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.