Soup season is around the corner. Sooner than later, pumpkins will be all the rage, and garden tomatoes will be something to look forward to next year. In the meantime, grab as many homegrown goodies as you can carry out the door. Farmer's markets are advertising scratch and dent sales and plans are underway for next year's harvest.
Though farmer's markets will shut down for the season, all is not lost. Big city markets like Whole Foods will carry fabulous fresh produce. If you live in a small town, hopefully, you'll be lucky enough to have a little market like Paducah's Midtown Market. Midtown supports local growers. They carry specialty items like gluten-free products. One of the best things about the market is the deli. Guess what, the deli has homemade tomato basil soup every day!
If you're interested in the little market's back story...Midtown Market was formerly Myrick's grocery store. Myrick's was one of the last true 'mom-and-pop' stores in the city. The store was managed by Lester and Charles Myrick. Lester was Charles' uncle and the two ran the store together, side-by-side, for 53 years.
This reminds me, Myrick's is a featured business in a book I'm reading by local author Tracey Buchanan, Toward the Corner of Mercy and Piece. If you haven't ordered a copy of this funny, quirky book, I'd recommend it. The character, Minerva Place is a hoot.
Tomato basil soup is a great recipe to include in your arsenal of good soup recipes. Thanks to my Aunt Marge for sharing.
2 T. olive oil
One purple onion (diced)
Three cloves of garlic (minced)
28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
Four cups of chicken stock
Small can of tomato paste
Salt and pepper
T. of Cavendars Greek seasoning
3/4 cup of heavy cream
Handful of chopped fresh basil (dried will work too)
1/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onion and a dash of kosher salt. Saute until soft. Add the garlic. Simmer until you smell the aroma. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth, dash or two of pepper, and Greek seasoning. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste. Puree with an emulsion blender or mixer. Add the heavy cream and basil. Simmer on low for a few minutes. Serve with sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top.
Recipe for Parmesan Croutons
Ingredients: Serves Six
Six pieces of bread (use what you have on hand) Cut into square chunks
Toss in 3 T. EVOO, tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. dried basil, 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Either bake, sauté on the stovetop, or air fry. You're looking for a golden brown color for the right amount of crunch.
Top your soup with these delicious crunchy morsels.
Cock-a-Leekie Scottish soup is loaded with roasted chicken, packed with savory vegetables, and sweetened with prunes. It's a meal in a bowl.
If a busy mom or dad read 99% of the online recipes for cock-a-leekie soup, there's probably no chance you would EVER try this recipe. Therefore, I've made it quick and easy. The great thing about this soup is that it's a complete meal. I used a whole roasted chicken, white and dark meat, several different vegetables, a broth, and prunes. In addition, I made a rustic Scottish bread called a Bannock. Click Scottish Bannocks for the recipe.
I'm going to post a few pictures of the process and will publish the ingredients and directions after the photos. Let's get to it!
The title of the recipe mentions the Open. I'm referring to the British Open. It's that time of year. Golf competitions happen every weekend. If you're watching the tournament, you'll witness the cold rain passing through Prestwick Golf Club. Making soup may seem strange during the hot summer days in the Midwest, but not so strange if you were there. It's in the 60s with lows in the 40s. So, bottoms up!
A whole roasted chicken deboned
One cup of sushi rice or any whole-grain rice
T. of coconut oil
Two cloves of chopped garlic
One whole onion (chopped)
1/2 bag of small carrots (cut)
Four celery stalks (cut)
Two leeks with three to four stalks per leek
1/2 bag of small dried prunes
Three bay leaves
Two boxes of chicken broth (low-sodium)
Salt & white pepper to taste
After deboning the chicken, set aside.
If you're using sushi rice, wash it and let it sit in cold water for 30 minutes as directed. Whatever rice you use (don't use minute rice), follow the directions on the package.
Sauté the vegetables in the stockpot: garlic, onion, carrots, celery, and leeks. Salt and Pepper. Add the chicken, the broth, and the bay leaves. Turn the heat up by setting the burner to medium. After 5 - 7 minutes, turn the heat to medium-low for 20 minutes to slowly cook the vegetables.
