Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A big winner for Soup Night 2.0

In the 2nd weekly "Soup Night", it was suggested that I try a carrot soup. I picked this one from Serious Eats, used homemade chicken stock, whipped it up with an immersion blender.
Wow - it was really spectacular. While cooking, the little bit of turmeric turns the stock a beautiful yellow color, looks pretty with the orange carrots peeking through. Did I take a photo? Of course not... my battery was dead after our weekend of baseball. It smelled a bit like Indian food cooking. It turned out great, served with just a little green salad, some freshly baked bread, and a chicken liver pate crostini. I know, it didn't really match flavor-wise but I was experimenting with a recipe for New Year's.
One for the rotation for sure. Next up for Monday, cream of mushroom with extra snark.
Happy Turkey Day!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Soup Night

Even though the days are still hot and dry here in So Cal (and smoky, thanks to the flammability factor of our hillsides), I instituted Monday Night Soup Night this week. With all of the excesses of the weekend (junk food, mixed drinks, pizza, wine), I figure that Monday is a good day to step back and simplify. A nice soup, with homemade bread is a good way to start of the week. This week was a simple split pea soup. I adapted from Bittman, which has become my "go to" for recipes and methods for easy meals. I really just needed the ratio of stock (home made chicken this time) to dried peas. I started off by browning some already cubed pancetta (thanks Trader Joe's!) and removing for later. Then I sweated a small diced onion, and added the stock and the peas. I let this cook for about an hour (maybe a bit more as I was multitasking), then used the handy immersion blender on it. I used the pancetta as garnish, along with some easy salt & pepper croutons made from leftover bread. It got a huge thumbs up from the family, as did my plan for a weekly soup night.

Plus, my ulterior motive... it is more often than not healthy and, especially in this economy, cheap! I also threw in an extra soup night (found some ground beef in the freezer) this week and made Cincy style chili. This time with just cheese and cornbread, no spaghetti or raw onion..... Next up will be one of my dad's other soups, besides the best soup ever described here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Annoying, but her recipes do sometimes work

As annoying as RR is, some of her recipes actually work. I pulled this one off of the Food Network website a while back for pasta with pumpkin and sausage. If I remember correctly, our neighbor made it for us one night and told me where he got it. It's actually really good, and a fall favorite around here. I had everything ready to go and realized that I did not have fresh sage - something ate it early on from my herb garden - so I just used a palmful of dried. I also used water instead of chicken stock, and dry vermouth instead of wine (good enough for Julia, good enough for me). I just made a ton of stock 2 weeks ago, but I didn't have any thawed out at the moment.
It turned out great as always, but I forgot to take a picture (it's orange pasta with chunks of sausage in it, trust me). I'm just that kind of slacker right now. Being unemployed has made me uninspired to cook. But, the holidays are just around the corner and that means our annual New Year's Eve dinner with friends. Time to dust of the cookbooks and find something to make that will complement the fantastic wines that we have ready to go.