Friday, September 30, 2016

Sausage and Corn Chowder

Well we had a number of leftover items in the fridge that needed using, and as I was driving home an idea popped into my head on how to use them all up:  sausage and corn chowder.


Leftover or just unused items:  4 ears of corn, one yellow bell pepper, 1/2 pound of Kielbasa sausage, several small already-cooked potatoes, 3 celery stalks, one large onion that had a part cut off and was sitting in the fridge in a plastic baggie.

So besides all of those items, I added 5 cloves of garlic, a few raw potatoes (these are small creamers), and a handful of baby carrots.  Also some seasonings (see below).


Chopped sausage and vegetables into small, similar size pieces; stripped the kernels from the corn.

Cut up the cooked potatoes, threw them in the blender with 1-1/2 cups water, blended until they were very smooth.

Sautéed the onions, garlic and sausage in some olive oil until the onions were on the verge of being translucent.  Added the rest of the vegetables, along with enough water to cover, and some seasonings:  salt (carefully, since the sausage is already salty), pepper, cumin, some hot pepper flakes, and a few green herbs.  You could use curry or any other seasoning that you like with a chowder.

Let it all simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 30-40 minutes.  Added the potato puree, and about 1 cup of half-and-half.  It wasn't quite thick enough and we wanted to eat soon, so I added 1-1/2 Tbsp. of corn starch, stirred into a little cold water before adding it to the soup.

Served it with lightly toasted and buttered french bread for dipping.  Mmmmm!

Seriously, you should try this if you love a hearty soup this time of year.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Farmer's Market Fall Soup

Went to the Farmer's Market on Tuesday and found a few fall vegetables.  Decided to make soup.

Sorry, no pictures this time.  So without further ado, here is the recipe:


1 Medium White Onion
1 Bunch Carrots
1 Bunch Golden Beets
1 Medium Delicata Squash
5 Cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper To Taste
1/2 Tsp Each:  Parsley, Sage, Cumin, Turmeric, Hot Pepper Flakes
Juice of 1/2 Lime
3/4 Cup Cheese, Grated (Cheddar, or other cheese or mix of cheeses)
Water or chicken or vegetable stock


Clean, peel and chop vegetables into 3/4" cubes
(You may not need to peel the carrots and beets, just clean & remove stray root threads)
Sauté onions and garlic until nearly translucent
(You may want to add the garlic a little later than the onion as garlic cooks faster)
Add the chopped vegetables and enough water or stock to completely cover them
Bring all to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer temperature
Add seasonings
Allow to simmer until all vegetables are soft
Adjust seasonings to taste
Run it through a blender so you have a nice puree
Add grated cheese, stir to melt
Add juice of 1/2 lime (if lime is not juicy, use the whole lime)

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt, and a sprinkle of finely chopped carrot greens as a garnish.  I used yogurt, and had a few slices of buttered baguette on the side to dip into the soup.  It was really quite delicious!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Strawberries 'n Cheese, Yum!

Sometimes the simple things really are the best.

The other evening I wanted a bite to eat, but not a whole meal -- just a snack.

We had just bought some things at Whole Foods, including some beautiful ripe organic strawberries, some English cheddar with hot peppers and some goat cheese with dill.

I thought they might be good together so, so I cut up a few of the strawberries, and then cut the cheeses into bite-sized chunks about the same size as the strawberry pieces.

Hoo boy!  That was one of the best snacks ever!  You could do it with any berries and any cheeses -- as we all know, fruit and cheese is a classic combo.  This particular combination really worked.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Salty Chocolate Cacao Nib Refrigerator Cookies

Made these for Christmas, they were a big hit!  Happy New Year to all, may it be the best one yet!


1 c flour
3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
6 Tbsp roasted cacao nibs
1 tsp sea salt
12 Tbsp (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 Tbsp sugar for rolling


If you have raw cacao nibs, roast them first by placing on a cookie sheet in a single layer and place in a 200F oven for 15 minutes
Allow them to cool
If they are too coarse you may break them up with a rolling pin

Bring the butter to room temperature, it will take an hour or so, or you can use the microwave on a low power setting for 30 sec or so -- but be careful not to melt it
Beat the sugar into the butter until the mixture is light and fluffy
Add the vanilla and mix in thoroughly

Sift together the cocoa powder and flour and mix thoroughly into the butter and sugar mixture.  It will be a somewhat stiff dough

Add the sea salt to the cacao nibs and pour the mixture into the dough, again stirring thoroughly making sure both the cacao nibs and the salt are spread evenly throughout the dough

Divide the dough into two equal parts.  Roll each part into a log about 2" in diameter and flat at each end.  Roll the logs in sugar and also coat the ends with sugar, then wrap each in saran wrap and place them in the refrigerator to cool for 2 hours

Bring out of the refrigerator and slice each log into 1/4" slices

Bake in a 325F oven for 15 minutes

Let them cool on the cookie sheet for at least 2 minutes before trying to remove them -- they break very easily when hot

Remove from cookie sheet to a rack to cool completely

I've been considering ways to play with this recipe.  One, you could grind the cacao nibs down further, say the texture of coffee grounds -- might be an interesting textural experiment.  Two, you could add cinnamon, say a tablespoon or so, to get an Aztec chocolate flavor.  Three, you could use coarse salt instead of regular sea salt -- in fact it would be fun to try a few different salts to see what effect they would have.  Four, you could get raw or coarse sugar to roll the cookies in, or even add some coarse salt to that coating mixture.  Five, you could use a specialty cocoa powder, like a dark chocolate one that I saw at the grocery store.

Well here's how they look when finished:



Today's Simple Tip:

Sourbread toast topped with butter and honey, eaten along with a hot cup of your favorite tea.  Mmm!