Saturday, October 30, 2010

October 30 - November 4

So, I started making a list of things that sounded good to cook this week... and I had 4 different soups on the list. That's not a problem, is it?

I revised the list, only because I love to cook all my soups in the same big green ceramic-covered cast-iron pot, and if I was needing the pot every day, I'd have to be more timely about dealing with leftovers (couldn't just stash the whole pot in the fridge and call it good).

But there's still quite a bit of soup-type-food this week. If you're feeling souper, stop on by.

Pan-seared venison chops with a bit of sauce -- maybe some shallots and garlic sauteed in a bit of olive oil, then a little mushroom, maybe some red wine, and simmer for a few minutes, then poured over the chops.
Broccoli -- it's still going strong in the garden
Salad with blue cheese, sliced apples and sunflower seeds -- my current most-favorite food

Trick or treat! Let's have chili.
With slow-rise beer bread: love this stuff. You mix it up, let it do a very slow rise, give it a stir, let it rise again -- there's something science-y involved, like the long slow rising time makes the proteins gooshier and removes the need for kneading, or something. I just love it because it's easy. Takes a long time, but very little actual labor involved. Here's how:

Mix together 22 1/2 oz. (about 4 1/2 c)flour, 3 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp instant fast-rising yeast. Pour in 1 bottle beer and 2/3 c ice water. Mix. Dough should be stiff, but add a bit more water if you need to if the dough is still dry. Coat top of dough with oil, cover bowl with plastic wrap.

1st rise: refrigerate 3 - 10 hours, then let rise at cool room temp for 12 - 18 hours. Stir once during rise if you get a chance.

2nd rise: Using a rubber spatula, lift and fold dough until mostly deflated, but don't stir. Re-oil surface, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 - 24 hours, then set out at room temp. Continue the rise until dough doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 20 minutes before you're ready to bake, put a heavy ovenproof pot in the oven (I use that same green cast-iron dutch oven I make my soups in) to heat it up. When it's hot, gently invert dough in to pot. It's okay if the top looks rough or bumpy. Spritz with water, then shake the pot back and forth to center the dough. Put the lid on, reduce heat to 425 degrees. Bake on lower rack for 55 minutes. Remove lid, then bake for 10 - 15 minutes longer. Cool and eat.

This recipe is from the lovely, lovely book Kneadlessly Simple.

I've been buying random squash at the farmers' market lately with no real plan for what I'll do with it. As I'm obsessing about soup right now, I thought I'd try some buttercup squash soup. Please note: every time I've typed "buttercup squash soup" I've actually spelled it "shoup" and then I have to go back and fix it.

In searching for a good recipe, I found a new blog that I love: Here's their recipe:

Another dangerous thing: I belong to a recipe exchange group on Facebook, so I'm frequently confronted with delicious-sounding things when I open my laptop. This one was posted by an elementary-school friend, and endorsed by another... Thanks, Heidi!

North Woods Wild Rice Soup
1/2 lb bacon
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup celery
1/4 cup butter
3 T flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. paprika
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed or shredded
1-10oz. can chicken broth
1 T worcestershire sauce
2 T cooking sherry
1 c milk
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/2 cups wild rice

Fry, drain and crumble bacon; set aside. Prepare rice as indicated on directions, if it has a flavor packet with it, do not use. Saute onion and celery in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme, and paprika. Heat until bubbly. Add cooked chicken, chicken broth, worcestershire sauce, cooking sherry, milk and half and half, stirring until thickened. Add in rice and bacon. when soup is bubbly it is ready to serve.

I'm guessing leftover soup.

Either more soup, or we'll grill some salmon. Maybe there will be barbecue sauce. With potatoes. And a veggie of some kind, perhaps broccoli.

Have a souper week! Hee hee.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Kitchen Is Open

Apparently, I've mentioned the phenomenon of cupboard doors being mysteriously left open a little too often. Here's what I came home to recently:

October 24 - 28

It's cold and blustery, so I want to cook cozy stews and soups and hang out at home all evening smelling them, but this week is parent-teacher conference week, and so I will instead be driving home at a time of night that should be reserved exclusively for pajamas and the couch.

So I'm going to make a pot of stand-by soup, not for any particular meal, but just in case I need a comfort-food infusion.

Grandma Goodall's Cabbage Soup
My grandma always had some of this soup cooking, or stashed in the fridge. I think it's actually Weight Watchers soup -- she went as long as I can remember -- and it might have 0 points or 1 point or something. I don't really know, but I think she liked it because she could eat as much of it as she wanted...

