Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Teaching Charlie to Make Turkey Gravy

We have a regular Monday night dinner party we go to hosted by our good friends Charlie & Ana. This week, in honor of the holidays, we all put together a huge turkey dinner with all the goodies.

Ana did the turkey in a plastic bag. I've never see this done, but MAN was that turkey tender, juicy and delicious.

Mr Soup was carving the bird when Charlie realized that no one had thought of gravy. Since we didn't really have time to do a serious effort - I taught him how to make a fast and tasty pan sauce. It was nice and light and perfectly complimented the turkey.

What we did:
I was holding Little Miss Soup the whole time because she is in her mamathon phase where she doesn't want ANYONE else...but Mama Soup. So, I had the interesting opportunity to just boss someone else around. Charlie is a very nice bossee.

I had him take all the juices that were in the bag and put them in a large measuring cup then place it in the freezer to make the fat rise to the top faster. In the mean time, we melted a stick of butter in a large skillet and added a chopped onion, salt, pepper and a shake or two of poultry seasoning. I had him throw in a handful of flour and we made a nice roux. Meanwhile, I was able to skim the fat from the juices. We first added about 1c of white wine to the roux, then poured in the drippings. In about 10 minutes time - we went from NO gravy to a simple pan sauce that was a total hit. I need to have a bossee on a regular basis from now on. It was fun!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Why I Blog

My mom had this very 1970s recipe card file box (it was some cool green and yellow paisley swirly affair). Someone had taken the time to type up recipes on 3x5 note cards. They were sticky from years of love. There were also all sorts of recipes in there that had been ripped out of magazines...
My gran had a cookbook that was a wedding gift. Over the next 70 years, she added all sorts of recipes to it...and commentary. The thing is falling apart from all the love...
Well, my blog aspires to be that... a catalog of recipes our family enjoys. there are definately some misfires...and some huge hits. I've just gotten started with it - but am having fun trying to figure it out.
I've been following some other cooking blogs that do a great job photographing the cooking process. But, this is more...rustic. It is theraphy for me in a weird way...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mr Soup Flew The Coop

So, Old Man Soup was in NYC all week. That left the Soups at Home to their OWN DEVICES.

Turns out Little Mr Soup is quite the gourmet. At his request we've enjoyed the following this week:

Mac n'Cheese

Fish Stick with Waffle Fries


Roast Chicken with rice and beans

Little Mr and Little Miss have never been happier. Me, I'm craving a salad right now.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Words to Live By

Chicken Soup with Rice, by Maurice Sendak


In January it's so nice

While slipping on the sliding ice

To sip hot chicken soup with rice

Sipping once, sipping twice

Sipping chicken soup with rice


In February it will be

My snowman's anniversary

With cake for him and soup for me!

Happy once, happy twice

Happy chicken soup with rice


In March the wind blows down the door

And spills my soup upon the floor

It laps it up and roars for more

Blowing once, blowing twice

Blowing chicken soup with rice


In April I will go away

To far off Spain or old Bombay

And dream about hot soup all day

Oh, my, oh, once, oh, my, oh, twice

Oh, my, oh, chicken soup with rice


In May I truly think it best

To be a robin lightly dressed

Concocting soup inside my nest

Mix it once, mix it twice

Mix that chicken soup with rice


In June I saw a charming group

Of roses all begin to droop

I pepped them up with chicken soup!

Sprinkle once, sprinkle twice

Sprinkle chicken soup with rice


In July I'll take a peep

Into the cool and fishy deep

Where chicken soup is selling cheap

Selling once, selling twice

Selling chicken soup with rice


In August it will be so hot

I will become a cooking pot

Cooking soup of course-why not?

Cooking once, cooking twice

Cooking chicken soup with rice


In September, for a while

I will ride a crocodile

Down the chicken soup-y Nile

Paddle once, paddle twice

Paddle chicken soup with rice


In October I'll be host

To witches, goblins and a ghost

I'll serve them chicken soup on toast

Whoopy once, whoopy twice

Whoopy chicken soup with rice


In November's gusty gale I will flop my flippy tail

And spout hot soup-I'll be a whale!

Spouting once, spouting twice

Spouting chicken soup with rice


In December I will be

A baubled, bangled Christmas tree

With soup bowls draped all over me

Merry once, merry twice

Merry chicken soup with rice

I told you once, I told you twice

All seasons of the year are nice

For eating chicken soup with rice

Ode to Mount Green Bean

I am a believer in the gracious plenty. However, my pea brain went over board with the Thanksgiving green beans. Really over board...

