Except mine turned out to be lentil soup. Seems I had made the wrong soup and by the time I discovered it I didn’t have time to get all the ingredients I needed to make the right soup. Lentil soup. But even without a couple of the ingredients it was still a nice warming, filling HEALTHY soup.


I realize you cannot really see the lentils in the soup but they are there. Lovely little red lentils that turn yellow as they cook. And spinach, and onions and cumin, and coriander. All adding up to a fragrant bolw of YUM!!

I didn’t have any veggie stock so I used beef (so not vegetarian as intended) and I was all out of lemons. Donna said you could top the soup wiht coreander flavored yoghurt but I chose to just enjoy it without. Even the Hubs liked it! Surprising!!

Anyway, the recipe is on page 16 of Donna’s modern classics: Book 1 but you can also find it HERE!

And check with Gaye, who chose this week’s dish,
Sarah, and
Chaya for their soups.

Today is the first Monday in March (ALREADY!!??) which means its REVEAL DAY for the Secret Recipe Club. Each month the memebers are assisgned a blog to enjoy, cook from and drool over!! This week I had the pleasure of meeting Katherine of Katherine Martinelli. She describes herself as writer, photographer, wanderer. She is …”an internationally published food and travel writer and photographer who contributes regularly to publications on three continents. A native New Yorker, she currently calls Be’er Sheva, Israel home.” Her recipes look delicious, her photographs are outstanding, and she has a cookbook – Puff Pastry at Brunch so cooking from her blog was a joy! And as usual it was soooo hard to pick one. Three was hard, but that is what I had to finally stop with.

Here in the south we don’t have much cold weather but when it is cold I love to make soup. Any kind of soup. So one of the recipes was easy.


    Chicken and Corn Chowder

While Gumbo is my first soup to make every winter I am always willing to try something new. Usually something full of goodies, thick, and flavorful. Can you see all the goodies in this one – chicken, potatoes, BACON, celery, carrots???

    1 tablespoon butter
    3/4 cup diced onion
    3/4 cup diced carrot
    1/2 cup diced celery
    6 cloves garlic, minced
    5 tablespoons flour
    6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
    2 medium potatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
    2 cups whole milk
    ½ cup cream
    1 3/4 cups shredded cooked chicken
    2 cups corn kernels (frozen, canned, or fresh)
    1/4 teaspoon dried ground thyme
    Salt and pepper
    Chopped chives, for garnish

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the onion, carrot, celery, Bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add 3 tablespoons of the flour and stir until fully incorporated.
Stir in the broth and potatoes, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pot.
Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the corn, milk, and cream and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken and thyme and cook until chicken is heated through.
Put the remaining 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl and add a ladle full of broth. Whisk together to form a slurry and add back into the chowder. Stir to combine.
Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and top with chopped chives, if desired.

This soup was sooo good. Comfort food at its best. While Katherine did not put bacon in her version (which was in the original) I added it back in. The only change I would make next time would be to used cream corn rather than whole kernels. I think it would add more tender corn and creamyness. But this was deliclious.

Especially when I made her Garlic Bread Buttermilk Biscuits to go with it.


Yes, I said Garlic Bread and Biscuit at the same time. Made with chopped garlic and garlic powder there is plenty of flavor in these. These are different from any biscuit I have ever made. Instead of making a dough and rolling it out and cutting biscuits these are made from a batter poured into a pan and sliced after baking.

    1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 tablespoon sugar
    4 teaspoons baking powder
    2 teaspoons Kosher salt
    13/4 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 400F.
Spray an 8- by 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Melt the butter and stir in the garlic, garlic powder and dried oregano.
Pour the garlic and herb butter into the prepared baking dish.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Add the buttermilk and mix until you get a smooth, thick batter.
Spoon the batter on top of the garlic butter. Smooth as much as possible with a spatula so it’s evenly distributed.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Place a plate upside down on top of the baking pan, then flip so the bread comes out with the buttery part on top.
Slice and serve.

Oh! My! All that buttery goodness. All that garlic taste. Oh! My! I love biscuits but don’t always have time when I am thinking of supper. With these I don’t have to take lots of time because they aren’t rolled and cut.

And then Katherine started coming up with variations she wants to try and now, if we meet, she will be my BFF! You have to visit this post to see what I am talking about!!

After the soup and biscuits we really needed (well, wanted) something sweet to end the day. Fortunately there are lots of sweets to choose from. And since I am retired with no children at home I have lots of time so of course I HAD to choose one of the more time consuming desserts.


Rakott Palacsinta aka Layered Crepe Cake.

It is a long process so I will let you look at her recipe and process pics instead. Making crepes. Filling crepes. Stacking crepes. Covering crepes with ganache.

