RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Tag: Baguette

Mushroom Potato Soup with Chicken Liver Pâté

 

It has been an amazing week here in the Northwest, lots of sunshine and of course there has been some rain, but what would the Northwest be without the drizzle?  I have lost count of all the new hummingbirds, the new-comer Rufus’s and add lots more Anna’s arriving for the new season.  It will be at least another month before we see any Calliope’s.  The Allen’s usually live on the outskirts and visit regularly.  They are in the process of working out all of the logistics… all the planning of who will live where and who has control of what feeder and then when the wildflowers bloom in the fields and my hummingbird plants start to bloom they will have to start again!   Not to say that we do not hear bickering going on out there.  What is life without a little internal strife and squabbling among friends?

T has his manly meal the other day and I was trying to think of something different to make for dinner… something we had not had in a long time.  I am one of those souls who dearly loves Liver Pâté… I usually have it once a year either during the Christmas Holidays or like a year ago for Valentine’s Dinner.  With my Mother being sick since right before Christmas and then her passing just before Valentine’s Day we did not do much special this year… no Liver Pâté.

Liver Pâté came to my thoughts and I could not get rid of the wanting of… no the craving of it would be more like it.  I love to spread some on lightly toasted baguette… I could just taste it.  Then I wondered what would we have with it… another thing I dearly love is Mushroom soup.  Homemade Mushroom soup that is thick and creamy now I had a meal that I was going to make no matter what.  I wonder what T would think… was he in a mood for Liver Pâté and thick, creamy Mushroom Soup.  When I told him I was making a list of things I needed from the market for dinner he asked what I was fixing… I let him know and he said it sounded good to him.  He was even willing to go to market and get the few things I needed to make the meal… what a relief because I did not feel for the trip to town today.

I found this recipe several years ago from Food and Wine and started using it and it has been my favorite since.  Very easy to make and it is silky-smooth… it melts in your mouth.

 

  

Chicken Liver Pâté

Ingredients:

  •         1/2 pound chicken livers, well-trimmed (I only use organic chicken livers)
  •         1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  •         1 small garlic clove, smashed and peeled
  •         1 bay leaf
  •         1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
  •         Kosher salt
  •         1/2 cup water
  •         1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  •         2 teaspoons Cognac or Scotch whisky
  •         Freshly ground pepper
  •         Toasted baguette slices, for serving

In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken livers, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover; reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the livers are barely pink inside, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.    

Discard the bay leaf. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the livers, onion and garlic to a food processor; process until coarsely pureed. With the machine on, add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until incorporated. Add the Cognac, season with salt and pepper and process until completely smooth. Scrape the pâté into 2 or 3 large ramekins. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pâté and refrigerate until firm. Serve chilled.

Make Ahead: The pâté can be covered with a thin layer of melted butter, then wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.

 

 

Potato and Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

  •         1 cup oyster mushrooms (1/2 ounce) (slice up several and reserve)
  •         1 cup shiitake mushrooms (1 ounce) (slice up several and reserve)
  •         3/4 cup crimini mushrooms (3/4 ounce) (slice up several and reserve)
  •         2 cloves of minced garlic
  •         1 finely chopped onion
  •        1 stalk of celery chopped up finely
  •         1 ½ cups water
  •         1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •         2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced very thin
  •         5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  •         2 large baking potatoes finely diced
  •         1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
  •         2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •         Salt and freshly ground pepper
  •         1 cup of cream (I used fat-free half n half instead)
  •         Crusty bread, for serving

 

Finely chop the mushrooms, onions and celery (I used my food processor.)  Mince the garlic.   Place all in pan with water and bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer until mushrooms and onions are tender.  I let this boil down a little to make a headier broth, do not overcook the mix.

Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the stock, reserved sliced mushrooms, potatoes, and the mix you have already cooked, along with the thyme (I did not have any thyme so used parsley) to the pot.  Cook over moderate heat until the potatoes are done, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and butter and season the soup with salt and pepper.  Serve in shallow bowls with crusty bread.

This soup is amazing; if anything I would add more mushrooms.  It is a nice thick, creamy soup that you can taste each level of the ingredients.  The leeks make a wonderful addition.  You can make this without any cream or half n half and it is still very good.

