October 18, 2015: 5 Onion Soup

This may be the best soup I've ever had, so I had to share the recipe. Horsefeathers in N. Conway use to serve it and I got the recipe from their website many years ago. I finally made it. The first batch went so fast, I had to make another batch to freeze. I've built up a wonderful assortment of incredible foods lately for my freezer. I now have a wonderful menu to choose from. Fine dining right here at home. *:) I'll continue adding to what I call my restaurant freezer and will post other recipes on occasion.

Lifes too short to eat mediocre food.

5 Onion Soup

 

* 1lb spanish onions, thin slice, 3/4" lengths
* 1lb red onions, thin slice, 3/4" lengths
* 2 leeks sliced thinly sliced, include the greens
* 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
* 1 shallot cut thin
* 5 cups strong chicken stock
* 2 oz brandy
* 1 oz whiskey
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp pepper
* 4 oz butter
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 small box puff pastry
* 4 ozs (or more or less to taste) Gorgonzola cheese

NOTE: When I run out of my own chicken stock, I add a couple of tablespoons of "Better Than Bouillon (chicken base)" to store bought chicken stock.

In a heavy bottomed soup pot, saute' red onion & Spanish onion in butter until they start to caramelize. Add leeks and cook until tender. Add chicken stock, brandy, shallots, scallions, salt, pepper & whiskey and bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer for 1 hour. Remove from burner and slowly add heavy cream. Blend in well. Refrigerate overnight, if possible, for best flavor. Be very careful not to scorch when reheating.

To serve: Ladle soup into bowls. I cut 1/3 strip of the puff pastry per serving , place it beside the soup on a cookie sheet and add Gorgonzola (to taste) on top of the puff pastry and into the soup. I like a LOT of it for both. Sooo good!!!! *:) Bake in 400 degree oven until cheese begins to melt and puff pastry is golden. I don't like the puff pastry getting soggy sitting in the soup, so place it on top where it doesn't sit in the soup, or beside the bowl.

Serves 4 - 6


April 15, 2014: Hungarian Mushroom Soup w/ Buttermilk Biscuits


Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon paprika
4 cups chicken stock (or substitute 2 cups of the stock for 2 cups of milk for a creamy soup)
2 teaspoons dried dill
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
1 splash lemon juice
1 handful fresh dill, chopped (optional)

Directions

1. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the onions and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquids and has evaporated most of the liquid.
2. Mix in the flour and paprika and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the stock (or combination stock and milk), dill, soy sauce, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes
4. Season with salt, pepper mix in the sour cream, lemon juice and dill and remove from heat.

 

Buttermilk Biscuits

These biscuits are great and easy to make. If you can learn to use a gentle touch, you'll never want to use the ones in the exploding packages again. *;)

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
1 cup buttermilk ( I use sa co cultured buttermilk blend in a powder form. That way I always have buttermilk available. It also has a very long refrigeration life.)

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.
3. Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.
4. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.
5. Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined.
6. If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. It should be very wet.
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured board.
8. VERY gently, pat (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick. Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick. Use just enough flour when folding so the dough doesn't stick.
9. Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.
10. You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.
11. Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet- if you like soft sides, put them touching each other.
12. If you like"crusty" sides, put them about 1 inch apart- these will not rise as high as the biscuits put close together.
13. Bake for about 10-12 minutes- the biscuits will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.

Note: The key to real biscuits is not in the ingredients, but in the handling of the dough.
The dough must be handled as little as possible or you will have tough biscuits.

* You also must pat the dough out with your hands, lightly.
* Rolling with a rolling pin is a guaranteed way to overstimulate the gluten, resulting in a tougher biscuit.
*You can make these biscuits, cut them, put them on cookie sheets and freeze them for up to a month.
When you want fresh biscuits, simply place them frozen on the cookie sheet and bake at 450°F for about 20 minutes.


February 19, 2014: Rye Bread

If you're happy with store bought bread and don't like a deli style bread with personality, you can skip this recipe. I LOVE this bread! Crusty on the outside and perfectly chewy on the inside.

I found this recipe easy and the bread delicious!!! I did however have to make adjustments to the recipe. My dough came out too moist after mixing, so after the first rise, I added more bread flour until I got a velvety dough that didn't stick to my hands. I never used a thermometer before on bread, but it's a good thing I did, because my bread was done after the first 1/2 hour. So, watch your bread, because it might cook a lot faster than the recipe states.


Classic Rye Bread with Caraway Seeds
By Michael Ruhlman | Published: January 10, 2011
A loaf of rye bread

What has surprised me most about all my breads using non-wheat grains is how richly flavored they are. Far more than anything you can find at the grocery store. And they all feel so satisfying to eat, the intriguing flavors and the solid bite they give.

Here is a classic, deli-style rye that would be perfect for some homemade corned beef or pastrami. But you don’t need much to enjoy this bread. One of my favorite ways to eat is to toast a slice, then rub it with a halved clove of garlic, then butter it. So good.