When I was planning the menu, I knew I needed to about double each recipe in order to make sure we had enough of each item for each guest to enjoy.
However, when it came to the green beans, I had some sort of mental block. I didn't double it once, I doubled it twice. Hense, Mount Green Bean. Our party didn't even begin to make a dent in them. And they were good - crispy beans served with a pickled onions and a maple vinegrette. So nice not to have the gloppy casserole covered in limp formerly crunchy onions.
Then, in the middle of the night, it occured to me that Mount Green Bean needed it's own country western song. They were proud and plenty...Oh the Gory Glory!

Submissions now being accepted for the appropriate Ode to Mount Green Bean.

More Thanksgiving Photos

More Thanksgiving Photos

Thanksgiving Recap

What a terrific day! We all ate too much, drank too much and really enjoyed being together on a perfect South Florida day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mary's Amazing Salmon and Pesto Spread

Mary is not only a terrific writer, she's a great cook. She passed this yummy recipe along and I cannot WAIT to try it. Maybe she'll come over and we'll eat too much of this and get our cocktail on :)

Salmon and Pesto Spread

1 7 ½ ounce can red salmon, drained, flaked, skin and bones removed
½ 8-ounce package cream cheese softened
2 Teaspoons snipped fresh dill (or ½ tsp dried dill weed)
¼ Cup refrigerated pesto (I bought @ Publix and used closer to ¾ cup)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
¼ Cup margarine or butter softened
2 Tablespoons snipped chives
¼ Teaspoon coarse ground pepper
Fresh dill or chives (optional)
Crackers or bread

1. Line bottom and sides of loaf pan with plastic wrap (or can use a mold, etc.)
2. In mixing bowel stir together salmon & 4 ounces cream cheese and dill. Spread evenly in bottom of prepared pan. Chill for 10 minute and spread pesto over salmon mixture. In same bowl stir together 8 ounces cream cheese, margarine, 2 tablespoons of chives, and pepper. Drop by spoonfuls over pesto and spread over pesto. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours.
3. To serve, invert pan onto serving platter, remove plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. If desired, garnish with additional fresh dill or chives. Serve with assorted crackers or bread.

Duree's Fancy Baked Brie

I love Duree - she is so smart and classy - this was her contribution to the recipe exchange:

Large round Brie or Camembert
Hero Apricot Preserves
Can Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls

Open can of Crescent rolls. Take half out (reserve other half) and squeeze together flat on a baking sheet to make one large square.

Put brie on top in the middle of crescent dough.

Scoop about half of the Apricot preserves on top of the Brie.

Fold up the corner overtop of the Brie and preserves.

Take the other half of Crescent rolls and make one large square by squeezing the pieces together.

Place the Crescent piece overtop of the Brie and make sure to close/squeeze all open pieces so nothing can come thru or open up while baking.

Bake 350-375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Let cool for approx 10 minutes.

Serve with Carr’s crackers. Enjoy!

Recipe Exchange - Nana Sheila's Tomato Roasted Halibut

Tomato roasted Halibut

Place halibut on sheet of foil
season as desired
put dozen grape tomatoes on and around the fish
season again with fresh or dried herbs
pour liberal amount of olive oil over all
wrap foil into package
roast in 400 degree oven til tomatoes and fish are bursting with aroma
open carefully so as not to get a steam burn. Enjoy with crisp white wine
and salad. :>)

The Great Mona Recipe Exchange

I got this email from Cousin Mona...At first, I was a tad bit annoyed, but then I started getting all sorts of great recipes! What a GREAT IDEA - especially this time of year when everyone is entertaining and needing new, easy ideas.

Here's the email:

Hi all – please so don’t kill me because I have another one of these recipe exchanges but I feel like we can all use some new recipes, especially for the holidays. I’m offering up my favorite easy holiday appetizer below at the very bottom.

Person #1 email address
Your Email address

Please send a recipe to the person whose name is listed in the #1 position
above (even if you don't know them). And copy the recipe to the person in the #2 location.

It should be something quick and easy, without rare ingredients. Actually,
the best is the one you know in your head, and can type out and send right

Then, copy this letter into a new email and move my name to the #1 position
and put your name in the #2 position. Only your name and mine should appear
in this list when you send out your email. Send this email out to 20
people you know.

