Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

19 Oct
Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

I love it when I come across a recipe that inspires me to buy the ingredients on my next shopping trip and make it for lunch or dinner. This was such a recipe, and a big shout out to Seana at Cottage Grove House, who makes beautiful, easy-to-make homemade fresh dishes and shares them for people like me! Please go check out her site, if you would, here.

Although it’s been the warmest fall I can remember in the 20 years I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest, October means it is soup-making time. Who cares if I’m still wearing capris and t-shirts?

A 3-quart pot is the largest pot available in this tiny temporary kitchen, so I had to make some quantity adjustments to the original recipe. In addition, the store I went to did not have creme fraiche, so I had to use a homemade substitute for that.

This was a perfect, light supper for another beautiful sunny, fall day. And as luck should have it, my husband fried up some extra bacon when he made a BLT sandwich for lunch today, so I added some extra flavor to the soup by subbing one tablespoon of olive oil for bacon grease, then garnishing the soup with some of the bacon bits. The bacon part is totally optional, so this would be a great meatless meal for any day!

Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup
Adapted from Luscious Cauliflower Soup by Cottage Grove House

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced sweet yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 head cauliflower, cored and roughly chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, preferably homemade or low sodium
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream whisked with 2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (not pre-shredded)
Snipped chives or green onion, for garnish
Chopped cooked bacon, for garnish (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped Onion, Cauliflower, and Potatoes

Chopped Onion, Cauliflower, and Potatoes

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or 1 tablespoon bacon grease and 1 tablespoon olive oil) in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the cauliflower and potatoes and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Add the broth and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 more minutes. Remove from heat

Simmering Cauliflower and Potatoes in Broth

Simmering Cauliflower and Potatoes in Broth

In batches, blend about half the soup until desired consistency. Stir in the cheese, half & half and sour cream mixture. Garnish with snipped chives and bacon bits (optional). Pass with salt and pepper and adjust seasoning accordingly, depending on garnishes used. Serve with warm crusty, buttered bread.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Oktoberfest Brown Butter Noodles

15 Oct
Oktoberfest Brown Butter Noodles

Oktoberfest Brown Butter Noodles

My office held an Oktoberfest potluck for lunch this week, and I brought this side dish to the event. The company provided bratwurst and sauerkraut with spicy brown mustard, while the employees brought German side dishes. Oh, and they also served root beer. (Hey, it was lunchtime! I doubt we’d have many productive employees the rest of the day if they served German beer!)

This is a quick and easy dish and makes a great side to almost any meal! Since unsalted butter is used and there isn’t much else to add flavor, you will definitely need to season it up with salt and pepper, and perhaps even some Parmesan cheese if you like. Brown butter is traditionally (in Germany) served with Spaetzle, but I used pasta as a shortcut since I had to make this after our dinner the night before the potluck. No time for making dough and rolling out little Spaetzles! I used the cute Gemelli pasta instead, but you can use any pasta shape you want for this.

Oktoberfest Brown Butter Noodles

1 package (8 ounces) dried pasta (any shape)
1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons) plus 1 tablespoon reserved
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 slices stale bread, processed into coarse crumbs (about 3/4 cup, reserve 1/4 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried or fresh parsley, for garnish
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Cook the noodles according to package directions in a large saucepan. Drain and return to the pot and set aside.

 

Cooked Gemelli Noodles

Cooked Gemelli Noodles

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, add the chopped onion. Continue stirring until the butter is brown, about another 4 to 7 minutes depending on your stove. Watch carefully as you don’t want to let it burn! Burnt butter is gross. Brown butter is nutty and yummy. Once a nutty brown color, remove from heat immediately and add 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs. Stir to combine.

Browning the Butter

Browning the Butter ~ Note: It is almost impossible to get a photo of your butter when it starts to turn brown, because if you pause at that stage to snap a photo, you will burn your butter!

 

Pour the butter/breadcrumb mixture over the noodles. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir until well-combined.

