RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

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

Tag: Onions

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….  

 

Taco Pizza

First I have an update to my last post… Hummingbirds!  I was stating that the Rufus Hummingbirds were late in arriving this year.  While I was having my first morning cup of tea I was watching the feeder and a bright little male Rufus Hummingbird arrived and shortly after he was followed by a female Rufus Hummingbird.  They made repeated trips to the feeder all morning.  It has been a long haul for them coming all the way from South America.  It sure was good to see them!  Before long we will have lots of hummers… the Anna Hummingbirds were not too happy with the new arrivals… but they will get use to them pretty quick.  I will give them a few days to get use to the area again and get settled in before I start pointing my camera in their direction!

Now for the pizza… When my children were young Friday night was usually reserved as  Pizza night.  They loved pizza, and Taco Pizza was their favorite, mine too.  I do not know why we have not had taco pizza in a very long time… I cannot even remember the last time we had it!  T says he has never had Taco Pizza and I have been with him for fourteen years! 

I have to admit at this point in time I have a little secret that I do not tell too many people.  I like Taco Bell Taco Sauce.  Not much else at Taco Bell makes me want to eat there, but I do like their sauce.  I noticed at Amazon the other day when I was looking for some things I needed to buy they had Taco Bell Taco Sauce by the bottle, you had to buy two, but hey… maybe I will make Taco Pizza more than once every fourteen years!

While there I decided to see if they sell Santa Fe Instant dried beans… Santa Fe Bean Company makes the best instant dried beans and has a variety of beans including black beans, pinto beans, southwestern style beans and I think there is one more.  I was introduced to the dried beans several years ago and they are delicious.  The store we usually shop at quit stocking them, we have not said anything… maybe if we spoke up they would restock… but I now know where I can buy the instant dried beans!  I could not make any better beans from scratch!   I do not normally go with instant anything but the taste and texture of these beans is incredible.  They are so good and Amazon did sell them (and at a better price)… you had to buy at least eight packages… but that was okay I love these beans, they are that good, I would give them a high hummingbird score!  They make a nice side dish with so many different meals.

The pizza dough was from Central Market; they have ready-made pizza and sell their dough too!  It is very easy to use and makes it so much quicker to make your own pizza.   There are many good recipes out there for making pizza dough if you want to make your own.  Besides when you are basically for the time being a one-armed person… you take all the help you can get! Once I have the dough spread onto the pan I spread the dough with a layer of the Santa Fe beans I have already made per package directions (you can use canned refried beans or make your own they do not have to be instant beans.)   I spread half of the pizza with seasoned cooked ground turkey meat (when cooking I added some onions and when cooked I add some taco seasoning, chopped fresh parsley and then mixed well.)  Next you will spread on some Mozzarella Cheese.  Bake in 475˚ oven, placing rack on the lowest position for 9-14 minutes… when the crust is golden brown it is done.  Watch it carefully, you do not want to over-cook and let it get dried out!

Once you have your pizza out of the oven you cover with thin sliced avocados, some thin sliced lettuce, thin sliced red onions, and diced tomatoes, then throw on a few black olives.  I put some sour cream and taco sauce into squeeze bottles and put the finishing touches on the pizza.  It was now ready to eat.

T said the pizza was really good and would like to have it again… I do not know why it took me so many years to revisit one of my favorite pizzas; it was delicious and full of flavor… excellent to the last bite ….

Making a good dent!

 

 

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….

 

Brisket Panini with Au Jus

On Sunday we had a basic roasted brisket with lots of onions and garlic.  It was delicious.  The decision was made because of Greg and Katherine at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide, take at a look at his brisket, how we could not crave brisket after seeing that.  It more than prompted T and me to have brisket something we had not had in a long time.

T did not want to barbecue with the weather being very cold, rainy with a snow and ice pellets mix and I could not blame him.

After said meal T asked if I would make Brisket Panini’s with some of the left over’s.  How could I deny him that, such a simple request… if we are going to have a sandwich/Panini night it is usually on Saturday but nothing is written in blood as to it having to be on Saturday only!

Instead of straining the brisket broth (au jus) I decided to leave all the goodness in and after dipping our Panini’s in… it would make a nice bit of onion-garlic soup… not the normal onion soup but it tasted just as good!

I added some grilled asparagus,  orange  slices and a pickle for good measure along with some corn chips and salsa… it was more than enough for anyone for a quick meal.  We both enjoyed having Panini’s on a weeknight….

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