While the stock pot is on medium-low, cook the rice as directed on the package, typically for 20 minutes. Add the rice to the stockpot of soup. Add the prunes. Let everything simmer for another 10 minutes.
TIP: I would take the prunes out before serving the soup. They tend to get mushy. They've done their job. Added the sweetness. I didn't mind the texture but my husband wasn't a fan.
Serve. It will make six to eight bowls of soup.
Cream of Mushroom Soup is a staple in casseroles, plates of pasta, and many dishes that require a creamy sauce. Flavorful mushrooms and a few spices make this soup extra delicious.
Remember when a can of cream of mushroom soup with the equivalent amount of milk in a saucepan over low heat was a family favorite? I do. Thank goodness times have changed; the sodium alone could bring on a small stroke.
If you're like me, I'm of the age where I watch my salt intake, sugars, carbs, you name it, I watch it. I don't necessarily want to live forever but in the time I do have left on this earth I want to feel good and be active.
That said, eating a hot bowl of soup during cooler temperatures is comforting but not always heart-healthy and definitely can cause an upset stomach. I know buying a can at the market is the easiest route to get that happy feeling; you know the one that brings on the warm fuzzies, however, canned anything isn't being mindful of a healthy lifestyle. In addition to watching salt, sugars, etc., some of us suffer from digestive issues. This means that we may have gluten sensitivities or lactose intolerances. If that's the case for you, I have a cream of mushroom soup that will turn that frown upside down. It's quick, easy, and delicious!
A couple or so handfuls of mushrooms...your choice, I like shiitake
1 1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 yellow onion
Fresh or dried thyme (1/2 teaspoon or a couple of sprigs) or sage
1 cup of lactose-free milk
3 T. of Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free1-to-1 1 flour (available at Walmart or Amazon)
3 T. of unsalted butter
S & P to taste
Directions: Slice the onion and dump it into a large pot with the chicken broth, mushrooms, and thyme or sage. Cook on medium to medium-low for 15 - 20 minutes or until onions are soft. Turn off the burner and let it cool for 10 minutes. Add the mixture to the blender and blend. Stop short of making a puree. It's good to see the tiny mushrooms floating around just as you would in a can of cream of mushroom soup. Also, reserve a few whole mushrooms for garnish.
Place the butter in a separate sauté pan and melt. Add the flour. Make a paste. Slowly begin to add the milk. It will start to thicken like white gravy. After it thickens, add the mushroom mixture, a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium-low for a few minutes. Serve. Add the set-aside mushroom to each bowl. If you want more soup, double the recipe.
My family loved it. I used the remaining cream of mushroom soup for my chicken casserole. Fabulous!
February is for Mardi Gras, Carnival parades, and snow?! Sami and Dwayne Owens have an authentic gumbo recipe that's been passed around the family for decades. This particular recipe was given to the Owens family by Louis Kirschoff and has been a staple in their kitchen for over 18 years. In fact, Dwayne recently learned how to make his own andouille sausage.
Sami said, "Dwayne makes the sausage from a pork butt that's been smoked. Then, grinds it into Paul Prudhomme's sausage recipe and puts it into casings. It's a process that takes approximately two days to complete. Yep, he's competing with Paul Prudhomme."
Competing with Paul Prudhomme is quite the lofty goal but Sami admits that Dwayne's andouille is tastier than the Cajun Kings. If you're unfamiliar with Prudhomme, he's an American celebrity chef known for his Cajun and Creole cuisines and has been credited for popularizing it.
As the story goes...
Kirschoff lived in the west end of Paducah and was neighbors with Dr. Dennis Owens, obstetrician/gynecologist in Paducah, KY. It was Dr. Owens who shared the recipe with his brother Dwayne and dad Jim. The gumbo was so well-liked by Jim Owens that he requested his sons learn how to make the recipe from start to finish. Jim wanted his sons to slow down and perfect the roux, the most important ingredient in authentic gumbo.