 

Gemelli Noodles with Brown Butter Breadcrumb and Onion Mixture

Gemelli Noodles with Brown Butter Breadcrumb and Onion Mixture

Add the noodle mixture to a lightly oil-sprayed casserole dish and set aside. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the small saucepan and add the remaining 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and mix. Distribute evenly over the casserole and garnish with parsley (if dried). Place dish in oven and broil for about 5 minutes until the topping is browned slightly. Remove and either serve immediately with fresh parsley garnish and Parmesan cheese (optional), or cover and refrigerate to eat later. This can be reheated either in the oven or a microwave, but if you microwave the breadcrumb topping will not be as crunchy.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

Perfect Potato Salad

12 Oct
Perfect Potato Salad

Perfect Potato Salad

This is a recipe that my husband adapted over the years from my 1981 Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. He is the one that usually makes this to take to potlucks or to serve with his awesome barbecued pork ribs, but this weekend I offered to take the helm and cook them myself. (I still let him cook the ribs, he is the BBQ King in this household.)

Fall is in the air, and this was potentially our last grilled meal for the season. At this time of year, the snow can fly at any time. But today was a beautiful, sunny fall day with just a hint of crispness in the air. It was a perfect day for this Perfect Potato Salad!

Perfect Potato Salad
Adapted from Creamy Potato Salad, 1981 Better Homes and Garden Cookbook

5 to 6 medium potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
Mrs. Dash, or salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced thin
Snipped chives (optional garnish)

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for about 30 minutes until you can pierce with a fork, but don’t let them get mushy! You want the potatoes slightly firm. Rinse under cold water, drain, then add to a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for several hours up to overnight.

Cold Chilled Potatoes Ready to Chop

Cold Chilled Potatoes Ready to Chop

Meanwhile, hard boil the eggs until done, about 15 minutes. Dunk in cold water, then refrigerate for several hours up to overnight.

Vinegar Mixture and Chopped Potatoes

Vinegar Mixture and Chopped Potatoes

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, celery and mustard seed, and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for several hours up to overnight. I prepped the potatoes, eggs, and vinegar mixture the day before.

Potato Salad Ingredients Ready to Combine

Potato Salad Ingredients Ready to Combine

A few hours before serving, chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and add back to the large bowl with the chopped celery and onion. Stir in the mayo to the vinegar mixture then toss with the potatoes lightly to coat, then season with Mrs. Dash or salt and ground pepper to taste, Arrange sliced eggs over top and garnish with snipped chives. Cover and chill thoroughly.

p.s. No, this is not the kitchen from my other house. The condo kitchen happens to have the same color granite as our rental kitchen did!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Alabama-Style Grilled Chicken

8 Oct
Alabama-Style Grilled Chicken

Alabama-Style Grilled Chicken ~ photo credit to inpatskitchen via food52.com

Well I finally broke down and cooked a “real” dish in my tiny temporary kitchen! However, no photos were taken so I’m using one from the author of the recipe. This is an absolutely AMAZING sauce. My only liberties with this recipe were to cut the recipe in half, lessen the sugar, and the chicken was grilled in thin cutlets since there were no skewers to be had in this kitchen. This is an easy and awesome sauce. I wish I had made the full recipe! The recipe below is the modified recipe. This was served with brown rice and side salad. Enjoy. :)

Alabama-Style Grilled Chicken
Adapted from Alabama-Style Chicken Kebabs by inpatskitchen, via Food52.com

Sauce
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon Sambal Oelek (or sub with Sriracha)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Whisk all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate. (Sauce can be made ahead of time.)

Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast(s), sliced into thin cutlets
Olive oil
The Sauce

Light your grill to medium heat and oil the grates (or preheat an electric grill, which is all I have in the temp kitchen). Reserve about half the sauce for dipping. Place chicken on the grill and start lightly basting and turning until the chicken is done, about 4 minutes per side. (Be careful not to burn!) Serve them up with reserved sauce on the side.

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

2 Oct

anotherfoodieblogger:

Fall is in the air and it’s probably time to repost one of my blogs for my readers while we wait on closing on a house. Up this week is a nice fall soup recipe that can take advantage of those fall/winter greens. Enjoy!

