RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

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

Tag: Chicken

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….

Chicken Panini and Spinach Orange Salad

It been a long month so to speak, it is time to try to have a normal day in and day out life again.  As normal as can be at the present time… I have not been eating right and my body is telling me that I need something that is fresh, crunchy, something with a little zing to it… something a little different that we have not had in some time.

T went to the market yesterday and stocked up on all kinds of fresh fruit and veggies.  Produce is something that I have always been very keen on.  As a child and even as an adult I have been known to eat right out of the garden.   I love fresh produce, the fresher the better!  We had a wonderful roasted chicken the other night and then had a nice cob salad but still have a little left.  We need to think of something that can use the last of the left over’s and still be enjoyed… thank goodness T does not mind having the same thing several days in a row.

We neither one felt like cooking and wanted something easy, quick and with little clean up.  But we were both ready for something that would left us up so to speak.  I told him I would do dinner; he has been so good to me the last few weeks.  Not one complaint out of his mouth and making sure I have everything I would need and more.

I decided to make us a Chicken Panini… spinach, sliced chicken, some cranberry relish… nothing fancy just a simple sandwich.

Then I thought a Spinach Orange salad would be really good with… I had everything I needed… everything was so fresh it would be perfect.  The salad I decided to mix some romaine hearts and spinach together and throw in some red onion, cherry tomatoes, orange slices, pistachios, to bad T forgot to get an avocado… it will not be missed.  With the Orange Salad Dressing I make it will be perfect.  It has lots of zing that we need to help left our spirits… it would put it out of the park that is for sure.  Late this evening after dinner I was trying to get caught up on my blogs and commenting and found that someone had the same thing in mind… a different version than mine but it sure looks look too!  Check it our at Chef in disguise, her looks incredible!

Orange Salad Dressing

  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon Lemon Pepper… can use fresh ground black pepper too
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon French Grain Mustard
  • Shredded Apple Smoked Gruyère Cheese for topping (not mixed in dressing)

Put everything into a jam jar (or such) and put the lid on tight (that is important… I know) and give it a really good shake.

The salad did not let us down and the  panini’s were perfect.  Everything united together to make one spectacular dinner.  We were both pleasingly surprised.  T said I could cook for him anytime….

‘Ninnie being Ninnie’ Things have not been normal around here and animals do pick up on when you are sick or down and such.  She has followed me around like a dog and wants to make me happy, she has even been sleeping at my feet at night, I think she thinks she has done something wrong… we all know better!  Today she got lots of love and was so happy until the high winds started and then rain was added to the mix… she decided to sleep through it all.  She is not a happy camper when the weather does not cooperate and she cannot go in and out a gazillion times!  Look at her wrapped up in her own little goodness!

Basic Chicken Stock

 

 

I made the stock using up all the back, necks, bones and carcass bits that I had been saving in the freezer.  It made for a large pot of stock.  It made more than enough for several chicken soups, and then with a couple of quarts leftover.  I froze them in batches and some in cubes for future use.  My stock recipe is:

In large stock pot:

  • Chicken back and necks from about 8 chickens
  • Bones and carcass bits from the same
  • 4 Crushed Garlic Cloves
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 Large Carrots
  • 4 Parsnips
  • 4 stalks of Celery
  • 6 or so quarts of cold water enough to cover by an inch
  • Sea Salt (not much, just a smidgen)
  • Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup or so sage leaves
  • Couple of bay leaves
  • I have been known to throw into the stock pot anything that ‘needs’ to be used from the veggie drawers in the refrig: mushrooms and such.

You can brown this in a pan with a little oil before putting in stock pot.  Sometimes I do, but this time I wanted to boil it down a little to concentrate the flavor.  While it is simmering (light boil) partially covered, I skimmed off the scum once in awhile.  I strained twice and then degreased it the best I could and let it cool down before I put it in refrig to solidify the fat.  

Once I got all fat off the top, I kept out what I would be using for a pot of chicken soup I would be making today and froze the rest in several batches and cubes for future use.  I freeze it in small bowls and once frozen I then put in Food Saver bags and vacuum steal before putting back in freezer for future use.  It makes all the difference in the world, in flavor, freshness and no problem with freezer burn….

Harmony Soup

Harmony Soup

 
© 2009 ….RaeDi 
 

So you know right off, I am not being paid by Nuts Online.  What I claim is from my own perspective.  I was introduced to this site by a friend and then I ordered some of their products.  I cannot keep my mouth shut at this point about NUTS ONLINE.   The products sell themselves.  There is nothing NUTTY about this in the least, at least that I can see.

