A Change in Latitude and Warming Soup

January 11th, 2018

NSB House

We have made our annual Winter trek to Florida this month.  We fell in love with New Smyrna Beach last year and were lucky to find this charming rental property for this year and, hopefully, for many years to come.  The house has a lot of character with two fireplaces and lots of room.  It is within walking distance to town and the beach.

The only down side so far has been the cold weather.  We have had freezing temperatures and have made use of both fireplaces.

NSB Bedroom

The fireplace in the Master Bedroom is wonderful and a cosy place to curl up with a good book.

Lentil and Kale Soup 1

Another way to warm up is with this Slow Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup.  It was featured in the latest issue of Cooking Light Magazine and was part of a 3 day detox article for clean eating after the holidays.  We have stuck to the recipes and have felt better for it.  We’ve even lost a few pounds.

NSB Kitchen

I am enjoying my new kitchen.  It has a gas stove, which I prefer, and every kind of pot, pan, casserole and gadget imaginable.

NSB Porch

When the weather warms up, I am sure that we will enjoy this screened in porch.

Lentil and Kale Soup

In the meantime, we will stay warm by the fire and eat warming soup.  The soup is made creamy by an infusion of pureed chickpeas.  I know it is probably colder where most of you are located, so let’s hope the January thaw will make an early appearance.

SLOW COOKER CREAMY LENTIL SOUP (Cooking Light Magazine)

Cooking Spray
4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked green lentils
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup chopped carrots
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
5 thyme sprigs
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-oz.) can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cups thinly sliced lacinato kale
1/2 tsp. sherry or red wine vinegar

Coat a 5-6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  Place broth and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in slow cooker; stir well.  Cover and cook on LOW 7 hours.

Process chickpeas, 3/4 cup water, oil, and lemon juice in a blender until smooth.  Add chickpea mixture and kale to slow cooker; stir well.  Cover and cook on LOW 30 minutes.  Stir in vinegar.

Servings 5, Calories 312.

Printable Recipe

Butternut Squash Soup

December 6th, 2017

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While staying with our family over Thanksgiving, my DIL Kristen made this flavorful soup for our lunch preceding our Thanksgiving dinner. The butternut squash is combined with a few parsnips and potatoes and simmered in chicken broth. Once cooked it is puréed with an immersion blender.  There is no need for heavy cream.  The soup is thick and velvety.  The smoked almonds and chopped scallions add a bit of crunch and flavor.  I will be making this butternut squash soup all through our chilly December.  If you want to make it vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

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We got our tree right after Thanksgiving because our home was on a Christmas Walk on December 2nd. I scrambled to get all of the decorations out before the end of November.  But now it is done and I can sit back and enjoy the season in peace. Here are a few pictures of the results.

Christmas Mantel

The mantel and chairs in their Christmas adornment.

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The den, ready for a fire and a good book.

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I have been busy making cookies, but on this day the Crock Pot is busy next to the sink making our dinner.  So much to do.

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Oranges in my hearth pot next to the fireplace.

Christmas Kitchen

Another view of the kitchen.

Christmas Porch

Christmas porch on a beautiful sunshiny day.

Christmas Lower Porch

Lower porch with my new reindeer pillow.

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My talented Mother’s Christmas Carolers.  I think everyone in our small town had a set of her carolers and I have fond memories of her making them in the hundreds.  She “lives on” in many households through her work.

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My husband has never grown up.  Fortunately we built bookshelves along the stairwell to our downstairs area.  I have given David free reign with all of his collectible toys.  When the Grands were younger they marveled at all of the mechanical toys (except for the bug-eyed monkeys that scared them).  The shelves seem particularly festive at Christmas.

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Enjoy the festive season and this velvety butternut squash soup on the countdown to Christmas. I am happy to have time to relax.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP (RECIPE FROM KRISTEN KLETT)

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
    • 1 medium yellow onion – rough chop
    • 2 cloves of garlic – rough chop
    • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
    • 1 medium butternut squash, cut into approx. 1” cubes (3 to 4 cups)
    • 3 small parsnips – cut similar to squash
    • 2 very small yukon potatoes (fingerling okay) – peeled and cut similar to squash and parsnips
    • 3 cups of chicken broth (I prefer making mine with “better than boullion” chicken base – much richer flavor)
    • 3 shakes of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

FOR GARNISH

  • Smoked almonds – chopped/crushed
  • Scallions – chopped

In a medium pan, saute the onions in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until the onions are translucent.

Add the dijon mustard and garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes

Add the squash, parsnips and potatoes and stir to combine and coat with oil/onions/garlic. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Season with another sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Add the chicken broth. The broth should just cover the vegetables (too much broth will make your soup more watery/runny). Cook for 20 minutes on a low simmer until all vegetables are fork tender.

Turn the heat off and, using an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pan until silky smooth.

Add a few dashes of cayenne pepper to taste.

Serve soup topped with crushed smoked almonds & green onions.
TIP: Root vegetables pair very nicely with Gruyere cheese. If you want a tasty side for your soup, make grilled cheese or crostini with Gruyere.

