Posts Tagged ‘Tasty Tools’

Tasty Tools: German Potato & Sausage Soup

Tasty Tools: Soup/Stock PotWhen we were in Germany recently, we had a late lunch in Potsdam with our former exchange students Olaf, Hannah and Josi, and Hannah’s parents, Bettina and Frank. We had seen Olaf in April when he visited the U.S. and stayed with us for a week, but it’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen the girls and Hannah’s parents. It was great fun to see them all again.

I was pretty hungry, with the time change, so while most of the group had a coffee of some type and a pastry, I had the potato and sausage soup. I was expecting something creamy; it came out more brothy, although it was thick from the potatoes being cooked in it for so long. Our first full day back home was chilly and rainy, so I found this soup online and made a half-batch. It’s so good, next time I’ll make the whole recipe, so we’ll have more leftovers.

I used my lovely Flame Le Creuset Dutch oven for this wonderful soup.

Tasty Tools: Soup Pot with German Potato and Sausage Soup

German Potato and Sausage Soup

5 pounds potatoes peeled and diced to 1/2″ pieces
6 carrots peeled and diced
1 large white onion peeled and diced
4 celery stalks chopped
2 teaspoons salt
3 pounds Polish kielbasa
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground

Put potatoes, carrots, onion and celery in a large pot then add water to cover about 1 inch. Add half the salt, then cover with lid and set on medium flame.

Cut sausage into 2” pieces. Add water to cover bottom of frying pan and cook sausage piercing skin as it starts to harden. When cooked through, remove sausage to cutting board and dice into 1/2″ pieces; add to soup.

Add parsley, black pepper, red pepper, remaining salt and garlic. Cover and continue cooking on low heat for 2 hours; serve immediately.

This is my contribution to Tasty Tools: Soup/Stock Pots, a food blogging event hosted by Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.

Tasty Tools: Roasting Pan

Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday, so I had a great time yesterday and Tuesday getting ready for the big feast. Not so big, actually, since it was just Dan and me this year. But it was great 🙂

I’ve had this fear of making turkey gravy for several years, but now – yay! – I’m over it. I think one year, I didn’t cook the flour-fat (roux) mixture enough, because the gravy tasted floury, and after that, I convinced myself I was no good at sauces. So my mom came for Thanksgiving several years in a row and I told her the gravy was her job 😉 But she and Leo have gone south on the Intracoastal Waterway already this year, so I had to do it myself.

Luckily, earlier this week, I got an email from America’s Test Kitchen for make-ahead gravy, from a Cook’s Country magazine recipe. It called for roasting turkey wings (I couldn’t find them, so I used necks) with chopped carrots, celery, onions and garlic and using the roasted veggies to make stock for the gravy.

Oh. My. God. It was so good, I went back today and bought more necks so I can make more stock. It was so good, I’m going to make soup tomorrow with the next batch. Yum.

Roasted veggies and turkey necks

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

Makes about 2 quarts

6 turkey drumsticks, thighs, or wings
reserved turkey giblets
reserved turkey neck
2 carrots, chopped coarse
1 head garlic, halved
2 ribs celery, chopped coarse
2 onions, chopped coarse
Vegetable oil spray
10 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups dry white wine
12 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Table salt and ground black pepper

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Place giblets, neck, drumsticks, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic in roasting pan, spray with vegetable oil, and toss well. Roast, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (I set my oven to 400 and checked after 1 hour; I think 1 hour and 20 minutes would be enough).

Transfer contents of roasting pan to Dutch oven. Add broth, wine, and thyme and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced by half, about 1 1/2 hours. Pour through fine-mesh strainer into large container (discard solids), cover stock with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until fat congeals, at least 2 hours.

Using soup spoon, skim fat and reserve. Heat 1/2 cup fat in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until bubbling. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until honey colored, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in stock, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Gravy can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.) Reheat gravy in saucepan over medium heat until bubbling.

This is my contribution to Tasty Tools: Roasting/Braising Pans, hosted by Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.

Tasty Tools: Whisk

When we had our paella dinner party a couple of weeks ago, for an appetizer, I made this marinated melon dish, adapted from here, and used my little Pampered Chef whisk to stir up the dressing.

Marinated Canteloupe and Prosciutto

1 fresh, ripe cantaloupe
12 thin slices of jamón serrano (I couldn’t find serrano ham, so I used prosciutto)
1 scallion, finely chopped
8 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cut melon in half and scoop into balls with a teaspoon or melon baller. In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the scallion and melon, mix thoroughly and chill for 2 hours. Shape ham or prosciutto slices into cones and serve with melon.

Tasty Tools: Whisk

This is my entry in the August edition of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures, specifically for Tasty Tools.

