Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February Soups

Cream of Pea Soup
I served the cream of pea Adelaide style (with a meat pie) for Australia Day

2 ½ cups water
½ cup split peas
½ onion, minced
1 carrot, minced
2 bouillon cubes
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
½ tsp sugar
2 sprigs of parsley
1 ½ Tbsp oil
1 ½ Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk

Pour the water into a soup pot. Add the peas, onion, and carrot. Cook, covered, for 30 minutes over medium-low, stirring periodically. Add the bouillon cubes, bay leaf, salt, sugar, and parsley. Continue cooking on low for 15 minutes longer. Remove the bay leaf. Mix the oil and the flour, making a paste, then blend into the soup. Add milk. Stirring continuously, bring the soup to the boilin point and then add the eggs, first mixed in a bowl with a little bit of the soup. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring constantly, without letting the soup get to the boiling point.

Spinach Cream Soup

Spinach cream tastes like the creamed spinach side dish
½ package fresh or frozen spinach
½ onion, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 ½ cups chicken stock
2 eggs
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan
Salt, pepper, and nutmeg
1 garlic clove, minced
3 slices of bread

Wash the spinach, making sure it is well cleaned. Then chop it and the onion. Pour the olive oil into a soup pot and briefly saute the spinach and onion. After 3 minutes, add the chicken stock and cook slowly over low heat for about 30 minutes. Add more stock if necessary. Beat the eggs and parmesan cheese in a deep bowl. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg and mix it all very well. Blend the soup in a blender until thick and creamy and return it to the pot. Add the egg mixture and stir continually until all the elements blend well. Reheat the soup over low heat for about 5-8 min. Rub the garlic on slices of bread and place them in the oven for a few minutes. Place a bread slice in each bowl and immediately pour the hot soup on top.

Orzo Soup

orzo soup
¼ cup olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2.5 cups water or vegetable stock
1 cup dry white wine
1 bouquet garni (oregano, thyme, bay leaf tied together)
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup finely chopped mushrooms
½ cup frozen green peas
½ cup orzo noodles
Dried marjoram and grated Romano cheese as garnish

Pour the olive oil into a soup pot and saute the shallots and garlic for 1 minute. Stir often. Add the water, wine, bouquet garni, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower to medium heat and add mushrooms and peas. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add orzo noodles, check seasonings, and add wine if necessary. Simmer the soup, covered, gently for 15 minutes, then remove the bouquet garni and serve the soup hot. Sprinkle marjoram and some Romano cheese on the top of each serving.

Saint Antony Soup

Saint Antony Soup
2 Tbsp oil of choice
½ cup barley
2 carrots, grated
1 leek, sliced
1 bay leaf
¼ cup fresh minced parsley or chervil
Salt to taste
3 ½ cups water
1 bouillon cube
Chopped mushrooms

Pour the oil into a soup pot and add the barley, stirring continuously for 1 minute. Immediately add the carrots, leeks, bay leaf, parsley, salt, and water. Cook the soup over low to medium heat for 45 minutes, or until barley is tender. Add more water if necessary. Add bouillon cube and chopped mushrooms if desired.

Veloute a la Dubarry

½ lb cauliflower
1 leek, white part only
1 medium potato
3 ½ cups water
2 Tbsp butter
1 ½ Tbsp flour
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 egg yolk
½ dry vermouth
1 Tbsp sour cream
Pinch of nutmeg

Chop the cauliflower and leeks and dice the potato. Place them in a large pot. Add the water and cook slowly, covered, over low-medium heat for 30 minutes. Melt the butter in a separate pot. Gradually add the flour, salt, and pepper and make a roux, while stirring vigorously. Add some of the broth from the soup and mix well. Place some cooked cauliflower florettes aside, then blend the rest of the vegetable mix in a blender. Return the soup to a clean soup pot. Add the roux, stir, and continue cooking, uncovered, over very low heat, not allowing the soup to reach the boiling point. Beat the egg yolk. Add the vermouth and sour cream and mix thoroughly. Pour this mixture into the soup. Add the nutmeg and stir well. Check the seasonings. Reheat the soup for a few minutes if it is cold without allowing to boil. Serve hot, with reserved cauliflower on top as a garnish.