Printable Recipe

Waldorf Salad with Fennel and Candied Walnuts

June 1st, 2017

Waldorf Salad with Fennel and Candied Walnuts

Tweaking familiar recipes keeps my enthusiasm for cooking on point.  A while back I changed up my decades old meatloaf recipe for this one and I haven’t gone back.  This update of Waldorf Salad is another change that is good.  The addition of fennel to the standard ingredients of apples and celery gives a nice slightly licorice flavor.  The candied walnuts add a boost in flavor too. Next time I may add the usual grapes back in the mix.

Waldorf Salad with Fennel and Candied WalnutsThe recipe came from my new cookbook by Erin French, {the} Lost Kitchen.  I have been enjoying cooking from her book.  You can read about her in one of my previous posts here.

Waldorf Salad with Fennel and Candied WalnutsThe fennel fronds and soft lettuce add to the visual appeal of this common salad gone wild.  Actually that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my meaning.  Changing things up is sometimes a good thing.  Give it a try.

WALDORF SALAD WITH FENNEL AND CANDIED WALNUTS

2 crisp apples, cut into cubes
1 small fennel bulb, cored and sliced, fronds reserved for garnish
2 celery stalks, sliced, leaves reserved for garnish
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup candied walnuts (See below)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup parsley leaves
Salt and Pepper
1 heaping handful of radicchio or good-looking greens such as Bibb lettuce or arugula

In a large bowl, combine the apples, fennel, celery, and lemon zest and juice.  Toss to coat.  Add the walnuts, mayo, and parsley and toss again.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make a bed of lettuce on individual plates or a platter, top with the dr3essed mixture, and garnish with fennel fronds and celery leaves.

CANDIED NUTS

1/2 cup sugar
2 cups nuts, such as walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, or almonds
Maldon salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Toss in the nuts, stir to coat, then, with a slotted spoon, spread them out on the baking sheet.  Bake until toasty, 8 to 10 minutes. (Watch carefully so that they do not burn).  Sprinkle with Maldon salt to taste.  Set aside to cool.

Store any leftovers in a sealed container in your pantry for up to a month.

Printable Recipe 

 

Crispy Kale and Garlic Cream Tartlets

May 18th, 2017

Crispy Kale Garlic Cream Tartletts

Tartlets and quiches are some of my favorite foods.  Add crispy kale and bacon and I am in heaven. While scrolling the internet, I found a blogger who had attended one of Mimi Thorisson’s pop-up dinners in France.  Mimi, of the blog Manger, has served dinner to many people in her home in Saint-Yzans-de-Médoc in the Bordeaux region of France.  The blogger showed a picture of the appetizer that was offered that night.  It was this tartlet.  I knew that I had to make it, so I searched Mimi’s blog and found it here.

Crispy Kale Garlic Cream Tartletts

I kept the concept of the dish but changed it up to suit my taste.  I wanted more custard and used heavy cream instead of crème fraîche.  The kale is indeed crispy.  It is added near the end of the cooking time.  It provides a surprise element to a simple tartlet.

Southern Chicks MarketPenny of Enjoying the Simple Things and I found a new shop in Hendersonville for all of you who love the “Fixer Upper” look of Joanna Gaines.  The shop is called Southern Chicks Market.  It is full of tempting merchandise.

Crispy Kale Garlic Cream Tartletts

I think you will also find these delicious tartlets tempting.

CRISPY KALE AND GARLIC CREAM TARTLETS (Adapted from Mimi Thorisson)

1 1/2 cups Kale, torn into small pieces, washed and dried
6 slices of bacon, fried and crispy
1 cup of heavy cream
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 egg yolks
Pinch of nutmeg

Pastry – Enough for a single 9 inch pie pan cut into 6 rounds large enough to fill 6 tartlet pans.  You will have to roll, cut, gather scrapes and roll again (probably twice).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prick bottoms of pastry in tartlet pans.  Place on cookie sheet and top each with parchment paper and pie weights. (I use dried lima beans). Bake until lightly browned.  Remove weights and parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix the cream and the egg yolks along with a pinch of nutmeg and the minced garlic.  Season with Salt and pepper.  Whisk all together.

Divide the mixture among the tartlets and bake until set, Approximately 15 minutes.  Add the kale, drizzle with a little olive oil and cook for a further 10 minutes or until crispy and the pastry is golden.

Place a slice of bacon on each tartlet and serve.

Printable Recipe

 

 

Pizza Bites

May 4th, 2017

Pizza Bites 1

This is an adaptation of a recipe from The Pioneer Woman that I saw on The Food Network the other day.  I am planning an hors d’oeuvres get together for some time in early summer and thought these bite size pizzas would be a good addition.  Ree’s recipe is made with puff pastry.  I had a round of my favorite pizza dough in the freezer and decided to use that instead.

Pizza Bites

It was quite easy to roll out the pizza dough, cut it into small circles and top it with basil pesto, Roma tomato rounds, and Parmesan cheese.  I baked the rounds on a pizza stone in a hot (400 – 450 degree) oven for about 20 minutes.  Or you can follow The Pioneer Woman’s Recipe using puff pastry.

Paris Apartment

We are excited about an upcoming trip to Paris in the Fall.  I have found this charming apartment in The Latin Quarter to rent for a week.  Will let you know more as plans come together.  If anyone has recommendations for restaurants in the 5th Arrondissement I would appreciate it.

 

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.