Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category
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When I was a little girl growing up in Germany, when we had Oxen Shvantz Suppe it was always a real treat. Braised with wine for hours they are tender and juicy. They are wonderful on a cold, rainy winter day.
What are ox tails, you ask? Well, they are the tail of an ox or steer which is cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces. They are very meaty and make a nice gravy, all on their own. How do you eat ox tails? You get most of the meat out with your fork, then you pick the piece up and suck all the goodness out of the bone. A bone bowl is a good thing to have on the table when you are serving ox tails.
When you go to buy ox tails, be sure and get them from a reputable butcher. The bony part should be bright white, the sinew pink, and the meat should be nice and red. I was lucky, my butcher brought out a tail and cut it there in front of me with his incredibly sharp knife. You can’t get any fresher than that.
Sometimes, on a cold day that looks like it might rain, you have to have chili. Usually, I make a big pot of it, and it cooks a long time to let the beans get nice and soft. Sometimes, you just don’t have that kind of time, but you don’t want something that came out of a can.
I don’t buy the Chili mix in the bag. I make my own, and you should, too. It’s very simple, and better because you can control the heat and you know what’s in it. Basically, it’s a mixture of chilies, cumin and a little salt.
If you live in California, you probably have access to fresh Anaheim chilies, if you live in New Mexico, you have the New Mexico chili which is a bit hotter than the Anaheim. Both chilies have thick skin, so they should be charred before use. When making my chili, I charred two nice big red bells peppers as well.
How to Char Chilies
Charring chilies is very simple. You need four things, the chilies themselves, a gas stove top, long tongs and a plastic bag (the one the chilies came in is fine). Put the gas flame up as high as it will go, and just lay the chili on the burner. Use the tongs to turn the chilies as they char. When most of the skin has been charred, put the chili in the plastic bag, close it, and let the chili steam in the bag. When the chili is cool enough to handle, remove the charred skin under running water. Not only is this a great way to skin a chili pepper, it also give the chili a nice roasted flavor. Of course, if you want really smoky flavor, do it on the Weber!
On rainy days, the first thing some people think of is a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. I thought of that, too, but since The Good Plate is all about reconstructing packaged foods, I decided to make tomato soup from scratch.
You will find that it is just as easy to make as opening the can. You probably have all the ingredients already on hand, and it’s very economical, too.
I love it when the supermarket puts a large box of whole mushrooms on Manager’s Special. I take them home and make something out of them, this time Manicotti Stuffed with Cream Cheese, Spinach and Pine-nuts. When I opened my refrigerator this afternoon, I realized I had a lot of mushrooms left over, and what could I do with an almost whole box of mushrooms? Mushroom soup seemed like the perfect thing on a cold, winter day.
Some of you are probably saying “Ew! That’s the stuff you make casseroles out of, you don’t actually EAT that!” Well, that’s true. I would never have a bowl of that canned stuff, it’s only good for a few casserole dishes, and then that’s doubtful, too – now that I made this glorious mushroom soup.
This is probably one of the easiest soups you will ever make. When mushrooms go on sale at your grocery store, get a whole bunch of them, and share this wonderful soup.
The past few days have been full of left overs. That’s a good thing, and a good way to save money, but you have to get creative.
When I made the Veal Marsala Meatballs, I made enough to freeze some for another time. Spane and I were at the market on Thursday, and I was thinking of making enchiladas, but Spane didn’t seem to enthusiastic about it, so I asked him if he wanted spaghetti and meatballs, and he said yes.
I had everything I needed to make it, the veal meatballs, a large can of diced tomatoes, basil and garlic. The only thing I needed to make a good meal was a baguette of French bread to make garlic bread to go with our pasta, so I bought a long baguette. It was large enough that I cut it in half and made my garlic butter, intending to make another half on Friday. I bought some large frozen shrimp to have on Friday.
I served the meatballs separately from the pasta, and we ate all of those, and the garlic bread. There was still spaghetti and sauce left over. I had made enough garlic butter for both halves of the bread, and had left the left over in the refrigerator.
I took some of the garlic butter, put it in a pan, and heated the shrimp in that garlic butter. By doing that, I didn’t have quite enough garlic butter for the other half of the baguette, so I added a little olive oil and balsamic butter, whirred it around, spread that on the bread, topped it with a little Parmesan cheese, and threw it in the oven for a few minutes.
We ate all the shrimp Scampi, and all the spaghetti and sauce, and were a little to stuffed to finish the garlic bread.
So, now I had left over balsamic garlic bread. Today, Saturday, was cold and rainy, so soup sounded like the perfect meal. Originally, I was going to make macaroni and cheese as an excuse to turn on Bertha, but grilled cheese sandwiches sounded like a better idea.
What kind of soup could I make and use up the left over garlic bread? Why French Onion, of course. That is such a simple soup to make, and is really fool-proof.
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We all remember Dean Martin singing That’s Amore, either on television if you’re old enough, or in the movie Moonstruck, if you’re not. It was raining here today in Glendale, and I had a PTA meeting to go to, so I thought that soup would be an excellent idea.
When the stars make you drool
Joost-a like pasta fazool
When you dance down the street
With a cloud at your feet, you’re in love
When you walk in a dream
But you know you’re not dreamin’, signore
‘Scusami, but you see
Back in old Napoli, that’s amore
I have a wonderful book, The Mafia Cookbook, where I know I can get very authentic Italian recipes. This soup can either be an appetizer, having very little meat, as it is in the book, or you can add meat like I did and have a full filling meal.
Well, lets get started.