Archive for December 30, 2012

On the way to make Butternut Squash Soup

Soup

Christmas is over but the weather remains quite chilly. In chilly weather soup is required and I wanted butternut squash soup. I was thinking of an autumn bisque recipe that also uses apples, onions, sausage and is very hearty on a cold evening. First thing I did was stick a whole butternut squash in the oven to roast. This saves any peeling or cutting until it has been softened by cooking and provides a deeper, richer flavor than boiling.

Then I thought that since the oven was already on I might as well roast some heads of garlic as well. Suddenly the light bulb went on and I had an epiphany. Normally I wrap the garlic whole or I cut the top off and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, then wrap it in foil. Today my brain was kicked into over-drive. Ok, I was bored, hubby and son were at work and I was at home with no car. So I cut the tops off of 3 heads of garlic. My thinking was that even tho if roasted garlic was good, maybe it could be better. I drizzled each with a bit of olive oil, then sprinkled two with kosher salt. One of those I poked it with fresh rosemary sprigs that were snipped from the bush in our front yard. Wrapped each in foil (bending down the top of the garlic without salt so that I would be able to tell which was which) and put them in the oven to roast for a taste test.

A recreation of the actual event.

After removing from the oven and unwrapping I noticed the salted heads were more caramelized than the unsalted one. For tasting I toasted Italian bread. I didn’t want anything that would compete with the flavors. The salt added a bit of depth to the roasted garlic. It was very good. BUT. It could not compete with the rosemary. That was amazing. I will be repeating it often. My son has already requested that I make an alfredo sauce with it.

Then I moved on to making the aforementioned soup, which didn’t go quite as planned, but it came out heavenly. Apparently hubby had taken the granny smiths to work and the Italian sausage that I thought was in the freezer was no where to be found. Not to fear, tho, necessity IS the mother of invention, after all, and I am nothing if not a mother. So here’s what I did:

I sauteed 1/2 a giant onion (I swear, this thing was HUGE, it must have been on ‘roids) with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then I tossed in 4 ounces of chopped pancetta (bacon would work, too) and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Once that was nice and cooked I squeezed in the rosemary infused roasted garlic, the flesh from the roasted butternut squash and the rest of the mashed taters from Xmas dinner (they had the same seasonings: roasted garlic and rosemary) and a quart of chicken stock and 2 cups of cream. Served it with grated parmesan and a little grated nutmeg. I should have pureed the roasted squash rather than mashing it in, tho, for a better texture, but the soup was amazingly good on a chilly evening.

Grandma’s Sloppy Joes & Brocco-slaw

With Christmas coming thoughts turn to family and friends and happy memories of times gone by. Hubby came from a large, boisterous family that loved to spend time together and eating was always a big part of their gatherings. Whenever we would come to town his Grandma Cord would gather both sides of his family and my brother at her house: siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces.

On the menu was Grandma’s Sloppy Joes and Brocco-slaw. Whenever I make these dishes it always takes me back to that warm, fuzzy feeling that was present at her house. I count myself very lucky to have been brought into his family and be a part of those long ago gatherings.

Grandma’s Sloppy Joes

Serves: 6

Ingredients
1 Pound Ground Beef
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
1/2 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper
2 Cloves Garlic (crushed)
1/3 Cup Catsup
1/4 Cup Taco Sauce
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/8 Teaspoon Hot Sauce (optional)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
6 Hamburger Buns (split and toasted)
6 Slices American Cheese (optional)

Directions

Brown beef with onions, bell pepper and garlic. Drain grease. Add catsup, taco sauce, worcestershir sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes. Serve on buns with cheese.

Note: Great when simmered in a crockpot all day. Can be made in the morning, simmered all day and then enjoyed.

Brocco-slaw
serves 4

3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chili sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
garlic and pepper seasoning, to taste
1 pound of shredded broccoli
2 carrots, shredded

Combine dressing ingredients and chill for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Toss with shredded cabbage and carrots and serve.

Note: I unfortunately didn’t get Grandma’s dressing recipe but this is one I winged on the fly and it is very good!

Andie’s Eggnog Pound Cake

Eggnog Pound Cake

My friend Andie, who has her blog at Cafe 305, shared this recipe with me a few years ago. We make sure it’s on the menu at least once every Christmas season. Tomorrow we are having friends for dinner and to watch the mid-season finale of Walking Dead and this will be our dessert.

Eggnog Pound Cake

3 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 c unsalted butter — room temperature
2 c sugar
3 whole eggs
1 c eggnog
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp dark rum

2 tbsp dark rum
2 tbsp water
1/4 c sugar

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a tube or bundt pan.

Cake:
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl twice. Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each egg. Scrape the bowl down again. On low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the eggnog mixture. End with dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly and spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove. Brush on glaze while cake is warm.

Glaze:
In a small bowl, blend rum, water and sugar. Warm on low heat until mixture thickens. Brush on with a pastry brush.

Serve topped with vanilla whipped cream and fresh grated nutmeg.

eggnog cake