Kirschoff owned Kirschoff's bakery and deli in downtown Paducah. It was a family-owned business that opened its doors in 1873 by Louis' great-grandfather Franz Kirschoff. After a closure, Louis and his daughter reopened the bakery in 1997. The famous bakery, known for its delicious artisan bread, famous baked treats, and wonderful lunch combos, had always been a favorite in Paducah. The family sold the business in 2019. Louis Kirschoff died this past December from natural causes.
Sami and Dwayne have been a couple for 18 years. (together 10 and married eight). Both have a tremendous love of food and enjoy cooking for friends, family, or just the two of them. For years, Sami had a catering business and still throws a party from time to time.
This weekend her niece Miranda Walker is having a Mardi Gras-themed wedding and Sami and Dwayne are providing the food. Part of the festive menu includes the famous gumbo from Kirschoff.
Sami said, "I've had that recipe hanging in my garage for over 18 years." She said after Dr. Owens shared the recipe with Dwayne and their dad, every time the family headed down south to vacation on the gulf, they made the gumbo. With all the fresh seafood, who could resist.
Ingredients: Modified from "Cooking Across the South" Serves 12
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
8 stalks of celery, chopped
3 onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 pound sliced okra
3 Tbs. shortening
2 quarts chicken stock
2 quarts of shrimp stock
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. hot sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup
1 large tomato, chopped
1 Tbs. salt
2 slices of ham, chopped (Cured Tasso or smoked ham)
1 pound of andouille sausage or polish (Kielbasa)
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. Rosemary
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 chicken cooked and chopped (remove skin and bones)
1 pound cooked crabmeat
4 pounds boiled shrimp (get your shrimp stock)
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 pint oysters
Juice of one lemon
Directions: Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add flour slowly, constantly stirring with a whisk until the roux is dark brown. 30 - 45 minutes.
Add celery, onion, green pepper, garlic, and parsley, and cook on low for one hour stirring frequently (very important to cook this low).
Fry okra in 3 Tbs. shortening until brown. Add to gumbo and stir well over low heat for a few minutes.
In a large stock pot add chicken stock and shrimp stock, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, ketchup, chopped tomato, salt, ham, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and cayenne. With a large spoon and roux mixture to stock. Simmer for three hours stirring occasionally.
About 30 minutes before serving time, add cooked chicken, crabmeat, and shrimp. Add oysters, lemon juice, and brown sugar the last 10 minutes of simmering time.
Serve over hot cooked rice in a soup bowl.
It's all about the roux, or so I've been told. This evening, I was writing a feature article about one of my high school friends. No surprise. I've found my 'thing' to do during Covid that makes me happy. Kevin, on the other hand, needed an activity that filled the void. He decided to try his hand at cooking.
I believe he's found his 'thing'. Tonight, was Cajun gumbo night. Granted, Cajun cooking is a Louisiana specialty and not so much a home cook from Kentucky. From the seafood, to the spices, to the Holy Trinity of onion, celery and green pepper - which is the basis of almost every dish - it's a real treat and worth a try.
This evening's recipe required a trip to the grocery. We had quite a few items on hand with the exception of the Cajun seasoning, andouille sausage and fire roasted tomatoes.
Kevin did everything from start to finish. He found the recipe (yes, this is another's recipe - the link is at the bottom of the page). He did the shopping. Kevin even bought a new frying pan, though it doesn't look like he used it for this dish. He did the prep (including the deveining of the shrimp), the roux, the cooking, and the minute rice.
All I can say is kudos to the new master chef. It was incredibly delicious. And, yes...I told him it was full of flavor and everything was cooked perfectly. The flavors blended well and it really couldn't be any better for finding a random quick gumbo on the internet.
I do have a treat planned. An authentic Cajun gumbo recipe is coming your way with an extra added bonus from a famous local chef. I'm going to get the scoop and write the article with the recipe within the next week or so. My husband worked so hard at this recipe, I wanted to share. And it's great for a gumbo that takes a little over an hour. It's good stuff.
