Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Desserts R Us

Thanksgiving "Desserts R Us". . .

 Carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese icing. . .yum!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Marble pumpkin and chocolate cheesecake tart. . .beautiful and hopefully delicious!
 
 
 

Two desserts down and two pies yet to make.
 
Can't wait to see everyone tomorrow!
 
 
 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

52 Soups/Salads in 2013







 Chop onion


 Used these cute prep bowls for the thyme, garlic, salt and pepper (thanks, Linda. . .love them!)


 Grate cheese


 Melt butter over medium-high heat


 Add onions, salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook until soft, about 3 minutes


 Add thyme


 And garlic


 And flour and cook until mixture is well blended, about 2 minutes


 Slowly add the chicken stock and bring to a boil


 Add the broccoli and cook until tender, about 10 minutes


 Remove the pot from the heat and puree with a hand-held immersion blender


 Add the cream and bring to bare simmer to heat through


Add the cheese and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted



If using bread bowls, remove bread from inside of bowl, cut into cubes and toss with oil and Emeril's Essence.


Bake until light golden brown, about 6 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.




We rated Soup #43 Broccoli and Cheese Soup with Croutons on a scale of 1 - 5:  4.00
 
 
We didn't totally puree the soup as we wanted some broccoli chunks remaining and the soup tasted very good when first served. However, after reheating the leftovers, the broccoli was too soft and mushy. Maybe we should have fully pureed the soup in the first place. Chuck came up with a great solution. He mixed the leftover Carrot Soup (Soup #42) with the leftover Broccoli/Cheese Soup and the combination was an improvement on both of them.
 
 
Broccoli and Cheese Soup with Croutons
(recipe from Emeril Lagasse)
 
3 T. unsalted butter, plus 2 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (we didn't use the last 2T butter)
1 c. yellow onions or sliced leeks (white parts only, well rinsed)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground white pepper
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 t. minced garlic
1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 T. all-purpose flour
3 c. chicken stock or canned, low-sodium chicken broth
1 (16-oz.) package frozen broccoli, thawed and separated
1/2 c. heavy cream (we used half and half)
1 1/4 c. shredded medium Cheddar cheese (we used both white and yellow cheddar cheese)
Croutons, for garnish, recipe follows
 
In a medium pot, melt the 3 T. butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, cook, stirring, until fragrant, for 20 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring until the mixture is well blended and smells fragrant, 2 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook , stirring, until tender, for 10 minutes.
 
Remove the pot from the heat and puree with a hand-held immersion blender. Alternatively, in batches, puree in a blender or food processor and return to the pot.
 
Add the cream and bring to bare simmer to heat through. Add the cheese and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted. Add the remaining 2 T. cold butter, stirring to blend (we didn't use these last 2 T. butter).
 
Remove from the heat and ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle croutons over the top of the soup and serve immediately.
 
Croutons:
1 c. cubed French bread, cut in 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces (we used bread from bread bowls)
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 t. Essence or Creole seasoning (recipe for Emeril's Essence on Soup #39)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
 
Place the bread in a medium bowl and toss with oil and Essence. Spread evenly on a small baking sheet and bake, stirring twice, until light golden brown on top, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.
 
 
 
 


Friday, November 22, 2013

Stoneware Bread Bakers

 New stoneware bread bakers







 Even the inside is gorgeous



 Bread dough rising



 Bread baking in the oven (maybe someone should have cleaned the oven first!)



 Fresh out of the oven







 Even though we sliced the bread while it was too hot . . .



 It tasted great and was even better with butter!



 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

52 Soups/Salads in 2013









 Chop the large onion



Melt margarine and add onions
 
 
 
 Cook onions on low for up to 25 minutes, covered



 Peel and chop carrots; chop the garlic clove



 Add carrots and garlic to onion mixture



 Add water and bouillon (or chicken stock)



 Boil until carrots are soft



 Remove from heat and puree



 Add salt and pepper to taste



 Add parsley if desired




We rated Soup #42 Simple Carrot Soup on a scale of 1 - 5:  3.50


After tasting a carrot soup at Cozy's Cafe in Overland Park, I was really anxious to attempt to make it at home. However, this version of carrot soup was a real disappointment. It was nothing like the delicious soup in KC. We'll definitely look for another recipe next time, if there is a next time. BTW, the ham and cheese sandwich was delicious!


Simple Carrot Soup
(recipe from grouprecipes.com)

4 T. butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
2 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped (not in original recipe but we added)
4 c. water
2 cubes chicken stock/bouillon (we used our own frozen chicken stock)
Pepper to taste
Salt, if desired
Parsley, chopped (not in original recipe but we added)
Water as necessary

Melt margarine in large pot, add onions. Cook onions on low for up to 25 minutes, covered. You're attempting translucency here so 5 minutes will work, but the superior taste is in the time. Add water, carrots and stock cubes. Boil until carrots are soft. Remove from heat and puree. Add water as necessary to obtain desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

52 Soups/Salads in 2013

 
 
 
 




 Bake the potatoes, cool and dice



 Combine potato flakes with chicken broth



 Saute celery and carrots about 5 minutes and finish in microwave until soft



 Dice bacon and cook until browned



Drain bacon on paper towel and set aside 2 T. bacon grease



Melt butter and add the bacon grease



Add flour and cook, stirring, until flour is lightly browned
 


 
Slowly stir in milk to make a medium white sauce and then add potato-broth mixture



Add vegetables, diced potatoes, garlic powder, white pepper, sugar and black pepper.
Add salt to taste.
 
 
 





We rated Soup #41 Baked Potato Soup on a scale of 1 - 5:  4.50
 
Very good soup that Chuck has made for many years. Maybe this batch could be a little thinner but it was very tasty!
 
Baked Potato Soup
(recipe adapted from "Soups, Stews and Casseroles" cookbook)
 
3 large baked potatoes, with skin on, diced
1/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes or granules
2 cups chicken broth
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 carrots, diced
4 slices thick bacon
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk (we used Almond milk)
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. ground white pepper
1/4 t. granulated sugar (we used Xagave nectar)
1/4 t. ground black pepper (we used Australian Bush Pepper Blend)
Salt, to taste (optional)
 
For toppings (optional):
5 T.  grated Cheddar cheese
5 T. chopped fresh chives
 
Bake the potatoes, cool slightly, dice and set aside.
 
In a medium mixing bowl, combine potato flakes with chicken broth; set aside.
 
Saute celery and carrots for about 5 minutes and finish in microwave until soft. Dice bacon, cook until browned and drain on paper towel. Set aside 2 T. bacon grease.
 
Melt butter and add the bacon grease. Add flour and cook, stirring, until flour is lightly browned. Slowly stir in milk. Cook, stirring continuously, to make a medium white sauce. Add potato-broth mixture, vegetables, diced potatoes, garlic powder, white pepper, sugar and black pepper. Add salt to taste. Simmer until soup is desired thickness. Top each serving with cheese and chives, if desired.