I have been entertaining myself lately taking cooking classes at our local Kitchen Store. Although I am a fairly decent cook, I’ve been taking the classes to widen my horizons as far as trying new and different foods. I am a visual eater, if it looks yukky, I won’t try it. I realize that I have been missing out on some really good food, thus the reason why I have been hooking up with Sue at The Kitchen Store in Apalachin, NY and being introduced to some new culinary experiences. One such food is French Onion Soup. Believe it or not, I had never eaten French Onion Soup until this month at cooking class. Like I said before, visual eater, and soggy bread with melted gooey cheese stringing from a hot bowl of soup just did not look appetizing to me. I love onions. I love baggette breads. And I love cheese. So why wouldn’t I have tried the soup before this? Anywho, because I had paid for the class, and again because I am determined to eat “stuff” that I’ve never eaten before, I actually made and tried French Onion Soup. The recipe follows. And that picture, isn’t she a beautiful looking bowl of soup??? Oh and THANKS Sue for offering these classes and giving me the opportunity to try new foods!!
Soup À L’oignon Gratinée (French Onion Soup)
6 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 lbs. Yellow Onions, peeled, and thinly sliced (6 very large onions)
1 tsp. Sugar
Salt & Pepper
1 Tbsp. Flour
8 cups Beef Stock
2 cups dry White Wine
1 lb. Gruyere Cheese, shredded
Melt 3 Tbsp butter and the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent; about 20 minutes. Increase heat, uncover and add sugar, and season with salt. Cook until onions are very soft and deep golden brown. Reduce to medium heat, sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, and then add 2 cups of stock, stir to blend, and then add remaining stock and wine. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425°. Slice baguette into 8 thick slices. Butter both side of bread with remaining butter and toast in oven until golden brown. Fill oven safe bowls with onion soup; place a slice of toast on top. Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese on top of soup. Set bowls in baking pans and place in oven. Bake until cheese has browned.
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I am so in love with summer veggies. I have been eating so many fruits and vegetables this summer. And tonight’s dinner was no exception.
A guy that works with us brings in a lot of zucchini, summer squash and those funky patty pans. He also brings in cucumbers and tons of fresh lettuce. Today he brought in zucchini and I just knew I would be making this dish. It’s got a great tangy taste, and it’s a very easy dish to make.
Angel Hair Pasta and Veggies Vinaigrette
1 cup zucchini or yellow summer squash, quartered and sliced
1/2 medium green pepper, sliced in strips and cut in half
1 clove garlic, minced
1 serving of angel hair pasta, or any pasta of choice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
12 grape tomatoes
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
In a large skillet, cook the squash, pepper and garlic in oil, until crisp.
Add pasta, vinegar, dill, salt and pepper to vegetable mixture and mix well.
Add the tomatoes, and cook until fully heated. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top.
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I don’t know about you, but the typical summer pasta salads with the pepperroni, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, just doesn’t do it for me. I can eat it, but it’s just that one serving will do.
Anywho, I came up with this pasta salad, and I just love it. I actually have to limit myself, because I could eat this stuff every single meal, and for snacks also.
Summer Pasta Salad
- 1 LB Farfalline Pasta – cooked per package directions
- 12 oz. package frozen sweet corn – thawed
- 12 oz. package frozen sweet peas – thawed
- 1 large red bell pepper – diced
- 1-1/2 cup shredded carrots – steamed for approx. one minute in microwave
- Mozzarella cheese – approx. 10 oz. diced
- Good Seasons Italian dressing – made with balsamic vinegar and olive oil
Cook pasta, rinse in cold water. Thaw corn and peas, this can be done using hot water from the faucet. Dice the red pepper, and dice the cheese.
Mix all ingredients together, and drizzle the dressing over the salad. I used the whole bottle that I made, because, well let me warn you up front, this makes a lot of salad. But it lasts in the fridge for a week or more, and lets face it, once you taste this stuff, there’s no way there will be any left-overs.
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We had a wonderful ham on Christmas Day and I scored the ham bone that had lots of ham deliciousness still on the bone. So I decided to make Crock Pot Split Pea Soup from a recipe that my friend Lenore sent to me. OMFrickenG, is this the BEST split pea soup ever!! I know a lot of people who turn their nose up on Split Pea soup, maybe because it’s green and not the best looking soup. Are they ever missing something wonderful if they don’t try this soup, it smells wonderful, and the taste is beyond delicious!! Thanks Lenore for sharing this wonderful soup recipe!!!
