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Archive for February, 2009

Potato Soup

potato-soup1

I love soup. Especially potato soup.

The last few potato soup recipes I’ve tried have left me flat. So when I checked out the “New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant” book from the library, I was hesitant to try the potato soup recipe.

Luckily, I threw caution to the wind and tried it anyway, and I’m so glad I did.

Very Creamy Potato-Cheese Soup from “New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant.”

3 to 4 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
2 large potatoes, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 stalk celery, coarsely chopped (I added this- it isn’t in the recipe)
3 cups veggie stock or water (I used 2 cups chicken stock plus 1 cup white wine)
1 teaspoon dried dill (2 tablespoons of fresh)
4 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 cups milk (or part cream)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar (3 ounces)
salt and black pepper to taste
fresh or dried parsley for garnish

In a large soup pot, saute the onions and garlic in the butter until the onions are translucent. Add the potatoes, carrots and celery and saute for 5 to 10 minutes longer. Add the stock or water (or wine) and dill and simmer until all the vegetables are tender.
Puree the veggies with the cream cheese and milk in a blender or food processor. Return the soup to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheddar cheese and reheat gently.
Serve each cup or bowl garnished with parsley.

This soup was delicious…and even better the next day. When I rewarmed it, I had to add more milk because it thickened up in the fridge. This was excellent with a piece of parmesan toast and a simple spinach salad…

spinach-salad

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Last night brough a long and stressful week to a close. I was not inspired to cook or really even to eat at all – so dinner was looking pretty challenging. I decided to go to our local Fresh Market and see if any of the fish looked good. They had a sale on salmon, but it was farm raised, and frankly, I didn’t want to drop the cash on farm raised fish – so when I saw the wild caught grouper I was sold. I chose a small fillet and grabbed a loaf of fresh baked roasted garlic bread and was out the door. I came home and rubbed the grouper with a bit of olive oil, then seasoned with a variety of spices; salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, red pepper, and a dash of crab boil. In the meantime I started baking potatos and I let the fish sit in the spices for about 1/2 hour. When the potatos were nearly done, I put the fish in a hot pan and cooked about 4 minutes per side (maybe slightly less). When the fish was almost done, I threw some fresh spinach in a pan with a bit of olive oil and just barely sauted it until it was warm and wilted, but not cooked through. When that was all done, I placed the grouper on the bed of wilted spinach and served it all along side a baked potato and that yummy fresh bread. It turned what was sure to be an uninspired evening meal into a delightful tease and a full on seafood season on the horizon. 🙂 Happiness.

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Fried Chicken

So – this is hard to believe since I am a born and raised southern girl..but this was my first attempt at fried chicken. I don’t know why, but I had a craving for it. I soaked the chicken for a few hours in milk and when I was ready to cook it – I put about 1/2 inch of oil in a cast iron skillet. I tossed the chicken with flour, salt, pepper and paparika then fried the chicken for about 10 minutes per side or until done (poultry needs to reach 180 degrees).

I served this along side another first of a sort, though I had no reason to believe it wouldn’t work. I made a mixture of russet and sweet potato mash with a bit of chipolte and cheddar cheese – it was pretty yummy. Unfortunately the picture is fuzzy, but it tasted pretty darn good.

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Chicken and Dumplings

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I decided the other day I wanted to make a big pot of chicken and dumplings for dinner. The problem being, I haven’t had them in years (probably since the last time my Daddy made them while I was still living at home).

I scoured my sizable cook book collection for a recipe. I only found 3- and they all called for rolled dumplings. That wasn’t what I wanted. When Daddy made them, he made pillowy, soft dumplings that floated on the top. Finally, I did what I should have done in the first place…I called my Daddy.

Much to my shock and dismay, the dumpling recipe was simple. Bisquick, milk and a little sugar. That can’t be right! Bisquick! Absurd! But, I figured if I wanted to recreate the dish exactly, I would have to use it.

Chicken and dumplings, as it turns out, is very simple to make.

I seasoned a cut up chicken with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning, put it in the crock put with enough water to cover, popped it on low and left for school (7:30ish).

About 4:15, I took the chicken out, shredded it off the bone (which was really easy since it was falling apart), and put it in my big soup pot. Then I poured the liquid out of the crock pot on top, put a bag of frozen veggies in (I won’t use frozen carrots again- I don’t like the texture) and brought it up to a boil. A cornstarch slurry was used to thicken the mixture a bit, then I mixed some bisquick, milk and a pinch of sugar til it looked like biscuit dough, but a little wetter. I spooned the dumpling batter on top of the chicken stew mixture, put the top on the pot, and 25 minutes later, I had a whole big pot of pure love.

There isn’t much better on a cold night than a big bowl of steaming hot chicken and dumplings. I will be making this again…SOON.

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