Southern Style Green Beans

20161104_1127471600x1200These are cooked for a long time over low heat – that’s what the “Southern Style” is all about.  This dish today was cooked with a cured ham hock, one of those we travel an hour or so north to get from a meat processor there.20161104_0921201600x1200This is part of one, it’s been simmering in water and stock with an onion for a couple of hours.  I didn’t see any of these out on display the last trip and asked for a couple.  They brought out two humongous hocks and my eyes nearly bugged out.  The guy asked, helpfully, if I wanted them cut up some?  I nodded yes and he took them to the saw and cut them each into three parts.20161104_1127161600x1200You have to make cornbread to eat with these beans – It Is Written.  To cook these it’s not so much a recipe as much as a method.  I start the hock early, then set it out to cool and add the beans to the water and chicken stock it simmered in.  Bring them to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for a couple of hours.  After the hock cools, remove the bones and skin and cut it up to add back, add potatoes a little later.  Those little baby potatoes I used take about 45 minutes to cook at a simmer.  I used salt, fresh ground black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper and granulated garlic to season these.

Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup

DSC_9314 (1600x1060)

JeffreyW makes mouths water with this photo of his Beef and Barley Soup (with bonus foccacia recipe here)

It has been unseasonably cold here. Today was the first day that I could actually open the windows. So soup seemed like a good idea over the weekend. Chuck roast was on sale for the amazing price of $2.99 lb. So I bought several large pieces, cut them up to dinner size and a couple pounds up for soup and stew. First up was this soup.

Beef & Barley Vegetable Soup

  • olive oil
  • 1 lb chuck, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups of water (or water and vegetable broth**)
  • 12 oz sliced carrots (frozen ok)
  • 12 oz green beans (frozen ok)
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (more as desired)
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)

large saucepan

Heat oil in saucepan, sauté onions for 1 minute, add beef and brown on all sides, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute making sure not to burn the garlic. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until barley is tender.  Serve with biscuits or cornbread.

**For vegetable broth,  I blend the tomatoes, and an additional 6 oz of carrots, 6 oz of green beans, 2 stalks of the celery, 1 cup water into a smooth puree, to make a hearty base for the soup.  I like the hearty stock.

Yum.



 

Side Dishes: Antipasto Salad

This is great with Chicken Tortellini Soup or Linguine with Peppers

Antipasto Salad

  • 4 oz can sliced black olives
  • 2 oz jar sliced green olives
  • 4 fresh mushrooms, washed & sliced
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 oz green beans, cooked & cooled
  • 1 green pepper, seeded & sliced
  • 1 banana pepper, seeded & sliced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 oz grated parmesan or Asiago cheese

serving bowl

Mix vegetables together in serving bowl.  Blend vinegar, oil, basil & garlic then pour over vegetables and toss.  Salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with cheese.



 

 

Dinner Menu: Turkey Cutlets and Lace Cookies

Lace Cookies2b

Tonight’s menu was chosen because I love turkey and don’t like it just at holidays. I was actually thinking of making turkey burgers this week and then remembered this recipe. You can substitute pork chops easily – boneless work best – increase cooking time, cooking until juices run clear. And if you like, substitute boxed stuffing for the rice. It’s all about what you’re in the mood for. The Lace Cookies are a fond childhood memory: a middle school friend and I used to make a version whenever we had the chance, usually rainy, cold days on Cape Cod.

On the board tonight:

  1. Turkey Cutlets w/Apple Chutney
  2. Rice
  3. Green Beans or Brussels Sprouts
  4. Coconut Lace Cookies

Turkey Cutlets w/Apple Chutney

  • 1 cup unsweetened chunky applesauce
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 lb turkey cutlets
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

saucepan and skillet

In saucepan add applesauce, tomato, onion, sugar, vinegar, cinnamon & ginger. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat, cover and let cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. In skillet, melt butter and oil. Salt & pepper* cutlets and add to pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes each side, or until cooked through. Serve cutlets with rice & chutney.

*you can also add a little sage, garlic or poultry seasoning if you like. With the chutney, I’m partial to just the salt and pepper.

Coconut Lace Cookies:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp water
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup

baking sheet and bowl

Combine flour, oats, sugar, coconut, & baking soda in bowl, mix well. Add water, margarine & syrup and stir well. Drop by teaspoon onto baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 12 minutes until almost set, remove to rack to completely cool. Makes 2 dozen.

Shopping List:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 lb green beans or Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup unsweetened chunky applesauce
  • 1 large tomato
  • ½ onion
  • 1 lb turkey cutlets
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup regular oats (not quick)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 oz shredded coconut
  • 1 stick butter

Also: light corn syrup, olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, apple cider vinegar, baking soda

Lace Cookies_Snapseed



 

Snow Alert Means Soup Time: Hearty Spinach-Tomato

Spinach Tomato Soup

French Toast Alert System may be activated, but I have my own comfort snow foods. Big pot of soup on the stove:

Tomato-Spinach Soup

  • 1 lb ground beef (or 1/2 ground beef, 1/2 spicy Italian sausage)
  • 1/4 of a small onion, chopped
  • 24 oz diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, cleaned
  • 8 oz sliced carrots (I use frozen)
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 cup water, more as needed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (opt)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan for garnish
  • spinach chiffonade for garnish

blender, saucepan

In saucepan, brown ground beef and onions. In a blender, blend together spinach and tomatoes, until smooth*.  Add to beef mixture, along with vegetables and spices.  Bring to low boil, stirring frequently, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve with Parmesan and spinach chiffonade.  Makes 4 generous servings.

