RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

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

Tag: Garlic

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….

Advertisements

Beet, Chard and Peach Salad

This is a full flavored salad that is perfect with a side dish of wild rice.  The mix of sweet and sour and add the slight smoky taste of grilled peaches and red onions makes it delectable to say the least.  It is a bit of work, but quick to put together in the end and well worth the effort.  It seems that Sawsan Chef in disguise and I had the same thoughts in a salad but put together with different blends of flavors, hers looks delicious… take a peek!

Ingredients:

  •        2 medium red beets, trimmed
  •        ½ cup of red wine vinegar
  •        Pinch of sea salt
  •        Cold water to cover

In a sauce pan combine the beets, vinegar, salt and enough cold water to cover the beets by several inches and bring to boil.  Reduce the heat and cook until tender, around 30 to 40 minutes depending on size of beets.  Once the beets have cooled in the cooking liquid you can peel or slip off the outer skin and then slice into ¼ inch slices.

Wash the chard well in a sink full of cold water, I do this two times.  On the larger leaves that have large ribs, I separate and remove the large rib.  Slice the leaves in thin strips.  Mince a couple of cloves of garlic.  Put olive oil (I fried some pancetta in the pan and am using the oil from that.)  in fry pan and once heated start adding chard as it cooks down some add some more until you have it all in the pan.  Once all the chard is in pan sprinkle the garlic on and stir in, I cook the chard stirring occasionally until it is very tender.  This takes only takes a few minutes.

Peal a red onion and slice into ¼ inch slices and mist each side with olive oil.  (I try to have the onions, beets and peaches about the same size.) Halve the peaches and mist the peach halves with olive oil.  Heat your grill and grill onions on both sides until you have grill marks.  Add additional oil to grill to grill the peaches, be careful when you turn to keep them whole.  I had a problem with this, turning too soon and not having enough oil on the grill.  They were not as pretty but tasted wonderful anyway. 

I had some Dill Havarti Cheese that I made little ½ inch cubes for the salad.  There are many cheeses that can be used for this salad… pick one of your favorites.

Vinaigrette:

  •         2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  •         1 tablespoon kalamata olive brine
  •         1 teaspoon honey
  •         ½ teaspoon crushed dried oregano
  •         Pinch of sea salt
  •         Freshly ground black pepper
  •         ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (I was running low so use just a couple of teaspoons… it seemed fine)

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, brine, honey, oregano, salt and pepper.  Gradually add oil, whisking to a thin, steady stream until blended.

I arranged the chard, onions, and beets, peach and topped with a slice of pancetta and added the Dill Havarti Cheese cubes.  I wish I had started with the wild rice on the bottom… but just topped the salad on top of rice after taking the pictures.

We both loved this salad and will do again.  The mix was full of enjoyment and was a dish we relished with each bite….

My mother gave me this recipe and would love to give credit where credit is due… if anyone knows where this recipe came from let me know.  I did a lot of adapting from the directions my Mom gave me.

Grilled Chicken Breasts and Tomato Mix Bruschetta

We had a nice break in weather yesterday afternoon and T decided he would grill chicken breasts.  It has been weeks since our last barbecue.   I put the chicken breasts to marinate before he changed his mind.  First I crushed some garlic and in a zip lock bag I put some olive oil, the crushed garlic, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a mix of herbs: oregano, sage, and a little parsley.  A couple of shakes of smoked paprika and mixed it up and added the chicken breasts.

I decided it was time we could use some of our cherry tomatoes that I had frozen last summer.  I have been saving what was left of them for exclusive uses… celebrating that spring is springing and that we had some sun and would be having a grilled meal seemed special enough.  I would use a third of them and hideaway the rest for a couple of other exceptional meals for their use.

T cut up the veggies for the bruschetta: red and yellow cherry tomatoes, red onion, green and black onions.  While he was busy chopping I cut the French Bread down the middle and put some butter on to melt adding a small clove of well minced garlic and some fresh dried parsley to the butter.  Once the butter had melted and had simmered just a bit I spread it on half of the bread.  T was through with the veggies about the same time.  We misted the veggies with just a little olive oil and sprinkled some seasoning on them (basically the same mix as I had just put in the marinade for the chicken.) 

While I was broiling the bread and veggies… I decided to throw together a quick apple salad… T was getting the grill ready.  I waited until the chicken on the grill was about finished to add the broiled veggies to the bread and topped it off with some shredded Apple Smoked Gruyère Cheese.  About the time he was coming in with the grilled chicken breasts, that smelled like heaven I put the bruschetta under the broiler to melt the cheese some, just to add a little color.

