mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

homemade pea soup with bacon . . .

IMG_0634.jpegHomemade pea soup: made it this morning – it’s a perfect “pantry” soup that tastes really delicious:
a) keep strips of bacon (3-4 together) in the freezer (handy for BLT’s and soups/stews);

b) saute bacon with half chopped Vidalia onion;

c) chop up one very large carrot and add to bacon & onion

d) separately, boil some water and soak a packet of dried green peas and let the peas absorb the water;

e) When plump, add the soaked peas (drained of soaking water) to the pot of browned bacon, onion and carrots. Add filtered water to the pot and add a gelatin capsule of Knorr’s chicken broth.

Cook gently for a couple of hours on simmer. The peas will start to dissolve into the

soup – helped along with a flat wire whip gently mixing the peas into the soup. Serve

when the peas have softened into the soup – could use an immersion blender too, but

not required.

We had this soup with toasted meunster and tomato grilled sandwiches on

homemade bread. Yummy!

King Arthur sandwich bread recipe . . .

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Tried King Arthur Flour’s sandwich bread recipe today: 1 cup warm milk, 2 T. soft butter, packet of yeast, 2 T. Carlisle honey, 1 1/4 teaspoon Maldon salt. 3 cups King Arthur flour. Mixed by pulsing in Cuisinart with dough blade for 5 minutes. 2 risings – last one in a buttered bread pan. 350 degrees for half an hour. And VOILA!

P.S. warmed oven, turned it off and let dough rise in buttered bowl with clean dishtowel on top – leave in 1 hour. Shaped loaf, set in buttered loaf pan; let rise 45 min.  Spectacular!

homemade beef noodle soup for supper. . .

IMG_0616Beef noodle soup for supper tonight! Cut-up beef shin, onions, carrots, broth, Manischewitz thin noodles ~ with leftover buttermilk biscuits and apple crisp for dessert.

 

 

braised roast duckling celebration! . . .

IMG_0525Twenty-Four years ago today, George and I went down the back stairs and drove in the snow to City Hall where we were married by the City Clerk. After we returned, George went out to do a tuning, and I made a wedding supper of roast duckling.

Here’s our anniversary dinner which we enjoyed tonight. I think I’m a better cook than I was then – and these seared duck legs were braised in an ambrosia of shallots, onions, carrots and purple top turnips. The sauce had Madeira sherry added to a little chicken broth along with orange segments.

Alongside, I pan braised some Belgian endive in unsalted butter — and the bitterness

of the vegetable complemented the richness of the orange sauce. Orange marmalade,

a whole navel orange, duck drippings and chicken broth were cooked down for the

sauce, a little cornstarch added at the end.

I have to say that we enjoyed it very much – and for dessert, our downstairs neighbor

brought up some tiramisu that he made — very delicious when we tasted it last night!

So, we’re going on our twenty-fifth year! It’s hard to believe really, but we’re looking

forward to more years to enjoy our life together!

 

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quick mushroom pizza – anytime! . . .

IMG_0401IMG_0414There are all kinds of ways to make pizza. There are electric pizza makers and books on how to make your own yeast pizza dough. We like pizza too and usually order a mushroom pizza with a thin crust from Papa Gino’s, just up the street.

A year ago or so, I saw some wraps at the grocery store and decided to try using them as the “crust” of a homemade pizza pie. Just heat your oven to 425 degrees. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and spray it with vegetable oil (Pam.) Use a pizza sauce of your choice – we like Ragu – and circle some sauce on the wrap, not too much, just to cover the surface of the wrap out to the edges.

Next comes a generous layer of thin grated fresh mozzarella cheese that I sprinkle on by hand. Fresh mushrooms are wiped clean or rinsed and cut into medium size slices. On top of the mushrooms, I hand grate parmesan cheese to cover the mushrooms.

When the oven is hot, place the pizza pie into the oven for about 18 minutes or so until the top is bubbling and golden brown. Take out the pizza and place it on a clean cutting board. Then, with a sharp knife, slice it into 6 pieces.

The entire process takes about 10 minutes to set up the pizza. It usually takes longer than that just for our oven to heat up to 425 degrees. We enjoy this for lunch a couple of times a week as a nice change from sandwiches or soup. Enjoy!

 

 

Chinese winter melon soup! . . .

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Every time that I buy a wedge of fresh winter melon at the Asian market, I give consideration to how to cook it up before it gets neglected in the fridge. It is highly perishable and after it’s cleaned of seeds and the green peel sliced off, it can be sauteed with shitake mushrooms and chicken broth; or cut up and cooked in a classic winter melon soup.

So, today – while watching Nadal and Kyrgios slug it out at the Australian Open on TV, I took out a slab of smoked ham from the freezer and sliced up a three inch square piece of it into strips; made a broth of half chicken broth and half dashi, soaked about 7 dried shitake mushrooms until they were soft – sliced them up and added them along with slices of the winter melon sans the tough green outer skin.

