White Bean and Rosemary Soup

We have been experiencing some major fires here in Washington.  I woke up the other morning thinking we were seeing some September fog only it turned out to be smoke.  The sky has been yellow and very disconcerting.  It makes it hard to breathe and see.  The weather has been very warm as well.  I hate to whine (no I don’t), but I’m ready for soup season.  Fall starts in 3 weeks and I have new soup recipes.  It was always this way when I was in school.  You prayed for sun all summer and then when school started, the temperature soared.  What to do, what to do!
I love bean soup.  My mom made it all the time when I was growing up.  I don’t remember rosemary being a key ingredient, but I love me my rosemary.  This one is creamy and satisfying.  I will definitely put it on my rotation.  The sous chef and I are making it again today.  It’s mom’s recipe with a few interesting additions.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, depending on preferred spice level

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried

2 cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed or 3 cups home cooked beans

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

2 to 4 tablespoons cream

Baguette, sliced and toasted for serving

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary then cook for 1 minute.

Add the beans, chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a low simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth (or use regular blender). Taste the soup and adjust with more salt and/or pepper. For a creamier soup, stir in a little cream or non-dairy milk.

* From the Recipe Box:
Sorry for the horrible picture quality.
If you can’t have summer, let’s have soup!
I love my immersion blender, but I don’t think I’d use it next time.  I like the beans.
Sous-chef has suddenly turned into a crushed red pepper freak.  The first picture is pre immersion blender.  The second picture is after we tried cooling it down with half and half and sour cream.  Cow-a-bunga it was spicy!  We’re going to add a little bacon just for shits and giggles.
and remember:  If my strength intimidates you, I hope you realize that’s a weakness of yours not mine.  Big kiss, Lynn

Butterscotch Pie

My dad didn’t have much of a sweet tooth.  He liked Cashew Brittle from See’s Candies, Idaho Spud Candy Bars, Black Cherry Floats and Butterscotch Pie.  I don’t remember him ever asking for any of these except maybe a quick run to the store for black cherry float ingredients, but he seemed to enjoy them when they were around.  So, in honor of dad’s birthday, let’s make Butterscotch Pie.

He was never silly, but I do remember when he and my Uncle Jimmy battled for the last bite in the pie pan one Easter of this very pie, so let’s assume this is a pretty good recipe.  This is from my Grandma O’s WWII Betty Crocker Cookbook and it hasn’t failed me yet.  It’s the one my mom used, so it must be good.

Melt in a skillet over low heat 6 tablespoon of butter.

When the butter is golden brown, add 1 cup of dark brown sugar.

Boil until foamy (2 to 3 minutes), stirring constantly.  Stir in 1 cup boiling water.  Remove from heat.

Mix in a sauce pan 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Stir in gradually until smooth 1 2/3 cup milk.

Stir in the brown sugar mixture.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until boiling.  Boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir a little into 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten.  Then blend into hot mixture.  Boil 1 minute longer.  Remove from heat and blend in 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Cool, stirring occasionally.  Pour into a cooled baked pie shell.  Chill. Top with whipped cream.

*  From the Recipe Box:

Dad preferred a graham cracker crust, so graham cracker it was.  I remembered it being better than this, but happy birthday anyway papa.  If and when I make this again, I will cut down on the flour.  It tasted a little gummy to me.  I think I’ll blame it on my sous chef.

More pictures of brown food.  What’s the deal?  As you can tell, I used whip cream from a can.  Yes, I am embarrassed, but it’s what I had.

and remember:  Stop overthinking.  Be loud about the things that are important to you.  Big kiss, Lynn

Peanut Butter Cowboy Cookies

G and I love cookies with lots of stuff added.  The more add-ins the better in our opinion.  And all you have to do to get me thinking about my dad is to start talking cowboys.  While he wasn’t a cowboy, he honored what they stood for.  Even my quote at the end of the blog is all about my dad.  I remember the first time I saw the Red River in Minnesota; I truly thought I was going to start blubbering like a little baby.  It was only a couple of years after he died and I still missed him daily.
My dad used to sing a song about the Red River all the time.  So, let’s think about cowboy cookies and sing some cowboy songs.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup cocktail peanuts roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the softened butter, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, peanut butter and vanilla. Beat for 3 minutes until smooth, fluffy and light beige in color. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Stop to scrape the bowl periodically so all of the ingredients fully combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients gradually while beating on low speed, mixing well between each addition.
  • Repeat until all of the dry ingredients have been added, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • After all of the dry ingredients have been added, increase the speed of the mixer and beat for 1 minute.
  • Use a large non-stick spatula to mix in the quick-cooking oats, peanuts, milk chocolate chips and sweetened flaked coconut by hand. The batter will be stiff.
  • Use a 4 oz ice cream scoop to separate the dough. Place the dough rounds at least 3-inches apart on the baking sheet. Press the centers to flatten slightly for even baking.
  • Bake for 16-20 minutes until lightly golden.
  • Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

* From the Recipe Box:
A 4 oz ice cream scoop will yield jumbo cookies. If you choose to make these cookies smaller, decrease the baking time accordingly.
This makes about 2 dozen.
and remember what Gene Autry and my dad had to say:  Come and sit by my side if you love me.  Do not hasten to bid me adieu.  But remember the Red River Valley, and the one that has loved you so true.   Big kiss, Lynn

Aranchini

OK, here comes another, “How tough can it be recipes?”.  Since G and I are pretty much stuck at home, we’ve been watching a lot of food programming.  I’m not a huge Italian fan, it’s simply too heavy, but I do find some things so clever.  Aranchini is so very clever.  I love anything that encourages me to use up the rest of my leftovers.  Plus this one has the bonus of fried foods.

