Sunday, December 4, 2016

Simple Chili Comforts on Cold Nights

This crowd-pleasing hearty dish packs a lot of flavor with minimal preparation. In about one hour you can have a delicious pot of chili that tastes like it has been simmering for hours. Cornbread rounds out the chili perfectly. Serve the chili with sides of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and lots of freshly chopped white onion.

Simple Chili
6 servings

1 pound ground chuck
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
2 cans (15 ounces each) kidney beans
1 can (16 ounces) whole tomatoes
Sides of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and freshly chopped white onion

1.      In a large pot over moderate heat, cook the ground chuck. Add the onion and sauté until tender. Drain off fat. Stir in the chili powder, Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, kidney beans, and tomatoes. Cover and bring to a boil, decrease heat to medium-low and cook for 1 hour.
2.      Serve immediately and pass sides of sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chopped onion to your guests.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Tart Cranberries Make a Sweet Cobbler Cake

When these garnet gems appear at the market, I love making this dessert, which is as much a cobbler as it is a cake, hence its name. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or vanilla yogurt.

Cranberry Cobbler Cake
8 servings 

1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries, washed
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
¼ cup milk
1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch

  1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place berries in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Drop butter chunks into flour mixture. Cut in butter with two knives (making slicing motions) or use your fingertips to incorporate until the mixture is somewhat crumbly. Add milk and stir until fully combined. Dollop batter over cranberries (the batter is thick and more like a dough than batter); the final topping and the baking process will evenly distribute the batter.
      4.      In a medium bowl, combine water and cornstarch. Stir the mixture until the cornstarch has dissolved. Pour over the batter.
      5.      Bake cobbler/cake for 45–50 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Serve warm just as it is or with desired topping.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Is That Really Kohlrabi in The Soup Pot?

This humble (yet quite unusual-looking) vegetable is a member of the cabbage family, and its edible, bulbous stem has a mild, sweet taste when cooked. I sampled this at the farmers market the other day and it was met with oohs and ahhs! I'll be serving it as our first course on Thanksgiving.

Cream of Kohlrabi Soup
8 servings

3 tablespoons butter
1 medium white onion, chopped
3 cups water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
4–6 small kohlrabies (about 3 cups), peeled and cubed
1 pound potatoes, unpeeled and cubed
1 cup half-and-half
1½ teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. In a large pot over moderate heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion until tender. Add water and vegetable cubes. Bring mixture to a boil and stir until cubes have dissolved. Add kohlrabies and potatoes (the water won’t cover the vegetables), reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 20–30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Allow soup to cool slightly. 
  2. Purée soup in batches; as you purée, transfer batches to a large bowl. In the last batch to be puréed, add half-and-half and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer all puréed soup back into the original large pot and stir until well blended. Simmer until heated through. Serve immediately.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Perfect Autumn Soup

I collaborated with Salt River Lobster  (they have the best sea scallops I've ever tasted) and developed this soup recipe I sampled at the Kensington Farmers' Market a few week ago. Samplers really loved the soups depth of complex flavors. Most said they had never heard of scallop soup! Serve with a leafy green salad and slices of good quality bread.

I like to use a variety of mushrooms in this recipe because it adds a depth of earthy flavor, texture and the different shapes make it visually appealing. My favorite vegetable cube is Rapunzel because of its robust flavor. It’s available in most health-oriented grocery stores nationwide.

Yield: 6-8 servings
2 pounds fresh sea scallops
Olive oil
One 8-ounce package mushrooms
1 cup carrots, shredded
5 cups water
3 vegetable cubes
4 teaspoons red curry paste, or more to taste
2 cups cooked wild rice
½ cup minced parsley
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place scallops on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until scallops are slightly firm. (Be careful not to overcook the scallops, they will cook more once they are added to the soup.) Cut scallops into desired size pieces. Set aside.
2. In a large pot heat olive oil over moderate heat. Sauté mushrooms and carrots for about 5 minutes or until tender.
3. Add water, vegetables cubes and red curry paste and stir until the cubes and paste have blended and dissolved.
4. Add wild rice, parley and scallops and gently stir to combine. Season with black pepper to taste. Simmer until heated through. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Spooky Halloween Soup

My mother had a notion: if she fed her brood of five a hearty, stick-to-the-ribs, irresistible dinner on Halloween, we wouldn’t eat too much candy when we got home from trick-or-treating.  This recipe defines stick-to-the-ribs and would be precisely the type of soup my mother would have chosen to serve on this kid-festive, candy-filled holiday. The combination of ingredients is most unusual, but don’t let that deter you from preparing this delicious pot of soup. Strangely, kid-loved peanut butter pulls the combination together in surprisingly perfect harmony. The combination of rice and beans makes this a complete protein, so it’s hearty enough to be served as a main dish.

8 servings

1 tablespoon neutral oil
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced red pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
2 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
½ cup minced fresh parsley
1 cup salsa (medium heat)
1 cup cooked wild rice
1 can (15 ounces) white beans
½ cup chunky natural peanut butter

     1.      In a large pot, heat oil over moderate heat and sauté sweet potato, onion and red pepper for about 5 minutes. Add cumin and coriander, and sauté for about 1 minute. Add water, vegetable cube and parsley. Cover and bring mixture to a boil, decrease heat to medium and cook for about 5-10 minutes or until sweet potato is tender.
      2.      Add salsa, rice, beans and peanut butter, and stir until peanut butter is evenly distributed. Serve immediately.