Tag Archives: half and half

The Return of The Klutz and a Tasty Veggie Soup

8 Oct
Potato Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs

Potato Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs

We’re back from our 20th wedding anniversary trip to our RV property on the Siletz River on the Central Coast of Oregon. Not too newsworthy unless I mention the fact that I pretty much shattered my left middle finger on the second day there in a boat launch accident.  I had surgery on the finger the day after we got back, and am now entrapped in a traction device. I don’t have the sling anymore at least, that was just to hold up my arm until the nerve block wore off.  After the recipe so you get to look at a few of “exciting” photos of the trip if you want. 🙂

Finger Traction Device

Finger Traction Device ~ Only the second one made at the clinic, lucky me!

Yet, I’m feeling for ya’! So I’ll share a yummy soup recipe I made just before we left first. It’s the least I can do. I only got a couple of pics since I was also packing for the week.

p.s. I finally purchased a sous vide immersion circulator! I’ve been experimenting it (with the hubby’s help since I’m down to one hand, but so far so good!) Just had an awesome chuck roast beef stew cooked 26 hours at 165F then seared with pan gravy made from juices in bag. I’ll start posting those those types of recipes when I can. Picture-taking is mighty hard at the present. Typing with one hand is not exactly a picnic either…

Potato, Leek, and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs
Adapted from Food and Wine

3 cloves unpeeled garlic
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
1 pound Russet or other potatoes, peeled and chopped small
2 cups broccoli florets, coarsely chopped small
2 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cups Half and Half
Wedge of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Salt or Mrs. Dash and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup cubed sourdough bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 cup finely chopped pancetta
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon dried and crushed rosemary (or 1 teaspoon fresh)

Wrap garlic cloves in foil and bake at 400F degrees for 35 minutes. Remove and let cool then peel and add to a food processor or blender.

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the leeks, potatoes and broccoli and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the leeks start to soften. Add the chicken stock and 3 1/2 cups of water, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat until all of the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Working in batches, add soup to the garlic in the food processor or blender, amd puree the soup until very smooth. Return the puree to the pot and stir in the Half and Half and wedge of lemon juice. Season the soup with salt or Mrs. Dash and pepper. Keep warm on low.

Meanwhile, pulse the bread cubes in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. In a skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the tablespoon of oil. Add the pancetta, sage, rosemary and bread crumbs and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until the crumbs and pancetta are browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the pancetta crumbs, and enjoy!

Potato Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs

Potato Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Here are some pics from our vacation:

An armada of Kayakers on the Siletz River

An armada of kayakers on the Siletz River

Neighbor and hubby showing off the Dungeness crab

Neighbor and hubby showing off the Dungeness crab

Me showing off some crabs

Me showing off some crabs

Our Dungeness crab haul for the day

Our Dungeness crab haul for the day

 

Our Anniversary Dinner

Our Anniversary Dinner ~ Tee Hee!

New deck

Hubby built a new deck out of our old dock that washed away in flooding last year

 

 

Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach

17 Sep
Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach

Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach

So I have this friend who has a food blog in this far distant place called Ireland. He recently posted a recipe about some rare, free-range organic pork that can only be found in that special place of the world, and he did a fine job with it! But, today, I am here to tell you about how to cook cheap, non-free-range odd cuts of pork into a delicious meal, which doesn’t require trips to specialty breed organic farmers, meat butchers, and the like. (No offense Conor! 😉 To make amends, I shall lead others to your epic blog —> HERE.)

What I have here are two distinctly generic cuts of pork, one a thick bone-in pork loin, the other, two small thin slices of pork chops. Both of which were purchased then frozen from the 50% off bin. GASP! However, I am a frugal shopper when I want to be.

Non-Free-Range nor Rare Pork Cuts

Non-Free-Range nor Rare Pork Cuts

I adapted this recipe from my Braised Chicken in Milk recipe. Low and slow is the way to go my friends! I selected to eat (after cooking) the thin chops, which I chose to bundle together first to match the pork loin thickness. They were perfectly moist and delicious, as well as a bite I took from my husband’s pork loin was equally moist and tender. However, my husband swears one can never cook a moist and tender pork and even balked at his piece. Nay-sayer! But let me tell you, I will prove him wrong once I buy a sous-vide machine, which is happening in the very near future. I know I keep telling my foodie friends that, but I have to put this nonsense to bed that pork can’t ever be tender. So there.

