Curried Split Pea Soup

Curried Split Pea Soup

Curried Split Pea Soup

This is a great soup. Spicy and rich tasting but low in calories. Easy to make too. It can be made thick and served as a dal over rice. Use more or less curry powder depending on taste. I like it with naan, I get frozen at the grocery store. It heats in a minute or two.

Curried Split Pea Soup

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion chopped

2-3 garlic cloves minced

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

2-3 Tablespoons curry powder

1 Serrano chili seeded and minced

2 cups split peas

4 cups chicken stock

1-2 handfuls baby spinach

lemon quarters

1. Sauté the onions in the butter in a Dutch oven until wilted. Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and Serrano stirring till fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the split peas and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 35-35 minutes so peas are cooked.

3. Blend to desired consistency with an immersion blender, adding water if needed.

4. Stir in spinach. Serve when the spinach is wilted. Garnish with lemon.

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Short Ribs

Short Ribs and Mashed Potatoes

Short Ribs and Mashed Potatoes

Short ribs are one of my all time favorite meals. Not only are they rich and satisfying but it is close to impossible to have them not turn out. The short rib is a fatty tough piece of meat on the bone. However cook them low and slow with a bit of liquid (braise) and the fat melts through the meat into an unctuous, deep,  beefy, fall off the bone richness that cannot be beat. Here I serve them with mashed potatoes to soak up the sauce but polenta or noodles work beautifully also!

 

Short Ribs

Short ribs 1-2 meaty ribs per person

1 onion chopped

2 carrots chopped

3 stalks of celery chopped

1 Tablespoon cumin

Sprig of thyme

2 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

2-4 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1. Brown the short ribs on all sides in a Dutch oven. Work in batches. Reserve.

2. Add onions, celery and carrots to pan over medium heat. Just sweat do not brown.

3. Add cumin, thyme, bay leaves and tomato paste. Stir until tomato paste turns a rusty color, 1-2 minutes.

4. Deglaze with 1/2 cup of broth. Reduce to 2 Tablespoons.

5. Add ribs and the 2 cups of broth. Bring to a boil. The both should come bout half way up the ribs.

6. Cover and put in the oven. Bake 2 hours, checking occasionally to add broth if needed.

7. Remove the ribs to a plate and cover with foil.

8. Bring the broth to a boil and reduce. Use a immersion blender to blend to a nice saucy consistency. Serve the sauce with the ribs.

Salisbury Steak

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Salisbury Steak

Salisbury steak is retro. I think of frozen dinners and cafeteria meals. But a properly homemade Salisbury steak is a treat! Maybe not the most photogenic treat but delish too the max. Try this I bet you will agree.

 

Salisbury Steak

1 1/4 lb ground chuck

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

olive oil  or butter

1 large onion sliced 2 Tablespoons flour

2 cups vegetable broth

1. In a large bowl combine the chuck, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Form into 4 oval patties.

2. In a skillet over medium high heat brown the patties in olive oil. Remove to a plate. The patties will finish cooking in the gravy.

3.In the same skillet brown the mushrooms, 5 minutes. Add the onions and wilt over medium low heat about 8 minutes. You may add olive oil or butter if the pan seems dry.

4. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir for a minute or two. Add broth stirring.

5. Arrange the patties in the gravy and let cook for about 10 minutes. The gravy should thicken and the patties cook through.

6. Serve the Salisbury steak with additional gravy on the side.

Classic Potato Salad

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

Classic potato salad has to have tart tangy mustard and rich creamy hard boiled eggs. The dressing is based on mayonnaise but I update it with yogurt. One of the secrets is marinating the cooked still warm potatoes in a little apple cider vinegar and lots of pepper. I hope you like this as much as I do!

Classic Potato Salad

4 large eggs

6 medium Yukon gold potatoes

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 medium onion chopped

3 stalks celery chopped

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup pain yogurt

1/4 cup grainy mustard

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

chopped dill and paprika for garnish

1. Hard boil eggs. Cover eggs with cold water in a saucepan. Bring to boil. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit 15 minutes, drain and put into ice water. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Cover potatoes with well salted water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and partially cover for 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. Drain.

3. I n a large bowl roughly chop hot potatoes, add apple cider vinegar and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Cover and let come to room temperature.

4. To the potatoes add onions, celery and peeled, chopped hard boiled eggs.

5. In a separate bowl combine mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard and hot sauce. Stir dressing into potato mixture.

6. Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle with dill and paprika.

