Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cabbage Soup

First I have to apologize for the horrible pictures lately.  I have been using our point-and-shoot camera since dinner usually isn't ready til after dark and my Flash is currently being repaired.  So, hopefully that issue will be resolved soon, but bear with me for now.
Now, on to the soup!  I love cabbage, and I love soup. If I could eat soup every day I would.  Tim hates cabbage, and is okay eating soup about once a week in the colder months to entertain my love for it.  I never buy cabbage because I know Tim won't eat it, but it's not my fault if our CSA box contains a big head of it.  We already paid for it so we may as well eat, that's my argument!  The fact that I love cabbage soup and have never been able to make it is just an added bonus.  Tim ate the soup with no complaint, and said it was not as bad as he expected.  I count that as a success.  Baby steps.
This was not a sweet and sour cabbage soup as I seem to be averse to sweetness infringing on my savory lately.  This was a basic, hearty soup with a beef broth base and lots of other  chunky veggies.  The cabbage cooks down to a meaty consistency which I loved and We were both stuffed after one bowl.  I served this with a toasted piece of sourdough.  Tim topped his with Swiss cheese (of course).  We both walked away full of healthy foods. 

Cabbage Soup:
Adapted from:

2 medium onions, sliced
a few tablespoons of olive oil (enough to coat the pan)
2 cans of beef broth
1 head of cabbage, torn or coarsley shredded
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tomatoes chopped
1 teaspoon dried dillweed
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of black pepper

Heat oil in a dutch oven and add onions.  Cook until tender.  Add broth, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots, and enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil.  Add seasonings and reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 2 hours.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Delicata Squash and Feta Risotto

This was a perfect combination of sweet and tangy.  The delicata squash has a very sweet flavor that would be too much for me on it's own, but the feta balanced it out well, and added enough tang to keep things interesting.  Lately I have been averse to sweet meals that are supposed to be savory. For some reason I have very little taste for sweetness and all I want are heavy, comforting carbs.  I have been seen picking dried cherries out of my stuffed squash and just throwing them out.  Something my normal self wouldn't ever do.  The sweetness of this squash though was perfectly appealing.  Subtle, yet rich.  I highly recommend this, though please, plan better than I did and do not do this on a 90 degree day.  Thank you.

****I made this recipe up so as usual, amounts will probably not be exact.

2 delicata squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cups arborio rice
5 cups chicken broth
1 container (about 6 oz) feta cheese
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly

pre-heat oven to 375
Halve your squash and remove the seeds.  Place cut-side down on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until tender.  Set aside.
Heat oil in a dutch oven or other large pan.  Cook onion and garlic until tender.  Add rice and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Simmer and stir frequently until liquid evaporates.  Repeat with remaining broth, adding only 1/2 cup at a time, until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, with a little bite.  When you get down to about 2 cups of broth, put your feta cheese in a baking dish and stick it in the oven. Cook it until it is starting to melt and is slightly bubbly. 
Once the rice and feta are cooked, scoop the flesh of the squash into the risotto and add the feta.  Stir well, and make sure the feta is smoothed out.  You may need to leave the burner on for a few  minutes to make sure that the cheese is melted completely.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What to do with a Pie Pumpkin

 The obvious answer would be to make a pie.  But how do you get from the actual pumpkin to that canned stuff that you buy in the store?  So easy you will not believe it.  Simply cut the pumpkin in half.  Remove the seeds and the stringy goop.  Place, cut side down in a greased baking dish, cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 for 1- 1 and a half hours (til the pumpkin is very tender). It would be wise to do this while you are baking something else in your oven, or if you just want to warm up your house a bit :-)
Once the pumpkin is cooled a bit scrape the flesh into a food processor and process until smooth.  You can now use this immediately or put it in a freezer container and save it til you need it. 
Reasons to use real pumpkin:
it tastes better than canned stuff
it has not been sitting on a shelf for 12 years
you get a bonus of pumpkin seeds if you cut open a real pumpkin, and hey, you will be using the oven anyways!
It's fun to use pumpkins for something other than jack-o-lanterns, since ya know, they are food :-)

Fall=Applesauce+ode to Grandma

Apples are one of  my favorite foods.  Throughout the year I like to dip them in peanut butter, honey, or enjoy them plain.  I love the crisp sound that comes from biting into a big juicy apple.  And I love making applesauce.  This is one of the many activities that reminds me of my Grandma.  I loved my Grandma like no other, and am always happy to bring back her memory at any opportunity.  Every year she would make a ton of applesauce and share it with everyone in the family.  Like me, my Grandma loved food, she loved preparing food, and she loved extending food as a gift to others.  I am always grateful that she passed this passion onto me. 
Applesauce is one of those things that takes hardly any talent, but it does take time.  This year I tried a new method of prepping my apples.  Instead of hauling out the slicer/peeler/corer, I simply washed them, cut them into chunks and put them into a huge pot.  I later pulled out the skins with tongs.  I had a hard time getting all of the skin out so I am not sure that the saved time was worthwhile, I will decide when I crack open the first jar. 
I also never bother with smoothing out my applesauce by putting it in a food mill or blender.  I like my food chunky, and Grandma's applesauce was always chunky, so I wouldn't change it!
You don't,as far as I know, have to add any extra sugar to apples to make them safe for canning.  I like my applesauce less sweet, so after a few recipe references, I decided to try seasoning my sauce with honey and cinnamon this year.  I really like the way it turned out.  The honey adds a nice mild sweetness, and it still tastes closer to unsweetened than sweetened.  Tim insisted on the addition of cinnamon, which is fine by me.  The key is using a mixture of apples-I used Jonathans and Fujis-that are not too tart.  Then, once the apples are cooked down into a sauce, taste it and see what you want to add.  Go with your gut on this one, the fun is in the experimentation.
If you have never made applesauce before I would consult the Ball website for a tested recipe. This is a good way to make sure that what you are canning is safe.  I did consult their website last night, just to make sure that I was on the right track. 
I am excited for Fall to be here, I am sick of hot weather.  I am enjoying the memory of my Grandma today as I still have the canning supplies out from last night. I am hoping to make more applesauce before the season is over. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sorry for Being a Slacker

So, sorry that I have not posted any new recipes since June.  It's not that I haven't been cooking, it's just that I have not had a whole lot of extra energy these past few months.  The reason behind all of this laziness is that most of my energy has gone into building a baby.  That's right, I am pregnant-due in March.  Most of my free time has been spent napping, but I hope that is soon to change.  I have a lot of recipes to add so I hope to be on here catching up in the coming weeks!