Potato Ham Chowder

Hi there–  Heading out this afternoon to spend a week in San Francisco to hangout with our kids and those SF grand-kids.  Can’t wait!  So I’ve been trying to amass a pile of leftovers in the fridge to leave behind for Larry— including this potato soup.

Hearty and hot from the soup pot, it’s chock full of tender potatoes, corn, carrots and those little bits of ham.  Serve it up with a bright salad and a chunk of sturdy bread– dinner!

2 tab. butter
2 tab. olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. chicken broth
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled & cubed
2 cups milk
1 tsp. thyme leaves
2 cups ham, cut to bits
2 cups corn, fresh, frozen or canned
2 tab. cornstarch
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
garnish: cheddar & green onions

Heat the butter and olive oil in a soup pot.  The drop in the cut carrots and onion and cook for 5 minutes until they are tender.  Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more.

Then add in the chicken broth and cubed potatoes.  Bring the simmer back up to a low boil and let it cook for 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Add the milk, thyme, ham and corn and bring the soup back up to a simmer.  In a container with a tight fitting lid shake the cornstarch with 1/2 cup water.  Pour it into the soup, stirring until the soup thickens (about 3 or 4 minutes)  Taste it — and add salt & pepper until it’s just right!


Carrot Salad with Orange, Pomegranate & Mint

IMG_3349Hello friends–  This colorful salad is a recipe from one of my favorite bloggers– Laura who posts her brilliant photos and her warm engaging stories from her home in Australia, out to all of us.  It’s called Laura’s Mess, but it’s not a mess at all– so worthwhile.  I think you’d like it…

We had this salad  Sunday with lunch and Larry like the crunch.  I loved the bright colors and we both thought it super tasty.

2 large carrots
2 green onion, green stems chopped
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds*
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 navel orange, peeled & cut to chunks
handful of mint, chopped
garnish– more pomegranate seeds, mint, almonds…

6 tab. olive oil
2 tab. white wine or tarragon vinegar
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
squeeze of honey to taste

Peel long shreds off of the carrots rotating as you go.  Discard the stems and hard center.  In a bowl mix together the carrots, green onion, pomegranate seeds, orange and mint.

Whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt & pepper and honey until well blended.  Stir in into the carrot bowl to cover all the veggies.

Refrigerate the salad for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.  The mix in the almonds and spread it on a pretty plate.  You can garnish with a few more almonds, pomegranate seeds, a mint sprig…


Carrot Walnut Bread

IMG_1093Hello there–  Mixing up a little treat for friends dropping in tonight.  Pulled out my grandmother’s loaf pans and it always makes me miss her to see them.  It happened that the summer we moved back to California from Spain, Gram packed up her house and moved into a Seniors home.  So I inherited her muffin tins and cake pans and these small sized loaf pans in the two moves.  She lived on to be 102!  And we had some sweet times together.  Wish she were her to tuck into the carrot bread with me…

3 medium carrots, grated (about 2 cups)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup canola oil
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup currants
1  1/4 cup flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tab. brown sugar

Grate the carrots and set them aside.  And chop those walnuts to coarse chunks.

Then in a mixing bowl whisk the eggs.  Stir in the sugar, vanilla and oil.  Next mix in the carrots, walnuts, and currants.

Then the dry ingredients– stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

When it’s all mixed well, spoon the batter into a standard 9″x5″ loaf pan (or two smaller loaf pans for me–because that’s what I have in my kitchen).  Sprinkle the brown sugar over and top and pop it into a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a thin knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Let it cool for a few minutes in the pan, before you dig in and slice into nice slabs– good toasted for breakfast or topped with whipped cream for dessert!  Of just plain and warm from the oven with a nice mug of tea.


Cauliflower Chowder

IMG_0655Hello all–  Wish I could invite you to sit down with a cup of this warming soup.  It’s the kind you’d like to sit and talk over with friends.

The real truth is –it’s not really soup weather here yet in So. California– but I’m tired of waiting and it’s the end of October for Pete’s sake!!  So we’re eating soup.  I love making a big pot and having lunch leftovers to take to school.  So here’s to soup– even when its 85 degrees outside!

4 slices bacon, cut into bits
3 tab. butter
1 onion, minced
2 carrots, cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic
1 head cauliflower, cut into nice chunks
1/3 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

garnish–the bacon, green onion, shredded cheddar
Cut the bacon into small bits and drop it into a hot soup pot to brown.  When it’s crispy, remove it from the pan to drain on a paper towel.