Originally posted on anotherfoodieblogger:

Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

I have a confession to make. I have never made stuffed cabbage rolls in my life. For years and years I have drooled over pictures of them, but the long process to stuff the cabbage leaves and braise for several hours always intimidated me. So I did the next best thing. I turned them inside out and made soup instead! While researching what ingredients go into a stuffed cabbage roll dish, I discovered that every Eastern European country has their own version of this dish. Ukranians typically make theirs with pork, sauerkraut and onions, while the Romanians add a generous amount of fresh dill to their sauce. Polish cuisine mixes ground beef or pork with rice, which is the common Americanized version. Hungarians add paprika to theirs, which I did too. Most of the sauces are tomato-based, except for in Sweden where they typically serve…

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French Challenge #3 ~ Salads

25 Sep

anotherfoodieblogger:

OK my foodie friends, I’ve dredged up my French Challenge #3 post because way back I ended up in a tie and then life got busy and then, well, you know. So while we are still in limbo from closing on a house, I have a perfectly good (but small) kitchen to cook in now. I’m reviving this post and starting the count all over. Help me out! Which one of these recipes should I make for the the French salad??? Please comment on this repost instead of the original and then I can start a new count. Many thanks!

Originally posted on anotherfoodieblogger:

French Classics Cookbook

French Classics Cookbook

This is not only a post about my French Challenge going on, but to also say it’s been a challenging week at home with some personal family issues, hence no cooking blog this week. No new recipes or much cooking going on in this household besides microwaving and such, but we are slowly getting back on track. I hope to get you some new recipes after we get over this bump in the road of life.

Now, I present to you three dishes from the third chapter of my French cookbook. I had challenged myself to make at least one dish from each chapter, and this chapter is Vegetables and Sides. I found all the vegetable recipes to be quite simple, and one of them only had two ingredients so I wasn’t much challenged by that! So I picked three of the salads that at least expanded…

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Dungeness Crabbing in Oregon

21 Sep

anotherfoodieblogger:

My husband and I just spent a fabulous week of fishing and crabbing on the Siletz River and Bay, so figured it would be a good time to reblog one of my very first posts about crabbing in Oregon. We pulled in 31 Dungeness crab between three of us in just a few hours! Sadly, no salmon were interested in our lures/bait the entire time we fished all week, although we saw others bring some in. The water is still a bit too warm for them to be running hard upriver. But a big storm is heading that way this week, so hopefully on our next trip I’ll finally land “The Big One.”

Originally posted on anotherfoodieblogger:

Our catch of Dungeness Crab for the day

One of the finer things about living in the Pacific Northwest is the bounty of food you can catch for your dinner, whether it’s a glistening rainbow trout from the deep cold lakes of the Cascade mountains, or hauling in bustling pots full of meaty Dungeness crabs from the bays and jetties of the Pacific Ocean. Commercial crabbing season is in full swing right now in Oregon, but you can privately catch Dungeness crab year round if you have a license, crab pots, and a tolerance for getting wet!

Crabbing can be seriously fun if you have the right combination of weather, tides and luck. We’ve had several friends go crabbing with us on the Siletz Bay and say it was the best time they’ve ever had on the coast! While we don’t limit out every time we head to the bay to crab, it is rare that we…

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Paper Plates and Take-Out

6 Sep
Take Out Food

Chinese, Thai, and Pacific Northwest Food Containers. No, 6.30 on the container is NOT the date, that is what time we wanted our Pad Thai ready to pick up last night.

Yep, that is pretty much where we are at with the moving stage. This weekend is the “big stuff move” while the rest of the week is clearing out the rest of the smaller stuff and figuring out what clothes goes to the condo and what goes with us camping.

Oh! You probably need an update on where we’ll actually be living the next couple of months. We won’t be able to close on the house we want to buy until mid- or end-October. Since we have to be out of this house by Friday, we are temporarily moving to my parents one-bedroom summer condo (which also has a murphy bed in the living room). For now the contents of our house are going into storage.

The only hitch with this plan is that my parents are still here for another two weeks. Since school has already started, we’ll get our daughter and her clothes moved over there, and hubby and I will then take off to spend a week relaxing at our RV river property at the coast. Salmon fishing and crabbing season are in full swing now! We’ll get back the day before my parents fly back to Texas and squeeze the five of us (and our dog) in there for a night, and then spend the rest of the weekend assessing what the heck needs to be done next.