If you cannot do this within 5 days, please let me know so it will be fair
to those participating. You should receive 36 recipes. It is fun to see
where these recipes come from! Seldom does anyone drop out because we can
all use new recipes. The turnaround is fast because only 2 names are on the

Mr Soup's Favorite Meal - OF ALL TIME

The Perfect Steak (loosely adapted from the Palm Restaurant)

1 – 1&1/2” thick NY Strip Steak

1- Cast iron pan or a pan that can handle high heat and go from stove top to the oven

Olive Oil



Rub your steak with olive oil and bring to room temperature – it’s important that the meat be room temperature

Bring a dry cast iron skillet up to high heat (open a window)

Liberally salt and pepper one side of the steak

Sear steak, seasoned side down for two minutes

Meanwhile salt and pepper the unseasoned side of the steak

Flip the steak and sear for two additional minutes

Remove the steak from the heat and let it rest, for a minimum of thirty minutes but better yet, one hour, preferably on a rack – I use the rack from my toaster oven – so that the juices will be reabsorbed

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

Finish steak in the oven 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, place on rack and let rest for 10 minutes. Your finished product should be a steak that’s crusty on the outside and rare to medium rare on the inside

Slice and serve over lightly dressed greens.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanksgiving Menu

Here it is, in all it's glory...Our finalized Thanksgiving Menu!

- Shrimp Salad in Pastry Cups
- Salmon on Toast Points

Main Menu:
- Turkey Breast Stuffed with Prunes (Mario Batalli - amazing recipe!)
- Focaccia, fennel and red onion stuffing
- Green Beans
- Corn Pudding
- Celery Salad with dates and walnuts
- Sweet Potatoes with pecans
- Creamed spinach with parsnips
- Cranberry and meyer lemon relish

- Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Roll
- Pecan Pie
- Apple Pie
- Something chocolate TBD

Recipes will be posted soon!

Harvesting Wild Yeast

I'm either really bored or really inspired..take your pick! But, I've got a copy of this book called The Bread Bakers Apprentice by Peter Reinhart and have become inspired to try and make artisianal breads at home. Ah, nice to have bread without HFCS!

I've succesfully made several things out of the book, like the focaccia (recipe to be posted soon) and have decided to take the leap and harvest wild yeast so that I can make even better bread - like homemade sour dough or homemade panatone.

Here's how you do it:

Day 1: 1c dary rye flour (I didn't have am using whole wheat) mixed with 3/4 cup of water, room temperature. Mix it together and put it in a 4-cup glass measuring cup, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 2: It hasn't risen much, but that's ok. Add in 1c of bread flour and and additonal 1/2 cup of room temp water to the day 1 mixture. Stir it up together, recover it and let it ferment for another 24 hours.

Day 3: Yowza! Mr Soup decided that this should be moved out of the kitchen and into the laundry room because it is warmer. He was right - it has doubled in size. My next move is to discard 1/2 of the starter and then add in 1c bread flour and an additonal 1/2c of water. I haven't touched it yet - but it is supposed to be stinky. Stinky is good. It needs to ferment for another 24 hours.

Day 4: Should be more than doubled in size. You are supposed to repeat what you did on day three - discard half, add in 1c flour and 1/2c water.

The final result is supposed to be soft and sponge like. THis is called a seed culture and is ready to be turned into a mother starter or barm.

Will report back when we're ready to be a barm!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Broccoli & Bowties

This one is a crowd pleaser and kid favorite in our house. Once again, all hail my girl crush Ina Garten for this one! Little Mr Soup loves BOWTIEZZZZZZZZ.

Kosher salt
8 cups broccoli florets (4 heads)
1/2 pound farfalle (bow tie) pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 lemon, zested
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted pignoli (pine) nuts
Freshly grated Parmesan, optional
Cook the broccoli for 3 minutes in a large pot of boiling salted water. Remove the broccoli from the water with a slotted spoon or sieve. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

In the same water, cook the bow-tie pasta according to the package directions, about 12 minutes. Drain well and add to the broccoli.

Meanwhile, in a small saute pan, heat the butter and oil and cook the garlic and lemon zest over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Off the heat, add 2 teaspoons salt, the pepper, and lemon juice and pour this over the broccoli and pasta. Toss well. Season to taste, sprinkle with the pignolis and cheese, if using, and serve.

