Category Archives: savory

Corn & Mushroom Soup

Fall is near. The leaves have started to turn, the weather has become noticeably more comfortable, and football season is upon us. I love, love, love this time of year! I can live on soup so as soon as it is comfortable enough to make some, I do!

This is a great transition season soup. It’s not too heavy, corn is reminiscent of summer, and it goes well with a white wine. It’s not quite the chowder I had in mind (if you “like” me on Facebook you may have seen I mentioned chowder). Not my favorite soup, I save that for Lentil which I will post some day, I swear. But it was good. Especially with the bacon and mushrooms on top. In fact, I think it would be much less tasty without the mushrooms and bacon.

We saved several corn cobs over the summer and froze them to make corn stock. Don’t fret if you didn’t plan way ahead like me. I’m a dork like that. Some of you may still be able to find fresh corn and if so…lucky you! The corn stock is totally worth the extra step. It smells so intoxicating. Who knew those little cobs had so much flavor?

This recipe is from Michael Symon’s book “Live to Cook,”which is on my wish list. Along with about 15 other cook books.

Corn and Mushroom Soup

Recipe from Michael Symon, found on “Eats Well with Others

Difficulty: Easy

Time: Hands on 20 to 30 mins total, 1 to 2 hours for simmering

Ingredients

Corn Cob Stock 

  • 6 ears of corn
  • 1 red onion, chopped (I used a yellow because that’s all I had)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt

Soup

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 recipe seared wild mushrooms (take 1 lb of mixed wild mushrooms, saute them with olive oil, salt, thyme, shallots and garlic)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled, cooked bacon

Notes: I did things a bit differently based on my ingredients. I had frozen cobs that I had saved so I just used frozen corn kernels. If you don’t have corn cobs, just omit the cobs and use frozen kernels but still enhance your stock with the onion, garlic, thyme, and coriander. I sautéed the mushrooms (I used cremini but really wanted some shitake!) with the bacon. Delicious. I also used whole milk in place of the heavy cream and added an onion. Instead of thyme in the soup, I used sage because I wanted a little more hint of fall in the soup. The point of the story is….play with your ingredients to make the soup the way you want it!

Directions

1. Cut the corn from the cobs and set aside.

2. Place the cobs into a large pot with the onion, garlic, thyme, coriander, stock, and salt. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain the liquid through a mesh strainer, discarding the solids. You should have about 4 cups. Use immediately or store in refrigerator overnight.

3. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, a pinch of salt and sweat for a couple of minutes. Add the corn kernels and sweat for another couple of minutes. Add the thyme (or sage, or oregano….), stock, and milk and simmer for another 45 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté your mushrooms and bacon together.

4. Scoop out about 1 cup of the corn kernels and set aside. Puree the remaining soup with whatever tool you have…immersion blender, food processor, etc. Return the kernels to the soup.

5. Garnish with mushrooms and bacon. Enjoy!

 

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Filed under savory

Pimento Cheese and Pretzel Sticks

Time once again to explore Southern food that once seemed so strange to this Northern gal. I’ve talked about corn bread and sweet potato pie in particular, but I think I’m most upset that I just now discovered Pimento Cheese. I’ve missed out on so many years! I don’t know if I ever tried it before (if I had it was obviously forgettable), but it always sounded like one of those “weird” foods that I’d be just fine without ever trying. And once again, I was proved incredibly wrong. I can’t get enough of it now that I’ve had it. I’ve been doing a lot of taste testing to tweak this recipe- all for your benefit of course. You’re welcome! It’s been tough but I survived. Yum.

According to our buddy Wikipedia, traditional pimento is pretty basic: sharp cheddar, mayo, pimentos, salt, and pepper. Pretty easy! But so many regional twists have been added that include hot sauce, cream cheese, jalapeños, and pickles. The possibilities are endless. And did you know that pimentos are just a version of red peppers? Slightly different and a little more expensive.

I used my new favorite cookbook Frank Stitt’s Southern Table to find a recipe base. Just a quick note on this cookbook: it’s a beautiful addition to any cookbook collection. Everything I’ve made has been fantastic and it has beautiful pictures with wonderful stories to accompany it. So if you are looking for a good Southern food cookbook (and if you aren’t, then why not?) this is it. (Note: I am not paid to say that! The cookbook was a gift from Dear Hubby.) But my recipe ended up quite different. First, I wanted to add pepper jack cheese in addition to sharp cheddar. Second, the mayo incident. He recommends making your own mayo (and has a recipe for it) but this was just not my day to make mayo. I’ve made it many times before without any issues but it just kept breaking on me, even after adding a second yolk! I didn’t want to spend all day making mayo so I just doubled the cream cheese. I also substituted jarred pimentos for roasting fresh red peppers to save time. And finally, I added some capers for a little color and tang.

And the pretzel sticks are just a variation of these pretzels. Just take a small piece of dough and roll them out super thin. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or just salt and bake at 425F until brown and crispy. Easy! This is one of my favorite dough recipes. It comes together in no time at all and always tastes good. Dear hubby actually did this batch. I made the dough and he took it from there!

