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

Taiwanese Beef Soup: From Sumos to Oxtails

February 4th, 2017

Taiwanese Beef Soup

Before I get to this delightful soup recipe, I have to share some fun I had last week.  I have a dear friend who has moved just over the mountain from me.  Barbara has built a lovely home on acreage with a barn.  She raises goats for their wool and milk.  She prefers a vegetarian diet.  The two of us went to Whole Foods together on a shopping outing.  It is obvious what each of us bought.

Sumos

 

 

Oxtails
Sumo oranges are in season right now.  They are a cross between mandarin oranges and navel oranges.  Barb bought these.  Because I was making the beef soup, I needed both beef shanks with marrow bone and oxtail.  I asked the butcher for oxtail and he went into the walk-in refrigerator and brought out a whole cow’s tail and flashed it about.  “Do you want me to cut this up for you?” he said. The look of horror on Barb’s face was priceless.  He cut it up and we left the store giggling at our incongruent tastes. Barb said, “If you invite me to dinner I would prefer quiche and a salad.”

Taiwanese Vegetable Soup

The heady combination of beef with bones and marrow, plus soy sauce, chilies, star anise and ginger makes for a rich broth and tender meat that cooks slowly for hours.  A meat lover’s delight.  Ladle the soup into bowls and add cooked Chinese noodles and broccolini.  Adjust the amount of chilies to your taste.  I used 2 Thai chilies in the soup and garnished it with slices of Habanero chilies.  I will omit the too hot Habaneros next time, even though they looked pretty.  This was slightly adapted from Hélène Dujardin on her blog Tartelette.  It is best to make this a day ahead of time so you can skim the fat from the top after refrigerating.

TAIWANESE BEEF SOUP

Make this ahead of time so you can refrigerate and remove the fat before reheating

3 pounds bone-in beef shanks with marrow bones still on
1 pound beef oxtails
3 tablespoons canola oil
10 garlic cloves, bruised
one 1 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into 6 slices,
5 scallions, halved crosswise
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
3 star anise
1 teaspoons peppercorns
2 Thai chili, split lengthwise
1/4 cup roasted red chili paste
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
8 tablespoons light soy sauce
10 cups water
1 pound broccolini, stems halved
1/2 pound Udon noodles
cilantro
extra freshly sliced Habanero red chili (optional)

In a large stock pot, heat half the oil over high heat. Sear half of the beef shanks and oxtails on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pot and repeat with the remaining oil and beef pieces.
Add  all the remaining soup ingredients, except the broccolini, noodles and cilantro.
Bring to a boil then lower the heat to low, cover with the lid askew and cook for about 3 hours or until the beef is tender and falls off the bone.
Turn off the heat, and remove the beef pieces with a slotted spoon. Let the beef cool then shred it off the bones. Discard the bones. Strain the soup into another pot and put the meat into that pot. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, skim the fat that has risen to the top then reheat the soup on low heat.
In the meantime, blanch the broccolini in boiling water for about a minute. Set aside. Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Divide the noodles and broccolini among 6 bowls, ladle soup over noodles and garnish with cilantro and extra chili if desired.

Printable Recipe 

Celery Root Velouté

January 28th, 2017

Celery Root Soup

If you would like a luxurious soup to serve as a first course, you couldn’t do any better than this Celery Root Velouté from Mimi Thorisson’s new cookbook French Country Cooking.  It is very simple to make and is quite different from any other soup I have made before.  Starting with a gnarly celery root, one of the least appealing vegetables I have ever seen, you end up with a thing of beauty.

Celery Root Soup

I love the idea of serving the soup with a crisp slice of bacon.  Crumbled into the bowl, it adds a crisp counterpoint to the velvety soup.  My husband and I both loved the flavors achieved with just a few ingredients.  The hint of mustard pairs well with the earthy taste of the celery root.

Celery Root Soup

Whether you serve this as a first course or as a light lunch, you can’t go wrong with this unique recipe.  Another winner from Mimi Thorisson.

CELERY ROOT VELOUTÉ

3 tablespoons salted butter
1 celery root (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into small cubes
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Extra-virgin olive oil
Piment D”espelette or mild chile powder
6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the celery root, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.  Pour in the milk and stock and bring the soup to a simmer.  Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the celery root is tender, about 20 minutes.

Purée the soup, preferable using an immersion blender.  Stir in the mustard and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Serve hot, drizzling each portion with a little olive oil and sprinkling with a pinch of piment d’Espelette.  Top each bowl with a slice of bacon.

Makes 6 servings

Printable Recipe

Jamaican Chicken Soup for the Dark Days of Winter

January 6th, 2017

Jamacian Chicken Soup

The weather is frightful.  The skies are grey.  But the light still burns in our homes and on our hearths. We have put away the trappings of the holidays and are hunkering down for the long dark days of Winter. Warming soups and bread fresh from the oven are my preferred ways to fight the winter doldrums. And a great soup to brighten your days is this Jamaican inspired recipe.Jamacian Chicken Soup

With the bright additions of curry and allspice, this chicken, black bean and black-eyed pea soup hits all the right notes.  I added Himalayan red rice to the mix because I had it in my pantry.  I found it while cleaning out dated foodstuff.  Sometimes impulse buys get shoved into corners.   Himalayan Red Rice is grown in Nepal and has a red hued bran.  It is colorful for pilafs.

Jamacian Chicken Stew

We have a snow storm predicted for the mountains this weekend so I am happy to have a pot of soup and homemade Rosemary Olive Oil Bread stashed away.  Cooking is a good way to survive anything nature throws at you.

JAMAICAN CHICKEN SOUP

1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup red wine
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used Himalayan Red Rice)

Heat oil in a dutch oven.  Add chicken pieces and saute until browned.  Remove chicken and set aside.  Add onion to casserole and cook until transparent.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add all of the spices and cook over low heat for about 1 minute.  Add wine and reduce slightly.  Return chicken to casserole and add the remaining ingredients.  Cover pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to low and cook for at least 30 minutes.  Garnish with parsley or cilantro if desired.

Printable Recipe

 

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