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Curried Butternut Squash Soup

We love the natural, creamy flavor and texture of this spectacular squash. With the addition of spices such as Madras Curry and Tandoori, the soup is light but bold in flavor. Try it and let us know what you think!

 

Creamy Curried Butternut Squash Soup

3 – 4 servings

 

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 cup sweet onion, diced

3 cups roasted butternut squash *recipe follows

2 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon Tandoori Spice Blend

1 Tablespoon Madras Curry

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Sriracha, optional

 

Heat butter and oil in a 4 quart stockpot. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 min, stirring occasionally. Add the squash, broth, spices and season with salt. Cook for 5 minutes. Carefully pour the soup into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. (This can also be done with an immersion blender.) Pour the blended soup back into the stockpot. Add the coconut milk and reheat if necessary. Serve with optional Sriracha sauce.

 

*Roasted Butternut Squash:

1  2 -3 lb butternut squash

4 tablespoons olive oil or butter

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Peel the squash. Carefully cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the squash into 1” cubes and scatter them out onto a large USA Half Sheet Baking Pan. Pour the olive oil over the squash and toss to coat. Season with the salt and pepper and toss once more. Bake for 45 minutes or until the squash just begins to caramelize and turn brown on the edges.

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Summer Recipes from the Farmers Market

We shared some of our favorite Summer Recipes in a recent cooking demonstration at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. We love being able to use many fresh fruits and veggies available at the market. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to visit and sample!

Summer Salad With Poached Egg

4 servings

1 head butter lettuce ( Home Grown Farm)

1 ripe Summer tomato, sliced ( Various Vendors)

two medium Avocado, skin and pit removed & sliced

3 stalks Green onion, chopped (JBG Organic)

¼ lb crisp Bacon, chopped (Richardson Farms)

Roasted red sweet pepper

Beet micro greens (Kin Worthy Harvest)

 

Vinaigrette

1 Tablespoon fresh or 1 tsp dried Tarragon

¼ cup Sandy Oaks Extra virgin olive oil *

2 Tablespoon Champagne vinegar

2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 – 4 Tablespoon Honey, optional (Richardson Farms, Round Rock Honey, C & J Farms)

1 teaspoon lemon zest or 2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 Tablespoon minced shallot (Lightsey Farms, JBG Organic, World Hunger Relief )

 

4 Farm fresh eggs ( Home Grown Farm, World Hunger Relief, Richardson Farms )

White vinegar

Salt and pepper

* Available in our SHOP

For the eggs, start heating a deep skillet or shallow pot with 1 inch deep water. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp white vinegar. Heat the water until it barely bubbles, around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

For salads I recommend using your best farmers market greens and tomatoes, but anything colorful you can find will work.

Chop your greens and vegetables while your water is heating and prepare your salad dressing.

Vinaigrette

Combine all ingredients together and whisk until incorporated.

 

In a large bowl, toss your vegetables with your dressing. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Use tongs to plate your salad and get ready to prep your eggs.

Rinse your eggs and crack them one at a time into a small bowl or large serving spoon. Gently lower each egg into the warm water and release it into the pan (use a larger pan for batches greater than 2). Allow the egg to cook until the yolk has filmed over and the white is set, about 3-5 minutes.

Remove egg with a slotted spoon, drain off water and carefully place the egg on top of your salad. Garnish with pepper and serve immediately. Poached eggs go particularly nicely with sour toast (Artisan Oven).

Grilled Bruschetta with Havarti, Honey and Figs

Makes 32

1 crusty baguette, sliced into ½” thick slices = 32 (Artisan Oven)

10 oz havarti cheese, cut into thin slices = 32 (Brazos Valley Cheeses)

8 ripe fresh figs, stemmed, quartered lengthwise (Lightsey Farms)

Honey (Richardson Farms, Round Rock Honey, C & J Farms)

Basil Microgreens (Kin Worthy Harvest)

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Brush both sides of bread with olive oil. Grill bread until grill marks appear on the first side, about 3 minutes. Turn bread slices over and place grilled side down on a piece of foil. Place 1 cheese slice atop each bread slice and close the grill until cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Transfer bread to a work surface and top each piece with a fig slice. Drizzle lightly with honey and sprinkle lightly with freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to a platter and serve. Garnish with Micro Greens

Option: top with the cheese and fig and then place under a broiler to “toast” the fig. Then drizzle with honey and sprinkle with fresh pepper. Garnish with Microgreens

 

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Pork Tenderloin Crostini Appetizer

Pork Tenderloin Crostini

Pork Tenderloin Crostini Appetizer

30-36 appetizers

½ t salt

1 tablespoon Pepper Creek All Purpose Seasoning (available at Gourmet Gallery)

1 lb pork tenderloin

Baguette-style French bread cut into ¼ – ½” slices, lightly toasted

¼ c Dijon mustard

¾ c Delicae Gourmet raspberry chipotle sauce (available at Gourmet Gallery)

⅓ c crumbled blue cheese

Fresh marjoram leaves

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. Mix salt and seasoning and coat the mixture over pork. Place pork in a shallow roasting pan. Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let stand for 15 minutes.