*Blending the spinach, tomatoes together gives you a nice hearty tomato base for the soup.  You can add some additional spinach leaves at the end if you like, letting them get limp but not overcooked.

Snow Is Gonna Fly So It’s a Cream of Chicken Soup Night

Cream of Chicken Soup2

They are predicting a quick hitting snow storm for tonight and tomorrow with some locations having blizzard-like conditions. Seemed like a good time to make a batch of soup.

Because I have a vita-mix,  most of the soups I make start with a thick vegetable broth. It gives a great depth of flavor. It’s also chocked full of nutrients and anyone who knows me well, knows I don’t eat enough vegetables, so I do what I can to up my daily veggies. But you may not want to go to that trouble, so you can substitute 4 cups of chicken broth for the vegetable broth in the recipe below.

Cream of Chicken Soup

Stock:

  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 2 stalks celery (with leaves), rough chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, rough chopped (or frozen sliced)
  • 1 cup cut green beans (I use frozen)
  • 4 cups of water

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  • 2 skinless chicken breasts (bone-in or boneless, doesn’t matter it will be shredded)

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  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk

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  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

small saucepan, dutch oven or large saucepan, blender

Stock: In the blender, add rough chopped carrots, celery and green beans, spices, 2 cups of water and blend until smooth. Add to dutch oven or saucepan.

Add chicken breasts and 2 additional cups of water to the saucepan. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Add diced carrots, celery, salt and pepper to the liquid and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender crisp.

While the chicken is cooking, melt butter in the saucepan, add onions and garlic, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Whisk in flour and cook about 2 minutes or more. Turn the heat up to medium-high, slowly stir in milk and bring to a low boil, whisking until thickened. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally.

While the vegetables are cooking, shred the chicken. The easiest way to do this is to use two forks and pull across the grain of the meat in different directions. You can then use your fingers to break apart any large pieces.

Once the vegetables are tender crisp, whisk in the white sauce and then stir in the chicken. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve with parsley garnish.

Makes about 6 cups.

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Soup Season: Updated Tomato-Spinach Soup

Spinach Tomato Soup

It’s been a rough week – mostly for people around me. I found myself retreating to the kitchen often to cook. Definitely helps clear my head and regroup. Soup season is in full swing as Autumn is fast approaching. We may actually blow off work tomorrow and head up to the mountains to see the colors.

Today I decided to make a big batch of one of my favorite soups. It did not disappoint. I ‘beefed’ it up because I had some ground beef that I needed to use up. I’ll do that again. Yum.

Tomato-Spinach Soup

  • 1 lb ground beef (or 1/2 ground beef, 1/2 spicy Italian sausage)
  • 1/4 of a small onion, chopped
  • 24 oz diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, cleaned
  • 8 oz sliced carrots (I use frozen)
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 cup water, as needed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (opt)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan for garnish
  • spinach chiffonade for garnish

blender, saucepan

In saucepan, brown ground beef and onions. In a blender, blend together spinach and tomatoes, until smooth*.  Add to beef mixture, along with vegetables and spices.  Bring to low boil, stirring frequently, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve with Parmesan and spinach chiffonade.  Makes 4 generous servings.

*Blending the spinach, tomatoes together gives you a nice hearty tomato base for the soup.  You can add some additional spinach leaves at the end if you like, letting them get limp but not overcooked.

Original vegetarian recipe is here.



 

Tidbits

DSC_0734 (1600x1060)I’ve been on a fruit salad kick.  Lots of fresh fruit at the market this time of year.  Grapes are a mainstay, I use both red and green grapes and I like to cut them in half unless they are really tiny.  Seedless grapes are easier but I have spent a lot of time scraping seeds away when those aren’t available.  Also in this one are pears, peaches, kiwis, pineapple, oranges, and bananas.DSC02695 (1600x1200)

Kitteh!  Here’s a 3 month old male.  Mrs J says they named him Diti but she will not swear to the spelling.  D. T.?  DeeTee? Ditty?DSC_0723 (1600x1060)Mmm… cheeseburger.  This one has Swiss cheese and a pile of pickled peppers.DSC_0718 (1600x1060)More of those roasted rosemary Parmesan potatoes.  These are Yukon Golds and they are plated with sesame green beans and a piece of roasted chicken.DSC02699 (1600x1200)Moar Kitteh!  This is Kaitlyn, an 8 week old female with interesting coloration, a tabby/calico look.IMG_20150806_113021225 (1600x1200)That’s Kaitlyn there – right up against the blue watchband on this kitten house staffer.  They call that staffer “the cat whisperer” because she can really get a feral cat calmed down and purring.DSC_0728 (1600x1060)Country ribs and fries.  I have my best luck with these pork “logs” when I braise them, covered, in a low oven, say 225 to 250.  I use broth as the braising liquid, adding bbq sauce at the end and uncovering them to help reduce the sauce.  These were finished on the outside grill but they can be done under a broiler – watch them close so they don’t char.DSC_0653 [1600x1060]Here’s another cheeseburger, this one is garnished with some of those refrigerator pickles.  On the side is one of my favorite summer salads of tomatoes and cucumbers with onions in a vinaigrette.  It’s better the next day but isn’t bad when freshly made like this one.