Saint Scholastica Soup

Saint Scholastica
Saint Scholastica Soup

6 cups water
1 cube vegetable bouillon
5 Tbsp French lentils
5 Tbsp split peas
4 Tbsp lima beans
1 leek, chopped fine
2 shallots, chopped fine (2 Tbsp fried shallots)
1 carrot (parsnip), thick slices, quartered
2 turnips (golden beets), thick slices, quartered
1 celery stalk, sliced
½ head of red leaf or green leaf lettuce
1.5 oz butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour water in a large pot. Add the lentils, split peas, and lima beans and bring to a boil. Add the leeks, shallots, root vegetables, and celery and continue cooking covered on medium heat for 30 minutes. Add the lettuce and simmer another 30 minutes on low. Add butter, salt, and pepper and stir well. Serve hot. [I made several substitutions shown in parentheses.]

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Addictive Strawberry Hand Pies at Froeberg Farms

Hand pies are one of those items that many of us are nostalgic about from our childhood (even if the fried pie we are thinking of was from McD's). Froeberg Farm (3601 TX-6, Alvin, TX 77511 is better known as a pick-your-own strawberry farm and vegetable market; however, they make a lot of different kinds of hand pies fresh all day from fresh or dried fruit. 

I sampled several of the fresh fruit (strawberry, blackberry) and the dried fruit (pineapple, apricot) pies, and the fresh fruit pies definitely were far superior in texture and flavor. The strawberry pie recipe is hands-down the best. On an early spring day with pretty weather, make the (hour or so, depending on traffic) drive south from Houston to Alvin, and grab a bunch of strawberry hand pies out from under the heat lamp to savor while you're filling your strawberry basket. And bring some back to eat for breakfast the next day.

Pies made with Girl Scout Cookies

Late February/early March means it's the season for eating Girl Scout cookies. Some people apparently felt that they weren't good enough as is and created some recipes to turn them into pies ( The first, Mile-High Peppermint Pie, is a a mint version of baked Alaska, a frozen mint ice cream pie with Thin Mints crust and a meringue topping. The second, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Pie, is a pie made with Rah Rah Raisin cookies.

Mile-High Peppermint Pie

1 1/2 cups crushed Thin Mints Girl Scouts cookies (24 cookies)
2 Tbsp butter melted

5 cups peppermint ice cream (Bryer's)

5 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar

chocolate sauce:
1 oz semisweet chocolate
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 sugar
3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the cookies and butter in a bowl. Press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Freeze covered for 1 hour until solid. Spread the ice cream into the crust and freeze until solid. Preheat oven to 450.

Prepare chocolate sauce by melting chocolate and butter over medium-low heat. Add the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer uncovered for 4-5 minutes until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Keep warm.

For the meringue, in a small, heavy saucepan, combine the egg whites and sugar. Using a hand mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Place saucepan over low heat; continue beating on low until a thermometer reads 160°.

Transfer mixture to a bowl. Beat on high until stiff glossy peaks form. Spread over the frozen pie. Bake 2-3 minutes until meringue is lightly browned. Serve immediately with warm chocolate sauce. Yields 8 servings.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Pie

Created by Donna Fumuso

1 pie pastry
3 eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 pkg (6-oz) Girl Scouts Rah-Rah Raisins™ cookies, crushed
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
whipped cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°. Unroll pastry sheet into a 9-inch pie plate and flute the edge. In a large bowl, beat eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and salt until blended. Stir in crushed Rah-Rah Raisins™ cookies, raisins, and oats. Pour into the pie pastry. Bake 45-55 minutes or until filling is set and top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and serve or refrigerate within 2 hours. If desired, serve topped with whipped cream. Yields 8 servings.