This pot of ambrosia is now simmering on the stove. We’ll have it as a main course for tonight’s supper, along with some broiled teriyaki chicken legs. A cold salad of cucumber slices and wakame seaweed with soy, vinegar and honey should taste good as a contrast to the warm dishes.

Best of all, I’ll freeze whatever leftover winter melon soup there is and we’ll have it anytime we’d like it – and I’ll feel heartened knowing that it has all gone to good use!

 

 

soba noodles with cucumber & wakame. . .

IMG_0329Most of tonight’s supper is already made – I put it together after lunch so the flavors can meld together.

Heated up some boiling water to soak a handful of dried wakame seaweed. It volumes up quite a bit so not that much is needed for a generous serving. While the wakame is soaking, I boiled a half pot of water and added a packet of soba noodles (it comes 3 to a package, and cooked it for five minutes. In the meantime, I seeded and sliced thin strips of fresh cucumber – the regular kind.

When the soba noodles were cooked, I rinsed them in a sieve with cold water and fluffed them up with my fingers so they wouldn’t stick together. In a small bowl, I poured some Ohsawa soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and sesame oil. I stirred it up and poured it over the wakame and cucumber mixture, mixing it together gently.

Then added the drained cooled soba noodles and added a tiny bit more soy sauce, mixing the entire dish with my hands. I’ll cover it with some plastic wrap and think about what else to cook for supper: maybe some eggplant and sweet potato tempura?

 

Easiest homemade apple tart ever! . . .

Here’s a shortcut method to make what looks like a French Patisserie glazed apple tart when it comes out of the oven. It requires only one Pepperidge Farm refrigerated pie crust and one large Cortland apple. Orange marmalade & butter, cinnamon and sugar.

  1.  On a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil, spray with Pam and roll out one pie crust. With your fingers, smooth it in place on the cookie sheet so it fits.
  2. Peel and core the Cortland apple. Slice in very thin slices.
  3. Heat up 2 healthy spoonfuls of orange marmalade and 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter. Nuke until melted – stir together so combined. With a pastry brush, spread the marmalade/butter glaze all over the pie crust.
  4. Place apple slices in reverse order, row by row to make it interesting.
  5. Baste the apple slices with more marmalade/butter – sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Bake in a 400 degree oven until golden grown. Sprinkle a little fresh lemon juice on the cooked tart after it comes out of the oven.

 

homemade buttermilk biscuits! . . .

IMG_0323It snowed last night and George went out to remove the snow from the driveway this morning – about 4-5 inches. While he was outdoors, I heated up some vegetable beef soup from the freezer, adding more beef broth and fresh cabbage.

Because I had some buttermilk in the fridge, I decided to make some homemade biscuits. We ate them for lunch with bowls of hot soup – these were the best biscuits I’ve ever tasted. Why? They were crunchy crisp on the bottom and tops, and chewy in the middle. Here’s the recipe and process I followed.

I made a half batch with the following ingredients:

  1. in a food processor, measure all of the dry ingredients and pulse gently to mix together. 1.5 cups plus .25 cup flour; 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tsp. salt
  2. Cut up a cold stick of unsalted butter – lengthwise twice and then cut into small bits horizontally. Add the butter bits and pulse gently just until mixed and slightly grainy. Pour mixture into a bowl.
  3. Add 1 cup fresh buttermilk and mix gently together. Do not handle very much and just add a little flour if needed to not stick to the parchment paper surface you will shape the biscuits on.
  4. Press the dough out gently with your hands until it is about an inch thick. (Like pie dough, the less you handle biscuit dough, the more tender the result will be.
  5. Cut the dough into 4 pieces and place each layer onto the others. Press the dough down again to a single layer of dough – slice into 12 pieces and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper on it. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with Maldon salt on them.
  6. Place the biscuits on the sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes while the oven is warming up to 425 degrees.
  7. Place the biscuits in the oven and turn it down to 400 degrees right away. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown on the bottoms and tops.

Honestly, we all agreed these were the best biscuits EVER!! Will definitely make these again!

 

 

lentils to begin the New Year! . . .

IMG_0297I saw this recipe online and wanted to make lentils. The only steps I changed is that instead of 4 cups of water, I used 2 cups chicken broth and 2 cups of water. In addition, I used only a teaspoon of dried thyme, not a tablespoon of fresh thyme.

The lentils cooked for exactly 28 minutes and then I shut off the heat. When it cools, I’ll add soy sauce, mustard and salt as instructed in the recipe. Can’t wait to taste it tonight for supper! Will also make some cornbread to go with it, and a green salad.

Happy New Year, everybody! And thanks for reading my blog!