Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Friday, October 16, 2020

It's Fall and Time For Soup

 I love a good soup anytime of the year but one of my favorites is a Mushroom Bisque. This recipe is definitely worthy of sharing and I prepared it recently.

You can use a mixture of mushrooms when they are in season but this time I used baby Portobello's so I suppose I should call it Portobello Mushroom Bisque. It is always a good idea to gather all of your ingredients ahead of time. I even measure out the flour and salt and pepper in advance. It makes the soup go together so much easier.
I am very particular about what chicken stock I use if I don't have any of my own in the freezer. The one pictured is the only one I will use, I find it to be the most flavorful. I usually get unsalted because I like to control the salt in any recipe also.
The fragrance wafting through the house is amazing.

Portobello Mushroom Bisque

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion (about 12 oz.) chopped
1 pound baby Portobello mushrooms, wiped or brushed clean, and chopped
3 tablespoons all purpose flour 
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar (do not leave this out)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, optional


In a 6 quart pot melt the butter, add the leeks and onion and sauté over medium heat until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms, stir to combine, cover, and cook 10 minutes longer. Raise the heat to medium, stir in the flour, and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme, bay leaf, stock, salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, for about 10 minutes.

Cool the soup slightly, then discard the bay leaf and puree the soup with an immersion blender, or in batches in the blender. Return the pureed soup to the saucepan and add the cream. Cook over low heat until heated through, but do not let the soup boil. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Ladle into warm bowls, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Note: This will serve 8 as a first course. I also tie my herbs in a bundle and just drop them in.
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I personally prefer using an immersion blender and find it invaluable.
Pared with a Mixed Green Salad and some crusty bread this makes for an excellent dinner. I have also served it as a first course for a dinner party and got rave reviews. This soup is a keeper.
Instead of parsley I topped mine with seasoned croutons and a drizzle of black truffle oil.
The black truffle oil takes it to the next level in my opinion. I am a huge fan of black truffle oil.
If you should have any leftover it is an excellent soup for a lunch also.

If you try this soup you won't be disappointed and it is so very easy. If serving it for a dinner party it can easily be prepared the day before withholding the cream. I think the next time I prepare it I will give it a splash of cognac, now that sounds really good to me.

Enjoy your weekend, Carolyn







Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Smoked Gouda Pimento Cheese

 Pimento Cheese is a Southern staple in my opinion and I happened to come across a new version which I tried and thought it to be excellent. This is a recipe adapted from Food Network and it will definitely remain in my recipe repertoire. I think you may like it as well.



Smoked Gouda Pimento Cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

1 7-ounce jar diced pimiento, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, according to preference

1 8-ounce extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 8-ounce smoked Gouda cheese, shredded

 

In a large bowl mix together the two grated cheeses. Mix together in a separate bowl the mayonnaise, pimientos, Worcestershire, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Add to the cheese mixture and thoroughly mix them together.

This will make 4 cups and will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.

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I learned something very important as I was preparing this recipe, always drain and rinse the pimentos. I had always added it in with never rinsing or draining and also had no idea how salty they are. I would always add salt into the mix and never thought I added too much but it was the pimentos. Just goes to show, you are never too old to learn.
Sitting in the refrigerator overnight all the ingredients melded together and it does have a little kick to it.

It makes an excellent appetizer, I think it would be great as a grilled cheese sandwich or just a regular sandwich on lightly toasted bread which I had today. The Gouda cheese is a great change to how I normally make my pimento cheese. I used Cracker Barrel extra sharp Cheddar cheese and Boars Head Smoked Gouda and shredded both on a box grater. I think that is most important, none of that pre-shredded stuff.

I hope you will try this recipe and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

I hope you'll let me know if you give this a try. Enjoy your evening.