Crock Pot Split Pea Soup
16 ounces dried split peas
2 cups diced fully cooked ham
1 cup diced or shredded carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (I probably used at least 4 cloves because I love garlic)
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
5 cups boiling water
1 cup hot milk
Layer the first nine ingredients, in the order listed (do not stir), in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 8-10 hours or until vegetables are tender. Stir in hot milk. Discard the bay leaves before serving.
I made a homemade loaf of honey wheat bread to go with this soup…yum, comfort food!!!
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When you are a part of a large family like I am, Christmas means homemade family gifts. I am one of six children and including our children and our grandchildren we total up to 41 people who gather for holidays. Thank goodness my Mom has an huge old farm house that more than holds all of us.
Anyways, each year we make gifts for each other. This year instead of the normal crocheted dish cloths, or peppermint bark, I wanted to try something unique. Last Christmas time I found a recipe for Homemade Vanilla Extract at The Italian Dish a wonderful blog with great recipes!! I saved the link and this past spring I started getting the ingredients, bottles, labels and everything that I needed to make this extract. It’s been steeping for about 6 months now and OMG does it smell delicious!!!
I got the bourbon vanilla beans from The Organic Vanilla Bean Company. I bought the 4 oz. clear Boston Round Bottles from Specialty Bottle. I also bought the Shrink Bands for a more professional look. Next came the labels. I couldn’t help myself, I stole Elaine’s idea and ordered labels from My Own Labels. They lend additional professionalism to the bottle. And finally, I used Abolut Vodka.
I so hope that everyone enjoys the extract. I made 24 bottles. I need 11 bottles for family, and the rest will go to my co-workers and friends.
Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!!!
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My dear, dear friend Marilyn sent me the link to this Sweet Pumpkin Butter recipe last week. She raved how after tasting it that she was gonna hafta ask for her own hand in marriage. She even said it was better than Stonewall Kitchen Maple Pumpkin Butter. So of course I had to give the recipe a try, and boy oh boy was Marilyn correctomondo!! It is delicious!! You can serve it on english muffins, toast, crackers, put it in your oatmeal, or just eat it from a spoon. I had mine on an english muffin this morning, after I had a taste from the spoon first.
Sweet Maple Pumpkin Butter
Adapted from Diana’s Desserts
2 – 15 oz. cans pure pumpkin
1 cup fresh apple cider
2 cups granulated sugar
4 tbsps. pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Mix all ingredients together in a large saucepan. Bring mixture to a full boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
When slightly cooled, spoon mixture into sterilized jars, and process in water bath for 10 minutes. Let sit in pot for an additional 10 minutes after boiling. Remove from bath and cool. Make sure all jars seal.
You can also put butter into sterilized jars and refrigerate for 2 months.
Makes approximately 10 – 4 oz. jars.
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I found this recipe on The Sister’s Cafe blogspot and was intrigued by the combination of seasoning packets that were used. I put it into my “I wanna try this recipe” folder. And then while grocery shopping this week, I picked up a nice thick chuck roast, and some of the seasonings that I didn’t have in my pantry.
This morning I put the roast into the crockpot, peeled and cut up some carrots, chunked some celery, sliced two onions, and placed them around the roast along with some canned button mushrooms. Then with a lot of hesitation I dumped each of the packets of seasoning onto my beautiful roast. I kept going back to look at the roast through the glass top of the crockpot and I could have kicked myself because I thought I was wasting a perfectly great looking piece of meat. However, as the hours went by and the aroma of the roast was wafting through the house, I started to think, okay, so how bad could it be if it smells this good?
It is fork tender delicious!! I served it with some mashed potatoes, some nice crusty bread and I was in heaven.
It’s an odd combination for sure, but one that will delight and everyone is sure to be crazy over this meal (unless of course they are vegetarians that is).
4 Packet Roast
Adapted from The Sister’s Cafe
1 packet of Ranch Dressing
1 packet of Italian Dressing mix
1 packet Brown Gravy mix
1 packet of Onion Soup mix
1 4-5 pound chuck roast, or use wild game meat if you want
2 medium onions, sliced
2 ribs of celery sliced into thick pieces
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into thick pieces
3/4 cup water
2 small cans of button mushrooms
Place roast into the crockpot, arrange vegetables around the roast. Sprinkle the seasoning packets on top of the roast, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
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