Caramelized Onion Soup

Who doesn’t love a delicious bowl of onion soup topped with a cheese crouton?  I was curious where this soup originated from – I assumed France since it is typically called French Onion Soup.  To Wikipedia I went and here is what I found:

Onion soups have been popular at least as far back as Roman times. Throughout history, they were seen as food for poor people, as onions were plentiful and easy to grow. The modern version of this soup originates in Paris, France in the 18th century, made from beef broth, and caramelized onions. It is often finished by being placed under a grill in a ramekin with croutons and cheese melted on top. The crouton on top is reminiscent of ancient soups.

This soup requires time, so definitely not a thirty minute meal.  Slowly caramelizing the onions is the key to this delicious soup; that is the reason I titled my soup Caramelized Onion Soup. 

A delicious treat on a cool spring evening.

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Caramelized Onion Soup

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 3 sweet yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1/2 baguette sliced in 1/2 inch slices
  • 8-10 ounces gruyere cheese grated

Instructions

  1. In a large dutch oven, melt butter, add sliced onions, sugar and salt.  Cook for approximately one hour over medium low heat, stirring frequently until onions are caramelized and dark brown.  Add stock, thyme, sherry, salt and pepper.  Simmer on low for 45 additional minutes.  

    Preheat broiler.  On a foil lined baking sheet place baguette slices and top with grated cheese.  When ready to serve the soup, broil bread sliced until cheese is melted and edges begin to brown, watch carefully. 

    Ladle soup into bowls and top with toasted bread slices, serve.

 

Interesting Find – Farmer’s Daughter Jams and Preserves and Whole Wheat Biscuit Recipe

I am always on the search for interesting food items to incorporate into my cooking and my blog.  When I saw Farmer’s Daughter Jams and Preserves this past weekend, I just have to buy a few jars.  The cute jars and catchy batch names such as Blackberry Julep Jam and Strawberry Honeysuckle Preserves were calling my name.  I spend of bit of time researching the company and found they are headquartered in Hillsborough, NC.  After checking their website (http://www.farmersdaughterbrand.com/index.htm) I found the following information that tells their story:

Farmer’s Daughter is a farm-driven artisan food business celebrating the flavors of the South and the soils of the North Carolina Piedmont while gaining inspiration from authentic food cultures worldwide.  It was founded in 2007 by April McGreger, who learned the art of preserving at the elbows of her mother and grandmother amidst a rural farming community in Mississippi.  Farmer’s Daughter seeks to promote the value of sustainable, small-scale agriculture as well as traditional, handmade methods of preserving.

I am always impressed with those that continue the traditions set by their mothers and grandmothers.  We tried both of the above varieties, they are wonderful and especially delicious on my whole wheat biscuits- YUM!

These biscuits are incredibly easy to prepare and the results are always great.  I rolled my dough approximately 3/4 inch thick, if you want event taller biscuits, you can roll the dough up to 1 inch thick.  You will have fewer biscuits, but very impressive when over the top in height!

 

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Whole Wheat Biscuits

Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened and diced
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    In a large mixing bowl. combine the flours, baking powder, sugar, salt and cream of tartar.  Add butter and using a pastry blender, cut butter into mixture until the butter is the size of small peas.  Make a well in the center, add egg and milk and combine with a fork until all of the dry ingredients are moist.  Turn dough onto a well floured surface and knead until all is smooth and all dry ingredients are incorporated.  Roll dough to 3/4 inch thick, cut with three inch cutter.  Place biscuits on parchment lined baking sheet, 1/4 inch apart.  Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown.   

 

 

 

 

Sugar Crusted Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Did you know that blueberries are one of the few fruits native to America?  Our early settlers in Plymouth, MA were exposed to blueberries by the Native Americans and now they are grown in many regions of the US and Canada.  Springtime always seems to bring the blueberries, strawberries and raspberries to center stage in any produce department.  I couldn’t pass by the blueberries, perfect for my Sugar Crusted Lemon Blueberry Muffins.  I top these with coarse grain sugar for that extra crunch.  

One more note, you can make these the night before and bake in the morning – what a wonderful way to start the day!

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Sugar Crusted Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup blueberries, washed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons lemon rind, grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix the flour with 1/2 cup sugar, the baking powder, and salt.  Make a well in the center.  Combine the egg, oil, and milk.  Add to the dry ingredients, stir until moistened.  Toss the blueberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar and the lemon rind.  Fold into the batter.  Fill muffin pans lined or greased 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

    While the muffins are cooking, melt the butter and stir in the lemon juice.  Dip the warm muffin tops in the butter and sprinkle with sugar.  You can use coarse sugar or granulated sugar for the tops.