 

Spread each bread slice with about ¼ t mustard. Top each with a thin slice of pork, 1 t raspberry sauce, ½ t cheese, and marjoram leaves.

Wine paring: Geyser Peak Pluto’s Fury Pinot Noir

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Karyn’s Bowtie Pasta Salad with Sundried Tomatoes, Feta, and Basil

Karyn’s Bowtie Pasta Salad with Sundried Tomatoes, Feta, and Basil

 

Karyn making pasta salad in the kitchen.
Karyn Miller Brooks

This recipe combines similar flavors, but it a nice alternative if you don’t want sandwiches for your picnic.

 

  • 8 oz farfalle (bowtie) pasta, cooked to package directions
  • 3 oz sundried tomatoes, julienne cut (I like Mariani. They are simple sundried tomatoes with no added oil. They come in a plastic package usually located with other tomato products in the grocery store.)
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil, chiffonade cut
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled (also try this with the sundried tomato-basil feta)
  • 2 oz fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ c light olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • ½ c Kalamata olives, pitted and quarter (optional)

 

Toss first 6 ingredients together, adding Kalamata olives at the end. This keeps well for three or four days in the refrigerator. If you are eating this after refrigeration, you made need to toss in a little more oil to revive. This salad is delicious hot or cold, and it is safer for picnics than mayonnaise-based pasta salads.

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Healthy Bean Thread Noodle Salad

Chicken Salad with Bean Thread Noodles (Serves 6)

Chinese Cuisine Made Simple, Chef Dorothy Huang
Chinese Cuisine Made Simple, Chef Dorothy Huang
1 pound boneless chicken breast 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
¼ teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 ounces dried cellophane noodles  

Salad dressing:

1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil 4 tablespoons rice vinegar

Salad:

2 cups shredded carrot 2 cups shredded cucumber
Several sprigs of cilantro 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

 

In a mixing bowl, mix chicken with oyster sauce, salt and pepper. Preheat oven to “Broil”. Broil chicken on the upper rack for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Slice chicken across the grain 1/8- inch thin slices.

Soak dried cellophane noodles in a pot of hot water for 10 minutes. Drain well. Cut into 3 to 4-inch lengths.

Combine salad dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake well.

In a mixing bowl, toss noodles, carrots, and cucumber with 2/3 of dressing. Transfer to a serving platter. Place chicken slices on noodles. Drizzle the rest of the dressing over. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve at once.

** Make it vegetarian! Add tofu, mushroom or edamame instead of chicken.

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Early Summer Recipe


Fried Green Tomato

Late Spring and early Summer is the prime time to find green tomatoes at the Farmers Market. What exactly are green tomatoes? There are two types of green tomatoes, those that are green when fully ripe (generally heirloom varieties), and unripe tomatoes. Here are two recipes for a favorite dish using this seasonal fruit.

Fried Green Tomatoes

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 pinch cayenne

1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk

kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper

4 large unripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, ends removed

1⁄2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

hot pepper sauce, for serving

lemon wedge, for serving

 

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, and cayenne together.

Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Dip the tomatoes in the buttermilk and then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides well.

Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil.

When the oil is hot, pan-fry the tomatoes (in batches if necessary) until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Carefully remove the tomatoes and drain on paper towels.

Serve with hot pepper sauce and lemon.

 

Crunchy “Baked” Fried Green Tomatoes

4 large firm green tomatoes

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon Kosher salt, more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Pam Cooking Spray or olive oil for drizzling

Slice tomatoes 1/8 inch thick. On a large plate mix flour, salt, and pepper. Place yogurt and buttermilk on a second plate, and Panko Bread Crumbs on a third plate. Coat tomatoes with the flour mixture, then the yogurt – buttermilk mixture (you may want to put the yogurt in a small bowl so that dipping them is easier), then the Panko Bread Crumbs.

Place coated tomatoes on a cookie sheet and spray with Pam Cooking Spray liberally on both sides or drizzle them on both sides with olive oil. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 7 minutes on one side then flip them over and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with extra salt and serve warm.

 

Buttermilk dipping sauce: 

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup mayonnaise

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped chives

hot sauce

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped chives and stir to combine. Add a few dashes of hot sauce to taste. Chill until ready to serve.


