Monday, February 27, 2012

Now that its warm...

I wrote this post the second week of February.  Thought I posted it.  I was wrong!  So now that its getting warm, here's a nice recipe for soup!  Well, at least I tried!

Last night, I made one of the yummiest soups I have had in a long time.  I'm sort of proud of it too, because it was essentially me throwing things in my pot and having them turn out good together.  I had a minimal guidance from Serious Eats (one of my absolute favorite foodie sites!) but at least half of the inspiration for it came straight out of my own brain.

I don't actually have a name for this soup.  Maybe inspiration will strike before I finish this post...

So first, I sliced up a medium sized onion. Maybe it was on the large size of medium. 
Then I sliced up a Kielbasa sausage to go with the onion.
 And then I coarsely chopped up three stalks of kale, after removing the spines. (Spines of greens = yuck.)

Then, I peeled and cut up three large-ish russet potatoes. I have no picture of that. But you know what chopped up potatoes look like, right?! I thought so.
I poured some olive oil in the pot and started heating it.

After the oil got hot, I dumped in the onions, sausage, and kale, and stirred it all around until it was coated.  Really counted on that kale cooking down, because it took up SO MUCH ROOM in the pot.

The heat did wilt the kale, of course, and it sweated down the onions, too, so the big mass of chopped stuff I put in initially got pretty small in about 5 minutes.  Once there was room in the bottom of the pot, I smashed a couple of garlic cloves and threw them in there too.

After the garlic had a little time to get warm- but not brown-, I threw the potatoes in the pot and covered everything in 2 quarts of chicken broth. 

Sprinkled with salt (unmeasured, but maybe a teaspoon?) and a twist of freshly ground black pepper. And then a five finger pinch of Baby Bam (which I talked about a few editions back, when I made chicken soup.)  A five finger pinch being what you can grasp with the tips of your fingers and thumbs. Probably not as much as a tablespoon.

Bring it to a boil, and then turn it down to medium and let it simmer for a while.

I think I let it simmer for about an hour. Once the potatoes are soft, mash them into the broth with a potato masher or with a fork.

Let the soup simmer for 15 
more minutes, then serve.

 I think this would be excellent with some good crusty bread to soak up the broth. Alas, there was no crusty bread to be found.

I think I should call this... sausage and kale soup. Creative? Not really.  But I'm saving my creativity for cooking!

Speaking of which, what's cooking in your kitchen?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bacon and Eggs and Linguine

We love to have breakfast for dinner at our house.  Some bacon, some eggs, some...linguine? 
Really, though, pancakes with bacon and eggs are a favorite.  But I don't always feel like making pancakes.  They can be rather time consuming: my griddle isn't very big, so I end up having to cook one pancake at a time. Plus they can be messy-batter dripped all over the counter, and the clean up is sticky.

Then, one day, as I was looking through one of my cookbooks, 1000 Best Ever Recipes (which is an enormous British tome my mother-in-law gave me; about 3 inches thick and 20 pounds!) I discovered a recipe for Carbonara, which is linguine with bacon and eggs.  It looked (and is) pretty simple to make. And it turns out so delicious that you'd think it took ages to make.

So, if I have bacon around, or pancetta, and I don't feel like making pancakes, I make Carbonara instead.  You can do it too;  it's easy!

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

In the meantime: cut up 8 oz of ham, bacon, pancetta, into 1 inch sticks. Saute in some hot olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add about a cup of peas or, sliced mushrooms and fry for another 4 minutes.  Turn off heat.

Fryin' up the bacon. Or prosciutto, as is the case here.
When the water comes to a boil, put 12 oz of pasta in to boil.  I used linguine.  The recipe suggests fresh tagliatelle or spaghetti. You know, whatever pasta you have on hand will work!

Boiling the pasta
While the pasta is cooking, beat together 4 eggs, 5 tbsp half and half, and salt& pepper to taste.
Once the pasta is cooked, almost al dente, drain it, and put it back in the cook pot.  Put the ham, peas (or mushrooms), and any pan juices into the pot with the pasta and give it a stir.  

Pour the egg mixture and about a tablespoon of parmesan cheese over everything.  Stir it all together until the pasta is coated.  The eggs will cook in the hot pasta but stir it around for a few minutes just to be sure. 
All in the pot!
Serve the pasta into warm bowls & garnish with fresh grated parmesan and maybe even some fresh parsley or basil if you have it on hand.  This makes a bunch, and since it's so easy, its a great dish to serve for company. 
Pasta Carbonara!

What's cooking in your kitchen?