Recently, I was working on a dinner party menu and wanted to serve soup for the first course. Since the days are getting cooler, I wanted to serve the soup on our porch near our chimenea with a crackling fire burning. I also decided to serve soft pretzels along with the soup. This soup turned out delicious, creamy and light, and just the accompaniment for dipping pretzels or crusty bread.
Cheddar Riesling Soup
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cup Riesling
- 1 ring kielbasa, large dice
- 1 3/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter, add onion, cook until onion is transparent. Add garlic and cook and additional minute. Stir in flour, cook until mixture bubbles, stir constantly. Slowly stir in broth and cream. Add Riesling and kielbasa, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook slowly 30 - 40 minutes. Stir frequently. Stir in cheese and combine until all of the cheese is melted. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, stir frequently. Serve.
After a beautiful weekend exploring the Virginia countryside, I came home and decided it was time to pull out my mom’s recipe box and find a fall recipe. This bread features fall’s best – pumpkin, walnuts, chocolate chips and topped with a spiced glaze. I have to add, the aroma in your kitchen while it is baking is sensational. It embraces the best of fall, crisp weather, turning leaves, apples, pumpkins and fall spices – what more can I say – I just love the change of seasons!
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- Spice Glaze
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 - 2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease one 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin and mix well. Combine the dry ingredients and stir into the creamed mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 70 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the pan, remove from pan and top with glaze.
- Spice Glaze
- Combine powdered sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, stir in milk. Spread over warm loaf.
Fall is soup season and there is nothing better than a delicious bowl of soup. This one is especially good for Mexican food lovers. I know you can still find fresh corn at the markets however if you can’t, this soup is also delicious if you use frozen corn. Easy to prepare and even better when you top with your favorite Mexican toppings, including fresh tortilla chips. I think fresh homemade tortilla chips are such a treat, for in this soup; I used corn tortillas however, they are equally delicious when you use flour tortillas. I remember when my children were young, fresh tortilla chips were one of their favorites. They are so much better than chips in the bag. You can even sprinkle hot flour tortilla chips with cinnamon sugar for a wonderful treat. After you try these, you may never buy bagged chips again!
- 3 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 4-ounce can diced green chilis
- 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
- canola oil, enough to cover 1/4 inch of medium frying pan
- corn or flour tortillas
- diced tomatoes
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- condiments to top soup
- chunky salsa
- sliced black olives
- sour cream
- sliced green onions
- diced avocados
- In a blender, puree corn and chicken stock. In a stockpot, melt butter, add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, add corn puree. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stir frequently. Add milk and cumin. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and stir in green chiles, salt, pepper and Tabasco. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cut tortillas into pieces. Heat oil in heavy skillet. When hot, fry tortillas until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Salt while hot. Put equal amount of chicken and diced tomatoes in each bowl. Add cheese to simmering soup. Ladle soup into bowls, top with desired condiments and tortilla chips.
Looking for a quick to fix and delicious dinner? After returning from a weekend trip to Atlanta, GA I was excited to get back to my kitchen and start cooking; there is no better way to spark culinary enthusiasm than a visit to a great food city. We had lunch at Ponce City Market, an incubator for new entrepreneurs and a venue for seasoned chefs. Holeman and Finch one of my long time favorites in Atlanta now has a burger bar in the market and they are hard to pass up, delicious patties and the most marvelous homemade ketchup. We also had to try pork buns, fresh jerky, homemade bitters and the list could go on and on. There were several spots serving rice bowls and that inspired me to put together this recipe. Ginger marinated beef along with tomatoes, green pepper, onions, and mushrooms. I tossed it all with a sriracha tomato sauce that is perfect over rice. A quick, easy and delicious meal in under 30 minutes.
