Mardi Gras Soup

Mardi Gras Soup

Mardi Gras Soup

Mardi Gras Soup

Someone asked is there really such a thing?  Is this a tradition?  Well, heck…  I thought since its Carnival Season… Why not make a soup that fits the colors of the season and call it Mardi Gras soup.  You can actually use any color combination of cabbage, onions, and peppers and just call it cabbage soup.  However, I would suggest making it this way at least one time.  It just makes for a pleasing color combination and is visually pleasing as well as tastefully pleasing.  The rough chop of the all of the vegetables make this soup feel bold and satisfying all the while being something you can eat and stay in check with a healthy, lower calorie diet.

Olive oil spray

2 heads Purple cabbage

2 heads Green cabbage

kosher salt

coarse ground black pepper

garlic powder

caraway seeds

fennel seeds

5-8 sprigs fresh thyme

1 TBS caraway seeds

1 TBs fennel seeds

cheese cloth and kitchen twine

Olive oil

1 Yellow Onions, rough chopped

1 Purple onions, rough chopped

2 Green bell peppers, rough chopped

2 Yellow bell peppers, rough chopped

3 Leeks, tough outer layer removed, trimmed, cut in half and cleaned VERY well!

Fresh garlic, smashed and and rough chopped

approximately 1/2 cup or more…White wine

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 gallons home made chicken stock (or more)

2 TBS Kosher salt

2 TBS Coarse ground black pepper

4 Chicken bullion cubes

2 TBS Garlic powder

2 TBS Onion powder

1 TBS Dried parsley

1 TBS Dried thyme

1 TBS Dried oregano

1 TBS Dried basil

1 hefty pinch Red pepper flakes, or more if you like it a little hot.

4 bay leaves

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. 

Line a baking sheet (in this recipe you may need more than one) with aluminum foil and give a light spray of olive oil spray.  Starting at the core of the cabbage, cut into flat rounds about 1/2 inches thick.  Place the rounds onto the prepared baking sheet.  Be aware that the outer layers of the cabbage are going to want to fall off.  I used the blade of my big knife and the palm of my hand to gently transfer the rounds to the baking sheet.  Spray with a light coating of olive oil, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Sprinkle the rounds with the caraway seeds and fennel seeds.  Be aware that these are strong flavors and a little goes a long way.  I happen to really like the flavor of both of the seeds.  Place in the preheated oven and roast until slightly golden, about 25 – 30 minutes.  Don’t be alarmed if the outer edges get a little charred.  It’s okay!  This actually adds to the bold flavor of the soup.  Set them aside long enough to cool so that you can handle them.  When they are cool enough to touch, cut them into 1 – 1 1/2 inch squares.  Notice that I didn’t tell you to core the cabbage.  This is optional….  but the cores soften during the roasting process and are not bitter at all.  However, if you don’t want the core in your soup by all means cut it out. 

Now you can start assembling the soup.  In a piece of cheese cloth, make a little bouquet garni with the fresh thyme, caraway seeds and fennel seeds.  Wrap them up tight  and tie it together with the kitchen twine.  Set aside until ready to add to the soup.  In a large stock pot, pour in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot. When the oil is hot, add the onions, peppers and leeks.  Let them saute’  until golden and fragrant.  Add the garlic, and let it continue to saute’ for about another minute.  Pour in the wine.  Next add the parsley and the bouquet garni.  Add the cut up cabbage and enough stock to cover all of the vegetables.  Add in all of the seasonings from the salt all the way down to the vinegar.  Bring this up to a slight boil.  When it reaches the boiling point, turn it down to medium and let it cook uncovered for about 45 minutes.  It’s possible that you may have to add more stock.  Remember, this is soup and so they vegetables need enough stock to be able to float freely through the pot.  At this point, taste the soup and adjust the seasonings. 

Serve and Enjoy!!!

Granny’s Cornbread Dressing

First of all, I am going to apologize for the photo of the cornbread dressing.  I took it back at Thanksgiving and it was at night.  I will take a better one when I make it again for Christmas next week.  We have certain dishes for Thanksgiving and Christmas that I am NOT allowed to change… per order of my two sons!!!   So, since I got side tracked (not hard to do) and failed to make any Thanksgiving posts, I am going to make them now since my menu is basically the same for both holidays.

Cornbread Dressing

Cornbread Dressing

Granny’s Cornbread Dressing or Oyster Dressing

I have never had dressing that tastes as good as this dressing.  It is how my granny made it when I was growing up.  Personally, I like it plain, but my boys LOVE it with the oysters in it.  So… I always leave some of the mixture out and make a small pan of the plain just for myself.

