Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mother-in-Law’s Vegetable Soup

Mary’s Vegetable Soup

This original recipe is from my mother-in-law, who with 6 kids, had a house full to feed. I have since cut the recipe basically in fourths because it made SO much. These proportions will fit fine in a 6qt Dutch Oven pot. Play with the recipe and swap out vegetables to suit your mood, or what is in your fridge!

1/2 lb Stew beef
1/2 qt water
1 bay leaf
1 can 28oz. can Diced tomatoes
1 onion (small to medium)
1/2 pkg Shredded Cabbage (appx 5-6 oz.)
1 Medium Baking Potato - cut into cubes
1 medium carrot, sliced (about 12-14 mini carrots)
1 can can of green beens (14.5 oz)
1 can can of white or yellow corn (14.5 oz) - option
1-2 tsp salt (do it to taste)

black pepper to taste

1 Simmer stew beef in water with bay leaf for 2 hours. Remove from heat. Remove meat from broth. Skim off fat (which can be done by refrigerating broth for an hour or two or using a gravy seperator).
2 Trim stew beef into small, bite sized pieces
3 Combine the rest of the ingredients. (can be done ahead of time and set aside, or done when ready to start cooking the soup.
4 Bring broth, meat, and all other ingredients to a boil. Turn down heat to a simmer. Add another cup of water at this time if you feel you need more broth. Simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Yield: 4-5 quarts

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Best French Onion Soup

I have ever made. I promised our Miss Beezer I would post this - sorry I took so long. A tad labor intensive but the end result is absolutely to die for I swear/guarantee.

As you can see this is copied and pasted direct from Cooks Illustrated site. I have made this twice while visiting my family and got rave reviews.

And if you do try it please let me know how you liked it. And yes the sherry gets cooked off but leaves a very good flavor.



Best French Onion Soup


Sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, will make this recipe overly sweet. Be patient when caramelizing the onions in step 2; the entire process takes 45 to 60 minutes. Use broiler-safe crocks and keep the rim of the bowls 4 to 5 inches from the heating element to obtain a proper gratinée of melted, bubbly cheese. If using ordinary soup bowls, sprinkle the toasted bread slices with Gruyère and return them to the broiler until the cheese melts, then float them on top of the soup. We prefer Swanson Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth and Pacific Beef Broth. For the best flavor, make the soup a day or 2 in advance. Alternatively, the onions can be prepared through step 1, cooled in the pot, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before proceeding with the recipe.

Serves 6

3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces
6 large yellow onions (about 4 pounds), halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see illustration below)

Table salt
2 cups water , plus extra for deglazing
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (see note)
2 cups beef broth (see note)
6 sprigs fresh thyme , tied with kitchen twine
1 bay leaf

Ground black pepper

Cheese Croutons
1 small baguette , cut into 1/2-inch slices
8 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)

1. For the soup: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Generously spray inside of heavy-bottomed large (at least 7-quart) Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray. Place butter in pot and add onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, 1 hour (onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove pot from oven and stir onions, scraping bottom and sides of pot. Return pot to oven with lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring onions and scraping bottom and sides of pot after 1 hour.

2. Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until liquid evaporates and onions brown, 15 to 20 minutes, reducing heat to medium if onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until pot bottom is coated with dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.) Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until onions are very dark brown. Stir in sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in broths, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper.

4. For the croutons: While soup simmers, arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in 400-degree oven until bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

5. To serve: Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

STEP BY STEP: Golden Onions Without the Fuss

1. RAW: The raw onions nearly fill a large Dutch oven.

2. AFTER 1 HOUR IN OVEN : The onions are starting to wilt and release moisture.

3. AFTER 2 1/2 HOURS IN OVEN : The onions are golden, wilted, and significantly reduced in volume.
STEP BY STEP: Triple Deglaze

Most recipes for French onion soup call for deglazing-—loosening the flavorful dark brown crust, or fond, that forms on the bottom of the pot-only once, if at all. The secret to our recipe is to deglaze the pot at least three times.
STEP BY STEP: Slicing Onions

Halve onion pole to pole, cut off root end of onion, then peel. Place flat side of onion on work surface, then slice from pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Okay, I know I'm hoggin' the blogspage and all, and after this recipe I promise to quit. BUT. This, my friends, is BIG. BIG NEWS, breaking news, big news indeed. I must share. Thursday's Atlanta paper is the Food Section paper (I look forward to Thursdays a LOT) that just shows you what a nerd I am but that's beside the point AAAAAAAANYWAYsies, I was reading along and lo and beholdin' in the Q and A section a lady (God bless her) asked if there was any way the famous Kahlua Cheesecake from the Public House could be obtained. The Public House was a restaurant in historic Roswell for many many years until it's *sob* closing a few years ago. Gee whiz they had the best elephant garlic and sundried tomato bruschetta in the hemisphere.


It turns out that when the Pleasant Peasant (another top notch restaurant here) was purchased several years ago, the buyer also purchased the RIGHTS TO THE PUBLIC HOUSE'S RECIPES!!

We, my friends, could not have made out any better. She may have gotten the Peasant, but WE got the recipe, and FOR FREE!! As I look at it, the ingredients and the amounts, I'm figuring the secret has to be in the directions cauz there's nothing special about the ingredients, in fact they're pretty sparse. Directions though, kinda fussy. But ohhhh hoo ho ho ho. This cheesecake is The Big Cheese of all cheesecakes. As the Pioneer Woman says, Make this. Now. : ^ )

1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs, or crushed Oreos
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted - if using Oreos, reduce butter to 5 Tablespoons
6 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup Kahlua

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press into bottom of a 10" springform. Bake 10 minutes, cool. (Do not try to use a 9" springform. You will certainly fill the bottom of your oven with overflow batter. It really requires the 10" size.)

Heat a large pot of water on stove and keep warm. Select a baking pan that will snugly hold the springform pan; a 12" square or round pan works well. Wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan in a large piece of heavy aluminum foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 250*.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat well. Beat in eggs and egg yolks one or two at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Add the Kahlua and beat until well incorporated. Pour over the crust in the springform pan. Place the springform pan inside the larger pan, place in the oven on the middle rack, and then carefully pour the warm water into the larger pan, 1 inch up side of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake in the water bath for about 3 hours, until the top is golden and the cheesecake is set. Remove from the water bath and cool in the springform pan on a wire rack for 1 hour; then chill for several hours or overnight. Remove the side of the pan before serving.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008


I made this chicken for the first time a couple of nights ago and it got rave reviews. It's super duper simple and takes very few ingredients, nothing that you'd have to go out to get. I made rice to go with it and we used the extra sauce as gravy to pour over. Warning though, this dish is very very lemony.

1 lemon
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil (that's what the recipe calls for but I gotta tell ya I use lots more)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 chicken legs


Preheat oven to 425 degrees .
In a 9x13 inch baking dish, grate the peel from 1/2 the lemon, squeeze out the juice (about 1/4 cup) and add to peel with the oregano, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Stir until mixed.
Remove skin from chicken pieces and discard. Coat chicken pieces with the lemon mixture and arrange, bone side up, in the baking dish. Cover dish and bake for 20 minutes. Turn and baste chicken.
Reduce heat to 400 degrees F and bake uncovered, basting every 10 minutes, for about 30 more minutes. Serve chicken with pan juices.

Recipe from All Recipes