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Tag Archives: crockpot soups

On A Perfect Day

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What is it with the weather around here? Every day just warm enough, with no humidity. It makes it hard to get anything accomplished. But, it does make it easier to work in the kitchen.

Usually in the summer, my food processing days are spent fighting the heat and humidity. Not today.

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I even made soup. Potato leek soup in the crockpot. This picture is before the blending. I used about a dozen small leeks from my garden. A half dozen potatoes. Three small shallots. A pint of homemade chicken stock. Salt and white pepper. After about six hours in the pot, I pureed it all in the blender. It’s in a jar in the refrigerator, cooling down. I may freeze it, or I may have it for dinner next week.

I also made tomato sauce again. Since the onslaught of tomatoes never ends.

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I used the roma tomatoes from the CSA. Take my advice. DON’T do it this way. I sweated the tomatoes in the same pan as I made the sauce. Splitting them open and letting them get warm enough for me to slip off the skins. This is a chunky vegetable rich sauce. I like these for short pastas. I had green pepper, shallots, leeks, garlic, carrots, zucchini and eggplant in this sauce. Yes, an eggplant, from here.

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I roasted everything on this pan this morning. Then smashed up the eggplant and added it to my sauce. As a thickener. You know, you can use all sorts of things in sauces. No one will be the wiser. I ended up with two full pint jars for the freezer, and about 12 ounces in the fridge to be used for a pasta for dinner tomorrow night.

The tomatoes and peppers on that tray? Went into a pint jar and are in the freezer as well. They will make one awesome sauce sometime in the dead of winter.

Last but not least.

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It’s sauerkraut time. I pulled out the crock and am making kraut. Cabbage and salt. That’s all it takes. And a cool dark corner.

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Since I can’t find my cork top for the small crock, I ended up covering this with a clean dish towel. I put the saucer on top the cabbage. Weight it down with a jar. I moved it off to the far side of the kitchen where it stays out of the sunlight. I will have sauerkraut next week. But, let it ferment longer for better flavor.

I certainly did quite a bit today. How was your Friday?

Memories of the Navy … in Bean Soup

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Every week at White Oak. Bean soup on the lunch menu. Really hearty. Full of flavor. Similar to what is served at the Senate. And in the Pentagon.

For me, that soup was a filling comforting bowl of warmth in the middle of winter. I have been working to perfect my own version of it.

Senate bean soup includes butter. Mine doesn’t.

Mine takes five ingredients plus salt and pepper. Beans. Scallions. Ham hock. Broth. Garlic.

Yesterday I soaked, then cooked the white beans from the Friends and Farms delivery. This morning I put them, and a pork hock and a pint of veggie broth in my crockpot. Added four cloves of garlic. A half dozen scallions.

Let it cook for eight hours. Pureed half of it (minus the pork). Shredded that pork about an hour before serving.

It came out like this.

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Enough for two meals. Dinner tonight and lunch later next week.

Tonight we served it with warm garlic naan and a 2012 Linden Avenius Sauvignon Blanc. A crisp flinty SB, to cut the creamy richness of the soup.

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Local meals. Yum!

#hocofood

Frigid Weather

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The next few days are going to be tough to deal with, around these parts. Temperatures below zero degrees tomorrow night.

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We have snow on the ground and the birds are pretty active looking for food under the patio table and around the deck. We have unfortunately also had a number of hawk attacks. Lost a few small birds.

I am keeping the bird bath full. It is amazing watching them get into the basin and fluff up their feathers after dunking themselves a few times.

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We now have quite the collection of red bellied woodpeckers. There were three out there yesterday. I refilled the suet holders for them.

Tomorrow (today by the time I post this past midnight) is Little Christmas, the day I usually take down the decorations. I think that will occur later in the week when it warms up.

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The tree needs to be taken out to the landfill later also. They recycle them into mulch. As for the garland, it will become a bed around the rhododendron, where the pine needles can continue to add some acidity to the soil.

I have been heavily using the crockpot, making another batch of venison chili today. I learned a lesson though. My method of putting frozen items in the pot has resulted in a hairline crack in the ceramic insert.

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Thankfully, I do use the liners. Still, I have to buy a new insert. And stop putting the pot on high.

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I am slowly making my way through the Larriland tomatoes in the freezer. Next year I will be getting many more than this time, as they make a world of difference when used in soups and chili.

As for the next few days, I think we will find some indoor projects to tackle. Until it warms up a bit.

Stay warm, and watch out for black ice. And, think of spring.

hocofood@@@

It’s Been A Soup Sort of Week

Seems to be the norm this week to have soup for lunch or dinner. What with a second snowfall today.

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At least we got the snow thrower some hours. I think it hasn’t been used in two years. My husband had everything done in about an hour this afternoon. All told, between the two storms we had about seven inches of snow on the ground.

It even brought the red bellied woodpecker up close to the house, something she rarely does.

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While we were out there, the crockpot was on, with my latest version of cauliflower leek soup bubbling away.

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The secret to my soup? Garam masala. It makes it much more complex in flavor.

The recipe:
1 small head cauliflower, broken into pieces
4 medium leeks, sliced, white part only
2 scallions, sliced
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, parboiled first
1 pint stock (I used turkey)
1 pint almond milk
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Everything in the crockpot except for the almond milk, for six hours on high, or eight hours on low. One hour before serving, I pureed most of the mixture, leaving about 1/4 of it in its chunkier form. After pureeing it, add the almond milk for the last hour to give it the creamy texture.