Tasty Tools: Basting Brush

We had a really delicious dinner last weekend – grilled romaine, tuna and peaches. Yum, yum and yum 🙂

It fits in perfectly with Joelen’s food blogging event Tasty Tools – the theme this month is Basting Brush, and of course, you need to oil up most foods before grilling them, so they don’t burn or stick to the grill grates. So here’s Dan ready to take the food out to the grill:

Grilling with a basting brush

And, not my best photo, but here’s the tasty result:

Romaine, tuna and peaches after grilling

This really doesn’t even require a recipe. For two servings, cut one romaine heart in half, keeping the root end intact, to prevent it from falling apart. Cut a ripe peach in half and remove the pit. Sprinkle the about 8 oz. of fresh tuna with Paul Prudhomme’s Blackening Seasoning (we didn’t really have enough – time to get some more), and brush it and the romaine and peaches with olive oil. Then, while Dan was grilling, I made a balsamic vinegar reduction – took about 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, brought it to a boil in a small saucepan, and simmered till it was reduced by half.

Then we cut up the tuna, put it on top of the romaine and topped that with salad dressing – Italian for me and bleu cheese for Dan. We drizzled the balsamic reduction over the peaches and that was dinner. As I said – yum, yum and yum 🙂

Tasty Tools: Scoop

Well, unfortunately, I’m too late to enter this food blogging event (happens too often), but I really wanted to, so I’m posting this anyway.

Tasty Tools is a monthly food photography event hosted by Joelen’s Culinary Adventures. April’s theme was scoop – use any kind of kitchen scoop and photograph it. View the entries and winners.

Lately, I’ve been eating a lot of brownie-loaded chocolate ice cream (blame Dan – he brought home the first carton, and now I’m hooked). And last fall, while visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Oak Park, IL, near Chicago, we discovered this wonderful little shop called Olive and Well. It’s a specialty shop that carries mostly olive oils, balsamic vinegars and various gourmet condiments, breads and sauces.

They have lots of small casks of olive oils (probably hold a couple of gallons) with little paper cups for tasting. We tasted almost all of them and finally settled on one. Then I noticed the vinegars – and I’m a vinegar freak, just ask Dan 😉 – so I went over to see the flavors … and then I saw it – strawberry balsamic vinegar. I poured some into a little tasting cup and lifted it to my mouth – before I could even taste it, the aroma tingled my nose and my mouth watered instantly. I knew I was going to be buying this one 🙂 So I did.

And what goes better with chocolate than strawberries? That’s right – strawberry balsamic vinegar. Scoop out some brownie-chocolate ice cream and drizzle it with strawberry balsamic vinegar – a dessert truly to die for.

Brownie-loaded chocolate ice cream with strawberry balsamic vinegar, and scoop

Oh, about the scoop 🙂 Years ago, when we first moved into the neighborhood and I was on the board of the Civic League, it seemed like every few months, someone was having a Pampered Chef party – I had one annually for a few years myself. This is one of the gadgets I got during those years. Works great – it has anti-freeze in the handle that flows down into the scoop when you use it, to help melt the ice cream so it scoops more easily. I love it.

Tasty Tools Food Blogging Event

There’s a new food blogging event starting this month: Tasty Tools, hosted by Joelen’s Culinary Adventures. Wow, there was a huge response to this event! The round-up of all the recipes is here.

All crafts require the proper tools, so each month, Joelen will select a kitchen tool and to participate, you make a recipe that requires that tool and then blog about it.

Not being a fan of corned beef and cabbage, I made a delicious spring-green risotto for St. Patrick’s Day this year. One of the ingredients is Parmesan cheese, so I used my (fairly) new box grater to grate the cheese for the risotto.

I used to have a triangular grater, but it was awkward to use and had little feet on it – I’d lost one of them, so it didn’t balance properly and was a pain to use. So with the kitchen renovation, I bought a new one (along with other new stuff – new kitchen, new stuff 😉 ).

The new grater has a bottom piece to hold the ingredient you’re grating, and measurements on the side, so you can see how much you have. Pretty cool 🙂

Box Grater

And here’s the recipe for the risotto, adapted from Dan’s Ultimate Shrimp Risotto. This is the best risotto recipe I’ve found, and it can be customized for whatever ingredients you would like to include.

Shrimp Risotto

Risotto with Spring Vegetables

5 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine, divided
6 tablespoons butter
1 to 2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 dried crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon
3/4 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio (risotto) rice
1 1/2 cups steamed spring vegetables such as asparagus tips, peas, green beans
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring broth and 1/4 cup wine to a simmer and hold over low heat.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper and sauté for 30 seconds, then add shrimp. Sauté until shrimp begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup wine. Simmer until shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook shrimp or they become tough. Drain shrimp, reserving cooking liquid.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is pale golden, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, about 2 minutes. Add 1-2 cups broth mixture. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding broth mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often and simmering until liquid is absorbed before adding more, about 20 minutes total. Don’t “drown” risotto.

Add vegetables and cream to risotto.

Cook until rice is just tender and creamy, about 5 minutes longer. Add a final shot of white wine. Stir in reserved shrimp cooking liquid. Add shrimp. Add Parmesan. Remove from heat.

Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley into risotto. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to plates. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon parsley.

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