Beef and Tomato Rice Bowl
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 2 green onions, diced
- 1 pound sirloin, thinly sliced across the grain
- 1 medium onion, cut into wedges and separated
- 1 green pepper, seeded and cut into wedges
- 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 3 large tomatoes, seeded and cut into wedges
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3- 4 teaspoons sriracha, or add in 1 teaspoon increments until your desired taste
- hot cooked rice
- Combine 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoons cornstarch, ginger and green onions. Mix until combined. Slice beef, pour marinade over the beef and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator.
- In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the beef in batches and quickly stir-fry. Cook the beef until browned, remove to a plate and reserve. Add the onion, green pepper and mushrooms to the skillet. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, cover and cook an additional 2 - 3 minutes.
- Prepare the sauce - combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and tomato juice. Add the sauce and tomatoes to the vegetables. Add the beef. Add salt, pepper and sriracha. Cook until thickened and hot. Serve over hot rice.
After another visit to my favorite distillery, Catoctin Creek Distillery in Purcellville, VA , I decided it was time to use their award winning Roundstone Rye Whisky in another recipe. This time, my target was an apple pie. First, I let the apples and rye whisky mascerate so each apple slice absorbed the whisky flavor, then tossed the apples with flour and spices, tossed in a few dried cranberries and added a crumb topping. I must admit, a great combination of flavors. Delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – now, that is the way to start the fall season!
Apple Rye Crumble Pie
- Pastry for a One-crust pie
- 8 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons rye whisky
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line pie plate with pie crust, crimp edges. In a medium bowl, add apple slices and toss with rye whisky. Let stand for 5 minutes. Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Toss with the apples, stir in cranberries. Turn apple mixture into pastry-lined pie plate. To prepare crumb topping, combine flour and brown sugar, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly and butter pieces are smaller than the size of peas. Sprinkle apple mixture with the crumb topping. Bake pie for 50 minutes, cover topping with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent excessive browning.
What a delight for the eyes when you enter any produce department this time of year and see pumpkins, apples and fall produce – I definitely wanted to cook a fall meal. My husband, my chief taste tester, said this was one of the best recipes I have concocted. He told me to post that you should definitely serve this at your next dinner party or when you want to impress anyone with your cooking skills. It is so easy and delicious, you cannot go wrong with this recipe! After those praises from my chief taster do I need to say more?
Apple Brandy Pork Chops
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 1 apple, sliced (I used a Honeycrisp apple)
- 2 1-inch thick pork chops with bone-in
- salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup apple brandy
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium ovenproof skillet ( I used my cast iron skillet) heat over medium to medium-high heat, add oil. When hot, add shallots and apples. Cook stirring frequently until shallots are soft and apples are golden, remove from skillet. Salt and pepper chops on both sides, add to hot skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides. When brown, remove from skillet. Add brandy to skillet and deglaze pan, stir in cream and 1/2 of the parsley. Bring to a boil. Add chops, apples, and shallots. Place skillet in preheated oven and bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven, top with remaining parsley and serve. I served with egg noodles, would also be terrific to serve with a wild rice mix.
- Serving more than 2? This amount of sauce would be perfect for 4 pork chops, if serving more, double the amount of shallots, apples,brandy and cream amounts, bake in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Looking for an easy dish to serve the next time you entertain? Chicken Broccoli Portobello Pasta is the perfect dish. Early in the day begin marinating the mushrooms and chicken, steam the broccoli, fire up the grill, cook your pasta and in under 30 minutes you have a great main course. Bring this beautiful entree to the table and you have a feast for your eyes as well as a feast for the hungriest of appetites. Easy, delicious and a great presentation – my way of entertaining!
( If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, it makes a terrific cold pasta salad the next day. Toss with a bit of ranch dressing and you are set. )
Chicken Broccoli Portobello Pasta with Balsamic Dressing
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 6 portobello mushrooms
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 bunch of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 16 oz. package thin spaghetti
- Twist of lemon for garnish
- Combine dressing ingredients, set aside. Remove mushroom stems and place mushroom caps in a one gallon zip bag. Pour 1/2 of the dressing over the mushroom caps, cover and refrigerate for approx. 6 hours.
