Get Well Soon Soup

Carrot Soup
When friends and family have had surgery, my first response has been to make a carrot soup that is like a health tonic. To me, and seemingly to those for whom I’ve made it, it is the first meal that makes them feel better. I even have one friend, for whom I made this, that doesn’t like carrots and still craved a second bowl of this soup.

So, today, I made carrot soup. For me. I’m going to be having some surgery and will have a road to recovery that does not include cooking. I won’t be able to lift more than 5 lbs. for a while. And, I won’t be able to bend my back….so chopping and rolling and bending over to breath in the fragrance of a pot on the stove are all out.

But, I’ll be back and good as new as soon as I can be. Then, there will be menus galore and lots of conversation to report on from our dinner table.

Get Well Soon Carrot Soup
AKA Orange Velvet

1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 tbsp. butter
6 large carrots (about 1 ½ lbs.), peeled and cut into ½ inch slices
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 can low sodium chicken broth (or 2 cups homemade chicken broth)
Approx. 2 ½ cups Water

Pepper, salt, cayenne to taste

Saute onion in butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat until onion is starting to brown. Pour in the broth and heat until boiling. Add carrots and potatoes. Add water to cover the vegetables by about 1/4 inch. Stir and cover the pot. Turn down heat and simmer until all the vegetables are very tender – about 20 minutes.

Puree the soup, in batches, in a blender, until very smooth.

Add seasonings as desired.

Serves 4 generously.

Experimental Entertaining

DSC02799
Generally, when we have friends for dinner, I make something that I’ve made before. I don’t like to treat my guests as guinea pigs. Sometimes, you make dud dinners and I usually don’t like to risk it. Last Wednesday night, however, we decided to have dinner at our house at the last minute (5-4-Dinner) and decided to use completely new recipes.

I neither poisoned our friends nor did I put a strain on our relationships. Yea. In fact, we bonded over Cambodian Summer Rolls , as an appetizer, and Pan Fried Trout with Fresh Herb Salad and Roasted Cauliflower. For dessert, fresh berries with World Peace Cookies (o.k., I’ve made those before).

All three of the recipe links above are, in my opinion, close to flawless.

The first two come from Cooking Light magazine. I know. Light? Generally, I do cook healthy, but I don’t cook “light”. But, in the summer magazine clean-up, I ripped out a few recipes from issues of this magazine. Why did I have any issues of Cooking Light? Well, it all stems from the school fundraiser. Magazine sales. I hate those types of fundraisers and have decided to try to avoid letting our kids sell to friends or family. Instead, I buy myself magazines and send them to people as gifts. I thought I’d give Cooking Light a try, for the sake of the school.

Shrimp RollShrimp Roll PlatterShrimp Roll Prep

First, the Cambodian Summer Rolls. I am a big fan of Vietnamese Shrimp/Pork Salad Rolls and these looked very similar. The recipe includes Shrimp, Rice Noodles, Basil, Mint and Red Leaf Lettuce, wrapped, burrito style, in rice paper (that has been smeared with a smidge of Hoisin Sauce). Then, this roll is dipped in a sauce of low sodium soy sauce, water, lime juice, sugar, garlic, ginger, cilantro and chili paste.
Continue reading

No Measurements, No Recipes

Fresh Berries
My brother-in-law made an interesting comment to me regarding our divergent cooking styles. It turns out, that because of this blog, he thought that I cooked from recipes whereas he cooks without them. In reality, I use recipes as guidelines, and much of what I have posted (except for breads and sweets) I have measured along the way so that I could post a “recipe”. So, for instance, I generally don’t use measurements for meatballs, or tomato sauce, or even frogs legs chicken (now that I know how to make that by heart!).

On the otherhand, because I have wanted to try new preparations, I have been using more recipes and ideas from magazines and cookbooks than I have in the past – like for the turkey burgers with tomato jam, and the Vietnamese Chicken Salad. I’ve definitely expanded my repetoire of meals because of trying new dishes. Which is a good thing, I think.

Veggie PrepAmerican RatatouilleSimple Dinner

When I haven’t been trying out new recipes this summer, I have been cooking with ingredients that we have on hand, or with inspiration from the bounty of the summer months. I’ve been buying most of our food from the Farmer’s Market – everything is so fresh and bright at this time of year. Without the girls at home, S & I have been eating a lot more vegetables as a percentage of the food on our plates – a good thing. Most vegetables have been unadorned, save for a little olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper – if that.
Continue reading

Superfood for Hikers

DSC02739
When S & I went to Acadia National Park, we planned to do some hiking on the small but steep mountains by the ocean. Unfortunately, our view of the ocean was completely obscured by an incredibly dense fog that hung around the entire time we were there. We saw neither sea nor sky, really.

However, we did see a lot of blue. Hiking/climbing/clamboring on fun trails, we snacked on wild blueberries during both the ascents and descents.

No photo taken, but the popovers and lobster stew (cream, sherry, lobster, paprika and butter….that’s it) at the Jordan Pond House were very, very memorable. The company of my 88 year old great aunt was the most special part of the visit Down East.