To toast pignolis, place them in a dry saute pan over medium-low heat and cook, tossing often, for about 5 minutes, until light brown.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

World's Greatest Roast Chicken

When I first married Mr Soup, I was a vegetarian. I had no business making a roast chicken (oh, remind me some day to tell you about the midadventures with bad chicken cooking when we were first married - I still have an aversion to chicken thighs...). But, Ina Garten made a roast chicken every Friday night for Jeffry. I felt...inspired. We were just weeks into our shiney new marriage. Playing house still. Mr Soup had to go out of town. So, I decided to make him a roast chicken for his triumphant return. I pulled out a copy of Barbara Kofka's Way to Roast.

Barbara advises roasting chicken at 10 minutes per pound in a 500 degree oven. Not knowing what a radical concept this is to most chicken eaters I plowed ahead. My first effort was perfect. It came out crispy and juicy. Mr Soup was suitably impressed. He wasn't exactly sure how he was going to eat an 8lb chicken all by himself, but spent many days working on it. Ahhh...newly wed love!

I've made some modifications to this since then - first and foremost, I now eat it too. (another remind me later to tell you how THAT came about...)

Perfect Roast Chicken:

Preheat oven to 500 Degrees

I use a smaller chicken 5-6 lbs. I take it out of the fridge for about an hour before I plan on putting it in the oven. I know, I know, but roasting at such a high temperature will kill anything the chicken police worry about...

I wash it, pat it dry and season it well inside and out with salt and pepper. When I have it on hand, I'll cut up an lemon to stuff into the bird, along with garlic and rosemary or other fresh herbs. I'll also squeeze lemon juice all over the skin. It comes out extra crisy.

I use my large, 11" oven proof skillet. This exposes more of the surface area of the chicken to the heat of the oven. I cut up an onion into large rings and place at the bottom of the pan. This make a lovely pan juice while the chicken roasts.

Pop it into the oven for 10 minutes per pound. No peaking. No cheating. No opening the oven just to see if it is working....When your timer dings, pull the chicken out of the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes before serving.

One of our favorite treats is to make homemade croutons to serve along with the chicken. This is and idea from (guess who) Ina. She cuts up a bagette and toasts it in olive oil with salt and pepper and places the chicken on top. I also drizzle some of the pan drippings on them. Oh My. Sunday's Roast Chicken is a miracle.

Nothing cuter than seeing the Little Mr Soup doing a Henry the 8th impersonation with a leg in each hand.

Chicken Enchiladas

I make the worlds greatest roast chicken. Last week, I decided to roast two and use the leftovers for quick, easy dinners. The first recipe was for Chicken Enchiladas. This is a Tyler Florence recipe and it makes two full pans! We ate one for dinner (and a couple of lunches) and the other is in the freeze for a day I don't have time to cook. The only modification I suggest is to realize just how hot the adobo chiles are...HOT!

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Mexican Spice Blend
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
5 canned whole green chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 canned chipotle chiles, seeded and minced
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
16 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, canned
1 cup shredded Cheddar and Jack cheeses
Garnish: chopped cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, sour cream, chopped tomatoes
Coat large saute pan with oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat, allow 7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. Sprinkle chicken with cumin, garlic powder and Mexican spices before turning. Remove chicken to a platter, allow to cool.

Saute onion and garlic in chicken drippings until tender. Add corn and chiles. Stir well to combine. Add canned tomatoes, saute 1 minute.

Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into shredded strips. Add shredded chicken to saute pan, combine with vegetables. Dust the mixture with flour to help set.

Microwave tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable. Coat the bottom of 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans with a ladle of enchilada sauce. Using a large shallow bowl, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla. Fold over filling, place 8 enchiladas in each pan with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven until cheese melts. Garnish with cilantro, scallion, sour cream and chopped tomatoes before serving. Serve with Spanish rice and beans.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Little Mr Soup Cooks!

After school yesterday I asked Little Mr what he wanted for dinner. He was VERY specific; rice, beans, corn and chicken with mayonnaise. Although, when he say mayonnaise, it sounds like nayonaise. Go figure.

We went to the kitchen, pulled out all of the required items. He had a choice between kidney beans and garbanzos - he picked the kidney beans. I asked him if he wanted the corn to be together with the beans or separate. Togetherness is good. Then, he wanted chicken dinosaurs. Yes, we have them in our freezer. Every mama needs to have them in her freezer along with mac and cheese in the pantry!