- Transfer mushrooms to a plate and add chicken breasts to the marinade left in the zip bag, marinate for 30 minutes prior to grilling. Steam broccoli florets until tender when pieced with a fork (4-5 minutes), drain and set aside. Prepare grill. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Grill chicken, approx. 8 minutes per side. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. During the last 5 - 10 minutes of the chicken grilling, add the mushrooms and grill.
- Drain pasta and toss with steamed broccoli and remaining dressing ( the 1/2 that was reserved). Top with grilled chicken and grilled mushrooms. Garnish with lemon twists.
Every other Monday, I head to the local Fisher House and bake cookies. If you are unaware of the mission of the Fisher House Foundation, the Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. It is great to donate my time and my love of cooking to this terrific organization. When I am finished each time, the house has the smell of fresh baked cookies, a full cookie jar, guests who appreciate a touch of home after a long day and a smile on my face. It is one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences I have had. I have been compiling a group of cookie recipes from my Monday cookie baking. I made these last week – I hope you enjoy them.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in one egg until completely incorporated; beat in last egg along with vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until just incorporated; mix in chocolate chips.
- Roll dough into 2-inch balls, or drop spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake in preheated oven until edges of cookies are firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to wire racks. Dust warm cookies with powdered sugar, if desired.
If you are feeling the heat, these last days of summer, it’s time to serve a cold salad. Lobster, Potato and Fresh Corn Salad is the perfect main dish salad. This combination of lobster, corn and potatoes is a match made in heaven! I tossed it all together with a vinaigrette, fresh tarragon and a hint of cream. Fresh tarragon is essential in this recipe and easy to find in the herb section of your grocery or any farmers market. A spectacular combination that I think you will agree is the perfect salad. I served this with warm Focaccia Bread, olive oil for dipping the bread and a great chilled bottled of white wine – YUM!
Lobster, Potato and Fresh Corn Salad
- 16oz. small potatoes ( I used small purple potatoes for color)
- 3 ears of corn, cut from the cob
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 pound lobster meat, cut into one inch pieces
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh tarragon
- salt and pepper
- Early in the day - Cut potatoes in half and place in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and cook approx. 10 - 14 minutes until tender. Drain. Toss potatoes with 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1/2 of the minced shallots and salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
- Cut corn from the cob, blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain.
- After the potatoes and corn have cooled, refrigerate. Steam lobster, cool and refrigerate.
- Assemble the salad approx. 30 minutes prior to serving. In a medium bowl, toss potatoes, corn and lobster. Combine remaining olive oil and rice vinegar, cream, remaining shallot, cream, tarragon and salt and pepper, to taste. Pour over salad ingredients and gently toss, spoon into a lettuce lined plate. Serves 4
- How to steam lobster tails - In a medium saucepan add one inch of water, place a steamer basket in the pan, cover and heat to boiling. Add the lobster tails, cover and steam for 8 minutes, remove and cool.
It’s that time of year again! Gardens and farmers’ markets are overflowing with zucchini. If you are looking for one more zucchini recipe – Zucchini Pancakes is the one to try. I received this recipe from a friend of my mother’s who compiled some of her favorite recipes. Perfect as a side dish or a light dinner. I served fresh sliced tomatoes along side and the combination was a feast for the eyes and well as a feast for the taste-buds. The summer is winding down, don’t miss out on the abundance of fresh produce this time of year.
- 3 cups zucchini, grated
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 egg, beaten
- canola oil
- 1- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Combine zucchini with the flour baking powder salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the egg and stir until well blended. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat, coat with canola oil. When hot, drop large tablespoons of zucchini batter on hot skillet, slightly flatten the pancake. Cook until brown on each side. Check carefully, if browning too quickly, reduce heat. Serve with a drizzle of melted butter and grated parmesan cheese.