Tag Archives: vegetarian

Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup II

soup and salad
It’s soup season!  My first new soup of the fall came from a recipe by Ina Garten of the Food Network.  This summer when our Roma tomatoes were coming in by the dozens I didn’t have time to do anything with them.  My sous-chef dish-washing mom was fighting breast cancer, we had a fair amount of company in and out and in August my sweet little grandsons were visiting for 10 days.

Bag of roma tomatoes
So, as my Chief Gardener would bring in baskets of tomatoes with a slight look of apology, I would smile, say “no problem honey”.  Then I washed them up and whisked them away to the freezer.

fresh tomato basil soup
However, on this particularly day the Chief had just brought in the last of the fall tomatoes.  He was pulling the plants and cleaning up the garden. Our fall was pretty hot but I really, really wanted to make fresh tomato soup with this last basket of tomatoes.  That evening a cool rain blew through and I thought “Ah-ha!  soup tomorrow.” The coolness didn’t last but we had soup anyone.

It wasn’t until I started writing this blog post that I discovered that I used this same recipe from Ina Garten last fall!  I should have searched MY OWN website for a recipe before I went searching hers.  🙂

fresh tomato soup ladled
Last year’s soup looked like this. You can get the recipe here.  We loved this soup as much this fall as we did last fall!

I still have bags of frozen Roma tomatoes in the freezer and will enjoy making this again when the weather gets really, really cold!

Have a blessed weekend and possibly a soup Saturday!

Happy Cooking!
~Catherine

Think upon these things:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

Spring Is In The Details

Cave spring watercress This is the cave spring that feeds the little creek that runs in front of our home.  The cave is located on our neighbor’s property.  Lucky for us she doesn’t mind us walking down her lane and across her front yard so that we can view this lovely spring.  During the winter everything surrounding the water turns a dullish gray-brown. The leaves pile up and freeze. The flowers along the creek lose their blooms and die.  It is winter after all.

Cave Spring 2014Yet, before the daffodils bloom, before the grass turns green, and before the spring wildflowers pop up everywhere this beautiful little creek glows green with watercress. Wikipedia tells me that watercress is one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans.

If I were Martha Stewart I would be making watercress salad. When my Chief Culinary Consultant first saw the watercress in our creek he said “you should make watercress salad.”  Being the ever dutiful wife, I said, “Okay.”  But before I ventured out to gather the leafy green water-laden vegetable I Googled it.  I quickly found that the USDA says it should not be eaten if there is any chance an animal or animals have access to the water.  Well, of course they do! The article I read went on to mention contamination and all that.

Our friend Tom, who has lived in these parts all his life (and is a medical doctor) says that’s crazy. He says “just wash it well and enjoy it!”  Dutiful wife or not I have chosen not to poison  treat my family to watercress salad — until now.

A recent early spring walk up to the cave spring unveiled this stunning leafy watercress sitting right at the cave’s opening in flowing fresh water.  Soon I will venture down the creek embankment and harvest some fresh watercress.

Have you ever eaten watercress salad? How was it?

Martha Stewart salad watercressThis is a picture taken by Jose’ Manuel Picayo Rivera for Martha Stewart. It is a Roasted Sweet Potato Watercress Salad.  Looks good doesn’t it?

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!   Psalm 34:8

Psalm 34:8 is one of my favorite Bible verses and it seems so fitting for this first day of April.  Have a blessed day and Happy Spring!

-Catherine

Cucumber and Onion Salad

marinated cucumbers

As I sit with my computer on my lap, poised ready to write about cucumber and onion salad, I am brain-dead.  Truth is, I am posting this recipe for myself.  Yep, it is true. Selfishly, I am thinking of all the time I spend looking for the recipe note card, sorting through recipe files on my computer and yet trying to remember how much sugar to how much vinegar.  It should be so easy, yet I can’t ever remember.

