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Okra and Corn Chowder

I love okra, and I don’t care if it is fried or boiled and slimy.

What smells better than a pot of soup simmering away on your stovetop. Nothing. Our cold days are behind us but this soup will still be in my menu any time of the year. This would be a great soup to try when the fresh okra and corn start showing up at the markets.

Ya know what I love about soups, well, the instructions are usually about a paragraph long and they are pretty simple to throw together and the ingredients are usually something pretty easy to find at your local market.

This recipe happens to have two of my favorite vegetables — corn and okra and you can’t not like the potatoes and tomatoes and what about the bacon. Everything is better with bacon in it. My husband does not like boiled okra at all because he says it is slimy. How is that different than the slimy oysters he slurps down? He will eat okra in gumbo and soups though even though it is boiled but not just boiled okra as a side dish. (So, I usually get it all.) When I make gumbo, I cook the okra in a hot, dry, iron skillet because that is suppose to get rid of the sliminess before you put it in your soup. (Sliminess isn’t really a work that evokes thoughts of a delicious dish is it?) For this recipe though, I did not do that, I just added in the FROZEN okra since I can never find any decent fresh okra in my grocery. I also added some dried okra that a friend, Sheri, gave me to try.

What do you normally serve with a pot of soup? Salad? Bread? If bread, is it cornbread or a crusty loaf of Italian bread? I chose no bread when I made this soup.

On the day I made this, my project for the day was to organize my pantry (I have two – food and pans). My food pantry gets organized at least every couple of months. I like my spices in alphabetical order, all my foods stacked neat and tidy and containers holding pastas, rices, teas etc. I have racks on my doors from The Container store that hold mixes for dips and other packaged things I usually have a hard time passing up when I see them. After all, you never know when you might need a quick dip.

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Posole (Mexican Soup with Pork and Hominy)

Another soup recipe for your cold winter nights.

Ok, I’m probably the only person looking at this blog that loves hominy. I don’t care if it is the white or yellow. I like it. If you have never tried it then I’m sure you are wondering what the heck is that stuff that looks like corn on steroids.

Hominy is basically dried corn that has been soaked in mineral lime bath and the alkali process loosens the hulls from the kernels and softens the kernels. The process can cause the kernels to double in size. I’ve read that sometimes the lime is replaced with lye (that is what I had always heard). So, long story short, without hominy, no tortillas, no tacos, tamales or masa. So, anytime you eat any of these products, then you have eaten hominy.

I remember as a kid, one of my favorite meals (our mother cooked everything homemade so don’t know when we ever ate this) was mashed potatoes with “canned” Krey sliced roast beef in gravy that we put on top of the mashed potatoes and then some white hominy on the side with some butter and salt and pepper.

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White Bean Soup with Ham

Don’t you love having a leftover ham bone to cook!

Ya, know what I love about buying a ham, baking it, glazing it, slicing it and eating it? Well, it’s the bone that is left over.

A couple of weeks ago we had dinner at a friend’s house and she made a great white bean soup. That got me thinking about a bean soup I use to make years ago; so I decided to dig out my old recipe, dust it off and use that ham bone for something other than just a pot of beans. For my recipe I use to add chopped fresh tomatoes but this time I added a can of Rotel and we really liked the results.

After any “ham holiday” I always wrap my bone (I leave a lot of meat on it) and throw it in the freezer. Then one day when I’m cleaning out my freezer I find this wonderful gift wrapped piece of meat.

Normally a ham bone always meant a pot of beans. But, many years ago I took a class where we made bean soup. Wow, I thought, something added to that pot of beans makes a delicious soup and this has become my favorite soup to make with a ham bone and I really think I like it better than just a plain old pot of beans.

I guess you could always throw a ham bone in a pot of split peas, lentils or even black eyed peas; but then you just have a pot of peas. What do you do with your leftover ham bone? And, I hope you don’t say I buy boneless.