I decided not to stuff them with anything.  I’m not a frying expert and we don’t have a deep fat fryer, so it was time for a little KISS (Keep it simple stupid) action.  This is the basic recipe I found.  We made them about golf ball sized.  And I know there are Italian GMas turning in their graves, but we used teriyaki for a dipping sauce and it was good.

  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Italian tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 egg whites (I used whole eggs)
  • 1-1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs (I used Panko)
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
Directions
  • Cook rice according to package directions. Cool slightly. Stir in the egg yolk, cheese and butter. Season, season, season.  Cover and refrigerate until cooled.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet if you want stuffing, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, peas, salt and pepper.
  • Shape rice mixture into 11 patties. Place one heaping tablespoonful of meat filling in the center of each patty. Shape rice around filling, forming a ball.
  • Place egg whites and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip rice balls in egg whites, then roll in bread crumbs. In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry rice balls, a few at a time, for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels
* From the Recipe Box:
I will make these again in all sorts of different sizes and fillings.  I’m also feeling braver about deep frying.  If braver isn’t a word, feel free to replace it with the correct version.
and remember:   Getting knocked down in life is a given.  Getting up and moving forward is a choice.  Big kiss, Lynn

Fried Pickles

A few years ago, I was back in Minnesota for a wedding.  I had time to do a wee bar tour of Fargo, North Dakota while I was there.  I had the great good fortune to taste fried pickles for the first time.  Now, if fried pickles have always been a part of your life, you are excused.  For me, they were a revelation and I fell deeply in love.  Next comes the hard part, where in the hell do I find them now that I’m home.  I think about them frequently, so it’s time to make them myself!

I don’t have a deep fat fryer, so I’m primarily looking for baked recipes.  I hope that turns out better than the donut experience my favorite GKid, you know the one, and I tried this summer.  I’ve found a couple of recipes that sound promising.  This is a composite of several I found on-line.  Unfortunately, I either need a deep-fat fryer, another trip to Fargo or the address of something in the Seattle area that sells good fried pickles if I want to achieve fried pickle nirvana. Until then, I’m going to give the baked pickle recipe a shot.

INGREDIENTS

1 c. panko bread crumbs

1/4 c. freshly chopped dill

2 tbsp. melted butter

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

1 c. pickle slices, patted dry with paper towels (I’m using my Kool-aid pickles because I still like them)

Ranch dressing, for dipping

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a shallow bowl, stir together bread crumbs, dill, melted butter, garlic powder, and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Put flour in another shallow bowl. In a third bowl, beat eggs.
  2. Working in batches, toss pickles in flour until lightly coated, then dip in eggs, then toss in panko mixture until fully coated.
  3. Place pickles on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden and crispy, about 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with ranch.

*  From the Recipe Box:

I’m not a huge ranch dressing fan, so I’ll dip them in tarter sauce or even blue cheese.

Don’t panic, these are pink because I used my Kool-aid pickles.

Next time, I’ll fry them.  These were a bit of a disappointment.  Since the Aranchini turned out well, it’s time to fry.  I’ll keep you posted.

and remember:  Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes and dance.   Big kiss, Lynn

Chicken Rice Soup

My favorite GKid, you know the one, goes to school out of state.  She was doing great until one of her roommates came back to campus and was tested positive for covid.  Unfortunately, their dorm was put on quarantine.  So far everything looks good for the GKid, but she thought chicken soup would fill the bill.  I was unable to figure out how to mail it, but in her honor, G and I had it for dinner tonight.
GPa couldn’t stand it though.  So, for the price of a thermos and overnight postage, our girl should have this in less than 24 hours.  Just think how long it used to take to send a letter a thousand miles.  Amazing.

2 tablespoons butter, chicken fat or olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

Heaped tablespoon minced garlic (4 cloves)

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs fresh thyme or use 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs (4 or 5 thighs) or rotisserie chicken

8 cups chicken stock or broth, low sodium

5 ounces egg noodles or rice

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Water or more stock, as needed

DIRECTIONS

Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring every few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften; 5 to 6 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook, while stirring the garlic around the pan, for about 1 minute.

Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a low simmer. Taste the soup then adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Depending on the stock used, you might need to add 1 or more teaspoons of salt.

If, during this time, the broth seems low, add a splash more stock or a bit of water. Turn the heat to medium-low.

Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate. Stir the rice into the soup and cook until done, 6 to 10 minutes.

While the rice cooks, shred the chicken into strips or dice into cubes. Slide the chicken back into the pot and then taste the soup once more for seasoning. Adjust with more salt and pepper, as needed. Stir in the parsley and serve.

* From the Recipe Box:
I love soup!
I cook the rice separately from the soup so it won’t suck up all the broth.
and remember:  Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your picture on it.  Big kiss, Lynn