Thursday, January 26, 2023

ICEBERG LETTUCE WITH BUTTERMILK BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

Here is a recipe for a really delicious blue cheese dressing. No additives, no sugar, and you can make it in just a few minutes.




1 head Iceberg lettuce, cored and cut into wedges or chopped
A few thinly slices red onion
4 radishes, thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
6 oz Roquefort or blue cheese, crumbled and divided
½ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
½ cup mayonnaise
1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice or white wine vinegar
3 T buttermilk 
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place lettuce slices on 4 salad plates.
Evenly divide red onion and celery on top of each lettuce.

Whisk together the sour cream or yogurt and mayonnaise in a medium bowl.

Add most of the crumbled blue cheese. Mash and mix with a fork until fairly smooth, but not completely smooth.
Stir in the lemon juice and as much buttermilk as needed. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon some dressing on top of each wedge, add the rest of the crumbled blue cheese. 

Serves 4





Wednesday, January 18, 2023

BISTRO FRENCH ONION SOUP

I love a good bowl of French onion soup, especially on a cold winter's night. Serve this with a green salad. This is a truly romantic dinner for two while you listen to the music of French cabaret singer and songwriter, Èdith Piaf. Je suis Paris!

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
You can make this soup with only Gruyère cheese or only a good quality Swiss cheese.


2 T avocado oil
4 T unsalted butter
6 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry sherry 
¼ cup good quality brandy (optional)
2 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with butcher’s twine
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
6 cups beef broth or stock
4 cups chicken broth or stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
8 oz shredded Gruyère cheese
4 oz shredded Emmentaler Swiss cheese
1 French baguette, sliced

Heat oil and butter in a large Dutch oven over low heat.  
Add onions and cook over low heat, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
Remove lid and continue to cook for another 20 minutes, until golden, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
Add sherry and cook another 2 minutes, to reduce.
Add thyme sprigs, bay leaves, beef broth, and chicken broth.
Season to taste with salt and pepper

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer another 20 minutes.
Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves.

While soup is simmering, arrange slices of bread on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree F oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until toasted, then set aside.

Ladle broth and onions in ovenproof soup bowls set on a baking sheet.  
Add the toasted bread, two per bowl, and sprinkle with cheeses. 

Heat broiler with rack 6 inches from element.  
Place baking sheet with bowls of soup under the broiler and broil until cheeses are browned and bubbly, about 3-4 minutes.

Garnish with a small sprig of thyme, if desired.

6 servings


 


Wednesday, January 11, 2023

SOUTHERN BREAKFAST POPOVERS

Popovers are an American version of the English Yorkshire pudding. The differences are, popovers are larger and contain butter in the batter. Yorkshire puddings, usually served with prime rib, do not contain butter, but a teaspoon of the beef drippings is added to each cup before pouring the batter in. They are both traditional and delicious! Savory popovers are made with black pepper and cheese added to the batter. 


Lee's Kitchen Tips:
Do not oven the oven door, not even to peek, during the cooking time.


2 cups whole milk
2 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Pour milk into an 8-cup heatproof measuring pitcher or bowl.
Add the butter and microwave for 2 minutes to melt the butter and heat the milk.
Alternatively you can heat the milk and butter in a saucepan to just barely a simmer.
Let cool slightly.

Whisk the eggs into the milk, one at a time, alternating with the flour and salt.
Whisk until mostly smooth.

Place popover pan on a baking sheet and heat in oven for 2 minutes, exactly.
Remove popover pan from oven and generously spray with cooking oil. 
(I use grape seed oil in a oil mister/sprayer).

Pour batter evenly into popover pan, making sure you fill each cup to the top.
Bake in oven for 20 minutes. 

Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake another 30 minutes. 

Remove from oven and let cool a couple of minutes.
Release, using a table knife, if needed.

To Serve
Puncture sides with a sharp knife to let steam escape and fill with a small pat of butter and strawberry jam.

Makes 6

Monday, January 2, 2023

EASY & DELICIOUS CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

make chicken noodle soup a couple of times during the autumn and winter, and I make it with boneless chicken breasts. Chicken wings are first simmered with the chicken broth or stock to make the extra rich stock. You can also pull off some of the meat from the chicken wings and add to the soup or give that meat to your pet.



2 lbs chicken wings
2 quarts chicken broth or stock
1 quart water
1 t black peppercorns
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves

2 T unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
1 leek, diced
4 carrots, cut in half lengthwise, sliced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 T minced fresh parsley
3 cups egg noodles, or pasta of your choice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Place chicken wings in a large stockpot, add the chicken broth or stock, water, peppercorns, thyme, and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil, skim off the foam from top and discard.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 1 hour.