    Make ahead - you can prepare the batter and fill the muffin cups, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Just bake, dip and serve.


 

Italian Rolls

One of our favorite local Italian restaurants serves the most delicious rolls, always hot out of the oven and served with an olive oil dipping sauce.  The last time we were there I was convinced I was going to try to duplicate those rolls.  I think this recipe is as close as I can get.  Since I make yeast breads frequently, I tweaked one of my existing recipes. .  Not a fan of making yeast breads?  Try this one – 4 ingredients in this recipe and your bread skills will go from zero to hero!  Give them a try – you will not be disappointed.  Next time I make these, grilled Italian sausages and peppers are going along with these rolls!  

 

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Italian Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 1 /4 cups warm water
  • 3 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • olive oil for brushing on top of rolls

Instructions

  1. If using a food processor - stir the yeast into the water and let stand for 10 minutes.  Put flour and salt in processor bowl, turn processor on and slowly add the water, if the dough is too dry, add a bit more water until it forms a ball.  Let processor knead the dough for approx. 4 minutes. 

    If using a mixer - repeat the steps above using the paddle attachment, once incorporated use the dough hook and knead for approx. 4 minutes

    If by hand - stir the yeast into the water and let stand for 10 minutes in a large bowl.  Stir in flour, one cup at a time - add the salt.  Using your hands; incorporate all of the flour, turn out on to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic - 8 - 10 minutes.

    Place dough in a greased bowl, let rise until double, approx. 1 hour.  Turn dough onto a floured board, divide dough into 10 equal portions, make each roll into a ball. Brush each dough ball with olive oil.  Cover the dough balls and let rest for 10 minutes.  Flour a baking sheet.  Make a deep indentation with the side of your hand in each roll down the middle, place the roll indentation side down on floured baking sheet, repeat with all of the rolls.  Cover rolls and let rise for another hour.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Oil another baking sheet, after they have risen, place rolls indentation side up on this sheet,   Bake rolls for 15 - 18 minutes or until golden brown.  To make a crisp crust, spray water three times into the oven during the first 10 minutes of baking.

 

 

Butterflied Grilled Shrimp

When you grill shrimp, leaving the shell on keeps the flavor of the shrimp and does not dry it out.  I purchased large shell-on shrimp, cut the shell, deveined and butterflied the shrimp. Then I quickly marinated them in a white wine sauce, grilled them over medium high heat  and served them with cocktail sauce and butter for dipping.  I also grilled two lemon halves and after everything came off the grill, squeezed the lemon over the shrimp.  What a finger lickin’ good recipe this is – easy to prepare and a perfect spring dinner.  

I am trying a new recipe format – tell me what you think…
Looking for any particular recipes?  I am always looking for new ideas

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Butterflied Grilled Shrimp

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound shrimp, shell-on
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut the shell of the shrimp, carefully de-vein and butterfly shrimp; using a paring knife make an incision from the tail to the opposite end. Do not cut all of the way through. Place in a large baking dish. Combine white wine, red pepper, parsley, olive oil  juice of 1/2 lemon,and salt and pepper. Drizzle over shrimp. Let stand for 15 - 20 minutes. Heat grill to medium high heat. Place shrimp on the grill, cook 4 minutes and flip to other side for approx. 3 minutes until shrimp is opaque. Grill the lemon halves. Remove shrimp to a platter with the grilled lemon halves. Squeeze grilled lemon over shrimp prior to serving. Serve with melted butter or your favorite cocktail sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

Fettuccine with Creamy Crab Basil Sauce

The weather was absolutely beautiful this weekend and when searching the seafood section of the market I came across fresh crabmeat and knew that was what we were having for dinner.  Into my recipe box I went and found this recipe that I have not made in years.  It was as delicious as I remembered.  You can prepare this in under 30 minutes and what a extraordinary meal.  It was especially memorable since we had dinner on our porch in front of the fire in February.  A lovely evening to remember.

Fettuccine 2

 

Fettuccine with Creamy Crab Basil Sauce
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons butter
  2. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1/3 cup whipping cream
  6. 1/3 cup white wine
  7. 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  8. 1/2 cup cooked crabmeat
  9. salt and pepper
  10. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  11. 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  12. 1 lb. fettuccine
Instructions
  1. Melt butter and oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add tomatoes and garlic, simmer slowly until the tomatoes soften and begin to break down. Add cream and 1/3 cup white wine. Simmer 10 minutes, stir frequently. thin with additional wine if sauce become too thick. Stir in basil, crabmeat, salt and pepper; simmer 3 minutes. Add 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese and 1/2 of the parsley. Keep sauce warm. Cook pasta as directed on package, toss pasta with sauce. Garnish with reserved cheese, parsley and basil leaves.
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Mom’s Rice Pudding

I think everyone has a few recipes that remind them of when they were growing up and the comforts of home and mom’s (or dad’s) cooking.  To me, there are a few favorite recipes, but one recipe that I remember so well is my Mom’s Rice Pudding.  This to me is comfort food.  I distinctly remember when I felt under the weather as a child or the snow was blowing in the winter, Mom’s Rice Pudding would be in the oven.  Rice baked in a wonderful custard with raisins and sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.  As the years go by ….. Mom’s Rice Pudding is still one of my favorites!