The following recipe can be shaped into a loaf, into a boule or even a baguette (if you wanted small slices for canapes or small sandwiches for instance). The caraway seeds can be omitted if you wish, but I love the added flavor they bring. The ratio here is 3 parts bread flour and 2 parts rye. If you want to use a sourdough starter, an excellent idea if you have starter on hand, use equal parts bread flour, rye, regular starter, and water.
Classic Rye Bread

12 ounces/340 grams bread flour
8 ounces/230 grams rye flour
12 ounces/340 grams water
1 teaspoon/3 grams active dry yeast (if you need a fast rise, you can double this)
1 tablespoon/7 grams caraway seeds
2 teaspoons/10 grams kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer (or any bowl if you’re mixing by hand). Mix and knead the dough until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. You should be able to stretch the dough to translucency without tearing it.
Let the dough rise in the bowl, covered, till it’s doubled in size, at least two hours and as many as four.
Knead the dough to force out gas and redistribute the yeast and shape it into a rectangle about an inch thick. Let it rest for ten minutes covered with a towel.
Prepare a loaf pan with vegetable oil spray, oil or butter.
Shape the dough: Starting at the top of the rectangle, fold the dough over on itself and pound it down to seal it. Keep folding and pounding until you have a squat, tubular shape. Roll it back and for the tighten the interior.
Put the dough top side up into the prepared loaf pan. Cover with a towel and let it rise for an hour.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
When the second rise is done, slash it lengthwise down it the center, and bake for a half hour. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees F. and continue baking till done, another 15 to 30 minutes. (If you’re unsure about doneness, use a thermometer and remove the dough when its internal temperature is 200 degrees.

Yield: one 2-pound loaf



January 14, 2014: Clam Chowder

Clam chowder is a wonderful comfort food all year. I finally started making it for myself. I wouldn't and never have even wanted to know what it tasted like from a can.

I made this recipe on my new (to me) Vermont Casting stove, as I've been cooking all my food on since I got the stove. Only pasta gets cooked on the gas stove now. I like the charm and everything about cooking on top of a wood stove.. Anyway,,,,I could keep talking about the VC, that I just put the second dragon warming shelf on or get onto the recipe. *;)

New England Clam Chowder:

* 2 tablespoons of salted butter
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 2 large celery stalks sliced to about 1/4"
* 3 tablespoons of flour
* 2 cups of homemade chicken stock (bought IF you have to). Remember, chicken stock is easy to make and freeze and is soooo much better than buying it in a grocery store where it's mostly tasteless water.
* 2 (10-ounce) cans chopped clams in juice
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 - 1 1/2 lbs Idaho potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
* salt and coarsly ground pepper to taste.

*optional: oyster crackers

This makes about 4 servings. One serving is enough for me for a dinner. Of course this ranges on your appetite, people you're serving or if using for an appetizer or meal. Suggested servings are kind of silly.

Directions: Heat the butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and saute until softened, mixing often. Stir in the flour to distribute evenly. Add the stock, juice from 2 cans of chopped clams (reserve clams), cream and potatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring consistently, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Stir often. Once the potatoes are done, add the clams and season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes for the clams to get firm. I like to add paprika on top,,,just a thing I like to do. *;) I personally like a lot of oyster crackers with this chowder.

Picture: I put my chowder in one of the French Lions Head bowls that I bought for myself for my last b-day. The Laguiole ( I LOVE Laguiole!) flatware is from a vintage set I couldn't resist to buy for myself for a Christmas present a few years ago. I enjoy creating a mood with the food I make. To sit and enjoy the whole experience. Something that's becoming a lost art, unless we eat out and pay for the experience. We can make the same experience at home. Add unscented candles (scented takes away from the taste of the food / too many scenses doing battle), and you have an experience to enjoy! So enjoy!!!! *:) As a couple, a crowd or a single,,,set the mood!


April 2, 2013: Banana Bread

I thought I had a great banana bread recipe that I kept making for years, but,,it lacked something and I finally stopped using my forgotten banana's to make the bread. Recently,,,I had a few more forgotten banana's and searched out a new, old fashioned recipe that was moist instead of dry,,that took the basic's instead of sour cream and other ingredients not used in the bread of my childhood and I found this one! I love it soooo much, I'm letting my banana's go on purpose! *:) Sorry there's no picture,,,pretty busy right now.

Ingredients:

* 4 ripe bananas, smashed or mixed real good (NO lumps)!
* 1/3 cup melted butter
* 3/4 cup of sugar
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1 tsp. of REAL vanilla extract! Please, do not settle for imitation! Quality counts!
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* pinch of salt (a secret is to use a bit more than a pinch to bring out the taste even more in anything you bake/cook)
* 1 1/2cups of all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup walnuts (broken up by your fingers, not chopped) or try pecans or any other nut you'd like.

Method:

I wait on the preheat,,,hey,,we all have to save when we can! But once you're close to being done,,heat your oven to 350F.

