Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cucumber and Avocado Soup with Spicy Glazed Shrimp - #soupswappers

What started off looking like this.....


due to a blender that broke at the bottom and wasn't discovered until I poured....  turned out like this and was an absolutely wonderful soup!


Cucumber and Avocado Soup with Spicy Glazed Shrimp...Chilled
adapted from Food and Wine

1 large European cucumber, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and quartered
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice, divided
Kosher salt
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 shallot thinly sliced
3/4 pound large shrimp, shelled (keep the shells)
1 small carrot, thinly sliced in coins
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp tomato paste
2 cups water
1 Tbsp honey
Fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 mint leaves, chopped

Combine the cucumber, avocados, buttermilk, vinegar, sugar, 1/2 Tablespoon of lime juice and a pinch of salt in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Strain the soup through a fine sieve and refrigerate until chilled, about 40 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the shrimp shells, garlic, shallot and carrot and cook over moderate heat and stir until the shells are lightly browned and the vegetables are softened, about 8-10 minutes.

Add the peppercorns, coriander seeds, crushed red pepper and cumin seeds ad cook for a minutes, stirring.  Add the tomato paste and cook stirring for another minute.  Add the water, honey and remaining tablespoon of lime juice and bring to a boil.  Simmer the mixture over moderate heat until reduced to about 1/2 cup.  Strain the shrimp sauce into a heatproof bowl.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet and until shimmering.  Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper.  Cook over high heat 1 minute.  Turn the shrimp add the shrimp sauce and simmer until the shrimp are cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the butter.

Place three shrimp in each soup bowl.  Spoon the cucumber soup around the shrimp and drizzle with the shrimp sauce.  Sprinkle mint leaves and serve.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


This was the most amazing soup!  I love the way the buttermilk gave a light tang to the mixture and then the accompanying shrimp made it a "make again" recipe!

It was an adventure getting this post ready for Saturday Soup Swappers.  Chilled soup is the theme for this month's Saturday Soup 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. This Saturday is hosted by Paula at The Saucy Southerner.  If you are interested in joining in on the fun, follow the link above for more information. All are welcome!


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Beef Stew #soupswappers

Let's enjoy beef stew one last time before the heat sets in!  Putting together a post that featured English Stew was a challenge.  Not because it was English Stew but because I am traveling back and forth between my home in California and my daughter in Washington.

Yes, English Stew is the theme for this month's Saturday Soup 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. This Saturday is hosted by Sneha at Sneha's Recipe.  If you are interested in joining in on the fun, follow the link above for more information. All are welcome!

I guess I had a hard time dealing with stew, weather and traveling.  My first idea was a Pumpkin and Lentil Stew that really intrigued me but I kept thinking fall so I switched to Beef Stew and Dumplings and still had issues thinking about the weather...but hey, I'm in Seattle, nothing stays the same for long....a nice storm moved in...rain, fog, fog horns, winds just the kind of weather that goes with stew!  But, don't expect dumplings.  Somehow the four year old was focused on the mashed potatoes so dumplings never happened.

Of course there is more to the story than a four year old, there is always the story of ovens. I believe that I just had my last dance with this oven.  The kitchen remodel at my daughter's is set to begin.

I hope you enjoy the richness of this wonderful beef stew and if you can't make the dumplings, don't forget fluffy mashed potatoes!  I can hardly wait for leftovers!



Beef Stew
adapted from Nigel Slater

Yield:  4 servings

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds lean stew meat, cut into bite size pieces
2-3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, peeled, rough chop
2 leeks, white and light green only, cleaned and sliced into half moons.
3 celery ribs, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
3/4 cup peas
3/4 cup red wine
2 1/4 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
3 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
3 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce or to taste, if desired
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or to taste
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven:  350° F.

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter.  Add the stew meat and brown on all sides.

Sprinkle the flour over the beef and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and the vegetables. Continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.  Note:  I added the peas after the stew was removed from the oven.

Stir in the wine, stock, and herbs.  Add the worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar, adjust to taste. Add the salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil.  Cover with a lid and place in the oven for two hours.  (Check the liquid level occasionally.  Add additional stock if needed.)

To serve place a scoop of mashed potatoes in each bowl.  Add a ladle of stew and sprinkle with parsley.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


We really enjoyed this stew and the four year old did too!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Doll up that Lettuce Wedge!

The wedge salad of the 50's and 60's moves in and out of favor.  The salad, though, did not originate then.  The earliest mention of the lettuce wedge salad was found in a cookbook published in 1916. Marion Neil's cookbook, Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Recipes mentions the wedge salad with Roquefort cheese and hard boiled eggs.  It's popularity fluctuates with the times but it hasn't disappeared.

The wedge salad today has many guises.  There will always be the original but it can be dolled up to reflect most cuisines.  It can have a Mediterranean look with a vinaigrette and cucumbers, kalamata olives, tomatoes and feta sprinkled over the top.  Or it may have a more España appearance as this salad does.  Add a little corn and red pepper salsa made fresh from the garden, a few tomatoes, some manzanilla olives and a few crushed tortilla chips for a little crunch and you have a lovely wedge dolled up for the evening!


Salad Wedge with Corn and Red Pepper Salsa
adapted from The Good Stuff by Spike Mendelsohn

Serves 4

Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 red onion, rough chop
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup vegetable oil

In a blender, combine all ingredients except the oil.  When combined, leave the motor running and slowly drizzle the oil in a slow, thin stream.  When the oil has been added and the mixture is smooth, turn off the blender and set aside.

Corn and Red Pepper Salsa
2 ears of fresh white corn, grilled, kernels removed or 1 can of corn (16 oz.)
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2  cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

If using canned corn, drain.  Cook kernels in a hot skillet with a tablespoon of oil.   Cook about 10 minutes until kernels are crisp.  Season with salt.  Set aside to cool.

When ready to serve, combine the all ingredients.  Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Salad
1 head iceberg lettuce
5 oz bag of baby mixed greens
8 manzanilla olives
1 pint mini heirloom tomatoes or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 green onion, sliced diagonally
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Corn and Red Pepper Salsa
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

Remove the root end from the lettuce.  Cut the head in half.  From the half head, cut wedges to serving size.  (I cut the half head into four wedges.)  Spread out some of the mixed greens on the salad plates and place the wedge on top.  Dress the wedge with about 2 Tablespoons of dressing.  Top each wedge with two olives, tomatoes, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Add about 1/3 cup corn and red pepper salsa to the top and then garnish with slices of green onion and a Tablespoon of crushed tortilla chips.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


This was a delicious salad and I am happy that I have enough ingredients left over to repeat the creation tonight!


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.