Saturday, May 20, 2017

Scandinavian Fruit Soup! - #soupswappers

It is Saturday.  Just the sound of the word brings a smile...of course, when one is retired, everyday is Saturday!  Three cheers for Saturday!  This is the third Saturday of the month which means that today is Soup Saturday Swappers.  The Saturday Soup Swappers is a group of bloggers brought together by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm. The group gets together on the third Saturday of the month to share soups or stews based on a theme selected by one of the members. If you are interested in joining in on the fun, follow the link above for more information. All are welcome!

Today I am sharing a fruit soup that is part of the Scandinavian cuisine.  They are usually made with stone fruits like peaches or cherries but in the winter, dried fruits are used.  Cream or some kind of dairy can also be added...so is a fruit soup like a smoothie only eaten with a spoon?  Yes, no, maybe!

Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla selected this month's theme.  She stretched my mind with this one, but in a good way!  Thank you, Camilla, for challenging me this month!




Scandinavian Fruit Soup

1 cup water
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (optional)
3 Tbsp Minute Tapioca
6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
2 1/2 cups water

1 small pkg frozen tropical mixed fruit
1 small pkg frozen raspberries
1 banana, sliced, for top
1-2 Tbsp toasted coconut for garnish

In a medium saucepan mix 1 cup water, sugar, tapioca over medium heat until the tapioca turns clear. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.  Chill.  The mixture will thicken slightly.  Whisk well.

Add the frozen fruits.  Chill thoroughly.

Serve cold topped with banana slices and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

Notes:  Soup may be served cold or warmed.  Any mixture of fruits will work.



I had to really think to wrap my head around fruit describing soup, two opposites in a sense..one describing the other.  Two totally different images battling it out in my head.  And, yes, Mr. T. shook his head when I blew across the spoon before taking a bite!  Well, soup, in my head, is hot!  Old habits die hard but, you know, I could eat fruit soup again!  It was perfect last night as we relaxed on the patio.  In fact, it was darn right refreshing!


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Citrus and Herb Marinated Olives

I know, I have been neglecting the blog.  It isn't that I am not cooking.  We do have to eat.  It isn't because I don't have new recipes to share.  I have quite a few drafts that are collecting dust. Sometimes I feel as though I am writing to myself!

I am not trying to become a world famous cookbook author.  I am not trying to see who can get the most followers.  I am not interested in creating the most fattening dessert in the world.  (But there are days when I would like to taste it!) I am not interested in making movies.  I don't view everybody else as competition.  I am just a gal who likes to try new recipes, cook and share.

I must also admit that I have been sharing less as I have become intrigued with making quilt tops.  I have been participating in two weekly projects, one is Pat Sloan's Solstice Challenge.  (182 days to complete a quilt - winter solstice to summer solstice) Each week we are presented with a new block to add to the quilt top. This is the first time that I have worked on a quilt top that is asymmetrical and the first time I have worked blind.  By blind I mean I have had no idea how the layout would come together so I have struggled with color selections and spacing.  We are on week 21 and I have learned a lot!  I like to think that I am getting better as I go...and since I only have to please me, I have!  Here are a few of my favorite squares.


I did find some time to have guests for dinner.   These delicious Citrus and Herb Marinated Olives helped to start the evening.  The olives are marinated in a combination of citrus and herbs.  They are really habit forming.



Citrus and Herb Marinated Olives
adapted from The Yellow Table

1 cup mixed olives (with pits)  (I used a container of mixed olives from Trader Joe's, drained)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tsp thinly sliced lemon zest, rough chop
1 1/2 tsp thinly sliced orange zest, rough chop
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 sprig rosemary, (about 3 inches) leaves striped, quick rough chop
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Stir together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.  Allow the olives to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before serving.  Place the olives in a serving dish and enjoy!

