Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creme de Carottes (Cream of Carrot Soup)

This recipe is from my friend Jill who says it was passed down from her Swiss grandmother.  She says, "When the larder is low and you do not want to think too much, this soup and a hearty loaf of bread make a dinner."  I don't even know what it means to have larder be low, but it sounded very poetic.  Be sure to read the entire recipe before making this because it takes longer than you might think.  If you start it too late in the evening you may end up serving your children macaroni and cheese because you realize the soup won't be ready until after their bedtime.  Just, you know, as an example.  Or you could just be a Saturday Chef and do all the carrot peeling and slicing ahead of time.  You could even get as far as the pureeing stage and then reheat it and add the cream the day you plan to serve it.

3 Tbsp. butter
1 to 2 lbs. sliced carrots
1 large onion, diced
3/4 c. uncooked rice (not Minute)
1 c. cream, half & half, or milk (your choice, says Jill, though the cream is amazing)
2 qt. chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley (optional)

Melt butter on medium-low heat, then add onions and cook slowly until golden.  Add carrots and saute for several minutes.  Add broth and rice.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for at least an hour.  Allow to cool, and then puree either with a hand blender, or in batches in a stand-up blender.  Return to pot and add cream, correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  When serving, it looks lovely with a bit of chopped parsley on the top.

Serves 6 to 8.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Touchdown Casserole

This is one of those "so wrong it's right" recipes.  It looks like a gag and shiver food, but it's so not.  Take a look at the ingredients.  If you like all of these things, you will love this casserole.  I don't know why it's called Touchdown Casserole.  If I were to rename it, I would call it Ghetto Fabulous Shepherd's Pie.  (That may not make you want to eat it because Shepherd's Pie is, in fact, a gag and shiver food. )

1 lb. ground beef
1 28 oz. can baked beans, original recipe (Not pork and beans and not maple flavored or some such nonsense.)
8 all beef hot dogs (Don't mess around with the chicken/pork/beef hot dogs.  That's not just for this recipe, that's for always.)
1 14.5 oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
10 servings of mashed potatoes (I know I don't need to tell my family not to use instant mashed potatoes, but in case anyone else was thinking it  . . . don't.)

Brown ground beef and drain; add baked beans, cut up hot dogs, and tomato sauce. 

Pour mixture into large casserole dish.  Spread mashed potatoes over the top of the bean and hot dog mixture.

Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of that.  Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes (until heated through).

Serve for your family and be the hero of the day!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sweet & Salty Almonds

You know I wouldn't be typing this up again if you didn't REALLY need this recipe. They're the best! We take them on every road trip. Also, very easy to double.

2 c. raw almonds

1/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt (my favorite is using the sea salt)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 T. honey

2 T. water

2 tsp. vegetable oil

Spread raw almonds on a large baking sheet so that they are just one layer. Put in a cold oven, then turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Roast the almonds for about 15 minutes or until you can smell them ("I CAN SMELL YOU").

While the almonds are roasting, put the honey, water, and vegetable oil in a large skillet. Whisk until everything is combined, then put it on medium heat. Let it bubble for a few minutes, then add the roasted nuts to the skillet. Coat the almonds with the honey mixture and heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. (You shouldn't have any liquid left in the skillet when the almonds are done.)

Mix the sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Put about 1/4 cup of the mixture into a 9 x 13" baking dish. When the almonds are coated with the honey mixture and are done cooking, transfer them to the 9 x 13" baking dish. Pour the rest of the sugar/salt/cinnamon over the almonds and stir everything up so that all the almonds get coated with the sugar mixture. Transfer the almonds back to the baking sheet and spread them out in one layer again to cool. After they've cooled, break them up a little bit.

Eat them all.

Cream of Tomato Soup

Our family is all about the soup. Mostly Dad is all about soup. I love Conference weekend for many reasons - the two big ones are Mom and Dad coming and staying with us and good food. This time I did Cream of Tomato Soup and Allyn's Creamy Chicken Soup (Sisters' Cookbook Volume 2) and artisan bread with salami and fun cheeses. We had sugar/salt/cinnamon roasted almonds, too. And jellybeans. (Seriously?! I just looked through our blog to link a recipe for the almonds and Allyn's soup and neither one of them are there. I could have sworn I posted those. Bah. One more thing to do...)

4 T. unsalted butter

2 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained with 3 cups of the juice reserved

1 onion, chopped fine

2 T. light brown sugar

1 T. tomato paste

2 T. all-purpose flour

1 3/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 c. heavy cream



1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add drained tomatoes, onion, brown sugar and tomato paste. cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the tomatoes begin to caramelize (about 15 minutes).

2. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the broth and the reserved tomato juice, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth.

3. Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir in the cream. Bring to a brief simmer, then remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper before serving.