Category Archives: What’s to eat

Cheesy Hot Comfort Food

French_Onion_Soup.JPG

This time of year, onions in storage want to sprout. What better way to use them up than in a savory, but almost sweet, French Onion Soup?

French Onion Soup

Ingredients

  • 6-8 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch of dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • Slices of French bread
  • Mozzarella cheese (or any cheese you have on hand)
Directions
  1. Heat butter and olive oil in a soup pot to melt. Add onions and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Reduce heat after the onions begin to turn color and continue to cook, stirring, until a rich brown, about 40-50 min.
  2. Stir in the wine; increase heat and cook for 1-2 min. Add broth, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 min.
  3. Ladle soup into ovenproof bowls placed on a cookie sheet. Toast bread under broiler; top soup with toasted French bread. Sprinkle with cheese, about 3 tablespoons per serving. Broil until cheese is bubbly and brown. Makes about 4 servings.

Preserving Basil My Favorite Way

Basil cubes titleNothing tastes like summer as much as fresh basil. But how do you capture that taste for fall, winter and spring? My favorite method is to make frozen basil cubes. Here’s how:

What you need – freshly-picked basil, olive oil, salad spinner, food processor, ice cube trays, spatula, plastic wrap or wax paper.

  1. Pick your basil and wash thoroughly in a sink full of cold water, swishing to rinse off all soil. Pick off the leaves.

    Wash basil
    Wash the basil thoroughly.
  2. Dry the leaves thoroughly. A salad spinner is perfect for this.

    Basil
    Dry in salad spinner. I don’t know why this photo is upside down but it won’t seem to upload correctly. I’m sure you still get the picture (pun intended).
  3. Place the leaves in a food processor; slowly add olive oil until a sort of paste forms, scraping the bowl when necessary.

    Add olive oil to basil
    Add olive oil to basil.
  4. Quickly spoon the basil into ice cube trays. Basil exposed to the air starts to turn black pretty quickly. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper. Freeze until firm. Remove from ice cube trays and store in freezer bags or containers.

    Basil cubes
    Spoon basil into ice cube trays.

Taste of Summer in a Pie

Blueberry cream pie
Blueberries are my favorite fruit, have been since I was 9 months old and my grandmother caught me in the pie safe, stuffing handfuls of blueberry pie into my mouth while declaring, “Nummy, nummy!” And this recipe is my all-time favorite.

Simple steps to blueberry cream pie
Simple steps to blueberry cream pie

Blueberry Cream Pie
3 cups blueberries
9 inch pie shell, unbaked
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt, optional
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup lowfat sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles course meal. I let my stand mixer do this – just cut the butter into thin pats, add to the flour and sugar and mix on low until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Set aside.
2. Combine 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and salt. Add eggs and sour cream, stirring until blended.
3. Place blueberries in pie shell and spoon sour cream mixture over berries. Sprinkle flour/sugar/butter mixture over berries.
4. Bake at 350° for 50 to 55 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Note: May substitute any other fresh berries or finely chopped apples for the blueberries.
Blueberry cream pie
Blueberry Cream Pie

A Gift from the Herb Garden

2-IMG_1010Every summer the herb garden entices me with savory fragrances. But there’s always the sweet lavender, what to do with lavender? I’ve adapted a recipe from the site of my favorite King Arthur Flour to include two herbs from my garden, lavender and a particularly nice apple mint. It’s not the healthiest recipe but it does have some whole grain in the form of oatmeal. These are so tender and delicious!

Lavender Mint Scones

2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2-3 teaspoons fresh lavender blossoms
1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sour cream (I used light sour cream)
–Frosting (optional)–
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2-4 tablespoons shortening
2-4 tablespoons milk
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or mini scone pan, or line a baking sheet with parchment.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks unevenly crumbly. I let my stand mixer do this – just cut the butter into thin pats, add to the dry ingredients and mix on low until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Mix in the lavender, mint and nuts until they’re evenly distributed. Stir in the sour cream.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. (Keep sprinkling on flour if you need to.) Pat dough into an approximately 3″x 12″ rectangle. With a sharp knife, cut into 4 sections; then cut each section diagonally twice to make a total of 16 triangles.

Scone dough
Cut the dough into 16 triangles.

Do this by cutting straight down through the dough so you shear the edges. If you saw the dough, you tend to press the edges together, which keeps the scones from rising as they bake. At this point you can sprinkle with sugar, if desired, or you can frost the cooled scones after baking. If you have a prepared mini scone pan, simply place the triangles in each section.

Pace triangles in prepared mini scone pan.
Place triangles in prepared mini scone pan.

Otherwise, transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet. Separate the scones slightly; there should be about 1″ between them at the outside edge. Bake the scones for 16-18 minutes, or until they’re just beginning to brown. Frosting: stir ingredients together in a small bowl, using just enough milk for desired consistency. Spread on mostly cooled scones. These freeze well. Makes 16 scones.

Lavender Mint Scones
Lavender Mint Scones

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

The family loved this one. My favorite cheese to use for this is from right here in Vermont, Cabot sharp light cheddar. Yum!

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

  • 4 lbs. chicken tenders or 8 chicken breasts
  • 2 sleeves Ritz crackers
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Sauce:
  • 1 10 ounce can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 tablespoon sour cream
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2-4 tablespoons water

Crush crackers. If using chicken breasts and not tenders, cut each chicken breast into 3 large pieces. Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the salt and pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk and then the cheese. Press the cheese into the chicken with your fingers. Then press the cheesy coated chicken into the cracker crumbs and press it in.

Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 400° F. for 35 minutes. Remove the foil, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy.

In a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Add water if sauce is too thick. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken. Serves 8-12.

What’s Poppin’?

POPovers are! We just love them for a slightly guilty Sunday morning breakfast. Easy to make (though take awhile to bake) and taste so eggy wonderful all slathered with butter. I usually use an electric mixer to combine all of the ingredients but this time I combined it in a bowl with a pouring spout and used an immersion blender (it was just too convenient). Didn’t this batch POP! I’m happy to share the recipe with you here.

popovers
POPovers!