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Soup

Soup

Potato and Leek Soup with Pancetta

Nothing better on a cold winter night.

There’s nothing better on a cold winter night than a warm bowl of soup. Curl up in a blanket and by the time you finish this soup you will feel nice and toasty. Light a fire in the fireplace and you will get there even quicker.

We’ve had some pretty cold days so far this winter in our part of Texas; (we were in the 30’s this morning) and we have not lost any of our plants to a freeze. Usually we lose maybe a fourth of our yard if we have more than 3 days of freezing temperatures in a roll. When the temperatures start to drop, and this time of the year they will go from the 70’s to the 40’s and back every few days, I start looking for a soup to make.

This soup only needs some good saltine crackers. You could do a crusty French or Italian bread; which would be wonderful. But if it is just me and my hub then I will probably throw out a sleeve of saltines and we are happy campers.

My mother use to make potato soup using Coffee Mate as the milk part of the soup. I always loved that soup but when I started making my own I wanted to use something a little healthier than the Coffee Mate. My mother always used potatoes and onions but I think the leeks have a much milder taste than an onion. 

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Soup

Turkey Soup with Rice and Kale

SOUP’S ON!

It’s time to get out those soup pots out, dust them off (if you haven’t already done that) and and start thinking of some delicious, comforting, belly warming soups to eat by a roaring fire. It’s finally cold here in Texas and I’m sure a lot of you have had snow and cold weather for weeks.

Well, here in Texas even in January I might have to turn the air conditioner down to 60 and pretend it is winter outside before I get that comforting feeling from a warm bowl of anything. Not always though, sometimes we do get a few really chili days where I might put on a coat and long pants — just kidding, well, maybe not; my husband seems to wear shorts year around until it is so cold playing golf he has to put on his zip on legs to his shorts to take the chill off. And, just as soon as I wrote this, we started getting freezing temperatures and in just a few days have lost many plants in our back yard. Baby, it’s cold out side fits our neck of the woods right now.

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Soup

Chicken Egg Drop Soup

Why did the chicken not cross the road?

Why did the chicken not cross the road? Because she knew if she got on the other side, she would be in this pot of soup. Ok, that’s a pretty corny joke.

This may look like the first egg drop soup I posted last January but it isn’t. Recently I made Egg Roll In A Bowl for dinner one night and I did not want to dump the extra ingredients I had left over. I have to look hard to find bean sprouts and when I find them I have to use them within a couple of days so they don’t go bad. So after making that other dish I still had some ground chicken and pork and half a bag of bean sprouts left over and since egg drop soup is my favorite Chinese soup I decided to mess with the other recipe and be a little thrifty.

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Soup

Tuscan Tortellini Soup

Feel better with some soup!

I love making soup and cool weather or not, if I feel the urge, there may be a pot of something on my stove.

It’s a wonder we don’t stay sick all the time here in Texas. I just took a look at the weather channel for a 30 day plus outlook. Well, our temperatures may be 60’s, 70’s and 80’s for the next three months. We were 80 here just a couple of weeks ago and next week it’s up and down all week. The freezes we had this winter killed about 1/4 of our plants outside even though they were covered. We aren’t used to more than one night below freezing in a row and if we get that the plants start to droop and say “bye bye, make a better choice next time.”

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Soup

Lobster and Shrimp Bisque

Creamy and delicious with lobster and shrimp.

Don’t you just love creamy soups? I do and until I really started cooking my favorite soup was “canned” Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Believe it or not I still eat that soup; and one day I’m going to make some homemade cream of mushroom soup and may never eat it from a can again.

I don’t know why some recipes refer to a creamy soup as a bisque instead of just a cream soup because the definition of a bisque is that it’s a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin, classically based on a strained broth of crustaceans.

My friend, Peggy, has been trying to get me to try this recipe for a few years. She got the recipe from her daughter who found it at asweetpeachef.com. I can’t believe it took me so long to try it. I didn’t have the three lobster tails it called for so I used some shrimp in place of the third tail.

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Soup

Egg Flower Soup

This is such a delicate soup and so pretty.

I’ve told you before how food memories stick in my head and I can recall them years later even decades later. Well, that is the case for this recipe

Back when the kids were all still at home we went skiing in Park City, Utah one year. I don’t know about you but when we have gone skiing everyone is so exhausted when they get off the slopes no one wants to go any place for dinner. After falling my first time out back in the late 80’s and I ended up having to have knee surgery, I gave up on the sport. So I was the bring-along chef on all of our ski trips. I would even pack stuff to make homemade cookies and snow cream for everyone to enjoy. But one night in Park City we decided to go out for Chinese food and we went to this little restaurant and the soup I ordered was called Egg Flower Soup. (Amazing, I just Googled it and the restaurant Park City Chinese and Thai is still in business and serves Egg Flower Soup.)