Tonight we dressed it up a bit.

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I had a package of Copper Penny Farm mini chorizo in the oven on slow cook (250 degrees) for that last hour. Placed a few of them, with some of their juice, over the soup.

A mostly local meal tonight. Just the spices and the almond milk, not local. Warm, satisfying. It’s interesting how soup is one thing we love to have when the “weather outside is frightful”.

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Turkey Lurkey

My mostly local Thanksgiving meal. Done tonight for just the two of us.

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Pretty traditional this year. Roasted turkey. Green bean casserole. Mashed potatoes. Sausage dressing.

Every element of the meal had local ties.

Let’s start with our turkey. An eleven pound Maple Lawn Farm fresh “hen”.

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Brined for sixteen hours in advance. I found a basic apple cider, salt, brown sugar, orange peel, bay leave, garlic, rosemary and water brine.

Roasted at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, and 90 minutes at 350 degrees. Trickling Springs butter under the skin. Grapeseed oil rubbed over the top, and a poultry mix sprinkled everywhere.

Really moist turkey this year. The right amount of time in the brine, and it wasn’t overcooked. I have a crock pot full of bones, skin and the innards, with a couple gallons of water, which will cook all night to make stock.

Side dishes this year. My take on classics, but revved up a bit.

Mashed potatoes included goat cheese, butter and milk. These were CSA potatoes, a mix of Yukon Gold and white potatoes.

I made a green bean casserole using Breezy Willow’s beans. Blanched them first, then put them in a casserole with some organic condensed cream of mushroom soup I got at Roots. Half of the container became the base for the gravy. The onion on top the beans was a CSA yellow onion that I roasted yesterday until it was crispy. It added flavor without all that breading and greasiness the canned onions have.

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The dressing was simple. Bread cubes mixed with turkey stock (I started the stock early today, using only the innards and water, celery, carrots and scallions. Cooked up about 4 ounces of Boarman’s homemade country sausage and mixed it in. A little sage, salt and pepper. Baked alongside the green beans.

Complementing the meal, a Finger Lakes Pinot Noir. 2007 Konstantin Frank.

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Really a soft wine. Glad we opened it. It is just starting to fade a bit.

All in all, just enough food. I didn’t go overboard on anything other than making just a bit too many potatoes.

As for leftovers, I have two cups of shredded turkey to make a soup. One leg to use for a lunch salad next week. One complete breast for a salad or dinner. A couple of thighs for another dinner.

Keeping it local. Supporting small businesses. I may not have shopped today, but I did pretty well.

hocofood@@@

Thanksgiving Eve Eve

The calm before (and during) the storm. The ice and snow and rain and sleet and whatever storm.

Pretty dismal today, and the same for tomorrow. But, tomorrow, I have lots to do.

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Pick up the turkey at Boarman’s. The Maple Lawn turkey, along with sausage for dressing, and oysters for stew.

My menu for our meal (Friday night) is oyster stew, salad, turkey, dressing, green beans and a whipped potato/turnip dish.

After getting the turkey, it is off to pick up the CSA box.

We got an anticipatory email, telling us what we might get, but with all the weird weather, we may have lots of substitutions.

Tonight we enjoyed a hearty crockpot soup.

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This is my take on the vegetable soup (With smoked shank) that inspires crab soup.

How did I make it?

1 smoked shank from Boarman’s
1 package frozen green beans from last summer
1 pint stock from the freezer
1 jalapeno
1 baby bok choy shredded
3 large scallions
1 pint frozen tomatoes
1 can Navy beans
salt, pepper to taste
1 pint water

20 hours on low in the crockpot. This was one intensely flavored soup. Served tonight with the last of the rye bread from the CSA.

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Soup, on a cold rainy evening, before the frantic Thanksgiving cooking.

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One Slow Cooked Bargain Meal

Actually, it turns out there will be two meals out of the turkey made in the crockpot yesterday.

It all started with those turkey drumsticks from Maple Lawn Farm.

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You can head out to the farm and pick up frozen turkey all during the year. The fresh turkey is sold for the holidays, but they have frozen packages and other specialties.

After bringing home those drumsticks, so I could vacuum seal some and save for soups this winter, I did keep two out to cook on Sunday.

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I have two packages like these in the freezer. Each package cost approximately $2.33 as the six pack was $7.

You can’t beat that for making an economical meal. Throw some carrots, onions, celery, some stock (my last container from last year’s turkey), two drumsticks, a little water, salt, pepper, poultry friendly herbs like tarragon and marjoram, all in the crockpot.

Since the turkey was barely defrosted, and the stock was a brick of frozen goodness, I put the crockpot on high for six hours, then renewed it for another 3 hours. In the last hour, I added some wide noodles and a bit more water to thin it out.

We had it for dinner tonight, and it was simply wonderful. Really rich. So much flavor. It’s amazing and you can’t believe the entire pot probably cost $5-6 in total ingredients. We only had half of it, so lunch or dinner later this week will be our second meal from these drumsticks.

My husband and I both like the dark meat on turkey and chicken, more than we like the bland white breast meat. At Thanksgiving, my husband always takes a drumstick on his plate.

I suppose you could say we are crazy, eating turkey the week before Thanksgiving, but soup is so good on crisp fall days.

If you haven’t popped out to Maple Lawn after the holiday rush, you should. Even the frozen turkey is so much tastier than those butterball things.

hocofood@@@