 

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The Art of the Charcuterie Platter

Now that I’ve typed it what does it mean? It is the branch of cooking devoted top prepared meat products, such as salamis, sausages, terrines, pates and confit.

According to Lori Krieger, the creator of  “Tastes Elevated,” the idea of a perfect charcuterie platter features cured meats paired with artisan condiments, cheeses, breads and a variety of other condiments.

For more ideas watch this space, and come on February  7, to meet Lori and learn first hand.

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An Emerald Isle Dessert

(I have a beautiful picture from the Dingle Peninsula, but I can’t get the  ______idjit computer to download it.)

Now that we’ve been to Ireland………..Here is a recipe of a wonderful dessert.

On two occasions I had this marvelously sweet, flavorful dessert–once at the fish and chips place and again at the Smokehouse which really wasn’t a smokehouse. Both were in Dingle in County Kerry.
It’s called Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake.  Added my own touches. Don’t be alarmed at the amount of soda. I thought it would ruin the cake. It did not!

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup pitted dates
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon soda
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla

Toffee Sauce:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/c packed light brown sugar
1 cup English walnut pieces

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Butter a 10-inch round or square baking pan. (I used my mother’s pan that she used to make Raisin Roll. See a previous blog.)
Sift flour and baking powder onto a sheet of waxed paper. Chop the dates fine. Place in a small bowl, add the boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a bowl of electric mixer  beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat until blended. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the date mixture to the batter and fold until blended. Pour in the prepared baking dish.  Bake until pudding cake is set and firm on top, about 35 minutes.

Toffee Sauce: Combine the butter, heavy cream and brown sugar in a small heavy saucepan; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil gently over medium low until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes.  Preheat broiler. Spoon about 1/3 cup over the pudding cake. spread evenly over the top. Place pudding under the broiler until the top is bubbly, about 1 minute. Spoon into dessert bowls. Drizzle with sauce, sprinkle with toasted pecans. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

It’s GRAND.

 

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A Visit to Some Painted Churches

Labor Day is not a great weekend to travel in Texas. The weather is hot, the traffic is heavy, and many restaurants are closed. However, all the stars were aligned for travel. The destination was some of the Painted Churches in south central Texas. Having heard of them for several years, three friends and I set out on THAT Monday to see them.  We took a scenic tour of Bell County, and on a country road saw twenty or more hawks circling and feeding in a field where a farmer was plowing. They were eating insects and worms. I could not identify them–perhaps Swainson’s Hawks. Exciting for an old birder.

We spent the night at Brendan’s Bed & Breakfast in La Grange; we met our guide for the tour at the Chamber of Commerce in Schulenburg for the tour of five beautiful churches in Fayetteville County. Our guide, Wanda, was informed and had a personal connection to the Painted Churches since she had been married in one of them. We toured the churches at High Hill, Dubina, Ammannsville, Moravia and St. John. On the way home we stopped at the Serbin Community to visit the The Wendish Heritage Museum and St. Paul’s Luthern Church

If you have not done this short trip, I highly recommend taking a day or two to see them. According to some references there are twenty. I haven’t found that many in any listing, but I will keep on searching.

For lunch we had some barbecue and German potato salad. Laced with vinegar, it cleared my sinuses. Potato Salad may be my favorite food.
Below find a recipe from www.whats4eats:

Kartoffelsalat

Southern region Potato Salad

Boiling potatoes–2 pounds
Hot beef or chicken broth–3/4 cup
Oil–1/3 cup
Onion chopped finely–1
Vinegar–1/4 cup
Brown or Dijon mustard–2 tablespoons
Sugar–1 tablespoon
Salt and pepper to taste
Chives or parsley, chopped (optional)–1 to 2 tablespoons

1 Place the potatoes into a large pot and add enough cold water to cover them by an inch or two. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil until the potatoes are cooked through and a sharp knife pierces them easily. Drain and set aside to cool.

2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them if you like. Then cut the potatoes in half and then cut them into thick slices.  Put the potatoes in a large bowl and carefully stir in the hot broth and onions.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper until smooth. Stir this vinaigrette in the potatoes, along with the chopped chives or parsley.

4. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve warm, at room temperature or cold.

Variations:
Add diced, cooked bacon if you like. Substitute bacon fat for some of the oil.
Coarsely shred a small head of Romaine or Iceberg lettuce and mix.
Add some chopped dill pickle and juice.

All of the churches have festivals. I wish I could go to all just to check out the types of potato salad that are served.

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Did You Get the Number of the Truck?

“What truck?”
“The one that ran over me”This was the exchange in our family when someone had a particularly difficult day, task, etc.It is appropriate for the past week for Gourmet Gallery and me personally. Now, this is not a BAD thing. There are many good things!

Fifth anniversary celebration with 109 friends–GOOD

Number One grandson graduating with a Master of Information Systems Degree–GOOD

A three-day holiday to West Texas to be with family to celebrate a ninetieth birthday–GOOD
(We missed the planned party, but made it for the after-party parties. Such great family time for us.)

There were a few small towns on our itinerary. What fun we had exploring in Clifton on the way there, and Roby, Anson, Abilene (not so small, but one of our former hometowns), Buffalo Gap, Cisco, Eastland, and Cranfills Gap and St. Olaf’s Lutheran Church on the way back.

Perini’s Steakhouse is in Buffalo Gap. We didn’t get to have any of their famous steaks, but enjoyed some of the other foods–a one/half pound hamburger, fried quail legs, and some of the best hominy I’ve tasted.

This recipe from “Texas Cowboy Cooking”, p.148:

Jessica’s Favorite Green Chile Hominy

1 cup chopped onion, sautéed
4 15-ounce cans white hominy (drain and reserve)
1/2 cup hominy liquid
1 tablespoon juice from pickled jalapeños
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, grated
10 slices bacon, fried crisp and chopped (reserve drippings)
1 cup chopped green chiles
1-2 pickled jalapeños, seeded and chopped (optional)

Sauté the onions in a little of the bacon drippings and put aside. Heat hominy in a separate sauté pan, stirring often. When heated thoroughly, add the hominy liquid and jalapeño juice, bring back to a high temperature and add 3/4 of the cheese. When the cheese melts, add half the peppers and bacon and all the onion. Pour into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, bacon and peppers. (At this point it can be refrigerated or even frozen, if you want to make it in advance.) Bake at 325 degrees F. Until cheese on top melts, about. 15 minutes ( or 40 minutes, if refrigerated.)
Serves 10 to 12.

And what truck was th

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Why Am I in Texas When There Are Cooler Places?

This is the time of the year– EVERY YEAR–that I ask myself that question. I suppose the answer is that I haven’t gone some other place. The secret to being as comfortable as possible for me is to stay as cool as possible and drink as much liquid as possible. Water , of course, is the logical choice, and it is a good choice. However, our gourmet world offers many options. Below find a couple of drinks that can be made at home–with a little help from Gourmet Gallery.

PEACH BELLINI

1) In a blender, combine 1/2 package of Wine-a-Rita mix (3/4 cup) with12 fluid ounces of wine or champagne and blend until mixed.

2) Fill blender with ice and mix until smooth.

Makes 12-6 ounce servings.

Or

LAVENDER LEMONADE

Brew 1quart of Sterling Earl Grey Lavender Tea. (2tablespoons loose tea in 1qt. hot water [185-205F] . Let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea leaves and chill.

2 cups simple syrup. (Bring 2 cups sugar and one cup water to a boil stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Chill.)

Combine tea and simple syrup in a pitcher and add 1-1/2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Stir. Add ice and one or two sliced lemons.

ENJOY.

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A Source–“Cook’s Illustrated”

Entering the retail world of food has been a education for me. Even though I was a Homemaking teacher  when there were such animals and a wife and mother for even longer, so many new ideas, food and nutrition facts and new methods have appeared since then that I have had to really be alert to all things new. Among  the many magazines that pass through our doors, a stand-out is COOK’S ILLUSTRATED. In fact, it is our go-to for equipment recommendations, methods of cooking and their cookbook THE AMERICA’ S TEST KITCHEN FAMILY COOKBOOK published by America’s Test Kitchen is the book we recommend for new cooks who need a starter course in cooking and baking.

COOK’S ILLUSTRATED comes bi-monthly and has a plethora of information about food preparation, pots and pans, food products–too much to cover here. There are 32 items in the contents. One of them is for frying eggs. I know, I know! Who doesn’t know how to fry ’em, and eggs are not that good for you. What about cholesterol? I eat them and I will continue to do so.

Pointers for the perfect fried egg, borrowed from August, 2013, COOK’S ILLUSTRATED, pp.12-13.

Preheat the pan for 5 minutes over low heat.
Use two fats–vegetable oil while the pan is heating and butter added just before the eggs.
Add eggs all at once. Cracking into small bowls and adding to skillet allows them cook at the same rate.
Turn heat to medium-high.
Cover as soon as the eggs are in place. Allow to cook 1 minute.
Remove from heat.
Wait 15 to 45 seconds.

Ready to serve.
(I have a glass saucepan lid that fits for 8 inch skillet; so, I don’t have to let heat out to check.)
Now, for a strip of bacon, toasted English muffins and a little orange marmalade.

Perfect breakfast–or dinner.
BTW we have both AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN FAMILY COOKBOOK and the current issue of COOK’S ILLUSTRATED available at Gourmet Gallery.