Last, but not least, let me introduce you to another foodie blogger who found me recently. The only reason I bring this up is that we seem to be some kind of “soul-mates.” Why, you ask? Because we have led almost parallel lives! Our similarities are fascinating. We both have roots in Houston, Texas. Both our fathers worked in the oil industry and moved around a lot. We both went to the University of Texas and earned a degree in Journalism from there. We are both 51 years old. We both write foodie blogs. AND… our favorite book as a young child was “Harriet the Spy.” Let me introduce you to Stacy, from Food Lust People Love. As it turns out, we went to grade school together at St. Thomas More in Houston. We moved from Houston to Ohio just before 7th grade, and I lost touch with her after that. How we never bumped into each other on campus boggles my mind, as we both worked at the college newspaper at the same time. I am looking forward to reading her blog for inspiration to start cooking and blogging again after we settle into our new home. Thank you Stacy for finding me again so I could find you! :)

Homemade Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

27 Aug
Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Serranos and Peppers

Serranos, Jalapeno, and Pasilla Peppers

I am reblogging this recipe from last summer for you. I made another batch of this last weekend. This year, though, I had some beautiful heirloom tomatoes and my very own Serrano peppers that I grew to make it with! My husband said I didn’t make it spicy enough last year so I tossed in three Serranos this year instead of two, and one of them was the hotter fiery red and another one was already turning red. I also substituted the spicier Pasilla peppers instead of using Anaheim. He had no complaints this year. I hope you enjoy!

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

It was so much fun to get back into canning again! I have not canned anything in several years, but this year we have a bumper crop from my husband’s Hanging Tomato Plant Experiment. He got this crazy idea to plant a gazillion tomato seedlings (OK about 70) in hanging flower pot baskets upside-down, then sell them.

Hanging Tomato Plants on Side of House

Hanging Tomato Plants on Side of House

Well, the idea worked, except he didn’t sell nearly enough of them. We have about 50 of them left, all hooked up to this crazy hanging basket contraption on two sides of our house, with an automated watering system he devised, which thank goodness works because we do go out of town time to time.

Hanging Tomato Plants on Deck

Hanging Tomato Plants on Deck

That being said, I harvested a bunch of our ripe beefsteak tomatoes for this canning project. I looked up a bunch of recipes online, and settled on one that fit my taste but then of course adapted it. I barely eeked out 5 full pint jars of this, and was hoping for some partially leftover to snack on the day I made it fresh, but that will have to wait, as I wanted full jars. However, my taste test passed with flying colors! If you have an abundance of tomatoes this year from your crop, you can make some too! Here is what I did:

Basket of Ripe Tomatoes

Basket of Ripe Tomatoes

Homemade Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa
Adapted from Simply Recipes

5 to 6 pounds fresh tomatoes (I used 5 1/2)
3 large Anaheim peppers
2 large Serrano peppers
1 large Jalapeño pepper
1 large onion (I used sweet Walla-Walla), diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (this took about 2 largish limes)
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped, including stems (fresh from my herb garden!)
2 teaspoons dried, crushed, Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground Sea Salt
1 teaspoon sugar

OK now you have the ingredients list.  Next is the prep for the canning process, which is the one of the longest parts. Here is the special equipment stuff you need:

Canning Equipment:

5 or 6 pint canning jars (I used 5 but prepped 6 of them just in case)
Large stockpot for for canning (mine is 15-quart or so)
Flat steamer rack to fit pot (so cans don’t touch glass on metal directly, which can crack them)
Canning tongs for adding and removing jars from boiling water (you can do without but be careful!)

First I started prepping the jars and lids. Fill your stockpot about three-quarters of the way full with water, then put on high heat to boil. Meanwhile, go pick those ‘maters! Since it takes a long while for that much water to boil, now you can inspect your just-picked tomatoes for defects, then core and score them. Core the tomatoes and stems, then cut/slice off any bad spots. Score them lightly through the skin in half to make peeling easier. Now boil the jars for at least 10 minutes. At that point, go ahead and turn off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for now.