Following his very specific directions, we cooked together. He loved it. He ate everything.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

For Sarah - Football's Best Sandwich

Hey Sarah - this one is for YOU! We saw it on Rachel Ray the other day and thought...hmmm...wouldn't that be PERFECT with some football? So, we tried it and I immediately thought that you would love it. Yes, because you are in Wisconson. And are a Badger. xxoo

1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 pound sack sauerkraut, drained
1 cup beer or apple cider
1/4 cup spicy brown grainy mustard
2 sticks or 1 long folded link kielbasa or turkey kielbasa, 1 1/4 pounds
1/4 stick butter, softened
8 slices marble rye bread
8 slices Emmentaler or other Swiss cheese, deli sliced
1/2 cup sweet red pepper relish

Preheat a griddle pan to medium-high.heat.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Toast the seeds a couple of minutes then stir in sauerkraut, beer or cider, and mustard and simmer 10 minutes.

Cut kielbasa into 4 portions and split the sausage pieces in half across, opening them up. Grill the sausages on the hot griddle until crispy on both sides, about 7 to 8 minutes total. Wipe some of the grease off the griddle and drop heat to low.

Lightly butter 1 side of each slice of bread. Build butter-side-out sandwiches of grilled kielbasa, sauerkraut, and 2 slices of cheese; spread the top of each sandwich with red pepper relish before setting in place.

Grill the sandwiches on the griddle until crispy. Cut and serve.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Littlest Soup has the Croup

...Well, we thought it was the croup earlier this week. Diagnoses has changed to bronchitis. Poor baby!

Recipe File

I'll be adding the following recipes in the next few days:

- Bacon and Spinach Quiche
- Broccoli and Bow tie Salad
- BBQ Chicken Thighs over Spinach Salad
- The Perfect Steak

There are a few others noodling around in my brain....But needed this to remind myself.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Soup of the week - Julia Child's Split Pea

Totally a labor of love - totally worth it:

The Ham Stock
2 well-washed and scrubbed split ham hocks
3 quarts water
1 cup chopped carrot (coarse is fine)
1 cup chopped onion
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
5 whole cloves or allspice berries

The Soup
3 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup diced celery
2/3 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
3 tablespoons flour
2 quarts ham stock, heated
1 1/2 cups split peas or yellow split peas

For the stock, put the ham hocks in a kettle with water to cover by 2 inches.
Make an herb bouquet with washed cheesecloth, using the bay leaves, thyme and cloves or allspice.
Put this in the pot, along with the carrots, onions and celery.
Simmer 3 to 4 hours with the kettle cover slightly open.
Or, simmer in crockpot for 8 hours on low.
Skim occasionally.
Strain and degrease.
Easiest way to degrease is to make ahead and chill, remove fat when cold.
Freeze if you want.
To make the soup, set a saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter.
Saute the vegetables, stirring, for 5 minutes.
Blend in the flour and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and cool briefly, blend in the hot ham stock and the split peas.
Bring to a simmer, stirring.
Cover and cook about 45 minutes until peas are tender.
Salt and pepper to taste after 1/2 hour of simmering.
When cooked, mash or puree the soup depending on the consistency you want.
Garnish with homemade croutons or sauteed ham bits if desired.

Leftover Soup

I have a fridge full of left overs and have decided it is time to make leftover soup!

I've got chicken from two different dinners, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, green beans, peas, and some pasta. There is also some cabbage, but don't think that will go well in this soup!

I'm also going to throw in a couple of bay leaves and some pepper corns and just let it simmer away on the stove all morning. Should be a great lunch!

Little Miss Soup is ONE today!!

Oh My, Little Miss Soup is ONE today! I need to figure out a special birthday dinner. We're having her actual party on Sunday - but I cannot let today go by with out some sort of special celebration.
I'm thinking panko crusted fish with peas and smashed potatoes or sweet potatoe fries.
Isn't she CUTE? She needs a cupcake! With a CANDLE!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pepperoncini Beef - A Solution!!!

Watching Paula Deen yesterday - I realized I had a solution for the leftovers of the pepperoncini beef in my freezer - something sure to be a HUGE HIT! Empanadas!!!

