The other day I had some cheesy potato soup leftovers but not enough so I decided to brown more potatoes to bulk them up. It made a big, positive, difference in the taste.I’m wondering if I should fry all the potatoes instead of boiling them – add half to the stock for blending and half later to provide texture.
I was thinking that the potato soup we had the other day really needed a more suitable bread than the everyday white loaf that we had with it. Pumpernickel came to mind but I’m lazy so it would be more correct to say bread machine pumpernickel came to mind. Google brought this one to my attention. I didn’t have quite a third cup of molasses but I made do. Having none, I left out the instant coffee powder. I suppose I could have subbed coffee for the water in the recipe. This is one of the simplest pumpernickel recipes I’ve come across and it turned out very well.A side benefit to having pumpernickel bread on hand is that it is among the very best late night TV watching snack foods when paired with a nice dill dip. When baked in a round loaf it is one of the finest party dishes – just hollow out the loaf, cube the bread you remove, and fill the hole with dip.
Here’s half of the kitteh crew, the youngest half. They’ve arranged themselves on the tree by order of seniority – Bitsy on top, Ginger Boy, and Ollie, the newest addition.I tried a couple of those refrigerated pizza crusts that come rolled up in parchment paper. I figured they couldn’t be too bad. I figured wrong. Those roasted garlic cloves were very good – cooked at 400 for 45 minutes or so.I peeked into the oven after 14 minutes and saw that the crust edge had little or no color so I gave them a few minutes more. That was a bad call. The edge was hard and tough, the rest was just tough. I have a tube of pizza dough that they package like the biscuits that you rap on the counter edge to pop open. I’ll give that a go but my hopes for it are limited.It’s getting to be soup weather – the temps are below 90 and that is what we call fall weather these days. I made a potato soup – boil some ham hocks in chicken stock with onions for an hour or two then add chopped potatoes and continue to simmer until they are soft enough to run a stick blender. Take out the ham and set aside to cool, run the blender, then pick the meat off the hock and return to the soup. I added a splash of half and half and melted in a handful of shredded cheddar but that’s optional.I still had a package of sour mustard greens that were an ingredient in this dish – pork belly with mustard greens. I thawed some of the pork belly I had saved from our last trip to our supplier to use in this and I have the rest of it curing for homemade bacon. Still have a few days left before that will be ready.I thawed a brick of the last batch of red beans and made a new batch of rice to go with it. I can see why Louis Armstrong often signed letters “Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours”. Tsk tsk, I see Homer has been out frog hunting again. He’d best hope he doesn’t step in a snapping turtle’s open maw.
The soup is a plain potato soup – no cheese or cream, I made it small to eliminate leftovers, there are three peeled red potatoes, half a medium onion, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper in chicken broth. The potatoes were diced small to hasten cooking and I used a potato masher to help it along. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour.
I had a turkey breast that made a couple of plates worth of sliced turkey with dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, and cranberry sauce, and still had enough for a turkey salad. It has mayo, green bell pepper, Spanish olives, celery, and the other half of the onion from the soup.
This was a last minute thing that was thrown together quickly because I lost track of the time today. I thought that grated potato in stock would be faster than a slow simmer of potato chunks, especially with a stick blender to hasten it along. It was OK but it tasted rushed. I added the cream and the cheese too soon. It does photograph well, so there’s that. Bonus: I used up the rest of those biscuits!
I thought this week I would again just review what I had cookin’ in my kitchen. And tonight’s feature recipe was inspired by a photo request mid-week. We get requests from time to time to use our photos. No surprise they are almost always JeffreyW’s. I believe there is even a Wikipedia entry that features one of his photos. This week it was a request to use his Enchilada Pie photo, seen below.
First up this week was Chicken and Buttermilk Biscuit Pie, pictured above and recipe here.
Next was Cream of Potato Cheese Soup, (full dinner menu, recipes and shopping list are here).
Bixby has been out of homemade treats since just before Christmas, so I decided it was time to make a batch of Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Cookies, recipe here. I had forgotten how much he liked them – he barely let me finish making them – bugged me the entire time. Speaking of cookies, the next night it was Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe here). I baked a dozen and then froze the rest as individual cookie dough balls to be baked later.
Speaking of Bixby, here is an update for the pet lovers, with bonus video.
You can see why there was a request to use Jeffreyw’s photo above. Here is his recipe for Enchilada Montadas. For tonight’s featured recipes, a variation on enchiladas and black beans that is quick and easy to put together:
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ large onion, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 20 oz. enchilada sauce
- 8 oz. tomato sauce
- 10 corn tortillas
- 8 oz cheddar cheese, grated
skillet & 8×8 glass baking dish, lightly oiled
Add beef and onion to skillet and cook until beef is browned and onions are translucent. Add spices and sauces; let simmer while you prep tortillas. Tear tortillas into strips and use some to cover the bottom of a well-oiled casserole dish. Layer a portion of the beef mixture and cheese on top, then repeat (tortillas, beef, cheese) to fill up casserole; finish with layer of cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 350°
Black Bean Confetti
- 14 oz can black beans
- ½ green pepper, chopped
- ½ red pepper, chopped
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt & pepper to taste
- Dash of limejuice
saucepans & large serving bowl or platter
In saucepan, add ingredients (except limejuice) and heat on medium. Toss with limejuice and serve.
That’s it for this week. There seems to be a pretty big game this weekend – I was asked who I was cheering for, since I have family and friends in New England and of course live in Colorado – my response: unless it’s the Red Sox, I am Switzerland. So good to everyone. And to those in the path of the big storm, stay safe and warm. – TaMara
It’s turned off cool again here in Beautiful Southern Illinois™ so Mrs J demanded soup Some Sort of Soup, then quickly refined that to Some Sort of Potato Soup. I had the best part of a stick of Andouille sausage thawed from making the last pizza and I wondered if maybe… Yes! One of the nice things about search engines is that you can input ingredients you have on hand as search terms and you will probably get recipes that use them. A recipe from Emeril topped the page in the returns I got. (Google personalizes searches so your returns may not match mine – I browse recipes pretty often.)You can do it all in one pan but the one I wanted to use was busy melting frozen blocks of chicken stock so I enlisted my wok to start the onions and sausage. I just dumped all this into the pot with the stock when it was ready. The long handle on the wok lets me flip the contents like a real chef – hey Emeril, long time no see, Pal!
A stick blender will let you blend in some of the potato chunks to thicken the broth. I removed some of the potato pieces and stock to a small bowl to do that to keep away from the sausage and herbs.
Mmm… shred some potatoes and cook them down in chicken stock for the base soup – then start with those little flourishes that make cooking fun. This one has onions, celery, and carrots along with the potatoes. Let them cook down a while then hit it with an immersion blender. I used some Swiss that I’ve had in the fridge for too long for the cheese component, then stirred in some heavy cream at the end. Bacon or ham works well in this sort of thing. Shave some Parmesan on top for a garnish.