Friday, September 30, 2011

Where The Hawthornes Were One Year Ago Today.

Rosie takes a pit stop off Beartooth Highway on the way to Yellowstone. Montana to Wyoming. East Yellowstone.

Rosie Makes A Roasted Red Pepper Soup With Crab Meat.

With both temperatures and humidity in the 90's,
 Rosie decided she needed a nice fortifying soup.
After all, I need to be strong for the mosquitoes these days.
 Mr. Hawthorne stopped at the Tar Heel Too
 produce stand in Seagate North shopping center yesterday
 and bought 2 red peppers for $1.00.
 (They're $2.99 a piece at the Teeter.)
 Good neighbor Zippy stopped by the other night
 with a 34-quart cooler of crabs,
so I'm combining red peppers and crab meat for our meal today.
First, I roasted the peppers,
which imparts a phenomenal flavor,
 then I made the soup
 and accented it with fresh, just-picked crab meat.
I added a few bits of mozzarella cheese,
 freshly cracked black pepper,
and fresh thyme to amp it up a bit.

Mr. Hawthorne and I picked the cooked crabs.
 Not a fun undertaking and
 if you didn't know what you're doing,
you could starve before you get the meat out.
I hates pickin's de crabs.
Rosie's Roasted Red Pepper Soup With Crab Meat
 2-3 TB olive oil
2 red peppers, roasted
 1 medium onion, chopped
 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
 1 large garlic clove, minced
 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
(A heaping teaspoon of leaves.)
 2 cups turkey stock
 I had turkey stock I'd thawed out
 for another soup I recently made, so I used that.

Check out Beer and Cheese Soup,
 courtesy of Kelly at Evil Shenanigans.

 You could substitute
 a low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth.

 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
sea salt and pepper, freshly ground
 1/2 cup+ crab meat
 3 TB butter
 squirt of lemon juice
 toasted baguette slices
Mozzarella cheese
 more fresh thyme

 Heat olive oil in deep pot over medium-high heat.
Add onions, carrots, and thyme
 and saute about 4 minutes -
until onions are translucent.
Add in garlic, potatoes, roasted peppers,
 wine, broth, and sugar.
Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low.
Partially cover and simmer
 until potatoes are very tender, 20-30 minutes,
depending on the size of your chop.
 Cool slightly.
 I used an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.
 If you don't have an immersion blender,
 you could use a regular blender and puree in batches.
Always be careful when blending hot liquids.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 Drizzle olive oil onto baguette slices
and toast until crisp and golden brown.
 Melt butter, add in crab meat,
 give it a squirt of lemon juice to taste,
and keep warm.
 Ladle soup into bowls,
add in a few pieces of Mozzarella,
 spoon crab meat mixture in center,
 sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and fresh thyme
 and serve with toasted baguette.
If you don't have fresh red peppers,
you could substitute a jar of roasted peppers
 preserved in water and drained,
 but I prefer the real deal.
Big difference in flavor.
 Also, for roasting peppers,
try to find smooth, round ones,
without deep curves like these peppers.
For 50 cents a piece though, I'm not complaining.
Roast over a flame or under a broiler
until thoroughly blackened.
There are two schools for pepper-roasting.
 One says to secure them in a paper bag for 5 - 10 minutes
 and let the steam force the skin off.
The other is much easier and quicker and I got the idea from Julia Child.
After blackening, I immediately submerge them in a bowl of ice water.
Rub with thumb and forefinger
 and the skin comes right off.
 For those stubborn spots,
 use a paper towel to rub the skin off.
And you don't have to get every speck of black off.
Here are my chopped carrot and onion,
 minced garlic, and sprigs of thyme.
 I waited to peel and chop the potato
 until I was ready to put it in the pot
since I didn't want it to turn brown.
Over medium-high heat 2-3 TB of olive oil in the pan
and add in the carrots ...
... the onions ...
... and the thyme.
Saute about 4-5 minutes until onions are translucent.
Next, add in the garlic ...
... the potatoes ...
... and the chopped roasted peppers.
Add in the sugar.
The wine.
And the stock.
 Heat to a simmer, then reduce heat to low,
 partially cover, and cook until potatoes are very tender.
While the soup was cooking,
 I drizzled olive oil over my baguette slices
and popped them under the broiler.
Melt the butter and add the crab meat and lemon to taste.
 Heat through.
When the potatoes were tender,
 I used my immersion blender to puree.
 If you don't have an immersion blender,
 you can use your mixer.
But exercise caution:
 Only mix in small batches.
We wouldn't want a painful kitchen mishap here.

I added in 1/4 cup heavy cream for a little extra richness.
Whir away.
Serve with bits of mozzarella,
 the crab meat mixture, extra freshly ground black pepper,
a few more thyme leaves, and a toasted baguette.
Creamy, rich, roasted pepper soup
with buttery sweet crab meat
and accented with fresh thyme.
 This is wonderful all by itself
without the crab meat, but the crab meat takes it to a whole new level.
Bon appetit!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Where We Were This Time Last Year.

This is Rosie at Pompey's Pillar. A year ago today. I was truly happy that day.

