Sunday, November 27, 2011

Scrumptious Soups (and sundry other yummies)

Playing catch-up! I've been having a ball cooking in the swoony kitchen, even though my at-home time is limited by a daily 3-hour commute. Here are some of the things I've been making lately:

Broccoli Rabe & Bean Soup

8 tbsp. olive oil

1 lg. onion, chopped

7 cloves garlic, minced

2 potatoes, peeled & diced

4 tomatoes, diced

2 cans cannellini beans, drained

8 c. chicken stock

1 bunch broccoli rabe, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

Grated parmesan for garnish

Saute onion a minute or two in heated oil in a large soup pot. Add garlic & cook, stirring, another minute. Add tomatoes & potatoes and cook about 5 minutes on medium-low heat. Add beans & stock. Bring to a boil. Add broccoli rabe, cover & cook on medium for about half an hour. Adjust seasonings, then simmer another 10 minutes. Serve with parmesan. Serves 4-6. (This is my adaptation of a recipe from 12 Months of Monastery Soups, one of my new favorite cookbooks, along with d'Avila-Latourrette's similar book on salads.)

Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

3 c. water

2 16 oz. cans stewed tomatoes, broken up

2 16 oz. cans dark red kidney beans

16 oz. tomato sauce

1 envelope taco seasoning

1 avocado, diced

Shredded Cheddar

Tortilla chips

Sour cream

Brown the beef with the onion in a soup pot. Drain grease. Add water, tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, taco seasoning. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Garnish with avocado, cheese, chips & sour cream. Serves 10-12.

Spicy Squash Stew

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. curry powder or garam masala

1 tbsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cayenne

4 c. diced butternut squash (I highly recommend buying this already peeled)

2 parsnips, chopped

2 c. chicken broth

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can butter beans, drained

1 can garbanzos, drained

6 oz. baby spinach

1 can light coconut milk

Lime for garnish

Heat oil in soup pot. Saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic & 1/4 tsp. salt. Saute, stirring, 1 minute. Add spices and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add squash, parsnips, broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over a reduced heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 tsp. salt, butter beans, garbanzos. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add spinach & coconut milk and heat through. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 8. (This is my adaptation of a recipe from the April 2005 issue of Cooking Light.) We had this with rolls and the below salad:

Avocado, Endive & Carrot Salad

1 lg. avocado, diced

2 Belgian endives, separated into individual leaves

A few handsful arugula (watercress if you can get it. I couldn't, so subbed what I had)

1 large carrot, peeled & sliced into very thin half-moons

6 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

A good shake of dry mustard

Salt & pepper

Place veggies in a salad bowl. Whisk the rest together in a small bowl until thickened, then toss with veggies. Serve promptly. Serves 4. (This is based on St. Martin Salad in the aforementioned salad cookbook.)

Grouper with Lemon Marjoram Butter

1/2 stick butter, room temperature

1 tsp. lemon zest

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. chopped marjoram

1/4 tsp. salt

A good grinding of black pepper

4 grouper fillets

Olive oil

Preheat broiler. Line a shallow baking pan with foil. Mix everything but the fish & olive oil together. Brush the fish with the oil. Put into the pan. Salt & pepper. Broil 4-6" from heat until cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Serve topped with butter. Serves 4.

Pepper Jack Dip

10 oz. shredded Monterey Jack

10 oz. shredded pepper Jack

1 can chopped green chiles

1 2/3 c. mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything together in a small baking dish. Bake 25-30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Kielbasa, Potatoes & Peppers

1 package kielbasa, sliced 1/2" thick

2 onions, sliced

5 potatoes, diced

1/3 c. water

1/2 tsp. salt

1 red pepper, sliced into thin inch-long strips

1 green pepper, sliced as above

Salt & pepper

Cook sausage & onions on medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in potatoes, water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook 10 minutes. Add peppers. Cook, covered, 5-7 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Serves 4-6.

Apple Crisp

10 apples, peeled and sliced

Lemon juice

1 c. flour

1 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. cold butter

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place apples in greased casserole and sprinkle with a little lemon juice. Mix the other ingredients, cutting the butter in with a pastry blender or two knives. Sprinkle over apples. Bake 30 minutes. This is my go-to apple crisp recipe, the one I spent my childhood helping my mom & grandmom make. It is delicious.

Cappuccino Truffles

12 oz. chocolate chips

6 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. heavy cream

1 1/2-2 tbsp. instant espresso (preferably Medaglia d'Oro)

In a large microwavable glass bowl, cook everything 1-1 1/2 minutes, until almost melted. Stir until smooth. Freeze 1 hour. Shape into balls. Roll in cocoa powder. Chill. This is my go-totruffle recipe, the one I make every Christmas. They are awesome & easy. Makes a bunch.

I also make chocolate rum balls at Christmas-time. I learned to make them while assisting my almost-grandma, Mary Monk, with her "cookie factory," which gets underway early in December every year and provides friends & neighbors all around the holler and up on the ridge with yummy treats. This is my favorite of all:

Chocolate Rum Balls

1 c. chopped pecans

1 c. Oreo crumbs (if you find a source of the pre-crumbed sort, let me know! Used to be able to find them easily & now, they are nowhere)

1 c. powdered sugar

1 1/2 tbsp. light Karo syrup

1/4 c. light rum

Sugar in which to roll the rum balls

Mix everything but the granulated sugar. Shape into 1" balls and roll in sugar. Makes 2-3 dozen. My grandmom's friend, Jean, once ate so many of these she made herself sick and my "Second Grandma" Genevieve Klyce included them in the Dayton Women's Club cookbook. If you make these once, you will have to make them every year. Fair warning!

1 comment:

Cyndi said...

I miss Rum Balls so much! My mom used to make them since I was a kid. I liked them so much then (and they included nuts, prob walnuts and were rolled in powdered sugar, which sort of melted into the moist rum ball in some spots) Apparently when I was a kid, I had a headache during some holiday party, or just before people arrived, and they discovered I had eaten like a ton of them out of the pretty glass jar. :/ Ironically, now I don't drink, but I came up w/ "sober rum balls" a few years ago which contained graham cracker crumbs and molasses. I'll have to dig up the recipe. Thanks for the memory!