Now, on to the recipe, which is fantastic (and simple) in my humble opinion.

Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach

3/4 to 1-1/2 pounds pork cuts, even thickness, any kind
Ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
1 tablespoon real butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup homemade or low sodium chick broth/stock
1 cinnamon stick
Handful of fresh sage
Zest/skin of a large lemon, peeled in thick strips
Handful of garlic cloves, smashed
1-1/2 cups Half and Half or Heavy Cream, plus 1/2 to 1 cup more if needed
4 to 6-ounces fresh spinach

The Ubiquitous Ingredients Shot

The Ubiquitous Ingredients Shot

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Season the pork all over with ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste. Add butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in a deep cast iron skillet or Dutch oven and brown on both sides.

Browning the Inferior Pork

Browning the Inferior Pork

Remove from the heat then put the pork on a plate to rest. Deglaze the skillet or pot with the chicken broth, scraping up the browned bits. Add the rest of the ingredients back to the skillet except pork and spinach and stir until simmering.

Bringing Lovely Sauce up to Simmer

Bringing Lovely Sauce up to Simmer

Nestle the pork into the sauce and place in the preheated oven for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Ready to Bake in Oven

Ready to Bake in Oven

Turn the pork over and stir the sauce half-way through the cooking time.

When done, remove from oven and remove the pork to a plate and cover to rest again. Add the skillet to the stove burner over low heat, then add spinach, and add 1/2 cup to 1 more cup of Half and Half or cream, if needed. Stir until the spinach is wilted and the sauce has thickened and is bubbling. Don’t worry about any curdling, it’s supposed to do that.

Simmering the Sauce and Wilting the Spinach

Simmering the Sauce and Wilting the Spinach

Remove cinnamon stick and lemon rinds from sauce, and garlic cloves if you want but they are yummy! Serve the pork over the spinach on warmed plates, with plenty of extra sauce to coat.

Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach

Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

Pecorino Romano Scalloped Potatoes

20 Mar
Pecorino Romano Scalloped Potatoes

Pecorino Romano Scalloped Potatoes

Having a mandoline slicer makes quick work of this easy side dish, but a good sharp knife will also work. I splurged and bought some nice Pecorino Romano (genuine Sini Fulvi) at Whole Foods last week and figured the nutty cheese would taste great in my standard scalloped potato recipe. The cheese had such a strong flavor that I used it sparingly, but cooking it really mellows it out. So feel free to use as much as you want in this dish, as it adds a subtle cheesy flavor to an otherwise rather plain potato dish. I also topped it with a scattering of crushed homemade garlic croutons for another flavorful kick. This is a very versatile potato dish, so feel free to use any kind of potatoes, onions, cheese, or croutons that you want! Serve this with any protein of choice and a salad or other vegetable.

Pecorino Romano Scalloped Potatoes

3 medium large russet potatoes, sliced thin
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced thin and quartered
3 heaping tablespoons flour, divided
1 1/2 cups half and half (or milk), divided
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
Pecorino Romano cheese or other hard cheese, grated, to taste
Crushed flavored croutons, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the potatoes thin, using a mandoline or very sharp knife.

Sliced Potatoes in Ice Bath

Sliced Potatoes in Ice Bath

To keep them from browning, place the slices in a bowl of ice water. Next slice the onion, then quarter the slices.

Humble Sliced and Quartered Onion

Humble Sliced and Quartered Onion

When done slicing, drain the bowl and pat the potato slices dry with paper towels.

Spray a small casserole dish with oil, then add one layer of potato slices. Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour over top, followed by 1/2 cup of half and half or milk.

First Layer of Dish

First Layer of Dish

Season with sea salt and ground pepper to taste, then grate the desired amount of Pecorino Romano on top. Spread 1/3 of the onion slices last. Repeat layers two more times, then top with crushed flavored croutons.

Potatoes After Removing Foil

Potatoes After Removing Foil ~ Feel free to grate more cheese on top at this point!

Cover tightly with foil, and bake in oven for one hour. Remove the foil, then bake another half hour or more, until the potatoes are fork tender. Let rest for a few minutes, then serve with additional grated cheese, if desired.

Pecorino Romano Scalloped Potatoes

Pecorino Romano Scalloped Potatoes

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Indian Butter Chicken

26 Sep
Indian Butter Chicken

Indian Butter Chicken

An absolutely wonderful friend of mine sent me a large package of garam masala earlier this year. I even had the pleasure of rooming with her this past weekend for a charity fundraising event in Minneapolis.