Rice Pudding 1

Mom's Rice Pudding
Serves 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 beaten eggs
  2. 2 cups milk
  3. 1`/2 cup sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 cups cooked rice
  7. 1/2 cup raisins
  8. Ground nutmeg and cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients; mix well. Add rice and raisins. Turn into a one quart baking dish or 10 x 6 baking dish. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes, stir. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until a knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Can be served warm or cold.
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Chicken Wings with Jalapeno Pepper Sauce

Are you game day ready with your Super Bowl menu?   If you are still looking for another great recipe to serve during the game – Chicken Wings with Jalapeno Pepper Sauce is the recipe for you.  Go Team!

chicken wings jalapeno 1

 

Chicken Wings with Jalapeno Pepper Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 1 - 12 oz. bottle chili sauce
  2. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  4. 1/2 cup white vinegar
  5. 1/4 cup catsup
  6. 1 medium onion
  7. 5 jalapeno peppers, seeded
  8. 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  9. 2 teaspoons salt
  10. 32 chicken wings (approx. 5 - 6 pounds)
Instructions
  1. Combine first nine ingredients in container of an electric blender, process 30 seconds or until mixture is well blended.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil. Cut wings in half or purchase pre-cut wings. Place on foil lined sheet, spoon 1/2 of the sauce over wings. (Depending on number of wings you are cooking, you might need two sheet pans), Bake 30 minutes. Turn wings and top with the remaining sauce. If it appears to be too much sauce, reserve remaining sauce and refrigerate. Bake another 30 minutes or until fall of the bone tender.
  3. If you like your wings to be crispy, remove wings and place on a rack on a baking sheet, return to the oven and bake an additional 10 - 15 minutes, watch carefully. Serve warm with ranch dressing and celery sticks.
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Crusty Pepperoni Bread

Most quick bread recipes you see are for sweet breads, this is a savory quick bread.  Another recipe gem from a family friend.  Perfect to serve along side a bowl of soup, as an appetizer (slice thin and add to any cheese tray), or dipped in your favorite marinara sauce.  Quick, easy and exceptionally good.

pepperoni bread1

Crusty Pepperoni Bread
A hearty quick bread
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups flour
  2. 2 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  7. 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 1 cup milk
  10. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  11. 1 cup diced pepperoni (4 oz.)
  12. 1/4 cup chopped ripe olives
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and Italian seasonings; set aside. In a mixer bowl, beat cream cheese and eggs at low speed until smooth. Add milk and oil; continue beating until blended. Stir in pepperoni and olives. Add liquid mixture all at one to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Pour into a greased 9 x 5 inch bread pan. Bake 375 degrees for 55 - 65 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted come out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
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Bacon Pops

What I thought would be a great addition to brunch turned out to be so successful I would add this to any breakfast, brunch or tailgate.  I always knew cooking bacon in the oven when preparing large quantities was easy.  However,  this time I  wanted bacon to be finger food and decided to thread the bacon on a stick.  I cut each piece of thick cut bacon in half, then threaded each piece on a six inch wooden skewer.  Brushed them all with maple syrup (you will see the syrup on the first piece on the top row), then I sprinkled the bacon with a brown sugar,ground  nuts and cayenne mixture.  In the oven it went …

bacon pops 1

 

and out came the most delicious bacon pops…

Bacon pops 3

Bacon Pops
Yields 22
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Ingredients
  1. 18 oz. package, thick cut bacon
  2. 22 six-inch wooden skewers
  3. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  4. 1/3 walnuts or pecans, ground
  5. 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  6. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Soak skewers in water for 15 minutes. Cut bacon in half crosswise. Thread each piece of bacon on one skewer. Place skewers on rack in a foil lined cookie sheet. Combine brown sugar, nuts, and cayenne pepper. Brush each skewer of bacon with maple syrup. Try to avoid getting the end of the skewers coated (the skewers will be easier to serve when not sticky). Sprinkle each slice of bacon with brown sugar combination. Bake in preheated oven until the bacon is golden, approximately 35-45 minutes. Remove from rack when cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. These would also be a wonderful addition to a Bloody Mary bar.
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