Thursday, October 31, 2013

52 Soups/Salads in 2013

Klutska is a Polish chicken and dumpling soup. . .delicious!

Slice the carrots and chop the celery and onions

Dice chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper

Saute chicken until tender and slightly brown and set aside

Saute carrots and celery for about 5 minutes

Add onions and cook until tender

Add mushrooms

Bring chicken broth to a boil and add chicken base, lovage, bay leaves, allspice and sauted vegetables.

Mix ingredients for dumplings

Roll into two 1/2-inch ropes

Cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Remove bay leaves and allspice berries

Bring mixture to a boil and drop in dumpling pieces

Add chopped parsley right before serving

We rated Soup #38 Klutska Soup on a scale of 1 - 5:  4.50

This very tasty chicken and dumpling soup is a traditional Polish soup. The dumplings expanded more than we anticipated so next time we'll cut them smaller, but that is the only change we'll make. The recipe suggested serving with crusty bread or atop a bowl of boiled potatoes. Very, very good!

Soup #38 Klutska Soup
(adapted from recipe in "How we Became One", a Penzey cookbook)

3 T. olive oil
2 chicken breasts
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. salt
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch coins
2 celery stocks cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 onion, diced
1 c. sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 qts. homemade chicken broth
1 T. chicken base
1 T. fresh chopped lovage
2 whole bay leaves
3 whole allspice berries
2 T. fresh shopped parsley

2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup almond milk
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 t. baking powder

Dice two chicken breasts into 1/2-inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper and saute in 2 T. olive oil until tender and slightly brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add remainder of olive oil to pan and saute carrots and celery for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until onions are tender. Then add mushrooms and saute for another couple minutes. In a large pot, bring chicken broth to a boil and add chicken base, lovage, sauteed vegetables, bay leaves, allspice and chicken. Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes allowing vegetables to soften and flavors to infuse the broth.

Mix ingredients for dumplings in a small bowl until well combined. Add enough extra flour to make the dough into two 1/2-inch ropes and cut into 1/2-inch chunks.

Remove bay leaves and allspice berries and discard. Bring mixture to boil and drop in dumpling pieces. Return soup to simmer and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Note:  We learned that a little bit of allspice flavor with the bay leaves did some amazing things to the taste of the soup.

52 Soups/Salads in 2013

 Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat.

 Chop the green peppers, jalapenos, onions, celery, carrots and garlic

 Cook the green peppers, onions, celery and carrots over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until the onions start to brown.

 Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

 Add the chicken stock

 Add the tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, corn, black beans, cumin, coriander, Mexican oregano, salt and pepper

 Cut the tortillas in half, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips

 Add tortilla strips to the soup. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes.

 Chop the cilantro

 Add the shredded chicken and cilantro to the soup

We rated Soup #37 Mexican Chicken Soup on a scale of 1 - 5:  4.50

Very good soup, however, it was a little too spicy hot and next time we'll use only one jalapeno.

Soup #37 Mexican Chicken Soup
(adapted recipe from Barefoot Contessa)

4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts bone in, skin on
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
2 cups chopped green peppers
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 cups corn
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (next time we'll use only one!)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the green peppers, onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, corn, black beans, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, Mexican oregano, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using (we added the cilantro at the end). Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste.

Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quincy's in Charge

 A blue heron (aka Harold) flies in looking for lunch

Quincy notices the heron and realizes all is not in order
The heron comes over to investigate Quincy

They have a staring contest. . .

Finally the heron gives up

Once again, Quincy restores order on Quincy Street!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Last Hurrah

With frost in the forecast tonight, this is the last "flower" hurrah. . .
The pentas were exceptional year, especially in the hot weather 

 Angelonia is one of our favorite annuals and the bees loved it too

 Loved these coral calibrachoa that we planted in our window boxes

 For many years we have been digging up these Mexican petunias to overwinter in the greenhouse. You can count on them to be blooming in late summer.

We love our Knock Out rose bushes. . .they are tough

 Pampas grass in the flower bed near the street

 Petunias have become one of our reliable annuals
 The last blooms of our clematis
 Dried hydrangea
 The vinca outdid itself this year, very drought resistant

  We only have one true rose bush which has been around for many years

 The shamrock plant will be spending time in the greenhouse this winter. Hopefully we won't kill it.

 Beautiful yellow mums


This summer's last hurrah!