Here's what I'm going to do:

3 cups chopped, cooked beef
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the beef and next 7 ingredients. Unroll 1 piecrust onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-inch circle. Cut out rounds, using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Re-roll dough as needed. Repeat procedure with remaining piecrusts, making 12 to 15 circles total. Arrange 1 round on a clean, flat surface. Lightly brush the edges of crust with water. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of beef mixture in the center of the round. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with a fork to seal. Repeat with the remaining rounds and beef mixture. (Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month). Arrange empanadas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

If it's Friday - It Must Be Pizza Night

We are in the nicest rut on Friday's. We have pizza. I make the dough and Mr Soup does the rest. Some times it is a simple red sauce and cheese pizza. Sometimes it is fancy - like an onion rosemary pizza. The great thing is - it can be whatever we're in the mood for and STILL be pizza.

Barefoot Contessa Pizza Dough

1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degrees F) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 3 cups flour, then the salt, and mix. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough on low to medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Mrs Soup's Variation: I let the dough rise for about an hour. I punch it down and divide it into two to make two “pan pizzas”. This dough freezes really well – just take it out the morning you plan to use it and let it hang out all day.

To cook: preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Roll dough out and put it on your pan. Top with whatever makes you happy. 10-12 minutes – until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted.

Mr Soup's Variation: When it comes time to bake, he does it in two steps to make sure the final crust is extra crispy. He rolls it out and puts it on the pan, drizzles with a little olive oil and prebakes for about 5 minutes. He then does his toppings and pops back in the oven for 7-10 minutes.

Mario Batali’s Basic Tomato Sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4 inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved

In a 3 quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. Yield: 4 cups

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Test Kitchen Challenge

Is there some recipe or food item you'd love to make but are too intimidated to try? Let me be your test kitchen! I'll shop for the ingredients so you know what it will cost; I'll cook it and make detailed notes on the process; finally the Soups will taste test and let you know if it is worth the effort to actually try. I'll also make alternate recipe suggestions that might enhance the dish.

Post your idea in comments and I'll get cooking!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Soup of the week - Lentil with Sausage

I've got a pot of this simmering on the stove now - mmm..mmm..mmm! The cumin and thyme smell amazing! Now, if only I had my head on yesterday, I would have started a boule to go with. We'll just have to enjoy the soup on it's own! Oh, and this one is from Barefoot in Paris. Seriously, I've become a stalker...

1 pound French green lentils (recommended: du Puy)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
4 cups diced yellow onions (3 large)
4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (2 leeks)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups medium diced celery (8 stalks)
3 cups medium diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
3 quarts chicken stock
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 pound kielbasa, cut in 1/2 lengthwise and sliced 1/3-inch thick
2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender. Add the celery and carrots and saute for another 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Check the seasonings. Add the kielbasa and red wine and simmer until the kielbasa is hot. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mr Soup Makes Cheese

Mr Soup made homemade ricotta cheese yesterday. His last foray into cheese making was a wee bit of a disaster. So much so, it has been about a year since his last attempt. I think he has spent all those days weeks and months reflecting on the whole concept. It was worth it.

2 Quarts Whole Milk
1 Cup Heavy Cream
3 TBS white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Heat the milk and cream together until foamy and steaming - 185 degrees on your instant read thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar. You will see curds start to form immediately. Keep stirring for 30 seconds, then add the salt. Stir for another 30 seconds. Then, place a clean kitchen towel over the pot and let it sit for 2 hours. Strain using many layers of cheesecloth. You'll need to let it rest and squeeze it occasionally.

The end result was so sweet and yummy. Mr Soup used in in his penne pasta with sausage and ricotta recipe. I need to get him to post that. Because it ROCKED.

Update to the Beeftacular Failure

Yea. Good on paper. Does NOT deserve the cult like following...Did make a somewhat tasty sandwich. Now, I have about 6 cups of it left in my freezer. Hopefully, it will catch freezer burn and I can throw it away without feeling guilty. There are starving children in Africa.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pepperoncini Beef

Pepperoncini beef seems to have a cult like following on the world wide interwebz. I decided to give in and try making it today.

One large roast beef, one packet of Italian seasoning and on large jar of pepperoncini. Into the crock pot - set on low for 8 hours.

Apparently you shred the beef and make sandwiches out of it. Think spicy french dip. I got the good Cuban rolls.