Over the years I’ve change the recipe I came up with because their soup only had the corn. I added some fresh spinach and carrot threads for color and some finely chopped chicken for added flavor but the thing that makes this soup so cute (if you can possibly call a soup cute) is the sliced baby corn and when they float in the soup they looked like a field of tiny flowers. (I have left out the chicken in this recipe because I like it plain and simple and I think the chicken muddles it up a little too much.)

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Soup

Tomato and Cauliflower Soup

A delicious combination of vegetables.

I said years ago that after moving to Texas I was tired of waiting for it to turn cold to make soup and decided that whenever the cravings for soup arose (they do often) I would make it whatever the temperature may be outside. Now that our temperatures are edging close to 80° (I hope we still have some cool temperatures left for the Spring.) I’m still trying out some soup recipes that I find interesting.

Last weekend our grandson Thomas came to visit. He won’t be two until May but he is developing some pretty good cooking skills. Recently I saw a video of him at the Kitchen Aid mixer helping mom make some banana bread. The fingers almost got pinched by the paddle but he survived to eat some of that bread. It’s kind of hard watching some of those videos cause I’m saying “watch out he’s getting ready to reach into the mixing bowl with the motor on”. He knows how to make the blade turn slower or faster so I think he is on his way to earning an apron in my kitchen. Of course I would never turn down help from a grandson. We had a pot of gumbo while they were here which was really good on a coolish day.

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Entree/ Soup

Slow-cooked Chicken Tortilla Soup

Slow down your moving too fast…..

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy
Ba da-da da-da da-da, feeling groovy…..

–Simon and Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling’ Groovy)

I woke up one morning before Christmas thinking “why does time seem to go by so fast”. After a little internet search (I knew there had to be an answer there) I came up with two article from Huffington Post.

It’s always bothered me that with a wink of an eye the day is gone, then the week, month, and before you know it, it’s Christmas again. At my age I want to put the brakes on things and enjoy and remember all the things that tend to flash by the window while we are driving/sailing/flying through life.

My goals this year are to slow things down, read a little each day (I don’t read nearly enough) and make a point to not just watch the days drift by. Read these two articles (Why Life Goes By Faster As We Get Older and Simple Mental Trick Can Slow Down Time) and I think it may help you to slow things down a bit.

My word for the year is going to be “slow” or in two words “slow down”. Cooking in a crockpot isn’t exactly what Slow Food Movement had in mind but if you have something simmering away in a crockpot/slow cooker, you will definitely be enjoying those smells and the excitement of anticipating what’s coming out of that pot at the end of the day.

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Soup

Four Bean Chili

Is it cold enough at your place for chili?

This was going to be my last post of the year but my Asparagus and Shiitake mushroom dish nosed it out and besides it is just now cold enough to make chili here. Christmas day was 80° in our part of Texas but now it’s down in the 40’s (what a difference a couple of week make.).

Thanks Katherine Heigl for your Chili recipe. I love Katherine Heigl. She seems like the most down to earth movie star (do people still say movie star?**) and I have watched every movie she’s been in since she left Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve seen her cooking on several shows recently and this particular day she was on the Today Show making her chili.

Now chili is something I have never been good at making. My family use to say that my chili never tasted the same from one time to the next. In fact, if I want chili now I use Wick Fowler’s Two Alarm Chili mix. My mother always used the little package of Chili-O and I thought her chili was wonderful.

When we lived in Louisville, KY and you were served chili you were asked if you wanted beans or no beans and that’s the first time I had macaroni in my chili — chili-mac and then learned to put out toppings like cooked spaghetti, chopped onions, cheese and chopped fresh tomatoes. Recently I had some chili at a local bar in The Woodlands, no beans; what do you mean NO beans! To me chili without beans just taste like meat and chili sauce. Ya gotta have beans in chili if you ask me.

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Soup

Butternut Squash Soup with Fried Sage Leaves

Orange and delicious soup.

Twas the days after Christmas, when all through the house

No one was stirring, not even a hungry mouse;

The stockings were not hung, but lay empty and neglected;

And everyone was still hoping that mom would come through

For just one more yummy meal.

Since those visions of sugar-plums still danced in their heads.

So, what’s a mama to do, but cook some soup for the family

Who is exhausted from all those delicious Christmas treats.

So, I’m not a poet! That’s no news to me. I’ve been doing a lot of soups lately but I take every opportunity when it starts getting cold here in Texas to get my fix on warm comforting soup recipes.

This little cup of soup would be a great addition to your after the holidays menus. Serve in tiny espresso cups, mugs or just about anything. A sip of this will warm your tummy.

