Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Warming Up A Blustery Spring Evening--Roasted Vegetable Soup

It's spring--or, it was spring.  The past few days have been overcast and chilled.  Mother was right when she said no planting of pretty posies until after Mother's Day.  More often than not, I've paid no attention and then had to rescue those pretty posies by dragging them in to the garage to overnight.  This year, I've only planted pansies.  They should be hardy enough to weather the weather!!  We shall see.

Those of you who have been around for awhile know that we love soup--all year long.  We don't really need to have cool or cold weather to enjoy a bowl.  There are times when soup is a must to use up leftovers.  We had stir fry a few nights ago that was heavy on broccoli florets.

But, there were those lovely stems that needed to be used.  Adding a few carrots, onions, potatoes and garlic to a roasting pan,

produced this lovely bowl of soup to enjoy while the wind howled.  Almost any vegetables would work.

Roasted Vegetable Soup (Serves 4)

4 cups roasted vegetables (carrots, broccoli, onions, potatoes, parsnips, etc.)
3 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of whole milk

1.  To roast the vegetables, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss your choice of rough chopped vegetables in the olive oil.  Roast for about 15 minutes, watching carefully.  Add the garlic and roast another 5 minutes.
2.  Put the vegetables into a large soup pot and add the chicken stock.  Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
3.  Use an immersion blender to puree, or puree in batches in a food processor.
4.  Return to the soup pot.  Stir in the milk and simmer until heated through.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

German Pancake with Blueberry-Banana Topping

I meant to be up at the crack of dawn this morning to make The Baker's breakfast.  It was, after all, the least I could do to thank him for all the care he gave me during my recent, prolonged bout with whatever it was.  Thank goodness I am cough free and raring to go (sort of).  The first item on my morning agenda is always a cup of coffee before anything else is done--a cup of coffee while checking e-mail, etc..  Alas, before bed last night, I realized the internet was down and our phone wasn't working.  So, I knew at some point this morning, I'd be on the cell phone working out the problem with the land line phone folks--maybe necessitating two cups of coffee before breakfast.  However, after a few sips of a strong brew, I remembered last time this happened, I was told to reboot the WiFi.  Unplugging it for a few seconds did the trick!!

One of our favorite breakfast treats, this German pancake is so easy to put together.  Most of the time, we have it with just a warmed fruit syrup.  Blueberries have been in the market for about a week and are so tasty.  With bananas always in the fruit basket, this came together in no time.

Baked German Pancake
w/Blueberry-Banana Topping
From the Chicago Tribune

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

Blueberry-Banana Topping

1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 large banana, diced

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Brush about 1 tablespoon of the oil over bottom and up sides of two 10 inch cast iron skillets. Break eggs into blender (he uses a whisk since we don't own a blender). Add milk and salt; mix until blended but not frothy. Add the flour; blend briefly to moisten the flour. Do not over mix. Add butter. Blend briefly.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until puffed, 10-12 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350; bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, for topping, mix blueberries, confectioners' sugar and lemon juice. Mash briefly. Let stand two minutes before stirring in banana. Cut pancakes into large wedges; place on heated plates. Pass the blueberry-banana topping.

Serves 4. You can cut the recipe in half for 2.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

April 16, 2007

Eight year's ago today, my sisters and I were enjoying a warm day at MGM Studios in Orlando.  As we were waiting to go into the Indiana Jones exhibit, my brother-in-law called from Virginia.  He told us that one person had been shot and killed on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg.  The horror of that day unfolded as we, saddened and subdued, walked about the beautifully landscaped area.  In all, 32 students and faculty were killed and 17 were injured at the school where so many of our family and friends attended.  Names and faces followed.  Most in the prime of their lives.  Many awaiting graduation.  May they rest in peace and their family and friends find comfort.  May we never forget!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Carrot Soup

  My lingering little night-time cough has continued to put me in the mood for soup.  Specifically chicken soup.  Alas, I had no chicken. I had chicken stock, onions, garlic, carrots and oranges.  While it may not be the healing panacea of granny's chicken soup, it came close.  My cough is gone!!  It is amazing what a good night's sleep can do for one--well, make that three.  Even Oliver took refuge under the dining room table one night!!