Will report back later with the results.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Menu Planning - Little Miss Soup's First Birthday

Little Miss Soup is turning 1! Where did the year go? Her party is still a few weeks away - but I'm already worrying about the menu. Current thoughts:

  • Bacon & Spinach Quiche - Paula Deen kick recipe - very delicious and great at room temp
  • Some sort of salad
  • Uncle GG is in charge of the pink poodle cake

The Soups have the Sadz

The Darling Mr Sunday's Soup is apparently NOT a fan of making due.

The other morning, in the usual chaos of getting the Soup's breakfasted and lunches packed and out the door there was a conversation of sorts. Well, of sorts because two people were talking, but apparently not to each other. Listening wasn't part of the deal at all...The result: a make due dinner since nothing was defrosted.

Grumpy Mr Soup used derogatory terms. Huffed and Puffed. Kicked Mrs Soup OUT of the kitchen and took over.

The end result: not worth posting.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Soup of the week - Ribollita

I made a huge vat of Ribollita this weekend with the intention that it would be the perfect lunch. And it is!

There are all sorts of variations on this Tuscan bean and veggie soup. I made the Barefoot Contessa's version. Yes, I have a girl crush on Ina. But, her stuff is really good and this soup is no exception!

1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini
Kosher salt
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
1/4 pound large diced pancetta or smoked bacon
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped carrots (3 carrots)
1 cup chopped celery (3 stalks)
3 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
4 cups coarsely chopped or shredded savoy cabbage, optional
4 cups coarsely chopped kale
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
In a large bowl, cover the beans with cold water by 1-inch and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the pancetta and onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes with their puree, the cabbage, if using, the kale, and basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.

Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree half of the beans with a little of their liquid. Add to the stockpot, along with the remaining whole beans. Pour the bean cooking liquid into a large measuring cup and add enough chicken stock to make 8 cups. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan and drizzled with olive oil.


Charming Little Mister is still working on the talking thing. He has loads of words now, and is even making some sentences. However, there are times where we still need a UN Interpreter to help us out.

One of his favorite foods is Doup. Not to be confused with soup. He likes soup, but he loves doup. What is doup you say?? It is several cups of chicken stock with a few hand fulls of pasta. You boil it all together until the pasta is decidedly un-al-dente. Mush. He loves it. I have been known to throw in a few of Little Miss' veggie cubes straight from the freeze just to cool the whole thing down. Wow, doup and veggies. He loves it. YEA DOUP!

Monday Night

We have a standing dinner party every Monday night. Dear friends open their house and their hearts to a varied group of friends - never less than 12 as many as 30+ (when all the kids are home from college). It is a great time. An email goes out on Monday morning - everyone responds with what and who they are bringing. Then magic happens. Last night's menu was simple yet delicious.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Brown Rice with Almonds
Tossed Salad

The recipe worth sharing is the Brown Rice with Almonds - This was courtesy of Paul. He thinly sliced a couple of onions and smashed up a bit of garlic. He caramelized in some butter and olive oil. The then tossed in a lot of chopped almonds. Paul is a cheater and used boil-in-the-bag brown rice which takes about 10 minutes. He then tossed the whole thing together. It was just so fantastic. RAVE REVIEW FROM ALL THE SOUPS! Little Miss and Little Mister both ate and enjoyed it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chicken with Curry, Rice and Mushrooms

This is one of our family favorite basic recipes that is easy to spice up any way you like.

Brown whichever cut of chicken you like in a large skillet or small dutch oven with a little butter and olive oil. Remove the chicken, then toss in onions and mushrooms. Saute gently. Add in whatever seasoning floats your boat - this past weekend I put about 2 tablespoons of curry in. Then, deglaze the pan with about 1/2c of white wine. Put the chicken back in. Toss in 1c rice and 2c chicken stock or water and put it into the oven for 25 minutes (or until the rice is tender and liquid has been aborbed). Alway a crowd pleaser!

I've been validated by the NY TIMES!

There was a great article in the Times today about how to feed babies...YEA! Give 'em what you're eating! Here's the link to Hey Momma, I'll have some of what you're having!