T and I enjoyed the toasted baguette with the Liver Pâté immensely and the Mushroom and Potato Soup was a real treat that had so many layers of textures and full flavors each in its own right….

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Per Se Beef Poor Boys

T has been very busy this week clearing brush… lots of salmonberry and blackberry bushes that are up to eight feet tall, some a lot more than that.   With all the rain we get I am surprised they are not longer!  T says he wants to take back a couple of feet of ground around the entire yard… a real revelation to me because I know about his aversion to mowing the lawn!  Then in talk I find out he is thinking about buying a riding lawn mower.  Now… It is starting to make a little more sense to me.

He has put in long days with his machete and loppers.   Says once he gets it all down and cleaned up the mower will do the rest.  I can tell that it has been hard work… he is moving a little slower in the evening and sleeping really well at night.

I asked him what he wanted for dinner and his reply was something manly, a hardy meal… but quick and easy.  (I knew the reasoning behind this… I have been making lots of salads and light soups of late because we have been eating such heavy meals.)  That sounds good but what?  I remembered the last of the left over brisket (I was thinking about making a hominy soup with it… next time) in the freezer and decided to make poor boys.  He loves poor boys ever since he was introduced to them in New Orleans a few years ago.

Once I had the brisket thawed out I put it in the steam basket to heat.  I like doing this way because there is always some of the leftover grease that clings to the beef and the steam removes most of it in the heating process.  And two… it leaves it so moist!

I sliced and grilled several onions to top the brisket and while cooking I mixed together some mustard and horseradish for a nice topping with bite.   

I had the baguette nicely toasted in the broiler and then put the brisket on, then piled on lots of grilled onions and added the cheddar cheese and put the whole thing back into the broiler for a few minutes.  Watch it carefully…    now spread on some of the mustard-horseradish mix and the poor boy is ready to eat.

T ate almost the whole thing by himself, I had about a two-inch strip and we had side salads… I have to say the poor boy was really good.  He was happy with the ‘quick-manly-hardy meal,’ which was all that mattered….  

 

Orange Marmalade

 

  

Orange Marmalade

I love Orange Marmalade.  I have been craving some good homemade marmalade for some time now.   I have good memories from childhood of eating the marmalade on just plain old white bread with homemade butter to memories of eating it every morning while in France on a Croissants or Baguette.  “Good morning.  Bonjour.  S’il vous plaît, je vais prendre une tasse de chocolat chaud et un crossiant avec marmelade d’orange, je vous remercie beaucoup.’’  (‘’Good morning.  Bonjour.  Please, I will have a cup of hot chocolate and a croissant with orange marmalade, thank you very much.)  For about two weeks, I did not tire of this as the beginning of my day.  It had gotten to the point that the waitress would ask croissant or baguette as she approached to my table. ‘’Souhaitez-vous une crossiant ou de la baguette de ce matin?’’

Such memories, and who (in their right mind) could turn down a mix of Chocolate and orange?  I must admit, I could not and would not turn down this combination at any time.  I love to break off a single bite of bread and put a little butter and a dollop of the sweet tart mix of marmalade, it is incredible.   Nothing can you compare it to.

Kevin, at Closet Cooking and I were on the same wave lengths here recently.  I was catching up on emails and a he had posted the marmalade recipe and gave me the little push I needed to make my first ever orange marmalade.  I too found he had done candied orange peels too, so I decided no better time to learn than when I make my first marmalade.

I love the tartness of marmalade, the subtle difference of the sweet and tart mix.   I need a change once in a while from the sweet of normal jams and preserves, they are delicious, but every once in a while I love to wake up my taste buds and marmalade does just that.   I noticed that Kevin had added a lemon to his mix, so I decided to add one lemon and two small Meyer Lemons to my batch.  I too did not use the Seville Oranges that he did but instead use Minneola Organic Oranges (Kevin used Seville Oranges, which have seeds, so, will cook differently.)  The skin of the Minneola Orange is a very bright deep color with the juice being of the same color; I could just see it in the jars.  I had to add a box of pectin to my marmalade; my oranges came all but seedless.  I still had plenty of pulp and extra bits and I tied them up in the cheesecloth.  I waited to the last to make sure I needed the pectin and one box did just the trick. 