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Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Winter’s over but not for this soup recipe.

I did a lot of soups over the winter months. Someone asked me one day back in February if I was enjoying the weather. It was 70°. I said “no, it’s winter”. Now, that Spring is officially here and the temperatures have started to get into the 70°-80°’s, I’m in hog heaven. But when the calendar says winter, it’s suppose to be cold. Let it get to 50° here and that’s cold enough. Something about the humidity I guess makes 50° seem like 30°. In the winter I want there to be a chill in the house that makes me want to snuggle up with a blanket and watch a good movie, and when I go outside I want to have to put a jacket or coat on and I want to have a pot of hot tea in the morning to warm me up not a glass of ice water to cool me down. When it’s Spring time I want to be able to smell fresh cut grass and the smell of a rainy day. This soup is good on a cold winter day or any other day for that fact.

One day after running around most of the day doing water aerobics (doesn’t that sound fun 🙂 — good for the knees though) and doing a bunch of other errands I decided to take it easy for dinner and make another pot of soup.

If I feel a craving for soup I just can’t pay attention to the weather; I might even have to turn the heat or air down to make it a little chilly inside so the soup taste nice and warm going down. Maybe I should start trying more chilled soups to make for the summer months.

I first tasted this recipe at bunco. The recipe came from 365 Days of Slow Cooking and is a slow cooker recipe.  I made this the first time in Chicago several weeks ago and everyone loved it (did in slow cooker all day). I doubled the recipe. I made it again over Easter weekend and loved it just as much.  I made mine the second time in my large Le Creuset pot and cooked it 5-6 hours on lowest setting.
There is one part of the recipe I wanted to experiment with. The recipe calls for a roux that you make at the end of the cooking time. It has 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup flour. I really don’t think it needs that since it doesn’t really add much taste. I want to try pureeing a couple cups of the soup and adding it back in at the end with the Half & Half cream instead of using the roux.  For the one I made over Easter I used half the amount of butter and flour for the roux to see how that would work and it turned out just fine. So if you want to reduce the flour and butter by half you will still get good results. I did puree a few cups of soup but didn’t see much difference in thickness. If the soup is too thick for you either add more cream or more chicken broth.

Cheesy Vegetable Soup

One of my fond “foodie” memories from Iowa.

I made torn coutons instead of cubing the bread. They were sauteed in a little olive oil until brown.

I have talked before about our living six years in Iowa and what fond memories I have of raising our kids there. Our daughter was born there and the boys spent six years of their lives there, skateboarding down our hill, sledding down our back yard and bringing all kinds of creatures big and small home for mom to look at with surprised eyes.

We had quite a few cold nights while living there. Cold, snowy, blizzardy, icy days and nights. My husband would lay in bed on those snowy, blizzard coming down mornings and wait to hear the road grader come down our street.  We lived on a bluff with about 15 other houses and he would know there was no way he was going to get down that hill if the road grater had not made it’s trek up our way.

So, doesn’t that make you want to grab for a blanket and a good bowl of soup? Soup is one of those things that is so comforting on a ice-cold polar night which I’m sure some of you are still having. Partner that bowl of steaming goodness with some homemade bread, biscuits, cornbread or if you must, a store bought cracker and you will be thanking me or someone from my old Welcome Wagon club for this recipe.  All I remember about this recipe was once we did a luncheon at someone’s house and there were about 8 of us and everyone brought a soup and I have had this recipe since 1980.

If anyone from my Iowa days sees this and remembers the luncheon, please leave a comment. I’m thinking this was from a ladies luncheon group.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Cheesy Bacon Biscuits would be great with this soup; 900+ people have looked at this recipe. Hope someone tried them.

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Creamy Chicken Poblano Pepper Soup

A delightfully warming soup for a cold winter’s day.

Are you having a cold, bone chilling day? Want to just turn off the lights, light a fire in the fireplace and curl up with a blanket and a good bowl of soup and glass of wine? The day I made this soup that is the type day we were having — today it’s 76° here in our part of Texas.