Anaheim, Serrano, and Jalapeno Peppers

Anaheim, Serrano, and Jalapeno Peppers

This next job I assigned to by dear husband Paul, who has been towing the line for me in the cooking category recently with my workload. Lightly grease a hot grill with oil, then roast the peppers on all sides until blackened and charred all over. Put them in a paper or plastic bag for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, (again) roast those tomatoes on broil in your oven on a large rimmed cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. I would have had hubby do them on the grill with the peppers but didn’t want to overwhelm him with the task at hand. I think it worked out better that way as I needed the juice from the tomatoes.

Fire-Roasted Tomatoes

Fire-Roasted Tomatoes

Once the peppers and tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, peel the skins off the peppers (with latex gloves!) then peel the skins from the  tomatoes. Dice both of them up now (you might need to reserve the juices from tomatoes when chopping, as you need a minimum of 7 cups of diced tomatoes and their liquid to balance the acidity) and add to a very large saucepan or skillet with all the rest of the ingredients. ( p.s. do not use an aluminum pot, as it can leach the aluminum from the acid from the tomatoes.) Bring all of this up to a good boil, then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.

While all that is simmering, place the lids and caps in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Oh yeah, put a teakettle of water on to boil about 10 minutes ago. Oops! I forgot that too. I hope you read this all the way through before attempting.

Pot of Simmering Salsa

Pot of Simmering Salsa

After simmering, place half the salsa in a blender and puree, then add it back to the pot. If you like chunkier salsa , then you don’t have to do this. I decided on half and half. The original recipe recommends tasting the salsa at this point to either add  more sugar if too bitter or more vinegar if too sweet, but I found this to be the perfect balance!

Now remove the jars one at a time from the canning pot and ladle the salsa into the jars, leaving  a half-inch or more head space from the lid. Wipe the rim of the jars to remove any spilled salsa on them (which is easy to do!).  Tighten the lids only hand tight, and do not over-tighten them. Place all the jars back into the canning pot still filled with hot water, then bring up to a roiling boil. Big boil OK? Not just a few bubbles.  Process at a full boil for 15 minutes for 0-1000 ft. altitude, 20 minutes for 1000- 6,000 ft. altitude, and 25 minutes above that. I fell into the second category in case you are interested.

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

At your recommended boiling mark, turn off the heat and let sit five minutes.  Remove the jars from the pot, then place them on some thick towels to cool down. The lids will “POP” when they have cooled when creating the suction for the canning process. I did not get to hear this phenomenon this time as I had to go upstairs to my home office to work for the remainder of the day.

So there it is! This took me a little under four hours from start to finish. Yes, it’s a half-day project, but it was completely satisfying to turn our homegrown tomatoes into some delicious salsa for future snacks and meals.

How to Make a Tasty Low-Salt Chicken or Turkey Broth

21 Aug

anotherfoodieblogger:

Time for another reblog to tide you over until we move and settle in! I wanted to share some additional information for this recipe. I now try to simmer the broth at least 2 to 4 hours, as you get a really nice golden broth that way. I add a little additional water through the process if needed. Also, I’ve started using fresh garlic. Just smash the garlic with the flat side of the knife so that the skins will peel off in the cooking process. Last thing is to strain the broth through a cheese cloth after getting all the veggies out. This makes a nice, clear, golden broth without all the cloudiness from the spices and herbs. :)

Note: Do NOT feed your doggie any of the cooked onion or garlic if you save the veggies for treat, only the celery and carrots. Onion and garlic can make your dog sick.

Originally posted on anotherfoodieblogger:

Homemade Turkey Broth

As promised, I’ll share my secrets to making a soup base from chicken or turkey, that is both low salt and also deliciously rich and eye-pleasing. Well, there aren’t really that many secrets to it, but a few extra “ingredients” can go a long way in stocking your freezer with plenty of tasty soup stock in the months ahead.

When my husband was told quite a few years ago he had to take high-blood pressure medicine and go on a low-salt diet, I knew it was time to get serious about not using pre-processed canned or packaged items, including any form of chicken bullion. That went right out of the cupboard. Many years before that, though, I did make homemade chicken broth, but on a very irregular basis, and half the time I would forget about those containers in the freezer until they were so ice-crystal laden and freezer…

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