Soup’s on @ 1102

Last Soup:  Broccoli and Bread Soup

My Rating:  **   2 out of 5 stars

Comments:  I found this soup to be extremely bland.  It was not to my liking.  I would have done better to have made it a broccoli cheddar soup.  The salt from the cheese would have given it some added flavor.  The best part was the bread.  But if a mild soup is to your liking this will do just fine.

Well, with the weather warming up  – Here in Arizona it’s been warmer for a while now – My desire for soup has diminished.  So, I gave this review of our last soup featured, and I will have to turn Wednesday toward a lighter food fare.  As of now I haven’t decided just what. . . Maybe Salads,  maybe low cal . . .  I will have to see what catches my palette.  “Soup’s On” will return in the fall, when I’m looking for warmer tastes and comfort food.

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Published in: on March 28, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Soup’s on @ 1102

Last Week’s Soup:   Pizza Soup

My Rating:  **** 4 out of 5

Comments:  This turned out great.  I made it on Wednesday, and had it for my own Personal Super Bowl Week.  It was very tasty, and warmed up well for lunches, was good for dinner, and I made Buffalo Chicken Wing Eggrolls to go with it.  (You’ll have to keep a look out for that recipe in a future blog.)  I’m sorry I didn’t post last week.  It was saved, but I guess I didn’t schedule.  No worries, I need a break from soups,  I need to clear out my freezer and eat some of my stored concoctions up.   Enjoy, this is a keeper!

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Broccoli and Bread Soup

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds broccoli spears

1 3/4 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.   Using a small, sharp knife, peel the broccoli stems, starting from the base and pulling gently up toward the flowerets:  The peel should come off easily.  Chop the broccoli into small chunks.  (I skipped the peeling part.  I cut the stems into chucks saved some for the soup and threw the rest into my vegtable stock pot)

2.   Bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add the broccoli and simmer for about 10 minutes until soft.

3.   Puree about half of the soup and stir into the rest of the soup.  Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

4.   Reheat the soup.  Toast the bread, rub with garlic, and cut into quarters.  Place 3 or 4 pieces of toast in the bottom of each soup bowl.  Ladle the soup over.  Serve at once, with Parmesan if  liked.

Published in: on February 15, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Soup’s On @ 1102

Last Weeks Soup:   Mushroom Soup

My Rating:    ***      3 out of 5

Comments:   This was ok.  I remember it being better the first time I made it.  The best thing about this one, was it had lots of mushrooms, which I love.  I did add a few more that the receipe called for.  It did warm up well, and it was good for lunches during the week.

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While sitting in the lunch room a while back, one of my co-workers was eating soup that his wife had packed in his lunch.  It smelled so good.  I asked him what kind it was?  He said he didn’t know,  just something his wife put in.  (MEN?!?)  But I looked at it and said, “It smells like pizza!”  It had pepperoni, and I could smell oregano, and italian seasonings in the tomato based soup.  Well, in a couple days he said, that he asked his wife and it was Pizza Soup.  She had got the recipe from a co-worker and she would send it to me.

Well, with Superbowl Sunday this week, I am going to postpone my regularly scheduled soup for this week.  Don’t worry it will be here next week.  I figured in honor of Superbowl – Pizza Soup sounded like a good selection.  Now I never got that recipe from work, so I looked one up.  After checking out several, I chose this crockpot one – because during Superbowl you want something that can stay warm, and that you don’t have to fuss over while you’re trying to watch the game.  It works well, on a buffet.

PIZZA SOUP

Ingredients

1 jar (14 oz) of pizza sauce
3 empty jars full of water
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup tomatoes, cut in quarters (or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained)
2 Italian sausage cooked
1 cup sliced pepperoni, sliced in quarters
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1/2 T dried)
1 T dried oregano
1/2  cup dried pasta
shredded mozzarella cheese (to add later)

Directions

Use a 5 or 6 quart crockpot for this recipe. Serves 8

Wash and prepare veggies. Dump them into the crockpot.