Carolyn


 


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Wordless Wednesday

 


I posted this on Thursday, silly me. I must have lost a day last week. This bloom is one of the few from an Althea tree that I had planted last year. I have planted this Althea or some call, Rose of Sharon many times in this same spot and have had the hardest time. It hasn't made it and this one looks like it is going to do the same thing. I planted it just outside my bay window so I could enjoy the blooms from my family room. I think the issue is for this year we have had too much rain this summer and it doesn't drain off very well. The past couple of years we have had a drought situation and I think my sprinkler system doesn't quite reach where I have planted this tree. I can't seem to win. The main reason I wanted this particular tree is because my mother had one in her garden and this bloom reminds me of my dear departed mother. My next move will be to plant this tree in another spot but isn't it such a gorgeous bloom. I can only picture it in my head tall and loaded with these beautiful blooms.


Carolyn

Monday, August 17, 2020

Summer Tomato Pie

 Right now in the middle of summer I expect we all are getting some delicious tomatoes. Every time my husband visits our local farmers market he brings home so many tomatoes but all is good because we both love tomatoes. With one exception, I have never cared for a tomato sandwich. That is such a Southern thing but I admit to NEVER caring for them.

I do, however, LOVE a good Tomato Pie and I find my recipe particularly tasty.


Tomato Pie

One 9-inch deep dish pie crust, prebaked according to package drictions

3 to 4 juicy tomatoes, sliced about 1/4" thick

8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/3 cup green onion, chopped, white and green parts

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups Mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Parmesan cheese

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer tomato slices, basil, and onion in a pre-baked pie shell. Add salt and pepper. Mix together grated cheese and mayonnaise and spread on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes or until to desired browning. Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing pie.


This is such an easy pie to prepare and it is soooooooo tasty. I am of the opinion that you can't have too much Parmesan cheese on anything.

This is exactly why I did not put an amount in the recipe. Use as much or as little as you want. It will also make a beautifully browned pie.


 Many people do a mixture of half mozzarella and half cheddar. I have made it with the cheddar but I personally prefer using just a good mozzarella. Some people use just cheddar and I love a good cheddar but using the mozzarella just seems to go better with these particular ingredients, in my opinion.


This is an easy Sunday night dinner and pares well with a fresh fruit salad. Add an excellent glass of wine and you have the perfect Sunday night fare.

I hope you'll try this recipe, it's not only a great way to use up those lucious tomatoes but it is addictive as well.

I hope you all have a wonderful and productive week.

Carolyn

Friday, July 31, 2020

Garden Fleurs

I admit to hydrangeas being one of my favorite flowers and in my garden I have an abundance of them at the moment. One of the many joys of summer. There is nothing more delightful than cutting blooms from the garden to brighten the indoors.
 Of course, the blue hydrangeas go in any room in my home.




This is a view from my back door and I am of the opinion that back door guests are best so what could be more welcoming than a wee bouquet of flowers. I don't quite understand why but the pink hydrangea was cut from the same bush as the blue one although it does have a pinkish tone. Difference in the soil but I didn't amend the soil to make pink blooms.
I love this vignette, the lamp is probably the oldest and most valuable lamp in my home. I have had many dealers try to buy it from me when I have taken it into a lamp shop to replace the shade but it has special significance to me. At least 40 years ago I bought it at an antique show that I went to with my mother whom we lost long ago. I could never part with this lamp it conjures up very happy memories.
I think these hydrangeas are particularly beautiful. The container had a candle in it when I first bought it and I rarely throw out interesting containers. They too have a usefulness from time to time.

Garden flower bouquets I believe are the loveliest of bouquets in my opinion. Here in our living room I cut some agapanthus. I love the tall stems and of course, again blue.


My garden is a fulfilling JOY to me almost year round especially when I can cut blooms to bring indoors. I hope you can do the same but if not there are so many ways to bring nature indoors. It will brighten your surroundings.

Enjoy the remainder of your day, Carolyn

Friday, June 5, 2020

Roasted Vegetable Soup

I could eat soup for lunch or dinner year round. If I'm sitting in an air conditioned setting, I'm good because I dearly love a good soup. This one I am about to share is so very simple and one of my favorites.

