It’s starting to feel like Fall finally!

I love soup and Split Pea is comfort food for me.

It’s a slow simmer in the crock pot so once you done the prep it’s a straight shot all by itself for hours.
This recipe is how my mom used to make it, there are variations where leeks and carrots are used but it comes out too heavy for me.

Oma’s Split Pea Soup

This recipe is for 4 people with enough left over for another meal. Reduce the peas and water by half if making it for 2 people or if you want no left overs.

2 bags green split peas (or 2 pounds)
1 medium sized celery root
1 pound beef shank
1 package salted pork
1 smoked sausage

Rinse peas, place in crock pot ( I have a 6 quart one)
Clean celery root by peeling it,cut celery root and salted pork in chunks
Add celery root, salted pork and beef shank to the crock pot
Cover with water, stirring a few times to get the peas wet.
Cook on low until peas fall apart, 6 hours depending on your crock pot.Stir occasionally to prevent the peas from sticking to the bottom or sides.
Remove bone and salted pork.
Using a stick blender or food processor blend the soup until smooth.
Cut up smoked sausage and add to soup.
You can cut up the salt pork in small pieces and add it to the soup. Be aware you need to let it sit for a little bit before you add salt in order not to oversalt it.
The soup will thicken if refrigerated, when reheating add some chicken stock to it and heat it slowly.

Enjoy!

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Pumpkins and Squash, oh my!

We joined a Community Sustained Agriculture Farm (CSA) delivery service last year.
Most of the time I remember to go on to their website the weekend before the delivery date but this Sunday I completely flaked and forgot to change my order.
So then you get what is seasonal, a total surprise most of the time.
In my box this week were 2 pumpkins, a squash the size of a small dog, a jumbo leek, celery, kiwi’s and 7 pears.

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Clearly this called for a big knife. The pumpkins were  the size of a soccer ball!

I love to make soup, so I decided to use the squash and pumpkins.
I tweaked a recipe my daughter sent me.

I’ll write out the recipe for less, this yielded enough soup for 2 big containers, 3 small and a square large container.

 

Curried Pumpkin Squash soup.

1 medium size pumpkin
1 squash
Medium onion
1/2 teaspoon thyme
Olive oil, for frying onion and drizzling over pumpkin/squash
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 to 1 teaspoon mild or medium spicy curry powder
1 teaspoon Tumeric powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbs Heavy cream
1 tbs butter (optional)

 

Line cookie sheet with wax paper.
Preheat oven to 350f
Cut pumpkin in wedges, discard the seeds
Slice squash in half and then cut that half in another half
Place all on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper  on
Bake on 350 until you can pierce veggies with a fork, turning them over halfway (it took me 50 minutes)

In a pan sauté the onions until caramelized, reduce heat and add wine and sage.
Lets simmer until almost reduced, add Tumeric.

Let the veggies cool off and then peel with a paring knife.
If you have a stick blender:
Add scooped veggies to the pan with the onions and add about 2 cups of broth.
Blend until smooth,adding more broth if needed.
If you do not have a stick blender use a regular blender and slowly add broth until your soup has the consistency of a slightly thick smooth liquid.
Taste and add heavy cream,curry powder, salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the butter and garnish with a little splash of heavy cream.

Enjoy!

Hot hot weather!

The weather has turned incredibly hot, very unusual for the time of year.
Granted we get this thing called “Indian Summer” but with temperatures close to 100 Fahrenheit?
So into the archives I went for this easy, cooling soup.

Because I do not want peels in the soup I used a simple chefs trick to remove the peels.
You’ll need:
Pan deep enough to cover tomatoes with water
paring knife

Boil the water
Using your paring knife score the top of the tomato cross wise


Immerse into hot water, reduce the heat!
Peel will come off after about 5 minutes
Take tomatoes out of the water and once they are cooler gently peel the skin off.