Click on the link for the recipe.
Easy Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
Cabbage is the star of this show.
It's one of those evenings, you know the ones...there's no real plan for dinner. You want a homecooked meal without the hassle and without the need to run to the grocery. As you begin pilfering through the refrigerator, you find vegetables that need to be cooked, a couple of bulbs of garlic, a box or two of chicken broth, and a sack full of cornbread ready mix. You determine, "I could throw something together from this list."
Code word for 'throwing together' means fast, easy, and loaded with flavor. When you know the basics, it's not as difficult. The main obstacle blocking the end goal is having the staples needed to do the deed.
Typically, I keep the refrigerator crisper full of vegetables: cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, onions, and garlic. My freezer will have Italian sausage, hamburger, chicken and sometimes shrimp. And of course, I always have several boxes of chicken broth.
With these few ingredients, you've got a meal.
Cabbage and sausage soup with cornbread
12 ounce polish Kielbasa
1/2 large onion (chopped)
Large elephant clove of garlic (chopped)
Head of cabbage (slice and cut into big chunks)
Head of cauliflower (leave in large chunks)
One and a half boxes of chicken broth
Two cups hot water
Three bay leaves
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Cut kielbasa into 1/4 inch slices. Lightly sear on each side in a cast iron skillet. Set sausage aside on a paper towel. In the kielbasa grease, add the onion and garlic. Sauté. Salt and pepper. When heated through and golden brown, add the cut cabbage. Stir the cabbage in the sautéed onion and garlic for approximately 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper.
Transfer the cabbage mixture, the sausage, and the cauliflower into large pot. Add the chicken broth, water, spices, salt and pepper. Turn the burner on medium high. Bring to a slow rolling boil for 10-15 minutes. Turn down to low. Let it cook until tender. Serve with cornbread.
Homemade beef vegetable stew with a kick and a side of cornbread
Fall is kicking Spring to the curve and for many that means, it's soup and stew time! As soon as the leaves start to turn on the trees, my crew is ready for bear, or cow. They want comfort food. They want warm bellies. They want the HEAT!
When Emeril Lagasse says, "Let's kick it up a notch," which means MORE HEAT, the Food Network audience goes wild . That's exactly what I'm doing with this vegetable beef stew recipe.
I've spent years experimenting with different seasonings, because that's what every good 'home cook' does, right...and this combination is one the whole family enjoys. Let's get started!
2 lbs. chuck roast (fat trimmed and cut in chunks)
Large can whole tomatoes
Large can crushed tomatoes
Box of vegetable broth
1/2 cup ketchup
Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Six carrots (sliced)
Four stalks of celery (sliced)
Medium onion (chopped)
Can green beans (drain and rinsed)
Bag of frozen sweet corn
Large baking potato (peeled and chopped)
2 Tbs. dried oregano
2Tbs. dried basil
Tbs. garlic powder
2 bay leaves
1/2 Tbs. red pepper flakes
flour for beef
2 Tbs. olive oil
Directions: After chopping the chuck roast into cubes, salt/pepper and dredge in flour. Shake loose powder and place in heated skillet with a Tbs. of olive oil. Brown until cooked (approximately 15 minutes on medium heat).
Sauté' chopped carrots, celery, and onion in a Tbs. of olive oil (approximately 5 or 6 minutes). salt/pepper
In large stock pot, combine the beef, sautéed vegetables, add the can of tomatoes (squeeze the whole tomatoes into the pot), can of crushed tomatoes, box of vegetable broth, chopped potatoes, corn, green beans, and seasonings. Cook on medium to medium high heat for approximately an hour. Check your seasonings by giving it a taste test and adjust. If it needs more sweet, add ketchup. If it needs more kick, add more Worcestershire sauce.
It's a great dinner idea when its cold outside. Buy your favorite corn meal mix to make the cornbread. My dad gave me a great tip...instead of using only one egg like the recipe calls for, use two.