Kitchen Creations

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ode to "Joy" and Fellowship in the Valley

Well it's the Friday after Thanksgiving and I will admit to feeling like we dodged a huge bullet.  We made it through last night and none of the rest of us have been struck down by the illness that had my younger son up all night Wednesday night.  Yes this meant that we were unable to travel to spend Thanksgiving with our wonderful cousins and grandparents.  This was a hard pill to swallow.  However, our family was remarkably bright eyed (particularly remarkable for the two of us who'd been up all night) and able to find so many things in our lives to be thankful for.  Then, as if to reward us for this positive upbeat attitude, God showered us with the most amazing Thanksgiving gift.  Our wonderful friend Joy called to say she had some extra turkey and a pumpkin pie she wanted to bring by since she knew we had not planned or shopped for a meal here.  In fact we had very little in the house because we'd planned to be out of town for the next 4 days.  We were overwhelmed with gratitude.  A sick little boy, a tired mommy and daddy and a very disappointed 8 year old who was trying to be as thankful as his little heart could muster in the face of not spending a few days with beloved cousins.  We were by no means helpless but this meant the world to us to be thought of and cared for.  Not only did Joy bring us turkey and pie, she brought the fixings for an ENTIRE Thanksgiving meal.  When I saw it all on my counter, I completely broke down in tears. Yes, I was very tired, but I also felt so loved and cared for.  It was yet another example of the family God had built around us here in Yakima since we'd moved here a little over a year ago. It was a leap of faith and we knew God had orchestrated this move and we were excited about it, despite leaving home and family and friends behind us.  He led us here, to a job that my husband loves and that makes him more joyful than I've seen him in years, friends and neighbors that have made life a joy, to a church that has epitomized the life we want to live, a slower paced life that focuses on relationships and building the community around us, and to a FAMILY that loves us completely.  Our church family and friends have never let us feel alone here, in the many moments we've started to long for connections they've been there.  They visited the hospital to provide company, support, and even gifts for Levi when he was hospitalized 6 months after moving here, meals when we came home,  invitations into homes in case weather prevented us from spending holidays with blood family, countless invitations into homes on a regular basis to enjoy time together and now a full Thanksgiving meal brought to our doorstep by our very own Thanksgiving angel.  We are blessed beyond measure by the bounty God has provided for us, not in material things, but in relationships and love here "In the land of apples and hops".

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Upside-down or right-side-up, either way it's delicious!

We have some amazingly delicious, ripe and juicy pears sitting on our counter.  I walked past them a few days ago and the aroma made my tummy grumble and my mouth water.  It was watering for this fabulous dessert found a few years ago in a beloved cookbook, The Family Circle Cookbook.  This book has pictures of every single item in it.  That's what always lures me in, the picture.  That's why I've committed to always having a picture of what I post here and that picture will ALWAYS be of the foods I've baked or cooked.  Pictures really are worth a thousand words.  It made me wonder then, how many words are "tastes" worth?  I'd say at least 10 times that!!!

So try this winter dessert and let the loquaciousness begin!!!

Pear-Cranberry Upside-Down Cake 
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 ripe pears, peeled, seeded & cut into halves or quarters
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
⅔ cup milk
⅓ cup unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Topping: Place butter in 9X9X2 inch square baking pan.
Place pan with butter in oven until butter melts.
Stir in brown sugar.
Arrange pears, rounded side down over sugar mixture.
Sprinkle cranberries between pears.
Cake: Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder & salt in large bowl.
Beat in milk & butter until smoth
Beat in egg & vanilla until blended
Pour batter evening over fruit in baking pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes
Loosen cake from sides of pan by sliding a knife around the edges.
Place serving platter on top of baking dish and invert, let the glaze drop down sides of cake.

For printable version click here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's the kissing that makes us the best!!

Yesterday my younger son wanted to bake something together and he chose this recipe.  He also wanted to pretend like we were having our own cooking show.  Can you tell Food Network is a favorite in our house?  We put on our aprons and he gave a running dialogue of each step, sometimes leaning over to ask what to say next.  At one point I leaned toward him and he leaned toward me and we smiled and gave each other a kiss.  The next thing I know, he's looking at the "audience" announcing that "We have kissing in our restaraunt and that's what makes it the best.".  He invited the audience to stop by, "Awesome Miners" (he named the restaraunt) any time and taste our delicous scones.  So anytime you are in the neighborhood, stop on in and we'll whip you up a batch! 