Dish of Cucumbers

Growing vegetables can be such a funny and unpredictable activity.  Last year our cucumber plants came down with a fungus and had to be destroyed.  No cucumbers for us.  This year — we have 4 plants and they are producing at maximum capacity.  Go figure.

marinated cucs

I will keep cucumber and onion salad in my refrigerator and on our dinner table for the next month.  When the tomatoes are ripe I will toss a few of those in.  Come middle of August I won’t want to touch another cucumber until Christmas.  True story.  Meantime, I highly recommend you get some fresh cucumbers from the garden — yours, your neighbors, the farmers — wherever you can.  Make a cucumber and onion salad.  Enjoy!

Happy Summertime!
Catherine

P.S.  And when you can’t find the recipe next year, it will be right here! 🙂

Cucumber and Onion Salad
 
The every summer freshest-favorite salad ... cucumbers, onion, sweet and tangy all at once.
Ingredients
  • 2 to 3 cucumbers
  • 1 medium white onion
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • *Optional: 1 to 2 tomatoes cut in quarters
Instructions
  1. You will need a 2 quart jar with lid or other 2 quart container.
  2. Cut the ends off the cucumbers and peel along the long edge in 3-4 strips to leave a sort of stripped cucumber.
  3. Slice the cucumber in thin rounds.
  4. Peel and slice the onion in thin slices and separate.
  5. Put the cucumber and onion alternately in your jar/container. *Optional: add tomato quarters
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover your jar/container tightly and gently turn so the ingredients are mixed together.
  7. Refrigerate overnight and serve cold.

Broccoli au Gratin

broccoli au gratin spoonful

After a week of recipes like Tuesdays With Dorie Croissants and the Pioneer Women’s Cinnamon Rolls I knew I better end on a healthy note or my faithful reader-son Cory, will definitely disown me!  Enter a lovely bag of fresh broccoli.  I love broccoli.  I think it just may be my favorite vegetable, as an adult.  As a child the only vegetable I would eat was green beans.  But when I was about 45 I grew up and started eating other vegetables.  Today my favorite — broccoli!

steamed broccoli

In the culinary arts, the term au gratin refers to a dish that is baked with a topping of seasoned breadcrumbs and cheese. The au gratin topping should be golden brown, which can be achieved by baking or by placing the dish under a broiler.  Au gratin — a perfect way to serve broccoli!!  Broccoli is a delicious side dish to so many meats and main dishes.  I started this colorful gratin by steaming the broccoli in the microwave. I like baking in a cast iron skillet but you can also use your favorite baking dish or casserole dish.

broccoli with cheese

While the broccoli is steaming in the microwave I made a cheesy white sauce, reserving a bit of the cheese to sprinkle on the hot broccoli.

sauce over broccoli

The cheesy white sauce is poured over the broccoli.

broc au gratin topping

I adore Panko bread crumbs so I used a handful to make up the crunchy topping.  The gratin is baked until lightly browned and bubbly.

broccoli au gratin skilletful
The nice part about using a cast iron skillet is it makes a fun serving dish as well.  From the oven to the table.

broccoli au gratin spoonful

I adapted this recipe from Food Network Kitchens.  It is a keeper for me.  It can easily be made and on the table in less than an hour while finishing up any main dish.

broccoli au gratin single cornbread

We like our broccoli tender-crisp and not mushy.  This recipe is easy to make without over-baking the broccoli.

What is your favorite broccoli recipe?  Please do-tell, I am always looking for tried and true recipes for this yummy vegetable!

~Blessings, Catherine

Broccoli au Gratin
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Broccoli -- cheese -- Panko -- you will love this au gratin!
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups milk (2% or whole)
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds broccoli (about 4 heads), cut into small florets (about 8 cups)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup grated sharp and colby cheese, divided in half
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Spray canola oil in a 9" round cast iron skillet or 8" x 8" x 2" baking dish.
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the milk, sharp cheddar cheese and salt and bring to a low simmer while whisking constantly. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the white sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, place the broccoli in a glass microwaveable dish and add ¼ cup water. Cover with microwaveable lid or plastic wrap. Microwave for 3 minutes. Drain off water.
  4. Put the steamed broccoli in the prepared dish, sprinkle with the ½ cup sharp and colby cheese. Pour on the sauce. Sprinkle with remaining sharp and colby mixture.
  5. Cover the gratin with the Panko bread crumbs. Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Food Network Kitchens.

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