Friday, September 26, 2008


I hate to admit this, but I have bowed down to the powers that be...Little Mister's current love for all things Kraft Mac n'Cheese. I'm not proud of this...but when we were recently at Costco and I did the mental math and a box of this ooooooy-gooooey-color-not-found-in-nature goodness was only $0.50 per box....well, I gave in. We now have a case of it in our pantry. To assuage my guilt over feeding my kids this stuff, I decided to throw in a bag of frozen mixed veggies while I was cooking it. Low and behold, it took this not from nature goo into a delicious treat. I'm sure this isn't an original idea - but for someone who cooks from scratch and worries about making sure our kids eat healthy, it makes me feel better. I've discovered that it works well with peas, or broccoli. The cool thing about the mixed veg is they are cut small enough that Little Miss can easily eat and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Soups Make Due

Ok, so we're really working on trying to stay on a better budget. We are not very good at this however and often find ourselves wandering through a grocery store at 5p with the Soup Kids in tow.

Darling Mr Sunday's Soups decided he wanted a very delicious recipe for meatballs with tomato and pesto sauce with a side of roasted brocolli rabe. Seriously great. Seriously $50 last time we made it because of COURSE once you are in the store, other things follow you home...like an extra bottle of wine.

We are making due tonight. I just invented a LOVELY pantry pasta salad. Cooked up a box of rotini, tossed in a couple of chopped tomatoes, a can of drained/rinsed garbanzo beans and a sack of frozen grean beans. I added a bit of Italian Dressing and a scoop of mayo. Not roasted brocolli rabe, but delicious in its own way and the kids will eat it. Plus, plenty for lunch boxes tomorrow.

I do have a package of ground turkey thawing. Thinking of making making due turkey meatballs. Not sure what exactly the recipe is for those just yet, but will whip up something and report back later! Along with the reaction of Darling Mr Sunday's to the make due meal.

Bouillabaisse - Florida Style

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 small)
2 cups large-diced small white potatoes
2 cups chopped fennel (1 large bulb)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups good white wine
1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, chopped
1 quart store-bought fish stock
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)
3lbs of fresh fish (e.g. hog tail snapper), cut in large chunks
3 tablespoons Pernod
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Toasted baguette slices, buttered and slathered with aioli

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot, add the onions, potatoes, fennel, salt, and pepper, and saute over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until the onions begin to brown. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes with their juices, stock, and garlic, to the pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the fish, bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pot to sit covered for another 5 minutes. The fish should be cooked. Stir in the Pernod, orange zest, and salt, to taste. Serve ladled over 1 or 2 slices of toasted baguette.

Fresh Pea Soup

This is from Ina Garten's Barefoot Cooks at Home book. LOVE IT!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
5 cups freshly shelled peas or 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen peas
2/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup freshly chopped chives
Garlic croutons, for serving

Heat the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and onion, and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onion is tender. Add the chicken stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the peas are tender. (Frozen peas will take only 3 minutes.) Off the heat, add the mint, salt, and pepper.
*Puree the soup in batches: place 1 cup of soup in a blender, place the lid on top, and puree on low speed. With the blender still running, open the venthole in the lid and slowly add more soup until the blender is three-quarters full. Pour the soup into a large bowl and repeat until all the soup is pureed. Whisk in the creme fraiche and chives and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with garlic croutons.

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

I came across this one from The Splendid Table. She got it from:

Heirloom Tomato GazpachoFrom Latin Evolution by Jose Garces (Lake Isle Press, September 25, 2008). Copyright 2008 by Jose Garces. Used with permission of the publisher.

Yields 4 cup

4 large red heirloom tomatoes
2/3 English cucumber, seeded
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons diced day-old baguette, crust removed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1. To make gazpacho: Core tomatoes. Dip tomatoes into boiling water for about 15 seconds then shock in ice water. Peel tomatoes.
2. In a blender, combine tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, and bread. Puree until smooth. While processing, slowly add olive oil until emulsified. Season with sugar, salt, and pepper. Gazpacho can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Sunday's Soup Kids

Little Miss Sunday's Soup & Little Mister Sunday's Soup

Recent Soup Obsession

I've become (recently) obsessed with the idea of soup. It started a few months ago with a simple fresh pea soup. Light, lovely, oniony, minty pea soup. Perfect...Then, a couple of weeks ago there was a recipe for Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho. What's not to love? Few ingredients...huge flavor! Just last week, we were invited to make bouillabaisse using freshly caught hog tail snapper. It was fantastic - none of the distractions of shrimp or mussels or crab. Just lovely white fish, spicy broth and aioli toast...I'll be posting the recipes. MmmmmmmmMmmm SOUP!