PRINTABLE RECIPE


I am sharing at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Celery Soup with Horseradish Cream and Ham Chips

I love it when a plan comes together!  It makes me smile.  It makes me happy.  That is how I felt when I was putting together the menu for our gourmet group and Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez at All Roads Lead to the Kitchen selected root vegetables as the theme for this month's Saturday Soup Swappers. I was doing a happy dance as everything just came together...and there was a table of food critics to sample the dish!

The Saturday Soup Swappers is a group of bloggers brought together by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm. The group gets together on the third Saturday of the month to share soups or stews based on a theme selected by one of the members. If you are interested in joining in on the fun, follow the link above for more information. All are welcome!

This soup was so smooth and had a lovely flavor. The horseradish cream and ham chips gave it an extra flavor boost.  I loved the little bit of heat from the cream and the crunch from the chips. The word around the table was delicious!


Celery Soup with Horseradish Cream 
and Ham Chips
Soupe De Céleri-Rave A La Crème De Raifort Et Chips De Jambon
adapted from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

Yield:  6 servings

Horseradish Cream
1 1/2 cups crème fraîche
Generous pinch of sea or Kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish

Ham Chips
6 slices prosciutto

Soup
4 large leeks, cleaned
6 Tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or Kosher salt, plus additional if needed
1 1/2 pounds celery root
1 bay leaf
6 sprigs thyme
6 cups water
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
Minced fresh chives, for garnish

Prepare the horseradish cream.  Whip the crème fraîche in a metal bowl with a whisk until it thickens. It should hold it's shape when you remove the whisk from the bowl. Whisk in the salt and lemon juice.  Stir in the horseradish.  Let the mixture chill for an hour to allow the flavors to meld.  (It is best make 3 to 4 hours in advance.)

Prepare the ham chips.  Preheat the oven:  350° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Lay the slices of prosciutto on the paper, evenly spaced.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Turn the slices midway through.  Watch the ham carefully as the thickness determines how quickly they crisp up.  When they feel dry and firm, remove from the oven and let them cool until crisp.  Store the chips in an airtight container until ready to use.

Prepare the soup.  Slice the leeks into 1/4-inch slices, white and light green parts, only.  Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the sliced leeks and cook for 10 minutes until the leeks are completely soft.  Add salt midway through cooking.

As the leeks are cooking, peel the celery root.  To peel the celery root, cut off the top and bottom ends of the root and set it on a cutting board, flat side down.  Cut away the coarse skin, slicking it with a curved motion to match the curvature of the root.  Conserve as much flesh as possible.  Slice the root into 3/4-inch thick slices.  Cut the slices into cubes.  Add the cubes to the pot along with the water, bay leaf, and thyme.  Bring to a boil.  Decrease the heat so that the mixture is at a simmer.  Cover with the lid askew.  Cook the mixture for 30 to 40 minutes until the celery root is tender.  Pierce some cubes to check for tenderness.

Remove the bay leaf and the thyme.  Let the soup cool to tepid.  Add the white pepper.  Blend the soup until completely smooth.  A hand blender or processor may also be used.  If using a blender and the soup is still warm, only fill the container halfway.  At this point the soup may be stored covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

To serve the soup, reheat and ladle into serving bowls.  Add a generous dollop of horseradish cream and then crumble the ham chips over the top.  Sprinkle chives over the top and serve.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


This plan was perfect!  I thought the soup was amazing and since the most time intensive part is peeling the celery root and even that didn't take too long, I would make this bowl of deliciousness again!


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Corn and Jalapeño Muffins




Somebody at church made the most tasty cheese and jalapeño biscuits.  I wanted to sit down and eat the entire plate of them.  They were cheesy but not too much and they had a bit of a bite but not so much that it puckered my lips.  Sadly, I couldn't eat all that were on the platter but I sure wanted to do it.  That is what sent me on a quest to find a recipe for a cheesy jalapeño muffin!  It sounded like a good idea, right?

There are times when something sounds really good but it just doesn't come together.  I was disappointed.  This recipe sounded really good and they were but just not close to what I had tasted at church.  Basically, I selected a jalapeño that had absolutely no kick!  I had cheesy, I had the corn, they did pass....but there was no kick....I wanted the kick....