Ingredients list:

2 sticks of unsalted butter

2 large onions finely chopped

1 large green bell pepper finely chopped

5 stalks of celery finely chopped

1 pod of garlic finely chopped

1/4 cup white wine

2 pawns of Granny’s cornbread, recipe follows

1 bunch of green onions, chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

4 cups or more of fresh chicken stock

4 large eggs slightly beaten

4 chicken bouillon cubes

A pinch of cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

About two dozen oysters if you’re making oyster dressing

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Butter a casserole dish and set aside until ready to use.  Melt the two sticks of butter in a large skillet.  Add the onions, bell pepper, and celery and sauté until softened, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Add in the garlic and sauté for about another minute.  Pour in the white wine and stir for about one minute.  Crumble in the cornbread.  You may not need all of the two pawns of cornbread.  Crumble in the chicken bullion cubes, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.  Fold in the slightly beaten eggs.  At this point you’ll need to start adding some of the chicken stock.  You’re going to want your mixture somewhat soupy.  Folded in the green onions and fresh chopped parsley.  Taste it.  You may need to add more kosher salt or pepper.  Pour this cornbread mixture into the buttered casserole dish.  If you’re making oyster dressing at this point gently push the oysters down into the dressing mixture.  Bake for approximately 40 to 45 minutes.  Serve with homemade cranberry sauce.

Granny’s cornbread

First of all this is not a sweet cornbread.  This is the cornbread I grew up eating.  My Granny had it every Sunday when we would eat dinner at her house.  She never made it too thick always somewhat thin and crispy.  With the leftovers we would have corn bread and milk (crumbled into the milk) and a green onion.

Ingredients list:

2 1/2 cups self rising yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup canola oil

2 eggs slightly beaten

Milk for thinning the batter

Put the canola oil in a large cast iron skillet.  Put the skillet in a cold oven and preheat your oven to 450°.  Don’t get in a hurry and mix your cornmeal batter before the oven is preheated. Your batter will thicken too fast if you do.  Once the oven is hot mix the cornmeal with the eggs and start to thin with the milk.  Place the skillet on a hot burner.  Bring it to almost smoking.  CAREFULLY pour the oil into the batter and mix well with a fork.  Try not to burn yourself!!!  Once the oil is mixed into the batter, pour the batter back into the skillet.  Put the skillet back into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Carefully flip it out of the skillet onto a large plate or platter.


Loaded Chicken Salad

Loaded Chicken Salad

Loaded Chicken Salad

 Loaded Chicken Salad 

 This chicken salad is so fresh and delicious!  I have to be careful when I make it… It’s so good that I can’t stop eating it.  It is almost identical to my salmon salad that I posted last week but my portions are different.  I also use this recipe for fresh tuna salad (that will be another post).  One ingredient that makes this salad so good is fresh chicken.  I do not use canned chicken and would suggest that you do not either.  Boiling a chicken takes hardly any time and it makes such a difference if the flavor of the salad.  In addition… it gives you some fresh chicken stock to put up in your freezer for another use.   I have heard some people say that they only like to use the white meat but I like to use both white and dark meat in my salad.  It is also very versatile which is great for this time of year when we are tailgating.  You can put it in a serving bowl surrounded with mini croissants or your favorite crackers.  You can stuff it into pepperoncini peppers and serve it over a bed of micro greens for a pretty presentation.  Or, make finger sandwiches with a variety of breads.  Anyway you serve it, it will be a hit!

 Ingredients list:

1 –  whole chicken boiled and deboned

6 – hard-boiled eggs.  Peeled and chopped

1 –  whole bunch of green onions, chopped

1 –  red bell pepper, finely chopped

3 – ribs of celery, finely chopped

1 –  kosher pickle, finely chopped

2 –  TBS Dukes mayonnaise, or more

1  – TBS yellow mustard

A dash of kosher salt

Fresh cracked pepper to taste

To boil a chicken, simply put it in a pot large enough to fill with water and cover the chicken.  Season the water with salt, pepper, and dried parsley.  Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for about 40 – 45 minutes.  Cover and let it sit in the liquid for about 15 minutes.  Remove the chicken to a baking sheet and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Allow the stock to cool and freeze it for making soups and sauces later.   Debone the chicken and discard the fat and skin.  Mix everything together in a mixing bowl.  Mix well but don’t over mix and shred the chicken.  It is nice to have some bite sized pieces of chicken in the salad.  If you need more mayonnaise you can add it but don’t overdo it.  Taste it to see if it needs any more salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 Serve and Enjoy!!!