Here is how I did the soup.

Carrot Soup

1 pound carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, sliced 
2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1quart chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
dash of cayenne, optional
juice (about 1/2 cup) and zest of one large orange

1.  In a large saucepan, saute the onion in the olive oil until transparent.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.  Add the carrots and the stock.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pan.  Simmer until the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.

2.  Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender or food processor), blend the soup until smooth or, if you like, leave it a bit chunky.  Check for seasonings.  If your stock was well seasoned, you probably won't need more.  Stir in the orange juice and zest.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Meeting Darling Dora and a Recipe for Shrimp Pate

I hope you all had a joyous Easter.  Although it was a bit cool here, the sun was shining and the grass was greening.  I even noticed a few flowering bushes with buds.  Our celebration was a little different this year as there were only four of us for dinner.  However, we got to visit with a lot of friends on Saturday when we gathered at a "Sip and See" to meet this charming little girl in person.

Some of you will remember the Skype baby shower a little over a year ago for the lovingly anticipated Dora Jane.  She is the granddaughter of our dear friends, Jane and Jim B..  It was so much fun to plan and execute.  It was even better to meet her in person.  Dora jetted in last Friday, bringing her dad along on the adventure.

Dora is busily perfecting the art of walking.  She charmed us all with her uninhibited friendliness.  She visited with each of us before eagerly diving into an early birthday cake in her honor.

Since the grandparents needed to deliver Dora and her dad to Midway for their flight home, we were unsure as to what time dinner would be.  As it turns out, all went well and traffic was with them.  They arrived here at 1 p.m. and the roast wasn't due out of the oven until 3 p.m..  Luckily, I had prepared a shrimp pate (which isn't really a pate but quite delicious) and we had a nice long visit sipping champagne and nibbling said pate.  Time passed quickly--as it always does when we're together.  We also enjoyed a pork roast, dressed up mashed potatoes and cole slaw.  The Baker did what he does best and served up a delicious nut torte.

I hope you'll give the shrimp pate a try.  It is a perfect summer treat.

Charleston Shrimp Pate

2 scallions, including about an inch of the green top, rough chopped
3 sprigs (more or less) of parsley
1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Drop or two (to taste) of hot sauce
Dash of onion salt or kosher salt (to taste)
About a dozen large shrimp, cooked

1.  In the bowl of a food processor, scatter the onion and parsley.  Use the on/off button a few times.  Add the cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, hot sauce and onion salt.  Again use the on/off button a few times to slightly mix.  Scatter the cooked shrimp over and process until fairly smooth.
2.  Spoon into a serving bowl and top with a shrimp, slice of lemon and a sprit of parsley.
3.  Refrigerate at least three hours.  Overnight is even better.
4.  Bring to almost room temperature and serve with toast points or crackers.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy Easter

The sun is shining this morning. So far, the grass is still brown and no flowers have reared their pretty heads.  Undaunted, the bunnies hopped out of their big purple box and took up residence around the house.  They seem a little annoyed that they weren't let out sooner.  I explained that I first wanted to chase their distant cousins, the dust bunnies, out of the house. 

Snooty, but nice, this bunny has been around for many springs.  Years ago, he put himself in charge of telling the other bunnies where to stand.

Ovoid is an agreeable bunny and always stands where he is told.

Wishing all of you a joyful time leading up to Easter.

Monday, March 30, 2015


While I couldn't find the origin of the proverbial saying
"Silence is Golden", I can give you the source of "Don't talk.  Rest your voice."
That would be The Baker!
He kept reminding me, over and over, to do just that for the past week.

I almost completely lost my voice this past Monday.
I had few symptoms other than those of an allergy.
I've never, ever suffered from allergies and we've lived all around the U.S..

To bring a long and silent story to an end,
I am much better.  Instead of squawking when I try to speak,
I now sound like a cross between Tallulah Bankhead and
Katharine Hepburn.

The Baker has coddled me with lots of soup and
coddled eggs sprinkled with pink Himalayan salt
which is rumored to have healing powers.

Thanks for all your well wishes!  I'll be around to "visit" later today.