How’s that for football food?  Enjoy!

Pimento Cheese

Adapted from  Chef Frank Stitt

One year ago: Sourdough Pretzels

Yield: About 3 cups

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 lb sharp cheddar
  • 7 oz jar pimentos, drained (you can use roasted red peppers if you can’t find pimentos)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 juice lemon
  • 1 tsp pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • Splash of hot sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 TB capers, rinsed and drained

Directions

1. Finely shred the pepper jack or sharp cheddar. Coarsely shred it if you’d prefer more texture.

2. Add the remaining ingredients: drained pimentos, cream cheese, lemon, pepper, hot sauce, cayenne, and sugar. Mix until well combined. This may take a bit of muscle.

3. Eat! Leftovers will keep for several days in the refrigerator. But, you will want to let it come to room temperature or microwave very briefly, about 5 seconds, or it will be rather challenging to dip.

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Filed under bread, savory

Seedy Crisps (Crackers)

Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.

I know I just did  Parm Herb Crackers, but can you really have too many cracker options? Nope, I didn’t think so either. This dough is very easy to roll out nice and thin with very little muscle involved. That makes me happy. These are also crackers that you can just break into random pieces. Fun, right? Oh, and they go great with cheese, which is a requirement for a good cracker. If a cracker can’t hold a piece of cheese and taste good, that cracker is failing in its cracker duties. What’s that? I’m not making sense? Well, blame that on too much coffee and not enough wine. Oh, look, a cracker!

I used White Wheat flour again but otherwise didn’t change the recipe at all. These come together in no time at all. You’ll definitely spend more time standing around the oven waiting for them to cook. Or maybe don’t stand around the oven. It’s hot out, after all. Go hang out by the freezer.

On a side note, I do not like taking pictures of crackers. I don’t think they are photogenic. Good thing they are tasty.

Here’s what they look like before baking:

In the time I spent writing this post, I could have made another batch of crackers. So, what are you waiting for?

Seedy Crisps

One year ago: Homemade Oreos

Yield: A lot of crackers

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 10 minutes to prep and roll; 15 minutes to rest;  30 minutes to bake

  • Ingredients
  • 2 cups (280 grams) White Wheat Flour (or split half wheat and half AP)
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) poppy seeds
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 3/4 cup + 1 TB (6 1/2 oz) water

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Line four sheet pans (or just work in batches) with silpat or parchment. Note: My oven takes forever to preheat, but if yours doesn’t, you can wait until the dough is finished before you turn on the inferno.

2. Mix together flour, seeds, salt, and baking powder. Stir in the olive oil. Then stir in the water slowly until a dough forms. You may not need it all, you may need more. I needed all the water, but not more. Knead a few times on the counter to form a smooth ball. Should come together fairly quickly. Cover with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

3. After resting, diving into four pieces. Roll each piece thin. It should be about the length of the sheet pan. Don’t worry about the shape – you will just be breaking it into pieces later.

4. Bake each pan for about 7 minutes, flip, then 7 minutes more. At this point, break into pieces and bake for another five minutes if needed. These crackers are supposed to be crispy.

5. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Eat and enjoy!

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Filed under cracker, savory

Sweet & Spicy Herb Cashews

This might be the easiest recipe I’ve posted on here, and it is quickly becoming a staple in my house. These cashews are sweet when you first taste them then the heat from the cayenne kicks in. I’ve made it a couple of times before, usually as a football snack. We’d end up devouring all of them by the end of the game. Oops.

A funny thing happens when you make a dish frequently.  You feel less of a desire to eat all of it in one sitting. It’s there as a quick and delicious snack. It’s not a novelty anymore that must be eaten quickly or it will disintegrate. This treat will now last a week. It’s not the cheapest of treats though. I do pay $10 for a pound of raw cashews, which hurts a bit. But a couple times a month is doable.

This is one of those times you do not want to substitute dry herbs for fresh. The fresh rosemary really shines and dried will not be the same. I buy raw, unsalted cashews. You can buy roasted ones but if you buy salted and roasted, omit the salt from the recipe. Oh, and it will take about 10 minutes to make. That includes standing around waiting for the cashews to roast and pouring a glass of wine. These are of course best warm but I enjoy them room temperature and cold too!

Rosemary Cashews

from Ina Garten, Barefoot in Paris

Yield: 1 lb of delicious cashews

Difficulty: Very, very, very easy

Time: 2 minutes to mix ingredients; 10 minutes for cashews to roast

Ingredients

  • 1 lb raw or roasted cashews (unsalted is best)
  • 2 TB fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1 TB kosher salt (omit if you use salted cashews)
  • 1 TB unsalted butter, melted

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Pour yourself a glass of wine or beer (optional but recommended!)

2. Spread the cashews on a half sheet pan. Roast for about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden and fragrant.

3. While cashews are roasting, mix together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. When cashews are done, toss in bowl to coat thoroughly.

4. Eat and enjoy!

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Filed under savory