Ready for Fall and Practicing My Soup-Fu

DSC_0969 (1600x1060)I ransacked the cupboard for dark red kidney beans in a can to make three bean salad yesterday and found none.  I thought maybe I could soak some dried beans and cook them to use.  I started them but decided to just go back to town and buy some in the can.  Mrs J said she was thinking bean soup and cornbread would be good since we had a start on that and, like any right thinking man, I agreed with her.DSC_0970 (1600x1060)Here’s that three bean salad.  I’ve always seen it made with kidney beans, green beans, and yellow (wax) beans but when I did a recipe search to find a good dressing I was surprised to see all kinds of beans included: white beans, brown beans, black beans and garbanzos.  Probably others that I am forgetting.

Anyway, the dressing I went with was 1/4 cup Splenda, 3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, and about 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Whisk the vinegar with a little Dijon mustard as an emulsifier while drizzling in the oil, add salt and pepper to taste.  It’s best the next day after refrigerating overnight.


DSC_5172 (1600x1060)We had this bout of freezing rain and snow a couple of weeks ago, the ice is pretty much off the trees now but the snow lingers.  I have nearly this same photo in several iterations over the years.  There’s something about the solitary bit of color in an otherwise black and white rendering that draws the eye and invites reflection.DSC_9976 (1600x1060)This is the last of the first batch of big buns I baked from the King Arthur recipe a while back.  I froze all but two of them as soon as they cooled down enough to bag in plastic.  What I really wanted to mention is the horseradish cream sauce in the little bowl.  It’s simple to make and very tasty – add some prepared horseradish to a slug of sour cream, squeeze in a dollop of Dijon mustard, and season with salt and pepper.  I never have fresh horseradish so I use the prepared kind but if you make it with fresh you might want to add a splash of vinegar.DSC01611 (1600x1200)A puppeh!  This fine boy is a border collie mix.  He was found wandering about near some heavy machinery at a coal mine.  The miners thought it too dangerous for him so they brought him by the shelter.  The groomer cleaned him up and he was adopted soon afterwards.  He was a staff favorite and a real good boy.DSC_9986 (1600x1060)I saw this recipe for rosemary Parmesan cornbread a while back and filed it away.  I finally remembered to grab a can of creamed corn and the Jiffy mix and here is my result.  Six eggs and a lot of sour cream!DSC_9991 (1600x1060)I made some green beans with smoked turkey just to have something to serve alongside the cornbread.  Mine has a looser crumb than the one photographed for the recipe page.  I could taste the sour cream over the rosemary – not a bad thing but I may cut back on it if I make this again.DSC_9915 (1600x1060)You can make burritos out of anything.  I made these to use up the last little bit of chili I had in the fridge.DSC01764 (1600x1060)Here’s Katie!  DSC_9985 (1600x1060)Moar buns!  I have yet to learn the secret to forming dough into nice buns but I keep at it.  I bet Youtube has someone with good advice…

Leftovers – Kicked Up with Kale

DSC_9054 (1600x1060)Not much to this dish.  We had the butterbeans and cornbread leftover from the other day.  A quick saute of some kale in bacon grease and chicken stock and this was a done thing.  We cooked a half dozen slices of bacon and set them aside to drain, then added a couple of minced garlic cloves and a little diced onion to the fat, gave them a minute to flavor the pan, and then dumped in the kale.  Separate the tough stems and rough chop or tear the leaves.  I tossed the greens a little to coat them with the bacon and then added a half cup of chicken stock and covered the pan.  Let the kale tenderize in the steam for five minutes then uncover and toss until the liquids evaporates.  I ladled the warmed over beans onto a bed of the kale and crumbled the crisp bacon and the cornbread over them.  I squeezed a lemon into the kale to add a bright note but that is optional.

Ham and Beans

DSC_9047 (1600x1060)A cool front came through and dropped the temps from the 90s yesterday into the 70s today.  When I saw the forecast yesterday I knew that soup would work great for the menus today.  I soaked these large lima beans overnight and started them simmering in a big pot this morning.  I sifted through the results on a quick search and settled on this recipe to work with.  Turned out pretty good!  I departed from the recipe only slightly, using water and chicken seasoning paste instead of stock.  The teaspoon of Creole seasoning wasn’t something that I would have thought of for this dish but it worked nicely in there.  I went with a bacon and jalapeno corn bread using the recipe off the corn meal box and preheated the cast iron skillet to get that nice crust.  It spent 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Butterbeans and Cornbread

DSC_8636 (1600x1060)Spent several hours mowing today so I needed something that would be good on a long simmer.  These large lima beans soaked overnight then simmered in chicken stock for almost too long.  There’s a large Vidalia onion chopped up in there, and some of the cured pork pieces we keep on hand in the freezer just for bean soups.  That meat processor we make a morning out of visiting keeps odds and ends of cured pork in big bags and we pick up a couple everytime we go.  The cornbread had minced jalapeno and shredded cheddar added to the basic back of the box recipe, and the bowl is garnished with more jalapeno and minced onion.


DSC_8514 (1600x1060)We haven’t had a jambalaya in ages.  Anything Creole or Cajun I make it a point to look in on what NOLA Cuisine has to say.  I wandered through the jambalaya recipes and put this one together this morning with Andouille, shrimp, and crawfish tails. It started on the stove and finished in the oven, taking about 35 minutes, uncovered, at 350.  Cornbread muffins make a nice side:DSC_8520 (1600x1060)I always use the recipe on the round box that Quaker yellow corn meal comes in as a base, these also have cheddar cheese, minced fresh jalapeno, and a thinly sliced green onion, white part and all.  A half recipe yielded 4 muffins. I used 1 whole egg in the half recipe, and about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese.

Hambeans and Cornbread

DSC_7438 (1600x1060)Sleet and freezing rain turning to snow in weather news today.  Perfect day for ham and beans.  I keep tweaking the recipe for these, adding tomato paste today along with the mole sauce.  Main ingredients are pinto beans, cured ham, onions, chicken broth, various chili powders, a mole from New Mexico chilies and garlic.  The cornbread is a standard recipe of half corn meal, half flour, an egg, butter, milk, salt, and green and red peppers.  I tossed in a handful of shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, just for fun.