If you look at her picture and then at mine you an see I need more practice with this one. but it was fun to try. And good, too. I made 1/2 of the total recipe (because we didn’t NEED a whole cake to tempt us) and ended up with 10 6″ crepes which I cut in half and stacked. I used strawberry preserves and ground chocolate/sugar between the crepes. Chocolate and strawberry is always a good combination. My problems came because while baking the fillings melted out from between the crepe layers and the crepes got tough. I will have to ask Katherine how to fix that problem. But it was still sweet and tasty.

I have several of Katherine’s recipes Pinned and have more I want to try – Wine braised chicken with saffron cream, Garlicky Shrimp Pasta, and her Cinnamon Bun Cake just to name a few. You really should visit Katherine, browse her RECIPES, and enjoy her photographs.

And if you want to join in the fun visit The Secret Recipe Club and sign up. You won’t be sorry! I mean, really, look at all the great dishes for March (Link below).

French Onion Soup aka FOS used to be something one could order in a restaurant and that was about all. It was considered a rather elegant choice of soup. Homemade was unheard of. KAYTE is a big fan of FOS and chose this week’s Wednesdays with Donna Hay. Now when I say big fan I mean BIG fan. If there is a recipe out there, she has tried it. I am sooo surprised it took her so long to put it into our rotation!!


In the past I have made Jamie’s English Onion Soup as well as Ree’s French Onion Soup.

I topped Donna’s version with some shredded parmesan and a piece of toast and tuckered into it for lunch. It was very tasty. But I have to admit I prefer Jaime’s. It has sage and cheddar. I found Donna’s to be in need of more flavor and depth.

Check with Chaya, Kayte, and Gaye for their soups.

If you want to try Donna’s Onion Soup it is on her website and on page 27 of Modern Classics Book 1. AND if you want to join us we are using Donna’s Off the Shelf, Modern Classics Book 1, and her online recipes. Just let us know.

The other day I was cooking with the Vanderbilts… okay, not THE Vanderbilts, but A Vanderbilt. It was Jessie of Vanderbilt Wife and believe me, her blog is as rich with delicious recipes as the Vanderbilts are with, you know……!! Which of course made it difficult to chose just ONE!! So, I didn’t…!!

Jessie says,

    “I started Vanderbilt Wife in 2006 as a way to make myself write more regularly. That is still my primary goal. I also want to support other women who feel more than a little imperfect, like myself.

Her first entries are little snippets of her life: Why I hate Bowling”; “Making Memories’:I don’t think being an introvert is a bad thing.” I loved reading each and every one of those.

But as time went by she started adding recipes. Thank you, Jessie!!!

It wasn’t easy picking the recipes – it never is- but I ended up with:


    Crunchy Panko Chicken Fingers



    Parmesan and Herb Chicken Fingers

Both used different methods to make but I decided to use the same method on both “finger groups” and try the different flavors. I used the milk and egg dip for both which gave me a nice solid coat for the chicken pieces. Then I used the differnt herb/spice mixes. Both were sooo good.

Crunchy Panko Chicken

    1 lb. chicken tenders
    1 egg, beaten
    1/2 c. milk
    3/4 c. flour
    1 c. panko bread crumbs
    1 tsp. paprika
    1/2 tsp. cumin
    salt and pepper

Set up bowls, pie plates, or fancy-smancy Pampered Chef coating trays that I kind of wish I had. In the first, place flour. In the second, milk egg and milk. In the third, combine panko, paprika, and cumin.

Season tenders with salt and pepper. Dip in flour, then egg wash, then coat well with panko. Place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and coating is slightly brown.

For the Parmesan Herb Fingers:

    1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
    3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    1 T Italian seasoning
    2 tsp. dried parsley
    1 1/2 T minced garlic
    3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
    generous sprinkling of salt and pepper

    Mix all together with a fork.

Follow the recipe for the Crunchy Fingers.

They were both good and made great wraps:


When it turned cold, finally, I wanted something warm and comforting. What better than SOUP!


In this case, Farmer’s Market Soup or what Jessie referred to as “A Take on Ribollita” which is “simply a “next-day” kind of soup, made with leftovers.” While Jessie put beans and fennel in hers I left them out and added in some shredded cabbage. It was the perfect way to warm up on a cold day. And, better, it was nice and light after all the rich holiday food.

    3 T olive oil
    2 onions, chopped
    2 carrots, sliced
    4 garlic cloves, crushed
    2 celery stalks, finely sliced (I always add some of the inner celery leaves for flavor)
    1 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped (this post from Orangette has a good tutorial for cutting fennel)
    2 large zucchini, cut into thin half-moon slices
    14 oz crushed tomatoes
    10 basil leaves, chiffonaded
    4 cups vegetable stock
    14 oz can cannellini or Great White Northern beans
    salt and pepper
    grated Parmesan cheese and Texas toast — optional

1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic, celery, and fennel. Saute slowly for 10 minutes. Add zucchini and saute an additional two minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, basil, stock, beans and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, simmer 25-30 min. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Serve with Texas toast and Parmesan cheese sprinkled lightly over the top of the bowls.

Super simple, super delicous, super adaptable.

For more of Jessie’s recipes visit her website.

Jessie was my January Assignment for Secret Recipe Club. Visit below for all the other members.

Isn’t it wonderful when simple ingredients…


… can come together and result in a dish that is creamy, full of flavor, and healthy all in one bowl. In this case it was Dorie’s


    Creamy Cauliflower Soup sans Cream

It was very comforting with wedges of buttered toast and a small sprinkle of fried prosciutto. And all it took was 6 simple ingredients. I say it was healthy because there was no cream in the soup and only 1 TBL each of EVOO and butter. The rest of the ingredients added only flavor.

I know there are a lot of people out there who are not fond of cauliflower. Fortunately it was one of few veggies I really liked as a child so making this soup was not a big leap for me. I KNEW it would be good. It’s nice not to be disappointed.

You can find Dorie’s soup on page 68 of Around My French Table

And please visit the other members of

doire FFwD and see if they liked it, too.

Soup is so easy to make. Especially when the ingredients are simple and readily available. The hardest thing to do for this soup was shredding the cooked chicken.

All you need for this comforting bowl of warmth is broth, green onions, corn, soy sauce, garlic, and Chinese cooking wine. What you end up with is a nice simple soup.

I added rice noodles to mine for more body. I have to admit this wasn’t my favorite soup. But if you want simple, this is the one to try.

Check with Gaye and Chaya, who chose this week’s recipe, for their soups. The recipe came from Donna Hayes Modern Classics Book 1 on page 30.

And for me it is definitely spur of the moment. I had decided I wasn’t going to make the soup this week for FFwD. The weather has been in the mid 80s and, to me, that is NOT soup weather. But when Hubs left town and my dinner date fell through I needed something quick and filling. This soup seemed to fit the bill.

    sour-of-the moment Vegetable “Stone” Soup”

…is what Dorie calls this quick and light veggie soup. A mix of sauteed onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, and herbs simmered gently in chicken broth that you can eat ‘chunky’ light style or puree into a smooth silky comfort soup.
I liked the simple broth with veggie chunks, B preferred it slightly pureed.

Either way it is delicious.

Dorie reminds us that it is ‘…it’s more an idea for a recipe than a real recipe…” which means it is highly adaptable to your pantry or veggie bin. tomorrow night I will add a few more vegetables, some pieces of cooked chicken, and some left over pasta which will add more body to the soup. I’ll think of it as neighbors bringing more tidbits to add to the simple stone simmering in water!

Look on page 74 of Around My French Table for the soup ‘concept’ and check out the other soup makers at for their versions of Stone Soup!!

I would like to introduce you to Jaida. She is the blogger behind Sweet Beginnings. And she is my ‘assignment’ for October’s Secret Recipe Club.

Her kitchen is in Central Texas and she shares it with her cat, Sunny, and Bubba, her Boston Terrier. She says she loves food and I believe it. You should see the recipes on her blog. There is a little of everything. Including 38 yes, 38, recipes for tacos. I didn’t know there were that many types of tacos. I was tempted to try several, but had to limit myself so I ended up with three of her recipes. It was a hard choice.

Butternut Squash Risotto

    1 cup arborio rice
    3 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
    1 cup butternut squash soup or puree
    3 cloves garlic, chopped
    3 shallots, chopped
    5 sage leaves, finely chopped
    1 tsp butter or olive oil
    2 oz dry white wine
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    freshly ground pepper
    1 tsp salt

In a medium sauce pan heat chicken broth and squash puree. Keep mixture warm over low heat.
In a heavy saucepan, heat butter on a low flame. Add shallots and garlic and saute until golden.
Add risotto and sage and stir well to coat each grain with butter.
Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed.
Add salt, pepper, and stock mixture 1/2 a cup at a time stirring constantly until absorbed. Continue this process until all the stock is used, about 25-30 minutes from the time you started.
When all the liquid is absorbed, stir in the grated cheese and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

This was a good risotto. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought it might be a little sweet because of the butternut squash. But any sweetness was cut by the sage and white wine which are included in the risotto. I just learned how to make risotto so any time I see a recipe I know I have to try it. So glad I did. We both liked it which I didn’t expect, especially from my Other Half.


Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon sifted mustard powder
    1 tsp garlic powder {I think I would use a little more.}
    ¼ teaspoon sifted cayenne pepper
    ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
    2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
    Approximately 1/2 cup cold milk

Preheat oven to very hot 475°F.
Triple sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.) Mix in mustard powder, garlic powder, cayenne, grated cheese, and chives.
Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse beach sand.
Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the biscuits will be!
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about 3/4 inch thick. Using a well-floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, stamp out without twisting six 2-inch rounds, gently reform the scraps into another 3/4 inch layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones.
Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly colored on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

These were quite good. Each bite gave a hint of garlic which quickly disappeared. For that reason I would add just a little more garlic. I left out the cayenne pepper because I didn’t want a spicy biscuit, just a cheese-y chive-y one. And they were just that! I don’t often make biscuits, but these are definite keepers.

And they were perfect to serve with….

    Loaded Potato Soup

B’s favorite soup is Potato soup. I made lots of it while he was sick and haven’t made it in a while. It is filling, comforting, and warming on a cold day. And since it is only supposed to be 49 in the morning it seemed like a perfect time to make it.

    6 slices of bacon, chopped
    1 medium onion, diced
    3 medium carrots, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced {Left out because I didn’t have any.}
    2 garlic cloves, finely minced
    4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
    1 tsp dried thyme
    4 c chicken vegetable stock or broth
    2 oz cream cheese
    1/4 c heavy cream or half and half
    1 c shredded cheddar, jack or colby cheese, divided
    2 c steamed broccoli
    3 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon from pan to paper towels to drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the pot.
Add olive oil if necessary for 2 tablespoons total, and add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, then add carrots and garlic. Allow the vegetables to cook until they start to develop some color.
Add the potatoes and thyme, stirring to combine, and season with salt and pepper again. Add the chicken broth and bring the soup to a simmer. Cook until potatoes begin to fall apart, about 10-15 minutes. Break up potatoes with a potato masher to desired texture. Over low heat, add the cream cheese and cream, if using, and stir until cream cheese melts. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese.


Serve topped with the reserved bacon, remaining cheese, steamed broccoli and scallions.

Now that you have seen a sample of Jaida’s offerings you need to go by for a visit.

And stop by the other bloggers (below) who participate every month with Secret Recipe Club. Fun times every month. You should join us.

    “Oh the wind is lashing lustily
    And the trees are thrashing thrustily
    And the leaves are rustling gustily
    So it’s rather safe to say
    That it seems that it may turn out to be
    It feels that it will undoubtedly
    It looks like a rather blustery day, today
    It sounds that it may turn out to be
    Feels that it will undoubtedly
    Looks like a rather blustery day today.”

But if Pooh was at my house today, where it is actually chilly but sunny, he could warm up with this comforting tasty anti-Blustery day soup!

    Hay’s potato and parmesan soup with parsley pesto

is rich and thick and flavorful with the addition of the pesto – that’s the green swirl you see!! And very easy to make. Sautee the onions and garlic in butter, add peeled, chopped potatoes, cook, and Parmesan cheese and milk and Voilà, you have a soup that will keep you warm all day long.

The pesto is made with parsley but since I couldn’t find ANY (can you belive that?) at the store I used some basil/cashew nut pesto I had hanging out in the fridge.

    Oh. So. Good!!!

This was Kayte’s choice for Donna Hay Wednesday which I am having fun with along with Gaye of Laws of the Kitchen

If you want to join us, just leave a comment with any one of us, we would love to have you. Let me twist your arm like Kayte twisted mine!! Didn’t take much of a twist!!!

The recipe for the soup is on Donna’s Site.

I think Winter has finally arrived in The Deep South. The wind is howling (literally!) down our veranda. The temperatures have dropped dramatically {23° tonight is predicted}. There is a fire offering warmth from the fireplace. IT is a perfect day for soup. And a perfect day for this simple little soup from Hazan’s 30 Minute Pastas.

    Minestrina per i Bambini

This soup is as simple as it gets but big on flavor. You simply bring Italian Meat Broth {which you can sub water + beef boullion + chicken boullion for} to a boil Add the pasta {I used timy little star pasta} and cook until al dente. Hazan says you can add butter, but it is optional {I don’t think so!!}. And then added grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The cheese and the butter give it so much flavor. They add just that little extra level that not only thicken the soup but add depth of flavor, and more texture.

You can find the recipe on page 39 of Hazan’s 30 Minute Pastas.

There are several of us participating in 30 Minute Thursday’s using Hazan’s book. Kayte made Tagliatelle with Peas and Peggy made Spinach and Ricotta Penne so go check their pastas out. You won’t be sorry. And if you want to join in (we just cook from his book and post on Thursdays) just leave one of us a comment and we will include you in our posts.

See ya next Thurday!!

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