I came across this soup recipe quite a few years ago; back when a friend of mine and I thought we wanted to open a tea room and I envisioned serving this soup in small cups along with some tiny little finger sandwiches and other savories. Am I ever glad I got that out of my head; we would have been working 24/7 and I would not have had a minute to do anything else.

Making soups has become an obsession with me; like my Winter White Vegetable Soup that I had on vacation in Mexico one year. I looked for two years trying to come up with a recipe before stumbling on one from England that I’m sure some little grey-haired lady living in a quaint little cottage posted one dreary, rainy afternoon. After making my changes, I feel like I matched or surpassed the soup I had in Mexico.

Then there was the Egg Flower Soup we had once while on a ski trip in Park City, UT. The soup was nothing more than egg drop soup but there were tiny miniature corn slices floating in the soup which looked just like little flowers. I added some shreds of fresh spinach to an egg drop soup recipe, a tiny bit of minced chicken and went to the salad bar at the local grocery and bought 2 tiny ears of corn (didn’t want to waste money on a whole can) and created a great little soup. (You can try that one without a recipe).

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Potato, Carrot and Parsnip Soup

Beautiful fall colored soup!

I confess! I’m a pilferer of recipes (sometimes). Today, I thought about making some good old potato soup but then why should I stop with potatoes; so as usual, I look through my refrigerator to see what is hiding away just days from going moldy on me.

Today I was in luck because I found some baby carrots; so after a little web searching I found a recipe for a potato and carrot soup. I came across a good one at Food Network then continued looking and pilfering ingredients as I went along.

The one ingredient that I added that I did not see in other recipes was the one parsnip just waiting to be used before he headed to the trash. I remembered the sweetness the parsnip added to my Winter White Vegetable Soup and also to my Cauliflower Mash with Kale and thought it  would be great included in this recipe.

With cool days starting to set in and some of you may be having COLD days (I’m jealous), this soup will hit the spot on a cold (cool) fall/winter night. And, maybe, just maybe you still have some vegetables laying around since Thanksgiving that need to be put to use.

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Shrimp and Corn Chowder

What a comforting bowl of soup for a cold winter night.

I don’t know where you live in this world of ours, but whether you are having a warm sunny day or a cold chilly wintry evening, I think you will enjoy this soup.

Soup is one of my favorite dishes to make. Seems like you can throw just about anything in a pot and come up with a wonderful dish that will make your family or guest think you have slaved over a hot stove all day. Add a nice crusty bread and a beautifully dressed green salad and a soup becomes a fantastic meal. Potatoes, pasta, or rice can be added to soups or stews to make a simple pot of simmering vegetables hearty enough for anyone in your family who might say “no” to soup for dinner. I often think of “what would our pioneer mother’s have made for dinner”. I’m sure stews were often on their menus. Dad comes in with something he had shot while out tending the fields (??) and she adds it to the pot and then throws in any kind of root vegetables they may have in their cellar. I’m not sure I could live like that but I often think I would like to be a time traveler to go back and experience some of the things our forefathers lived through; but with one foot in the present.

Don’t you just love what you can do with a soup. You can serve a pumpkin tomato soup in small hallowed out pumpkins or you can put your soup in a beautiful soup tureen. There’s always dessert soups that are simple and delicious and will impress your guest when served in a martini glass.  At my daughter’s wedding back in October we had, as one of our hors doerves, a tomato bisque that was served in a tall shot glass with a grilled cheese triangle teetering over the top of the glass.  Now that was fun; the grilled cheese could either be eaten as is or dunked (I did) into the soup and then you could finish off the soup by a swift tilt of the head and down the soup. I also just posted a Crab and Corn Bisque from our Hawaiian feast weekend.