I’ve been telling you all year about things I make to take to the craft circle I go to each Tuesday for the ladies to try out. We have about 70-80 ladies I think that participate each Tuesday starting in January through November. This year both of the sales brought in over $300,000 that goes towards missions at the church.

My group at cc is the “projects” section and we do dollhouses and anything else we can come up that we think will sell. There are 7 in my section so one night in November with a very “chill feel in the air” I made this soup to go with dinner for our group to celebrate the year of crafting being over.

Pomergrante martinis and prosciutto palmiers started the evening then we moved on to the amuse bouche (little appetizer) of the Butternut Squash Soup that I served in tiny espresso cups. For dinner we had a Greek salad, Chicken in Phyllo Bundles with Lemon Veloute Sauce, Green Onion Rice, Roasted Broccoli and for dessert Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce. Plus, wine, wine, and wine.

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Soup

Cornbread and Buttermilk Soup

Now this is a first for me!

In my opinion, Rhubarb restaurant is one of the best we dined at while visiting in Asheville last year.

The recipe for their Buttermilk Soup with Cornbread (the cornbread is actually crumbled in the soup and pureed) appeared in Garden and Gun magazine a while back and I couldn’t resist trying it. Although, my first instinct was “yuck” I read the recipe and thought I should give it a try before turning the page on yet another recipe that I might have liked if only I’d given it a chance.

I’ve probably told this story before and if I have maybe you didn’t read it. My grandfather loved buttermilk and it wasn’t the low-fat kind it was the kind that was full fat and came out in big blobs when poured into his glass. Now that doesn’t sound appetizing at all and it certainly doesn’t make you want to run to the store to buy some buttermilk to make this soup. Anyway, he would pour his thick buttermilk into his goblet type glass and then he would crumble his cornbread in the glass and eat this with a spoon.

Maybe the chef at Rhubarb Restaurant had a grandparent who loved buttermilk and just happened to put cornbread in it and this is how this recipe came about.

We decided to do a modern take on some Southern menu items for our Friday night dinner after Thanksgiving. So, in memory of my grandfather, I made the Buttermilk Soup with Cornbread as an amuse bouche for my contribution to the night’s menu. My little espresso cups worked perfect for the soup I wasn’t sure anyone would like — they surprised me and said they liked the soup. A little twang but different and good, especially with the cornbread sticks and topped with some fried pork belly.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: This little Pepperoni Stuffed Olive is an appetizer I use to make at least a hundred of for parties when I catered. It’s like eating a mini antipasto plate in one bite.

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Cornbread ready to go in the oven.

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Sweet the leeks until almost translucent.

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Add the chicken broth to the soup and then the crumbled cornbread. Then this get blend using a blender or stick blender.

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I had chilled the soup after blended and right before serving I added the room temperature buttermilk and heated gently; do not boil.

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Pour the heated soup into small cups or bowls and garnish with either some bacon crumbs, green onions or some more crumbled cornbread.

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I couldn’t resist crumbling my little bread stick into the cup of soup.

Cornbread and Buttermilk Soup
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Ingredients
  1. Cornbread
  2. 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  3. ¾ tsp. salt
  4. 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  5. 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1 cup buttermilk
  8. 1 oz. melted butter
  9. Soup
  10. 1 tbsp. peanut oil
  11. 2 stalks celery, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
  12. 3/4 cup leeks, washed and sliced in ¼ inch half moons
  13. 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  14. 6 cups chicken stock
  15. 1 ¼ cups cornbread, crumbled
  16. 3 cups room-temperature buttermilk
  17. Salt and pepper
  18. ½ cup heavy cream (optional)
For cornbread
  1. Preheat an 8-inch cast-iron pan in a 400-degree oven. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl, and buttermilk, eggs, and butter in another. Then combine both wet and dry ingredients and mix well to form a batter. Add bacon fat to the skillet, swirl to melt, then add batter and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove, cool, and set aside for soup.
For Soup
  1. Heat peanut oil in a heavy bottomed saucepot and sweat celery and leeks until translucent. Add garlic. Sauté for 1 minute more, then add chicken stock, cornbread, salt, and pepper. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in batches, using a variable-speed Vitamix or short pulses in a standard blender to avoid an explosion. Combine buttermilk and heavy cream. If storing soup for use the next day, whisk in buttermilk/cream mixture and let cool. If serving soup immediately, return pureed soup base to sauce pot, whisk in buttermilk mixture, and gently bring to serving temperature. Real buttermilk does not like to be heated above 180 degrees, so be careful. Check seasoning and serve.
Adapted from John Fleer, Rhubarb Restaurant, Asheville, NC
Adapted from John Fleer, Rhubarb Restaurant, Asheville, NC
Rosemary and the Goat https://rosemaryandthegoat.com/
Soup

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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