Friday Morning Bookclub

January 12, 2011

Football Food

Filed under: Recipes — susanbright @ 3:06 pm

The Raven’s games are a big deal at my house.  Football doesn’t do a think for me, however I enjoy planning and preparing the food for the guys. Every away game, my basement is full of Raven’s fans of all ages. These guys have been coming over to watch the games for years and have their own crazy traditions, including their “good luck” piece which is a bunch of popsicle sticks which one of the kids painted and glued together and has a prominent place right by the big screen tv.

This past week I made a huge “vat” of seafood gumbo, something I try to do once a season. Afterall my husband lived in New Orleans before we got married and we both developed a love for Mother’s Restaurant’s gumbo.  For those of you who have never made gumbo, it is all in the roux. You cannot make a good gumbo without a rich, dark roux, which takes a lot of patience. The roux, which is made by slowly heating oil  and flour is what gives the gumbo it’s rich, nutty flavor. It is not something you can rush, because if it burns you have to and start all over again!

The recipe I use is my own variation of a recipe I originally got from a Southern Living Cook Book and it is so good that I wanted to share it with you!

 Saefood  Gumbo

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 cups flour

4 (32 oz cartons) chicken broth

1 bunch chopped green onion

2  cups chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped celery

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles

 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

I bag frozen okra

3 pounds  fresh shrimp

1 (16 oz) container fresh crab meat

1/2 cup fresh parsley

Hot cooked long grain white rice

Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Gradually add flour. Cook, whisking constantly until flour is dark mahogany. (The first time I made this I was so afraid of burning it that it took me over  an hour! Hopefully it will only take about 30 minutes)

Add next 8 ingredients, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for  2  1/2-3 hours. Be sure to stir and check from time to time.

Peel shrimp. (This is a great job to give your husband- I did!) Add shrimp to mixture and cook  until shrimp turns pink, stirring occassionally. This should only take about 15-20 minutes.

Add crab meat and parsley before serving. Serve over hot rice.

Enjoy! What is your favorite football food?

December 20, 2010

It’s Soup Time!

Filed under: Recipes — susanbright @ 10:58 am

Yes, it is cold outside and that means it is soup time. I could spend hours on the computer looking for interesting recipes. This weekend I found myself on the allrecipes website and decided to try their recipe for Fragrant Autumn Vegetable Soup.  Although it has a tomato base like most vegetable soups, this one had a twist. The recipe called for 1/8 tsp cinnamon, and yes it was a fragrant soup! The fact that you can now buy butternut squash peeled, cubed and ready to go, in many of the local grocery stores makes this soup even more appealing. It was a quick easy recipe and the addition of the cannellini  beans makes it quite hearty for a vegetarian soup. Of course, I took a container next door for my soup buddy to try! Do you have a favorite soup recipe that you would like to share?

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fragrant-Autumn-Vegetable-Soup/Detail.aspx

November 4, 2010

Fish Chowder

Filed under: Recipes,Restaurants — Esther @ 9:36 pm

Yesterday, the book that I was reading made mention of “fish soup with cream”.  It sounds strange, I know, but it made me start to think about my Grandmother’s fish chowder.  My grandmother made the most delicious soup.  She made it with rockfish, and it had potatoes, peas and corn in a creamy, milky broth.  It was my favorite, and I can remember how excited I was when she would serve me a steaming bowl of the delicious soup.  I decided that I have to try to re-create that soup.  All yesterday afternoon, I was creating the recipe in my mind – I would get some fresh rockfish and this would be my weekend project.

Last night, my husband and I went to Harryman House for dinner.  We go there often, and I know the menu well.  Imagine my surprise when our waitress told us that the soup of the day was “Rockfish Chowder”.  “You’re kidding me!”  I exclaimed.  “I’ve been thinking about fish chowder all day”

Harryman House’s chowder, while delicious, didn’t really resemble my grandmother’s version.  I was tempted to pick up my bowl and lick it clean, but I was in a restaurant, so I restrained myself.  I still plan on cooking up my own version of my grandmother’s classic.  It’s funny, but I’m not so sure that Harryman House serving chowder was such a coincidence.  I think that my grandmother might have been playing around in their kitchen!

October 22, 2010

I Flunked Jello Jigglers!