Spiced Cranberry-Orange Scones    
1/2 cup chopped cranberries (fresh/frozen not dried)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 cups flour (I do 1/2 white & 1/2 whole wheat)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 cup butter (cut into 1/2" cubes)
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. orange zest

Mix cranberries & 2 Tbsp of sugar
Mix together flour, baking powder, spices and salt
Cut butter into flour mix, until crumbly
Add flour mix to cranberries
Knead until evenly mixed.
Pat into 9" circle and cut into wedges
Bake at 325 for 20 minutes

For printable version click here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Basic Comforts

When I set about doing this blog, I wanted to share the recipes that my family and I love most.  Those meals or treats that make you feel warm and loved.  Those recipes you return to time and time again.  Now that winter has shown up here in the northwest, those meals and treats seem more important than ever.  Who doesn't love coming in from the cold to the warmth and aroma of something wonderful  baking?  Yesterday was a gray day and the baking bug hit me in full force so I decided to make one of our all time favorite comfort foods, chicken pot pie.  This takes some time to make from scratch, but it's sooooo worth it.  My husband took his first bite and his eyes literally rolled back in his head.  His verbal reaction, "I just want to sit here and savor this bite for the next 30 minutes".  It made the constant battle I have with rolling out and transferring pie crust from counter top to pan, in its whole form, worth it. 

The crust recipe is from my mother-in-law.  It's the ONLY one I've ever experienced success with.  The rest, I made up as I went along, using my favorite flavor combinations.  I thought it might be nice to have a pot pie recipe on hand for some of those turkey leftovers this week.  Another great tip, learned from my mother-in-law - cinnamon pie crust swirls.  Using the leftover pie dough, roll it flat, spread with butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, or anything you like (I've used all kinds of fruit inside too!)  Roll the dough and cut into slices.  Bake until golden!  So yummy!!!

Get cooking and get comfortable!!!

Chicken Pot Pie     
4 cups flour
1 1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup cold water
1 Tbsp. vinegar

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots, sliced
4-5 celery ribs, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups corn
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup broth
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream (or add to milk amount)
2 lbs. chicken (or more if you like it meaty), cooked & diced to preferred size
1 1/2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1.  Sift together, flour, salt & baking powder.
2.  Add shortening and cut in until dough is crumbly.
3.  Add 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup cold water & 1 Tbsp. water.
4.  Mix until all ingredients are just blended (too much mixing/kneading will make your dough tough & heavy instead of light and flaky)

1.  Heat olive oil in large pan. 
2.  Add onions, carrots and celery, saute for 5 minutes
3.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute more
4.  Add corn and saute for 1 minute more.
5.  Add flour and mix in well.
6.  Slowly add broth, milk and sour cream, stirring constantly while adding.
7.  Cook until liquid thickens (once it boils it's as thick as it will get)
9.  Add in cooked, diced chicken
10.  Add in sage, rosemary, thyme, salt & pepper, stir & simmer for a few more minutes
11.  Pour filling into a 9X13 inch baking dish.
12.  Roll out dough (about 3/4 of the dough) to preferred size to cover dish.
13.  Cover filling with dough and pinch edges.
14.  Bake at 375 degrees until golden on top (can brush with egg wash or milk for extra golden and crispy top) - about 30-40 minutes.

Here is a photo of the cinnamon pie dough swirls we love!!    


For printable version click here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pumpkin, pumpkin, who's got the pumpkin?

The answer......everyone this time of year!!!!  I love being able to get pumpkin for a decent price during Thanksgiving time.  Pumpkin bread has always been a favorite of mine and I wanted a recipe to call my own, so I went looking and found a recipe for pumpkin bars that had great reviews. I'm a total sucker for any recipe with "bar" in the title. I made my own substitutions and alterations and after several attempts came up with the one I stick with now.  These are delectable!!  It comes with a recipe for frosting.  The frosting definitely adds something special, but these bars are wonderful all by themselves.  You can also bake the batter in muffin tins for some great tasting muffins that freeze nicely!

Pumpkin Bars    
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15 oz. pumpkin
2 cups flour (I use 1/2 white & 1/2 whole wheat)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking soda
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  Mix eggs, sugar, oil & pumpkin until light and fluffy.
3.  Stir together remaining ingredients.
4.  Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture & mix until smooth.
5.  Spread into 13 X 10 pan (or 2 smaller pans)
6.  Bake 30 minutes & let cool
7.  Mix together frosting ingredients and spread over if desired.  It's fantastic without the frosting too!!
8.  Sprinkle a mixture of sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg over the top for a pretty finish

For printable version click here

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What do you do when it snows?

Yesterday was the very first snow fall of the season here in Yakima, Washington.  It was lovely to watch the giant flakes fall from the sky.  I was at work and couldn't help but smile at the kids as they shrieked their joy at finding snow on the playground.  I confess to feeling rather kid-like myself.  I stood in it for 10 minutes, just letting it fall around me and enjoying the peaceful quiet that seems to accompany snow.  After that, all I wanted to do was go home, make some hot tea, put on Christmas music and bake (especially after reading that my friend Austyn was doing just that)!  So as soon as contractually possible, I grabbed my stuff and my kids and headed for home.  On went Pandora and Christmas music and out came the recipe for carmel corn from my friend's mom.  What could be better than ending the evening of the first snow fall with carmel corn and the movie White Christmas?  Yes, maybe I'm jumping the gun for some of you out there, but it felt so right.  I was literally dancing about my house, unable to contain the joy inside.  It was contageous.  All my guys joined in the singing and cooking and ALL of us enjoyed a night by the fire watching a great Christmas classic.

May you be filled with some delicious carmel corn & winter joy yourself!!

Carmel Corn  (Recipe by Vicky Kehrer)
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

*  Melt butter in large saucepan.
*  Stir in sugar & syrup. 
*  Bring to a boil, boil for 5 minutes.
*  Stir occasionally.
*  Remove from heat.
*  Stir in salt, soda & vanilla
*  Pour mixture over popcorn.
*  Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hours, stirring every 15 mintues.
*  Cool on waxpaper

*** Warning!  This is definitely NOT health food, but it's oh so worth it!

Click here for printable version.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Recipes that make you smile

Do you have any of these?  Those recipes that you pull out and they instantly bring a smile to your face, maybe even a full blown grin?  This is one of those recipes for me.  My friend Regina made these muffins for my husband and I one morning while we were visiting.  They were so incredibly delicious!  When I needed a recipe for muffins to take to school a few months later, I immediately begged for her recipe.  She e-mailed it to me.  Somewhere in the transition from her recipe to my printed one, the ingredients for the crumb topping were altered a bit.  The amount of butter went from 1/4 cup to 1 cup.  Let me tell you, that slash and the 4 that follows it are extremely important to the final outcome of these muffins!!!  The muffins were disasterous, almost non-exsistent when you peeled the paper off.  The muffin tops, however, were the most decadent things you've ever tasted, which was good since they were the only thing I had to bring that day! While the muffin tops were amazing, I highly recommend the muffin and top together as a whole.  This has become a source of humor between the two of us.  I cannot make these muffins without thinking of my wonderful friend and the story behind my first attempt at making them.

May they bring a smile to your face, a big one!

Regina's "To Die For" Blueberry Muffins 

1 ½ cups of flour (I used half whole wheat)
¾ cups of sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
Appx. 2/3 cup milk
1 Cup (or more) blueberries

For crumb topping:
½ cup sugar, ½ cup flour, ¼ cup butter

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. Place 1/3 cup oil in measuring cup. Add one egg and enough milk to make one cup and mix.
4. Mix egg mixture with flour mixture.
5. Fold in one cup (or more) blueberries.
6. Fill muffin cups with batter.
7. Mix sugar, flour and butter for crumb topping with fork until crumbly.
8. Sprinkle topping over muffins before baking.
9. Bake 20-25 minutes until done.

