Monday, January 16, 2012

Greens + Ham Soup

European Greens and Ham Soup

Love greens:  kale, swiss chard, collard & mustard greens.  Normally when I prepare collard and mustard greens I make them with a southern flare.  This time I wanted soup with a European flair.  As I was sauteing my ham and onions I thought about all my French cookbooks that include egg in their soup.  Egg gives soup a depth so deep with not much effort.  I adore these type of soups.  I decided this would be the flare I'd give my greens.  I used the pressure cooker however this is easily done on the stove top in a dutch over/soup pot.

Greens + Ham Soup

1 lb ham steak
1 lg. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt + pepper to taste
3 lbs greens, finely chopped
32oz chicken stock/broth
48oz water
3 eggs, whisk
parmesean

In soup pot saute ham, upon caramelizing add onion, garlic, salt and pepper.  Saute 5 additional minutes.  Add greens mix well.  Saute 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes.  Add chicken stock and water.  At this point if your using a pressure cooker let it reach its peak for 3 minutes.  Turn flame off and allow steam to naturally release for 15-20 minutes.  Release pressure.  Let soup cool for 10 minutes.  Add a ladle of soup to the whisked eggs, stir...repeat this 4 times.  Add egg mixture to soup.  Stir.
Ladle soup in bowl, topped with shaved Parmesan and homemade croutons.
Makes 4 32oz containers.   Soup freezes well. 

Ezekiel Bread Croutons
Homemade Croutons
Cube up bread
Toss in EVOO with minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Toast in 400F oven till crispy, 5-6 minutes.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup


Chicken Noodle Soup
 It's a soup kinda weather.  Made 3 (chicken noodle, broccoli cheese and greens + ham) this week and I promise to share all recipes with you. 
Last week I kept my baby girl home all week, she had strep.  She's much better now.  Even sick she was still in a sweet mood.  Monday night after I tucked her in she said, "thank you for taking care of me and making me soup"...she's 5, my heart melted.  Kissy kissy.  Here is what I made her on Monday morning.

Pressure Cooked Chicken Noodle Soup

2 lbs of bone in chicken (quarters or thighs)
5 quarts of water
1 organic celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sage
Salt + pepper to taste
2 organic carrots, sliced
8 asparagus stalks, cut in one inch pcs
8oz of egg noodles
handful of chopped parsley
squeeze of lemon

Pressure Cooker Instructions:
Add first 7 ingredients pressure cook at peak for 18 minutes, release pressure.  Remove chicken and de-bone, discard skin.  Add chicken and the next 3 ingredients, once pressure cooker is at it's peak turn burner off...leave alone for 6 minutes...release pressure and add parsley.  Season to taste.

Stove Top or Slow Cooker Instructions:
Add all ingredients except noodles.  Cook till chicken is done.  Remove chicken and de-bone, discard skin.  Add chicken and noodles, cook till noodles are soft.  Season to taste.

Pressure cooking in my opinion does yield the best broth and flavor.  I so love my Fagor Futuro pressure cooker.  I use it 4-6 times a week, this week alone I made:  Salsa, Chicken Noodle Soup, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Marinara, 2 whole chickens for Chicken Pot Pie order...the week before gumbo.  So happy with the investment, the thrill is contagious.  Since I purchased my pressure cooker 2 of sisters have too, plus a few foodie friends...I've lost count but all report kitchen success.  May your meals always be ...intentionally delightful.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ginger Tea

Feel a bit under the weather?  Maybe a cold?  Maybe the flu?  Want some quick natural relief? 

A couple years ago a dear friend of mine was going thru some personal and professional life trials.  We would talk on the phone several times a day and we'd see each other 4-5 times a week.  I did my best to support her, she's been like a sister to me.  During this time period every evening when I went over, to her home, she would have slices of fresh ginger slowly simmering in a pot of water.  We'd share a couple cups of ginger tea and I'd dry her little tears each evening.   Time passes and the good prevails.  Her life has bounced back and the sadness is only a faint memory. 

Now the ginger tea?  Unforgettable!  Fresh and spicy.  Not your normal dried tea (which I adore).  I longed for this tea.

Last winter I could not shake a cold and I thought about my friend...remembering that during a time that she would be the most vulnerable to catching and keeping a cold during such a trying period, she never once was ill.  I called her and shared my recollection...she said that a mutual friend of ours had shared how he drinks ginger tea quite often, it helps boost his immune system.  That sentence alone rung a bell...in 2006 I took 9 weeks of Indian Cooking Classes and remembered how the instructor went over all the benefits of each of the Indian spices.  From this point on when I feel super miserable, much like I did right after returning from New Mexico during Christmas, I have ginger tea.  I drank it for two days straight, each day I boiled & simmered a fresh pot, then poured it in my zojirushi thermal carafe...loved it.  I always have ginger on hand, I store it in the freezer...it's amazing how well it keeps, very fragrant and fresh.  Freezing makes it easier to cut up for recipes as well.


Ginger Tea

Homemade Ginger Tea

2 x 1 inches of ginger (wash well, no need to peel)
5 quarts water

Slice ginger into 8-10 pieces add to water.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. 
This recipe is made to my taste, you can make a strong tea by adding more ginger or less water. 

Enjoy.  Wishing you great health.

Monday, January 2, 2012

"To Sir With Love"

An old love letter...

Good bye 2011 I am grateful for the lessons learned. 
My motto for 2012 is "To Sir With Love"...I love the song, I love the movie & I will use the phrase as a professional/personal motto. 
Sir = my clients + my followers + my family + my friends.

In 2012
  • I will adopt a gluten free lifestyle...gluten makes me sleepy & lethargic 
  • I will enjoy a daily afternoon tea...a moment to slow down & be grateful
  • I will write love letters to my husband...the best way to remind him 'I wouldn't trade you for a new kitchen' even though I've thought about it
  • I will go to the Y 5 days a week...physical activity will be a priority, it makes me happy
  • I will eat smaller portions...same delicious food (gluten free) just smaller portions
  • I will hold my 5 year old daughter more...may she never think she's 'too big or too old' to be held
  • I will seek out a catering mentor
  • I will patent an idea/kitchen item I've had in mind for years that will make every households life a bit easier in the kitchen
  • I will seek out resources to make this patent a reality
  • I will attend a "Make Mine A Million $ Business" this year...a entrepreneur women's conference.  Want to come?
  • I will blog twice a month
  • I will complete by cookbook by March 2013

These goals are attainable and I will keep a reminder in my Franklin, in my kitchen & at my bedside table.
Wishing you a healthy, prosperous and joyous 2012!