We had so much fun with all y’all! We’re so glad you could join us in our home. As requested, here are the recipes for the evening:
Creamy Potato or Carrot Soup (as taken from Soups and Stews with KitchenNut changes)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, or the same amount of vegetable or olive oil
- 1 medium onion, 3 medium shallots, or 1 medium leek (white and light green parts only), chopped
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine [I use de-alcoholized wine, though you can use broth or water with a teaspoon of vinegar]
- 1 1/2 pounds of carrots (sliced thin) or potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice)
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or low-fat vegetable broth [depending how thin/thick you like your soup]
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- ground white pepper
- 1 – 1 1/4 cups milk [whole or 2% are best…skim will work, but the soup will be very watery]
- Suggested Garnishments:
- minced fresh chives or green onion
- balsamic vinegar
1. Heat butter or oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add sherry and potato; stir-cook until sherry evaporates, about 30 seconds.
2. Add stock, salt and pepper to taste to saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Ladle veggie mixture into blender [I usually only do 1/3 to 1/2 of the mix, when doing potato–I like some chunks). Add one cup milk; blend until very smooth. Return soup to saucepan; cook over low heat until warmed through. If soup is too thick, stir in additional milk to thin consistency [with the carrot soup, I did 75% milk and 25% fresh orange juice). Adjust seasonings. (Soup can be refrigerated for 3 days and reheated just before serving.)
4. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Garnish with minced chives and serve immediately.
Black Bean Soup (as taken from Soups and Stews, with KitchenNut changes—-I made it “Honduran Style.”)
- 1 lb. dried black beans (2 1/4 cups), rinsed and picked over
- 4 ounces ham steak, trimmed of rind [I used four slices of bacon, wrapped in cheesecloth for easy retrieval; vegetarian? omit with great results]
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 cups water
- 6 cups chicken broth [veggie broth can be used–will have sweeter flavor]
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda [helps keeps beans black–instead of turning gray]
- 1 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onions, minced
- 1 small red pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3-4 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
- 1 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Finishing the Soup
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons lime juice, from 1 to 2 limes [I used Balsamic vinegar for a richer flavor)
- Suggested Garnishments
- lime wedges [or Balsamic vinegar]
- minced fresh cilantro leaves
- red onion, finely diced
- avocado, diced medium
- sour cream
1. FOR THE BEANS: Place beans, ham, bay, water, and baking soda in large dutch oven with tight-fitting lid. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; using large spoon, skim scum as it rises to surface. Stir in onion, garlic, bay leaves and salt. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer briskly until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Do not drain beans. Discard bacon.
2. FOR THE SOFRITO: Heat oil in large traditional (not non-stick) over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking; add onions, red bell pepper, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about one minute. Stir in one cup of bean cooking liquid and scrape off yummy bits (fond) off bottom of pan. Return all ingredients to pot of soup. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, about 30 minutes.
3. TO FINISH THE SOUP: Ladle 1 1/2 cups beans and 2 cups liquid into food processor or blender, process until smooth, and return to pot. Stir together cornstarch and water in small bowl until combined, then gradually stir about half of cornstarch mixture into soup; bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, to fully thicken—at least five minutes. If soup is still thinner than desired once boiling, stir remaining cornstarch mixture to recombine and gradually stir mixture into soup; return to boil to fully thicken. Off heat, stir in lime juice [or balsamic]. Serve.
Dried beans tend to cook unevenly, so be sure to taste several beans to determine their doneness in step 1. For efficiency, you can prepare the soup ingredients while the beans simmer and the garnishes while the soup simmers. Though you do not need to offer all of the garnishes listed below, do choose at least a couple; garnishes are essential for this soup as they add not only flavor but texture and color as well. Leftover soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days; reheat it in a saucepan over medium heat until hot, stirring in additional chicken broth if it has thickened beyond your liking. [As all soups, it tastes much better when made a day ahead, refrigerated, then reheated before serving].
Cream Cheese Pasty Dough (as taken from King Arthur Flour Baking Companion, 459)
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese [room temperature]
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter [unsalted, room temperature]
- 1/4 teaspoon [table] salt
- 1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) unbleached, all-purpose flour [using the spoon and sweep method]
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Cream together cream cheese, butter, sugar and salt until smooth. [Can use food processor, hand, counter mixer, hand-mixer]. Add flour and mix on low until dough has formed loose ball.
- Shape dough into one-inch-thick disk, wrap well and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll to 1/8-inch thick and cut into sizes desired (3? circles for empanadas) [or, form empanadas by hand for a rustic-style]
Beef and Cheese Empanada Filling [The Best Make-Ahead Recipe, 26]
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- pinch ground cloves
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/2 pound (85% lean) ground chuck
- 3/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt and ground black pepper
- 2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
- Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened. Stir in garlic, paste, cumin, oreganio, cloves and cayenne; cook until fragrant (30 seconds). Stir in beef and cook, breaking up clumps, until no longer pink (4 minutes)
- Stir in broth, reduce heat. Simmer until moist, not wet. Off heat, add sugar and season with salt/pepper to taste. Transfer to medium bowl. Refrigerate about one hour. Stir in cheese and continue to chill until needed (up to three days).
- Line two baking sheets with parchment.
- Preheat oven to 425º
- Place one teaspoon of filling into each dough round. Crimp empanada closed with fingers or fork.
- Brush with beaten egg
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.
1 3/8 cup water (room temperature)
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
2 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt [or 1 1/4 teaspoon table salt]
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/4 cups flour (dip-and-sweep method)
1. Mix the yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil with the water in a large bowl. Mix in the flour, using a spoon (do not knead) until all flour is incorporated. Cover with saran wrap and set-aside to rise for about two hours.
2. Using floured hands, divide dough into two pieces. With each piece, on a floured-surface (I like doing this on parchment paper), roll 1/4″ flat. Drizzle with EVOO, sea salt and dried rosemary to taste. Allow to rise for 30-45 minutes.
3. Preheat oven with rack on lower-middle rack, with pizza stone, to 500º for 45 minutes to one hour. When ready, transfer risen-focaccia (parchment and all_ to oven stone. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Repeat with second loaf.
4. Serve with additional oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.
Caprese Salad on a Stick
Boccocini (or log of fresh mozzarella cut into small pieces)
Baby tomatoes (cherry or grape are fine—if too large, simply cut in half)
1. Beginning with tomato, spear until middle of toothpick. Spear an appropriate-sized piece of basil. Spear mozzarella. Place on plate. With mozzarella cut appropriately, it will balance upright. Continue to desired amount.
2. Drizzle tops of Caprese with EVOO and Balsamic; grind fresh sea salt and fresh pepper over tops. Allow to rest for 30 minutes for flavors to marry.
Pumpkin Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- Orange-Cream Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese , softened but still cool
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, (4 1/2 ounces)
1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs, oil, and granulated sugar until thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add pumpkin, and mix until incorporated. Slowly add flour mixture and mix until only a few small lumps of flour remain, about 1 minute. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool completely.
2. For the frosting: When cake is cool, process cream cheese, butter, and orange juice and zest in clean food processor workbowl until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds. Frost cake and serve. (Cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
Chocolate Gingerbread Cake by Nigella Lawson