Jail bar peach pie and cauliflower cream soup

I call this jail bar pie because sometimes I feel trapped in my domestic life, even though it is sweet. It was also the result of being a little short on pie dough.

Jail pie before the oven

Jail pie before the oven

These summer days in the country can be a lot of work. But sometimes one just has to say ‘screw it’ and put their feet up. OR, better yet, bake a pie. My mom has been visiting and helping out with baby Arlo, so it has freed me up to do a few extra special things – like indulge in baked goods – not the most ideal for a hot and humid climate. Luckily the pool is also open now and we can drive into town on occasion to cool off. The house cat however can never escape the warmth of her own fur, but she still manages to get comfy.

Gertrude taking the lap while she still can.

Gertrude taking the lap while she still can (baby asleep).

The all butter crust recipes are great, just use your fingers to squish the cold butter and flour together and chill the dough for at least four hours. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/butter-flaky-pie-crust/

cooked pie

I created a mixture of organic fresh peaches ( 3 large) and blueberries, simmered some pure cranberry and cherry juice, cinnamon, and added a mini ‘snowstorm’ of corn starch.

About a half cup of sugar (but this is up to you), created the perfect combination of sweet and tart.

cooked pie 2

The potted plants on our porch are thriving with the daily thunderstorms and bright morning sun.

Broiled cauliflower is nutty and delicious.

Broiled cauliflower is nutty and delicious.

Dessert before dinner, can’t help myself. My friend was talking about a cream of cauliflower soup just yesterday and so I decided to try my own. I pretty much winged it but did a little bit of research to discover that Worcestershire sauce takes care of any potential blandness, and does not necessarily even taste like a condiment. What is this stuff but a lovely fermented liquid from back in the 17th century.

White cheddar. Yup.

White cheddar. Yup.

 

I didn’t add a lot of this (maybe a cup and a half?) but it helps with the texture and flavor.

Soup is on.

Soup is on.

 

All in there:

  • 5 large carrots
  • 1 head of orange cauliflower
  • Paprika
  • Dried dill
  • Fresh thyme
  • Lots of black pepper and salt
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 Fresh lime
  • The olive oil and butter that the veggies broiled in
  • 1-2 cups sharp white cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup or 2 of half and half as liquid to puree my veggies in a blender

 

 

 

 

Pea Soup Please

Peas Please Me

Peas please me.
PEAS RELEASE ME!
Never forget pea.
It’s all about pea.
SO SUE PEA.
Let it pea.
It wasn’t meant to pea.
I need a pea.
Be the best that you can pea.
CAN’T YOU PEA?
What you think you pea is only
What you want to pea.
Eat, drink and pea merry,
For tomorrow we die,
And/or get put in a pie.

http://poemsaboutpeas.wordpress.com

peasoupI made some pea soup, not exciting, not fancy. Just peas with carrots. Lots of pepper. Peas love pepper.

peasSplit peas cook faster than whole peas when dried. Cook them in broth, chicken or veggie. Half of the cooked peas were processed or creamed in a blender and added back into the mixture with cooked carrots, garlic, onion and spices (cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper).

 

Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Garnished with goat cheese, chopped Italian Parsley, and my crunch roasted cinnamon chick peas.

Garnished with goat cheese, chopped Italian Parsley, and my crunchy roasted cinnamon chick peas.

Hey Katt, I am finally getting to posting this soup. Things have been busier than usual, but I might mention that my uncle Joe died yesterday at 71 years of age. He was who I referred to as the most compassionate of my father’s side of the family. He was also the last person to spent significant time with Renee before she passed a couple of years ago. This post is dedicated to him, even though he may not have even liked a soup like this. Regardless, it was a soup made with time, dedication and love.

I looked at several sweet potato soups and found this combination of ingredients to be the most appealing:

  • 2 cups (or a can) of coconut milk
  • 1 can of chick peas
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 large, or 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 or 5 small red potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • Fresh ginger root – shred to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill

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First thing I thought about while making this dish was how cooking is like a sacred act. Each ingredient is precious, harvested, collected and distributed by human energy for my consumption. Not only the visual beauty, but the texture, color and fragrance of these ingredients make them sacred. Handling, preparing and eating this soup is a treat to the senses and a celebration of life. In the long winter that this has been, so much reflection has happened on a daily basis, consideration of the great losses in my life, as well as the great blessings.

the potatoes cooked in separate pans - red potato with onion, garlic, ginger. Sweet potato cooked in butter with curry, turmeric, cracked pepper, and coriander. I also swirled some honey on top.

the potatoes cooked in separate pans – red potato with onion, garlic, ginger. Sweet potato cooked in butter with curry, turmeric, cracked pepper, and coriander. I also swirled some honey on top.

Cook everything but the coconut milk and chick peas and cinnamon in sauce pans. Let cool so they can be pureed later in a food processor with veg broth and coconut milk.

Red onion and red potato look so lovely together, Could color add a different sort of nutrition?

Red onion and red potato look so lovely together, Could color add a different sort of nutrition?

Make sure you wash your veggies well. And when it comes to cutting, I take pleasure in the selection of knife and process as the moist fragrance bursts into the air with each chop or slice. I like to smell my finger tips, particularly after slicing garlic and ginger.

photo-2

I added fresh lime to the coconut milk: find some gorillas singing ‘put the lime in the coconut’…

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Did you ever notice how ethereal garlic skins are? So translucent and soft. Kind of like my sweet Arlo. How patient he was while I made this concoction.