With a mixer, mix the butter in a large mixing bowl with the bananas until it's really mushed up or banana clumps will show up in your bread! Mix in the sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt (remember the extra pinch) over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour, mix VERY well then mix in the nuts or other ingredients you might want to add in with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture into a buttered 4.8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until the center is cooked. Which means,,,when a toothpick comes out clean from the center. This only took 35 minutes for my bread to be done, so keep a close eye on it! Cool on a rack, remove from pan, slice and enjoy! *:)

I can see adding fresh orange zest, pecans and all kinds of fun things to this in the future! *:)


January 31, 2013: Baked Beans & Boston Baked Bread

Some might like Boston Baked Beans and some may not. I was one that didn't like them until I tried this recipie a few years ago. I make them once or twice during the winter months and double the recipe to share with a neighbor that LOVES them. All I can say is if you like canned Boston Baked Beans,,this recipie will make you never want to buy canned beans again!

Boston Baked Beans:

Ingredients:

* 16 ozs. ( 2 cups ) dry navy beans
* 2 qts. cold water
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup molasses
* 1/3 cup brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon dry mustard
* 4 ounces salt pork
* 1 medium onion, chopped

Rinse beans add to water and soak overnight. Add salt to beans and water, cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving all the liquid. Measure 2 cups of liquid and adding water if needed, mix with molasses, brown sugar, and mustard. Cut salt pork in strips and grind it and cook it until almost crisp. If you don't have a grinder, chop the salt pork into small bits and cook until crisp.

In a 2 qt. bean pot (I use an antique 4 qt. bean pot so I double the recipe) combine beans, onions and salt pork. Pour molasses mixture over the top. Mix it together and put the top of your bean pot on.

Bake in 300 degree oven for 5 to 7 hours. Add more of the saved liquid if needed.

Comments: I usually double this recipe and find it takes about 6 hours. To reheat,,always add a little water.

Boston Brown Bread

Sift together 1 cup of sifted rye flower, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon soda, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup whole wheat flower, 1 teaspoon cinnomon and 1/2 teaspoon allspice. Add 2 cups buttermilk, 1 cup raisins and 3/4 cup ark molasses. Beat well. Divide batter among 4 greased and floured 16-ounce fruit or vegetable cans (labels removed). Cover tightly with foil. Place on rack in deep kettle, add boiling water to depth of 1 inch (cans should not be resting in water). Cover, steam for 3 hours adding more boiling water if needed. Bread is done when it has risen almost to fill the can and center has puffed sightly. If center remains indented, steam 15 minutes more. Cool 10 minutes. Remove bread, best done by removing bottom of can and pushing bread out of can. Wrap, store overnight.

I personally like the brown bread medium toasted with butter, but I also love the beans with corn bread. The beans are also a good side dish instead of chips or french fries. *:)


Oct. 8 2012 Gourds & Butternut Squash


Gourds & Butternut Squash

Both are harvests from neighbors. My neighbor John grew the gourds for me, which will sit out on the porch swing to dry until next spring. Later I'll turn them into my Autumn Leaves gourds. *:) Thank you John! *:)

Another neighbor grows LOTS of butternut squash and shares them with some of the towns people every year. This squash is going to make some fine soup! Thank you Don! *:)


NOTE on personal changes: This recipe can also be made with 1 can of pumpkin to replace the butternut squash. I also pureed the chipotle chiles and added an extra teaspoon into the soup.

I served it with garlic bread. My recipe is:

* Italian bread cut to your desired thickness
* Melt 1/4 teaspoon of butter with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil, per slice of bread. Once melted, brush onto the bread and add granulated garlic to taste.
* Top it off with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
* Broil until the cheese bubbles and turns slightly brown.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup with Chipotle Cream
courtesy Marcela Valladolid

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds discarded, washed, and reserved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth, divided
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo

Chipotle Cream:

1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Using 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, grease the sliced surface of the squash and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast until very tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

In a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, add the remaining olive oil, onion, celery, and carrot, then season with a pinch of salt. Saute until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Scoop the butternut squash flesh into the pot and stir. Add 4 cups of the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.

Turn off the heat and using an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup until very smooth. If necessary, add more of the remaining stock to create desired consistency. Mix in 2 teaspoons of the chipotle into the soup, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a small bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon of chipotle and the sour cream. Season the chipotle cream with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the soup to bowls. Top each with a dollop of chipotle cream and serve.


Sept. 30 2012 Green Tomatoes


Getting ready for fried green tomatoes

Recipe: Beat 1 egg, or more if you're frying a lot of tomatoes. Put your choice of coating in a separate bowl. You can use corn meal, panko bread crumbs, bread crumbs, even flour. Put your choice of oil (I use canola) in a frying pan (I never use more than 1/4" of oil at a time) and heat it.

First coat them in the egg batter, then the coating and put them into the hot oil. Let them fry about 4-5 minutes on each side until the coating is nicely browned. Once browned on both sides, take them out and drain them on paper towels. Enjoy! *:)

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