From this “The Hummers’ Critique Corner” I give Nuts Online a rating of five possible hummingbirds 

                                                 Rating of Five Hummingbirds

A friend had a  Christmas Open House one evening during the holidays and had a nice spread of holiday goodies for us to snack on.  She had set a beautiful buffet with an assortment of meats, cheeses and fruits, some wonderful little tarts (she used my pastry recipe I shared with her), cookies of all kinds, sugar cookies that were to pretty to eat and desserts including some home-made candies.  She promised she would give me a list of all new recipes after the holidays.

One thing she told me about and I wrote down was a website that her friend had brought to her attention, www.nutsonline.com.  I checked this site out once the holidays were over and I had things to the point of being able to breathe again.  I spent a whole afternoon my first time visiting this site.  Talk about a child in a candy store.  I wanted one of everything.   I too, knew that these products were top of the line.  I had eaten a sizable amount and variety of them at my friends’ party.  I told anyone who was eyeing me at the party that I was sampling the products, and I was all of them.  Once I realized that my list was like two pages long I decided to back off for a few days and come in with my brakes on, harder than it sounds.    I told myself I needed to take my time and pick a few well-chosen items for my first order.

That was not so easy.  In the end, I will admit my order had a dozen or so well-chosen items on it.  It took me several tries to get the list down to what I finally ordered.  I have a list of recipes that I have wanted to do from several foodies sites that I visit often.  Annie’s Eats, Pioneer Woman, Smitten Kitchen, Pat at Dancing in the Kitchen, Tartelette, Brown Eye Baker and the list goes on and on.   When I was studying Nuts Online products I wanted to put everything on the list all at one time.  If you take the time to go, you too may see how hard it is to decide what to buy on your first visit/order and save the rest for another time. 

I must have gone to their site a half-dozen times or so before I finally had the list ready to order.  As I said, I had known that all of their products are top of the line.  Usually when I  try to buy food products online I have a little more control of myself, the number one reason I am not sure if the product is what they claim and I do not want to be stuck with food products that I do not want to use and the money….I won’t go there again. 

I look forward to trying each product.  I chose a couple different dried fruits, a variety of nuts, their dried Porcini Mushrooms, Sun Dried Tomatoes, green tea powder, and a couple of their different flours.  I will definitely be using the Pistachio Flour and nuts soon.  When the box arrived I ripped it open like a child with a birthday present.  I was so impressed with each item I ordered.  They surpassed my expectations and more.  I will share with you each time I use a recipe that required a product from my new favorite online store.

The one thing I have used so far was the Organic Harmony Soup Blend. 

This is an amazing soup mix.  All organic:

Hard Red Winter Wheat, Pearled Barley, Pinto Beans, Red Kidney Beans, Spilt Green Peas, Red Rice, Navy Beans and organic Safflower Oil.

This dried soup mix cooked up into an incredible soup and we will be ordering more of this mix soon.  It made a very healthy dinner that we look forward to having again.   I should have taken a picture of the mix before I cooked them; they were beautiful mix of colors. 

Harmony Soup

Recipe from Nuts Online (I added the tomatoes and tomato powder)

 Ingredients:           
  •  2 cups organic soup blend
  • 3 quarts of Chicken Broth (I had some in the freezer) water if using chicken or any kind of meat
  • 3 pound whole chicken (I made without chicken)
  • 1 Tbsp dry savory leaves (I added a little of oregano, thyme and bay leaves)
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt (I used No Salt Sodium-Free Salt to taste)
  • 1 ½ cups sliced carrots
  • 1 fresh chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 2~3 sliced cloves of garlic
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp of tomato powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Soak the soup blend overnight in 1 quart of water in the refrigerator.  Drain and discard water.

In a 6 quart pot, place chicken (if using or can be any kind of meat you like or not) and water…this is where I used my 3 quarts of chicken broth and soup blend.   

Add garlic, salt, turmeric, black pepper, savory leaves.  Cook for one hour or until the chicken is tender.  Remove the chicken so it can cool.   Cook for same amount of time if not using meat. 

Add the carrots, celery, onions and tomatoes and tomato powder.   Cook for 20/25 minutes or so while you are de-boning the chicken.  If using meat add it now and bring mixture to boil.  Remove and serve.

The soup was delicious without any meat in it.  I added the diced tomatoes and tomato powder to the recipe, I was wanting a tomato soup base for a while, it was great.  Next time I will probably make it without just to see the difference.  I am sure it will be just as good as this take, maybe I will make it with chicken or maybe not.  It’s great to have a product that you can basically do want you want and not spoil it.  I made some angel biscuits and salad to complete the meal.  We enjoyed this soup and will be doing it again soon. 

Let me know if you go to www.nutsonline.com.  I would love to hear what you think of their products.  I know the service is great and I could not believe how fast my shipment came….            

 

 

 

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