I’m trying to eat more greens especially while they’re at their peak during the summer, but I wanted more than just greens. I decided soup was the answer, put together some of my favorite foods and flavors, and the results were exactly what I was craving. I like spicy food – if you prefer milder dishes, substitute regular diced tomatoes, mild sausage and omit the chili pepper.
- 1 lb spicy/hot bulk sausage
- 1 lb kale, cleaned and ready to use
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Thai red chili pepper, minced
- 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 baking potato, diced
- 2 (15 ounce) cans canellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes & chilies
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron (adds great flavor) (optional)
- Crumble sausage in a large soup pot or dutch oven, cast iron if you have it, and cook over medium heat until no longer pink. Stir in onion, garlic and chili pepper and cook until translucent taking care not to let them brown. Depending on your sausage, you may need to add a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
- Add the kale and chicken stock – it will cook down rapidly so don’t panic if it overwhelms your pot at first. Just give it a few minutes.
- When the kale has cooked down a bit, add the tomatoes, potato, beans, bay leaves, thyme and saffron. Let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potato is tender and the kale is cooked to the consistency you like.
- Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy with crusty bread.
My friend Barbara sent me this great summer recipe just full of fresh fruit flavors, with just the right amount of jalapeno kick to make it an instant make-again favorite. Try washing it down with White Sangria from the Columbia restaurant!
2 T. apple jelly
2 T. light brown sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 jalapeno, seeded & minced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped fine
1 pint strawberries, hulled & chopped fine
3 kiwis, peeled and chopped fine
2 T. granulated sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon
12 6 inch flour tortillas
For fruit salsa: Whisk jelly, sugar, orange juice, and jalapeno in large bowl. Add apples, strawberries, and kiwis and toss to coat.
For chips: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat to 350 degrees. Combine sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Lightly coat tortillas on both sides with cooking spray and cut each into 6 wedges. Arrange tortillas in single layer on two baking sheets and sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over top. Bake until golden & crisp, 10 to 15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking time. Serve with salsa.
Once cool, the chips can be stored at room temp in an airtight container for 4 days. Salsa is best served immediately.
This sounds way too simple to have such an amazingly complex flavor – served it the other night as part of a casual assortment of appetizers while entertaining friends and this was a huge hit. Perfect summer side to keep on hand in the fridge.
6 sweet peppers – I used 2 each of red, green and yellow
1/2 C chopped onion, preferably vidalia, if available
3 T white vinegar (I used white balsamic for the sweetness)
1/4 C EVOO
chopped fresh parsley to taste
- Preheat oven to 450. Roast peppers approximately 20 minutes or until browned and charred. Put in a paper bag for about 20 to let the steam help loosen the skins.
- Remove skins and seeds from peppers. Cut into strips and put in a bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the peppers, toss to coat, and let sit for at least 1 hour prior to serving to allow flavors to develop. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Jill had us over for a Girl’s Night In on Friday and Barbara brought her version of classic artichoke dip, which she kicks up several notches by adding jalapenos, pimentos and sharp cheddar cheese. Yum!
1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 jar pimentos, 4 oz. drained
6-12 jalapeño slices, chopped, (adjust to your palate!)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Mix everthing together and put in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
- Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Serve with Doritos or Frito Scoops. (I prefer Fritos: had them at the party)
Julia and her mom, Barbara, are two of my favorite cooks and they both send me terrific recipes. Julia’s made this salad for me several times and it’s wonderful; fresh and light with just a hint of mint. BONUS: Grab some extra fresh mint while you’re picking up the ingredients and treat yourself to a mojito while you’re making dinner! We always do. Barbara recommends making the dressing a little bit ahead of time to let the flavors get to know each other.
1 head lettuce
3 large tomatoes, cut in bite-size chunks
1 Tbsp. dried mint (or 1/2 C fresh, chopped)
1 small onion, sliced in thin crescent shapes
1 green pepper, cut in strips
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 C EVOO
1/3 C fresh squeezed lemon juice (or more to taste)
- Wash lettuce, drain well. Tear up well-drained lettuce in a large bowl; add onion, mint, tomatoes and green pepper strips. Sprinkle with black pepper and garlic powder. Toss and set aside or in refrigerator until ready to serve.
- At serving time, add salt, lemon juice, and oil, mixed together, and toss lightly.
- ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Mix the pepper, garlic powder, salt, lemon juice, and EVOO in a screw-top jar and refrigerate until ready to serve. Shake well before pouring over the salad.
This was one of the recipes chosen by Jill for her dinner club tapas menu. It was a real hit. From Coastal Living, September 1999
6 medium-size dried shiitake mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
1 cup hot water
6 green onions
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds skinned and boned chicken thighs
1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
1 serrano chili pepper, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons Thai curry paste
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
1 cup frozen tiny sweet green peas
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 heads romaine lettuce
- Soak mushrooms in hot water 30 minutes; drain, reserving liquid. Rinse mushrooms in cold water; pat dry. Remove and discard stems; thinly slice tops. Pour reserved liquid through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a measuring cup; reserve 1/2 cup.
- Slice green onions, separating green tops from white portions. Set aside.
- Remove excess fat from chicken. Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes.
- Saute chicken in 2 tablespoons hot oil in a large skillet 5 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; cool. Coarsely chop chicken. Set aside.
- Saute white portion of green onions and serrano pepper in remaining 2 tablespoons hot oil in a large skillet 1 minute; add mushroom liquid, curry paste, coconut milk, and soy sauce, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, carrot, and next 3 ingredients; simmer 3 minutes. Stir in chicken.
- Whisk together cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into chicken mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in basil and green onion tops. Serve over romaine lettuce leaves.
Yield: 20 appetizer servings
Today is day 21 without a stove or oven and the novelty is definitely wearing off. I have spent far more time with my Weber gas grill and microwave than I had ever hoped for since my range up and died on December 6. You would think that replacing a gas range wouldn’t be all that difficult, but you’d be wrong. We’ve been getting one “my dog ate it” caliber excuse after another from vendors and today was no different.
Okay – - – thanks for bearing with me while I got that off my chest. On the bright side (and my glass is always at least 9/10ths full) I did learn an amazing new microwave trick yesterday that is so simple I can’t believe I haven’t heard of it before: how to make microwave potato chips. These are so good, lightning fast, full of potato flavor and all without any oil at all (not that I have any problem at all with fried foods!). Even Rod said he prefers them to bagged commercial chips and I can whip up a fresh batch in less time than it takes to make a sandwich.
1 medium size potato, peeled or not, your call; (I’ve been using red skin potatoes)
salt and seasoning of your choice, if desired.
a sheet of parchment paper
- Slice the potato as thin as you possibly can. I finally found a reason to justify the $10 plastic mandoline I brought home from Target months ago and haven’t used since – it’s perfect for these.
- Arrange the slices in a single layer on the sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle lightly with seasonings if desired.
- Place in the microwave and cook on high heat for about 5 or 6 minutes depending on the power of your oven. You’ll want to watch the first few batches until you get a feel for how long is just perfect. They’re ready when they’re golden brown and crisp.
I doubt there’s a pantry in the South without a can of Old Bay Seasoning in it. I use it in a lot of dishes other than steamed shrimp: as a salt substitute in my tuna salad, and in place of salt and paprika on grilled or broiled chicken. In this dip, it adds just the right amount of its signature flavor.
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar (6 oz. by weight)
3/4 C good mayonnaise, such as Hellmanns
1 1 /2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 lb. fresh lump crabmeat, picked over carefully to remove cartilage
assorted crackers for serving
In a medium bowl, combine 3/4 of the cheese, the mayonnaise, Old Bay Seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard. Fold in the crabmeat. Spoon the mixture into a 1-quart casserole. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and a little additional Old Bay.
Bake in a 350 oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble around the edges. Serve with crackers or pita chips or bagel chips.
My friends Les and Andrea are both wonderful cooks and an invitation to dinner at their gulf-front home is a guaranteed gourmet treat. Les has spent a lot of time in Budapest recently and he brought this soup recipe back which he served to us the other night as a first course. I was amazed. This has such a deep, rich flavor you’d swear you were eating something slow simmered in beef but no – it’s just mushrooms. This could be a full winter meal with just some crusty artisan bread on the side and a salad.
Many thanks to Les for sharing this terrific soup which I know I’ll be making quite often.
4 T unsalted butter
2 C chopped onions
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 t dried dill weed
1 T paprika
1 T soy sauce
2 C chicken broth
1 C milk
3 T all-purpose flour
1 t salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 t fresh lemon juice
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
1/2 C sour cream
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 more miutes. Stir in the dill, paprika, soy sauce and broth. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk the milk and flour together. Pour this into the soup and stir well to blend. Cover and simmer for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Finally, stir in the salt, pepper, lemon juice, parsley and sour cream. Mix together and allow to heat through over low heat, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not boil. Serve immediately.
We have a lot of appetizer buffet get-togethers out here on the Cape and Andrea inevitably is asked to bring this flavorful favorite dish as her contribution. They’re usually the first plate to disappear from the table, so those into arriving ‘fashionably late’ are sure to miss out!
1 stalk celery diced small
1 sm. onion diced small
1/2 small green pepper diced small
1/2 c dried bread crumbs
1 egg 1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp prepared mustard (I used Grey Poupon and would add more the next time)
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 c or 1 lb. crab meat
- Use foil shells or clean and prepare 10 crab shells or use small baking dish. Spray with Pam.
- Saute celery, onion, and green pepper in pan with olive oil. Cool.
- Mix remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and then mix in sauted vegetables when they are cool. Place in shells or baking container. Brush with butter (I topped with fresh bread crumbs and butter).
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.