For the Gazpacho
4 tomatoes, I prefer vine ripened for taste
1 shallot
garlic, 2-3 cloves
2 tbs olive oil
2-4 Basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste.
water
Prepare tomatoes
saute shallot with garlic in olive oil until soft
in a food processor mix all ingredients together but do not overmix.
Keep one basil leaf on the side, cut it fine
At this point you can decide how thick you want the soup by slowly adding water to the mixture.
Cover and chill, when you are ready to serve it taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
Garnish with basil.

CollegeGirl pinged me on Facebook requesting I’d make her Wonton Soup when she is back home.
The blog got started because of her asking for Shrimp Scampi so I’ll be happy to oblige!

This recipe is not mine, she found it at a Disney site for cooking with kids called Familyfun.

Ingredients
FOR THE SOUP:
5 cups chicken broth (regular or low-sodium)
2 cups water
2 to 3 thin slices fresh ginger
5 or 6 bok choy leaves, washed
Pepper to taste
FOR THE WONTONS:
1/2 pound ground pork (for lower-fat wontons, use ground turkey)
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch
35 to 40 wonton wrappers

Instructions
In a large saucepan, combine the chicken broth, water, and ginger slices.
Cover and bring the broth to a gentle simmer, then turn off the heat.
Cut the bok choy into small pieces and set it aside.
Combine the pork, scallions, ginger, and garlic in a mixing bowl.
Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and cornstarch and mix well with a rubber spatula.
Remove the wonton wrappers from their package and cover them with a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out.
Assemble the wontons (see below), place them on a large plate or a baking sheet lined with waxed paper, and cover them loosely with plastic wrap..

Assembling the Wontons:
1. Place a wrapper flour side up on your work surface.
Using a spoon and a chopstick, drop a scant teaspoon of the meat mixture onto the wrapper.
2. Moisten all the edges of the wrapper with a wet fingertip, then fold it over so the edges meet. Pinch the edges to seal them.
3. Using your finger or a chopstick, make an indentation in the middle of the filled wonton.
4. Dab a drop of water on the two corners and fold them in so they overlap above the indentation. Pinch them together to secure them in place.

Bring the chicken broth to a boil.
Use a slotted spoon to add the wontons a few at a time, keeping the broth at a low boil.
Cook the wontons until they are no longer pink inside (remove one and cut it open to check), at least 7 minutes.
Turn the heat back to high, add the bok choy, cover, and cook it for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add pepper to taste.
Transfer 5 or 6 wontons to each soup bowl and ladle on the hot broth.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Enjoy!

Sweet potato soup

Curried Sweet Potato soup with crab.

4 sweet potatoes (or butternut squash)
4 tbs butter
4 cups vegetable broth
1tsp salt
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
1tsp curry powder
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2-4 ounces crab per person
Sliced almonds (optional)

Cut sweet potatoes in half and lay on roasting dish with the cut sides down
Add a little water and butter to the pan, about 1 tbs butter and 3 tbs water.
On 225 f in the oven cook the sweet potatoes until a fork can pierce them
Let cool and spoon ‘meat’ out of the shell
Stir-fry the cut-up tofu in a tbs of olive oil with salt and pepper, add sliced almonds if wanted.(set aside)
In a blender or food processor mix sweet potatoes with 4 cups broth, all the spices, butter and blend until smooth.
Soup should have the consistency of a chowder
Add crab and heavy cream on low heat and let it get warm enough for the crab to be heated.
Taste again and add salt, pepper or a little curry to the soup
This soup does get better when it’s a left over, but sure to store it no more than 2 days in a good closed container.
Enjoy!

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Soup’s on!

I like soup, but most of all I like soups you don’t need to bind.

This one is definitely a favorite and the kids don’t realize it’s gluten free because it doesn’t taste cabbage-y.

Cauliflower soup:

3 shallots
1 medium to large cauliflower, about 4 cups.
2 tbs butter
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
8 slices bacon
1/2 cup heavy cream

cook shallots in butter, add pre-cooked cauliflower and saute
puree mix with broth
add heavy cream
offer crumbled bacon on the side.

Enjoy!

Asparagus soup

My fridge is weird. It freezes things at random in the drawers.
I had bought Asparagus for dinner and forgot about the “super powers” my fridge had until it was time to use the vegetables.
Not one to waste food I decided to use the asparagus for the base of a soup.