While that’s cooking, trim the cauliflower and cut it into bite size bits.

Then after the bacon’s cooked, wipe out the pot with a paper towel and melt the butter in the bottom of the pot.  Drop in the onion and cook until it starts to become translucent.

Add in the carrots, garlic and cauliflower.  Cook it for 4 or 5 minutes more until they are softened.

Sitr the flour into the pot to coat all the vegetables.  Then slowly pour in the chicken broth and the milk, stirring to help it all thicken.  Season the pot with salt and pepper to taste.

And let it all simmer on low heat until the cauliflower and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes more.

Spoon the hot soup into bowls and garnish it with the cheddar, bacon and sliced green onions.  Hearty and hot!!

Summer Squash Stir Fry

IMG_9722Hello all–  Do have a couple simple old friendly recipes you rely on when you want a quick easy dinner (read–you don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen)  and that you know everyone will enjoy?  At our house that’s fajitas or spaghetti…  And this quick stir fry sauce that pretty much goes with anything you throw into the pan.

So I was wandering into the market, wondering what to fix for dinner when I saw these cunning tiny sunburst summer squash.  I grabbed them along with some pea pods and set out for home to make this simple dinner– about 20 minutes and it’s on the table.

2 cups rice
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
splash olive oil
1 1/2 cups pea pods, ends trimmed, cut in half
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into disks
7 ot 8 small sunburst summer squash, cut into chunks.
1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut to small bits
1 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
5 tab. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
4 cloves, garlic, minced
2 tab. cornstarch

IMG_9719Put the rice on to cook according to the package instructions.*

Cut the chicken into smallish bite size pieces.  Heat a skillet with a splash of olive oil.  When it’s hot, throw in the chicken.  Cook til it’s browned and cooked through and remove it from the pan.

In the same pan (leave the chicken juices)– cook the carrot for 3 or 4 minutes.  Then add in the pea pods and squash and cook 3 minutes more.  Then stir in the red pepper to cook another minute or so.  Put the chicken back in with the veggies.

In a container with a tight lid, shake together the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and cornstarch.  Pour it into the hot pan over the chicken and veggies and stir until it thickens, just a couple minutes.

Spread the cooked rice on an ample platter and to it with the stir fried chicken and veggies.  That’s it.  Time to eat!

*I just use the standard bagged rice–  2 cups rice, 4 cups water, 1 tsp. salt and simmer it on low, low for 10 minutes.  When it’s done, turn off the heat and leave the lid on the pan and it will steam and stay hot for a long time.


Rosemary Roasted Veggies

IMG_5867Hi eating friends– It’s that roasting time of year again.  Crank up the oven and throw something in!  We had these hot and roasty vegetables with a slab of roasted tri tip and a bright green salad topped with pears and toasted almonds.  I love roasting like this because it’s so quick & easy and everything comes out of the oven crispier and sweeter.
I’ll be doing it again with our turkey on Thursday– oh yumm.

3 red potatoes
3 carrots
3 parsnips
1 chunk (about a pound) banana squash
2 tab. rosemary, chopped fine
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/3 cup olive oil

IMG_5815Peel the carrots and the parsnips.  Cut the rind off of the banana squash.  Then cut all the veggies into polite little chunks.  Mix them up in a bowl with the rosemary, garlic salt and oil.  Then scrap them all onto a baking sheet and pop them into a 400 degree oven for 2o to 25 minutes, until they are all tender and crispy around the edges.

P.S.  This photo is just the leftovers for the next day.  The recipe makes about twice this amount.  Hope you enjoy them!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

IMG_1309Hey there– It’s Saturday.  So go on.  Take 5 minutes longer getting your morning oatmeal ready.  This is a hot, comfy bowl of breakfast that tastes just a little bit like an early dessert.  And you’re getting your veggies first thing in the morning!  I think you’ll like it…

1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup grated carrot
a couple shakes of salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (optional*)
1 tab. maple syrup or brown sugar
2/3 cup water
1 tab. currants (or raisins)
2 tab. pecans, chopped
a dollop of yogurt

Combine the oats, grated carrot, salt, cinnamon, maple syrup and water in a bowl.  Put on a top and microwave it all up for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes (or simmer it on the stove top for about 5).

Then drop on the currants, pecans and a splash of yogurt.  Breakfast!