Soup Freezing = Healing Energy

Sup Dog!?? My cool collegiate city has an infamous beer and hot dog spot by that very name. But my pups aren’t fans of hot dogs. They love it best when I’m prepping soups for the sweater weather ahead. They hang out quite closely in the kitchen, waiting for the accidental chicken drop! We all know food feeds the body, but I happen to fully believe that it feeds our essence as well. Perhaps that’s why my favorite meal is always warm soup. To me, it helps calm, fight stress, and heal emotional wounds, and makes the common cold feel more tolerable as well! Somewhere a fork salesman weeps, and a spoon salesman cartwheels! Any time is a great time for my homemade Brunswick Stew.

Breast meat of 1 roasted chicken, chopped
1 lb cooked, chopped pork tenderloin*
2 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth         
1 1/2 cups frozen lima beans
1 1/2 cup frozen white corn
14 oz can diced tomatoes        
10 oz can Rotel     
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs basil (in tube)
*May use purchased fresh BBQ for ease if desired

Bring chicken broth to a boil.
Add lima beans and corn.
Cover and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes and Rotel (both undrained), Worcestershire and basil.
Stir and cook 5 minutes.
Add chopped chicken and pork
Stir well to combine all.
Cook covered on medium low for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Serves 8.
Appx 350 for cup and a half serving.

Baha Peninsula Artichoke Appetizer

I Know I Know I Know…Cabo Stories are becoming a bit nonplussed; however, to know me is to know that I love our Diamante villa in Cabo. You may find it odd that I am a very pale, natural blond, 66 year old Grand. That is to say that I don’t sit in the sun; but I am all about being out there in the pool with the fam and friends, 50+ sunscreen, most of the time in long sleeve SPF shirts, soaking up the fun. In the interim, I’m all about dreaming up new manners in which to cook our favorite bites when we gather around the dinner table! The Baha Peninsula is known for many, many things, one of which is growing artichokes. The baby ones are the best, most tender, and just yummy. So, we enjoyed them, a lot!

Above, from left: the don is mixing the cheeses. ~ the Cabo Grocery Girls couldn’t find wonton wrappers while stocking our kitchen, so…improvise. I used the Diamante Market pizza dough instead; and with no rolling pin, enter the empty Ciroc bottle to roll the dough (yes my arms did get some sun that day!). ~ Improvising again, with no cookie cutter, hello glass to cut the rounds of dough to fit into the muffin tin. Check out the results below!

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 t garlic powder
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup water packed baby artichokes, drained and chopped
24 wonton wrappers
Chopped fresh chives for garnish
Mini muffin tin

In mixing bowl, combine Parmesan, mayonnaise, and garlic powder.
Mix well.
Stir in Monterey Jack and artichokes.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spray 2 mini muffin tin pans with nonstick spray.
Press one wonton wrapper into each small muffin cup.
Bake 5 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.
Fill each cup with artichoke mixture.
Bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes…but keep your eye on it!
Garnish with chives and serve warm.

Cinnamon Bread Pinwheels

Hellodie Hellodie and Happy Hump da Hump Day! Each post that involves my grands is especially fun for me, so come on and get happy! They may seem to be bouncing off the walls sometimes, but they’re just being children; so hold on to the magic…they grow up fast! And now, here’s a little show and tell. May your cookie jar never be empty!

4 slices cinnamon raison bread
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
4 long hors d’oeuvres picks

Cut the crust off each piece of bread, keeping it totally intact.
Start at one end of each piece of bread crust and roll it up, creating 4 pinwheels.
Secure each pinwheel with a pick.
Melt butter, sugar, and cinnamon in skillet, stirring to combine.
Add pinwheels to skillet and allow to toast about a minute per side.
Remove from skillet onto plate and allow pinwheels to cool and crispen.

Avocado Toast with Eggs and Tomatoes

Home from Cabo and happily back to life as Grand and GrandDad for the weekend. Tomorrow begins with a 5:50am wakeup call for Liam’s travel league baseball games, and then soccer matches for “the littles”. We will divide and conquer for the different locations; but we will all reunite in the Rock Dam Kitchen for a healthy brunch to refuel us all for the afternoon. Transfer the familiar into the fantastic. We’re taking all familiar ingredients and combining them in a wonderfully twisted way. So drop the mask for a few minutes to enjoy a meal…the stars are going to align on our taste buds and all the way down to our tummies! Here’s wishing all of you a happy, healthy, fun loving, athletic Saturday!

2 eggs
2 slices bread
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 avocado, gently mashed
1/2 lime, zested and juiced
Dash garlic powder
Dash onion powder
Fresh spinach
Gourmet Medley cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Alfalfa sprouts
Drizzle of honey
Drizzle of olive oil

Place eggs in boiling water for 6 minutes to soft boil.
Lightly sauté tomato halves in olive oil.
Toast bread.
Spread with Dijon.
Mix avocado with lime, garlic, and onion.
Spread avocado mixture on top of Dijon.
Top with a few spinach leaves.
Top with sprouts.
Top with eggs.
Top with tomatoes.
Drizzle with honey and olive oil.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Quick and Easy Biscuits

Start to Finish in Less that 20 Minutes. And That’s a Promise! This is life in abundance, as we neither bake nor eat biscuits in this household often. But when we do, we do it right baby! I paired this wonderful bread with homemade pimento cheese, cilantro butter, and homemade blueberry jam. That was for Sunday brunch. Sunday Supper saw us making tiny turkey sliders and topping them again with yummyness. The Don enjoyed his with pimento cheese and jam; and I enjoyed mine with cilantro butter and jam (and plenty of it)! I made it just to share with you excellent people who follow along on this joint journey. Southern know how people! Shine Bright Like a Diamond.

2 cups all purpose flour 
1/4 cup sugar
2 t baking powder 
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
1 cup whole milk 
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs melted butter

Preheat oven to 450°.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl.
In separate bowl, whisk together milk and mayonnaise.
Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until just combined.
Spoon level scoops of dough onto parchment paper, spacing them an inch apart.
Spread with melted butter.
Bake until golden, about 12 to 14 minutes.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Sausage, Egg, Cheese Strata

Happy Sunday to one and all. All of the hustle and bustle is fun…until it’s not. The Don was fortunate and received his Covid booster Friday (remember that lymphoma situation) and was feeling a tad run down yesterday, so we stayed quietly at home and I made this comfort strata. Perfect for our Saturday early supper, and brunch or supper any day for that matter. It’s early in the day; go grab what you need and whip this up for Sunday Supper. Think, a little denser than a quiche, and a little more comforting as well. Now here’s your breakfast/brunch giggle of the day thanks to comedian Steven Wright: “I went to a restaurant that serves breakfast during any time. So I ordered French Toast from the Renaissance; and they just looked at me!”

1/2 lb ground sausage, browned and drained
1 sweet onion, diced
12 eggs, slightly beaten
4 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, tossed with 1 Tbs melted butter
Sour cream for garnish
Chopped chives, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a pie pan.
In large mixing bowl, using rubber spatula, combine sausage, onions, eggs, Gruyere, blue cheese, half cheddar, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Pour mixture into baking pan.
Add remaining cheddar, and then breadcrumbs on top.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until just set.
Let cool 5 minutes.




Chilled Corn Chowder

Of all the items on a menu, soups grab my attention first; and the way they offer perfection in a bowl is, well perfect. I enjoy hot soup every month of the year; but a lot of folks only eat cool soups in the summer time. So put this little jewel of a recipe for cool corn chowder in your trapper keeper and chill out…a silly little nod to school beginning next week! Take in this glorious corn season and make an easy weekend lunch or appetizer.

1 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
2 green onions, white and tender green parts, separated and chopped
3/4 t ground coriander
3/4 t ground cumin
3/4 t chipotle chili powder
4 cups fresh corn kernels (if not available, use frozen white shoepeg corn, thawed)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat oil on skillet over medium-low heat.
Cook garlic, white parts of onion, coriander, cumin, and chili powder.
Stir until garlic and onions are tender, about 3 minutes.
Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 2 minutes.
Reserve 1 cup cooked corn.
Transfer mixture to blender.
Add buttermilk, water, and salt.
Purée until smooth.
Chill at least 1 hour.
Pour into demitasse cups.
Spoon in a bit of fresh corn on top.
Serve chilled, garnished with cilantro.
Makes 6 small lunch bowls, or 12 demitasse appetizer servings.

Raspberry Brut Ice Cream Float

Hello…it’s midweek my fine folks, and it’s better than just a good day. Here comes an assault on your senses. It’s berry season and I’m punching you up with a sweet treat. This is a fabulous dessert…or I mean…it’s fantastic for brunch as well…this Sunday we’re celebrating my bro’s b’day, and I’ve already placed the special order, Booyah!

1/2 cup raspberries, plus more for garnish
2 Tbs sugar
4 large scoops vanilla ice cream, softened a few minutes
1/4 cup raspberry liqueur
Rose brut champagne

In blender, purée raspberries and sugar.
Pour in glass.
Rinse blender.
Add ice cream to blender.
Purée until smooth.
Place ice cream in 2 short glasses.
Pour liqueur over ice cream.
Pour raspberry purée over ice cream.
Top up with champagne.
Serve with a straw.

Tomato, Leek, Brie Crostata

Happy Tomato Season from here in comfortable, warm unbearably hot and humid ENC. You know, that kind of weather that begs for you to stay inside, turn the air really cool, and create delicious treats like this one that I’m sharing with you here. So drop everything and dash to the local farmers’ market this very minute. Grab those vibrantly colored fresh tomatoes and get kicking! Slice it small for an appetizer, or larger for brunch. This one is a winner.

1 sheet puff pastry
12 oz mixed tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
2 leeks, white and light green parts, chopped
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
6 oz Brie, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 t fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
Whole thyme leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out dough to 9 1/2 x 11 1/2 rectangle.
Refrigerate on baking sheet 20 minutes.
Place tomato slices on paper towels.
Sprinkle with salt.
Top with paper towels to absorb excess liquid.
Score edges of pastry, creating 1/2 inch border.
Spread mustard inside border.
Top with cheese, onions, tomatoes (overlapping slightly to allow for shrinkage), and thyme.
Drizzle with oil.
Bake 15 minutes.
Reduce temperature to 375 degrees.
Continue baking until golden brown, about 25 to 30 more minutes.
Sprinkle with thyme leaves and serve warm.


Strawberry Brunch/Tea Sandwiches

Brunch Strawberry Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches.jpgYummy…All the Way Down the  Throat. No joke. This is a total software update for your palate…and speaking of which; it totally looks like the palette for a still life…calling Kristin!! Since strawberry season is in full swing here, I’m taking it straight to the kitchen. Hope that you do the same. With the marinade in this recipe, any strawberry will work if you live in an “off berry season”!

1 cup thinly slices strawberries
1 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 t honey
Pinch of salt and pepper
Vegetable cream cheese, room temperature (I prefer light)
Bunch baby arugula
8 slices white bread, edged, and cut in half

Toss together berries, balsamic, honey, and salt.
Let sit 30 minutes, then drain.
Spread cheese on all bread slices.
Season 8 bread halves with salt and pepper.
Layer strawberries across these halves.
Top with arugula.
Top with remaining bread slices.

Makes 8 tea sandwiches.