So I started with her original recipe (hand-written for me on a white index card) but I'm messing with it a little bit, because I just can't leave well enough alone:

In a big stockpot, saute:
one chopped onion
a cup or a handful of sliced mushrooms
a few cloves of chopped garlic

Then add:
2 c chopped cabbage
2 jars canned tomatoes
2 c water
1 c chopped green beans
1 c chopped carrots
1 c chopped celery
1 can garbanzo beans

to taste:
Worcestershire sauce

Simmer for an hour or two.

What Else?
So, outside of the emergency soup, not a lot of plans for this week. But here's what we've got:

roasted brussels sprouts
baked sweet potato


Little pizzas made on Naan with pizza sauce, mozzarella, and yummy veggies and chicken sausage.

And there will probably be an emergency Dairy Queen run at some point. Just guessing. When I get tired, my defenses evaporate.

Have a good week!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Just had to share about some yummy muffins. I decided to make some, for the following two reasons:
1. Bananas getting old
2. My recent and frequent urge to swing by Panera, Starbucks or Big Apple Bagel on the way to work. I need baked goods at home.

Found this recipe for peanut butter banana bread. I made muffins instead. I followed the recipe exactly, but reduced the cooking time to 25 minutes. It gave me 18 generous muffins, with some batter left over for tasting. Yes, I eat raw batter. No, I haven't died yet.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lovely Lovely October... 9 - 14

Oh, it's gorgeous out right now. Makes me sad that I started putting all my summery clothes away two weeks ago -- I'll hang on to these warm-weather days any old way that I can.

So you know we'll be grilling this week. How could we not? But there will also be soup... I love soup.

Burgers on the grill... Phil puts all kinds of stuff in the burger: minced garlic, little bits of onion, salt and pepper, Worcestershire, a splash of Jack Daniel's, if we have some, a bit of cayenne or Old Bay for some kick.
We'll roast sweet potato slices in the oven, all french fry style so we can dip them in catsup.
Grilled veggies on the side. Maybe skewer some mushrooms and onions and zucchini and red pepper, maybe a foil packet of green beans or broccoli with garlic.

broccoli, steamed in a bit of chicken broth
(The broccoli in our garden is doing SO well right now! I just have to remember to go out and pick it before it gets dark at night. And I won't go into a lot of detail, but this past week we had an unpleasant reminder of WHY I NEED TO SOAK THE BROCCOLI IN SALT WATER BEFORE I COOK IT. Because eeewwww.)

Veggie enchiladas: This is based on my mom's enchilada technique, so I don't claim any kind of authenticity at all. But it's yummy:
1. Chop and saute a bunch of veggies: onion, mushroom, zucchini, broccoli (soaked!), garlic, tomato, bell pepper... whatever looks good. Can be as basic as mushroom-onion-zucchini.
2. Season them appropriately, add some water, and simmer for a little bit. I add a mixture of orange-colored spices: some chili powder, maybe a tiny bit of cayenne, maybe some ground chipotle.
3. Add some canned, drained and rinsed black beans. Simmer until heated through.
4. For the enchilada-creating, I do it like mom showed me: Pour some salsa in a glass baking dish. Fill a tortilla with the above mixture. Close, and nestle in the pan. I sometimes use toothpicks to keep the wrappers closed -- I tend to over-fill. Repeat until pan is full or mixture is gone. Pour more salsa over the top, spreading it around so it gets between the enchiladas. If you have any extra sauteed veggies, you can sprinkle these over everything too.
5. Pop the whole thing in the oven at about 400 degrees. This just needs to cook until the edges of the tortillas get a bit brown and crispy, but we still need some cheese on top, so after about 15 minutes, pull them out and sprinkle grated cheese (your choice, but I like a nice sharp cheddar) then return to oven until cheese is melty and a little bit browned in spots, 5 or 10 more minutes.
6. Serve with a bit of sour cream for dipping.

Linguine with mussels (from The Healthy Kitchen, by Andrew Weil and Rosie Daley):
I'm chopping their recipe in half-ish.

1. Cook linguine.
2. In a big lidded pot, add some white wine (a cup or so), a bit of water (1/2 cup), chopped garlic and a chopped shallot. Add a pound of cleaned mussels. Cover and cook over high heat, shaking the pot occasionally, until the mussels open -- about 10 minutes.
3. Drain pasta, toss it in the pot with the mussels.
4. Add a can of chopped tomatoes, some chopped basil, chili flakes, olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Toss again.
5. Squeeze lemon juice over everything. If you're fancy, you can garnish with fresh parsley. I won't, because I never have parsley around when I need it.

We'll have a salad and some bread with this.

A big salad. Probably with the following: roasted red pepper, roasted pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, onions, feta cheese, balsamic dressing. If I'm in the mood, I'll fry an egg and put it on top of the whole thing.

This is a lovely fall meal.

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