Take sausage out of skin and brown.  (Do a loose chop for bite size sausage pieces).   Add to crockpot.

Add pepperoni,  basil and oregano.  Pour in the pizza sauce, and follow with three empty jars of water.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Everything in this is already cooked, so you are really only heating through and allowing the flavors to meld.

Thirty minutes before serving, add the dry pasta, and turn to high.

Garnish/top with shredded mozzarella cheese for serving.

(Just like pizza you can add what ever you want.  All veggies, No Mushrooms,  Hot Peppers, have fun with it)

Some cheesy garlic bread makes a nice accompaniment.

SUPERBOWL PREDICTIONS – Any one but New England.  Sooooooo

GO GIANTS!

Published in: on February 1, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Soups on @ 1102

Last Week Soup:  Tomato & Fresh Basil Soup

My Rating:  *** 3 out of 5

Comments:  The soup was O.K.  It had a fresh taste.  It heated up well in the microwave, making it good for lunches.  I split the batch in half, and only added the cream to the second half when I was ready to eat it.  I added a teaspoon of sugar to the second half to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.  That helped with the taste.

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Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

1/4 cup Butter

1 8 oz pkg  (3 cups) Sliced Mushrooms

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon basil leaves crushed

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup milk

1.  Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.

2.  Add mushrooms, onions and celery

3. Cook and stir until tender

4.  Stir in Flour, basil, salt and pepper.

5.  Cook 1 minute or until smooth and bubbly – stirring constantly.

6.  Gradually add chicken broth and milk.

7.  Cook until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.  DO NOT BOIL.

Published in: on January 25, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Soup’s On @ 1102

Last Week Soup: Buttermilk Squash Soup

My Rating:  * * * * *    5 out of 5 Stars

Comments:  I got a hit on the first try.  The only problem was that Summer Squash isn’t in season.  This Summer and Fall when yellow squash is plentiful, this recipe will be a staple.  Now the Star of this Soup is the Cumin Butter.   Ooooh – take the recipes advice and make a double batch.  Here’s my picture.  Yeah, it really came out looking that pretty!

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Tomato and Fresh Basil Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion minced

2 pounds ripe Italian plum tomatoes, roughly chopped

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste

2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil, plus a few leaves for garnish

2/3 cup heavy cream

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.   Heat the oil and butter in a large sauce pan until foaming.  Add the onion and cook slowly for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft, but do not let brown.

2.  Stir in the tomatoes and garlic, stock, white wine, and sun-dried tomato paste, with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, half-cover the pan, and simmer slowly for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the tomatoes from sticking to the bottom.

3.   Process the soup with the shredded basil in a food processor or blender.  Press through a strainer into the rinsed pan.

4.   Add the heavy cream and heat through, stirring:  Do not let the soup approach the boiling point.  Check the consistency and add more stock, if necessary.  Adjust the seasoning to taste, pour into warm bowls, and garnish with whole basil leaves.  Serve at once.

This recipe from The SOUP BIBLE

Published in: on January 18, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

SOUP’S ON @ 1102

Welcome to my latest column.  Soup’s On!   I’ve always enjoyed a warm bowl of soup especially during cold winter months.  It is a great addition to my healthy diet, when I’m trying to shed a few pounds.  It is a good use of left over ingredients, since I HATE wasting food.  Plus I’ve been saying for years that I wanted to learn to be proficient in this course of the Menu.  So, for 2012,  Soup’s On every Wednesday @ 1102.  We’ll learn technique, try flavors, rate the results, and hopefully come up with at least one or two culinary delights to add to my cookbook.

 


One of the gifts that I got this Christmas was a gift card to Barnes and Nobel.  With my soup quest in mind I bought a book, that I saw early last year, The Soup Bible.  It is a lovely 244 page full color cookbook, with hundreds of soup recipes from around the world.  It will be my inspiration for this Wednesday feature.   I will try many of the recipes, and share my review of the cooking process.  Hopefully, you will try a few as well, and let me know what you think of them.

So join me on Wednesday’s for my new challenge.  Soup’s On!