OK, it was a big party with lots of shenanigans, laughing, and tears of joy. But a fundraising event nonetheless where the proceeds of the event go to the MODs Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization dedicated to supporting wildlife conservation, education and art. Oh, so where was I? Yes, the garam masala. This is a food blog, right?

I actually made this back in July when we had a short spurt of unseasonably cold weather, just before it zoomed right up into the triple digits. It didn’t feel right posting about it while everyone was sweating buckets and craving cool salads.

Now that fall has arrived, it’s time to introduce you to one of the many dishes to come using garam masala, a wonderfully complex spice used commonly in North Indian and South Asian food. It’s a perfect dish for a cool fall night.

Indian Butter Chicken
Adapted from Indian Butter Chicken at foodiecrush

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
2 cups Half and Half or cream
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
Lime wedges and cilantro, for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving

Cut and Seasoned Chicken

Cut and Seasoned Chicken

Cut the chicken into one-inch chunks and season with salt and ground black pepper, to taste. In a very large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the diced onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until translucent.

Onions in Oil and Butter

Onions in Oil and Butter

Add the garam masala, ginger, and chili powder and cook for several more minutes, stirring often.

Garam Masala and Other Spices Added

Garam Masala and Other Spices Added

Whisk in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, and bay leaves and cook for a few more minutes. Add the half and half or cream, stirring until it comes to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer on low for about 5 more minutes.

Simmering the Creamy Tomato Sauce

Simmering the Creamy Tomato Sauce

Meanwhile, add the remaining oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to another large skillet and cook the chicken over medium-high heat until the chicken is lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. (Somehow I missed a photo of that step.)

Chicken in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Chicken in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Transfer the chicken to the creamy tomato sauce and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Add the peas and remaining butter to the sauce and continue cooking until the butter has melted.

Peas and Butter Added to the Sauce

Peas and Butter Added to the Sauce

Oh my gosh, just look at that beautiful BUTTAH!

Melting Butter

Melting Butter ~ Divine!

Serve over cooked rice and garnish with lime wedges and cilantro leaves.

Indian Butter Chicken

Indian Butter Chicken

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

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!

 

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken

14 Dec
Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken

I am so very proud of my daughter! She cooked us dinner for the very first time last night, and she did a wonderful job of it. She is learning cooking and nutrition skills in her Freshman courses called “Family and Consumer Studies” or some such nonsense. Back in ancient times when I was that age, the class was called Home Economics (Home Ec for short). Nonetheless, the class has taught her that she CAN cook something besides eggs and cookies, both of which she cooks herself on a regular basis.

The original recipe has no chicken in it, but since this was going to be our dinner she wanted to add some. She asked me if I could cook the chicken for her and she would do the rest. How could I complain? I did tell her she could watch me and learn, but alas, that wasn’t part of her plan. So I pan-fried up some chicken, called her down for her part, and started snapping photos. “MOM! I do not want you in the kitchen while I do this. GO! I can do this myself!” You don’t know how hard it was for me to do that. Really. I slunk upstairs to my office space and frittered away the time nervously until I was called to supper.

Sauteing the Chicken

Sauteing the Chicken

After I snapped some shots of the finished soup in the pot and took my requisite bowl of soup photos and started eating it, she shouted “Hot Sauce! You can add hot sauce if you want!” I found the Sriracha sauce in the fridge, and she splattered quite a bit over her soup. I tentatively added a few drops over mine and stirred it in, took one bite, and thought “Wow! What a great addition to the taste!” Splurt, splurt, splurt, on went more. Sadly I did not take any photos of this momentous event, but trust me, Sriracha tastes great with this soup. Without further adieu, here is the recipe:

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
Mrs. Dash Table Blend, or salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half (or whole milk)
2 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
1-2 pounds fresh broccoli florets
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Sriracha sauce (optional, for serving)

Season the chopped chicken with Mrs. Dash (or salt) and pepper to taste. I used a lot of it. Heat a large skillet to medium high, add the oil, then sauté the chicken for several minutes on each side until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.

Chopping the Onion

Chopping the Onion

Heat the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, until softened. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the onions and whisk continuously until there are no lumps left. Add the half and half and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick or burn.

Add the broccoli and cook 15 to 20 minutes more until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork. Add the salt, pepper, chicken, and cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Serve with Sriracha sauce, or any other hot sauce, and thick slices of crusty bread.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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