Missing You, My Sweet Dixie.

My sweet, sweet baby. Love the tongue.

Rosie Makes A Beer And Cheese Soup, Courtesy Of Evil Shenanigans.

It's been raining solid, all day long, for the past 4-5 days. It's been solid gray. Even though it's not cold outside, it feels like it is inside. I want some soup. And I found it. One of my favorite food bloggers, Kelly, of Evil Shenanigans, recently made Apple Oktoberfest Cheese Soup. I thank you, Kelly, for a delicious soup recipe which, I admit, I tweaked a bit. But I know you'd be disappointed if I didn't tweak.
Here's my version of Kelly's soup. It has onion, carrot, and celery, like Kelly's, and then I added some chopped portabello mushrooms since I had them. Kelly used chicken stock; I used some of my frozen homemade turkey stock. Kelly pureed her soup. I'm a chunky type of gal. That's just the way I roll. And I added my cayenne and paprika-infused oil to the mix. I topped it off with bacon, and served it with toasted baguette slices.
Measure out 5 ounces of cheddar cheese.
And 3 ounces of smoked Gouda.
Ingredients for the soup:
 2 slices bacon, chopped
 4 TB butter
 1 medium onion, sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
 1 celery stalk, chopped
 5-6 Portabello mushrooms, chopped
 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup flour
 1 cup homemade turkey stock
(You can use 1 cup of chicken broth. Except for you, Mar.)
1 cup beer
 1 cup whole milk
 (Whenever a recipe calls for whole milk,
I use 1/2 skim and 1/2 heavy cream
since that's what I have in my fridge.)
 5 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
3 oz. smoked Gouda
Hot sauce, to taste
 For the hot sauce, I used a paprika and cayenne infused oil. Heat spices in a dry pan until smoky, then add oil into pan and heat. Let cool, then pour into squirt bottle and refrigerate. Heat up when ready to use. Destructions: Hee. When Middle Hawthorne was 3 or 4 and fascinated by Captain Comic on my computer, he would always excitedly and breathlessly ask me, "Mama, what are the destructions?" It was a construction of directions and instructions. And he was the only one who could get Captain Comic to fly. I only got as far as the castle. But beautiful views were to be had. Never made it to the end. Remember that, XKT? Good times.

 OK, back to the destructions: In a pot over medium heat, add in the chopped bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon and reserve fat. Add 2 TB butter to pot and when it foams, add in carrot, celery, onion, apple, and salt and pepper. Cook about 3 minutes, then add in dry mustard, smoked paprika, and cayenne. Cook a few more minutes, then add in the minced garlic. Cook about 1 more minute. Add in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes to get rid of the raw taste. Reduce heat to low and slowly add in turkey stock, stirring. Add the beer, slowly, constantly stirring. Finally add in the cream/milk, stirring, and allowing to thicken. Bring to a simmer. Lower heat and add in slices of cheese, stirring to melt. Ladle soup into bowl. Top with bacon pieces and squirt in some paprika-cayenne infused oil. Accompany with toasted olive-oiled and buttered baguette slices. This was divine. Let's go to the step by steps.
I had exactly 2 slices of bacon left in my fridge.
 Wish I'd had 4.
But bacon is expensive now.
I usually have bunches of packages of bacon in the freezer.
Ain't on sale.
And hasn't been for a long time.
While I was chopping the veggies, I left it up to Mr. Hawthorne to be in charge of the bacon.
Extra crispy I asked for.
And extra crispy is what I got.
Chopped carrot, celery, onion, Portabello mushroom, apple, and garlic.
Add two tablespoons butter to the bacon grease and heat until foamy.
Carrots and celery in.
Onions in.
Shrooms in. Apples in. Cook about 3-4 minutes.
Add in garlic. Here's a Rosie Tip #21: Be careful when sauteeing garlic. You never want to burn garlic. It will impart BITTER to your whole meal. Add the garlic at the end.
Next, the seasonings.
1/2 tsp cayenne flakes
Action shot!
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder I want to ask you something. What does dry mustard powder add to anything? Is there any flavor? I can't figger this out.
Action shot of dry mustard!
Whoot! Smoked paprika.
I'm erring on the side of caution. 1/8 tsp of smoked paprika.
I added in 2 more TB of butter. Medium heat.
Add in the flour.
And cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring. You want to cook the flour. Get out the raw.
Slowly add in your homemade turkey stock. Very slowly. Scraping up from the bottom.
Yeah. I know. Not pretty now. But just wait.
Gradually, pour in the beer.
I love the smell of this right now.
I taste-tested.
And decided it needed some more smoked paprika.
That's the ticket.
I found a leftover end of a Schwann's baguette in the fridge. Drizzled some OO over top.
Toasted the slices, then put a little buttah pat on top.
Add in the milk/cream, slowly. Bring to simmer.
Then add in the cheese. Turn to low heat.

Let the cheese melt. Easily. Slowly. Gently.
Serve with a toasted baguette and paprika-cayenne infused oil. Loved all the flavors here. The apple was a very nice, subtle touch. Thanks again, Kelly. We enjoyed this tremendously.