Published in: on January 4, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

End of the Old – Awaiting the New

I started this blog a year ago, planning for it’s subject matter to be about the lost art of socialization.  For me to assess my 2011 blog goals and set new ones for 2012, I had to go back to my first LOST blogs and see what it was I’d planned to say.

I thought I had strayed far away from my original goals . . . but when I looked back, I wasn’t too far off.  I asked some questions that shaped this blog. . .

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2011 Goals

 “Why don’t people entertain any more?”    – “It Cost too Much”

“Why is the same crappy food served at every event?” – People don’t really cook anymore – or don’t really know how to cook.

Does NO one respect social etiquette anymore?   No RSVP’s, No thank you’s, never on time, proper Dress Code – “What is Black Tie”?.

Finally – Friendships/Relationships.   Do people know how to be a friend?  The differences between women’s friendships and men’s friendships.

Finally – Me – There will be a lot of me wrapped into this blog.  My love of Friends, Books, Movies, Entertaining, and People.

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Movies – I didn’t see many movies this year – All of the ones I saw we pretty much in the last month of this year.

So Next year my goal is to see 1 movie a month.

Books – I read alot.  I got a Kindle last Christmas and this year I read over 75 books.   So I don’t think I need to set a goal for next year, let’s just say I’m going to continue reading.  Let’s just see if I can break this record for next year.  I will maybe review a few and give my suggestions or favorite.  Maybe some other Kindle Users to share with.

Food – Well I did a  little on food.  Especially for the Holidays.  I took some pictures of interesting meals.  But for next year, I’m going to be more direct on cooking.   I’ve wanted to get better at making soups and sauces.  So I will be starting a feature on Wednesday’s  entitled Soup’s On @ 1102.   I will feature a soup recipe and review my results from last week recipe.  I should be able to come up with 2 or 3  soups worth keeping.

Entertaining – Cocktails

What’s a party without a good drink!  So we’re definitely keeping Happy Hour @ 1102.  New cocktails on Fridays, giving us new cocktail to try at home, which will make you a great mix master when you do have a party.

I’m sure that’s more than enough to keep me busy with LOST.  Hopefully, I will have some events with my friends, and we can focus on party planning. Anything that can keep your interest in 2012.

Published in: on December 29, 2011 at 11:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Christmas Cookies

I love cookies – would rather have them over cakes, pies or chocolate.  But I don’t like to bake.  I’ll cook “real food” all day long, but baking takes a level of patience, and a bunch of messy, sticky ingredients, that I’d rather not tackle.

But the image of Christmas cookies and the smell of someone baking in the house go hand in hand with my Christmas Fantasy.  So I decided I wanted some cookies this year.  I even orchestrated a cookie exchange at work (Partly as a way to ensure that I have lots of cookies), but that reward requires I also provide some cookies.  So, I’m baking cookies – and if you’re Baking Cookies you may as well do 2 or 3, right?  So here goes.

Well the Christmas cookie I usually bake requires no baking.  It also has an ingredient that works for me, liquor.  I often make rum balls for Christmas.  I usually make them the day after Thanksgiving, and put them in a can to ferment until close to Christmas.  Ummmm good.  So, a couple weeks ago, I did my rum balls and they are just waiting to eat.  But I realized if I’m going to give those away, I need to make another batch.

One of my favorite cookies are Mexican Wedding Cakes, which I’ve never made.  I’ve always had someone in the office who made them.  So, I decided it was time for me to learn how to make those myself.  So, I googled it!  (My new best friend  lol).  Found several receipes – will have to give that a try.

Finally, my BFF Jennifer, who does bake, gave me several receipes that are suppose to be simple and easy, and a big hit.  So today is baking day – I have all the ingredients out and ready to go.

Right off the Bat - Too Much Stuff

So I started, I made a BAR cookie.  Simple enough, a cookie crush, nuts and a candy topping.  It went fairly well.  Didn’t take too long.  I didn’t heed Jen’s one warning not to let it cool too long before you take it out the pan and cut it.  It’s a lot harder later.  I went and watched a movie, before cutting it – so I had a little issue.

