Saturday, January 31, 2015

now that is good

Inspired by Ree Drummond and a sale on potatoes...potato bacon bisque - too good.

5 medium potatoes, scrubbed and peeled (I used da hoe? what?)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
8 pieces of bacon
1/2 cup cream
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons flour
8 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
dash (or two) of cayenne pepper - we like heat so I used about 1/4 teaspoon
2-3 heaping tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
ground pepper
Add bacon pieces to a soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.  Over medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, paprika, thyme oregano and cayenne pepper. Add the chicken stock and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Chop up your delicious cooked bacon and set aside. Whisk together the flour and the milk in a cup and pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for about 5 more minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend until a consistency that you like. Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream, bacon and 2 tablespoons parsley. Taste for seasonings - may need more S&P. Garnish with additional parsley and other tasting toppings like a few reserved bacon pieces, grated Parmesan cheese or a dollop of sour cream. SO delicious!
You could leave the bacon out and use about 2 tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon EVOO to sauté vegetables in - delicious vegetarian option.

Friday, January 23, 2015

5 pounds is a lot

When I go to the store, I always just grab the two pound bag of carrots. Well between salads, pot roasts and soups - a two pound bag of carrots goes quickly. The last time I went shopping, I thought "you know what - go for it - get the 5 pound bag of will use it!" Let me tell you - five pounds of carrots is a lot. Do not be fooled. But - if you do make the commitment to purchase lovely carrots in bulk then try out this spicy carrot soup!
spicy carrot soup
2-3 tablespoons EVOO
1 medium onion, chopped
2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 inch knob ginger, peeled and grated
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
ground black pepper
sour cream for topping
Toss the sliced carrots and chopped onion in the EVOO, season well with S&P. Preheat the oven for 400 degrees. Assemble vegetables on a cookie sheet and roast for about 30 minute until tender. In a large stock pot, add a tablespoon of EVOO and saute the garlic clove until fragrant. Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a light simmer. When vegetables are done roasting, add to chicken stock. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Add curry powder, cumin, ginger and cayenne. Cook for about another 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt - taste for seasonings. When serving, place soup in a shallow bowl and swirl a tablespoon of sour cream into it.
You could also stir in a little heavy cream - either will cut the heat a bit and provide a nice bit of creaminess. Enjoy!

dive right in!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

a warm winter salad

The holidays are over, but who says you still can't enjoy a delicious beef tenderloin for dinner? This dish, adapted from Country Living, is served with a warm salad that has a crisp pop of pomegranate.
beef tenderloin over cauliflower, kale & pom salad for two
1-1.5 pound filet of beef, trimmed & tied
1 bunch of kale, torn
1 pomegranate (seed from half the fruit)
1 head of cauliflower
2 shallots, quartered
5 tablespoons EVOO
Kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1/4 cup chicken stock (optional)
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Tie the beef in about three spots. Using about a tablespoon of EVOO, rub the beef down (woo!), salt and pepper well and assemble in the center of a flat pan (like a  lasagna dish). Toss chopped cauliflower heads, shallot quarters, about 3 tablespoons of EVOO with S&P. Assemble the vegetables around the roast. Test the beef after about 13-15 minutes - if it is at 120 degrees, remove to a plate and cover with foil. Allow vegetables to finish roasting (might take a bit longer depending on how big your florets are).
In a small saucepan, add about 3 tablespoons of EVOO, lemon juice, mustard and chicken stock - bring to a slight simmer. Remove the vegetables and add the torn kale to the the pot - stir to allow the kale to wilt. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well. Plate the warm cauliflower salad, pomegranate seeds and top with thinly sliced beef.

Friday, January 2, 2015

soup of the month

A work inspired post - in more ways than one! Today is my first day back to the office in almost two weeks. Prepare yourself for an odd comment - it actually feels a little good to be back to work. There I said it - now never speak of this again. 
My colleague, Irisa, mentioned that a "soup of month" post would be a good idea, and I (as a soup lover) totally agree. Oddly enough, I brought a nice bowl of soup for lunch today. I find soup to be the finest of the packable lunch selections. Today's special is cauliflower, corn & chicken chowder. Yum.
1 medium head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, diced
3 tablespoons EVOO
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup frozen corn 
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/3 cup chopped parsley
lots of S&P to taste
shredded chicken from a rotisserie bird or roughly 3-4 breasts cooked and shredded
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cauliflower and onion in 2 tablespoons EVOO and season well with S&P. Assemble in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for about 25 minutes until tender. Over medium heat, heat a tablespoon of EVOO and saute the bell pepper until just soft, remove to the side. In the same large pot, heat the chicken stock. Add cooked cauliflower and onion mixture - puree with an immersion blender (or remove to blender and puree in batches). Add in bell pepper, thyme, shredded chicken, corn and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a light simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in parsley and taste for seasoning. The cauliflower helps give this soup a creamy feel (yet with no cream - it is a cauliflower miracle).
Okay lunch break is over - happy Friday all!