Ultimate Succotash

Ultimate  Succotash

Ultimate Succotash

Succotash is a favorite of my husband’s. Plain old corn and lima beans is good enough but why not make it awesome? Summer squash is a classic addition from the triad of the Native Americans. Onions and red pepper sautéed in bacon drippings adds flavor. Finishing the whole thing off with cream and parmesan makes it the ultimate!  Don’t eat meat? No problem skip the bacon and use olive oil or a combination of butter and olive oil. This succotash  is so rich and flavorful I serve very small portions of meat or chicken with it. I used thawed, frozen baby lima beans here but when fresh are in season, by all means, use them. Also in the off season frozen corn will work.

Ultimate Succotash

2 slices applewood bacon cut in 1/2 inch pieces

1 small onion diced

1/2 red pepper diced

1 small to medium summer squash quartered lengthwise and sliced

1 1/2 cup thawed frozen baby lima beans

Kernels from 2 ears of corn

Sprig of thyme

3/4 cup heavy cream

Parmesan to grate

1. Sauté bacon until crisped to your liking. Remove to a paper towel covered plate reserving the drippings in the pan.

2. In the bacon drippings sauté the onion and red pepper till limp. If needed add some olive oil.

3. Add squash and thyme.  Cook about 8 minutes stirring occasionally.

4. Add beans and corn. Heat through.

5. Add cream and cooked bacon and let reduce to a nice sauce consistency.

6. Transfer to a serving bowl and grate some Parmesan over the succotash.

 

Tuna Mac Salad

Comfort food

Comfort food

When I think comfort food I usually think of winter braises and heavy potatoes. But when it comes to summer it is tuna macaroni salad. This is one food my mom made well. Most of the foods from my childhood I have adapted to newer forms to accommodate the way I eat now.  Mom was not a great cook. However tuna mac still makes me happy made the old fashioned way. I don’t measure anything and the only pasta acceptable is shells or orrecchette ( little ears). Cook about two cups pasta in salted boiling water till al dente, drain and cool. Add 2 cans of tuna, chopped celery and onion. I add thawed pea(I don’t think mom did that). Plus a generous amount of dill. Mix it all up with mayo salt and pepper. If you like a few dashes of Tabasco. Chill. this may not make it on the trendy, hot or cool list but it takes me back to childhood a couple times each summer. Comfort food.

Middle Eastern Kabobs

Seasoned and ready to grill

Seasoned and ready to grill

Kabobs are the perfect main dish. All you need to add is rice or a salad and you are good to go. Kabobs can be prepped ahead of time and cooked pretty quickly when it is time to eat. I make my kabobs one ingredient per skewer to ensure proper cooking. I grill the vegetables first then put them in a bowl so “Sue” can skip the mushrooms and “Greg” can have extra onions. The meat cooks fast because of the extra surface area, don’t mash the pieces together on the skewer, leave a smidgen of room between each piece. For this recipe I use a dry rub for the meat and then mix some of the dry rub with olive oil to baste the veggies. This spice mixture is a little sweet and a little spicy.

The veggies

The veggies

Middle Eastern Kabobs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Dry Rub

2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1. Mix all the spices together.

2. Mix 1 Tablespoon dry rub with 1/2 cup olive oil for basting the vegetables.

Kabobs

2 Pounds sirloin steak, cut into 12 equal pieces

Vegetables of your preference

Onions, summer squash, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes etc.

Preheat the grill to high

1. Cover the meat with the dry rub.

2. Skewer the meat 3 pieces per kabob. Skewer the vegetables one type of veggie per kabob. Baste the vegetables with the olive oil mixture.

3. Grill the vegetables first, basting as you turn them. When the veggies are done grill the meat kabobs about 5 minutes each side. They will cook faster than a steak because of the additional surface area exposed to the heat.

Hank says,”I’m going to recommend a dry stout to pair with the kabobs.   Dry stouts have most of the roast characteristics that you would expect in a stout but not as much sweetness as an imperial or sweet stout.  The roasty/coffee-like flavors will blend perfectly with the smokey and spicey (as in a LOT of spices!) flavors in the kabobs!  You can find Guiness anywhere, which isn’t a bad choice, but try to seek out Old #38 from North Coast Brewing Co.  North Coast obviously knows their stouts, considering they make one of the best of all time: Old Rasputin.”

Cissie says,” I would pair a Spanish Rijoa or a Syrah with this meal.”

Bon Apppetit

Bon Apppetit