Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hearty vegetable soup with fresh herbs

         Hearty Vegetable Soup

    15 oz can red kidney beans
      32 oz canned whole tomatoes, cut up
      15 oz canned great northern beans 
       15 oz garbanzo beans
       15 oz canned diced new potatoes
       2 c  water  
       2  ea onions, large, chopped
       3 ea green peppers, medium/large,  chopped   
       3  ea  celery stalks, sliced
       1 large Zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into inch long chunks
       3  carrots sliced in ¼ inch rounds
       3 ea Cloves garlic, minced
        Fresh herbs (chives, oregano, basil, rosemary, tarragon, sage and thyme.) 
        or 2 ts each dried basil, oregano, thyme, tarragon crushed   
        14 ounces Little Smokies, diced (optional)
        1/4 ts Pepper
        1 ea Bay leaf      
         ½ cup ditalini pasta      

Combine the undrained tomatoes, undrained beans, water, all of the vegetables, except for the zucchini 
in a 4-quart Dutch oven.  Bring to boil and add the sausage and reduce the heat to simmer. Mince the fresh herbs and garlic and add to the simmering soup.
Cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until vegetables. are tender.  
Uncover, add the zucchini and ditalini and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Buttermilk Cornmeal Muffins

1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2  eggs
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 400*F.
Have ready 12 greased and or paper-lined muffin cups.
In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk and cornmeal; set aside.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and melted butter; add the cornmeal mixture and mix well.
Add to the flour mixture just until combined; do not overmix.
Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 cup full; bake 15 minutes.
Serve warm.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sounds like a weird way to poach, but don't be a chicken and try it

crappy photo - something on the lens..

Plastic wrapped poached Chicken for Chicken Salad

4 eight oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (or 2 pounds)
Black pepper
microwaveable plastic wrap

1 Trim all the fat from the chicken breasts and slice them in half,  lengthwise.
2 Bring a pot of water (2 1/2 quarts of water, 4 quart pot) to a simmer.

3 Roll out a long sheet of plastic wrap at least twice as long as the chicken breast slices. Place 1 chicken strip on the plastic wrap, sprinkle with salt and pepper, in the middle. Roll up the chicken in the plastic wrap tightly. Compress as much air out of the chicken as you can as you roll it. Once the chicken is rolled up, rotate it on your cutting board or counter several times to tighten the cylinder even more. Tie the loose ends of the plastic wrap together in a double knot. Repeat until all the chicken strips are wrapped.

4 Once the water has reached a simmer, turn the burner to the lowest setting - the water should be barely bubbling. Drop the rolled-up chicken cylinders in the pot. Cover the pot and let the chicken steep for 15 minutes.Turn the burner off and let the chicken sit in the hot water for an additional 15 minutes.

5 To make the chicken salad,  snip off the tied ends of the plastic wrap, and unwrap.

Note that there will be some juice inside the plastic wrap with the chicken, which has lots of flavor. So you might want to unwrap the chicken pieces over a bowl or something to catch the juice, which you can then pour over the chicken if you want. Or serve the chicken with a sauce of your choice.

 Rye Sandwich Rolls

2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1  cup scalded milk
1 cups rye flour
2 to 2-1/4 unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/4 cups water

1) Place yeast in a large bowl. Add water and stir to dissolve. Stir in corn syrup and let sit until yeast begins to foam, about 5 minutes. Add caraway seeds, salt, oil, scalded milk and rye flour. Beat well.
2) Add remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Let rest for 15 minutes. Turn dough onto a floured board and knead for 10 to 15 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Turn into a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
3) Grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat 400 degree F.
4) Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup water. Bring remaining 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add dissolved cornstarch and cook until thickened. Set aside.
4) Divide dough into 6 equal-sized pieces. Shape into hamburger or hot dog-style rolls and place on baking sheet.  Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Brush tops of buns with glaze; bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Yield: 6 large sandwich rolls.

Tip, if you add too much flour, the rolls will be tough and dry. The dough should be soft rather than stiff.