If you like sweet and/or candy you will love these.  They are a dentist’s dream.  But they are tasty.  I cut them into tiny squares, and put them in a tin to share.

Next thing was fudge – another thing that I like in small doses, but I find too sweet to eat much of.  Don’t know how easy this was, the fudge set up and starts to harden way to quickly for my pace.  But I did manage to get it in the pan, for what is suppose to look like a wreath upon presentation.  We’ll see.  (Several days later – I decided that I was not taking it in wreath form, and cut it into slices to put in goodie bags for my co-workers)

Finally I made chocolate bark.  It is colorful, and very pretty.  Like the fudge, chocolate hardens, and all while I’m trying to add stuff to it, like nuts, peppermint candy canes, and pretzels.  It’s cooling for real now, so we’ll have to see how it turns out.

(Follow-up:  This turned out real good.  The White Chocolate was the best.  I will add this to my Christmas list of things to keep.)

After all this, what I realize, is I still don’t really have any cookies?!?!?!   So, I guess I have another day of baking to go.  Otherwise the office will get the old Fake & Bake.

Well, I got the ingredients for my Mexican Wedding Cakes, and put those together.  They weren’t bad,  fairly straight forward, easier than the fudge, in my opinion.  So I baked, while sampling and tweeking my Christmas Sangria.  I was up to 3:00 a.m.  But I got all the various goodies into the bags and ready to take to work.

So my final assessment, is it took me about 3 days to do all this.  My kitchen is still a wreck , with sugar and sprinkles all over the floor.  Baking takes lots of utensils.  Bowls, spoons cookie sheets  aauuuggh!  Lastly when I got through, I was almost sugared out be fore I started.  So I may have to save a few to have my own personal cookie day next week.

But they were all a big hit – and I found 2 items that I will keep and add to the Christmas Tradition – But really folks I’m done baking for another couple years.

Eat Drink and be Merry

4 Days til Christmas

12 Days til New Years

Published in: on December 21, 2011 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Well, it  was just the beginning of the month and we were starting this countdown to the holidays. As always we sit here and say “What happened to the time?”  Well, if you’ve been following along, today should be easy. 

Now, I’m single and live alone, so all this cooking and prep has been only for me.  There no big gathering, no family or friends coming over to share this meal.   So this is how I spend my day, and I get to share it with you.  

I start my Thanksgiving Dinner early in the day.  I eat it in stages, I graze all day long.  This keeps the festivites going and I have something to look forward to every hour.  Today, I’m going to take you with me.  I will be updating the post every few hours with the next course or so.  I’m posting a little later because I slept in.  I was also up to 3:00 a.m. baking pies.  But I get ahead of myself.  So pictures in a hour of two.

First Look - Still in the Oven

9:00 a.m.  I woke up and smelled my turkey.  I figured I better check since I had slept late.  I opened the oven and the picture shows what I saw.  It smelled good, and was done.  I pop it back in for about 10 more minutes with the top off to brown a little more and did a quick baste with my buttery pan drippings.  When I took it out I was going to try and lift it with my turkey prongs, and the wings just fell off.  Wonderful, no need to mess with perfection.  I set it on the stove to rest, and since the wings were just falling off the bone anyway I figured I’d give it a taste.  Oooooh,  Turkey doesn’t need wings anyway, so I ate the other one.  I guess that was breakfast.

Then it was time for coffee.  I brewed a pot.  Logged on to FB, (had to cook in my Cafe World kitchen as well ), and then had a 2 hour Skype conversation with my BFF.  We discussed cooking, this Thanksgiving and I watched her cook.

Since we had a two hour conversation, and that fact that she lives on the east coast, at some point she suggested that it was time for a cocktail.  (Heck, it’s always 5:00 o’clock somewhere)  So we decided to share a glass of the Wine that we made when she was here in Phoenix this summer.  EXTRAVAGANZA.   (To find out more about how we made this wine check out these two links.  One from my travel blog:  All Roads Lead to . . .  and my Daughters Blog:   Travel Jonez. )

Next will be my first course, which will be a soup.  Be sure to check back to see which one I decided to make.