The meal took no time at all to come together and it was delicious.  All the blends from grilled chicken, the seasonings and the wonderful little tomatoes, crusty bread were a wonderful blend of flavors and textures that we both enjoyed immensely.  The leftovers would be really good tomorrow….

Taken last summer by one of my deck gardens

Florida Pink Shrimp Salad

We eat a lot of salads for our main course dinners.  I love to make richer dinners and deserts as you all know… but to make up for the caloric highs, fat and such we revert to lots of wholesome salads.   It makes up for the guilty pleasures in life.  Cannot have too much of a good thing all the time.  We also eat a lot of homemade cabbage soup and such for lunch.

Tonight we had a lighter dinner with our Florida Pink Shrimp Salad.  I make my own croutons… they have very little olive oil misted on the bread cubes I have cut from my bread with adding seasoning of garlic powder, onion powder, a little dry sage or oregano (depending on the meal I am mixing with,) parsley, smoked paprika, freshly ground black pepper and a little sea salt.  I put them in the oven and bake to a golden brown… I bag them and then have the extras for many others uses.

The shrimp I marinated for about an hour in olive oil with crushed garlic, pepper flakes, parsley, some fresh ground black pepper and a little sea salt.  I stir fried them in a little olive oil.  Then I placed them on a paper towel to drain some of the oil off before adding them to the salad.

The salad can be any lettuce you like or a mix of lettuce and add anything you like, in ours I added some avocados, red onions, cherry tomatoes and julienne carrots  (basically what I had on hand…) adding the croutons and shrimp.  The dressing can be your choice.

T had been working on the wood pile this afternoon so I made up a small 6” skillet of baked rolls for him to have with his salad.  When I make bread I always take some and make dinner roll size dough and place on baking sheet several inches apart and place in freezer.  When frozen I put into a freezer bag… when I need to have rolls for dinner I take out what I need (they will rise as they thaw) doing this we always have fresh dough dinner rolls ready anytime we should want.   

The Pink Florida Shrimp salad makes for a nice light dinner and fills you up with a very appealing as well as appetizing meal.  It was delicious….   

Chicken Cassoulet

It was a mix of rain and snow again today!  Just as my mini daffodils are starting to bloom.  T and I neither one could come up with something for dinner… this always puts us in the pantry and refrigerator to see what we have on hand.  We had several options but the one that we both agreed to was Chicken Cassoulet, and it would be a dinner that we could both work on.  I love it when this happens… it usually comes out pretty good.

The recipe came from my Mom and I am not sure where she got it… it is a keeper!   It was at Tanya, her dinner of pork shank with giant beans looked so good the other day and it made me realize it was time for some beans and then when I found the beans in the freezer… it was good for go!   Just a few difference from pork to chicken and such…

Ingredients:

  •          8 bone-in-chicken thighs (about 2 pounds) (I used 4)
  •          ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  •          ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  •          2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  •          8 ounces chicken sausage or kielbasa, cut into 3/4 inch slices
  •          1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  •          1 celery rib, chopped (about ½ cup)
  •          2 carrots, sliced on a diagonal
  •          2 garlic cloves, chopped
  •          1 ½ cups chicken broth
  •          1 can diced tomatoes
  •          2 cups cooked cannellini beans, save some juice you may want to use some (I used about two cups of cannellini     beans that I had in the freezer that were already cooked, with a little of their juices)
  •          ½ teaspoon thyme
  •          ¼ cup chopped parsley
  •          ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
  •          ¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese

I had cooked my cannellini beans a while back and had frozen some in some of their juices so just needed to thaw them out with… my chicken, and kielbasa.  I would use them later that afternoon to put the dish together.

Season the chicken with some of the salt and pepper.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet… once hot enough add the chicken and cook until browned well and cook the other side, cooking until well browned.  Remove from skillet and add the kielbasa and cook stirring once in a while until well browned.  Reduce the heat and add the onion, celery and carrot, cook stirring often, cook until just softened.  Stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute.  Now stir in broth, making sure to scrape up any of the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Add tomato, cannellini beans, thyme, parsley, remaining salt and pepper: stir to mix well.  Now add the chicken and kielbasa.

Place the mix into a casserole dish.  Bake uncovered at 350˚ for 45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and top is slightly browned.  Next time I will bake with casserole lid on… I think it will help it from drying out some.  Our only complaint!  Once you have all of the mix in the casserole you can mix the breadcrumbs’ and Parmesan Cheese and spread over the top (before you bake…) I did not use breadcrumbs and I sprinkled the Parmesan Cheese on when I had plated the baked dish. 

We were both pleased with our effort and no decisions need be made on what we will have tomorrow night for dinner we have left-over’s and we all know that left-over’s are always better the second night….

 

%d bloggers like this: