From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Saturday, February 14, 2015

More meatloaf

As promised, here's what I did with that big buy of ground turkey:  a couple of meatloafs.

I used 5# of ground turkey.  Then I followed my old recipe from previous posts: mushrooms, onions, shredded zuke, diced peppers, worcestershire sauce, eggs, spices, oatmeal....

When everything was in the bowl and mixed as well as could be with a large spoon, I used very clean hands to do the final mix.  It seemed a little softer than usual so I added another 1/2C of oatmeal.  That firmed it up a bit.

It wasn't until the loaves were ready to pop into the oven and I'd just checked the actual recipe that I realized *DOH*  I was using 5# of meat, not 3# !!!!   Dang it!  No wonder it wasn't as firm as expected.  Not enough oatmeal, eggs, and spices.

Arrrrrgh.   Oh well, too bad, so sad.

Two hours later I had 2 nice loaves colorful thanks to the peppers and zukes.  I left them overnight in the breezeway (all covered - it was only 33F in there) to firm up. 

They sliced up well and took a half a loaf over to Mom who just loves meatloaf sandwiches.

Today, however, I didn't want another sandwich.  I had some greens that needed used up, so decided on a hot salad.

I browned up some thick strips of meatloaf and tossed them (artfully, no?) over the greens/onions and pomegranite seeds.

Pretty AND filling.  How about you?  How do YOU enjoy this king of comfort food?

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Kitchen catch-up

Like I said on the main blog post, when I'm not outside shoveling, I'm messing around in the kitchen.

Remember those 2 pots of beans I put to soak?  One of 15-beans (for soup) and 2# of red kidneys (for chili)?  Here's how they turned out.

As you know from a previous post here, I was disappointed with the batch of 15-bean soup I made.  That the beans were just not tender enough.

Well, lemmee tellya bunkies - this last batch turned out on Sunday  - per.fec.tion!  I swear I cooked them the same amount of time, maybe just 15-20 minutes longer, but these beans turned into but-tuh!  So smooth, so creamy.  The soup is the best bean soup I've ever made (and I've made a few pots in my time).

Then on Monday I made up a batch of chili from the beans simmered up the day before.  Again, I did something very very right.  Maybe it was the long cold outside that made me be more patient with the beans or what.  Maybe letting them cool overnight and then warmed up again when I made the chili.  I just don't know, but I ended up with some wonderful stuff here.  The beans and ground turkey just melted in the mouth.  Lucky me.

Then, against all odds, I won the triple crown, the trifecta:  Gluten Free grilled cheese!  Yes, you heard right.  After 4-5 brands of GF breads, I found the winner:  Rudi's GF multi-grain bread.  Now I don't know if I ever told you, but back when I was just cutting out modern wheat and switched to spelt flour, that I would buy Rudi's spelt bread.  Now why didn't I know that they also made GF bread?  Oh well, better late that never.  

Let me tell you I knew from the get-go that this was going to be a winner when I opened the bag.  It smelled nutty and yeasty and when the buttered bread hit the skillet it was just toasty fragrant.  The bread crisped up on the outside and was soft in the inside.  You can't ask for anything more.  Well, except for another one. LOL

This means I can make up a pot of homemade tomato soup now.  Previously I'd been putting it off because, after all, what good is even the best homemade tomato soup if you can't have a grilled cheese to dip into it.  I mean, really!

Yes indeedy.  It's been a great week in the kitchen.  And there's more to come.   

I lucked into a decent sale on ground turkey while out shopping between storms - enough to make up something savory - maybe this weekend. 

I'll keep ya posted.  Meanwhile, stay warm and be careful with all that comfort food these cold and bitter days.  Too much of a good thing ....!  Be good (this means you, Sue!  *snark*) :-D

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Split pea soup

As often as I make it, as often as I mention it in blog posts, as many pictures I show, I realized today that I've never actually done a post about MAKING split pea soup.  

Go figure.

Oh HERE I've posted about using the hand blender to turn the cooked soup into a luscious smoooooth velvet soup.

But not one that actually shows what goes into the soup.

So here ya go.  (Not just for you, you'd be amazed how often I look up my own recipes!)

It's pretty simple:

Sort 1# (2C) dried split peas for debris, rinse, and soak overnight, changing water half way through.

Drain and rinse the soaked peas.

What I usually do next (but not this time because I FORGOT!  Senior moment... *sigh*) is cover the peas with liquid (a mix of stock and water) so the peas are about 1/4" covered).

Then I would bring them to a boil and start skimming off all the white foam.  This is how you get rid of more of the phytic acid that the overnight soaking released.

After THAT I would add all the goodies:

1C each: carrots, celery, onions.  Then 1/2 of whatever amount of ham I had on hand, reserving the rest for later.

Then the obligatory bay leaf, garlic granules, thyme & chipotle powder (I do like my food spicy!).

Then just bring it all back to a boil, turn it down to simmer (watching now and then to keep the liquid from evaporating.

This batch took nearly 3C of liquid.  The veg will add it's own liquid as it cooks.  

When is it done?  Well, here is this batch after simmering for 1 hour (1st pic).  The veg now melt in your mouth.  The peas do not. They need a little more time.

(2nd pic) Look at this just 45 min later.  Now the peas themselves have pretty much 'melted' and there is clear liquid on top through which creamy peas bubble up.  A quick test for tenderness and everything is soft and lovely.  A good hand whisk would make this into nice soup.  But a hand blender just whips it into green ambrosia!

After the whisk/blender, I add the reserved ham.  It adds texture and more flavor to the soup.  Truly, this is my favorite of my bean & velvet soups.  Maybe that's why I never posted about it before.  It's so simple and so frequent this winter that it's ordinary - like making oatmeal for breakfast.  And who would want to read about that?  LOL  

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(Here's something that should have been obvious, but it took me some time to figure this out.  OLD PEAS AND BEANS NEVER REALLY RE-HYDRATE/COOK COMPLETELY.  Since I've been making pea soup so often lately and buying peas a lot, I see now that peas I'd kept for *mumble* months/years made poor soup.  Today's split peas (soaked) cooked up in 1.75 hours - tender and delicious.  Maybe if I stored beans/peas in airtight jars when I bought them, they might be good after a year or two.  But now I try to use bagged beans quickly before they start turning into stones.)

There!  THE difinitive post about split pea soup.  (Except that I forgot to skim foam before adding veg - oh well.  Noted! LOL) 

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