When I have an abundance of veggies and I often do, mainly because my husband likes to visit the local farmers' markets and he generally gets carried away. Not a problem because I love fresh and locally grown veggies. One of my favorite ways to prepare them is in the oven roasted. It's quick, easy and I think brings out the best flavors of each vegetable. Some time ago we had an excellent cheese shop in our area and the owner got me hooked on French Raclette cheese. He told me that the French often grate this cheese and sprinkle it over the top of their roasted veggies. I bought some and I was hooked. It is probably one of the stinkiest cheeses but grated and on top of roasted veggies, pure heaven. The cheese shop has since closed and some grocery stores carry a Raclette but if it's made in the USA it is an entirely different taste difference. I have since found that our local Fresh Market carries one from France so all is well.

When I roast veggies I most always do quite a few and I will share why.
Leftover roasted veggies make the most incredible soup. My veggie mixture most always includes a few potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, red onion, red bell pepper, and carrots. I always generously salt and pepper them before placing in the oven along with a generous amount of a very good olive oil. I roast them in a preheated oven to about 400* F for about 25 to 30 minutes. I turn them with a spatula a couple of times while in the oven and they roast until just tender. The smell becomes heavenly.
Since there is just the two of us, extras in my fridge is truly a "good thing".
For my soup I place the leftover veggies in a blender with a little chicken stock, whirr them up to my desired consistency and I then add in a little more chicken stock. This by the way is the only chicken stock I use if I don't have homemade. I believe this to be the most flavorful on the market and I have tried them all. Then you simply place the mixture in a sauce pan and warm it up. I most always have to add more chicken stock to thin the mixture to a desired consistency.
The combination of these veggies is an amazing combination. It becomes my lunch for several days and oh so healthy. I always check for seasonings. Even though they were seasoned before going in the oven you may find they need a little more.
If you have never tried this before I promise you won't be disappointed. It is an excellent use of leftover roasted veggies with great health benefits and what could be easier?
I enjoy a little drizzle of black truffle oil to just put it right over the top but you can also add a little grated Parmesan cheese or even some French Raclette cheese if you should come across it. Whatever you top it with it will be amazing. Try it you'll love it.

I hope you enjoy the remainder of your day and thank goodness it's Friday.

Carolyn

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A Delicious Summer Salad


In June of 2018 I hosted my Cookbook Book Club and as the hostess I chose the book from which we all cooked. Everyone prepares their dish and we all get to try the dishes at our monthly luncheon. This was probably the simplest of dishes but frankly my favorite. It was a Caprese Salad but instead of using tomatoes it used fresh peaches. Now here in the South our peaches are just coming in so I thought how appropriate to share this wonderful recipe. It was a refreshing summer salad and I thought it was terrific.

Peach Caprese Salad
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 white peaches, chilled
2 yellow peaches, chilled
Two 4-ounce fresh mozzarella balls, preferably water-packed
10 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 teaspoon flakey salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In an 8-ounce screw-top jar, combine the vinegar and oil. Screw on the lid and shake well. Refrigerate until well chilled. The dressing can be made ahead and stored in the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 

Remove the pits from the peaches and cut them into 1/2-inch-thick slices or wedges. Drain the mozzarella if necessary and pat it dry. Use a sharp knife to cut it into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

On a serving platter, decoratively arrange slices of the white peaches, yellow peaches, and mozzarella. Scatter the basil leaves on top, drizzle over the dressing, an sprinkle the flaky salt and pepper on top. Serve at once.

Makes 4 servings
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Such a simple change but it was my favorite dish on the menu that day at our luncheon. Light, refreshing, and a lovely presentation. When you find fresh peaches at your local vegetable market you should consider trying it. The combination of flavors were amazing.

This recipe was adapted from Joanna Gaines first cookbook "Magnolia Table". I was somewhat apprehensive about this book but it did not disappoint. Each and every dish that was brought to our luncheon was excellent. As the hostess I prepared the entrée which was the Dedication Casserole which was a chicken and wild rice dish with so many added flavors. I would definitely make this again. Other dishes brought were Dutch Oven Cabbage and Bacon, Creamy Squash Casserole, Stuffed Broccoli Casserole, Three Cheese Quiche, Blueberry Buttermilk Puff, and a very unusual Banana Pudding. A good time was had by all and we all walk away having had an excellent luncheon.
I hope you'll try this Peach Caprese Salad, it was outstanding.
Enjoy the remainder of the week, Carolyn

Wordless Wednesday