For the soup base:
cut up asparagus
chicken breast cut in chunks

For the roux:
4tbs butter
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup light cream or heavy cream

In a slow cooker cover asparagus and chicken with enough water.
Cook for 4 hours.
Take out chicken and asparagus

Ion a separate pan on low heat melt butter
slowly add flour using a whisk, the mixture will look lumpy
cook the flour/butter on low heat for 4 minutes
whisk in chicken broth in little batches and mix until smooth

Add chicken and cut up asparagus
Salt and pepper to taste

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Tools of the trade.

E. asked me yesterday what use she would have of the crock-pot her mom bought her for Christmas. Was it going to gather dust or would she find it helpful as she worked long hours.

When we moved to the US I was introduced to a new way of cooking food: a crock-pot (slow cooker)
These were unknown to me but I’ve grown to love and use my crock-pot a lot.
So much so that I bought a second, smaller crock-pot.
Not only do I use them for soups, there are stews too. We cook our ribs in them and nothing is better than coming home to a house that smells like slow-cooked food.
Summer is the only time the crock-pot gets a break, fall and winter I tend to use it a lot.
So the answer E is yes, you’ll be very happy with this Christmas present!

For ideas look at the blog by Stephanie O’Day who in 2008 decided to cook all her food in her crock-pot for 365 days.
http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/
Today here is one of her recipes I’m sure I’ll make soon.

Day 74.

There is nothing better than french onion soup. Nothing!

This is ridiculously easy to make, and tastes like it belongs in a french restaurant. This is a good dish to simmer all day long while you are at work, or while out and about saving the world.

The Ingredients.
–2 cans of beef broth
–3 T butter
–2 yellow onions
–1/2 T granulated sugar
–1/4 cup cooking sherry (or dry white wine would probably work)
–1/2 t kosher salt (you might need more if your butter isn’t salted)
–slices of brown rice bread (or french bread)
–gruyere cheese (swiss could work too)

The Directions.

–heat your crockpot to high and plop your butter in to start melting
–slice the yellow onions into rings
–break up the onion slices with your fingers, and rub them around in the melted butter
–add the beef broth, sugar, salt, and sherry
–cook on high for 6-8 hours or low for 10-12. It takes a while for the onions to get translucent and pliable

before serving:
–preheat oven to the broiling option
–toast 4 slices of the bread that you are going to use. That Trader Joe’s brown rice bread needed to be toasted twice in my toaster to get to the desired crunchiness.
–cut gruyere cheese into slices
–put the cheese onto the toasted bread, and carefully float the bread and cheese on the top of the soup
–remove stoneware from crockpot and place the UNCOVERED stoneware into the oven
–broil for a minute or two–the cheese should be all melty and turn a golden color

ladle into 4 bowls.

Recipe by Stephanie O’Day

Input wanted on the blog direction.

I’ve been blogging and cooking for over a year now and it’s been fun.
The question “what’s for dinner” has come up for the blog, I need some inspiration from you the reader to take the blog into it’s second year.

What do you want to see blogged/cooked?

It’s a simple as clicking on the choices and it will give me a good idea of what you the reader wants.
Don’t be shy!
Choose one or more options and if you have comments feel free to use the “other” box below the poll.

Thank you!

Fast and easy French Onion soup.

Himself for Thanksgiving bought too many onions and it’s been almost 2 weeks and I’m running out of things to add them to.
Not too long ago I saw a recipe for French Onion soup that can be put together in 5 minutes and uses precooked onions.
You saute onions until they are caramelized and they keep well in the freezer until needed.

French Onion soup.

1/2 onion per person, cooked
3 cups of chicken broth
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 slice whole grain bread or 4 slices of french bread
salt and pepper to taste

Warm onions and broth in a pan, salt and pepper to taste
Pour in individual oven proof dishes
top with a quarter slice of bread covered with cheese
broil under broiler in oven until cheese is melted.

That’s it!

Enjoy!

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