In another large pot or Dutch oven, over medium-low heat add butter and sauté the onion, leek, celery, and carrots for 5 minutes. 
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.

When stock is finished cooking, remove wings with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside. 
Strain stock through a fine mesh sieve into the pot with the onion mixture.
Add the cut up chicken breasts and minced parsley. 
Simmer, partially covered for 15 minutes.
Add the noodles and simmer another 8 to 10 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serves 6 to 8

3 CHEESE POTATOES AU GRATIN

I think everyone loves potatoes au gratin. I doubled the recipe for twelve people on New Year's Eve and everyone raved about it. I have made this dish with the cheeses that I use in my fondu recipe, but Emmentaler and especially Appenzeller may not be easy to find in your super market. A plain Swiss, Edam, along with gruyere would be delicious. The total amount of cheese in this recipe is one cup. Don't overdo the cheese because you want to see that there are potatoes underneath.

LEE'S KITCHEN TIPS:

You can add left-over cut up ham if you make this after Easter or Christmas.



Gruyere cheese
Swiss Emmentaler cheese or any good Swiss
Edam Cheese

1 T unsalted butter
1 T avocado oil
1 large yellow onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 medium potatoes, scrubbed clean 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chicken stock
¼ t freshly grated nutmeg

Place a box grater in a medium bowl and grate ¼ cup of each cheese into the bowl. Mix by hand to combine the cheeses.
Save the rest of the cheese for another recipe.

Melt butter with oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
Add sliced onion and sauté until translucent and caramelized, about 15 minutes. 
Add garlic and cook another minute. Turn off heat and set aside.
Thinly slice the potatoes and place into another bowl.
Alternatively, you can also use a mandoline to thinly slice the potatoes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray the bottom of a gratin or baking dish with oil.
Spoon half of the caramelized onions evenly into the bottom the dish.
Arrange half of the sliced potatoes in a pattern over the onions.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle half of the combined cheeses evenly over the potatoes.

Spoon the rest of the caramelized onions over the cheeses and arrange the rest of the sliced potatoes in a pattern over the onions.
Pour chicken stock over potatoes and add the grated nutmeg.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with the remainder of the combined cheeses evenly over the potatoes.

Place dish on a baking sheet to catch any drippings.
Loosely cover with aluminum foil sprayed on the inside with oil, and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and bake another 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

Serves 4 to 6


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

EASY BEAN & BACON SOUP

 For years, my husband loved Bean & Bacon Soup in a can. I played with this recipe a few times until I think it is even better than the canned soup. Not only is it better, but a lot healthier without artificial ingredients.



6 slices bacon, diced (preferably applewood smoked bacon)
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock or broth
3 15-oz cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 T tomato paste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the grease.
Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Pour in the chicken stock or broth, the drained beans, and tomato paste.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stir to completely combine.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and partially cover with a lid.
Simmer for 30 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup for just a couple of seconds to puree some of the beans.

Alternatively, you can carefully pour about 2 cups into a blender and puree, then pour back into the pot.

Add half of the bacon and simmer another 5 minutes.

Ladle into warm soup bowls and top with remaining bacon and serve.

Serves 4 to 6



Thursday, December 8, 2022

KENTUCKY BOURBON BALLS

My mom used to make a fruit cake at Christmas that was spiked with bourbon. I called it 'Tipsy Fruit Cake' and she never drank . . . not even a glass of wine!  Fruit cake is not on my list of favorite Christmas confections but these Kentucky Bourbon Balls are. They are a southern tradition and I make them with a Kentucky bourbon. Let them "cure" for a week in an air-tight container to develop the complete flavor.


3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup confectioners' sugar 
¼ cup Kentucky bourbon
2 T golden or light corn syrup
2 cups vanilla wafers, about 40
1 cup finely chopped pecans

½ cup confectioners'
2 T unsweetened cocoa power

Sift the cocoa and confectioners' sugar into a large mixing bowl.
Combine the bourbon and corn syrup and add to the bowl with the cocoa and confectioners' sugar

In the bowl of a food processor, add the pecans and process until finely chopped.
Pour the pecans into the mixing bowl with rest of the ingredients 
Add the vanilla wafers to the processor and process until they are finely ground and add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. 
Mix until completely combined. 

Working with 1 tablespoon of the dough at a time, roll the cookies into a 1-inch ball.
Refrigerate for 1 hour until well chilled.

In a shallow bowl or pie pan, add the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder and mix thoroughly.  
Roll the balls in the mixture until well coated.

Store in a container with a tight fitting lid for 7 days.

Makes 40 small balls