Click here for a printable version

Monday, November 14, 2011

Old Family Favorites

The recipe I'm sharing today is an old family favorite.  I don't remember a time when chocolate crunch cookies weren't a staple when baking time rolled around.  This recipe comes from a family friend, Jamie Pearson.  She and her family feature prominently in my childhood memories.  Her son and I were best friends and partners in crime when we were little.  These cookies are melt in your mouth good and quickly became a favorite of my husband's when we were dating.  He wants me to warn you that inhaling when taking a bite is NOT advised.  He learned this the hard way.  Powdered sugar down your trachea/windpipe, is less than desireable.  Another tip, DON'T eat the raw chocolate dough.  It looks rich and decadent, but it tastes horrible by itself.  Apparently an entire batch was thrown out by a "dough tester" that was not wise to this fact.  Don't let this happen to your yummy cookie dough! 

So grab you're ingredients and get baking!  It's that time of year!

Chocolate Crunch Cookies   
12 Tbsp. baking cocoa
4 Tbsp. oil
½ cup oil
2 cups sugar
4 unbeaten eggs
4 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2tsp baking powder
½ tsp. salt.
Powdered Sugar

Mix cocoa with 4 Tbsp. oil.
Slowly blend in ½ cup oil and gradually mix as you go along.
Blend in sugar and add eggs 1 at a time. Beat well with each addition.
Add vanilla.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
Add to chocolate mixture. Mix well.
Chill for 1 hour.
When dough has chilled, scoop out by teaspoonful and roll in powdered sugar.
Place each powdered sugar covered ball on cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes (larger cookies will take a bit longer).

Click here for printable version

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Soup with a southwestern flair!

I lived in the southwest for over half of my life.  Living there definitely shaped my palate for food .  I love the flavors of the southwest, flavors like chipotle peppers and cilantro.  When I find a recipe that combines those with my comfort food AND the flavors of fall, I feel like I've won the jackpot!!!  I found a recipe for "Smoky Sweet-Potato Chicken Stoup" ("stoup is her combo word for "stew" & "soup") in a Rachel Ray cookbook titled "Express Lane Meals".  It looked like a winner to me.  It tasted like one too!!  I've adapted it a bit to fit our eating style.  You'll find that many of my recipes are heavy on the vegetables and light on the meat.  Regardless, this soup packs a powerful flavor punch that leaves your mouth begging for more.   Big taste and big comfort, now that's a win-win in my book!!!

Make a big ol' pot of this soup and you'll feel like the winner, I guarentee!!

Smoky Sweet- Potato Chicken Soup
(Adapted from Rachel Ray's, "Express Lane Meals Cookbook)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 Medium Carrots
3 Celery Ribs
1 Large Sweet Onion
1 Large Sweet Potato (yellow /brown in color)
1 Large Yam (orange in color) - although my husband says they are all sweet potatoes, not true yams
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle chili in adobo, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper (1 tsp each - approximately)
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 ¼ cup white wine
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 ½ chicken breasts (cut into bite size pieces)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped)
Sour Cream to garnish

Heat Olive Oil in large soup pot.
Cut carrots into thin half moons and add to the pot, coating with olive oil.
Chop celery and onion and add them to the pot and stir.
Peel and cut sweet potatoes. Thinly slice them into bite size pieces.      
Add the sweet potatoes, garlic and chipotle and stir.
Add salt, pepper, thyme and the bay leaf.
Cook mixture for 5 minutes (this browns the carrots and onions a bit and gives them such a deep, rich flavor!)
Add the wine to the vegetables and reduce for 1 minute.
Add the stock to the pot, cover and raise heat to high.
When soup boils, remove cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
Add the cut-up chicken and simmer for 5-10 minutes - until sweet potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through.
Turn the heat off, discard the bay leaf and stir in green onions and cilantro.
Serve with garnish of sour cream!

For printable version click here

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Ultimate Comfort Meal

Well, our computer contracted a nasty virus, so I've been kept from posting my favorite soup recipes for the past few days. I decided to make up for that by posting two recipes that, when put together, comprise my ultimate in comfort food.  I made these together this week and it warmed me to my toes.  My family, sitting around the table, talking and laughing and enjoying good food together.  What could be better?  These are simple foods with simple ingredients.  I often find, those are the best though.  I hope you agree.

Here's to your comfort!!!

Smashed Potato Soup  (my favorite & Nathanael's)
10 - 12 medium potatoes pealed, cooked
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 medium carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium-large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14 1/2 oz) vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sourcream
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste

Saute the carrots, celery, onion  in olive oil for 4 minutes
Add garlic and saute for 1 minute more
Add potatoes and mash lightly
Stir milk and broth into the potatoes
Add in carrots, celery, onion & garlic
Stir in sour cream & salt and pepper

****This is a thick soup. If you like it thinner, add more broth or milk

Possible Toppings: Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Sliced Green Onions, Bacon pieces

And for dessert.....

Golden Apple Crisp  (made by Levi & myself)  
*Filling -
12-15 golden delicious apples (peeled & sliced)
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 Tbsp. cinnamon (more if you love cinnamon)
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
*Crust Crumble
1/3 cup butter - softened
1 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1.)  Peel and slice apples and stir together with lemon juice.
2.)  Add sugar and spice to apples and stir together
3.)  Pour filling into pie pan
4.)  In medium bowl combine flour and butter, using fork or pastry cutter.
5.)  Add in oats, sugar and spices.
6.)  Sprinkle over apple mixture to cover the entire top - use all!!
7.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-1 hour - until top is golden and inside is bubbly.
8.)  Enjoy!!

Click here for printable links:  Smashed Potato Soup
                                             Golden Apple Crisp

Monday, November 7, 2011

Feeling chilly? Warm up with some chili.

There are few soups more hearty and warming than a steaming hot bowl of chili with sweet cornbread on the side.  I think my recipe for chili changes every time I make it, depending on what I have around and what sounds good at the time.  This last week I made a batch that had my younger son smacking his lips in appreciation.  To quote his "famous" phrase, "it was kinna like toolicious!".  One of the things I love most about chili is the garnishes!  You can have so much fun with it.  It also makes a great garnish in its own right.  The next night this chili was a main feature in our baked potato bar. Want another great idea for chili leftovers?  Scoop 4 cups of chili into a baking dish, sprinkle with cheese and top with cornbread mixture.  Bake according to your cornbread directions.  It's fabulous! I love it when I can cook once and eat twice!!

I hope you find this chili makes you toasty warm inside!!

4 Bean Vegetarian Chili   

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 carrots, diced or sliced thin
1 large onion
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 bottle/can beer (or stock)
1 cup stock
1 large can (30 oz) tomato sauce
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, diced.
1 Tbsp brown sugar
5 Tbsp. chili powder (more or less depending on individual preference)
3 Tbsp cumin (more or less depending on individual preference)
1 cup corn kernals
1 ½ cups each of Chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans & black eyed peas, soaked and drained, (or whatever combination of 4 beans you like - baked beans can make a nice sweet contrast to the spicy!! - you can also use canned)
Garnish: Sour Cream, Chives, Cheese, Hot Sauce, Chopped Onion - whatever you can dream up!

1. Heat oil in large stock/soup pot. Add carrots, onions, mushrooms and saute until tender. Add in garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
2. Stir in beer and cook for 5 minutes. Next stir in stock and tomato sauce, chipotle chili
sugar and spices. Simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Stir in corn and beans then simmer for 1-4 hours (longer = better flavor in my book)
4. Garnish & Enjoy!

For printable version click here

Soup or Chowder?

I discovered a recipe on Pinterest for a butternut squash and corn soup.  We got quite a few butternut squashes from our garden this fall and I wanted to use them up before they went bad.  I liked many of the ingredients, but wanted to make it a little more "heart friendly".  I took out the bacon and half and half, added to the vegetables and made a few more additions/substitutions and came up with this great tasting, chowder-like soup.  My guys cleaned their bowls and asked for more.  It's going to be a regular on our dinner table this winter.  I paired it with some toasted, whole wheat pitas and it made for a warm and satisfying meal on a cold evening.

May it warm you and yours as well!