Since I was taking them to a friend's I had wanted them be a little more impressive!  As it goes, her son snatched up a couple as he was going out the door. The next day he sent a picture of the breakfast casserole he had made using the muffins.  Now that, sounded really good!

Corn and Jalapeño Muffins
adapted from New York Times Cooking

Yield: about 12 large muffins or 36 mini muffins

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 ounces grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven:  400° F.

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the corn kernels and the jalapeño and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Place 4 Tablespoons of butter in a glass bowl.  Melt the butter in the microwave, about 30-45 seconds.  Watch it closely.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.  Beat in the eggs and buttermilk to make a thick batter.  Fold in the corn kernels, the jalapeño and melted butter.  Stir in the shredded cheese.

For large muffins, fill muffin papers 3/4 full with batter.  Bake about 12 minutes.  Test the muffins with a toothpick before removing from the oven.  (If you prefer, muffins may be baked in a well buttered muffin tin.)

For mini muffins, place about 1 1/2 Tablespoons batter in each section.  Bake about 10 minutes, until golden. Check for doneness using a toothpick.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


They may not have been the jalapeño muffin of my dreams, but,
they sure didn't last long!

I am sharing at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Turkey Tortilla Soup - #soupswappers

Turkey Tortilla Soup...what a tasty and healthy soup!   This soup was so delicious, that there was no question about whether or not leftovers should be served.  Actually, seeing the bottom of the pan was disappointing!

Living in California, Mexican cuisine is just a regular part of our rotation.  I love the flavors, the spices, the spiciness...just about everything.  Now, can I make really authentic dishes?  Well, sometimes, it all depends.  Is this soup authentic?  Probably not. For authenticity I do refer to Rick Bayless, my favorite source for Mexican cooking.  Did I refer to Rick for this recipe, no.  But, I did use his technique for preparing the tortilla strips.

Today is Soup Swapper Saturday and our theme is Mexican Soups!  I am really looking forward to each participant's post today...I so love Mexican cuisine.  Our hostess today is Karen at Karen's Kitchen Stories.  Thank you, Karen, for selecting such a great theme!!

The Saturday Soup Swappers is a group of bloggers brought together by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm.  The group gets together on the third Saturday of the month to share soups or stews based on a theme selected by one of the members.  If you are interested in joining in on the fun, follow the link above for more information. All are welcome!


Turkey Tortilla Soup
adapted from Food and Wine

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 red bell peppers, small dice
1 jalapeño, seeded, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used the smaller amount and adjusted for our tastes.)
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound ground turkey
1 28-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

Toppings
Six 4-inch corn tortillas, cut into narrow strips
2 limes, cut into wedges
1 avocado diced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Sour Cream (optional)
Shredded Monterey jack cheese or crumbled queso fresco

Preheat oven:  375° (for the tortilla strips)

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven.  Add the onion and peppers.  Cook, over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add the jalapeño and garlic. Cook 1 minute.  Add the spices:  chili powder, cumin, cocoa, oregano, paprika, cayenne, red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few twists of black pepper.  Stir.  Add the turkey and cook, breaking up the turkey with a wooden spoon, until it is browned and cooked through.  About 8-9 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and the chicken broth.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Prepare the tortilla stips while the soup is simmering.

Cut the tortillas into strips. Place the strips on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Mist both sides lightly with vegetable oil. Bake, stirring them around once or twice, until they are crisp and lightly golden, 10-15 minutes.

When the soup is finished simmering, stir in the beans and the corn.  Allow the mixture to simmer until it reaches serving temperature.

Ladle into bowls and serve with the tortilla strips, a squeeze of lime and additional toppings as desired.

Note:  The soup keeps well and may be prepared the day before.  Add all of the garnishes just before serving.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


I'll be making this soup again soon.  It was hearty, healthy and flavorful!




Thursday, March 16, 2017

Buttermilk-Chive Mashed Potatoes aka Always Have a Back-Up Plan

Always have a back-up plan.  

