Archive for April, 2013

A Recipe for Sunday

Cream of Asparagus and Wild Rice Soup

Boil ½ cup of wild rice with 1 ½ cups water until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, break off the tough bottoms of ½ pound of young asparagus spears. (If you gently bend the spears, they will naturally break at the point where the toughness begins.) Discard the tough bottoms, then cut off the tips of the spears and reserve. Chop the remainder of the stalks into small rounds.

Next, finely dice 1 small shallot, 1 small carrot, ½ stalk of celery, and 1 small potato.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large soup pot, and sauté the shallot, carrot, celery, asparagus rounds, and potato for about 5-6 minutes over medium-low heat. Add 1 ½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Transfer this mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. (If you use a blender, take care to vent the top.)

Return the pureed vegetable mixture to the soup pot and add the wild rice, along with 1 cup heavy cream and ½ cup water or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and then add the asparagus tips. Cook for a few minutes over medium low heat just until the asparagus tips are crisp-tender.

Watch the progress of the soup carefully. You may need to add additional water or stock. When the mixture meets with your preference of consistency (either thick or thin), add 1 tablespoon dry sherry or brandy for extra flavor (optional, but highly recommended.) Adjust with salt and pepper as needed before serving. Makes 2-4 servings depending on appetite and accompaniments.

Copyright © 2013 by Eddie Kent Tallent


Wednesday’s Menu

Tonight’s menu takes a bit of time but that is deceiving. Poaching the chicken should be a slow process, but other than the first few minutes of prep stage, you don’t need to be involved with the cooking for more than a check or two along the way. During the poaching time, you can involve yourself with other activities. Once the chicken is done, lift the pieces from the pan and set on a plate…bring the braising liquid to a boil, add the brown rice, and steam until tender. Meanwhile, bring the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the cleaned and trimmed asparagus with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and roast in the preheated oven until crisp-tender.

This menu provides a great balance of textures and flavors, and is a good segue between the cold weather of early spring and that of a day when the temps climb up into the 70’s.

Chicken thighs poached with aromatic vegetables, broth, and fresh herbs
Brown rice braised in the chicken poaching liquid
Spring asparagus spears roasted in a hot oven
Cheddar cheese bread Chez Edouard

Valencia orange wedges with crispy house-made vanilla cookies and sweetened whipped cream

Spring is what spring is. Only a week or so ago we had temps in the high 80’s but today we are not predicted to rise above the 60 degree mark, so tonight’s menu features items to fight the chill of the day: soup and homemade bread.

While I know I have not posted much recently, I hope you will persevere. I am in the midst of packing for a move and that project is taking up a great amount of time. While I still cook meals every day, I often at this point don’t have time to document them. Today, I’m taking a break to do so. The bread is my rendition/revision of a recipe that my Mother gave me many years ago. I had trouble making it work based on her instructions, but I have come to realize that the rising time was the issue. Because the bread is a softer dough, the amount of time it takes to rise both in the bowl stage as well as the pan stage takes a lot longer than what was suggested in the recipe that Mom shared with me. No doubt she instinctively knew this, but since we never discussed the recipe, she didn’t have the opportunity to share here insights on how to really make it work.

You can find the no-bake cookie recipe (and many variations), all over the web. Easy, quick, and oh so delicious!
Vegetable soup of aromatic vegetables (onions, carrots, and celery), with cabbage, canned organic tomatoes, garlic, potatoes, a diced turnip, and roasted red pepper
House-made yeast cheddar cheese batter bread

No-bake cookies of oatmeal, coconut, cocoa powder, and peanut butter

For many years, the proliferation of various small turkey products has added a wonderful boost to menu planning and a great (and more flavorful), alternative to chicken. Turkey is now marketed in ground breast, ground thighs, breast cutlets, wings only, tenderloin roasts, half breast roasts, and any number of other options which negate the necessity of needing to buy an entire turkey or even a whole turkey breast for that matter. Tonight I am using breast cutlets for this simple meal. There is a bit of prep work, but it shouldn’t be too overwhelming.

My dessert suggestion is a bit out of my norm, since I rarely have carbonated beverages on hand, but I made an exception in this case because I recently remembered a childhood favorite which I wanted to revisit.

Turkey breast cutlets dredged in herbed breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, and parmesan cheese sautéed in butter and olive oil
Steamed brown rice with spicy Cajun seasonings, diced apples, and raisins
Braised kale
Yeast rolls Chez Edouard

Ice cream soda Chez Edouard: house-made vanilla ice cream spooned into a glass and topped with Fresca (original citrus variety)

An Apology and a Menu

To my faithful followers, I apologize for the lull in my recent posting to the blog. Never fear however, because I am dedicated to this project even if there are occasional lapses. Tonight’s menu may seem a bit ubiquitous on the surface, but you have my assurance that this is rather different than what you might think at first. The tuna salad is probably not your mother’s rendition (since I decided to be a bit creative with tonight’s version). And the sides are easy, quick, and filling on a night when you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Not gourmet cuisine by  any stretch of thought…simply a good meal.

Tuna salad featuring diced, hard-boiled egg, minced onions, dill pickle, and spicy peppers, with cubed pepperjack cheese and house-made mayonnaise seasoned with ground chipotle served in a split mini baguette
Quick baked beans Chez Edouard: canned Great Northern beans seasoned with catsup, dry mustard, paprika, black pepper, and minced onions and garlic slow-baked in the oven
Organic potato chips seasoned with sea salt and black pepper
A tsatsuma tangerine topped with sunflower seeds and a drizzle of melted chocolate

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