Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Loaded Potato Soup

Simple, satisfying and you can change it up however you like it and depending on what's on-hand.

Ready to serve!
This recipe came from The Pioneer Woman.  She cooks for a crowd (her big, ranching family and often a few "extras") and loves it, it shows.

Bacon has been rendered, onions, celery, carrots and potatoes thrown in. 
Smells great.

This soup is great eaten the same day and better the next day.  I topped mine with cheddar cheese, bacon bits and green onion tonight.  Mmmmmm  This soup could also use a handful of corn kernels thrown in as well.

Loaded Potato Soup
from The Pioneer Woman
 1/4 lb bacon, cut very small (for bacon bits)
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
6 small russet potatoes, peeled and diced
6-8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 c milk
1/2 c cream (I used 'arf 'n 'arf, aka 10%, aka half and half, aka cereal cream, depending on where you live)
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
grated cheese of your choice
green onion
sour cream

- crisp bacon in a soup pot, remove bacon and set aside.  Pour off most of the grease but not all.
- return pot to medium-high and add onions, carrots and celery.  Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes.  Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.
- pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender.
- whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.
- remove 1/2 to 2/3 the soup and blend in a blender/food process until completely smooth. Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream.
- serve in bowls garnished with green onion, grated cheese, crisp bacon pieces and sour cream.

Posted by on January 2 2013

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Caesar salad from my childhood

Oh, how I have been searching for this recipe for years and it turns out it has been under my nose all this time!  I have fond memories of my Mum rubbing down the big wooden salad bowl with a clove of raw garlic in preparation for this salad.  The dressing ingredients go into the bowl, get mixed up a bit, then tossed with lettuce and croutons and eaten immediately.  The lemon juice was usually squeezed out of a lemon itself on a deep beige-coloured Tupperware citrus juicer much like this one, but definitely beige.

This Caesar salad was often a side for a spaghetti supper.  Sometimes there was luscious garlic bread to go along with it.  Boy, those were good times.

I made this tonight to accompany a meal of lasagna.  I also made a bit of elbow macaroni to be served with spaghetti sauce for those who did not want an assembled lasagna.  We invited a small family over to join us for supper and I made the salad with someone else, what fun!  We used garlic from a local farm that we visit now and then to feed the goats and collect the hens' eggs.  Mmmmm.

I found the recipe in my Betty Crocker's Cookbook (1975) inscribed with "Menard" inside the front cover.  Thank you, Mrs Menard.  And thank you, Mum, for finding this cookbook for me many moons ago.  I will cherish it for many more.

Caesar Salad
from Betty Crocker
6 servings

1 clove garlic, halved (I minced about 3 cloves of pungent, oily garlic)
1/4 cup olive oil (you can use as little as 3 Tbsp and increase the lemon to 1/4 c with 2 Tbsp water)
8 anchovy fillets, cut up (or 2 tsp anchovy paste)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
     freshly ground pepper
1 large or 2 small bunches romaine (about 10 cups)
1 lemon juice (3 Tbsp)
   garlic croutons (recipe below)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
 - just before serving, rub large salad bowl with cut clove of garlic.  If desired, allow a few small pieces of garlic to remain in bowl.  Add oil, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and mustard; mix thoroughly.
- into salad bowl, tear romaine into bite-size pieces.  Toss until leaves glisten; squeeze juice from lemon over romaine.  Toss until leaves are well coated.  Sprinkle croutons and cheese over salad; toss.

Garlic Croutons
- heat oven to 400F.  Trim crusts from 4 slices white bread.  Generously butter both sides of bread slices; sprinkle with 1/4 tsp garlic powder.  Cut into 1/2" cubes; place in baking pan.  Bake 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp.  (I used a stale plain bagel.)

 No picture of the salad, I didn't thing to snap one up then the salad was just so good that I wish I had.  When I make it again (I think that's going to be very soon!) I'll get a picture and post it here.

In parting, I'll leave you with a little blurb Betty Crocker provided at the beginning of this particular recipe as food for thought: "Make a show of this one!  Arrange pre-measured ingredients on a tray and ask the man-of-you-house to toss the salad at the table."

Monday, 20 May 2013

Coconut ice cream cake with fruit and a "brownie" bottom

I made ice cream today with no special machine.  I had help from Thing 2 (the girl twin), she was so proud to serve it to her family tonight!

I copied the recipe exactly from this rawsome vegan life.  I dare say it is to be considered a healthy dessert.  You can serve it for breakfast, any snack and dessert.  It's chock full of good things and just a touch of sweet.

Mine even turned out pretty!  THAT's quite an accomplishment for me.  SEE:


 So, I lined the smallest glass mixing bowl I have with plastic wrap and had Thing 2 dump in some various frozen fruit we had in the freezer (sweet cherries, mango, sliced strawberries, whole raspberries and blueberries) then poured the ice cream mixture we made on top of the berries, let freeze, press on a "brownie" crust and invert onto a big plate to serve!  So easy and nutritious.

Before serving, let it thaw in the fridge a bit, maybe about 30 minutes to soften but not melt.  A plastic bowl would have made it a bit easier to unmold.  The bowl should be able to hold about six cups.

Here's the recipe!

Coconut ice cream cake with fruit and a "brownie" bottom
from this rawsome vegan life
Ice cream:
1 can of store-bought raw coconut milk 
1/4 cup raw cane sugar or preferred sweetener, to taste (I used granulated sugar, maple syrup would be fabulous)
1 banana
Brownie crust:
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup raw oats
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2/3 cup dates (or more)
Whatever fresh or frozen you have or like, about 2 cups
Prepare the cake vessel: find a bowl that can hold about 6 cups, or use a small dome cake pan and line it with plastic wrap, tin foil or whatever. I used a dome shaped colander and plastic wrap, it worked fine. Alternatively, you can just make this using a normal cake pan.  Line the sides of the pan or bowl with your chosen fruit. 
To make the ice cream: blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into your pan or bowl and put in the freezer until solid, about 3 or 4 hours. 
To make the brownie crust: put the walnuts, oats and cacao in your food processor and pulse until they become a flour. Add the dates and process until it starts to stick together. Press onto the "top" of your ice cream cake (it will become the bottom when you flip it later). Put in the fridge for about an hour to let everything set. Then carefully flip your cake onto a plate and take off your lining - voilà! Decorate as you wish and let thaw before eating. 
So pretty, it's a party waiting to happen!
I think I'll be making this again and again this summer, the kids all liked it so much!  I think I'll use the ice cream recipe with fruit in popsicle molds or tiny plastic cups with a stick in it.  The brownie base could be made into an energy ball-type thing.