Butternut Squash & Corn Chowder


  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or additional cup of stock)
  • 6 cups mashed cooked butternut squash
  • 2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1 chipotle chili in abodo sauce, minced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Sour cream, garnish
  • Add olive oil to large sauce pan and saute saute onion and celery until tender, add garlic in the last minute.
  • Next, stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in wine and let simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  • Next stir in the stock.
  • Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Reduce heat to medium. Stir in the squash, corn, milk, chipotle chili, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Cook and stir until heated through.
  • Garnish with sour cream

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Souper" Comforting

As my friend Julie will tell you, soup is my comfort food.  With the weather crisp and cool these days, I find myself wanting to make and eat soup more often.  This week I'll be posting some of my favorite soup recipes, new and old.  The first is such a different tasting and comforting fall soup that I knew it had to start off "Soup Week".  I  adapted this recipe from a great vegetarian cookbook called "Complete Vegetarian", published by Hermes House.  I changed very little about this recipe and haven't felt the urge to meddle with it, which is nearly unheard of for me.  I was extremely glad my botanist husband could clue me in on what fresh coriander was.  It saved me the research time.  I've included that clue in the recipe below.

Hope you enjoy this first installment of "Soup Week".  Happy slurping!!!

Carrot Coriander Soup               
3 1/2 cups of carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 stick of celery (sliced), plus 2-3 pale leafy celery tops
2 small potatoes, peeled and sliced
4 cups of stock
3 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander (also known as cilantro)
3/4 cup of milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Peel and chop carrots. Heat the oil and 2 Tbsp of butter in a large saucepan. Saute onion over gentle heat for 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened. Do not allow to brown.
2.) Slice the celery and chop the potatoes. Add them to the onions and cook for a few minutes, then add the carrots. Continue to cook over a gentle heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring and then cover.
3.) Reduce the heat even further and sweat vegetables for about 10 minutes. Shake the pan or stir occasionally so the vegetables do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
4.) Add the stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Half cover the pan and simmer for a further 8-10 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
5.) Remove 6-8 tiny celery leaves for garnish and finely chop the remaining celery tops. Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan and saute the ground coriander for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
6.) Reduce the heat and add the chopped celery tops and fresh coriander and saute for about 1 minute - set aside.
7.) Process the soup in a food processor or blender and pour into a clean saucepan. Stir in the milk and coriander mixture. Season, heat gently, taste and adjust seasoning. Serve the soup garnished with the reserved celery leaves.
*** also tastes good garnished with a bit of sour cream, cheese or hot pepper sauce.

For printable version click here

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I wanna have pancakes; that's perfection!!

Making pancakes on weekend mornings is my husband's claim to fame. He makes them fluffier and flips them better than I can ever hope to do. In an effort to establish my own weekend morning claim to fame (when I'm up early enough to make breakfast before my hungry bears emerge from sleep), I looked for something to add my style to, but still satiate those pancake cravings. I stumbled on a recipe for Apple-Raisin Oven Pancake in a Goosberry Patch cookbook titled Flavors of Fall. I changed and added ingredients to come up with my version: Autumn Oven Pancake. It was a hit with my guys and I found my "pankcake perfection".

Happy Eating!!!

Autumn Oven Pancake                          
Serves: 8 Prep: 15 min Bake: 10-15 + 15 min       

1 apple, cored, peeled and sliced (large apple)
1/3 cup of dried fruit (dried plums, cherries , apricots – whatever  
    you like)
2 Tbsp. of brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. cinnamon (more if you like cinnamon)

4 eggs                                     
2/3 cup milk                            
2/3 cup all purpose flour             
1/2 tsp cinnamon                                                                  
1/8- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg                
1/2 tsp. ginger  
1Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp butter, melted
***french bread pieces (optional addition I haven't tried yet, but thought sounded good)
Garnish:  Powdered Sugar                     

Combine apple slices, dried fruit, brown sugar and 1/2 of the cinnamon together; spread  into
  lightly buttered 9" pie pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for10-15 minutes; remove from oven and set aside.
Whisk eggs, milk, flour and margarine and the rest of the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and
  vanilla together; pour over apple mixture.
Bake at 450 degrees until golden, about 15 minutes
Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

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