I did not have any sherry in my liquor cabinet and didn’t want the extra stop while shopping to pick it up so I lazily opted for the cooking sherry from the grocery.

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Food Stories/ Soup

Corn and Crab Bisque

Creamy awesome bisque!

For our feast night meals usually everyone is responsible for a course (or two) My husband was suppose to be doing this bisque but he was out in the rain with the pig most of the day with our son; so, Paul with my help (he did most of it) made this deliciously creamy bisque.

Paul, never follows a recipe exactly, if he follows one at all. So we started with a basic recipe which is below and he added the poblano pepper and tweaked it somewhat. So, when you start this recipe, just know that you can make whatever changes you want. Originally we had pureed all the soup with all the corn in it already. Luckily I had some frozen (fresh) corn that I had bought back in the summer and we added that at the end for some texture. It turned out wonderful. I think we all would have liked to have more than the little espresso cup portion that we were given; but we knew we had much more food to come.

Paul was also responsible for putting together the menu, buying the pig, rigging the cooking equipment with his dad, doing the pork belly, brining and cooking the pig (with dad’s help) and making the sauces to go with the pig. So we depend on him a lot for our feast meals. He whipped the bisque together (with my gophering help) in no time.

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Mac n’ Cheese Soup

Move over little blue box (and I don’t mean Tiffany’s)!

All I can say is,  “cheesy and delicious”!

I was sitting out by the pool the other day, can’t get in it now because the water has cooled down to a chilly 54°. Atlas, another pool season come and gone. Back from our trip, holidays over, and nothing to do but sit and flip through old food magazines, trying to see which ones I will get rid of and what recipes I want to finally try. We are having 4 days straight of below freezing temperatures this week and it is the perfect time to try a new soup recipe.

So, Mac n’ Cheese. Who doesn’t like the gooey, hot, cheesy stuff. I have always liked cooking and I guess I have always thought I was a pretty good cook.  When my kids were little there were two things they never liked HOMEMADE — blueberry muffins and macaroni and cheese.  They wanted blueberry muffins from a box because they liked the little wild blueberries and macaroni and cheese had to come from the little blue box — Kraft, probably because of the artificial color that made the macaroni and cheese such a pretty orange color.  Now, they appreciate anything homemade and they are all wonderful cooks even though they did eat some of those boxed items (that aren’t that good for us) and occasionally (more often than we should have) made trips to fast food burger places.

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Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup

Deconstructed Stuffed Bell Pepper  – Soup!

That’s what my son Scott calls this soup.  Take apart a stuffed bell pepper, throw it in a pot and you have a belly warming soup for the cold nights to come this winter.

When I saw this recipe that my son sent me, it instantly brought back memories of stuffed peppers my mother use to make. Also memories of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, pot roast, fried pork chops; all that comfort food that I grew up eating. My mother did not work outside the home and there was always  a hot meal on the table when my dad came in from work. Occasionally she would try new recipes and i think this is one she would have enjoyed making.

My sister and I made this one snowy night recently at her home in Missouri. We have lived in Texas for the last 20 years and haven’t seen much snow since we have been here. Last year, at about this time, we got snowed in at my sister’s house and had to spend the night. This year while visiting, we had temperatures in the teens and a beautiful snow covered lawn and fields to look at while enjoying our steaming bowls of Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup all awhile knowing that we would be back in Texas soon to warmer weather.

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Brunswick Stew

Cold evening? Soup’s on.

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

Since it is starting to get hot here in Texas (low 80’s 🙂 ) I chose to do the shorter version of the recipe challenge. I do not want to stand one minute longer in the kitchen when I can be out floating in our pool with a glass of wine in hand. Now, that is relaxing. I have made several things from the Lee Brothers cookbook. After returning from our mother/daughter trip to Charleston last fall, I got a copy of the Lee Brothers book from out local library. There were quite a few recipes I copied out to try. So, if you get a chance, get a copy from your library and if they don’t have it, they can get it on loan from another library.

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