Wednesday, October 14, 2015
This is one of my go to soups - it's got a chicken stock base, so I rely on it when cold and flu season swirls around the house. It's made with bacon along with cooked leeks, so the whole house smells good whenever I cook it up. It's got herbs that make it taste divine. About time I shared this one!
4 slices bacon
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped leeks (about 1 large leek), split lengthwise then cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup quartered or roughly chopped mushrooms, about 4-6 mushrooms
4-6 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 cups peeled and chopped potatoes
1/2 cup peeled and chopped turnip
1 tsp dried parsley
3/4 tsp dried oregano
up to 1 tsp sea salt
several grinds of fresh pepper
Cook the bacon in a skillet until almost crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan, then wrap in paper towels to remove the fat. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot set over medium heat. Add the leeks and mushrooms and cook until the leeks become soft. Add the garlic and continue cooking for several seconds. Add the chicken stock, along with the potatoes, turnips, and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are done. Taste the soup, correcting the seasoning by adding salt and pepper to taste.
Stealthy Cooking Tip: If you still buy boxed chicken broth and haven't discovered "Better Than Bullion" on your grocer's shelf, look for it! I found the organic, reduced sodium, chicken base at Costco - for the same price as a small bottle at the grocery and snapped it right up. The Costco size jar makes 76 cups of broth, 1 teaspoon of better than bullion gets mixed with 1 cup of water ... and the whole jar costs less than two boxes (8 cups) of chicken broth. It tastes great, I think better than boxed broth, and keeps (almost) forever in the frig. I heard about it first from America's Test Kitchen, and gave it a try. Now I'm hooked. Yes, freshly made stock is still the best, but this sure works when I don't have or take the time to make stock. Also, they make a vegetable base and a beef base, too!
Friday, October 9, 2015
2 ripe peaches, pitted and sliced
4 cups baby arugula
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 yellow or green summer squash, sliced vertically
4 tsp. salad dressing
freshly cracked pepper
This salad is all about presentation. The peaches are sliced with their skin intact. Using baby arugula gives a spicy note, rather than the bitter note the comes from more mature and larger arugula. I used a mandoline set on a thin setting to thinly slice both the fennel and the summer squash. If you don't have a mandoline, just slice them very thinly. Mix everything together, divide among plates, and top each salad with 1 teaspoon of salad dressing and a grind of fresh pepper. Serve.
Stealthy Cooking Tip: Feel free to vary the proportions in this salad. I added just a little squash to one of the plates, then lots of squash to another plate based on the palates of the people eating them. The sweetness of the peaches balances nicely with the spicy arugula, so I used a light salad dressing of just oil and vinegar, but any light salad dressing would go equally well.