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This is an amazing touch. Rinse a can of chick peas and spread them out on a pan with some butter and cinnamon. Roast them by putting the over on broil and giving them an occasional stir till they are crunchy. They will serve as a perfect garnish for the soup.

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The mixture was not quite smooth enough the first time. Then I pureed it again and it tasted even better. Strange how much texture can really improve the experience of a soup.

I know you made a sweet potato soup (prompted coincidentally by a dream) so please share if you like!

Tom Kha Gai – Thai Coconut Soup

It’s soup season again. I’m hoping to perfect making large pots of warming soups and stews with crusty homemade breads from scratch in the months ahead as it turns colder. I’m quite proud of this Thai soup I made last night that tasted authentic to my memory of savoring it at an excellent Baltimore Thai restaurant.

I got the idea to make this while shopping an Asian/International grocery store. I find these markets to have so much greater a variety of produce at reasonable prices. I get excited and dumbfounded by all the exotic and unfamiliar foods I have yet to try here.

asian-mkt

It was the lemongrass stalks that grabbed me with their fragrance. I’ve bought them for juicing before but had never actually cooked with them. They are very fibrous and stringy and can be eaten if sliced up very thinly and cooked down, but really it’s preferable to chop them into large chunks, bend/crush them slightly (like a clove of garlic) to let them release their flavor, then remove them before serving.

thai coconut soup

Ingredients:

1 box of chicken broth (4 cups)
2 cans of coconut milk
1″ of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 stalks of lemon grass, chopped in 2 inch pieces
Juice of 2 limes (1/4 cup)
3 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp Agave syrup
1 small green Thai pepper, deseeded and finely diced
Dashes of Tobasco green pepper sauce (used as a substitute for Chili Garlic sauce)
2 thin chicken breasts sliced into pieces
1 lb. of shrimp
handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 vine ripened tomato diced
chopped cilantro for garnish

  • Pour chicken broth into a sauce pot over medium high heat an bringing to a simmer.
  • Grate in a 1″ piece of peeled ginger into the pot.
  • Cut the lemongrass stalks into 2″ pieces and bend it slightly to unlock the flavor. If you have a tea diffuser ball or herb sachet you could let it brew in the broth and remove it when ready to serve, as it’s not pleasant to eat unless chopped very finely and boiled down.
  • Stir in fish sauce, lime juice, pepper/tobasco and agave to broth. Simmer at a low boil for about 5 minutes. The ingredients in this soup don’t need to cook long. Much of the cook time is to marry the flavors of the broth.
  • Add the remaining ingredients.. chicken, mushrooms, shrimp, tomato allowing meat to cook, another 5 minutes.
  • Remove lemongrass stalks from soup, ladle into bowls and top with chopped cilantro.

Maryland Crab Soup

Hey Lori, it’s so fantastic to get back to posting again and see all the wonderful things you are making from the ripening late summer garden. As Summer turns to Fall here on the Bay, the wind is getting brisker and the air cooler. For me it is the most beautiful time of year and some of the best sailing before the long dusk of winter. The summer season has once again passed too quickly and now begins the final march of preparations for snow bird cruisers heading their boats south. As you know the question always on my mind is, am I ready to be one of them this year?.. as I check my never-ending to-do list of projects to complete. For those not yet ready to leave the ties to land, it’s the last sound of the siren calling, get out there now while you can!

Working on projects has occupied much of the summer this year, but this year I’ve had the pleasure of doing it while anchored in a beautiful creek away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s gratifying to see progress but meanwhile the hull was turning into a garden patch of barnacles. So last week, with my birthday approaching, I was adamant the boat at the least go on a long weekend trip to celebrate. I spent the week prior diving  the boat with a snorkel and flippers scraping away at the underwater growth and stocking the boat with food and drinks. I thought a nice big pot of soup made in advance would make for an easy and comforting meal to grab bowlfuls of,  so I attempted a Maryland classic, MD Crab soup. It’s really quite easy to make.

MD Crab Soup

MD Crab Soup

  • Sautee 1 diced onion & stalk of celery in a big oil coated pot
  • Add 2 cans of 14 oz. diced tomatoes (mine were mixed with jalapeno peppers)
  • 1 box of beef broth
  • Add a ham hock
  • Worcestershire sauce (1-2 TBSP)
  • Old Bay to taste (1-2 TBSP)

Let this simmer at a low boil while the flavors merge. As it gets closer to being ready to eat add:

  • 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies (corn, carrots, green beans, peas)
  • *many recipes call for a can of lima beans which I didn’t have but think would make a nice addition
  • 1 lb. of canned crab meat
  • V8 / Clamato juice / Water to your desired consistency

My soup was pretty concentrated and hearty with vegetables more like a stew, but it could be stretched a lot farther by adding more liquid.

Newly weds parading the anchorage

Newly weds parading the anchorage

The view from one of my favorite anchorages.

The view from one of my favorite anchorages. The water was clear but the jellyfish were out.

wind scoop

Funneling the wind into the boat at anchor with my colorful windscoop.