

"Hang on Little Tomato" by Pink Martini

Monday, March 11, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Brother Jim is having a birthday today. Happy Birthday!

Have a good one, Jim!

Friday, March 8, 2013

52 Soups/Salads in 2013

On a scale of 1 -5, we rated Soup #12 Denver Chowder - 4.40

Very, very good soup. We loved it!

Denver Chowder
(recipe from Colorado Classique. . .thanks for the cookbook, Sarah!)

2 T butter, softened
2 T flour
2 T butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 large poblano or pasilla chiles, seeded and chopped (we used mild Hatch chiles)
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
2 15-oz cans cream-style corn
1 16 oz package frozen corn, or 2 cups fresh
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream (we used fat free Half & Half)
2 t sugar
1/2 t cayenne pepper (we used Old Bay Seasoning)
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
2 T chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Mix 2 tablespoons softened butter with flour in a small bowl to blend, set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and saute 6 minutes or until softened. Add chiles, peppers, cream-style corn, frozen corn, broth, cream, sugar and cayenne. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Whisk in flour mixture and simmer 15 minutes. (We added 2 T more flour to make the soup a little thicker). Add shrimp and 1/4 cup cilantro. Simmer 5 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with remaining cilantro. Serves 6 portions.