Filed under: Recipes — susanbright @ 10:16 am

This weekend I made a jello cake, one of those cakes that starts with a cake mix. You make the cake mix as directed and after coming out of the oven, you poke holes and pour the jello in the holes. After refrigerating the cake for several hours, I iced it with cool whip and voila (thank you E)! A masterpiece! So what do you do with the extra jello? I hated to waste it so I decided to make jigglers for the neighborhood kids who were coming over to watch the Raven’s game. After searching through my messy Tupperware drawer I found jiggler molds that had never been used and probably came free with a jello purchase years ago. So what if it was only October and they were Santa and Christmas Tree shapes! I poured the jello in the molds and put them in the refrigerator. Hours later the jello was set and I was ready to free my santas. First I dipped the bottom of the mold in hot water. The darn jigglers would not budge. I turned the mold upside down. I twisted it. No luck. Finally I used a tooth pick to try to loosen the adorable shapes. By the time I got them loose they looked like little jello blobs, and ended up in the trash……. along with the molds!

October 15, 2010

My New Toy: The Crock Pot!

Filed under: Recipes — susanbright @ 10:01 am

Last week I bought myself a crock pot and I am having so much fun with it. It takes so little to amuse me! Of course I bought myself a nice big one, 7 quarts because I like cooking in volume. Crock pot cooking is really easy and there are so many recipes to try.  I have spent hours sorting through them on the internet. So far I have made white chicken chili, chicken cacciatore, beef stew and chicken pot pie. Every recipe was delicious and my head is spinning with recipe ideas! I just threw all the ingredients for Chicken Taco Soup in my crock pot, turned the dial to low and eight hours from now I will have delicious soup! No stirring and I don’t even have to be home. My soup buddy, Sharon just bought a crock pot too.  We love sharing recipes and talking soup, as well as books! Does that make us cooking geeks?  Does anyone out there have any really good recipes? Any other geeks out there?

September 15, 2010

My Soup Buddy

Filed under: Recipes — susanbright @ 10:31 am

I have a soup buddy and she is the best! Sharon and I became soup buddies about a year ago. Sharon is my next door neighbour and she too is a soup junkie! We share  a passion for making soup. If there is a chill in the air, there is a pot of soup on one of our stoves. Making soup is only fun if you can make a huge vat of it, however now that the kids are out of the house, we just can’t eat it all our selves. Sometimes I put containers of soup in the freezer, but it never seems to get eaten as I would much rather make another pot than defrost the frozen soup. After all, making it and smelling it cooking on the stove is half the fun!  I can’t even remember exactly how our special soup arrangement started. Was it Sharon that first knocked on my door with a container of her delicious carrot soup? Was it my cabbage soup that put everything into motion? All I can tell you is that if you are a soup lover, having a soup buddy is the best.  I love when my phone rings in the morning and it is my soup buddy telling me she has a container of soup for me.  Having a soup buddy inspires me.  No longer do I stick to my old favorites: chicken, vegetable  and cabbage. Last year I made Hot and Sour soup for the first time. It is now one of my family’s favorite. After trying Sharon’s Italian Wedding Soup, I had to try making it for myself and it was wonderful. Sharon makes the best Vegetarian Barley Soup.  I am always looking for new recipes to try! This weekend I made Turkey Leftover Soup. I know that it is only September, but it was raining and there was definitely a chill in the air. Autumn is right around the corner! Find a soup buddy. It really is the best!

Turkey Left Over Soup

1 turkey carcass with plenty of turkey left on (left over from my holiday dinner)

onion, celery, carrots

 corn (roasted is the best and it is sold at Trader Joes)

left over gravy (if you have it throw some in, it thickens the soup and adds flavor)

salt, pepper, parsley (to taste)

chicken bouillon cubes (if needed)

 rice, barley or noodles (whatever you have in your pantry)

Put left over carcass in a huge pot, and cover it with water. Add salt, pepper and an onion for flavor. Cook for several hours while you relax and read a good book. (I am reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Travelers’ Wife). I had to get something in about books! Taste the delicious broth! Remove all the bones and save the meat to be thrown back into the soup. Add diced carrots, celery, onions and corn. Throw in some gravy and cook on a low temperature until the vegetables are tender. Add salt, pepper and or more gravy as needed. If it needs a little more flavor add a few bouillon cubes.  Add barley, noodles or rice. This time I used orzo because I had an open box in my pantry. Remember soup is always better the second day!

Do you have a favorite soup recipe to share?

November 22, 2009

In Search Of The Ultimate Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Recipe!

Filed under: Recipes,Uncategorized — susanbright @ 4:00 pm

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. It is all about family, friends and food! There are no presents or ceremonies of any kind involved and there are very few decisions to make. The menu is pretty much set : Turkey, stuffing, mashed potaotes, broccolii or string bean casserole, sweet potatos and of course some kind of cranberry for starters.  When I asked my friend Sarah who lives in St Croix what she was serving for Thanksgiving… it was pretty  much the same menu. I don’t know why, but that suprised me!   The only decision I have to make is what sweet potatoe recipe I am going to try this year. I am still searching for the ultimate Thanksgiving sweet potatoes, and  tend to try a different recipe every year. Brown sugar and butter are a must! Any suggestions?

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