4:00 p.m.  I had my Soup .  I made the Buttermilk Squash Soup, and it was absolutely delicious.  I will post the receipe next week, it is definitely a keeper, and I get my first point on my soup quest.  It was light and a good flavor and the cumin butter made the dish.

Corn Pudding

After this course I watched a Thanksgiving Movie “An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving”.  It was a cute movie and a good way to spend the afternoon.  I then put my corn pudding in the oven, along with my extra dressing .  It came out just fine.  It was piping hot and I wanted to dig in – but I was still full from the soup.

Front Oven - Back from Turkey

After my Movie I figured it was time to carve up that Turkey.  I did that nibbling all the way.  I took the stuffing out of the turkey put it in the bowl that in the back of the picture.  As you can see it’s too small so I nibble off of that as well.  So when I should have been eating dinner, I was just full from nibbling.  I made my gravy which turned out perfectly – no lumps at all.

Perfect Gravy

About 7:00 p.m. I made my tiny plate.  Now I’m stuffed, but still

wanting my dessert.  Either way I’m posting the dessert pictures, and I will have it later with some coffee. 

Pecan Pie & Sweet Potato Pie

Either way I would say Thanksgiving 2011 was a success and I have many things to be thanksful for.

Enjoy the slide show of all the pictures below.  One holiday down 2 to go.

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Published in: on November 24, 2011 at 1:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Turkey

 

I’m always amazed to hear people talk about  their difficulty in cooking a turkey.  It’s just like chicken only bigger : )  Well slight exaggeration there.  I also find it interesting how many people say “Aaah, I just get sick of it” – Well, hell, I eat chicken at least 3 day out of the week !   I enjoy Turkey for that week or 2 that it is around for Thanksgiving.

So back to our bird.  It is the poster child for the American Thanksgiving Dinner.  Believe it or not, its easy to cook.  Here is my surefire way to cook your turkey –  no fuss method – and guranteed for you to wake up to a house smelling like Thanksgiving.

Preparation:

Frozen turkey in Pan to Thaw in Refrigerator 2-days

1.   Make sure your turkey is thawed out. 

   o  Wash him

   o  Be sure to take the packets out of the neck cavity.  (I cooked my first turkey with them inside.  lol) and sprinkle salt in the large inner cavity.

2.  Oil Him Up – you can use oil or butter.  It’s the holidays so I use butter.

   o  To add some flavor and that Thanksgiving aroma.  Mix Thyme and sage into your softened butter.

   0  Then rub the butter all over your Turkey.  Give him a good massage.  Be sure to get the back and the creases around the wings and

Put in Fridge for Slow Thaw

legs.  (This will ensure that nice golden brown coloring as well as add flavor.)  Put your turkey in his roasting pan, and put him in the frig.

3.  The last thing you do before you go to bed Wednesday night bout 11:oo or 12:00 . . . .  Put your turkey in the oven, turn the heat to about 250 degrees and GO TO BED!

When you wake up you will smell that wonderful turkey/thanksgiving smell coming from the kitchen.  Get up peek at your bird, make some coffee.  If  you’re an early riser and he’s not brown enough, leave him in a little longer.

Take him out the oven.  Just sit it aside and let it rest.  If you’re only cooking for you this is the best time to steal that piece of crispy skin.  If you’re preparing a dinner for guest.    Before dinner show him off and then carve and put meat on a platter for serving.  

Your oven is free for the rest of the day for all the other dishes you are making.

 If you are presenting your bird whole and want to take it out of the oven and straight to the table.  You can always put it in Thanksgiving day and do the old so many minutes per pound method.  But the slow cook method in that low 200 oven, never burns, never dries out and presents a done and tasty bird.

 

 

 

 

1 Day til Thanksgiving

32 Days til Christmas

40 Days til 2012

Published in: on November 23, 2011 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment