Soup


It was raining and 38 degrees out when I made this soup. Perfect weather for soup. Of course, according to Kayte, any weather is soup weather. When the weather took a chilly turn I was glad I picked soup to make this week for Wednesdays with Donna Hay. And while I only made 1/2 of the recipe I know I will make it again. It was good….. and easy.

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Beef broth, potatoes, leeks, and bacon. And throw in some chopped fresh sage. That’s it. That is the whole ingredient list – unless you add the optional cream.

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I did for part of it and I don’t think it really added to the flavor. The recipe is on page 24 of Donna’s modern classics: BOOK 1. Buy the book, check it out.


Check with

for their soups.

Every once in a while a blog name really catches your attention. Usually because you just know it tells you something important about the blogger. So when I was assigned It’s Yummy to my Tummy I knew right away my blogger had children. Isn’t it obvious? How many times have I heard my granddaughter say…

yogabba

    “There’s a party in my tummy. So yummy….”

and I imagine Heather’s two cuties say it a lot too. Especially if they get to eat her treats.

Like the ones I chose to make for Secret Recipe Club. and as usual it wasn’t easy making a choice.

The day I started reading through Heather’s blog is was chilly outside so soup sounded perfect.

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    Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

What a delicious way to warm up. Creamy, full of flavor with all the garlic, parsley, and thyme. And so colorful.

    1 cup cooked chicken, diced
    4 tbsp butter
    4 tbsp flour
    1 quart half and half
    14 ounces chicken broth
    1/2 cup celery, finely diced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup carrots, finely shredded
    1 cup onion, finely diced
    1 cup spinach, chopped
    1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp thyme
    1/2 tsp parsley
    1 lb gnocchi
    salt and pepper, to taste

Saute the onion, garlic, and celery in the butter and olive oil, until onion becomes translucent. Add in your flour and make like a paste or a roux. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture for about a minute and then add in your half and half, seasonings, carrots, and chicken. Let mixture begin to simmer and thicken up.
In another pot, cook your gnocchi according to package directions or prepare your homemade gnocchi. Note, if preparing homemade gnocchi for this dish, I would do that before so you don’t have to worry about it at the same time as preparing your soup. As the soup mixture gets thicker, maybe a few minutes of simmering, add in your chicken broth, and let it reduce a few minutes again. Once the gnocchi is ready, add it to the simmering soup, along with your spinach.
Cook for a few additional minutes or until the spinach starts to wilt. Serve with a little parmesan cheese on top if you wish.

Afterward we needed a litle something sweet.

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And this Peanut Butter Fudge was just perfect.
I have been making PB fudge for years. And I have used the same recipe for years. You know the one -with that Puffy White Stuff. Well I am here to tell you this is sooo much better and tons easier to make.

    5 ounces of unsalted butter
    2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

In a microwaveable bowl, place butter and peanut butter and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for about 1 1/2- 2 minutes. Next stir mixture and microwave another 2 minutes, mixture will be hot and bubbly!
Add in vanilla and salt
Stir in powdered sugar until smooth. Note the mixture starts to get really thick here! So stir it with some muscle to incorporate the powdered sugar well.
Put the fudge into a 9 x 9 pan lined with parchment paper for easier removal. Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator until to cut into pieces and enjoy.

Microwave fudge!! This is way too dangerous a recipe to know about. Maybe I shouldn’t share it?

I don’t make biscuits very often (carbs!)(no self control!) but I decided to try Heather’s with the stew the other night. I needed something to soak up all the extra juices.

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    Fabio's Cheese Bomb Biscuits
      2 cups of sifted flour
      2 tsp of baking powder
      1/2 tsp of salt
      4 tbsp shortening
      1 1/4 cups of half & half
      1 1/2 Asiago cheese

    Mix all the dry ingredients together, including the grated cheese. Next add in the shortening. After you incorporate the shortening, add in the half & half.
    Ordinarily one would drop 1/4 cup of dough onto a greased cookie sheet, but I decided to use a muffin pan which gave me a nice thick biscuit.
    Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

    Heather used Romano or Parmesan cheese. I used the Asiago instead. And you will need more than 1 1/2 cups if you want a stronger cheesy taste. They were perfect with the stew.

    If you want to find out what else was coming out of the SRC Member's kitchens you need to check out the postings below. I know you will find some great food.

    And just in case you aren't familiar with Secret Recipe Club it is a great group of bloggers who are assigned a blog. We then make something from their blog and all of us post, or reveal, on the same day. Nobody knows who got who until the reveal. Tons of fun.


Moxie’s blog that is! And glad I did cause there are plenty of great recipes there to try. Which is the problem. Which one(s) to make for this months Secret Receipe Club. And if you don’t know what that is you need to visit SRC and get the low down! Every month we get a SECRET blog to cook from and then we all reveal it on the same day. You get to know so many great bloggers and their recipes. Like Moxie!

Moxie lives in Boston with her pug, Ginger. She grew up in Long Island with four siblings. A nice large Italian family with lots of great recipes passed down through the family. So it is no wonder it was hard to pick. I managed to narrow it down to 20 recipes which I pinned for later. I finally narrowed THAT down to three quick ones I knew we would enjoy – often!!

    Like her….

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    Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots

There is nothing better than good fresh beans with lovely onions cooked down in butter and brown sugar.

    1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 lb shallots, halved lengthwise and peeled
    1/2 tsp fresh thyme OR 1/4 tsp dried thyme
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook green beans in boiling salted water for 5 minutes or until semi-tender; drain. Dump green beans into ice water to stop cooking so they don’t get mushy. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt butter, olive oil and brown sugar over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté 5 minutes, breaking them apart with a wooden spoon. Stir frequently so the sugar does not burn. Reduce heat to medium-low, add thyme and vinegar, and sauté 10 minutes or until shallots are golden brown and tender.
Increase heat to medium-high and add the green beans back to the pan. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Serves 2 as a side dish.

The only thing I did different was to sautee the beans in a little butter and olive oil, instead of boiling them, and then add the cooked onions and cooked a little longer. So good!

One of my favorite soups is Tomato Basil so I am always looking for a good recipe. Moxie had one. And it so good. I am excited, also, because I got to use some Basil from the garden. She served hers with a grilled sandwich and that sounded like a perfect lunch.

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    2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
    1/2 cup olive oil, divided
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 stalks celery, diced
    2 small carrots, diced
    1 large onion, diced
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    3 cups chicken broth
    2 bay leaves
    4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
    1/2 cup heavy cream, optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Drain cans of tomatoes, reserving juice for later. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil on foil-lined baking sheet along with diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through baking.
Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, onion and garlic, cooking until softened, about 15 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes, reserved juices, chicken broth, bay leaves and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add basil and cream, if using. Puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth. Serves 4.


Instead of her basic grilled cheese, though, I made her

    Grilled Cheese with ‘Shrooms

    1 teaspoon olive oil
    4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
    Dash of thyme
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    2 ounces shredded mozzarella, divided
    2 slices of wheat bread
    Cooking spray

In a small skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Cook mushrooms until they start to turn golden brown, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Set mushrooms aside in a bowl and wipe out your skillet with a paper towel.
Spray your skillet with cooking spray and turn back to medium-high heat. Place one slice of bread in pan and cover with one ounce mozzarella cheese, reserved mushrooms and then remaining one ounce mozzarella cheese. Top with the other slice of bread and spray more cooking spray right over the top.
Grill sandwich about 2-3 minutes per side, just until it starts to turn golden brown and the cheese melts, flipping once. Serves 1.
And I was right. It WAS the perfect lunch. So many more dishes I want to go back for, but until then, as Moxie would say:

    Tutti Mangia!

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.

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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,
Kayte,
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.

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    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.

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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.

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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!!

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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:

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    Crunchy Panko Chicken Fingers

and

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    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:

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

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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.


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