I agree with Kevin, that the marmalade is really very simple with only a couple of simple ingredients: the oranges, added lemons, sugar and in my case one box of pectin and it was a lot easier to make than I had imagined.  I defiantly will be making more.  Next time I am already thinking about adding pineapple and maybe some other interesting combos?  We’ll see, but I do adore good old plain marmalade.  However after thinking about it there really is nothing plain about marmalade. 

I too decided that I wanted some sweet bread to eat my marmalade on and made a batch of Brioche for just that purpose.  There is enough Brioche now to make a good bread pudding here soon too. 

Once I got the oranges and lemons washed I went to work juicing, scraping, and slicing, my homemade marmalade was one step closer, I could already taste it on my fresh Brioche.    I did a couple of extra oranges and lemons for candied rinds.  I was glad I had decided to do it all at one time.  It went by pretty quickly. 

I also prepared my jars and tops.  I washed them thoroughly and then boiled them in water for ten minutes.  I even went through my old scraps of material for quilting and found some cloth that had oranges on it, with a lime background, it was perfect.  I was now ready for the end results. 

Orange Marmalade

     Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of Minneola Oranges, about 4-5
  • 1 Lemon – Yellow
  • 2 Small Meyer Lemons
  • 4 cups of water
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 1 box of Pectin
  1. Cut the oranges and lemons in half cross wise.
  2. Squeeze the juice and pits out through a mesh sieve collecting the juice in a large sauce pan.
  3. Scrape all of the membranes and remaining pulp from inside of the oranges.  This is not a hard as it sounds; at least I had no problems cleaning out everything to the rind.
  4. Collect the pit, membranes and any pulp that came out and place it in a double layer of 8 inch square cheese cloth and tie off.    
  5. Slice the oranges and lemon peels into small thin pieces about 1/8 inch wide. 
  6. Bring the juice, water, peels and cheesecloth to a simmer over medium heat and cook, covered, until the peel gets tender, about 2 hours.  Stir every 15 minutes, squeezing the juices from the cheesecloth when you do. 
  7. Remove the cheese cloth and squeeze out any liquid into the pot.
  8. At this point you should have about 4 cups of liquid.  Add more water if you have less and simmer to reduce if you have more.
  9. Bring the liquid and sugar to a rolling boil, this is where I added my pectin and followed the box instructions. (If your marmalade is thickening on its own, then proceed like Kevin did – at rolling boil – until it thickens, about 10-15 minutes.  To test, place a small spoonful on a plate that was in the freezer and run your finger through.  If the path where your finger went through stays then it has set.
  10. Pour into your jars leaving ½ inch of space at the top.  I took a damp clean cloth and went around all the rims to make sure they were clean so I would know they would seal.  (This made me feel so grown up.  I remember as a child watching my mother can everything that could be canned.  She would always take a damp clean cloth and run the rims.  We always had to stay at a distance when she was canning.)  I then put the lids on and placed in a large pot and covered with boiling water.  Once all of it got boiling again I boiled for twenty minutes with pot lid on and then put the half pints of marmalade on a large cutting board to cool.  Be very careful, you could burn yourself very easily.  They were all sealed.  I was so proud of myself. (Kevin at the point of putting into the jars placed the tops on and refrigerated when cool.)
  11. So if you want to keep your in the refrig versus sealing for some length of time in your pantry, that is up to you.  What I have will not last long enough to warrant the boiling water bath and such, but since I was sending part of the batch out, not knowing when they would use theirs, I decided it was best to just can to seal for later use.   

I knew that a few of mine were going in the post to family.  My mother, she will be so pleased to see that I took the time to finally make my own marmalade, and she loves marmalade as much as I do.  I will be sending to family in Texas, Peggy who never forgets to send jams and such which she has made, and to my dear friend Sue.  I hope they love them as much as I do.

It was hard to let the marmalade set until the next morning.  But what did I have for breakfast, Brioche and Marmalade.  I closed my eyes and took a trip to France.  What nice memories from childhood, to France and back again and now I have joined the legends of those that have made their very own marmalade.  It tastes just as good as that from my childhood to that which I had in France.  How can something so simple be so good? ….  

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