I was really excited about the recipe that I found for this month's Improv Cooking Challenge.  The theme was potatoes and chives and it was March!  What could be more perfect?  I think it was the recipe that I was going to make....it didn't happen.

Things started out smoothly but quickly changed when my mom came down with a bit of pneumonia. That meant long days at the doctor, the lab, the radiologist and the pharmacy...repeated each week for three weeks.  I am happy to say that the CAT scan on Friday was clear.  That said.  I haven't gotten groceries not have I cooked much.

I did however, have a back-up plan that wasn't really I hadn't thought of as a back-up plan.  I just happened to have everything that I needed and was trying to use up some buttermilk.  Thus, we have today's post:  Buttermilk-Chive Mashed Potatoes.  Not the most difficult side dish and rather obvious for the ingredients, but I am so happy that I made them and photographed them for future!!

They were wonderful!  I remember my mom using buttermilk in mashed potatoes on occasion and how good they were.  These hit the mark especially with butter melting on them!  When I make mashed potatoes, I don't measure.  I use liquid sparingly and aim for consistency of the mashed potatoes.  We prefer potatoes that are on the thick side.  That said, below is the recipe that I used as a guide for ingredients.


Buttermilk-Chive Mashed Potatoes
adapted from The Irish Spirit by Margaret Johnson


Yield:  4-6 servings

3 pounds baking potatoes, peeled ad cut into small chunks
1/2 cup unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter, cut into pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain.  Return the potatoes to the pot.  Mash over low heat until they are almost smooth or to your desired consistency.  Stir in the butter. Add the buttermilk and half and half in parts mixing after each part. Stop when they are at your desired consistency.  Mix in the thyme and chives.  Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

Note:  Everybody has a preference when it comes to the consistency of their mashed potatoes.  I did not use all of the liquid in the recipe.  I added it in parts until I was happy with the consistency.  



Simple but delicious!



The Improv Cooking Challenge Facebook Group is a monthly challenge supported by Nicole Little at Cookaholic Wife.  Each month two ingredients are listed and the challenge is to create or find a recipe that you would like to prepare and share.  Everything you need to know can be found on Nicole's blog.  Join us!


Monday, March 13, 2017

Cheddar Walnut Bread

I love March.  I love the wind, the rain, the warm sunshine, the wildflowers, it stays daylight longer and there is a hint that spring is around the corner.  In March my cooking changes.  I don't prepare as much comfort food.  Our comfort comes from the warm sunshine and being able to use the barbecue more frequently.

In March I spend time perusing Irish cookbooks.  My daughter surprised me with my first Irish cookbook, The Irish Spirit by Margaret Johnson.  In that particular book, the recipes were inspired by the drinks of Ireland.  This led me to The Irish Pub Cookbook featuring recipes from various pubs in Ireland.  And, that is how I came across this delicious Cheddar Walnut Bread!  One can only make so many loaves of soda bread trying to find the "right" recipe before deciding to try something else!


Cheddar Walnut Bread
adapted from The Irish Pub Cookbook by Margaret Johnson

Yield:  1 loaf

1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons sugar
6 Tablespoons unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups Kerrygold Vintage Cheddar Cheese, grated
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Prepare a 9 X 5 X 3 inch loaf pan by lightly buttering.

In a food processor combine the flours, dry mustard, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Pulse to blend.  Add the butter pieces and process for 10-15 seconds, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Set aside 1 Tablespoon cheese and 1 Tablespoon chopped walnuts for the topping. Add the remaining to the processor.  Pulse 8 to 10 times to blend.

Add the eggs and buttermilk to the mixture and process 10-20 seconds, or until a soft dough forms. Spoon the dough into the prepared loaf pan.  Smooth the top with a rubber spatula that has bee dipped in buttermilk.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese and walnuts over the top.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


Should you be searching for a great soda bread recipe, you might be interested in this Not Just Any Irish Soda Bread recipe...it is super!!

I am participating at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.