Monday, July 28, 2008

Soup on a really hot day!!!

I know it is warm out there most everywhere but I really liked this soup. Every now and then Donna Rattray @ hits on a recipe that I have been looking to make. It certainly is not hard but very filling. I thought I had saved the pic but can't find it.

Potato Soup With Country Ham and Cheese

6 tablespoons butter
3 leeks, white only, thinly sliced
6 to 8 ounces diced country ham, or smoked ham
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups diced peeled baking potatoes
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons fresh or freeze-dried chopped chives, optional
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
salt, to taste
Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sliced leeks and country ham. Sauté, stirring frequently, until leeks are tender. Add flour and stir until well blended. Add the chicken broth and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Add potatoes; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add parsley, chives, if using, and pepper, to taste. Add half-and-half or milk and cheese; stir until cheese is melted. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serves 6.
Meanwhile stay cool.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Not alot going on---Just too hot!

Our weather here in the South is just plain miserable. I don't feel that much for cooking but rather like salads or something really easy to go along with a salad.
Today I found something at OLD Bay and made a good recipe for Crab Cakes but I chose to finish them in my small oven rather than frying them. They were just as crispy and very delicious.
2 slices dried bread, crusts removed
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon McCormick® Parsley Flakes
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon OLD BAY® Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 pound lump crabmeat

In a large bowl, break bread into small pieces. Moisten with milk. Add mayo, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, baking powder, OLD BAY, salt, egg and crabmeat. Mix lightly and shape into patties. If time permits, refrigerate patties 30 minutes to help keep them together when cooking.
Broil or fry until golden-brown on both sides.
I made a salad to go along with this with some hot garlic french bread.
Vegetables are coming like crazy now which helps for side dishes and salads. Zucchini and yellow squash make for good sides as well as eggplant. Green peppers and small onions make good in salads and potato salad. The small red potatoes are great in a pot of fresh green beans. So as you can see, the garden saves alot of trips to the grocery store for veggies. The tomatoes are just about ready to pick in a week or two so I have made "fried green tomatoes" which is a great hit. As far as fruit the peaches are just about thru but watermelon is always a hit.
We are right in that hot time now and look forward to fall. But the vegetables make it bearable. I hope you are near a farmer's market or maybe have your own garden to take advantage of all that is growing.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How to Substitute Salted or Unsalted Butter

Today I found the answer I have been looking for when it comes to how do you substitute unsalted butter and vice versa when baking. Note: This article was moved from Granny's Tasties #1. Here is the rule according to Chefs Cary and Kevin @ CHEFSLINE. When recipes are written with just “butter,” and do not specifiy salted or unsalted, you want always to use unsalted butter. As a general rule, most professionally developed recipes call for unsalted butter. When baking a cake, you will usually get the best results by including salt as an ingredient. If your recipe does not include salt as an ingredient, or if your recipe calls for salted butter and you are using unsalted butter, then you should add salt to your dry ingredients. Use 1/4 tsp of salt for a 1 stick of butter recipe and 1/2 tsp. of salt for a 2 stick of butter recipe. Mix the salt with your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cornstarch – again, it depends on your recipe) and you’ll be good to go.You want to use salt in your baking for flavor, to control leavening, and generally, you just won’t get the best results on these two fronts when you bake with salted butter.
Here is more info about Chefsline and that is you can get help instantly if you are having problems while cooking. It is a 1-800 number which helps. So it seems you get recipes from great chefs and some help instantly if need be. Sign up for the weekly free email while you are there as well. Imagine! Great resource when you need it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I have returned to the heat of the south

I had a fantastic 4th holiday and hope you did too. My consumption of food was an ongoing thing from morning til night. Naturally I am avoiding the scale cuz I really don't want to know.
Chicago has the best restaurants in the world and I managed to go to a few new ones. First off my friend served the best port wine by DOW. Now that has a fantastic flavor and so smooth.
I wanted to eat from menus that are not part of the routine here in the south. The first meal had chunks of tenderloin filet with onions, mushrooms and green peppers in a wine sauce along with a baked potato. Almost like green pepper steak but certainly a cut above that. Next meal I had a tenderloin filet and chicken breast combination plate with mashed potatoes and green beans. The finale started with a Bloody Mary with an artichoke/cheese dip as an appetizer. Then I ordered chicken linguini with cajun spices as the main meal.
As you can see I really enjoyed this trip which included lots of shopping, visiting with family and friends and certainly good food. Meeting old friends and renewing our friendships was the high-light of the trip. I have already started a list of things I want to do next time that I just did not have time for. Like a rainbow cone on Western Avenue, a SOX baseball game, getting to a musical downtown and so much more.
For now, however, memories of the past week are very vivid and certainly enjoyable.